Authors Posts by Dr. Kelly Neff

Dr. Kelly Neff

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Dr. Kelly Neff is a renowned psychologist, author, founder of The Lucid Planet and the host of the hit new show, Lucid Planet Radio. She has reached millions of people with her articles on psychology, transformation, and wellness, which have been featured on websites like The Mind Unleashed, Mind Body Green, Wake-Up-World, My Tiny Secrets, and now, The Lucid Planet. Before she became a full-time author, Dr. Neff spent seven years as a psychology professor where she helped thousands of students learn about health, relationships, love and sexuality, and co-authored the groundbreaking manual in her field, Teaching Psychology Online. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Neff is an avid participant in the visionary art, music and culture scene in her home state of Colorado and beyond. You might find her traveling the globe to give workshops, speeches and do research at transformational festivals. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Light and Love!

Martin Mejia/Associated Press

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has successfully orchestrated the largest animal rescue airlift in history this weekend, by transporting 33 lions rescued from 10 Peruvian and Colombian circuses to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. ADI, an animal rescue organization founded by husband-and-wife team Tim Phillips and Jam Creamer, has rehabilitated and relocated more than 100 former circus animals under Operation Spirit of Freedom.

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Creamer said, “We are delighted that these lions who have suffered so much will be going home to Africa where they belong. The climate and environment are perfect for them. When we visited Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, we knew this is a dream come true for ADI and, more importantly, the lions.”

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The lions suffered in cramped circus conditions

Sanctuary founder Savannah Heuser expressed her gratitude for being involved in such a groundbreaking operation. “I cannot start to comprehend the endless days [of] suffering that these animals had to endure,” Heuser said. “They have a lot of lost time to make up for. They will live out the rest of their lives in a natural habitat, the closest they can ever come to freedom.”

The lions made it home safely to Africa aboard an MD11F cargo aircraft owned and operated by Western Global Airlines.  Logistically, this was not an easy task: The Western Global MD11F first collected 9 lions from Bogota airport, and then flew to Lima airport to collect 24 more lions, before continuing on to Johannesburg. After the lions were eased into their travel crates, they were carried by the ADI team on trucks and loaded by cranes onto pallets that were then gently placed into the cargo airplane. An ADI veterinary team monitored animals throughout the flight. The lions then completed a six hour drive to their final home at the Emoya Sanctuary.

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The lions being loaded in crates to be put on pallets in the aircraft

The rescue was made possible thanks to ADI’s tireless work with the Peruvian and Colombian Governments, who due to evidence of animal abuse have imposed bans on the use of wild animals in circuses. While there are no more wild animals suffering in circuses in Peru, the Government of Colombia has asked ADI to help with a further 75 exotic animals which remain with other circuses, and are now illegal.  Mexico has also passed their ban on wild animal circuses and have been in talks with ADI about the arrangements for releasing those animals from the circuses.

Happy in their new home

Now that they are on the ground in South Africa, the lions will be rehabilitated in the 5,000-hectare sanctuary that is already home to eight rescued lions and tigers, has a no-breeding policy, and is not open to the public. Their forever homes will have acres of natural bush (a separate habitat for each family or pair) with watering holes, platforms, trees, vegetation all safely secure behind double electric fencing (outside is included to prevent access by other animals).

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Freedom!

It is inspiring to see individuals bravely stand up together to accomplish challenging feats to do right by animals who have suffered. Offering hope and redemption to these kings and queens of the jungle proves that by working together, humanity can solve even the most difficult tasks, like airlifting 33 lions across the globe! Indeed, ADI and Emoya are making the commitment to these animals for life – they will be provided with food and clean water each day, toys and straw bales for amusement, and their separate bonding (management) camps will enable vets and carers get up close to check for any injuries or other health issues. To help care for the 33 lions visit Lions Back to Africa and check out their documentary!

Dr Kelly Neff; The Lucid Planet

On the evening of March 8-9th, we will witness the first solar eclipse of 2016, coinciding with a supermoon new moon.

During a solar eclipse the new moon passes in between the sun and the earth, blocking out the sun’s light. This week, the new moon is a supermoon, meaning that it will be at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

images-4In some parts of the world, this will be a total solar eclipse, because the entirety of the sun’s light will be covered for a period of 4 minutes and 9 seconds. The partial/total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of South/East Asia, North/West Australia, as well as over the Pacific and Indian ocean. The darkest line in the picture below reflects the area where totality will be visible.  To find out how to view the solar eclipse in your area, visit Time and Date.

path-760March 2016 also yields a penumbral lunar eclipse on March 23rd, visible from most parts of Asia, Australia, North American and South America.

Pisces Eclipse Energies

Energetically speaking, eclipses are typically markers of times of transformation. These beliefs have persisted since ancient times and continue today across many different cultures. You do not have to be able to physically view the eclipse to feel its energies.

While scientists, philosophers, astrologers and psychologists alike may continue to debate ‘WHY’ people feel energetic changes in during celestial events like full moons or eclipses, the undeniable reality remains that many people do experience these energetic fluctuations and ascribe a level of importance to them. As with many metaphysical constructs, just because science has not yet developed tools to empirically measure the energetic fluctuations associated with celestial events does not mean that they do not exist!

PiscesIf you are sensitive, or if you choose to work with the energies of celestial events to better your life and circumstances, then this total solar eclipse in Pisces marks quite an auspicious time to make changes. This is because Pisces reflects the ocean of emotions that lie under the surface, both individually and collectively. Governed by mystical Neptune, associated with art, intuition and mysteries, an eclipse in Pisces has emotional, unpredictable and highly transformative qualities.

Time to Reset and Take Risks!

This eclipse marks an excellent time for an emotional reset, including stepping away from certain people or relationships, making a break from behaviors that no longer serve you, or making a choice to be around new people. This is also a prime opportunity for a physical reset, including a cleanse, diet change, sobriety/detox, or new workout program. Because Pisces deals with unconscious emotions, this eclipse sets the stage for a re-programming of your subconscious habits, behaviors, patterns and coping skills. You can do this!

According to astrologist Lena Stevens from the Power Path  (also featured on Mystic Mamma), with its two eclipses, the month of March 2016 is encouraging us to “fire up, and move towards outwards manifestation.” Much of the transformation we have experienced thus far in 2016 has been directed inwards, and we are now presented with a huge opportunity to overcome our fears and take action to make our dreams happen.

In light of the theme of physical/emotional reset and transformation, place your intentions into overcoming any lingering fears of the unknown and experiment with something new this week! Whether you are spending time around a new social group, starting a new relationship, trying out a new workout regime or new hobby, know that your fear of losing control, your fear of failure, and your likelihood of being distracted in new endeavors are all within your power.

When you feel self-doubt and anxieties creep in, remember that the universe is here to guide you and that these opportunities are being presented in divine alignment with your journey. Many of these the fears and anxieties are learned or conditioned patterns of behavior which you can overcome by staying in a present mindful head space, taking real action, and employing techniques designed to reprogram the subconscious like meditation, hypnosis and more.

By trusting your intuition and saying “YES” to potential opportunities that resonate with your growth, there is an opening this month for rapid evolution in your relationships, your wellness, and even across your employment and business arrangements. Do not be afraid to think out of the box and to take a chance!

For more on March 2016’s powerful astrological significance, check out Lena Stephens on The Power Path!

Light and Love, Dr Kelly <3

Chris Dyer

Dr Kelly Neff, The Lucid Planet

Earlier this month, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview visionary artist Chris Dyer, of Chris Dyer’s Positive Creations on Lucid Planet Radio. During our conversation, we touched upon many issues including Chris’ own artistic journey, his advice for how connect to your inner creativity, why the idea of the ‘starving artist’ no longer serves us, and Alex Grey’s assertion that ART may be the greatest unifying religion. You can listen to the entire interview HERE on Lucid Planet Radio.

We also discussed how the use of psychedelic substances and influences the creation of visionary art, as our emerging transformational culture has witnessed such an intersection of spirituality, creativity and psychedelics in the past 40 years or so. This is a common theme for discussion on Lucid Planet Radio, as we also touched on this the week before in my interview with author Graham St. John, about the cultural history of DMT.

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Moment of Truth, Chris Dyer, 2015

Take one look at Chris Dyer’s art, and you can’t help but feel transported to a magical alternative realm in some other psychedelic dimension. The fluid combination of bright colors, geometric shapes and imagery from a number of different spiritual traditions feels somehow alien, and yet incredibly earthy at the same time. There are many people who see Chris’s art, and say that it reminds them of visions that they had while tripping on psilocybin, Ayahuasca, LSD, salvia or DMT. And yet many people can appreciate the depth, beauty and ‘trippy-ness’ without ever having tried psychedelics.

