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Melissa Stangl

Melissa Stangl

California, United States

Melissa Stangl, former scientist and bioengineer, currently manages an Ayahuasca center in Peru. She has co-authored multiple scientific papers, and seeks to bridge the gap between science, psychedelics, and spirituality.

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About the author

Melissa Stangl has a foot in both worlds, with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, while managing operations for an Ayahuasca retreat center in Peru. She has helped facilitate scientific studies of Ayahuasca, and has passionately followed the psychedelic renaissance and global movement in both science and policy. Having previously co-authored multiple scientific papers on cancer biology, nanotechnology, and the combination of the two for improved cancer therapies, her current writing aims to bridge the gap between the worlds of science, psychedelics, and spirituality, and usher in a new era of conscious medicine.

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Success! Roots of Consciousness sold 608 pre-orders by July 21, 2017, was pitched to 92 publishers, and will be published by Sunbury Press.
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You'll experience a 7-day Amazon Ayahuasca Adventure with Pulse Tours, operator of the Arkana Spiritual Center (regularly priced at US$1,380). Your retreat includes:

- 7 Days: pick up and drop off in Iquitos, Peru
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Back by demand! Everything in the Non-Duality package, plus additional copies and the book Pulse of the Jungle by Daniel Cleland.

You'll experience a 7-day Amazon Ayahuasca Adventure with Pulse Tours, operator of the Arkana Spiritual Center (regularly priced at US$1,380). Your retreat includes:

- 7 Days: pick up and drop off in Iquitos, Peru
- 4 Ayahuasca Shamanic Ceremonies
- 1 Kambo Ceremony
- Daily Guided Jungle Expeditions
- All Accommodations
- All Local Transportation
- All Food: 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 2 Dinners
- Authentic Shipibo Shamans
- Expert Local Guides
- Expert Trip Leaders & Facilitators

You can schedule your adventure for October 2017 or any time further into the future. Book as soon as you have a date in mind.

You'll also receive:
+ 30 SIGNED print copies of the book
+ Full length eBook of Pulse of the Jungle by Daniel Cleland
+ Full length recording of an Ayahuasca ceremony
+ Invite to the book launch party in California
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Roots of Consciousness

A Modern Skeptic's Journey into Plant Medicine & Psychedelic Science

What is science discovering about the role of consciousness in physical health? Where do psychoactive medicines and spiritual practices fit? How can we use these findings to achieve overall well-being?

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Mind & Body Psychedelic Science
50,000 words
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In the summer of 2013, after completing her Biomedical Engineering Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, cancer researcher and engineer Melissa Stangl was about to begin her job in traditional corporate America when she decided to take a trip to Peru. Little did she know her pilgrimage to the jungle to partake in Ayahuasca ceremonies would set off a chain of events, eventually resulting in leaving behind the world of suits and cubicles, and immersing her Western mind into the realm of shamanic plant medicines. Just two years after that initial retreat, Melissa returned to Peru, accepting a job as operations manager for the same company she had taken that first trip with. This time, there was no going back, despite the culture shock her science-based belief system experienced upon delving into this ancient and time-honored spiritual work.

Since that first fateful summer, Melissa has participated in over 100 Ayahuasca ceremonies, and worked with various other plant medicines, including San Pedro (Huachuma), Psilocybin, Kambo, and Nunu. As she witnessed hundreds of transformations in that time, it quickly became clear that there was more to these medicines than previously thought. Thus began the call to action as an active participant in the psychedelic movement, and an insatiable curiosity to better understand how this new world fits into the familiar paradigm of science. 

We are currently riding a wave of scientific discovery about consciousness, its mechanisms, and the role of psychedelics and psychoactive medicines as important and effective parts of the healing process. But despite an invigorated search for science’s take on these things - What is it that we really know in this realm? What are the current questions being asked and the challenges and limitations we are currently facing when trying to answer them?  Truly, what are the roots of consciousness? - there seems to be nothing out there that could synthesize and help make sense of it all. Scientific literature dismisses or refuses to address the spiritual aspect of this work, while the opposite remains equally true, with spiritual accounts lacking the scientific rigor to ground their discoveries in accessible ways for a modern skeptic.

