Taylor Hayes

One Big Mushroom
Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance
by Taylor Hayes

“After suffering years of depression, anxiety, dissociation, and suicidal thoughts, one large psilocybin mushroom woke me up to the realization that life doesn't have to be limited to a flat existence based on survival, but rather it can flourish into a beautiful journey of love, knowledge, forgiveness, and full experience.” – Taylor Hayes

Please join us in congratulating psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner Taylor Hayes (@psy.nurse), who has received a Cosmic Sister Women of The Psychedelic Renaissance grant to write about her own sacred medicine healing and her vision for a health care system that includes psychedelic medicines and other modalities such as yoga, martial arts, and meditation.

Tyalor is president and founder of the International Association of Psychedelic Nursing (IAPN), an international nonprofit that promotes global awareness around psychedelics, develops safe standards of nursing practice within the emerging field of psychedelic medicine, and helps every person achieve safe, desirable outcomes when recovering from illness.

A former patient turned health professional, Taylor says social stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against people with mental illness keeps many people from getting the help they need and can make the problem worse. She envisions a nursing care model that offers psychedelic medicines to stable, voluntary patients experiencing common psychiatric symptoms, including addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress. “Nothing would bring me greater joy in life than to share the immense healing I have received with other people,” she says.

Born and raised in rural Alabama, Taylor didn’t appreciate the inherent beauty in the state’s land and people until later. “My life experiences have led me to realize the vast need and potential for healing in the South. I believe I was born in Alabama to help serve this population,” she says. “I have made peace with all Alabama has to offer.”

Taylor says surviving sexual abuse as a young teenager left her feeling disempowered and victimized for many years, but working intentionally with psychedelics helped her change her relationship with herself and her abusers so she no longer blames herself. “I feel like the victim attitude was culturally imposed onto me,” she says. “I buried and ignored my issues instead of facing them head on. As a psychiatric nursing working with adolescents, I now realize this pattern of avoidance is common in young females.”

Taylor received a Cosmic Sister Emerging Voices Award, which increases visibility for women who work in supportive, behind-the-scenes roles and newcomers who shine in spotlight positions in psychedelics and cannabis, in partnership with Spirit Plant Medicine Conference in Vancouver in 2019.

She has won 23 martial art awards for grappling (hand-to-hand combat), including 5 gold and 11 silver in national and regional events. “Off the mats,” she says, “these practices have literally saved my life.”

She lives with three snake companions, Seraph the Colombian boa, Prisma the Brazilian rainbow boa, and Sage the Western hognose.

She holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama and is an active member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (@acnanurses).

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August 2021