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Street Art by Chris Dyer

The way that Chris Dyer’s art can transport us to another dimension of space/time and then challenges the way we see ourselves and our world is very reminiscent of Alex Grey’s description of what visionary art DOES to us: It triggers the divine imagination, it encourages the development of our inner sight, and it allows to see through the eye of the soul.  Art changes consciousness as highlighted by future Lucid Planet Radio guest Jacob Devaney at Uplift Connect, and new research from UC Berkeley shows that art can even trigger physical healing right down to altering the chemicals in our immune systems.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that psychedelic exploration can effect our consciousness just like visionary art can – By transporting us to another realm, challenging how we see ourselves, triggering our divine imagination, building our inner sight and allowing us to look through our own souls. Much like visionary art, psychedelics can change our consciousness, and we know from extensive research by MAPS and other organizations, psychedelics can help us heal as well. It appears that the consciousness expansion offered by psychedelics, visionary art and spirituality is becoming an increasingly valued form of cultural currency, which is perhaps why visionary art is so prevalent at festivals, particularly those geared towards electronic music.

“St. Albert and the LSD Revelation Revolution” Alex Grey 2006

And yet in spite of all of these connections, Chris Dyer does not feel the need to turn to psychedelic medicine to find his creative inspiration. While he was a frequent recreational psychedelic user during his 20’s, Chris tells me that he has since developed a more ‘mature’ perspective about them as he moves into his mid 30’s, respecting the medicinal value and taking into consideration the intention, timing and dosage before engaging. We spoke about his recent travels to Peru to use Ayahuasca, not for intentions of other-worldly visions, but to heal his heart and to help cleanse himself of addiction.

So, does an artist need to use psychedelics in order to make visionary art?

Perhaps psychedelics can open the door to alternative realms of consciousness, but psychedelic use is certainly not a prerequisite for making to visionary art. When asked if he uses psychedelics for his creative inspiration, Chris Dyer explains:

“No I would not use psychedelics in order to find my artistic vision. I have used psychedelics in my personal growth, self-discovery and healing and then that reflects into my art. I’m not going to say, I have nothing to paint so I’m going to do some acid and see what kind of trippy stuff comes out.”

Chris used psychedelic mushrooms for many years when he was younger, and while he had fun, he says he never experienced the full depth of them until he used them with a focused intention. For Chris, it is important to be responsible and conscious with how we are affecting our minds and our consciousness. He explains that eventually, he just moved on, with a knowledge that he does not need to rely on any substance to be a creative person, that is just who he is (and, news flash: so is each and everyone one of you reading this!) In our interview, Chris equated the repeated recreational use of psychedelics to learning and going to class, asking, do you really want to go to fourth grade forever?

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Chris Dyer, “Peeling Bodies”

And yet, as we have learned from a number of visionary artists, most notably Alex and Allyson Grey, psychedelics can be incredibly beneficial in altering our state of mind and offering new insights of clarity, depth and personal growth. They can be inspiring, and the visions that people bring back from the psychedelic realm and translate to paint, canvas, graffiti and/or digital media (etc) really can make for fantastic art!  It has been argued that psychedelic use, when conducted in a conscious and present fashion, does seem to catalyze creativity.  There is even an online guide for how to use psychedelics (specifically LSD and psilocybin) to enhance your creative work!

The important thing, which Chris Dyer reminded me in our interview, is that we need to make sure that we are not depending upon any substance to make our art.  He used a great analogy that if you can’t make trippy art without psychedelics, that is the same as saying you can’t run a marathon without speed, or you cannot fall in love without MDMA. We might want to enhance certain experiences, but we definitely do not need to depend on anything outside of ourselves to be the creative people who we are inside.

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Cosm-unity Inte-Grey-ion by Chris Dyer 2013

While there may be nothing wrong with engaging in behaviors to help stimulate your inner magic, Chris Dyer reminds us that Everything is inside of us already to rock! Let’s try to find this magic inside ourselves!”

 For more from Chris Dyer, including his advice for channeling your inner creativity, listen to our interview and check out all of his art on this website! LIGHT AND LOVE!

When we judge cannabis by these metrics, cannabis is not AS safe as other drugs it could replace, it is SAFER.

Last month on Lucid Planet Radio, I interviewed Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) about the science, efficacy and political climate surrounding the legalization of cannabis. You can listen to the whole interview here!

It is certainly an exciting and unprecedented time to be a cannabis activist/enthusiast, as the public support for the legalization of cannabis is higher than ever! Here in my home state of Colorado, the benefits of legalization have been astounding, including $125 million raise in tax revenue last year alone, with funds distributed to public education, behavioral health, law enforcement and youth prevention. Almost everyone agrees that legalization has been incredibly beneficial to the people and to the state.

There is More Support for Cannabis Legalization and Reform Than Ever Before!

Not surprisingly given the success in Colorado and elsewhere, there is now much greater support for legalizing cannabis than ever before – In fact, the support for legalization is now the MAJORITY position of Americans.

As Paul Armentano mentions in our interview, the most recent polls tell us everything we need to know:

1. When asked if they support the ability of a doctor to authorize marijuana therapy to a qualified patient, 85-90% of public nationally say YES, doctors should be able to recommend marijuana- An overwhelming consensus.

2. When asked if states should have sole authority to set their own marijuana policies- 65%-70% of the public, across all different political ideologies say YES, wanting the Feds to butt-out.

3. When asked if in the most recent Gallup poll if marijuana should be legalized for recreational purposes, 58% of Americans say YES, including a solid majority in all groups 65 and under. These are the highest numbers since Gallup began tracking the question of marijuana legalization in 1969.

And yet the troubling part, which Armentano points out in our interview, is that ever since cannabis prohibition began in the 1930’s, the government’s bureaucracy has been entrenched around an incredibly damaging public policy position that has never had any scientific basis (and is practically archaic).

Continuing to maintain cannabis as DEA Federal Schedule 1 Narcotic flies directly in the face of a plethora of scientific research about its medical value. This classification compares it to drugs like heroin, saying it has absolutely “no accepted medicinal value.” This is contradictory and confusing, since more than half of the states in America have chosen to legalize cannabis precisely for its medical use, and four states plus Washington D.C. (Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska) have already made this Schedule 1 Narcotic fully legal.

Debunking the “Not Enough Science” Rhetoric  

Paull Armentano helps to maintain NORML’s extensive library  featuring over 250 clinical trials and pretrial studies on cannabis. The library contains the actual links to all of the studies, so you can read the studies for yourself and draw your own conclusions! He explains to me in our interview the paradoxical nature of the claims by policy makers and officials that there is “not enough research” and “more science is needed” to ‘prove’ the efficacy of cannabis as a medicine. This argument, he explains, overlooks three crucial facts:

1) Western civilizations have been using cannabis for spiritual, social and therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. This gives us a look into the potential long term safety and efficacy of the planet.

2) Cannabis and its active constituents are some of the most studied therapeutic components of modern times. If you go on to Pub-Med and type in “marijuana” you will find 22,500 citations to peer reviewed scientific papers, about half of those being published in just the last 10-15 years. And there are even more studies when you type in “cannabis” or other terms used for the plant. If you compare this to Tylenol, Ritalin, Ibuprofen or most other medications, you will find that there have been many more studies published on cannabis. Based on the available research, we can say with certainty that cannabis possesses safety and efficacy, as well as being subjected to greater scientific study and being used longer than the other substances it could replace.

3) The FDA offers 3 objective criteria used to determine safety profile of a psychotropic substance. These are the standards the FDA would use for new drugs that would come onto the market:

  • Risk of dependency
  • Risk of legal overdose
  • Risk of toxicity

When we judge cannabis by these metrics, cannabis is not AS safe as other drugs it could replace, it is SAFER. It offers comparatively low dependency, no risk of lethal overdose and very low levels of toxicity.

The Importance of the Endogenous Cannabinoid System  

We also talked at length in our interview about the body’s endogenous cannabinoid receptor system, which is significant not just because it exists, but because it has evolved to point where it is now a regulatory system. As humans, we have more cannabinoid receptors than opioid, GABA or any other receptors, and in fact, this is the densest receptor system in any living organism! The amazing part is that the goal of the endo-cannabinoid system is physiological homeostasis. This system has a bi-phasic effect, meaning that it will respond to environment, and consistently try to find balance and maintain good health.

We know that throughout our lifespan, our body produces compounds to interact with the endogenous cannabinoid system. What makes the cannabis plant unique is that it is only the external compound that we are aware of that so closely mimics the compounds that our body produces naturally. This is why it offers such a wide range of potential symptom and disease modifications.

The Entourage Effect

While the Western paradigm of medicine tends to involve identifying and isolating single therapeutic molecules and bringing them to market to treat a particular system, cannabis offers much more than this. It is a botanical agent with in excess of 100 unique biologically active constituents that posses an affinity to the endogenous cannabinoid system. This process happens all through the body: We have receptors in our skin, our GI, our brains, and so forth. So rather than taking a single molecule acting for a singular purpose, this is a botanical agent with multiple agents acting holistically on the body.

