Faye Sakellaridis (Plant Spirit Grant 2016) by Tracey Eller (Plant Spirit Grant 2014)

Cosmic Sister Announces 2018 Psychedelic Feminism Grants
Press Release
by Cosmic Sister
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“I’ve focused on psychedelic feminism because it’s time for women to take charge and move beyond this broken system, and because I believe psychedelics can help that happen in remarkable ways.”
– Zoe Helene

Women Ages 21 to 66 Will Journey in the Amazon with Psychedelic Plant Medicine Brew Under Merit-Based Healing and Empowerment Grant Program

AMHERST, Mass.—March 2018—This month, recipients of Cosmic Sister’s Psychedelic Feminism Grants will travel to the Peruvian Amazon to participate in traditional ayahuasca ceremonies in a legal, safe set and setting, led by experienced indigenous healers.

“Over the past year, interest in psychedelic feminism exploded,” said Cosmic Sister founder Zoe Helene, who coined the phrase. “I received hundreds of inspired, inspiring inquiries from women all over the country and around the world and awarded three times as many grants. Space is limited, so to all of the extraordinary applicants who didn’t receive a grant this year, I want to say please keep trying – persistence pays off.”

Cosmic Sister’s psychedelic feminism projects promote safe, legal, responsible journeying with evolutionary allies from the natural world as a way for women to discover fresh, liberating perspectives on core women’s rights issues. Cosmic Sister’s interconnected trio of psychedelic feminism grants includes the Plant Spirit Grant, Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance and Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis.

Cosmic Sister’s Plant Spirit Grant is a merit-based scholarship that fancially supports women as they experience the profound healing and empowerment of journeying with ayahuasca, sacred psychedelic plant medicine, in the Amazon rainforest, where ayahuasca is not only legal but is considered a national treasure. This year’s Plant Spirit Grant recipients will journey with Helene and her husband, ethnobotanist Chris Kilham, at Temple of the Way of Light, a well-respected ayahuasca retreat center outside of Iquitos, Peru, that facilitates healing in a safe, compassionate and supportive setting with highly skilled and predominantly female healers. Plant Spirit Grants are awarded annually and are internally funded.

Cosmic Sister’s educational advocacy projects, Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance and Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis, help women educate the public about the benefits and risks of responsible journeying with psychedelic sacred plants such as ayahuasca, cannabis, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms in consciousness-expanding mind-body-spirit work. These grants are funded by fully tax-deductible donations through Cosmic Sister’s nonprofit fiscal sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and are awarded throughout the year.

This year’s grant recipients, ranging in age from 21 to 66, include women in wellness and medicine, the arts and sciences, environmental sustainability, natural products, herbalism and cannabis liberation. Several are celebrating milestone years. “Women in our culture are inculcated to compete with women our own age and to mistrust women from other generations,” Helene said. “Cross-generational communication is key to our personal and collective healing journeys and ensuring healthy gender balance in the world at large. Patriarchal divide-and-conquer tactics are part of what holds us back from asserting our 50 percent of the power to influence positive change in the world. In the right set and setting, psychedelics can help us self-liberate from deep-rooted social conditioning, disassembling divisive illusions such as perceived scarcity of power.”

The following grant recipients will journey with Cosmic Sister to the Peruvian Amazon in March of 2018: Julia Asadorian (21), Mary Averill (60), Kris Badertscher (48), Sarah Baldwin (33), Dawn D. Davis “DawnDee” (41), Tracey Eller (53), Leia Friedman (29), Marie Frohlich (66), Sandra “Sandy” Griffin (60), Crystal Hamby (45), Selma Holden (41), Dawn Musil (25), Caitlin Moakley (28), Chioma Nwosu (39), Hayley Prescott (24), Sabrina Pilet-Jones (29), Elisabeth Sheldon (30), and Estefani Vidal (37). For full biographies and photos, please click on recipients names, below.

“You don’t have to be female to be a psychedelic feminist,” Helene added. “Cosmic Sister welcomes male allies. We’re celebrating a new type of male hero so, gentlemen, please—be our champion.”

