Psychedelic Spaces for Black Folk - A Conversation with Robin Divine – Mushroom Revival

Psychedelic Spaces for Black Folk - A Conversation with Robin Divine

We invited Robin Divine onto our show to highlight the importance of creating safe spaces for Black folk, particularly women, in psychedelic spaces. Robin is an influential writer and mental health advocate.

Robin recognizes the deficiencies in contemporary American psychedelic culture for BIPOC, and is committed creating resources to build thriving communities. Her latest project is a book to be titled “Black People Trip” that will be a collection of essays on trauma, mental illness and psychedelics from the perspective of Black queer women. 

As of February 2021, psilocybin is decriminalized in one state (Oregon) and four cities(Oakland, Santa Cruz, Denver and Washington D.C.). Oregon is even building policies for using psilocybin for therapeutic use. Other psychedelics are following in psilocybin’s shadow, and are riding the waves of the recent legalization of marijuana. Culturally and legislatively — a psychedelic renaissance is imminent in the United States. 

In the sixties, we saw the first wave of integrating psychedelic use into recreational use for mental, emotional, spiritual and intellectual health into our modern way of life. Authorities responded with disapproval and psychedelics were quickly categorized with Schedule I drugs. Schedule I substances are supposed to label the most dangerous of drugs, with no accepted use and a high potential for abuse, and are scheduled with intense drugs like heroin. Culturally, psychedelics were substances used by hippies, or counterculture groups of young adults, who were mostly white. This history and response to psychedelics in our society is important to consider as we navigate a second wave. 

In today’s resurgence, not much has changed culturally. The psychedelic space is still very white, and very male. An important element to re-establishing this space is inclusion and diversity. Having these conversation now is essential as we begin building the armatures for psychedelic application.

“As far as the space why I created it— because I found it to be very white. It was like no black folks... And I think it's important to be able to heal in a community that feels safe for people.”

Listen to the interview with Robin for empirical input on navigating the current space as a black queer woman, and ways we can all support this work and check our own bias. 

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Black People Trip - Robin Divine

Today’s show highlights the importance of creating safe spaces for Black folk, particularly women, in psychedelic spaces. We are joined by the eloquent and influential writer and mental health advocate, Robin Divine. Robin recognizes the deficiencies in contemporary American psychedelic culture for BIPOC, and is committed creating resources to build thriving communities. Her latest project is a book to be titled “Black People Trip” that will be a collection of essays on trauma, mental illness and psychedelics from the perspective of Black queer women. 


Robin Divine is a writer and mental health advocate for Black women. Her personal history of trauma, resistant depression, and innumerable unsuccessful therapies, led her to eventually reach for psilocybin mushrooms. She began to see real results. Her work can be found on the online publishing platform, Medium


Topics covered:

  • Intersectionality in contemporary psychedelic spaces 
  • Microdosing and macro-dosing for mental health
  • Being a black, queer woman in the US and in psychedelic spaces
  • Tips and resources for BIPOC seeking psychedelic therapy
  • Individual actions and inactions for propelling BIPOC in this spaces
  • The importance of decriminalization of psilocybe mushrooms and other psychedelics
  • Considerations for the imminent psychedelic renaissance 

Show notes:


Robin’s Medium Profile: https://blackpeopletrip.medium.com/
Robin’s Venmo: @DivineRobin

Robin’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackpeopletrip/

People of Color Psychedelic Collective: https://www.pocpsychedelics.com/

The Sabina Project: https://www.instagram.com/thesabinaproject/

Diaspora Psychedelic Society: https://www.diasporapsychedelicsociety.org/

Go Fund Me for the book “Black People Trip”: https://www.gofundme.com/f/black-women-and-psychedelic-healing-book


Articles 


Why Don’t More Black People Use Psychedelics? https://blackpeopletrip.medium.com/why-dont-more-black-people-use-psychedelics-907d3aa19cc8

How This Black-Led Psychedelic Collective Is Combining Anti-Racism With ‘Sacred Plant...’:https://www.vogue.com/article/sabina-project-psychedelic-collective

TRANSCRIPTION
Transcribed by https://otter.ai **Subject to error**
Alex 0:23
What is going on mushroom family Welcome to another episode of the mushroom revival podcast. We are bridging the gap between you our lovely, enthusiastic passionate listeners and the wonderful, wacky, interesting world of fungi and mushrooms. We bring on guests and experts from all around the world to geek out with us and go into the portal of what are mushrooms, what are fungi, and to really put a spotlight on how cool they are. So please strap in, tune in and shroom in to another episode.

Lera 1:02
Today we have a super special guest, Robin Devine who is the creator of black people trip and a writer for medium. And we are so grateful that she is willing to take the time to talk to us about her projects and elevate mushrooms and all the spaces. Robin, thank you so much for joining us.

Robin 1:20
Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here and talk about shrooms and all things good. So yeah.

Lera 1:26
So let's start with a small bio of of you. And then if you want to just kind of give the mission statement for black people trip and what you are currently doing with it and what you want to do.