Armentano tells me that cannabis has the greatest efficacy when all of these different constituents are administered in combination. He calls this “The Entourage Effect,” that the sum of the parts is more effective than the isolated components. And yet, there has been so much focus on isolating individual molecules like CBD or THC, with some states legalizing only certain parts of the plant for medical use. But when looking at totality of existing research, there is far greater evidence to date of the efficacy of herbal cannabis as a whole than just one singular cannabinoid.

Vaporizing: The Best Way to Deliver Cannabis to the Body

The best way to deliver cannabis has to do with the person’s motivation for using cannabis. For rapid onset of relief, inhalation is necessary, because it allows the effects to happen very quickly and offers a greater ability to self regulate the dosage. Vaporization appears to be the most sensible because it eliminates much of the adverse side effects of combustive smoke and appears to be the most efficient delivery device. Clinical trials have shown that vaporization leads to the highest concentration of cannabinoids in the blood, giving users the biggest “bang for their buck.”

However with inhalation methods, the duration window lasts approximately 1-3 hours, which might be too short for some people. Oral administration of decarboxylated cannabis has a much longer therapeutic window, but this comes with a delayed onset as well as increased bio-availability, meaning there is a tremendous variability of effect in how the body metabolizes it. Even the same person ingesting the same strain on a different day can experience a wildly different effect thanks to how the body, and especially the liver, breaks down cannabinoids. The liver metabolizes THC and turns much of it into 11-hydroxy-THC, more psychoactive compound which for many can feel dysphoric. When people inhale cannabis there is much less of this conversion happening, and much more of a consistent of effect. For more on this, check out this article from the NORML library.

The Efficacy of Cannabis for Pain

Cannabis has been shown to treat a wide variety of symptoms, ailments, and diseases, but Armentano believes one of the most fascinating is its ability to treat chronic neuropathic pain, something notoriously difficult to treat. He tells me that opioids, the most commonly prescribed medication for pain, are actually quite poor at treating neuropathic pain.

He then reminds me of some incredible studies conducted in the last year, including one published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) showing a 25% decline in opioid related mortalities in states where patients had access to medical cannabis. In 2015, a study by RAND also found far lower levels of opioid related abuse in states where patients had access to medical cannabis, compared to states where they did not.

The fact that patients are able to use cannabis adjunctively to reduce or mitigate opioids, or replace them all together,  really speaks to the healing power of the plant and how important it is for many people who are suffering. This a huge benefit to society, not by only helping patients manage pain, but by reducing the public health burden associated with opioid abuse and mortality!!

And yet, there are actually states are lobbying to keep chronic pain/pain management OFF of the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis by arguing that it will expand the patient pool to sizes that are too hard to manage. This is completely inconsistent with the evidence, and speaks to a wider problem for the future: Does it serve us to say that some people are “healthy enough” and that they should therefore be denied access to the plant?

Where is the Future Heading?

I asked Paul Armentano where he thought all of this was heading, and what was important for 2016 and beyond. He said that for society to appropriately embrace and even exploit the therapeutic potential of cannabis, it needs to be in an environment where the plant is itself is LEGAL as opposed to carving out a niche for only some people who can have access (as in earlier, saying some people just “aren’t yet sick enough” to be allowed to experience the healing properties of the plant). Until that happens, we will not be able to fully understand and come to terms with therapeutic utility and potential for the plant.

We also talked a little bit about some of the most interesting cutting edge cannabis research happening right now, including those showing that cannabis use is correlated with fewer instances of metabolic syndrome and a lower prevalence of diabetes. This includes a healthier blood sugar, lower BMI and lowered risk of heart disease. New research like this continues to trample upon the already defunct stereotype of the unhealthy “stoner” who ate all the munchies, and it reminds us that we have only just begun to explore the potential health applications of this plant!

There are a number of a states where full legalization will be on the ballot in the November 2016 elections. These include heavy hitter California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and more. To find out how to get involved with what is happening in your state, visit the NORML State Info page to see their interactive map and more.

As far as creating the a fully integrated supportive environment for cannabis research, it is obvious that our political leaders, especially at the Federal level, appear to be lagging behind what scientists and the public have already figured out about cannabis. America is beginning to set an example for the rest of the world, and we are doing so through joining grass-roots organizations like NORML, campaigning at the state and Federal level, and through voting on state ballot initiatives in the upcoming elections. The time has come for the people to push this forward by choosing to actively get involved in our own LIBERATION!

For more about Paul Armentano, and to find out how to get involed, visit NORML.org!

LIGHT AND LOVE

Posted here by Dr Kelly Neff, The Lucid Planet

Ever since the 1960’s in the West, there has been much talk about “Gurus” or spiritual “Masters” who have a direct connection with the divine and who can help guide people on the road to their own spiritual discovery and growth. You probably already know that the tradition of the Master or Guru has been customary for thousands of years in the Sufi, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh traditions… But have you ever considered that there is also ample support for a living being capable of direct spiritual transmission in other traditions, like Judiasm, Christianity and Taoism?

According to religious scholar and author Andrew Vidich PhD, having a living master to guide us on the path to enlightenment is elemental in all major spiritual traditions. Dr. Vidich has researched the poetry, prose, art and writings across multiple major spiritual traditions and synthesized the commonalities of psychology of humankind’s deepest experiences into his book, now in it’s 25th Anniversary Special Edition, Love is A Secret. He joined me this week on Lucid Planet Radio to discuss the psychology of mystical experiences, spiritual awakening, the journey to enlightenment, and how to manifest a spiritual teacher or master.

Now, I’m no religious scholar. In fact, I don’t even consider myself particularly religious. I was raised Jewish, and throughout the course of my life I have been atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, Buddhist and during a near death experience (NDE) a few years ago where I was fighting for my life, I actually had a conversation with Krishna (one of the most widely revered and popular Hindu deities).

What Krishna told me, and the veracity of NDE’s, is a conversation best saved for another time (or, if you really want to learn more, listen to Episode 2 of Lucid Planet Radio where I interview expert Dr. Eben Alexander about NDEs and his experiences) but suffice it to say, my experience showed me  that there is a source of Divine love who has created us, who is greater and more powerful than we can even imagine, and that love is our true essence and our eternal home. I will always be a woman of science, and yet I also know deep down to my core (in a way that I cannot even fully describe) that there was profound truth in my experience. And I’m totally OK with this.

And yet, I did not run out and convert to Hinduism. I’m still very much a seeker of truth and knowledge, and in many ways I feel like I am still in my spiritual infancy (and I’m OK with this too, because the spiritual journey is not a race or something you can force!) I do not have, nor have I ever met a “Guru” or a “Master.”

I call myself an Omnist, a term my partner and long time Lucid Planet contributor Jimi Ohm taught me, meaning that I believe there is a universal truth of Divine Love across all organized religions, but there is also dogma which can be distorted, misused or turned into lies to control, shame and incite people.

I am a natural skeptic – some may find this funny due to my interests and beliefs in certain allegedly “fringe” concepts like Reiki, crystal healing and extraterrestrials. But one thing I am definitely skeptical of is PEOPLE and what they will say or do for POWER. I think that my natural skepticism has always kept me away from the “Guru” types, because there have been so many documented cases of people being terribly hurt and taken advantage of, not only by religious leaders, but also by spiritual ones purporting to be Masters.

I suppose that is why Episode 31 of my show, Lucid Planet Radio, was so inspiring for me and prompted me to write this article. Dr Vidich has studied under three Masters of the same lineage, and what he had to say about finding a true Master felt very authentic and legitimate to me. Now I will say, the humanist part has always felt that we do not need help from anyone other than ourselves to connect with the Divine, and yet, every major spiritual tradition seems to propose that our connection to the Divine, and our overall journey to enlightenment, is greatly enhanced and illuminated by having someone who truly embodies this connection and who can teach us.

As Dr. Vidich points out in Love is a Secret, “We in the West are often averse to seeing the need for a living spiritual master. Yet in every other field of endeavor, we are hesitant to proceed without a teacher…”

As someone who has spent most of my adult life in graduate school and as as a college professor, of all people I can definitely understand the value of being guided by experts! But how do we distinguish a TRUE spiritual Master from someone who is just a teacher? According to Dr. Vidich, these are the qualities to look for:

1) A Master Is Someone who WALKS THE TALK

Anybody can give a good talk, write a book, say the right things or attract a large amount followers with the right publicity or media exposure. According to Dr. Vidich, this is no guide whatsoever to indicate that this person would be a real spiritual MASTER. There are a lot of people out there preaching compassion, loving kindness and forgiveness, but the master is someone who actually truly embodies these traits in his or her daily life, character and personality. A Master is fully in control of his or her mind and senses and absolutely embodies and radiates love and compassion to everyone they come across.

2) A Master can SHOW US the DIVINE

A competent spiritual teacher has the ability at the time of initiation to actually grant us a first hand experience of the Divine. In other words, he or she can help us see ourselves as true soul for the first time. Much like when this happens during an NDE, we become absolutely certain that we are an eternal conscious spirit, much more than just a mind and a body.

