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Magic mushrooms Psilocybe pelliculosa. Photo by Jolanta Dabrowska

Women Psychonauts Taking on Macho Magic Mushroom Culture, and Winning
by Amy Francombe

“Psychedelics have great potential to show us the humanity in each other, and to understand our unequal positioning.”– Zoe Helene

With the psychedelic renaissance in full swing, Dazed meets the women pushing ‘subversive tripping’ by exploring issues like body positivity and the patriarchy

t’s an approach to hallucinogens that falls under “psychedelic feminism”, a term coined and popularised by cultural activist Zoe Helene to describe and promote the ways psychedelic psycho-spiritual practices can empower women.

“If the greater society is patriarchal, and you have a movement within it that isn’t a feminist movement necessarily – it’s just a movement, you’re going to take a slice out of the greater culture,” says Helene on the importance of the psychedelic feminism doctrine. “One would think that because people in psychedelics profess to be enlightened in life, you’d think we’d be a little better, but the truth is it’s literally identical – it’s a little slice of the patriarchy pie.”

Helene’s work emphasizes the importance of integrating inclusivity into psychedelics, and although she sets up many womxn-only circles to ensure safe spaces to harness their female power through psychedelics, she also uses ceremonies to guide men in seeing blindspots in their unconscious sexism.

“I’ve got to the point where unless there is a community to help others see their blindspot, we can bypass some things we really need to see,” continues Helene, “The problem we have culturally is that we have this individualized way of healing – you’re sick, you go to your doctor and they give you a pill and you’re doing everything on your own. Whereas psychedelics, they make you see how interconnected everything is – they have great potential to show us the humanity in each other, and to understand our unequal positioning and how that can detrimentally affect others. Not only can that heal the individual, but it’s got real scope to heal society as a whole.”

July 2021