Robin 1:36
Sure. So I'm a writer by trade, I've been writing for about 20 years, I do freelance I do ghost writing. And I'm also a mental health advocate just because of my own background and mental health, with my own personal issues. As far as black people trip, it's fairly new, I guess it's been around maybe four or five months now.vvAnd my mission with it is to raise awareness, build community, you know, teach harm reduction, promote self sufficiency, and like to help black people mainly, are mostly black women, you know, have a space in this community because they don't they don't they don't have one at the moment. So just creating space.

Alex 2:18
What inspired you to one get into psychedelics and, and mushrooms and then to create this space? Was it? You know? Has this always been in the backburner? Has it been, you know, a recent event spurred by quarantine and and mental health kind of on the spotlight of Wow, we need a space.

Robin 2:42
Definitely. I mean, I struggled with depression and like I said most of my life, but quarantine just like, amplified it and nothing was helping. If I was in therapy, I was on, and I was just I hit a wall. And so I was on medium reading about other people and their experiences. And I ran across a guy that wrote about using MDMA. And he was like, it's like 20 years of therapy in one session. And I was like, whatever that is, I'm in. And so from there, I researched and learned about mushrooms and other types. And yeah, that was my intro. intro. So yeah, quarantine did spur this on, definitely. As far as why the space why created it. Because I found it to be very white. It was like no black folks. It's like, Well, I know we're out there. But I literally could not find any. And so why not create a space for us to because we need that. And I think it's important to be able to heal in a community that feels safe for people. And I know for me, you know, sometimes sometimes it's all women. Sometimes it's all queer folks, because I'm Queer as well. And sometimes it's all black folks. So that's why I made the space. It's so far been very well received. grateful.

Lera 4:03
Absolutely. I actually found you through your medium article, titled, why don't more black people use psychedelics and it was broken down in such a clear headed digestible way. I think you provided like very practical tactical ways that we can reform the space or build it in the first place. But I would I would love to visit those five reasons. But before we get into the the do's and don'ts of this space, could you tell us your first experience with psychedelics and what was that like? Like? How did you discover it? Were you googling that a friend tell you about it? Like what what was your first confrontation with mushrooms and or psychedelics?

Robin 4:42
Yeah, it goes back to that medium article that I found that that the man wrote, and, and he shared about how he had a guide and you know, so I emailed him, I didn't know him, but I said, Hey, you know, who was your guide, and he actually wrote me back and said, This is her. She's in New York. And I emailed her and went from there. First experience was incredible. Like, it was the first time that I felt like real true self love and acceptance. And I was like, This is what mushrooms can do. And so I was, I was in from the first experience, it was a beautiful, so.

Alex 5:24
Was it was it the second experience that was a little rocky?

Robin 5:29
Yeah. The second one was not as, as, as lovely, um, it was around the time that the protests had started, and all the upheaval, and everything was just, you know, falling apart. And being black was like, extra hard right then. And so, I had gone in for my second session with session with a sitter. And we were talking about, you know, just what was happening in the world. And it seemed to have no impact on her, like, she didn't get the gravity of what was happening. And to me, that, that hurt my heart, because I was like, I get that you're not a black person. And you're not you don't feel that the way that I feel it. But there was like, no empathy for what what was happening to black folks. And so I went into the trip, just very hesitant and very guarded. And I couldn't let go and leave. So wasn't my best trip. So yeah, that's what I said, That's also why I think it's important to be able to have access to guides of color, you know, so that we're not having to question, you know, is this is someone that safe emotionally for me to let go with, you know.

Alex 6:43
And probably, with all aspects of intersectionality of, you know, because I'm sure it's not only being black, but also queer, also a woman, you know, all these things feed into each other, and to be able to dig into those traumas and those sensitive spaces and to, to be able to just talk and not, you know, walk around things or hide certain things, because you're, you're fearful that they might have a different political view. And that's hard, if you're just raw under that psychedelic space where it's just, I'm so vulnerable. And if they, if I have a feeling that they're a white supremacist or something, it's like that, it's not okay. And, and I believe this, you know, this should be accessible to everyone. And for first timers, or even experienced people having a guide is really important. Just to talk things through or if you take a massive dose just to help you walk to the bathroom, you know, or just these small little things where you're just not a capable human being anymore. You know? So, yeah, I think that's super important. I think this work is It is especially now, where mental health is the forefront of not only in the United States, but the world. I think everyone globally right now is is yearning for healthy spaces and healthy modalities to explore trauma, explore mental health, and and to do it in in a really safe and healthy environment. I think that's crucial.

Robin 8:36
Definitely, definitely. You mentioned, like, having someone to help you go to the bathroom, that second trip, I had to go to the bathroom, and I was so like, shaken, and she was like, need help. I was like, No, I'm good. And I crawled instead of like, letting her help me because I was so in such a bad space. So safety is so important. And safe spaces.

Alex 8:59
I was laughing you. You found a picture of your mom taking acid with some guys in togas, right?

Robin 9:08
Yeah, I did. My mom was like my mom passed away. Girish Russell passed away many years ago, but she was a total hippie. And like, Yeah, she was if she were here. Now, I know we'd be tripping together. I have no doubt we'd be doing acid. So yeah, drugs are not a new thing for her. So I was very open to them. Thanks to her.