3.) A Master’s Teachings are ALWAYS FREE

A true Master does not charge for his or her teachings. True Masters do not need to. Many spiritual traditions have always indicated that the teachings from the true Masters should be free to the public. Jesus did not charge, Buddha did not charge, Mohammed did not charge. This is not to put down anyone who is charging for their teaching, they may still be giving out good information and they can be very inspiring. Be grateful for wisdom no matter where you are getting it, but if you are making a full commitment to become a disciple, be very discerning. Dr. Vidich likens those charging for their spiritual teachings to 6th graders whereas the true Masters giving it away for free would be like PhDs.

4.) A True Master is EGO-LESS

A true master is a conduit, a vehicle for the higher power of the Divine working through them. Their Sense of “I” ness is simply not there, replaced by a sense of universal “one-ness” with the Divine and with humanity. This is a rare quality indeed, and it is a precious gift to come into the presence of someone like this in our lifetime. It can also be hard for many of us, looking through our own imperfect perspective, to really recognize someone who is ego-less and on the level of a Master.  In other words, a novice can rarely even recognize a true master, for the master often reveals himself or herself in accordance with the degree of spiritual maturity of the seeker.

There is an old Hindu phrase that “When the discipline is ready, the Master will appear.” So, in addition to looking for a Master who truly embodies these qualities, we also must work on ourselves to ready our space for them to enter it, and for us to enter theirs.

Your Desire for A Master Must be SINCERE

If there is a sincere desire to find your Master, you will be guided to the right place. Dr. Vidich cites many different spiritual traditions that say that the pull to find a teacher is orchestrated by the teacher himself. There is a phrase in Hinduism, “Love emanates from the heart of the Master.” In other words, the Masters are actually drawing us in as our desire for them becomes greater and greater. We really have to want this, not just saying it with our lips, but truly having the cry of our souls be sincere and real, and wanting this from deepest part of our hearts.

You Must Actually BE in their PRESENCE

It is important to research thoroughly when we are seeking a Master. Yes, you should read books, learn about people, and check them out, but if you really want to find your true spiritual Master, you must GO and visit them, and actually be in his or her presence. You cannot tell what is REAL through literature or the internet. You must BE there. Touch them. Feel them. For some individuals who are very spiritually developed, they may actually see their Master inside (such as in visions, meditations or dreams) before they connect to them in the outside world.

You Must CULTIVATE Yourself as Spiritual Being

No matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs are, all traditions talk about putting in the work to become a better person, more greatly connected with the Divine. If you want to find your true Spiritual Master you must cultivate your spirituality. This can come through a variety of channels. For Dr. Vidich the most important are meditating, attending spiritual gatherings, changing our diets and lifestyles and most all, living life as a LOVING COMPASSIONATE BEING. In fact, he tells me in the podcast that the single most important thing you can do to manifest your Master is to practice kindness, compassion and forgiveness as much as possible. Just remember that these efforts are never wasted- This preparation for your spiritual journey is the essence of your own transformation! Even if you do not believe that you will ever find a Master, and even if you do not believe in spirituality or religion, this is all about making efforts to become a BETTER human being- and it is up to you, and you alone, to decide what that looks like.

If you enjoyed this article, or you want to learn more, please listen to the full podcast for a more complete discussion about Masters, Gurus, mystical experiences, spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

LIGHT AND LOVE!

Posted here by Dr Kelly Neff of The Lucid Planet

Featured image: Source

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Increasing toxicity in our environment due to pollution in our food, air and water has lead to a dramatic increase in thyroid conditions. There are many natural treatment options available to us besides just traditional medication and surgery.

What You Need to Know About Diagnosing and NATURALLY Treating Thyroid Conditions

Are you one of the 20 million+ Americans suffering from a thyroid condition? Did you know that over 60% of people who have thyroid condition remain unaware of them? Or that women are five to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems? According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition at some point in their lives.

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This week on Lucid Planet Radio with Dr. Kelly, I was fortunate to interview functional medicine doctor and world renowned thyroid expert Dr. Gil Kajiki about the secrets to natural thyroid health, and how the thyroid might be affecting your weight gain. As someone who was diagnosed with hypothyroid in 2014, this topic is incredibly important to me! You can listen to the entire interview on our Soundcloud archive, and learn more about Dr. Kajiki’s story and practice on his website for the Valley Thyroid Institute.

What is the Thyroid?

Your thyroid (THY-roid) is a small gland found at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid produces two main hormones called T3 and T4. These hormones travel in your blood to all parts of your body and control the rate of many activities in your body, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. All of these activities together are known as your body’s metabolism. A thyroid that is working right will produce the right amounts of hormones needed to keep your body’s metabolism working at a rate that is not too fast or too slow. This is why thyroid problems are often a hidden component in the ability for many people to lose weight: When the thyroid is malfunctioning, the weight will stay on due to slow metabolic processing.

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What Do Thyroid Conditions Look Like?

Thyroid problems are often un-diagnosed because their symptoms overlap with so many other issues in the body. According to Dr. Kajiki the three most common thyroid problems are: Hypo (or, low) thyroid, hyper (or, high) thyroid, and Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disease (where the body’s cells attack the thyroid). Do you think you might have a thyroid problem? Here are some symptoms to look for:

Hypothyroid: Weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, depression, constipation, sensitivity to cold, muscle aches, puffy face, memory loss, and high TSH test.

Hyperthyroid: Racing heart, rapid pulse, weight loss, hair loss, fatigue, anxiety, Low TSH test, irritability, hand tremors, muscle weakness, heat sensitivity, and insomnia.

Hashimoto’s: Racing heart, night sweats, depression, anxiety, throat swelling, weight gain, hair loss, muscle aches, alternating constipation and frequent IBS, memory loss. Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune condition, meaning that the immune system attacks the thyroid resulting in a combination of hypo- and hyper-thyroid symptoms.

What are the 9 Most Common Thyroid Triggers?

I learned during our interview that one of the most challenging problems with diagnosing Thyroid disorders is that they can look like so many other disorders, or “triggers” as Dr. Kajiki calls them. Triggers are body dysfunctions that can mimic a thyroid problem, but are not a thyroid problem. The trouble is, triggers are also body dysfunctions that can agitate the immune system causing the immune system to launch an attach on the thyroid gland, resulting in Hashimoto’s. The nine most common triggers are:

  1. Anemia
  2. Blood Sugar Instability
  3. Hormone imbalance
  4. Adrenal Gland Dysfunction
  5. Inflammation (Systemic and local)
  6. Gastro-intestinal problems
  7. Food Sensitivities
  8. Stealth Infections
  9. Chemical Sensitivities

In order to properly diagnose a thyroid problem or Hashimoto’s, it is very important to conduct tests to see how these triggers are impacting the body. As Dr. Kajiki learned when diagnosing and treating his wife’s Hashimoto’s, traditional medicine often does not conduct the right types of tests to diagnose thyroid problems, and does not interpret them correctly. He spent years researching to uncover the source of his wife’s illness (Hashimoto’s) and dedicated his practice to treating thyroid patients around the world. Because thyroid problems can be so tricky to diagnose, it is imperative to run a series of tests to ascertain which of the triggers are present before the thyroid can be treated. Dr. Kajiki offers this diagram of the different types of tests, which he uses to analyze the thyroid functioning of his patients around the world.

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Why are Thyroid Problems So Prevalent?  

On the show, I asked to Dr. Kajiki why Thyroid problems appear to be on the rise. He explained that this is most likely due to the increasing levels of toxicity in our environment, including our air pollution, radiation spilling from Fukushima, toxicity in our water and the prevalence antibiotics and hormones in our food. In addition, many of us have poor diets and consume way too many processed “food-like products” rather than actual natural foods. We drink too much caffeine, we skip meals, and we eat far too much sugar. We also live in a society that seemingly breeds stress, with many of us cramped up in cubicles or with our eyes glued to screens all day long, not getting enough fresh air, sunlight or exercise. It certainly appears that the environment and lifestyle of the 21st century is not particularly conducive to thyroid health.

Can Thyroid Conditions Be Treated Naturally?

For many mainstream medical professionals, the only way to treat thyroid problems is through medication and surgery. The problem, as Dr. Kajiki points out in the show, is that for 70-90% of thyroid patients, medication alone is NOT enough to solve the problem. Sometimes it can mask the symptoms, but the thyroid is never truly healed.

Dr. Kajiki’s thyroid treatment protocol is all about fusing medication (if/when necessary) with major diet and lifestyle changes. As with all functional medicine approaches, the patient must be actively involved in the treatment in order for it to be successful. In other words, if you just want to sit back and take a pill, without changing anything in your life, then a natural approach to any body disorder is probably not the way to go.

Eating Habits and a Healthy Gut

A natural thyroid protocol would be tailored to each individual’s needs based upon how the nine common triggers are affecting their body. Integral to any plan would be a process to clean the digestive system by eliminating any food or chemical sensitivities the individual my have. Since 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, when our gut becomes agitated through toxicities or food sensitivities, our immune system becomes agitated! And when our immune system is agitated this can exacerbate auto-immune disorders. This is why it is imperative to cultivate the microbiome in your gut by eating fermented foods and/or consuming probiotic supplements.

