Plant Sentience, Evolutionary Cognition, and Biodiversity

March 21-April 3, 2020


Jeremy Narby, Anthropologist
Monica Gagliano, Evolutionary Ecologist
Friederike Meckel, Psychotherapist, Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator
Dale Millard, Naturalist
Luis Eduardo Luna, Anthropologist

Jeremy Narby grew up in Canada and Switzerland, studied history at the University of Canterbury, and received his doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. He is the author of The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (1995), and Intelligence in Nature (2005). He is co-editor with Francis Huxley of Shamans Through Time: 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge (2001).

Lectures by Jeremy Narby

• Psychedelic Plant Teachers: neurobiology, shamanism and being alive today
• Tobacco, an ambiguous plant teacher.
• The ups and downs of working with plant teachers.

Monica Gagliano is a Research Associate Professor in Evolutionary Ecology, an adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, a Research Affiliate at the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney and a former Research Fellow of the Australian Research Council. She is the author of numerous scientific articles in the fields of animal and plant behavioral and evolutionary ecology and is coeditor of The Green Thread: Dialogues with the Vegetal World (Lexington, 2015) and The Language of Plants: Science, Philosophy, Literature (Minnesota University Press, 2017). Her research is radically transforming our perception of plants and more generally, Nature. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics by demonstrating for the first time that plants emit their own ‘voices’ as well as detect and respond to the sounds surrounding them. She has extended the concept of cognition to plants by demonstrating experimentally that plants can learn just like animals do, re-igniting the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical standing. Her progressive and holistic approach to science interfaces with areas as diverse as ecology, physics, law, anthropology, philosophy, literature, music and art, and spirituality. By re-kindling a sense of awe for this beautiful place we call home, she is creating that fresh imaginative space which inspires truly innovative solutions to arise. For more information, visit

Lectures by Monica Gagliano

1. The intelligence of plants (and the games we play)
2. A mind of their own: the science plants make
3. A story of two seeds


Dr. Friederike Meckel Fischer was born in Germany in 1947. She lived in the US from 1970 to 1974. In Germany she trained as a nurse (1975-1978) and went to medical school (1979-1986). Dr. Meckel specialized in industrial medicine and psychotherapy. She worked in industry as a company doctor, and she was an assistant medical director in a clinic for executive addicts. Dr. Meckel trained as a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator with Stan Grof, with certification in 1991. She also trained in psycholytic therapy with Samuel Widmer (1992 – 1995). She has been a self-employed psychotherapist since 1997. She runs Holotropic Breathwork and systemic family constellation workshops. For some years she also gave psycholytic workshops. Dr. Meckel is married and has her residence in Zurich, Switzerland, since 1994. She has three children from a previous marriage. 

Holotropic Breathwork is a method developed by Stan and Christina Grof. Its basic elements are deeper and accelerated breathing, evocative music, and facilitation of energy release through a specific form of bodywork. With the eyes closed and lying on a mat, each person uses their own breath and the music in the room to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This state activates the natural inner healing process of the individual’s psyche, bringing him or her a particular set of internal experiences. With the inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content brought forth is unique to each person and for that particular time and place. While recurring themes are common, no two sessions are ever-alike


Lectures by Luis Eduardo Luna

  • The Invasion of the Americas and the Possible Beginning of the Anthropocene.
  • Animism. A Transcultural View
  • The Wasiwaska Project. A Twenty Years Retrospective.

Luis Eduardo Luna was born in Florencia, in the Colombian Amazon region (1947). He studied Philosophy and Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, earned an interdisciplinary Masters degree while teaching Spanish and Latin American Literature at the Department of Romance Languages of Oslo University. He is a former Senior Lecturer at the Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland, from where he retired in 2011, and a former Professor of Anthropology at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil (1994-1998). He received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Comparative Religion at Stockholm University (1989), and an honorary doctorate from St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York (2000). 

Luna is a Guggenheim Fellow and Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He is the author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism Among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon (1986), and with Pablo Amaringo of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman (1991). He is co-editor with Steven F. White of Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine (2000, with a revised new edition in 2016), and co-author with Rick Strassman, Slawek Wojtowicz and Ede Frecska of Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys Through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies. In 1986 he co-founded with Pablo Amaringo the Usko-Ayar Amazonian School of Painting of Pucallpa, Peru, serving as its Director of International Exhibitions until 1994. He has lectured about Amazonian shamanism and modified states of consciousness worldwide, and has curated exhibitions of visionary art in several countries. Luis Eduardo Luna is the Director of Wasiwaska.