Lera 9:32
That anecdote about you. And that the white woman for the second session with this white woman who you were like, Oh, are you a supporter of you know, who and just kind of seeing through like, Oh, you, you know, we're just not aligned. And that really stuck with me as like how crucial this is to create, first of all, get facilitators and get facilitators of color and then connect everybody. So let's get into like what we can actually do. The first thing in your article was, Why don't black more black people use psychedelics was that? They don't know about them? Why is it such a white people thing? I mean, I have my own ideas, but I would love to hear what you have to say. And then how we can kind of expand the awareness of it.

Robin 10:20
Yeah, I mean, I think about my own my own thoughts about it. And, you know, for me, when I hear psychedelics, I think about hippies and hippies are generally white folks. You know, my mother, although she was black, her main crew of friends were white, which is why I think he was into them. But I think that this is that isn't. That wasn't our space. And I don't know why. I don't I actually don't know. I don't know. I just think psychedelics LSD, hippies, not us. But that's not true. Because we're out here to just looks very different. And also, I think, festivals are where I think about them being available a lot. And I don't see many black folks at like raves or festivals, things like that, where these things show up.

Lera 11:08
Yeah, I picture, the Grateful Dead and, you know, the 60s and the 70s. And that's when psychedelics came here the first time it didn't, didn't go as well. And now we have this new psychedelic Renaissance. So let's make it a rebirth. That's what Renaissance means and fringes of rebirth. And let's, let's do it right this time.

Alex 11:29
And I think it goes into the second point, which she brought up in the article of, you know, disproportionate rates of incarceration. Right. And, and, as white people, most of the time we're not as afraid of being incarcerated holding mushrooms, or, you know, there's an example of, of, I've been at a mushroom festival and hearing someone talk and had happened to be a, he's passed away now his name is Gary link off, and he was giving this presentation about how he's finding so many different types of magic mushrooms in Central Park in New York City. And he showed this picture of him holding a tackle box with all these different species right next to a police officer. And he's like, this old white guy and he looks so harmless, and I'm sure he's, you know, has this level of quote unquote sophistication and, and the way to name the Latin names and blah, blah, blah, to come across as not a druggie or, and to pass all those societal norms, so to speak as as not a criminal, you know, he's just a harmless old white guy. And, and he said that, as you know, I'm not worried because of who I am. And, and that privilege of just who, you know, I came into this life embodying, right. And, and it is a privilege, and it's, it starts at our legislation that, you know, and it's helping a lot, you know, with decriminalization at in certain cities, it's helping, but it's, it starts at legislature, and I'm just curious of, of your views on this as well, and how can we make positive change.

Robin 13:31
As a black person with mushrooms, I think about, you know, personally, I'm terrified. I'm terrified. When I the first time that I ordered them in the mail, which I will never do again, I picked them up and then set my car and waited for the cops to come get me because I just knew that I was being you know, watched or, you know, something, I just that fear was so present in me, the fear on this side is very real. As far as legislation Lazarus, the word you said that I cannot pronounce right now. There's so much work to be done, because the rates of incarceration for black folks just for like, weed violations are ridiculous. You know, it's, you know, we're making small steps, but there's a long way to go. Before I think we're comfortable enough to even think about showing up the way that white folks do with mushrooms or other psychedelics in the world. Like we can't just go out and say, Yeah, like, there are times when I post online and I'm like, should I should I say that but and I do anyways. I don't care on the end. But it's just it's very different. Very different on this side. That's why we don't do it a lot because we're scared sometimes.

Lera 14:45
Right? And I think a practical thing is police reform and trying to dismantle the biases of just if you if the situation unfolds and the person is a person of color or not. They typically go very differently. And if we could reform the police, obviously, that would help. That's a monumental effort. And it's not something that an individual can necessarily do other than, you know, doing your part and self education and calling your representatives, whatever. But do you have any thing to say for an individual, and, you know, if we see something on the street, someone being interrogated by the police, and, you know, doing something like interfering, or perhaps it's something a little different, like making if you are providing this to people, maybe developing a safe space for people of color to access it, in ways that they can't right now, because, I mean, people are reaching out on Instagram and Facebook and texting their friends and stuff. And, you know, there's people hiding in all these corners, you have to go gingerly about this to to obtain it in a safe way. But yeah, do you have any other practical things that we can do on an individual level? If we're in this space?

Robin 16:07
Yeah, actually, something about non people of color, saying, I see the bias. You know, I, I know that that's present and very real is very helpful. So when people say, you know, I know that I have privilege, and they know that I, there is bias against you. Just even saying that, and being aware of it. And saying it out loud helps for some reason, I don't know why it just does. For me personally. As far as getting involved. Yeah, I actually always appreciate that when there have been times when I've been out and having an altercation, but in a TIFF, or something, but something that's, you know, uncomfortable, and someone stepped in that, that not a person of color, I was grateful. So if you see something, you know, step in, and think it's going to take all of us to really make a change and get involved and not be afraid to step up and be there for each other as advocates and as safe spaces.

Lera 17:11
Yeah, you know, I think it's one thing to sit at home and be upset about the disproportionate rates, but it's another thing to vocalize how upset you are, whether it's with a representative or even your family who, you know, they're not like, I'm not a racist, or you know, whatever kind of dialogue they have going on. But just bringing that conversation into even the most casual spaces can be effective, because then it's just drilling in that this is a civil rights current event. And it's important and the reform is happening, whether you like it or not, and you can't like look away from it, like giving people the ability to go home and be in their comfort zone. And you know, not think about it is ultimately not that productive, if they're the people that are feeding this system and putting their dollars into areas.