For example, one of the biggest changes that I have made since being diagnosed with a thyroid condition 2014 is completely eliminating gluten from my diet. Gluten can be a major instigator of thyroid auto-immune problems due to a process called ‘molecular mimicry’ where the body perceives gluten to be thyroid tissue (because their molecular composition is so similar) and begins to attack the thyroid. Many patients also benefit from being mindful of their consumption of goitrogens, a type of food that can interfere with thyroid function, which include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans.

Dr. Kajiki also says it is incredibly important to each a protein rich breakfast within 1- 1.5 hours of waking up and have a protein rich snack every 2-3 hours to avoid blood sugar spikes. He says that the insulin spikes from eating a diet high in carbs, sugar and caffeine can lead to massive cortisol surges that can throw off the body’s hormonal balance, including thyroid functioning.

Lifestyle, Nutrition and Supplements

There are many other lifestyle changes that are important in a natural approach to thyroid health, including herbal and nutritional supplements, which according to Dr. Kajiki can vary according to the individual patient. So be sure to talk to your health provider or schedule a free consultation with Dr. Kajiki before you begin. Some recommendations may include:

  • Increase your consumption of herbs and healthy fats (like flax, hemp, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, nut butters, yogurt and more) which can be important for regulating hormonal pathways.
  • Get your daily Omega-3s (whether from fish oils, flax, hemp, nuts or grassfed animal products), which are critical to thyroid function and improve the body’s ability to respond to the thyroid hormones.
  • Reduce Inflammation by avoiding foods you might be sensitive to, as well as limiting your intake of alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods. Also make sure to check for toxins in your environment that may be contributing to inflammation, such as mold or any hidden allergens.
  • Boost your antioxidants, like glutathione. While I sometimes have glutathione administered intravenously from my functional medicine doctor, you can also eat certain foods that help the body produce more if it, like peaches, avocado, spinach, squash, garlic, grapefruit, and raw eggs.
  • Make the time to RELAX and de-stress! The thyroid is incredibly sensitive to stress, so make a habit of engaging in practices to bring you into a Zen, chill space. These can include biofeedback, meditation, yoga, breath work, martial arts as well as exercise (which is great for your hormones too!). Even a warm bath at the end of the night or a nice lymphatic massage can help!

To find out more about the secrets to natural thyroid health, listen to the full podcast, and if you are seeking medical help or looking for treatment from a thyroid specialist, consider a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Kajiki to see if his program is right for you.

LIGHT AND LOVE- Dr. Kelly

Posted here by Dr. Kelly Neff from The Lucid Planet

The debate surrounding the implications of the so-called “spirit molecule” continues today among explorers of all backgrounds—scientists, psychonauts, theologians, artists and festival-goers alike.

A Cultural History of DMT

DMT, proper name N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, also known as the “spirit molecule,” and perhaps best known as the active compound in Ayahuasca, is a psychedelic compound known to induce altered states of consciousness including, bliss, oneness, transcendence, out of body experiences, and occasionally, terrifyingly deep self-realizations. This week on Lucid Planet Radio I interviewed Australian anthropologist and author Graham St John about his new book, Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT. This book, the first and only cultural history of DMT, weaves together neurochemistry, aesthetics, spirituality, technology, ethnobotany and more to trace the effect of DMT’s release into our cultural bloodstream. You can listen to the whole interview here on Lucid Planet Radio.

Ever since Hugarian psychopharmacologist Stephen Szara first discovered the psychoactive properties of DMT in the 1950’s, it has been slowly infused into Western cultures: The CIA investigated its psychotogenic effects, while artists like Burroughs, Ginsberg, the Grateful Dead, Alex Grey, and Shpongle were motivated by its psychedelic effects. Scientists like Timothy Leary and Rick Strassman studied its psychopharmacological and phenomenological significance. And stand-up philosopher Terence McKenna, enthused by the discovery that DMT is naturally present in many plants, animals, and the human brain itself, became its global emissary.

The status of DMT as “the brain’s own psychedelic” has fired speculation about its role as a gateway to higher dimensional consciousness. The debate surrounding the implications of the so-called “spirit molecule” continues today among explorers of all backgrounds—scientists, psychonauts, theologians, artists and festival-goers alike.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating elements of the DMT experience is the consistent theme of communication with a wide variety of alleged “interdimensional beings.” The phenomenon has been repeatedly detailed in numerous anecdotal accounts, ranging from the legendary stories of the late, great Terence McKenna, all the way to that dude next to you at the Hummingbird stage at Sonic Bloom last year blowing pungent moth-ball smelling smoke into your vicinity. [AdSense-A]

Who are the DMT Entities?  

Multiple stories about the DMT beings are documented in Dr. Rick Strassman’s book, “DMT The Spirit Molecule,” based upon his groundbreaking research in which 60 volunteers at the University of New Mexico were injected with DMT in over 400 sessions during the course of 5 years. Because it can be very difficult to write during an intense DMT trip, and sometimes equally hard to recall what happened after the fact, researchers sat with participants and took notes as they detailed their experiences real-time. Over 50% of the 1,000 pages of notes had some kind of reference to interactions with entities. Likewise, Philip Meyer spent two decades collecting over 300 DMT trip reports and identified contact with sentient, independently existing beings in over 66% of them. Terence McKenna also wrote and spoke about his interactions with these entities at length, including the continuously emerging archetype of the spirit guide “teacher” – who with alien, insect-like and interstellar qualities, was somehow a diplomatic anthropologist, come to give us the keys to galactic citizenship.”

According to Graham St. John’s synthesis of quite a large body of research and anecdotal reports of DMT encounters in Chapter 12 of Mystery School in Hyperspace, DMT entities are usually reported to fall into one (or more) of these categories:

  • Playful, prankish and/or ornery “Machine Elves” (or “gnomes” and “tykes” as McKenna puts it) who often focus on joking or helping to clean the individual
  • Anthropomorphic beings (who appear to be “extra terrestrial” or “ultra-dimensional” teachers or guardians) including reptiles, bees, spiders, cacti, mantises, arachnids, robots, jellyfish, octopods, and…. clowns.
  • “Helpers” or “guides” taking the semi humanoid form of angels or multidimensional teachers. These can often manifest as deceased loved ones or family members giving guidance and teaching lessons, and are known to include religious icons and prophets like Buddha, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Mohammed, and more.
  • Sci-fi aliens fitting descriptions of greys, blues, reptilians, Pleidans, Arcturians and more, employing the use of probes, implants, or surgeries usually for ‘research or ‘healing purposes.’
  • Some type of “galactic council” of spiritual elders looking to impart knowledge, laws and instructions for behavior

Across these accounts, the beings are often reported to have an “awareness of us” as Dr. Rick Strassman puts it, with entities themselves often reacting to the presence of the DMT user either by welcoming them as travelers, royalty or long-lost family, treating them as thought they have won a contest or game-show, or sometimes, with surprise and shock as if the DMT user were an intruder or unwelcome. [AdSense-A]

SO… ARE these DMT Entities Sentient Beings Living in Other Dimensions?!?!

As St. John reminds us in Mystery School in Hyperspace, the debate over the subject of entity contact in the DMT-verse has been hotly contested by scientists, psychonauts, philosophers and theologians, “with skirmishes flaring in Cyberspace over the past twenty years.” Based upon the DMT trip reports he collected over two decades, Peter Meyer, author of Terence McKenna’s Timewave Zero Software, advanced the following potential theories of entities commonly reported by DMT users:

1) There are no alien entities at all; it’s merely a subjective hallucination/ emergence of psychological archetypes.

2) DMT provides access to a parallel plane or higher dimension inhabited by independently existing intelligent entities.

3) DMT allows awareness of processes at a cellular or even atomic level, maybe even of quantum mechanical processes at the atomic or subatomic level.

4) As a neurotransmitter, DMT causes the older parts of the reptilian brain to dominate consciousness, resulting in a state of awareness that appears totally alien.

5) Psychedelic tryptamines are the biochemical means by which we contact the creator(s)/the divine/God.

6) DMT provides access to the afterlife/world of the dead and the entities are the souls, or personalities, of the departed.

7) DMT entities are beings who have mastered the art of time travel and can communicate with humans without physically materializing.

8) The entities are probes from an extraterrestrial or an extradimensional species set out to make contact with organisms such as ourselves who are able to manipulate their nervous systems in a way that allows the communication to take place.