This year the three primary supporters of Cosmic Sister’s psychedelic feminism educational advocacy projects are progressive and influential male voices in the field.

“MAPS is proud to serve as non-profit fiscal sponsor for Cosmic Sister’s public education work,” says Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and executive director of MAPS. “Women’s voices have been, and will continue to be, essential for ensuring balance in the field as psychedelic science and medicine moves towards cultural legitimacy. By empowering women to share their healing experiences, Cosmic Sister is helping transform public perception of psychedelics.”

“Temple of the Way of Light is in full support of powerful women and loves to work with people who want to make a difference in the world,” said Matthew Watherston, co-founder of the Temple of the Way of Light, “Cosmic Sister’s group will experience the mastery of Shipibo healers, and will benefit not just from ayahuasca, but from their sophisticated system of shamanic healing—an energetically focused, soul-based and spirit-assisted healthcare system."

“We now have excellent science to support millennia of psychedelic use for healing and insight,” said Chris Kilham, founder of Ayahuasca Test Pilots. “But the real test of the medicine is personal experience. When Zoe and I bring these groups to the Amazon for ceremonies, we witness real healing and profound breakthroughs. Many who have been part of these groups have shed old burdens and have resolved issues that have dogged them for years. They often get personal questions answered in the medicine space and leave invigorated, inspired and happier.”

This year’s group also includes men who care about women’s rights and respect healthy boundaries. Integrative medical doctor Selma Holden is returning from last year’s group, this time with her husband, medical doctor and herbalist Dan Einstein. “Sharing ayahuasca journeys together can be an invaluable bonding experience for couples,” said Helene. Other men in the group include natural products businessman Matt Jenkins and psychedelic-friendly social worker Nathaniel Putnam, co-founder of Boston Entheogenic Network (BEN), who is supporting Cosmic Sister’s safety efforts.

Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance and Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis would not be possible without community support. We deeply appreciate your tax-deductible donation by way of our fiscal sponsorship with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). All contributions made through this form will be allocated to Cosmic Sister, minus modest administrative processing fees.

About Cosmic Sister

Cosmic Sister (@CosmicSister) is an eco-feminist network that connects kindred-spirit trailblazing women who understand that balance of power between genders is the only way to true sustainability, a system in which all parties (human and non-human) thrive. Cosmic Sister creates positive change through educational advocacy projects championing women’s frontline voices, emphasizing our responsibility—as Earth’s apex predator—to evolve ethically, and our fundamental human right to journey with sacred plants (and fungi) such as ayahuasca, cannabis, peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms. For more information, visit cosmicsister.com, or contact founder Zoe Helene at media@cosmicsister.com or (617) 501-6165 (@cosmicsister)

About Ayahuasca Test Pilots

Ayahuasca Test Pilots is a collaboration of individuals who engage in the ceremonial practice of ayahuasca journeying with skilled shamans. Founded by Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham, our purpose is to journey for healing and explore the spirit landscape, with dignity and respect for La Medicina. Chris is a medicine hunter, author, and educator who promotes natural, plant-based medicines, sustainable global trade and indigenous cultures. He has conducted medicinal plant research in over 45 countries and lectures on holistic wellness and botanical medicines around the world and is the author of 14 books, including The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook.

About Temple of the Way of Light

Temple of the Way of Light is a pioneering healing center in the Peruvian Amazon that has facilitated safe ayahuasca healing retreats for over 4,000 guests from more than 30 countries since our foundation in March 2007. Offering a synthesis of ancient Shipibo healing traditions and modern and Eastern integrative practices, the Temple is proud to be known as the safest and one of the most respected and long-established plant-spirit shamanism centers in the Amazon Rainforest. The affiliated non-profit organization, Chaikuni Institute, focuses on permaculture, intercultural education, and human rights in the Amazon.

About Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. For more information, please contact Brad Burge, director of communications and marketing, brad@maps.org.