Robin 18:04
So and I mean, you talked about having family conversations, yeah, there are some things things that I can't be a part of that only you all can do. And I only you can talk to your family and your friends about what's happening. And in those spaces, I'm not there. So I think it's about it's about non people of color, having their own conversations on their own about what's happening, and what they can do to make change, not just reaching out to us and saying what can we do to help you but saying, How can we what can we do on our side or on our internally to make a real effective change.

Lera 18:36
And the third, for lack of diversity within the space? That I think your story about not being able to find a facilitator or guide of color was super important. So what does this space currently look like? And what what kind of advice would you give to someone exactly in your shoes, a person of color? Who is queer, you know, all these minority demographics who wants a guide, and can't find one that they align with? What What would you say to that person, if they're really craving this therapy?

Robin 19:12
That's a tough one, because first of all, think that there are so few out there, they're out there. But the fact that the world is the way it is right now wouldn't shut down, it's hard to actually physically be with someone. So even the ones that are available, you know, we can't get to them. So I'd really suggest people learning how to be their own guide for right now. until things change. And that would mean you know, doing your own research, talking to people joining groups, of course, going very slowly so that you are still safe. But just taking your own health into your own hands for now until we're able to you know, really connect again on a physical level and see each other, that'd be the first thing. The second thing is find communities because although there aren't many they are out there, I found them. You know, one is the people of color psychedelic collective. And that's a great resource for people of color not to really find a guy, but just to meet people that are in the field. And during the same kind of work. And as you talk to folks, you'll, you'll find your people and your person, so just connections community, but for now, just trip at home safely on your own.

Alex 20:30
I also want to give a little plug to Omar Thomas that we had on his show. And he made the Diaspora psychedelic society, and he has retreats in Jamaica and Mexico. And I think he's trying to expand it, but just trying to keep in that legal framework. And to really help that trauma, right, and that, that PTSD for people of color and make that platform where you have guides that are people of color, you have guides that, that know what that trauma and PTSD is and how to navigate it, and how to talk about it, how to work through it, in this psychedelic space. And another person, I just have to give a shout out to his kalindi where rest in power, he just, he just left his body not too long ago, because of COVID. But he is so amazing, and his talks of empowering the stories of psychedelic use of people of color, especially, you know, black people in Africa, using mushrooms, and, you know, in Egypt and West Africa and all these different, you know, countries and telling stories of Yeah, it's not just hippies, it's not just hippie, white people taking mushrooms and tripping out at festivals. This is 1000s of years old of history, rich, rich history. And these are, you know, roots that we can tap back into. So , yeah, he, a lot of his stories are still online, and you can watch videos of him and and he's, he's an incredible person, for sure.

Robin 22:18
I found his work literally about a month before he passed. He had such a huge impact on you know, every my entire journey, which is very short, but he was definitely an inspiration. And, and you talk about the trauma, I mean, I think it's in our DNA, it's in our bones, you know, and it's, it's having people that understand that is important. Andyou know, I hate to say it, but even as a black person, I don't know a lot about the history of mushroom use in Africa and other other other other black spaces. I have no clue about the history, and I'm learning that reading, I'm trying to find out, but it's out there. So we need to know about this too. It's important history, it's its culture, it's like it matters.

Alex 23:09
And, and a lot of it is was erased, right? We asked Omar this and he was like, I'm still trying to figure it out. And I'm dedicating my whole life. And it's hard to find that information because a lot of it was was erased purposely to keep that power, you know, from black people and, and those roots and those those stories and practices. It's and you have to dig and you really have to define them out. And it's a life lifelong journey that I'm, I'm blessed that we have, you know, the internet and we and we have platforms that we can we can share more effectively and faster. Right. And so when one person finds a bit of information, they can blast it out, and they can share like wildfire.

Lera 24:00
One thing I loved about Omar's website was the shows their Spotify playlist. Okay, that's made for when you're journeying. Yes. So that could potentially serve as you know, some type of comfort and just knowing that other people have listened to the same sounds as you when you're in that space.

Robin 24:19
Yeah, I it's so funny. You say that, um, when I was doing my own journey with my guide, we used our playlist, which was lovely, beautiful, but it wasn't like it's touched me, you know, and I want something a little bit different for for my journey. So even just that little small tweak can make such a huge difference. And you keep saying a word. I feel like Omar and I have a call coming up but I can't recall this man's name. Because he has his intimate that you said correct? Yeah, I think this is him. I think great. We are connected are going to connect soon. So great. Yeah, he's a good one.

Alex 24:56
Yeah, it was spontaneous or meeting. And after we talked, it was like, Why? Why haven't we talked in the past? And I'm really excited to see his his work, you know, blossom, and I think it can have a huge impact like yours and, and you're writing a book, right?