Of these, Meyer himself favored numbers 2 and 6, speculating that “just as birth is a transition from the womb to a higher-dimensional and vastly more complex world, so death (if the mental body is sufficiently developed) is a transition from the world of physical life to the higher-dimensional and vastly more complex world of the DMT entities.” (except of Meyer  2008 in from St. John, 2015)

And yet, we have barely scratched the surface of the theories that have been put forward by various scientists and philosophers about the DMT entities discussed in St. John’s book, such as:

  • DMT enables us to re-access our perinatal memories (Stanislav Grof)
  • The DMT beings are a part of neuro-scientific loop of psychedelic information processing (James Kent)
  • Ingesting high doses exogenous DMT stimulates and reconstitutes ancient brain function (Andrew Gallimore)
  • DMT is the missing link connecting us to beings from ancient shamanic realms through information encoded into our DNA (Graham Hancock)
  • DMT creates mystical visionary states connecting us to God, similar to the prophets of the Hebrew Bible (Rick Strassman).

We have no concrete answers here, only self-reported experiences and theories.  Scientifically, it is very challenging, if not impossible, to objectively “prove” whether these beings exist in our reality, or in parallel planes or dimensions, or if they only exist independently in the minds of DMT users. For many of the researchers in this field, including Dr. Rick Strassman (who will be appearing on Lucid Planet Radio this Spring!) it is hard to deny the feeling of truth and consistency across people’s experiences. Indeed, according to St. John, Dr. Strassman has abandoned his strict psychoanalytic model, apparently accepting the authenticity of his subject’s reports.  And if you have ever had a Level III DMT experience, you may have already drawn your own conclusions on the topic, regardless of what science might have to say about it. [AdSense-A]

As a psychologist, the most important part of all of this for me is not to objectively, scientifically come to a consensus about who/what the beings are, but to understand and accept that these experiences are loaded with incredible, life-altering meaning for the people who have them. Graham St. John and I discussed this during our interview and seem to arrive at the same conclusion: What matters is not if the beings are REAL in any objective sense, but how their subjective realness can influence people’s consciousness, behaviors, identity and understanding of themselves and their universe.

Communication with DMT entities can be absolutely profound and life-changing, regardless as to our objective standard for determining the validity of the entities or the experiences. Therefore, from a psychotherapeutic perspective, it is just as valuable to focus on the function of the entities and how they can inspire our future evolution and growth. Because as Graham St. John concludes, when it comes to objective proof of the entities,

our likelihood of establishing their true identity is as futile as nailing the nature of…. God, once and for all.”

Have you ever met the DMT beings? Do you have a theory about who they are? Please share in the comments!

To learn so much for about the cultural history of DMT, listen to our podcast, visit Graham St John’s website and check out Mystery School in Hyperspace!

 

Featured image: “Net of Being” by Alex Grey

Posted here by Dr Kelly Neff, from The Lucid Planet

"Everything we’ve been taught about the origins of civilization could be wrong"- Graham Hancock

Author and inspirational thinker Graham Hancock appeared on Lucid Planet Radio last week to chat with me about his new book uncovering humanity’s hidden past, Magicians of the Gods, which is currently sold out on Amazon due to unprecedented customer demand (don’t worry, it will be back next week)!

You probably recognize Graham Hancock as the author of world-wide bestselling books like Fingerprints of the Gods, or from his inspirational banned Ted Talk on the “War on Consciousness” – a must see if you haven’t already. In addition to his talks, presentations and books reaching an audience of tens of millions, in February 2015 Hancock was voted No 30 in the Watkins list of “The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People.”

Listen to this interview if you want to find out why. Hancock is eloquent, articulate, passionate and thoughtful. To his millions of fans and supporters, he is a modern day, real-life Indiana Jones, a hero who stands up to the insanity of a society that attempts to control our birthright to explore our consciousness and attempts to restrict us from asking tough questions about who we are and where we come from. Most importantly, he is incredibly humble and open to communicating with people. He goes out of his way to connect with his readers and fans, saying that without them, he would be “absolutely nothing“, calling them “the most important people in my world.”

And yet to others, particular those in the ‘establishment’ of academia and media, his work and research across architecture, astronomy, geology, physics, archaeoastronomy and more has been labeled as ‘pseudo-science.’ When asked about these allegations in our interview, he replied that:

It is inevitable when we start exploring unconventional ideas which do not fit into the mainstream paradigm, which are not regarded as worthy by the mainstream, that those ideas will be attacked. What has surprised me over the years is the insidious nature and the dishonest nature of the attacks… I cannot possibly be a ‘pseudo- scientist,’ pseudo means false, and I cannot be a false scientist because I never claimed to be a scientist… I claim to be a journalist. My job is to synthesize information and to do so in a thorough detailed manner across a wide range of sciences. That doesn’t mean I am a scientist- That means I am someone who writes about science. I feel I am no more a pseudo- scientist than a dolphin is a pseudo- fish.

So what make Hancock’s ideas so unconventional? He has come under attack because his ideas force us to examine everything we have accepted to be true about human history and the ancient origins of our civilization. Indeed, as he said in our interview: “Everything we’ve been taught about the origins of civilization could be wrong.”

In his outstanding new book, Magicians of the Gods, Graham Hancock hypothesizes that a highly advanced human civilization existed over 12,000 years ago, during a time when the traditional historical paradigm labels humans only as primitive hunter-gatherers. Moreover, he offers extensive supporting evidence that a cataclysmic event (namely a comet hitting the North American ice-caps) occurred 12,800 years ago (and again 11,600 years ago) that all but eradicated this advanced society- which is the same society that Plato referred to in his writings as ‘Atlantis,’ a lost advanced civilization destroyed by a global cataclysm. Graham reminds me that this is NOT pseudo-science and that a plethora of scientific, peer-reviewed evidence has been published on this cataclysm since 2007:

“To place all of this in context, it is important to understand we do have the firm and really absolutely irrefutable scientific evidence that a global cataclysm did unfold between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. This cataclysm, which was also responsible for massive wide-scale animal extinctions… wiped almost completely from the face of the earth an advanced civilization that had existed before it.”

Although this advanced society may have been destroyed, Hancock proposes that there were survivors, and these survivors settled among the hunter-gatherer societies that also existed on the planet, transferring their knowledge and passing on their skills in an attempt to re-make the great civilization that was lost. He explains in our interview that it is entirely possible that an advanced civilization lived alongside hunter-gatherers 12,800 years ago, after all, this is still the case on the planet today: There are still highly technologically advanced cultures contrasted with hunter-gatherer tribes and nomadic peoples. The ancient knowledge from this lost civilization was passed down, integrated, and eventually woven into cultures like the Sumerians and later, the Egyptians.

Even though this advanced civilization was lost, ancient megalithic structures were left behind across the globe. The pyramid of Gunung Panang in Indonesia is once such as example, where drill core samples date back over 20,000 years. This sophisticated structure was not the work of primitive hunter gathers, but of a society with advanced engineering and astronomical skills. People often ask if these ancient megalithic structures were built by aliens, and while it is impossible to completely rule it out, Hancock believes it much more likely that these structures were built by advanced human civilizations who have been long forgotten by our history books.

Perhaps the most mysterious and profound site of all is is Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, which Hancock says was deliberately buried by humans and intentionally left as a “for sure time-capsule” that had been untouched and preserved for 10,000 years when it was discovered in the mid 1990s. It is the largest megalithic site on Earth, more than 50 times larger than Stonehenge and 7,000 years older than Stonehenge. According to Hancock, who has personally observed and photographed the site extensively with his partner Santha Faiia, on Pillar 43 in enclosure D, there is astrological diagram of the constellations that we call Sagittarius and Scorpio standing on either side of the dark rift of the Milk Way galaxy, with the sun sitting over this dark rift.

Amazingly, the only time that sun would sit in this position over the Milk Way in between these constellations is at the winter solstice in OUR TIME TODAY, not during the time that the temple was built. What does this mean? First, it means that the people who created Gobekli Tepe over 12,000 years ago had a sophisticated knowledge of the stars and were able to simulate the changes in the sky that would occur because of the procession of the equinoxes. Second, it means that they may have created this image of the sky during our time, deliberately, to send US a message. According to Graham Hancock, that message is:

“Pay attention to the sky.”

The fragments of the same comet that hit the Earth are still in our orbit today, known as the Taurid meteor stream. We pass through these fragments every year at the end of June and in November. Just to put this in perspective, astronomers believe that the comet was initially about 60 miles in diameter when it was captured by the sun and went into an orbit which crosses the orbit of the Earth. It broke apart into smaller fragments, probably a mile or two wide, before hitting the Earth 12,800 yeas ago, with primary impact hitting the North America ice-shelf around Minnesota (which looked very different than it does today and was under miles of ice at the time). The fingerprint of the comet’s impact reached an astonishing 50 million square miles, with evidence of its impact as far afield as Syria. This impact would have been thousands of times stronger than the impact of setting off the Earth’s entire nuclear arsenal at once! There have been other impacts too from the fragments in the Taurid meteor stream: The most recent impact happened in 1908 when a fragment about 100 meters long hit the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded in the sky above an uninhabited area of Siberia.

According to Hancock, it is “just blind luck” that we haven’t been hit again and suffered another extinction event.
“Crossing the Taurid meteor stream is like strapping on a blind fold and crossing a six lane interstate and hoping that we won’t get hit.”

