October 15-28, 2019

Invited speakers

Dr. Friederike Meckel, Psychotherapist and Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator 
William Gazecki, Filmmaker
Dale Millard, Naturalist
Rajnish Khanna, Plant Photobiologist
Bito Meyer, Mountaneering

Dr. Friederike Meckel

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. 

William Gazecki

William Gazecki directed The Natural Solutions, produced with Susan Stafford for PBS broadcast in 1993 related to FDA attempts to regulate vitamins and health food supplements. In 1997, Waco: The Rules of Engagement premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the International Documentary Association’s Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award, and won awards at both the Melbourne International Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival as well as an Emmy.

In 2000 he followed Waco with the documentary Reckless Indifference about a group of American teenagers sentenced to life in prison without parole under the felony murder rule. Gazecki directed 2002’sCrop Circles: Quest for Truth. In 2004 he co-produced campaign advertisements for Aaron Russo’s Nevada gubernatorial campaign.

Gazecki is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Lectures by Dale Millard

  • Evolutionary Strategies in Plants

An exploration into some of the fascinating behaviours and relationships that differnet plants exploit for their survival, hinting at remarkable qualities of possible awareness and strategic planning.

  • Medical Potentials of Ayahuasca

An overview discussing  the current research relating to the pharmacology of ayahuasca and its important potential in the possible treatment and management of many health conditions. 

  • Acacias and their Alkaloids

A journey through the history, taxonomy  ethnobotany, and chemistry of this widely distributed genus and its close allies. Many new discoveries are changing our understanding of this genus.

Dale Millard is a naturalist and explorer with diverse interests and experience in fields ranging from herpetology to ethnobotany. He was curator of herpetology at the Swadini Reptile Research Institute for many years. His interest in the study of snake venoms for drug development, later led to his study of the chemistry and use of plant medicines. Dale has interviewed healers from many traditions, notably the Sangoma of Africa and more recently the Balians from Indonesia. His main interest of study relates to medicines that modulate immune function in chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and cancers. His work explores cost effective and alternative approaches to tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and typhoid. He has also maintained a lifelong interest in Entheogens and continues to document their use in poorly explored regions of the world. As an explorer he is regularly exposed to “new” medicines and healing modalities.

Dale has a special interest in the cultivation of medicinal plants and medicinal mushrooms, and has taught numerous workshops relating to Permaculture and Plant Based Primary Healthcare. He has been involved in a number of documentaries and has authored a number of articles relating to plant medicine. He as advocate and campaigner for food safety and organic agriculture. He currently lives in Indonesia and works as an international ethnobotanical consultant.

Lectures by Rajnish Khanna

Minding the scientific gaps in understanding the only one plausible explanation unifying the physical and the biological universe 

There will be two parts to this discussion. In the first part, we will discuss the known universe. Our current understanding and challenges faced in answering questions. These questions have remained the same through the ages. In the second part, we will explore by the process of elimination and logic, what is plausible in connecting the forces of nature to the biological world. Perhaps we will agree with the opening title that there remains one plausible explanation. 

  • The known universe as described to us by religion and science

We (Homo sapiens) are clearly the most successful species on our planet in terms of colonization and propagation. When Carl Linnaeus coined the term in 1758 using the word sapiēn (wise), we had already spent over a millennia pondering where we came from and how the universe that surrounds us works. Possible answers to these questions have been described (literature) in many ways in oral and written forms. The earliest written literature (Sumerian) dates back to approximately 3rd millennium BC. Fast forward to today, and we have now photographed the shadow of a black hole millions of light-years away (Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, April 2019). Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GTR, published in 1915) defined gravity as a geometric property of spacetime curvature, which eventually led to the prediction of black holes. GTR has been tested and proven to be right many times in describing our larger physical and local universe. Through the latter part of 20th century, the “Standard Model” described the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces of particle physics. Can these two theories be unified to define everything? Even so, where does the biological universe fit in, and how may the nature of sentience be linked to the physical forces? If we draw some parallels from world religions and follow the descriptions from science, can we find a plausible explanation?

  • Reality, and why it seems hidden

The first ever photograph of light both as a particle and wave was published by the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 2015). As the fastest moving electromagnetic particle force, light travels across our known universe (except it can not escape a black hole). The focus of our second discussion will be information, carried by light with the capacity to inform biological systems. Scientific research has described in detail the underlying biological mechanisms that perceive light, transmit the signal, amplify and respond by modifying development, physiology, and behavior. There then is proof that universal information is transmitted with consequence to biological systems. We will draw from our notes from Workshop 1 (above) to connect some dots between the measurable universe and the unmeasurable universe. Perhaps we can draw a logical map to guide us through the hidden aspects of reality. Are we closer to answering.

Plant photobiologist by training, Rajnish Khanna is examining how informational light signal is perceived and translated by organisms into biological responsivity, and could these basic molecular and biochemical mechanisms help us better understand the hidden reality of sentience and its relationship to the universe. Occupationally, Rajnish is the founder of i-Cultiver, Inc. A strategic biotechnology consultant, plant and soil health scientist applying multidisciplinary approaches for research and development. Known for empowering the industry through strategic partnerships and leveraging advanced technologies to increase product impact, governmental regulatory process and marketing support. Rajnish obtained his doctorate in Plant Molecular Biology at Purdue University, he is well published. Rajnish has served as a lead scientist in biotechnology industry and has worked at the University of California, Berkeley and Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. 

Lectures by Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna

  • The Anthropocene as a consequence of the Invasion of the Americas
  • Animism in Amerindian cosmology and its parallels with contemporary evolutionary ecology
  • Evolutionary Trends in the Genus Nepenthes

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.