Cosmic Sister’s Plant Spirit Grants are funded internally, but donations for Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance and Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis educational grants are fully tax-deductible through Cosmic Sister’s fiscal sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). To donate, please visit Support Cosmic Sister.

This year's grant recipients in alphabetical order:


Julia Asadorian (21) is an integrative health sciences major at the University of Vermont and a talented vocalist. She intends to address eating issues that began when she stopped singing. Julia says she wants to “fully and wholesomely accept and love myself in this vessel that I am currently in.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Mary Averill (60), a social worker and travel photographer whose passion is to “comprehend the complexity of human nature,” was awarded the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant in 2015 and is returning to more deeply explore her work in the medicine. At Temple of the Way of Light, Mary will photograph people, plants and places both for her own artistic expression and to help communicate Cosmic Sister’s mission. In the medicine, she wants to explore a “feedback loop” around intimacy and relationships so she can “trust that anybody will take care of me unconditionally.” Grant: Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Kris Badertscher (48) is a multi-media project coordinator makes videos she describes as “therapy combined with outreach storytelling,” emotionally connecting people through telling and listening to stories. She is interested in telling the stories of women working in Massachusetts’s newly legal cannabis industry. She hopes her journeying will “guide me back to the smart, resourceful, happy human I know I am in order to use my talents to better effect.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis

Sarah Baldwin (33) is immersed in the world of medicinal plants, writing and teaching about the physical and spiritual benefits of herbal medicine. She considers plants her spiritual guides, teachers, and healers and seeks to share their loving wisdom with others. In the medicine space, she intends to ask for guidance that will allow her to more effectively help the world while nourishing herself. “I’ve always been hard-working, and I believe in my writing and teaching skills, so I feel as though the problem must stem from a deep energetic pattern such as a lack of confidence or a belief that I don’t deserve abundance,” she says. Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Dawn D. Davis (41), a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, was raised by her maternal grandparents in the Bannock Creek District of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho and is working to build a thriving wild peyote population as well as a society that respects water. In the medicine space, she intends to ask the ayahuasca about her role with peyote and “what the meeting of these two sacred plant medicines on my life path have to say to me, as an Indigenous researcher—and woman.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Tracey Eller (53), a documentary photographer and visual storyteller who describes her camera as “a gateway to understanding myself and the world,” was awarded the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant in 2014 and has returned several times since. Many of Tracey’s beautiful onsite portraits of women have accompanied Cosmic Sister media stories. This will be Tracey’s first visit to Temple of The Way of Light, where she looks forward to taking more photographs and to working with the medicine to find strength, clarity and purpose in her career and personal life. Grants: Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis

Leia Friedman (29), an adjunct psychology professor, writer, spiritual emergence coach, and co-founder of Boston Entheogenic Network (BEN), is integrating non-ordinary states of consciousness with ecopsychology and ethnobotany and has found profound personal healing through her work with visionary plants, mind-body practices, and radical self-expression. In the medicine space, Leia intends intends to ask the ayahuasca to help her make sense of the visions she had during a recent iboga experience. “I have my scuba gear on, believe me,” she says. “I know what a dive it’s gonna be!” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Marie Frohlich (66), a certified holistic health coach and herbalist, teaches self-care and stress reduction and helps people connect with plants through herbal retreats and workshops. In the medicine space, she intends to clear her own personal stress, including ancestral stress inherited from the women in her family. “I am very open to self-discovery and understanding how being seen and not heard as a child has affected my self-confidence and finding my voice,” she says. Specifically, she hopes to clear “maladaptation to stress” and “ancestral stress many of the women in my family bequeathed me via their genes, which goes deep.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Sandra “Sandy” Griffin (60) is an artist, illustrator, and author who creates art “inspired by the joy and beauty and terror inherent in nature.” In the medicine space, she intends to find out how she can best use her creative gifts and what wisdom she can impart to her grandchildren (and other children in this world) during increasingly challenging times. “I feel like there is a stream of knowledge much greater and deeper than my limited brain – and that the wise and ancient One who is the Source of that stream knows the answers I seek far better than I know the questions I need to ask!” she says. Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Crystal Hamby (45), an herbalist and educator, is deeply passionate about expanding her relationship with her plant allies and is currently writing an herbal medicine-making book. In the medicine space, she hopes to recognize patterns related to her fibromyalgia and wounds related to an abusive childhood, sexual assault, and the loss of her sister to a violent crime. “I have been feeling called to ayahuasca to help me shed the pain and release the trauma so I can move forward in my life physically and emotionally pain-free,” Crystal says. Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Selma Holden (41), an integrative medical doctor and teacher, was awarded the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant in 2016 and is returning with her husband, medical doctor and herbalist Dan Einstein. When Holden returned home from her ayahuasca experience, she wrote, “I can hear the Earth better again.” Holden believes that “when we are well within ourselves, we are more fit to heal the world around us.” She’s looking for more “connection with truth,” a clearer vision of “what’s needed for the world” and more clarity on how to “do the best I can with the privileges I’ve been given.” Grants: Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis

