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What a Trip: Celebrating the Past, Present and Future of Psychedelics
Playboy
by Allie Volpe

“It’s not about taking something and going out and having a party. I’m more interested in journeying and exploring the wilderness within and learning about ourselves and moving forward, which often means letting things go in the past.” - Zoe Helene

Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman took a terrifying bike ride 75 years ago. Fearing he’d poisoned himself, the commute and the hours that followed, were plagued by anxiety, fear, weakness and the belief that his neighbor was a witch. Eventually, the terror gave way to an appreciation of the “kaleidoscopic, fantastic images” that clouded his vision. Now known as Bicycle Day, Hoffman’s adventure constituted the first self-administered lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, experience.

Personal experience with PTSD taken with psychedelics as a therapeutic aid inspired Zoe Helene to work with women to help heal “wounds and demons from the patriarchy.” After an ayahuasca ceremony relieved her of PTSD symptoms, she began championing a feminist psychedelic movement which includes frequent Amazonian retreats—where the drug is legal—led by local experts to ensure a culturally sensitive ritual. Over the course of a week and four ayahuasca experiences, she ushers women through an unburdening of past trauma. “It’s not about taking something and going out and having a party,” Helene says. “I’m more interested in journeying and exploring the wilderness within and learning about ourselves and moving forward, which often means letting things go in the past.”

September 2018