molecular meditation for troubled times
Science & Ceremony
in a private & personalised setting
Based in El Gastor, a picturesque traditional Andalucian "pueblo blanco" in the province of Cadiz, Spain, we are a non-profit association offering legal, individual psychedelic sessions with magic mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis) to those in need. We are dedicated to a world in which all essential goods and services are honoured as priceless gifts of the earth, accessible to all.
Our approach is informed equally by the latest clinical research and guidelines as well as the indigenous ethnomycological practices and knowledge which first brought humans into relationship with the wisdom and power of these incredible organisms.
Beyond the myriad immediate benefits of the session itself, we take special care to empower you with the education, the community, the confidence, and the positive practical experience you need to heal through a lifelong journey in deepening relationship with these fantastic fungal familiars.
Research & Ritual
spreading the spores of a new and ancient story
Our settings are natural, private locations surrounded by the beauty of rural Andalucia. Based on the standard protocol for clinical practice developed by Johns Hopkins University, Imperial College London, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and others, our sessions are conducted individually, in comfortable, cosy indoor environments, with one or more monitors present at all times to offer non-intrusive, non-directive care and support. Accommodation is provided on-site to allow the rest necessary for processing the experience after the session. To ensure the experience of everyone is as beneficial as possible, we do not host group retreats but invite individuals to embark on a long-term, multi-stage journey with us, in which the session itself is merely one phase. During the intake phase, we conduct a thorough medical and psychological pre-screening process to ensure the safety of the experience for all candidates, as well as an introductory interview, to get to know each other and to discuss intentions and upcoming steps.
Once applications are accepted and dates arranged, the preparation phase includes the presentation of introductory educational content, baseline psychometric measurements that will be used to help evaluate the impact of the session, and the option to schedule one or more sessions with our allied psychologists, who specialise in the preparation and integration for psychedelic experiences. While these sessions are not mandatory, we do strongly encourage candidates to take the opportunity, particularly those who are approaching psychedelics from a state of significant mental distress, such as depression, anxiety, OCD or addiction. People in such states are precisely those who are most likely to encounter the most challenges during a session, and expertly guided preparation from an experienced clinician can significantly improve both the immediate experience of the session as well as the long-term outcomes. We consider it an ethical responsibility to refer candidates to appropriately qualified specialists when presented with necessities beyond the scope of our expertise.
The linguistic root of the word "magic" is power, help, or gift. The beneficial efficacy of this helpful power is inseparable from its quality as a gift. Traditionally, among nature-connected cultures, it is understood that the quality of giving and receiving, measured in the currency of reverence and generosity, determines the quality of outcome for the whole endeavor. Rather than coldly trafficking in a commodity that can be measured, bought and sold, it is always a question of tenderly entering into, cultivating and regenerating a relationship with the ultimate source of the helpful power, the ultimate origin of the gift: "the holy in nature" , in all its incomprehensible immensity and immeasurable magnanimity. It is through accepting, treasuring, and passing on this gift in the spirit from whence it came that its power is kept alive.
Although we charge a reservation fee in order to ensure the financial sustainability of the association, we keep this as low as possible in order to remain as accessible as possible to all. In addition, we provide sessions free of charge to selected communities in need such as immigrants, activists for environmental and social change, people with addictions and victims of gender violence, and others with whom we cultivate supportive relationships of solidarity and mutual-aid. Part of the income derived from the reservation fees of private individuals goes towards cross-subsidising our work with these communities.
For us, as for traditional medicine people around the planet , magic is primarily a way of keeping the world alive and healthy, and of keeping humans in healthy relationship with the rest of the natural world upon which we are totally dependent. We are only as healthy as our habitat.
Relating to fungi means relating to nature. They are the beings through which individuals relate to one another within the terrestrial biosphere, as well as the bond linking the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere of this planet together.
