Palestinians, Israelis, and Ayahuasca: Can Psychedelics Promote Reconciliation?

Several ayahuasca groups in Palestine/Israel include both Jewish and Arab participants. In this talk, a qualitative analysis of these groups will be presented, based on 31 interviews conducted with participants/facilitators of these groups. The main research question was if psychedelics can promote reconciliation and how? The stories of the interviewees will be shared, and several themes will be discussed. These themes are
1) Connection based on universal humanity vs. connection based on ‘otherness’ and diversity.
2) Different interpretations of the belief and experience that ‘All is One.’
3) The belief that ‘peace starts from within’ and its implications.
4) The processing of traumatic events – personal, collective, intergenerational or of the land – as a path for healing relations.
5) The relationship to the ‘Holy Land’ which was transformed through connection to ‘Pachamama.’
6) The contradiction that might exist between mysticism and activism. These interviews support the idea that psychedelics can be used for reconciliation and conflict resolution, and the themes found in these interviews can inform and support an intentional use of psychedelics for such means.

Leor is a postdoc at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, where he also received his Ph.D. and MRes, under the supervision of Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris and Prof. David Nutt. His research is focused on the neural and psychological correlates of the psychedelic experience, and the therapeutic application of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Currently, Leor is investigating the psychosocial potential of psychedelics, and he is developing a model for psychedelic-assisted reconciliation together with Natalie Lyla Ginsberg from MAPS and Antwan Saca.