Robin 25:15
I am. Yeah, because I There are nine out there, which I couldn't believe like about a black woman and psychedelics, even mental health, it just there are so so few. So I was like, let me go ahead and share my story. And so someone can really can see themselves in it. Because I have a ton of books you know about mushrooms and great stories, but I don't see myself in there. So I am writing that, hopefully that'll be out on the next. Who knows when so we'll see. We'll see.

Lera 25:46
But I think that's a really important literature that hopefully, that population of queer black women taking psychedelics will just grow because as you've experienced, the healing from that can be pivotal. And you can actually go into the cellular and molecular trauma and start healing these things and purging them and we all need it. But especially these communities.

Robin 26:10
Definitely. I mean, there's no, there's the trauma of just the history of being black in this country. That's a trauma of family trauma, that was trauma of being a black person now in America. So it's like, all these things come together. And it's just a lot to process. On your own mushrooms. I think with I think we all need mushrooms, everybody. But I think black folks can really benefit from the power that they that they offer a lot of pain in there.

Alex 26:39
Do you? I'm just curious on your kind of practice with them now. Has it? Has it just been those two recent journeys with that woman? Have you had a chance to kind of solo journey on your own? micro dosing, macro dosing? You know, and and kind of like, What? How is it different than anything else you try? Right? Have you tried talking to a therapist or something else? And why is this so profound? As as opposed to something else?

Robin 27:14
Yes to everything you said, I've tried it all. So I've done solo trips. It was like, seven grand a trip. When I first started out, that was what I was, because I thought I thought back then more was better. And that's all yeah, that's not the case. As I was listening to a Kilindy and he was saying, you know, the heroic dose, and you know how far you can go. And I was like, let me see how far I can go. And it was it was not, it was not good. It was so bad. So I did that I've done smaller ones at home, which were better and lighter and more profound. I found another guide, also a white woman, however, it was different. She's lovely. We had a good connection. And I appreciate the heck out of her. So I've done that with her once I've done micro dosing, which I love. And I don't know what it is about it, but it just I felt like a human like I could get up and face life every day, which I had never felt before. So yeah, I totally advocate for micro dosing. And I tried LSD for the first time, like two weeks ago, but I felt nothing. I don't know if I just got paper or I don't know. So I'm gonna try it again. And yeah, so I'm still trying to find my sweet spot and my and what is for me.

Alex 28:41
I really like what you said, of just being a human. Right. And I feel the same thing. Yeah, on a macro, and then also micro. And I recently just started micro dosing again this week for the first time, and it's been like, over a month or a couple months. And it's funny, every single time I eat mushrooms, I say, Why don't I do this every day? Or, you know, or just all the time. It's just like, it's this breath of fresh air. And it's like, wow, I feel me. I feel more me and everything feels so special. And like just looking you know, just on a window and the specs on the window. I was like wow, there's a beautiful specs on that window. And I would never have noticed and it's just the smallest little things that like, wow, the universe is really special. I'm really special. Everything is just, it's here and i'm not i can sink into that space. And you know, every time is different and sometimes or they're a little more uncomfortable and not the funnest journeys, but they're, they're important, right and you have to go through that uncomfortability to come the other side a little brighter, a little healthier. So yeah, I think it, it's truly a for the people because it's been used by almost every single culture around the world throughout time, over 1000s of years, just, you know, and every culture has their own little, you know, rituals and ceremonial uses and, and different species that they use. And it's something that I think is universal for the people and whatever culture you have in your ancestry, you can tap into your ancestors use with mushrooms, and I think that's really special, to be able to have something universal, that you could also tap into your little niche and connect with your ancestors, your roots, with mushrooms. So I think that's really important.

You say that, and I get chills because like, I know so little about, about my ancestry and mushroom use and in the history of it, but I still want to learn so like, I'm so excited to dig into that. So thank you for bringing that up. Thanks for letting the tour I mean, I'm, I'm, I'm pumped for your book, I think. I think there's so many people out there just like yourself that have no idea. Right? And, and I probably spent their whole life just trying to find something that that'll work and just not finding any luck or some things are all right and and, and to to hear someone just like themselves just say like, hey, this works and, and to be able to tap into that, that place of power and that place of healing is so important In a space where it doesn't exist, right or it's it's so hard to find. So thank you I really appreciate it.

Robin 32:00
You talk about people that are always searching that was my mother My mother died very young 49 but she died super unhappy but she had tried literally like everything like she's now retreats, yoga and everything and it doesn't have to be that way though you know there are options for people to heal and to to just live a decent happy life so I do this work not just for me for her spirit and my grandmother who also died very unhappy and I refuse to go out like that and I'm going to enjoy this ride so yeah, oh yeah.

Lera 32:45
I love that you're taking such bold action towards this and following you on Instagram is a delight I feel like I get a daily dose of black people trip and you're going on a rant and it's just I love to see the passion slowly building and unfolding and the GoFundMe is getting more and more money which is great, although your preferences Venmo.