Several studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between psychedelic use, psychological well-being, nature-relatedness, and pro-environmental behavior. One of our goals is to contribute towards research in this field by collecting data concerning these variables before and after sessions. Crucially, long-term increases in nature-relatedness have been demonstrated to be dependent on the extent of the perceived influence of natural surroundings during the acute psychedelic state. An obvious outcome of this is the importance of ceremonies outdoors in nature. As a complement to the high-dose therapeutic sessions, we therefore offer the option of follow-up sessions outdoors, in the format of "magic forest bathing": mushroom-assisted molecular meditation in nature. Moreover, the indoor session itself is permeated by the influence of nature in various senses.
Freshly cut lilies adorn a ceremonial space shrouded in darkness, the only light visible that of pure beeswax candles whose flames cast a delicate shadow-play across the walls and ceiling. The scent of medicinal aromatic herbs from the surrounding fields fills the room and the nose with calming vapours: the most direct route to bring psychoactive substances - in this case lavender and sage - to the brain. The session begins with a preparatory discussion, during which we set and record intentions, work through doubts and fears, advise how to respond to challenging experiences, and quieten the mind with a "mindful eating" meditation. The mushrooms are served in a tea ceremony including an infusion of herbal extracts shown in several clinical trials to reduce anxiety significantly in patients awaiting surgery.  This is particularly apt as a high dose psychedelic session is comparable to performing a deep surgical operation on your own mind.
Relating to the bodymind as an integral whole, psychosomatic practice brings the subtle eloquence of our native neurophysiology back into dialogue with an intellect that has all too often lost the ability to heed its urgent messages.
The infusion is served alongside a medicinal chocolate made of ceremonial-grade raw cacao mixed with a blend of powdered herbs and medicinal mushrooms, known as adaptogens, shown to be effective in boosting neuroplasticity, enhancing focus, memory and learning, and improving mood through modulation of serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), encouraging feelings of energetic calm and euphoria in ceremonial and meditative contexts. 
Relating to that movement of mind which frees the senses from the static holding patterns they are frozen in by habit, assumption, conditioning, and conventional forms of thought and speech.
Bliss and tranquillity suffusing body and mind from the infusion, chocolate, and aroma-therapy is compounded by a relaxing sound bath and vibrational massage whose corporeal & auditory alchemy releases an endorphin inundation. Expertly applied pleasurable touch, rooted in the influence of our human nature as social primates, fills the nervous system with an oxytocin ocean, just as pleasurable fragrances from the plant and bee world fill the air, the tongue, and the soul. acoustic ecology recordings of natural soundscapes around the world. The sound meditation suffuses the sense organs of the ears with soothing harmonics from live instruments mixed with acoustic ecology recordings of natural soundscapes around the world. By the time the sound mediation is over, the effects of the mushroom have started to announce their presence, and you are invited to lie back, relax, and attend to your interior experience for the rest of the session.
The influence of nature is thus brought to bear on the indoor session through gentle immersion involving all the senses, designed to be pleasurable and relaxing whilst simultaneously allowing as much space as needed for each individual to direct their own journey.
Once the effects subside, we provide opportunities to record the experience in writing or through audio. Some days after the session, we provide the opportunity to record outcome measurements and send a personal aftercare email with suggestions on how to continue the journey.
1. Martin Prechtel, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants, North Atlantic Books, 199
2. Cf. David Abrams, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, Pantheon Books, 1996
3.1 Depending on the individual, a monotherapy or specific combination of the following, formulated on a personalised basis: Passiflora incarnata, Cannabidiol (CBD), Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) Nigella sativa, Piper methysticum, Salvia officinalis, Crocus sativus, Withania somnifera, Bacopa monnieri, Centella asiatica, Scutellaria baicalensis, Hericium erinaceus and Rhodiola rosea -- click on the names of each for links to the relevant scientific literature. For general overviews, see:
3.2 J Sarris et al., Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia: A review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence, European Neuropsychopharmacology, December 2011
3.3 KS Yeung et al., Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevance, Phytotherapy Research, February 2018
Siddiq Khan, Founding Director
Siddiq grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. He has been exploring the intersections of nature connection, meditation, and psychedelic medicine for the last 15 years. He has spent months on intensive silent retreat, focusing particularly on nature-based practices of embodied contemplation such as pilgrimage and wilderness rites of passage. He has developed relationships with many species of fungi, building bioreactors and countless compost piles to produce inoculum for feeding soil fertility, foraging for wild edible and medicinal mushrooms, fermenting food and drink with wild and cultivated aerobic and anaerobic fungi, and setting up a laboratory for cloning and growing wild and cultivated species for mycoprotien, mycogardening, and mycotherapy. He has grown intimate with the life-cycles of mushrooms, from spores to mycelium to fruit. His investigation of psychedelic fungi has led him to study the ethnomycological traditions of the world, from modern curanderos to precolonial Native Americans, Siberian shamans, ancient Greek Mysteries, all the way back to the ceremonial practices of our paleolithic ancestors.