Caitlin Moakley (28) is the lead buyer and manager of the Body Care department at a legendary natural products store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She believes her life’s mission is to eliminate toxic chemicals from personal care products. In the medicine space, Caitlin hopes to “break down the personal walls that stop me from getting to the next level in my career.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis (@soilandspirit)

Dawn Musil (25) is entering graduate school in Ethnobotany at the University of Kent in fall 2018. In the medicine space, she intends to deepen her bond with nature and address wounds from growing up in an oppressive cult group, including a close friend’s suicide. She says nature “is what we all have in common as humans in this world, regardless of religion, belief, or background.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Chioma Nwosu (39), a Nigerian-born, Detroit-raised massage therapist, yoga instructor, preventative health enthusiast and certified pharmacy technician based in Los Angeles, is cultivating routes to mindfulness with connection to breath, self-mastery, proper body alignment and connection to the Divine. In the medicine space, she intends to seek more holistic ways to help people with anxiety and depression “connect with their fractured selves and head toward wholeness” and hopes to heal from her mother’s death when she was 21. “Without my mother’s unconditional love and support, I feel lost and uncertain of my direction,” she says. “Because of this, I’m not living up to my potential.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis

Sabrina Pilet-Jones (29) is a community artist and certified doula who specializes in helping women with postpartum depression and birth trauma. She’s passionate about urban gardening, herbs, natural healing, and helping her community. In the medicine space, she intends to work on transmuting some of the pain and obstacles she’s faced into healing. “I can’t save the world, I know, BUT if I can help some people in my community, I have done something.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis

Hayley Prescott (24) has a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University and believes her life’s work is to be a healer, bridging the medicine gap between indigenous people and the Western world. In the medicine space, she intends to address depression and self-mutilation stemming from childhood trauma and a sexual assault. “I’m tired of over-analyzing and criticizing,” Hayley says. “I want to learn how to let go and trust my intuition.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance

Elisabeth Sheldon (30) is working as a carpenter for a garden and landscape company in Brooklyn while she explores her career options. In the medicine space, she intends to “reconnect to the source, the divine feminine, and to my most authentic self” and address her fear of the future. “The suffering of others and the destruction of the Earth weighs heavily on my spirit and fills me with fear for the future. I want to confront that fear and transform it into strength and inspiration.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis

Estefani Vidal (37) the group interpreter for the 2018 Cosmic Sister expedition to the Peruvian Amazon, is experiencing spiritual awakening and hopes to reconnect with her ancestors in the medicine space. She also looks forward to working with indigenous guides who “learn from source, which is nature.” Estefani believes that that nature is the great teacher, and seeks to “empower others to turn to nature for healing and restoration.” Grants: Plant Spirit Grant / Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance / Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis (@v.i.d.a.l.e)

The striking and mystical lead image for this year's press release shows Faye Sakellaridis (Plant Spirit Grant 2016) by Tracey Eller (Plant Spirit Grant 2014) on-location at Dreamglade in the Peruvian Amazon. Thank you, Faye and Tracey!

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February 2018