Cannabis has been connected with psychedelics throughout history, and the modern age of cannabis legalization is no different. There is a revolution happening in the United States, Latin America, Australia, Mexico, and other countries across the world – and some see it as the Psychedelic Renaissance. Many people are leading the charge for the cannabis revolution, and some of them are also leading the Psychedelic Renaissance – this article is about one of those people. Zoe Helene, a psychedelic visionary and leader for women’s rights (who also considers herself friends with plants and a worker for plants) started and leads the organization Cosmic Sister. She devotes most of her time to encouraging and defining the Psychedelic Renaissance, cannabis legalization, and women’s rights and knowledge across the planet.
What is the Psychedelic Renaissance?
When most of us think of psychedelics, we think of the 60s, or that time we went camping in Colorado and ate mushrooms. For many people, psychedelic experiences are centered on LSD, mushrooms, or MDMA ingestion at parties or social events that allow us to temporarily (or permanently) expand our minds, consciousness, and perceptions. According to Zoe Helene, a born-and-raised feminist, writer, and activist, what’s happening now with the legalization of cannabis and interest in expanding life experiences with mind-altering plants is the “Psychedelic Renaissance.” The psychedelics we are referring to include cannabis, ayahuasca, psilocybin, peyote, and other natural plants and fungi which induce hallucinations, expanded consciousness, and universal knowledge. As Zoe Helene states,
Psychedelic sacred plant spirit journeying is inherently about breaking through self-destructive narratives, letting go of behavioral programming that no longer serves us (and maybe never did), forgiving others and ourselves, experiencing life-changing paradigm shifts, and working through issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, anger, fear, addictions, and low self-esteem…it’s also about the positive human experiences of inspiration, insight, revelation, and reconnection with love, nature, and community.
In other words, psychedelics – including cannabis – can help people with mind-body-spirit healing and emotional issues, and destroy social and structural concepts holding people back from being who and what they most desire. Psychedelics suggest a solution to these issues that may not be obvious to those unfamiliar with cannabis. The Psychedelic Renaissance partakes of medicinal plants to address, reduce, or delete negative issues, ideas, and concepts temporarily or forever. In the case of cannabis, the reduction of PTSD symptoms, self-hatred, disappointment, frustration, and social and mental anxieties can help people of all ages – not to mention the many other health benefits for people and animals who suffer from epilepsy, cancer, autism, and Alzheimer’s.
Zoe Helene: Cannabis and Ayahuasca Activist and Advocate
Zoe Helene is an enthusiastic, delightful, engaging woman who had her first psychedelic experience with cannabis. She only realized cannabis was a psychedelic when she considered it in light of her ayahuasca journeying. Ayahuasca, in case you are not familiar with it, is a powerful hallucinogenic blend of at least two plants native to the Amazon: the ayahuasca vine and the chacruna leaf. Navigating the psychedelic state that follows is part of the educational goals of Cosmic Sister, and “can be an extraordinary, life-changing experience,” according to Zoe’s upcoming article in LA Yoga. Zoe advocates for all plants, in particular healing and psychedelic plants which offer insight into true human nature, belief-systems, and callings in life. As a child, Zoe marched with her mother in the 1970’s women’s rights movements, and held National Organization for Women (NOW) meetings in her own home. As Zoe puts it, “I was brought up to be the best person I can be and taught to leave the world a better place…which as a woman inevitably means being a feminist – because any smart, inspired, self-respecting female figures out pretty early on that something is terribly off about the gender power balance in our culture – and this is deeply ingrained in family structures, educational institutions, businesses, politics, and law.”
Zoe Helene practices psychedelic feminism through altered states of consciousness and believes psychedelics allow women to access, identify, and express disempowerment and suffering brought on by root cultural causes. Journeying with sacred plants can help men and women “make sense of the wounds and programming that hold us back so we can make healthier choices.”