Weaving hers and others’ personal stories of transformation throughout, taking the reader through the history of both psychedelic research and traditional spiritual belief systems, Melissa takes a skeptic’s approach to get to the roots of our current understanding of consciousness: What is modern science telling us about the mind-body connection and the role of consciousness in physical health? How do psychoactive medicines and traditional spiritual practices fit into this paradigm? How can we use those lessons and methods to achieve overall well-being in a world numbed by anti-depressants and skeptical of holistic therapies?

Pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a skeptic, Roots of Consciousness bridges the gap between the worlds of science, psychedelics, and spirituality, examining each through the lens of the others, and ushering in a new era of conscious medicine


  • Chapter 1: From Science to Shamanism
    • This chapter introduces the author and describes her background of scholastic and scientific endeavor in the Western world, and how she came to this line of work. It describes the trepidation of taking the leap into the world of plant medicines, urged on by the necessity for this type of healing to make its way to the mainstream, with explanations as to why it isn’t yet. It continues by briefly introducing the current movement and renaissance of psychedelic research, and summarizes it’s more impactful findings surrounding consciousness and the mind-body connection. Sets the reader up for future chapters while weaving in the author’s personal story.

  • Chapter 2: A Psychedelic Renaissance
    • This chapter offers the history of psychedelic research since its inception in the 1960s, what the major findings and discoveries were back then, how the movement was halted and where science went wrong in presenting their findings. It continues on to describe the suppression of research during the war on drugs, and the comeback in recent years that science has made with what is now being called the “psychedelic renaissance”. It describes how the movement has evolved and how we are now abiding more strictly to scientific rigor when studying these substances. Concludes with some of the major recent findings regarding mechanisms of action for these psychoactive medicines, having upheld these strong research methods as the future of psychedelic science.
  • Chapter 3: Science’s Understanding of Consciousness
    • This chapter expands upon the findings of psychedelic and other recent research to explain science’s current understanding of consciousness. It details some of the relevant institutions pursuing this and the more impactful studies which have revealed a definitive mind-body connection, and the ways in which we understand that connection at present. Finally, this chapter describes research of LSD, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca in relation to consciousness, in addition to relevant studies that don’t involve the use of entheogens. Overall, it introduces and proves to the skeptic the presence of a mind-body connection, based on scientific evidence.
  • Chapter 4: A Traditional Understanding of Consciousness
    • Switching gears, this chapter takes a look at the major spiritual belief systems in human history, in particular those that have stood the test of time, such as shamanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. It relates some fundamental concepts from each and draws on pervasive themes that point to our conclusion from the previous chapter – the presence of the mind-body connection and how our consciousness can influence the physical world. As well, it discusses a study in which entheogenic journeys proved more effective and healing when done in a spiritual context/practice. This also helps to promote the idea that incorporating the spiritual practices used by indigenous people in conjunction with the medicine preserves its sacredness and provides the context for ensuring continued respect for its use, culture, and heritage. Finally, it connects for the reader man’s traditional and modern understanding of consciousness, drawing parallels (i.e. the idea that our chakras perfectly align with our endocrine system) and bolstering the idea that there are truths in spirituality that can and should be incorporated into our paradigms, in order to optimize our health and well-being.
  • Chapter 5: Stories of Transformation - Empirical Evidence for the Mind-Body Connection
    • After drawing conclusions based in both science and long-standing traditional belief systems, this chapter introduces the reader to personal accounts and anecdotal evidence for consciousness playing a role in physical health and overall well-being. Includes stories involving medicines such as Ayahuasca, Huachuma, Psilocybin, and Kambo.
  • Chapter 6: What Psychoactive Medicines are Showing Us
    • While individual stories can be inspiring and thought-provoking, there is a limitation in anecdotes as they don’t necessarily showcase the more definitive or trustworthy effects of these medicines, both immediately and for the long haul. Beyond a more complete understanding of what consciousness is for science as a whole, psychoactive medicines have a wide variety of short-term and long-term effects and benefits for the person consuming them. It’s important that we study this in conjunction with our pursuit for understanding consciousness, given the crucial role played by psychedelics of altering this consciousness. The ways that each medicine works in this realm are varied and only recently being studied and documented. This chapter will segue from anecdotal evidence of transformation, refer briefly back to how the specific substance works, and then illustrate the studied and proven ways in which that substance has an effect on elements such as brain structure, personality and the “default mode network”, and mental disorders, in both the short-term and long-term. We will look at Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, San Pedro, and Ibogaine.
  • Chapter 7: Applying the Lessons
    • This chapter takes a step back from looking at and understanding the evidence, and details the practical ways in which our understanding of consciousness and psychedelics can apply to aspects of our everyday lives. If we can understand and embrace the idea of a mind-body connection, and the fact that we can consciously change our brain structures and other physical aspects of ourselves, we can take advantage of both the ancient knowledge and emerging science and apply them to our own healing, with or without the use of entheogens. This chapter will outline some of the ways one can utilize this knowledge with applicable and relatable examples.
  • Chapter 8: Bridging the Gap - The Future of Conscious Medicine
    • This chapter concludes the book by envisioning the future of medicine as a process involving contributions from both modern western and more traditional paradigms - what does this future look like, and how can we get there? It will aggregate some of the current best practices, policies, and progressive perspectives on entheogenic use and related fields of study, as well as the potential pitfalls and challenges that we may face on a social, political, environmental, and economic level. For example, it will address the sustainability problem as it relates to the Ayahuasca tourism industry, where more and more centers are harvesting the vine faster than it can be replenished. It will conclude with potential solutions to the discussed problems, and relate it all back to the individual, reminding them of the importance of conscious thought and action, on both a personal and global scale