Indeed, many prominent astronomers have voiced and published this concern, especially that an object up to 20 miles in diameter is sitting dark in the midst of the Taurid meteor stream. It is impossible to even comprehend the damage this could do to our planet and the majority of species living on it.

But let’s not become hopeless dooms-dayers just yet, warns Hancock.

“We don’t need to project doom and gloom. We what we need to project is positivity. We have the technology now to make our cosmic environment entirely safe. To make sure our children and our children’s children have a bright and beautiful future and we do not become that lost civilization.”

So how do we ensure the safety of our cosmic environment? For Hancock, the solution is obvious, although it requires people to wake up and demand change. “We have taken our eye off the ball of the dangers of our cosmic environment,” he says, “right now the cost of running a single McDonalds for a year is all we are spending on looking for harmful asteroids and comets in our environment.” And yet, he points out, we are spending trillions of dollars on military, on weaponry, and on ways to kill each other and wage wars.

Perhaps there is a choice, and we can demand to choose something different. “We can change our priorities. The technologies already exist. It is simply a matter of a choice. Now is the time for humanity to join together in a grand project. We are brothers are sisters, we are the same, the differences that divide us are totally artificial and have been manipulated by authority figures in our society. We need to change this… This is a message of unity and hope for our society.”

One of the biggest challenges to making these changes a reality is the lack of funding for research on the comet impact. A team of more than 30 major scientists from the around the world has been responsible for funding all of the research themselves, as they have found it impossible to obtain funding from the traditional outlets because these ideas are so new and still unconventional. Remember, as pointed out earlier, unconventional ideas (even with scientific backing and evidence!) are often attacked by the mainstream before they are accepted. Hancock suggests that this is the perfect research to be crowd-funded, and the most significant and important science there is for understanding the ancient past of humanity. Stay tuned for updates as this crowd funding initiative may become a reality soon.

Graham Hancock and I both believe that the world is changing, and that people are demanding positive changes and waking up from the amnesia over our forgotten past that has clouded us for so long. “What I see, particularly among young people, is a global awakening taking place…. There is a new spirit in the air, and I also feel very optimistic about the future. This is a time of great change, when paradigms shift… Where we suddenly see new possibilities opening up.”

Where will these new possibilities lead us? Will we listen to these ancient messages and look to the sky for answers? Only time will tell, but the change is up to each of us. To find out so much more, please check out Magicians of the Gods, and follow Graham on Facebook and the web. You can also follow Dr. Kelly on Facebook and listen to all the radio show archives on The Lucid Planet.

Cover Image by Travis Simpkins

LIGHT AND LOVE

Here are five facts about the Total Lunar Eclipse taking place on Sunday September 27th/ Monday Sept 28th,  (Scroll down to #5 to learn about what this one means for your relationships!)

  1. Lunar Eclipses Happen When the Moon is Full… This One Will Be Visible In Many Parts of the World

Just as solar eclipses always happen at the new moon, lunar eclipses always happen at the full moon. During a lunar eclipse, the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow (called the umbra). This can only happen during a full moon because the Earth, Sun and Moon must be aligned exactly (also known as in syzygy, the coolest word ever!)

Lunar-Eclipse-GeometryAccording to Earth-Sky.Org Sunday night’s/Monday morning’s lunar eclipse will be visible from most of North America and all of South America after sunset on Sunday the 27th. From eastern South America and Greenland, the greatest eclipse happens around midnight September 27-28. In Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the total eclipse takes place in the wee hours of the morning, after midnight and before sunrise September 28. A partial lunar eclipse can be seen after sunset September 27 from western Alaska, or before sunrise September 28 in far-western Asia.

The maximum part of the eclipse will be happening at 2:47AM UTC, which is 8:47PM on Sunday night for me in Denver. To find out exactly when to watch the eclipse in your city, visit this handy map from Time-and-Date.

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2. While The Term “Blood Moon” is New to Astronomy, Nearly All Total Lunar Eclipses Appear Some Shade of Red

 The full moon almost always appears a coppery shade of red during a total lunar eclipse because of the sunlight that is filtered and refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere. (The only time it wouldn’t look red is when pronounced volcanic activity might make the moon’s face appear more brownish or gray in color.)

lunar-eclipse-december-2010-nasa-keithburnsDuring a lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow is visible creeping across the moon’s face, and this shadow will grow until it completely covers the moon. Then at totality, when the moon is fully covered by the Earth’s shadow, the blood red tinge will appear. This short NASA video does a phenomenal job describing why the moon turns red during an eclipse.

According to the astronomy experts at Earth Sky. org  the term “Blood Moon” is new to astronomy per say, and actually comes from biblical prophecy, specifically, Christian Pastor John Hagee’s 2013 book, Four Blood Moons

imagesWhat makes Saturday’s blood moon so significant from a religious prophecy perspective is that the final one in a rare series of four full lunar eclipses each spaced out six months apart, known as a lunar tetradall falling on Jewish holidays! Some are predicting that this fourth blood moon symbolizes the Apocalypse – You can read more about those beliefs here.

Given that biblical prophecy is very far from my area of expertise, if you want to know more, Earth Sky does a good job with a shorter summery or go here for a more in-depth look at the biblical prophecy and decide for yourself.

  1. A Total Lunar Eclipse During a Supermoon Will Not Occur Again Until 2033!

During some lunar eclipses, totality (where the moon is completely covered by Earth’s shadow) can last up to an hour or more. While this past April’s lunar eclipse was the shortest of the entire century (with totality lasting only 4 minutes and 43 seconds!), totality for this weekend’s eclipse is going to last around 1 hour and 12 minutes, with the entire duration of the eclipse lasting over 5 hours. This gives you plenty of time to view the eclipse, and you will want to take this opportunity, because the next total lunar eclipse will not be until January 31st, 2018!

images-2This eclipse also falls on a supermoon, meaning that the moon will be at its closest point all year in its elliptical orbit making it appear 14% larger in the night sky than a typical full moon.  The full moon in September is traditionally known as the Harvest Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, falling closest to the fall equinox. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the first full moon of spring.

The next total lunar eclipse falling on a supermoon won’t happen again until 2033 so try not to miss this one! (I can’t help but wonder what life will be like 18 years from now when we look back on this weekend and reflect how much things have changed…)

  1. It is Unclear if Lunar Eclipses Influence People’s Feelings and Behavior

All the talk of biblical prophecy aside, in many cultures the belief exists that full moons and lunar eclipses have some kind of impact of human feelings and behavior. For example, in ancient cultures, it was strongly believed that the lunar cycle impacted women’s hormones and fertility.

maxresdefaultGiven that full moons do impact the tides, and the human body is at least 70% water, maybe it makes sense that lunar eclipses could have some impact on women’s menstrual cycles or on the body’s circadian rhythm.

And yet, the scientific evidence has been relatively inconclusive. However, as I mention in this article, from a psychological perspective, the belief that an eclipse may impact your behavior might be enough for this to actually happen. Thanks to a social psychological phenomenon known as ‘Self Fulfilling Prophecy’, making a statement like “the lunar eclipse means I have the opportunity for new beginnings” can put you in a state of mind where you more open and more likely to allow those new beginnings into your life.

  1. Astrologically, Lunar Eclipses Are Believed to be Auspicious Times for Growth, Release and New Beginnings- This One May Feel Especially Intense

In the astrological world, lunar eclipses are usually associated with releasing what no longer serves you to create new beginnings and spur your personal growth. However, the exact changes that are stimulated will depend quite a lot on the astrological signs that the sun and the moon fall into during the eclipse.

This Eclipse and Your Relationships

Saturday’s full moon falls in the first degree of fire sign Aries, which is why this eclipse carries strong energies related to assertiveness, action and individualism. You might be feeling especially driven to express yourself, assert your feelings to someone, or take actions in a situation that involves someone else. The sun in Libra directs our attention towards establishing balance and fairness in our relationships with others, acting as a polarity to the independence of Aries. We are therefore being pushed to find balance between meeting the needs of ourselves and meeting the needs of others, driven to reconcile our self-autonomy with our dependence on others.

This eclipse marks the ending of the lunar tetrad cycle along the Libra-Aries axis that began in April of last year. Each of these eclipses has challenged us in different ways to assert our own personal needs, while also recognizing the importance of caring for others. Since this cycle began, many of us have experienced intense personal and relational challenges and growth. Many of my relationships are barely recognizable compared to where they were when this cycle began last year. It is time to reflect upon these changes, transformations, births and deaths, and integrate how they shape your path for the future. With endings, come new beginnings.

Some people have been calling this final eclipse in this cycle a sign of the “apocalypse” – which literally translated means: revelation. I’m no astrologer, but I believe that the final eclipse in this cycle has the potential to REVEAL to us all that we have learned about finding BALANCE between ourselves and other people, and how to weigh giving with receiving. Many of us have learned to set boundaries, to communicate our desires, to walk away from relationships that no longer serve us, and to experience new adventures with different people. As we work through the energies of this weekend, the time has come to communicate clearly and directly where we stand in our relationships, and to set intentions for how we would like things to evolve.