Robin 33:06
Yeah, me only because I can no fees because I have a card attached to it but doesn't matter. Um, it is it's getting getting gaining traction, I'm grateful for that. Because really, it's just giving me space to write. And that's an I that's what I need I need I need the space to be able to sit and just get this these thoughts out of my head and onto paper so people can like get up at 2am and right before they go to work or when they get home and my life isn't set up that way. So this go for me take a fee they do you take a fee. Okay? So Venmo is the way to go. I prefer that will make us that I have a card that's attached to it that I can just pull funds out no fee so but either way is totally appreciated and welcomed. And I'm just grateful for however folks who want to contribute and also sharing it helps at that time too. So you know if there are groups that people are in and they can share it that's super cool, too. We will definitely have it in the show notes. We'll put it out in our email blasts or social but what what is your demo just so people if they're listening, they can head over and support your book. Yeah. Venmo is at divine Robin and that's di v as in Victor i n e. Robin just my name backwards.

Lera 34:28
One thing you talked about not just in the article that was about why black people aren't using more psychedelics but and another one I saw on your medium, and you keep drilling in the fact that decriminalization is essential for the foundation of making this more accessible. And I would love to visit this because I feel like there are some trepidations with decrim. Similar to what happened with cannabis right now. I just became like the wealthy white people's entrepreneur. Your space and it's expensive. I mean, it was cheaper to get a bag away from your dealer than it is to wait in line and get it from a dispensary. So yeah, how do we not let this happen with mushrooms? I've heard Omar Thomas talking about the importance of teaching cultivation, and just allowing people to bring this into their own home. And then it's decriminalized. So with that setup, you you should be relatively safe and self sufficient. But what other things should we be considering, as this shroom boom is so eminent I mean, we are seeing companies pop up all over, especially in Canada of like the next psilocybin product. It's, yeah, it's so soon. And it's going to be massive. And I really want this Renaissance, so to speak, to be healthy and like actually do profound work.

Robin 35:55
I know me too. Like it breaks my heart. When I see that the big tech companies, I think I put out a post I think it was this morning about I was reading something and it said something about psilocybin and tech and $92 million. And I'm like, No, like, whatever that is, I don't want any part of that. It's almost I can see the train heading off the track, like in the wrong direction. And I don't know how to stop it. I don't know how to do that. Because cannabis, what's happened to it, it made it I think it's awful. Like, right now I buy from a dispensary. And it's like a freakin Apple Store. When I go in, you know, whereas 10 years ago, if I bought that and on the street, you know, I'd be in jail right now. And so as far as how to not have that happen again, I don't know, because it's just such a fast moving train. As far as it being cultivated at home. I'm all for that. But for that to happen, we need people when it needed to not be criminalized. And we're not there yet. So I don't know. I wish I had a good answer for that. But I'm, I'm actually afraid of where it's gonna go.

Lera 37:07
It's tricky. It's really tricky, because it is kind of distasteful to see such a profound be monetized like that, and brought into capitalism. But I'm also wondering, like, if, if we do that, what if it changes? Big people's minds? Like people with lots of money, and people with a lot of authority and power? And if they would only take a mushroom if some rich company sold it for an apple store? Yeah. So it's, it's almost like, I feel like we need it in all the spaces. But I'm worried that there's going to be a monopoly or that this monster will just be the only version. And then there's the the people who cultivated at home? And yeah, how do we balance that and kind of create a medium almost, so it's, it's not just a homeschool thing, and it's not just big tech, but it's, it's casual, it's like coffee, you know, everybody can go grab a coffee, and it's, it's for all socio economic statuses.

Robin 38:13
And, yeah, I mean, I see myself like, in the middle of that, like, I'm not a home person, just doing it for my own use, I'm trying to actually be in the middle of Big Pharma, big tech, whatever, and just home use, what I want to do is I want to teach women, black women, how to sit proud to be guides for each other, how to grow how to create their own little pods of abuse, you know, and I want these guys to be in every city and all over the country, you know, so that so that it's not, they aren't dependent upon a tech company for their healing, whether so I think one way to do that is to educate, educate people, and say, Hey, you can do it yourself. You can do it and community, and this is how you do it. And yeah, so it's not just one person doing it on their own, but it's little pods that will, I think, ripple out and make a bigger impact. That's what I hope will happen.

Alex 39:14
Yeah. And it i'd love the, you know, to be able to have it decriminalized to be able to grow it in your own home, because it's cheap. And it's you know, it's most people have more green thumbs than they do mushroom thumbs, right? And they plants are way easier for people to wrap their head around. Mushrooms are just kind of, they're alien. For most people and other it's not so hard. It's just a lot of the techniques are really foreign, just because people haven't really worked with fungi or microbiology, right and so, to be sterile or some a lot of these practices are just so unheard of for people and and a lot of people don't have time or space and they're home, especially if around COVID, I mean, or even not COVID, they don't have an extra space in their tiny apartment or to have a grow up, you know, it's, it's, and then and then time, at the end of the day, when you're exhausted from work to take care of these mushrooms to harvest and the drive and whatever, it's like I don't have, I barely have enough time to take care of myself, let alone this, these other beings, you know, and so, I think there needs to be a lot more decriminalization in transferring those mushrooms, person to person. And I think, you know, to be able to sell it to your friend, and to have those communities those nodes that you're talking about, and not be penalized. Because, you know, if, if big companies want to do it, so be it. But there, there needs to be a platform set up to where if people don't want to go to stores, or don't want to pay a ridiculous amount of money to go to a retreat or go to, you know, to sit in a to have, you know, a doctor have kind of what they're doing in Oregon, you know, in a hospital to have a psychiatrist lead you through a trip. I think if people want to do it at home, with a network, they should be able to, and, and just set up laws and all across the country all across the world, I think. I think it's really important.