The reemergence of psychedelics and psychedelic research in the last 30 years has shown its use in the United States to be as prevalent now as it was in the 1960s - over 23 million Americans have experimented with LSD alone. We are currently on the edge of a breakthrough with substances such as MDMA, which is slated to be FDA approved for therapeutic purposes by 2021. Researchers have identified a myriad of other psychedelic drugs, including LSD, Psilocybin, peyote, and Ayahuasca as promising therapeutic agents for conditions as varied as alcoholism, cluster headaches, PTSD, Chrohn’s disease, major depression, and diabetes. The approval of MDMA will pave the way legally for other psychoactive medicines to be funded, researched, and used therapeutically. The same promise of healing has caused thousands of Americans to flock to South America to experience Ayahuasca and other traditional shamanic plant medicines, a number which has grown exponentially in the last 25 years. An Internet- and counterculture has emerged in support of these substances, even involving hundreds of professional, licensed physicians all over the country who offer to treat patients outside of their practice and facilitate “journeys,” in spite of the risk of losing their license. More and more, doctors and therapists are recognizing that these psychoactive medicines are a true part of healthcare, and that consciousness does indeed correlate to disease.

Wherever psychedelics can help people, this book has an audience. Every day, an estimated 20 war veterans commit suicide in America. Depression alone affects 15 million American adults, nearly 7% of the adult population. With psychedelics emerging as an extremely promising therapy, on the cusp of integration into mainstream medicine, this book serves to fill a gap in the latent skepticism left over from the war on drugs and religious dogma of previous generations. As the success stories continue to grow and develop, more and more of these people will begin to seek out information about these alternative therapies, many of whom will likely be skeptical of current anecdotal literature which isn’t grounded in science, or scientific literature which isn’t relatable or accessible to the average American. This book is the layperson’s guide not only to the current state and knowledge of entheogenic research and therapy, but also delves into the lessons learned from these medicines, such that the reader can find the optimal path to healing for themselves with this book, whether that involves partaking in the medicines or simply taking the lessons from them.