Cannabis: Ambassador for the Psychedelic Renaissance
The current cannabis revolution in the United States and other countries is a worldwide response to the search for higher meaning in life; shared, positive experiences; and alternatives to current Western medicine practices and ways of life that are not sustainable personally, spiritually, or physically. The current outpouring of love for cannabis and discoveries happening concerning its use are similar to the 1960s psychedelic revolution, and Zoe Helene believes that cannabis may lead us toward the legalization of other psychotropic, medicinal plants in the future. Peyote, cannabis, psilocybin, and mescaline are all naturally occurring in nature; it seems against common sense to outlaw these plants, as they’ve been available to humans for enlightenment throughout our existence. Cannabis has always been a part of many indigenous Americans’ lives, cultures, and experiences; the arrival of Europeans and Eurocentric ideas may have dampened its participation in their daily lives, but its influence, beauty, and healing powers have never disappeared. This resurgence in cannabis appreciation and desire for knowledge happened despite decades of wars on drugs, misinformation and propaganda in the last century, and demonization of plants that can help us heal and envision a brighter, happier future for ourselves. Through cannabis and other psychedelics – we may just get to know ourselves better and have more compassion for each other.
Men and women are all caught in cultural and societal trappings, but Cosmic Sister has created a space for women specifically to freely redefine cultural and gender biases. When I asked Zoe Helene why cannabis and psychedelics were feared and illegal in many countries, she responded that people forbid others from self-exploration as a method for controlling them, and controlling their actions, words, and belief systems. Free thinkers are in demand in US society today, but the problem as Zoe sees it remains: “Free thinkers don’t blindly follow orders…free thinkers ask real questions, take a stand, and speak out for ethical evolution. Free thinkers are hard to control and manipulate.” The Psychedelic Renaissance is the free thinkers’ vehicle for breaking through years of prohibition and oppressive programming leading to over-dependence on Western medicine and lack of self-exploration. If cannabis is the ambassador, then perhaps ayahuasca is the smiling Buddha. Whatever your belief systems concerning psychedelics for self-exploration, the legalization and medicinal use of cannabis is a step in the right direction.
Zoe Helene observed that, as Earth’s apex predator, humans have a “moral obligation to steward our habitat with love, respect, and intelligence.” She believes the psychedelic revolution and legalization of cannabis provide an opportunity for a collective time-out for humans to recognize “the species we want to become.” Cosmic Sister is dedicated to women’s self-exploration in a safe, gender-balanced world where they are heard, respected, healthy, and accomplished. Cosmic Sister is a women’s collective devoted to peace, progress, and true sustainability; it provides a place where women can connect and promote female trailblazers in fields involving cannabis and natural psychedelics, among others. Advocacy work is a core part of Cosmic Sister, and it has several key advocacy projects in place, including Women + Wilderness + Wildlife, Lifestyle + Sustainability, and three Psychedelic Feminism educational initiatives projects: Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis, Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance, and the Plant Spirit Grant. The Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant is a merit-based program supporting various outstanding women in an ayahuasca ceremony experience in the Peruvian Amazon, where ayahuasca is legal. Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance educates the public about benefits and risks of psychedelics, cannabis, and the responsible use of sacred plants for expanding the mind, body, and spirit.
The Future of the Psychedelic Renaissance & Cannabis Legalization
Zoe Helene mentioned her first reaction when she tried cannabis and ayahuasca was a feeling of betrayal by the government and society. Who had the right to forbid her these extraordinary experiences and insight, and why? Cannabis and ayahuasca plant journeying should never require incarceration or fines, and the end of cannabis prohibition is a new path for many people who may never have considered the gifts of these plants. As Zoe Helene puts it, “Positive change takes deep, honest self-inquiry, and that’s what psychedelics are all about. Sacred plants such as cannabis and ayahuasca can help us self-liberate mentally and emotionally. Psychedelics serve a primary role in our ethical evolution.”