PT212 - Zoe Helene - Colonization, Coevolution, and Cosmic Sisterhood
Psychedelics Today
with Joe Moore

In this episode, Joe interviews environmental and cultural activist, founder of advocacy group Cosmic Sister, and originator of psychedelic feminism, Zoe Helene.
In this open, free-form conversation, Zoe discusses her career path in male-dominated fields of performing art, then high-tech, then natural products, leading to a major shift leading to the creation of Cosmic Sister. She talks about concepts of othering and ableism, of coevolution and coextinction, and about how people often talk about how ayahuasca “tourism” harms Indigenous communities but rarely talk about the many ways it can and does benefit Indigenous people. She also talks about how many Americans have a fleeting, fickle, media-centric attention span on critical social and environmental issues, how living in “late-stage patriarchy” affects everyone across the gender spectrum, and how most males don’t think about how it has harmed and is still harming them.

They talk about Zoe’s “Ancestor Medicine” and colonization and the decolonization movement. She talks about ancient Mycenean and Minoan civilizations and their use of sacred psychedelic plant medicines, the tribalism of Greek people in general, and about how early Greek civilizations worked with sacred medicines even more than most people think (not just the Mysteries of Eleusis). She talks about the effects of colonization and the roots of cultural appropriation, and about ancient gold Signet rings depicting medicine women, including one that looks very much like an artistic depiction of ritual ecstatic dancing and ergot.

Notable Quotes

“Colonization is multidimensional, and it isn’t just for people in the United States of America. We need to decolonize from ALL the colonizers. Globally, and throughout herstory. Dominator cultures have been around since the beginning of time, in subtle, systemic ways and in brutally apparent ways—and it’s still going on.”

“When people talk about Venus, I get on their cases about it. Please don’t call her Venus. Please call her Aphrodite. When the Romans appropriated Aphrodite, they didn’t just change her name. Venus is a twisted, patriarchal version of Aphrodite, and calling her Venus is no different from other cultural appropriations people talk about. Same goes for Mercury, Mars, Vesta and all the others. Please call Mercury by his original name, which is Hermes. Hermes is so, so much cooler. Mars is Ares. Cupid is Eros. I cringe when pop culture celebrates Diana, rather than the original Artemis. Artemis is a complex and powerful archetype, and we need her now more than ever.”

“I hope people hold onto this passion for change. Fighting Racism should not be looked at as another damn trend rather than something we keep working on. We can’t quit. Same with Sexism and Environmentalism—all the big things. This is, I think, a flaw in our culture. We have this habit—it’s a trait I’ve especially noticed in American culture—where we are fickle about important issues in the news. Remember when the Amazon was burning? It’s still burning, and so many people were devastated by that, as if that was the first time we’d learned about the destruction of the Great Amazon. In mainstream American culture many people will think, somewhere in the back of their head, that it’s done. It’s fixed. ‘That got solved.’ Well, it didn’t. It’s still raging on. All the big social and environmental issues should not be considered trends. If you truly care, you are needed for the long haul.”

November 2020