Politically, activists suggest that laws restricting the use of substances such as psychedelics were a hasty reaction to the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, and should be revised in light of their apparent scientific merit. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows that two thirds of Americans are in support of significantly reducing the role of the criminal justice system in dealing with people who use the substances, and want to change drug policy for the better in America. With the recent legalization of marijuana proving extremely fruitful for states such as Colorado and Oregon, this trend is already taking hold. Thus, it is vital that Americans are educated on the current state of scientific progress surrounding these substances, as well as the sacredness and respect inherent in the traditional spiritual practices surrounding their use. Understanding both aspects of the work through this book is vital not only to ensure the safe and sustainable use of many of these substances and plant medicines, but it also provides the opportunity for the individual to get the most out of their healing process. It is with this combination of knowledge that they can continue to push for policy changes which steer our approach and use of these medicines towards ones that can greatly benefit millions of people.

Roots of Consciousness holds the potential to become a widely shared staple that fills a crucial gap in current psychedelic and spiritual literature. By making the science easily accessible to the layperson, tying in the sacredness and spiritual heritage of many of these medicines to provide the context for true healing and therapeutic use, and distilling the lessons these medicines are showing us, this book is the beginning of a path towards the true cooperation of science and spirituality, and the global shift in consciousness which has been building for decades


The author has a vast existing network of relevant followers through social media and LinkedIn profiles. With over 500 LinkedIn connections, and access to over 14,000 followers through personal profiles and that of Pulse Tours Ayahuasca Center, the company where she works, there is an immediate and substantial audience available that is the exact target of this book. The author plans to utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ communities to further promote the book to the appropriate audience. Facebook groups such as “Ayahuasca,” “Spirit Science”, “Shamanic and Spiritual Technology,” “Shamanic Community” and “Friends of Pulse Tours” all have large followings with active members that fit the audience of this book.

The author will further promote this book through online forums and interest groups in the psychedelic and psychedelic research communities, including through Reddit (and its highly active scientific and psychedelic communities) and other online forums such as The Shroomery, Mind Body Green, Drugs Forum, and Psychedelic Chat. In addition, she will reach out to online magazines, newspapers, and blogs with relevant audiences to promote this book, including Psymposia, Science and Non-Duality, and, where she has connections to contributors there.

As well, the author plans to line up speaking engagements to promote through podcasts such as the Daniel Cleland Experience, which is garnering a growing audience by the week.

The author will be attending the Psychedelic Science Conference hosted by MAPS in April 2017, where she will have the opportunity to promote the book and network with prominent figures in the field and members of the scientific community. She plans to connect with relevant parties and potentially organize a book launch event in collaboration with MAPS. This would extend the reach to all members of the MAPS community and garner significant interest, particularly given its highly relevant subject matter.

Finally, the author will invite peers in the psychedelic and scientific communities to review the book and recommend it to their various audiences.


Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys. 2011. James Fadiman. Park Street Press.

This book is first and foremost a guide on how to have safe and fulfilling psychedelic experiences, with tips and best practices to get the most out of an entheogenic journey. It also includes an overview of recent psychedelic research, but on a smaller scale and focuses more on the neglected research as well as micro-dosing. Roots of Consciousness covers more ground regarding the research aspect, relating the results to our broader understanding of consciousness and what peer-reviewed, grounded science is revealing. It also discusses more recent findings and progress since Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide was published in 2011, including the latest success of the MDMA clinical trials and the resulting implications for the future.  As well, it focuses less on tips for set and setting for the journeyer, instead giving the reader the basis to decide for themselves the best route, whether or not that includes the use of psychoactive medicines.

Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics. Edited by Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob, 2005. State University of New York Press.