Robin 41:34
I totally agree. And I totally get what you said about it being it's a it's an investment of time and energy. And personally, I don't want to do that. I read the blogs about how to do it. And I mind my mind just shuts down. It's like, the spores and the wood in the I know, I'm going to learn eventually because it's I need needs to be a skills that I know. But like I would love to move to Oregon and I might because I'm a nomad at heart and grow and sell to people, I'd love to do that. So I'm hoping that that pops up more people doing just what you said, just growing at home and selling to their friends and family and it not being a huge deal. You know, because growing is intensive.

Lera 42:22
It is it's intimidating. Even for me as someone who's been growing mushrooms for like seven years now I'm still just like, oh, there's always a possibility of contamination and it's a lot of work and failure inevitably so community grow up so like if you could get one person in your community to dedicate their garage to this space and everyone pitches in to you know, maybe get a pressure cooker or kind of tend to it I think that can be really fun and really beautiful. And I hope to see more of that pop up. I've seen it was cannabis around I think even here in Austin, there was someone growing and it's definitely not legal here. It's decriminalized, and you can only get it with a card, but that's very unlikely because yeah, even

Alex 43:15
Texas is wacky I didn't even know how wacky it was until we moved here. Then I looked at the laws and I was like whoa, we are back in time. Austin is a little more chill than the rest of Texas but it's like whoa Yeah, his way back in time. I mean here is like I think I was reading it's like only a rare form of some thing where you get seizures but you need it basically the article was like it's possible but it's really not and only like a couple people have it and to really get it it's it's near impossible to get a card here so yeah, okay. Texas by right yeah, it's but it takes it takes you know, like there's few politicians to have that to have access to it to be like Whoa, I want other people to have access to this and let me change yes right and and and people who have great influence to make huge change politically. I think if they have access I'm all aboard I think that every new president every new politician every should have a a mushroom journey and and then and then let them you know, and then maybe an up every every quarter or like year. Yeah, just to make sure they're there. They're back on track and in line with the mushroom integrity, but

Robin 44:47
It would be whole different world country, everything would be different. Yeah, I totally agree with that. Being political has never been like I've been involved but never told Like, you know, out there in the streets, but now I'm really beginning to become passionate about legislating for decriminalization, because it's, we got to do this, you know, if it's going to be accessible, I have to,

Lera 45:16
And even flirting with that. I think why people have to be careful, because I've seen this in certain psychedelic scenes where if you have the money, and the ability to take time off of work, and integrate and don't have a whole lot of trauma to work through, and you take a psychedelic trip in Peru, you take some Iosco, and you come back, I've just seen people almost feel self righteous about that. And like all knowing and more like this enlightened being that these other people aren't, and I, that could just create an even bigger divide if we're not careful. And unfortunately, I agree mushrooms, or psilocybin makes better people but it's, it's not just like, you pop a pill and you you get better, it's a lot of work. And we're all white people in this space out there who are journeying and doing a lot of deep work and enlightening yourself. That's amazing. And that's beautiful, but just stay humble. And it's so tricky, because people will use the stay humble to almost make themselves feel like the bigger person. And it's just this like, convoluted internal storytelling. And, yeah, we just really got to choose our words wisely. And, you know, to break down any of the self righteous conversations and paradigms that we're instilling on other people.

Robin 46:47
It's a very sticky space. And, um, the, the first guy that I worked with, was somehow on a bit of a high horse, like she had been to Peru many, many times. And, and she, she was very, I don't have the word for it, but very know that she was ascended and, you know, was like this big spiritual being. And I said, you teach me how to trip set, and she was like, Oh, no, no, you're you're nowhere near ready for that. And I was like, well, Oh, okay. Um, and then something you also you also mentioned about people having, you know, the money to go to Jamaica or, and, you know, take the time to rest and relax and integrate. After one of my trips, and it was such a such a bad idea. I actually drove home that night and work the next day, because I had to, I didn't have time to like, lay in bed and process what happened. I had to work. So that's, that's another part of, you know, we need I don't know, we need we need just the space to do the work the same. We just need space.

Alex 47:55
Yeah. And yeah, thanks for great. I think that's a great point. And I I joke, a lot of like, I want all politicians to eat mushrooms, but that's not it. Right? It's, it's because I've seen psychedelics turn people. They even turn up their knobs even more. And they get even more egotistical with it, what's supposed to be an ego, dissolving, it actually turns up their knobs, and whatever stories in their mind that just cranks him up. So yeah, and it's not all about psychedelics, too, right. It's, it's, it's that whole network and, and I love how you're talking about how important the guide is, and how important just that network of people because it goes way beyond just the mushrooms, it's, it's just to have that that group that that people, the group of people that you can trust and be open with. And even if you don't have time to integrate right after you can be in a text thread with him say, you know, can we talk about this throughout the week? and and i think that's that's huge. We're being I think we're forced to be a little more creative during COVID right? Of it doesn't have to be in person we could we can text we can video chat. We can

Lera 49:23
A zoom trip sit?