Elena Echevarria, Co-Facilitator
Elena hails from Mexico City and has meandered through different continents in the pursuit of knowledge in different fields. Today, she spends most of her working time growing a plant-dye garden and thinking of joyful ways to engage children and adults in outdoor learning and nature-connection. She also works with Siddiq in the lab growing the mushrooms utilized in the sessions. She is fascinated by self-directed learning and fostering autonomy in everyday life.When she isn't working, she pursues long hikes as a form of self-guided therapy and loves foraging for food, medicine, and crafts.
She has extensive personal experience working with psychedelics and brings an earthy comforting feminine energy, appreciated by many, to our sessions.
vocational background & foundational principles
Mycosomatic Magic emerged from years of intensive study and practice with psychedelics, meditation, embodied movement, philosophy, art, literature, politics, economics, education, social activism, nature connection, mycology, ethnobotany, rewilding, foraging and farming. By teaming with fungi, we have experienced profound and lasting transformations in our everyday lives, in our physical and mental health, and most importantly, in our basic way of percieving and relating to the world. Inspired by the incredible connective role played by fungi in nature, we commit ourselves to weaving relationships through which people and the entire web of "entangled life"  can begin to heal and grow together. Through our experiences we have learned that, with some knowledge and courage, this is something that anyone can do for themselves and for those they care about. Our vocation is not merely to offer the world yet more psychedelic ceremonies, but the seeds for a more beautiful, egalitarian, libertarian, self-organising, autonomous model of healing and self-enquiry that is the birthright of every human being and the original practice of all autochthonous  peoples. We are enthusiasts  rather than experts, bridge-builders rather than gatekeepers, seedsman rather than shaman, monitors and flight attendants  rather than guides or therapists.
Time and again, the mushrooms have shown us that they are the guides, not the humans in the room. Our task is to monitor and care for the voyagers as good flight attendants do, while the mushrooms pilot the plane for the duration of the trip. In our experience, our care is most effective when we work together with our fungal allies to enable individuals with the power to become the protagonist for their own healing and wellbeing, regenerating the lost connections  whose absence causes the pandemic of depression, fear, addiction and violence that ravages contemporary society. Reconnecting to the individual self-reliance and peer-to-peer mutual-aid associations that constitute every healthy community is an essential part of this journey. We have learned how important it is do avoid reproducing the crippling dependence on external authority figures that serves to disconnect people from the resources essential to their own psychic autonomy and health. Rather than valorise our own expertise, theories, interpretations, techniques and beliefs, we emphasise the vast latent potential each individual has to access the resources necessary for their own healing, an ancestral resilience developed through millions of years of evolutionary adaptation. This is precisely how the mushrooms -- our role-models -- work themselves: revealing to each person deeply buried abilities, insights and resources they never knew they possessed.