Published before scientific research had really started to pick up where it left off in the 70s, this book provides an overview of the current knowledge of psychedelics at that time, through the lens of 14 researchers. It is a collection of interviews which offers an anecdotal oral history of the early days, specifically regarding LSD, of the psychedelic movement. Roots of Consciousness begins with this historical context, but then continues on to present updated knowledge, short-term and long-term published studies, and expands the scope of topics to include indigenous plant medicines which precede the American psychedelic movement. Rather than relying on interviews, this book synthesizes the major takeaways from history, modern science, and traditional spiritual practices, to equip the reader with a deeper understanding of consciousness, the mind-body connection, and how to utilize this knowledge for a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Rational Mysticism: Spirituality Meets Science in the Search for Enlightenment. 2004. John Horgan. Mariner Books.

This book strives to approach spiritual enlightenment from the lens of science, discussing various methods and spiritual techniques and investigating the ways in which scientists, theologians, and philosophers are attempting to formulate an empirical explanation of spiritual enlightenment. This book includes various interviews with relevant experts in the fields of theology, psychology, Buddhism, science, etc. The purpose of Roots of Consciousness is slightly different in that the goal is not to try to pin down a scientific explanation for enlightenment, but rather present our current understanding of consciousness and the effects of psychoactive medicines on consciousness, for the modern skeptic to decide for themselves the best path forward to achieve optimal health and well-being. The secondary purpose is to explore the question of how the two paradigms of science and spirituality fit together, a question in which we are only just beginning to scratch the surface.

The Science of Spirituality: Integrating Science, Psychology, Philosophy, Spirituality & Religion. 2016. Lee Bladon. Publisher

This book attempts to integrate the systems of science and spirituality into a unified paradigm which can describe the current nature of reality. It supplements current scientific ideology with that of philosophy, theology, spirituality, and psychology, to walk us through explanations of various phenomena including out of body experiences, clairvoyance, consciousness, reincarnation, religion, evolution, space and time, among others. While this endeavor is a similar one in its attempt to address and unite the opposing paradigms of science and spirituality, it extends this explanation into paranormal phenomena and other related topics, without addressing the realm of psychedelics. Roots of Consciousness focuses on this idea as it relates to human consciousness, psychoactive substances, and as a means to optimize mental and physical health. It does not attempt to address paranormal phenomena, but rather stays grounded in evidence-based results and what they reveal about the mind-body connection.


Fingerprints of God: What Science Is Learning About the Brain and Spiritual Experience. 2010. Barbara Hagerty. Riverhead Books.

Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality. 2014. Rick Doblin. Evolver Additions (MAPS).

The New Science of Psychedelics: At the Nexus of Culture, Consciousness, and Spirituality. 2013. David Brown. Park Street Press.

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. 2006. Dalai Lama. Harmony Publishers.

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SAMPLE [Chapter 1: From Science to Shamanism]

I sit on a mat in the maloka, a traditional ceremonial hut used for Ayahuasca ceremonies, wondering how I got here as I stare into my cup of the brew. Surrounded on all sides by the dense flora and fauna of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, I ask myself the same questions for the umpteenth time since I accepted the job offer: How was it that a purveyor of science, a modern skeptic and part-time atheist, a cancer researcher and devotee of scientific methodology, wound up journeying with the most powerful and sacred psychoactive tea known to mankind, 4 hours into the jungle from the nearest city? Was I really about to commit the next year and a half of my life to working with shamans and the plant medicines they claim can heal your deepest wounds and bring you to enlightenment? I shake my head in disbelief. As I attempt to follow the recommendations of the shaman and put my intention into the cup, I look back at my life up until this moment - the pragmatism and scholastic rigor and familiar common sense of the Western mind - and ahead, towards this vast unknown world of ancient knowledge, shamanic practices, spirituality and the potential for Enlightenment (whatever that meant) - and I must admit that the bridge between the two seemed unstable and rather rickety. It didn’t make sense that these two vastly intricate, knowledgeable, and seemingly effective worlds were so disjointed and in such constant conflict with each other. The answer had to have room for both. Didn’t it?

