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Jun 30, 2023

Rachel Harris, PhD joins us to talk about her new book, Swimming In The Sacred

Swimming in the Sacred offers a revelatory look into the past half-century of psychedelics use via in-depth interviews Harris conducted with women elders who have worked underground guiding sacred entheogenic journeys to cultivate insight, healing, and spiritual development.   

Specifically, we talk about working with unseen worlds and unseen others; thin veils, absorption, and being accidentally overdosed by psychedelics; the uncanny connection between guide and journeyer during ceremony; and how psychedelic guiding work is NOT therapy and how therapy and guiding are two different skill sets.

Furthermore, we talk about the complexity of good dosing; the value of lower doses and the risks of putting larger doses on a pedestal; the strange emerging phenomenon of “competitive ego deathing”; and learning to work with life in a bigger way by learning to let our psychedelic insights work on us over time.

We talk about the risks of harm and abuse in both under- and above-ground psychedelic therapy; the difference between certification and qualification; how we lose our capacity to properly skill psychedelic guides in our rush to certify as many as possible to meet a massive demand; how to assess if a provider is trustworthy and skilled; and why psychedelic therapists NEED to experience psychedelics themselves.

For links to Rachel's work, full show notes and supportive materials, and a link to watch this episode in video, head to


>>> Episode Art is a modified version of La Medicina Vive En Mi by the incredible Luis Tamani



*** Extra BIG thanks to my patrons on Patreon for helping keep this podcast alive!

Especially my $23+ patrons, Andreas D, Ian C, Yvette FC, Alex F, Eliz C, Nick M, Joe A, Nanci BF, Heather S, and Heartwood Mushrooms —— 


Episode Breakdown

  • (0:00) Opening
  • (4:08) Guest Bio
  • (6:23 ) Patreon thanks | Support The Show
  • (7:55) Interview begins
  • (10:08) The research behind Swimming In The Sacred
  • (12:10) Focusing on the value of the wisdom of women guides, specifically
  • (14:22) How women have been doubly silenced in psychedelic circles
  • (21:11) These guides aren’t therapists; their work is not therapy
  • (24:14) The capacity to work with unseen worlds is not necessarily available to all of us
  • (29:21) Thin veils, absorption, and being accidentally overdosed by psychedelics
  • (30:57) The complexity of good dosing | “Competitive Ego Deathing”
  • (34:11) Therapists DO NOT need to dose with their client
  • (34:44) Psychedelic therapists NEED to experience psychedelics | sitting and therapy are separate skills
  • (41:47) The uncanny connection between guide and journeyer during ceremony
  • (45:20) Modern psychedelic research is lacking collaboration with the wisdom of the underground
  • (49:40) We lose capacity for skillfulness in psychedelic guidance when we rush to certify psychedelic therapists
  • (53:18) The difference between certified and qualified
  • (53:52) What to ask a psychedelic guide to determine if they are trustworthy
  • (55:28) What is lost when psychedelics become a mainstream institution
  • (56:14) Psychedelic guidance is not about symptom reductions
  • (57:51) Addressing the risk of abuse in psychedelic therapy
  • (1:07:27) Therapists, heal thyself | “Waking up” does not amount to “cleaning up”
  • (1:08:51) Waking up, Cleaning up, Growing up, Looking around
  • (1:11:13) Working with life in a bigger way
  • (1:13:59) The value of lower doses and the risks of putting larger doses on a pedestal
  •  (1:24:29) The strange trend of overdosed microdosing supplements
  • (1:25:40) Psychedelic insights work on you over time, if you support them in doing so
  • (1:34:03) Be careful not to psychologize spiritual experiences
  • (1:39:56) Discerning between a “message from the medicine” and ego projection
  • (1:42:51) Psilocybin-assisted Therapy Vs Therapy-assisted Psilocybin
  • (1:44:57) Advice for people who want to become psychedelic therapists
  • (1:47:09) Advice for therapists who want to start providing psychedelic therapy
  •  (1:48:07) Ketamine Therapy is NOT Psychedelic Therapy
  • (1:50:50) Advice for people who want to become underground guides
  • (1:52:43) Advice for finding a psychedelic guide you can trust
  • (1:54:27) Advice for people who want to develop a life practice with psychedelic plants
  • (1:56:41) “Swimming In The Sacred” comes from Maria Sabina
  • (1:57:58) Follow-up links
  • (1:58:55) Closing


Rachel's other interviews on Adventures Through The Mind