Robin 49:24
Yeah, zoom.

Alex 49:25
Yes, it and yeah, it's it's forcing us to be a little more creative of how how we do set up spaces and how we do integrate and it doesn't need I think there's not one size fits all right, and and for the busy people that work a lot I mean, that'll look different than someone who does have a lot of free time on their hands and, and to be able I think that the real goal is to fit each person with their individualized. And healing, right, because everyone's different. And everyone has their own. The just unique way of how intersectionality comes together with all the different backgrounds and traumas and x, y Z's and, and what works for them. So to make it to go from one size fits all to individualized is is really the journey. And I think I'm just really grateful that that you're creating that and having these conversations of Hey, I'm not included in in the one size fits all. I'm not part of that all. And let's, let's create other options that work for other groups. And so thank you.

Robin 50:50
Yeah, no, definitely, I'm just creating space. And I hope more people will do that just create safe spaces. We all need that.

Alex 50:59
In the end of your article you wrote, you know, a couple of resources for people to dig a little deeper. We talked about kalindi. You brought up this podcast with Tonya pinkins. A couple times. Yeah, I just want to dig in. You know, we talked a little bit about Mr. Thomas, but I don't know if you have any resources that you think if people want to dig a little bit deeper into this, where can they look, listen, watch, etc.

Robin 51:29
Unfortunately, there aren't too too many. But the couple that I do have, I'm very fond of. And like I mentioned earlier that people of color, psychedelic collective, that's a good resource. They're on Instagram, Twitter, all the regular networks. They do host a conference every year, normal years, which brings people together of color that are in the field. And the other one on Twitter that I thought about Twitter, excuse me, Instagram is the Sabina project that's SAP is a project, and they actually host online integration circles for people of color. They host imperson Kambo ceremonies, which is another one that I want to try. And they're just a really good resource for information. I'd actually had a write up in vogue I just last week, which was so cool to see that actually may be all I can think of because they're like said there are so few out there. Yeah, yeah. So those would be the main twofer for now.

Alex 52:28
And if your listeners you're listening to this, and you have a great resource that we've not shouted out, please comment down below, share it, on our YouTube, on our website, on our social wherever, on iTunes, wherever you're listening to this comment below. so other people can have access to those resources. And we can keep spreading them around.

Robin 52:52
Email me let me know too, because I want to know, I want to find out everybody that I can reach out there. So yeah, cool.

Lera 53:00
And your books coming out? Do you have a deadline or a goal that you are hoping to release it?

Robin 53:06
Um, I don't love someone in the beginning phases. So I'm still in looking for agent publisher. So right now I'm in the book proposal writing process, which is takes a little while. But I would love to have it published by being of next year would be awesome. I've had some interest, which is pretty cool from people from publishers. So hopefully it'll get it'll get picked up. Yeah, so I was like, really want to okay. So I will definitely keep people updated on how that's going. Yeah, I'm gonna write a book.

Lera 53:39
So freakin awesome.

Robin 53:41
Thank you. I'm excited and terrified.

Lera 53:46
But what I love is that, to my knowledge, this is this is a massive topic, and there's no book on it. So if you were the first like, wow,

Robin 53:56
You know, it's funny to me. I was on a podcast on a podcast zoom call last night with Michelle Janikian was her last name. Oh, yeah, she's really sweet. Oh, she's awesome. And and also bet Williams. And who they're both so cool. But they were like, we're the first two women to write books about psychedelics. You're the first two women What? Like, That, to me was nuts that there weren't any books by women, like forget women of color, just women in general. Like, so. We need more stories by women, women of color, queer women, queer women, all of that, when you hear stories because they're out there because like, Michelle's book is like my, my go to guide for everything. And then that is just phenomenal. So.

Lera 54:42
That's astounding. Yeah. First, as much needed is thanks for pioneering that and paving the way. It's a big project.

Robin 54:51
I will do my best. Thank you. Appreciate that.

Alex 54:56
Yeah, I'm I'm sure most of your book will be this by we have a final question that we ask all of our guests. And a lot of times we tweak it depending on who the guest is. But the question is, if mushrooms had the microphone and could say one thing to all black folks out there, what do you think they would say?

Robin 55:23
If mushrooms had the mic, I think they would say, you deserve this healing, too. This is for you. Know, we've been shut out of so many spaces of so many healing spaces. I think they want us to know that they're open and available and here for us, just like everybody else. So you deserve healing would be their message to black folks.

Lera 55:49
Beautiful. And I encourage everybody to check the show notes, check out Robins Instagram support the book, and all the other amazing resources that we will provide.

Alex 56:03
Venmo is divine Robin Reishi in the show notes. Yeah.

Robin 56:10
So it's all appreciated. Well, there's five bucks or 50. It's, I welcome it. So thank you. Beautiful. And thank you everyone for tuning in. Again, if you have any other resources or people or you know, whatever you want to share, please share it. Because this is such an important topic that is such an important time and all of our responsibilities.

Alex 56:40
So please, and, again, reach out to us if you have any other guests that you think we should bring on our show or topics that you want us to talk about. We'd love you so so much. Thank you so much for tuning in and chiming in with us for another episode. As always, sending a big hug out to everyone out there. Much love and may the spores be with you.