When I first told my friends that I was quitting my high paying, extremely stable office job and using my Engineering Master’s degree to go live in the Amazon jungle and work for an Ayahuasca healing center, they were a bit skeptical. As was my family. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t either. Yes, there was something very exotic and appealing about dropping my life in Corporate America and traveling abroad to go work with plant medicines, but to actually do it? That was another story entirely. The outer layers of the onion of my personality took my father’s viewpoint of the whole situation - I was throwing away everything I had worked for, it didn’t make sense for my 401k or my mountain of ivy league student loan debt, and there was a high likelihood that if this didn't work out, the corporations of America that would provide an engineer with gainful employment were drastically reduced.

None of this was wrong, of course. My ‘outer onion’ was what had gotten me this far in life. It got me the grades, the college acceptance letters, the high paying job, and the approval of all adults in my life. It had also gotten me into a situation where I felt lost in a sea of suits and traffic-filled commutes, a culture that measured their worth based on how little sleep they got, how late they stayed at the office last night, and how many beers it took them on a Friday night to forget the work week before the next one started. There was something rotting and empty at the core of it all, and despite not realizing it fully at the time, it was seeping in and slowly killing me. I knew I needed a change, a big one, but I didn’t realize that the opportunity that fell into my lap would be so much more than one of those crazy life experiences that make you more interesting at parties down the line. It was, in every sense of the word, a call to action to use my first-world, type-A personality to bridge the gap between Western science and the largely untapped but ultimately essential world of plant medicines and psychedelics.

There is one thing I want to make clear, though: while I wanted to give a bit of background as to how I came to this work, this is not a story about my personal journey to finding success with psychoactives and plant medicines. If you go to any relevant forum online or new age blog, you’ll likely find similar stories of awakening in the majority of them. But that’s exactly the problem with the current movement at large - this work has been largely anecdotal, and there’s a cringe-worthy connotation to most of the language in this field - even the word “new-age” immediately invokes a sense of skepticism and distrust. And rightfully so - unfortunately, while there are those who fully understand the gravity of this work and the seriousness of the undertaking of personal transformation, many are simply looking to take advantage of the recent influx of lost souls in search of meaning. Sadly, this not only cheapens the quest for meaning but hinders the movement as a whole.

There is hope, however. We are currently in a renaissance of psychedelic research. The recent boom of institutions studying the effects and benefits of psychoactive substances such as MDMA, psilocybin, and LSD, the increase in popularity of ayahuasca tourism, and the endorsement of the industry by celebrities and Silicon Valley, all point to a new generation trying to redo the work that started in the sixties. But this time, we need to do it right. With depression and anxiety at an all time high, veteran suicide rates skyrocketing, and pharmaceutical companies cashing in on the trend of over-prescribing every other person, usually with medications you can’t just simply stop taking, we can’t afford not to. What Western medicine is missing is half of the entire equation.

What more and more doctors, researchers, and therapists are starting to figure out, and what plant medicines and psychedelics can help us understand, is that consciousness plays a crucial part in physical health. As science continues to expand its reach and delve further into this topic, what we are finding is that many of our physical ailments and illnesses are simply manifestations of emotional traumas and conditions. Where Western medicine treats the physical symptoms, psychoactive medicines treat the underlying emotional issues, the true root cause of the problem. Once the mind and spirit are healed, in general, the body naturally follows. This is the reason that so many people with so many varying degrees and types of problems can find healing with these medicines - it is the most personalized medicine there is, and there is a beautiful transformation that can occur when one’s emotional responses and perspective are corrected and aligned toward a healthier state of being.