The vulnerability and suggestibility of people under the influence of hallucinogens can very easily lead self-styled "shamans", "guides" & "therapists" astray into the abuses of power sadly typical of all too many hierarchical relationships. The art of the psychedelic ceremony is learning to balance empathy with respect: neither to lead as a guide, nor to stand back and let people fend for themselves, but to stand by their sides as an accomplice and a friend. Beyond this fundamental ethical commitment, we have spent many years developing a working knowledge of the primary sources and traditions, familiarity with the psychopharmacology, potential drug interactions and adverse mental and physical reactions of the medicines we work with  -- a working understanding which we take care to distill and channel to all those we interact with. Knowledge is power, and it is our desire to help connect this power to the people who need it most through grassroots open-access networks whose rhizomatic structures mirror mushroom mycelium. Our active membership in the Psychedelic Society of Spain, a community organization with affiliates across the Iberian peninsula is one expression of this intention, as is our collaboration with several research organisations  whose studies we refer individuals who participate in our sessions to join, such as Quantified Citizen and Psychedelic Survey, collaborative platforms enriching today's psychedelic renaissance through stronger knowledge sharing, giving people around the world the ability to help psychedelic science by sharing their own meaningful experiences anonymously. On such platforms we invite our participants to join studies such as the Understanding Experiences with Psychedelics study led by the University of Michigan, whose newly established Psychedelic Centre is already publishing some fascinating research. Since we include an introduction to microdosing and meditation in the post-session integration aftercare, we also invite our participants to join the Microdose study led by Zachary Walsh of the University of British Columbia, as well as the Meditation and Microdosing study, designed by Marco Schlosser at University College London and co-run by Amanda Feilding at the Beckley Foundation, Carla Pallavicini and Enzo Tagliazucchi at the University of Buenos Aires, and Otto Simonsson at the Karolinska Institute.
As signatories of the North Star ethics pledge, we are guided by a set of principles which we are working to appropriate and adapt as an effective framework for expanding access to these life-changing experiences far beyond the scope of the economy and the academy and into the realm of a mature, ethical, responsible, evidence-based, radically transformed and transformative autochthonous culture, where it more properly belongs.
1. Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, Random House, 2020
2. Synonymous with indigenous. From the ancient Greek "auto": self, "chthon": earth "nous" of -- those whose "self" is of the earth.
3. from the ancient Greek "enthousiasmos", ‘be inspired or possessed by a god’: cf. "entheogen", which some use as a synonym for "psychedelic"
4. Cf. Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner & Richard Alpert, The Psychedelic Experience, University Books, 1964, pg. 108
5. Cf. Johan Hari, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions, Bloomsbury, 2018
6. Cf. Matthew Johnson, William Richards, & Roland Griffiths, Human Hallucinogen Research: Guidelines for Safety, 2008
7. Click on the logos to learn more about the work of each. Their inclusion here is for informational purposes only and does not imply an endorsement or formal collaborative agreement on the part of any organization, unless otherwise stated.
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"The best day of my life!"
"I think that everyone should try it because it shows you how connected everything is, this sense of the universe and this sense that it´s all as it should be, that it´s beautiful and there´s love all around... even if there might be some scary parts just let it go and understand that it´s impermanent and that it´s very healing. It makes you see the world through newborn baby eyes!"
"I have my hope back "
"I´ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for six years... In just one session you can make a little click in your mind that helps you to keep going with your everyday life and be nicer... I never believed something could make me feel like this. I´ve never been so nice to myself. I know it´s not going to solve all my problems forever... but I have my hope back. "
"Asking & solving issues very quickly"
"I came from a very dark place. I´ve been suffering from post-partum depression. For two years, since the birth of my child, I´ve been very sad and didn´t find a reason to live. What I experienced yesterday was totally transforming because I understood where the problem was, where my suffering came from... I was not suffering anymore... I was happy to understand that this trauma was in the past and thanks to that I have my child, which I am very happy for."
"Grow your garden of love"
"I learned that the things we were taught to see as important are actually unimportant and the things we were taught to ignore are actually what we need to focus on... I was shown that love is in listening. It´s about how to stop your thoughts, how to stop yourself talking (energetically as well) and instead listen."
"Insight to heal and trust in myself"
"It was very helpful and supportive to have Siddiq by my side, feeling that he was there and I could just let myself go and at the same time have a holding hand and somebody that would understand and just be with me... I cried a lot... and at the same that I was getting these painful and sad visions, it´s amazing how my own mind was generating resources to heal that pain and I think to heal myself."
El Gastor is 1hr 40min from Malaga and 1hr1 5mins from Seville by car. For public transport, there is the option to arrive via taxi (the fastest option), rideshare (Blabla car), bus, or train (the most scenic, comfortable and slow option). Should you request it, we can arrange an airport pickup with a taxi which you may pay directly to the driver.
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