The energetic changes stirred up by this eclipse may feel especially powerful because the moon is at its closest point in its orbit to Earth- This means stronger tides, potentially disrupted sleep patterns, and rapid energetic shifts. You might be feeling especially anxious, stressed and impulsive, or you might be feeling exhausted, drained, tired and sore. Maybe you are bouncing back and forth between the two. Do something tonight that helps you feel grounded, like taking a salt bath, going for a walk, cuddling with animals, or bathing in the moonlight or dancing.

We have plenty of energy to work with when it comes to making relational changes we are seeking- My advice is to do your best to avoid being reactive to others, and to be patient with yourself as you work through these intense energies. Keep your goals for healing in mind. If you are upset, then this is the time to let someone know, but this is also the time to practice forgiveness and compassion as we recognize that everyone is fighting their own battle that we often know nothing about. Do not deny the intensity of your feelings, but also recognize that the way you choose to communicate can be as important as the message you are trying to put across. As my partner Jimi Ohm likes to say, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinager.” When in doubt, be willing to make compromises and take your time to make decisions based on facts, not solely on emotions. You will get through this… Just remember to breathe.

For more about the astrological significance of this lunar eclipse, visit this amazing write-up by Mystic Mama!

With blessings and love, Dr Kelly from The Lucid Planet

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Have you been feeling especially emotional lately? You are not alone, as the full moon supermoon in Pisces approaches on Saturday.

Dr Kelly Neff, The Lucid Planet

This has been an emotional summer for many of us, myself included. The past few months have been marked by highs and lows, extreme loss and also by profound joy. I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but there seems to be an overall feeling that we have put ours hearts into this one 110% and we are collectively reeling from the FEELS.

Perhaps this is a symptom part of the massive shifting consciousness happening on the planet, and our profound (and increasingly difficult to ignore) realization that changes MUST happen in human behavior if we would like to continue inhabiting planet earth. (I’m referring for example to what Stephen Hawking said about humans needing to find a new planet to inhabit in the next 1,000 years, as well as the report from this group of scientists that we have “reached the point of no return” when it comes to climate change ). We are changing, growing, and wanting better for each other and for the planet, but sometimes we can feel like infants still learning walk when it seems like we need to be sprinting.

Even with all of the struggle and challenges that we face- No, ESPECIALLY because of all the struggles and challenges we face- As long as I am here in this physical incarnation, I remain an optimist, and I am not giving up hope that we can change thing for the better. I don’t believe that these obstacles are here not to destroy us, but to teach us to find strength. But man, it’s been tough lately.

On a road trip from Northern California back home to Colorado last week, it was noticeable that a huge part of the Western United States is currently on fire. Miles and miles of charred forest and thick haze stuck around all the way through Nevada, Wyoming amid reports are that the haze is reaching as far as Michigan.

As I examined the parched, torched, once lusher landscapes in Northern California, I was struck by the feeling that this fire serves as a profound symbol for the inner fire that is raging, burning and consuming us all, both individually and as a collective. As my partner Jimi Ohm has always said, fire looks destructive, but it is also incredibly creative, clearing the forest so the seed pods can open and new growth can happen. And this inner fire has the potential to completely transform our lives, but it can also feel like an incredibly painful process.

Has this summer felt especially emotional for you? If so, you are certainly not alone. If you follow astrology and you believe that the planets (or at least, people’s perceptions of the planets) have an impact on Earth and human life, then you might find have found the astrological events of this summer to be rather… intense.

Venus in retrograde from July 25th to September 6th is pushing us to go within and to examine and assess what we truly love and value. This period is traditionally associated with endings of relationships, but also, new beginnings. As Venus disappears from the night sky, we are asked to go deep into the shadows to explore that old, outmoded programming is holding us back in love and no longer serving us. This is can be an extremely painful process, leading us to feel a profound shift in ourselves and our relationships: There will be endings, new beginning, heartbreak, new seeds planted and changes abound. As the West Coast burns, Venus is lighting the fire deep within our hearts.

When Venus finally goes direct on September 6th, she emerges in the night sky once more, as the brightest star in the sky, reflecting that once we undergo this fire, this alchemy, this journey into the darkness and back, we will emerge into our lives and relationships with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. We will have a fearlessness moving forward, knowing that we have faced the depths of our souls, we have look into that mirror, and we have survived. As I said earlier, these obstacles are not here to destroy us, but to show us our true nature and our inner strength. (For much more on Venus Retrograde, check out this article from Mystic Mamma.)

Before Venus goes direct, on August 29th there will be an incredibly emotional full moon supermoon in Pisces. This week’s full moon has been referred to as “The Emotional Apocalpyse” where we will be reaching our emotional boiling point, a fiery climax that we have been building towards since April. Once again, this moon pushes us to go within to connect to our hearts, and to evaluate if we are truly on the right path. In conjunction with the Venus retrograde, this full moon seems to reiterate the theme of a fire in the depths of our souls consuming what no longer serves us and forcing us to listen more deeply to our hearts. (Read this article on Elephant Journal for more on this full moon).

For this full moon, emotional conflict and heated exchanges are not the best course of action.  Instead, go within and examine the part you have played in your current relationships and life path, and be accountable for how your decisions have played out. Becoming reactive with loved ones, laying blame outside of yourself, or hiding from your choices will not serve you. Accept yourself and settle into the willingness to let go of what no longer serves you in honor of your highest good.

For the next few weeks, until Venus re-emerges in the skies again on September 6th, we need to brace ourselves for more intense emotions and feelings. I do not have all the answers (and the truth is, like all of us, I make mistakes constantly!!) but I hope that these six tips can help make these next few weeks less challenging and more constructive:

1. Hang in there: You might feel like you are at the end of your rope, like you simply can’t take it anymore. Trust me, I know the feeling. But you MUST hang on. Do not give up on yourself. We must all do this for each other, holding space so that together we do not implode from the pain and the hurt, but we use it to make us stronger. These intense emotional feelings will pass, and until they do, you must dig deep and find the strength within that you didn’t even know you had.

2. Give The Fire Permission to Burn: The inner fire might hurt, and the feeling of loss and heartbreak that comes with it might also sting terribly. But the fire must run its course, and by allowing it to do so, you are clearing your forest so that new seeds can open and new growth can happen. Life is all about transformation, and right now we may feel that we are going through the darkest part of it, but we will re-emerge and look back with gratitude and clarity after the storm clears. Be flexible and willing to let go of what is not working.

3. Avoid Taking Things Personally: So many people I have spoken with lately feel like they are disliked, misunderstood, unsupported or just plain hated. And I know this is simply not true. So why these feelings? We all seem to be taking things extra personally right now. With so many people experiencing emotional turmoil, it is very easy to feel as if someone else’s turmoil is a reflection of yours. But before you rush to make assumptions, consider that everyone needs space right now, and we all have our own battles. Give it a few weeks, and if you still feel that way, then bring it up. But for now, sit with your thoughts and feelings and trust that you are loved, and that other people’s behavior might have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

4. Embrace Your Depth: As a collective, we are being pushed to go deeper than ever before as we wake up to the needs of our planet and seek out solutions to the many problems we are facing. As individuals, we begin to find our own personal solutions by fearlessly embracing the depths of our consciousness, our souls, our joys and our pain bodies. What is the programming we are carrying that no longer serves us? Are our current life paths in alignment with our hearts and heads? Do not be afraid of what you may find inside of yourself.

5. Remember, the FEELS do not rule your life: This one can be hard, especially when our feelings are so raw, so intense, and so deep. But you are MORE than just your emotions. You are an energetic being connected to all living things- As Rumi said, “you are the entire ocean in a drop.” Instead of projecting your feelings outwards and creating conflict, or beating yourself up, choose to take a more compassionate and loving approach towards yourself. Engage in behaviors that make you feel good, such as creative pursuits that bring you into a mental state of flow, or spending time in fresh air, exercising, doing yoga, playing with animals, dancing, reading, meditating etc. You DO have power here to make constructive efforts to help regulate your emotions and your state of mind

6. Tell the people you love how much you care. Anyone who has lost someone close to to them knows that we always wish for more time, or more opportunities to tell that person that we love them. During this time of emotional turmoil where so many people are hurting and consumed by the inner fire, simple acts of loving kindness, even just saying “I love you, I’m here for you” can have a huge impact. By spreading this love, you are becoming part of the solution, part of the healing that so many of us are needing. So don’t hold back. If you love someone, this is a wonderful time to let them know. Kindness costs you nothing, but can mean everything to someone else.

Blessings, Light and Love!

For more from Dr Kelly, connect on Facebook and Twitter, visit TheLucidPlanet.com and tune into Lucid Planet Radio on Wednesdays at 5pm ET/ 2pm PT, or catch the archives on SoundCloud.

Art Credit: The Moon Goddess, http://jezzy-art.deviantart.com/

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