With today’s over-prescribing of medications that have dangerous and counter-productive side-effects, we need to step back and look at how we can combine the recent findings in neuroscience, psychology, and psychedelic research with traditional spiritual practices to find the optimal solution for healing on all levels. From the straightforward aspect that stress hormones distress our cells and organ systems, to the fact that meditation directly affects our DNA (more specifically, our telomere length - a measure of aging and cell degradation), we are just now scientifically discovering how the mind and the body are, indeed, inextricably linked. Such a discovery allows us to exert a new level of control over our physical health with our thoughts and emotions. Just as the physical body requires upkeep, exercise, and hygiene, so too do the mental and emotional bodies, and the health of one affects the health of the other. The spiritual equivalent of these is known as the energetic body, and this is what is directly addressed when working with psychoactive medicines and in traditional spiritual practices.

My first real glimpse into the potential of this idea that consciousness plays a role in physical health was due to the South American plant medicine known as Huachuma, or San Pedro. A cactus native to the Andes Mountains, the active ingredient in it is mescaline, the alkaloid also largely responsible for Peyote’s psychoactive effects. The facilitating shaman brought her sister to participate in the San Pedro ceremony. In the past year, her son had died from an accident, and soon after that, the sister suffered a severe stroke which paralyzed the entire left side of her body. The Shaman brought her sister to her house in the mountains of Cusco for a San Pedro ceremony. This was her first time partaking in this medicine, during which she grieved over the death of her son and cried for nearly 6 hours. After releasing such an extensive amount of emotional trauma, the sister collapsed into her bed and slept soundly that night. Upon waking, it quickly became clear that the left side of her body was no longer paralyzed.

Amazingly, this story is not as unique as one would expect. Other reports of physical healing from San Pedro alone include relief from such disparate conditions as diabetes, hepatitis, cancer, joint problems, fever, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and burning in the kidneys and bladder. And this is just one of the many plants and psychoactive medicines which have been banned or dismissed from modern medicine in the last century. Consciousness-altering medicines from MDMA to Ayahuasca have been shown to treat a variety of other diseases as well: Narcolepsy. Cataplexy. Crohn's. Even food allergies.

Emerging science is finally beginning to uncover what spiritual gurus, shamans, and traditional medicines have known all along - the mind-body connection is a real one, and if treated as such, can be used as an effective pathway for healing each individual part. However, this means an important aspect of this work is a psychological one, requiring full participation of the patient, which can sometimes be difficult for the modern skeptic. This book aims to bridge that gap by providing science’s current understanding (and lack of understanding) of consciousness, a history of the findings of psychedelic research, the world of shamanism, spirituality, and plant medicines and the paradigms they embody, interesting examples which illustrate the physical transformations possible in this field of work, and the relevant takeaways that can be used in every-day life, with or without the use of consciousness-altering medicines.

My background gives me a unique ability to come at the ideas presented in traditional shamanic plant medicine work and current spiritual practices with the desire to tie it to what we know from science, in order to get at the nexus of consciousness, spirituality, and neuroscience. In the following chapters, I’ll answer the questions that are currently missing from the Western health and medical systems, which tie these threads together and may play a crucial part in achieving overall well-being: What is modern science telling us about the mind-body connection and the role of consciousness in physical health? How do psychoactive medicines and traditional spiritual practices fit into this paradigm? How can we use those lessons and methods to achieve overall well-being in a world numbed by anti-depressants and skeptical of holistic therapies?

“The task is...not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.” ― Erwin Schrödinger

  • Lakota Burwell
    on April 1, 2017, 8:53 p.m.

    You Rock Melissa! So excited for you and I can't wait to read your book. Happy to be able to offer a little support for you on this fantastic journey. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • Kyle McMorrow
    on April 2, 2017, 4:48 a.m.

    This sounds amazing Melissa! I can't wait to read it!

  • Chase Coniglio
    on April 2, 2017, 10:01 p.m.

    I'm so inspired by you! Whatever happens with this campaign, PUBLISH THIS BOOK! <3 Chase & Sergio

  • Melissa Stangl
    on April 2, 2017, 10:31 p.m.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your support and kind words, you guys!! Really appreciate it, it means a lot <3 And thanks to YOU all for the many different ways you've inspired me over the years, it's something truly special indeed <3

  • Tatyana Telegina
    on April 3, 2017, 12:46 a.m.

    Mel, I love you, girl! You are my hero! Best of luck with your book! xx

  • Guy Vincent
    on April 3, 2017, 1:23 a.m.

    Melissa, there are so many people who need this book, thank you for writing it. I'm looking forward to reading your work :)

  • Jim Romeo
    on April 3, 2017, 3:21 p.m.

    Your passion and insights are stirring. I very much look forward to reading your work. I wish you the very best. Keep at it!

  • Austin Merrill
    on April 10, 2017, 7:43 p.m.

    You are awesome!!!! Wishing you all the luck and all the happiness!!! Can't wait to read!!! - Austin

  • Molly Dee
    on April 11, 2017, 2:54 p.m.

    Very excited to read this book. Love you girl and think what you're doing is amazing!

  • Shelly Mesure
    on April 18, 2017, 9:05 a.m.

    So proud of you. Good luck with this project :)

  • Heidi Specht
    on April 19, 2017, 11:31 p.m.

    Looking forward to reading this! -Heidi

  • Gary Sherrod
    on April 20, 2017, 12:22 a.m.

    Hi Melissa, Can't wait to read your new book. You're my favorite Skeptic Psychedelic Scientist!

  • Will Gilchrist
    on April 20, 2017, 1:03 a.m.

    Excited for you to get this off the ground, also excited to hear more about your viewpoint. I've supported another book dealing with Pulse Tours & Michael Sanders. Really enjoyed it and am now working up my courage to book my retreat. Best regards!

  • Laura Hayes
    on April 21, 2017, 12:31 a.m.

    Good luck and cannot wait to read it xxx

  • Oscar Leiva
    on April 21, 2017, 11:40 p.m.

    This is awesome Melissa!!! So proud of you! Thank you for the amazing work you are doing towards the healing this world immensely needs. Can't wait for the book. Keep doing the beautiful work!

  • Kay McKenzie
    on April 22, 2017, 8:37 p.m.

    You're pursuing a very helpful path and research Melissa. We definitely need to understand have more research, ideas and information to enrich the conversations about psychedelics across all interested parties.

  • Kayla DeGuire
    on April 27, 2017, 3:58 a.m.

    Please add my name next to Kayla's in the book too: David Held. Thanks! If it isn't possible, don't worry about it.

  • Adam Prepejchal
    on April 28, 2017, 12:50 a.m.

    Looking forward to the read. I'm thankful that you were a part of such a positive and life changing experience for me.

  • Daniel Lindner
    on April 28, 2017, 1:31 a.m.

    Excited to read your work, I know it will be good you're a smart cookie. -Dan

  • Brittany Buckley
    on April 28, 2017, 4:54 p.m.

    Looking forward to the publication of your work and our future return to the retreat center in Peru!!! XOXOXOXO

  • emil caris
    on April 29, 2017, 10:58 a.m.

    Good luck Mel!!! Looking forward to reading it!=)

  • Jose Saenz
    on April 30, 2017, 11:01 p.m.

    Best Luck Mel with this endeavor!!! You are one smart lady and have lots to share with the world...

  • Adam Smith
    on May 6, 2017, 4:54 p.m.

    I already know it's going to be a great read. Looking forward to it

  • Alex Hummel
    on May 8, 2017, 11:03 p.m.

    I think this is a very crucial field relating to the current state and future of humanity. In The future I plan to be an advocate for the decriminilization of these substances in the US. I'm excited to read your book.
    Thank you for your work!

  • Sherry Legreley
    on May 13, 2017, 5:27 p.m.

    I am inspired by your work Melissa, looking forward to reading your book :))

  • Jonathan Rouse
    on July 13, 2017, 7:12 p.m.

    <3 <3 <3 you are amazing! I wish you the best which I already know you are more than capable of. For knowing you such a short time, you are one of my favorite people in the world. Much Love!