the conscious psychedelic explorer review

A couple of weeks ago, we finished the second run of my six-week cohort-based course, The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer.

Overall, beautiful. Helping others to work with psychedelics for learning and growing is something I find truly meaningful.

We had an amazing group come together with 10 members joining for this round. Now the dust has settled, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on this group, and my plans for the next cohort in January.

Diverse Group

We had a diverse group, which I always enjoy. We had members in France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, the US, and the UK. Love the international vibe. To my surprise, even two members of the group had no experience with any of the classic psychedelics, only plans and a desire for extra support and education before the first liftoff. A couple more were also new on the path of conscious use. 

Originally I built this course for intermediate explorers, but I did adapt it a little this time around and make it more beginner friendly, making sure to cover all the basics. The upshot of this is that there is something for everyone and a more mixed group, some who’ve lots of experience alongside newcomers.

The newcomers keep it fresh, help to remind us all of the fundamentals and key principles, and connect us to the beginner’s mind. The experienced members offer their experience, knowledge, and resources. That is something that I love about the mix. 

Community is a bit of a trite word these days but the wisdom and energy of a group really do contribute more than the individuals inside. Although I am facilitating the process and organizing, I do see that the group takes on a life of its own, becoming something of its own entity.

Camaraderie And Connection

What I also love is that the community sparks connections. I loved seeing friendships bloom. It has been great to hear that other members have been chatting with each other, or even better, planning ceremonies. 🙂 It’s cool to get updates from people before and after their experiences and to see the support from other members. 

On our final call, we had the chance to get a bit sentimental and misty, and many members remarked how the depth of connection with others was a surprise. One mentioned how they joined the course hoping to gain a technical understanding of how to organize psychedelic sessions, but received personal insights by way of the group. We had space for sincerity and openness to challenges and doubts, and also for fun and laughs.


We had a couple of offshoots from this group. One was a Psychedelic Film Club. We made a separate Signal group and shared film recommendations, and had some discussions there. A few members went deep on this, having their own “psychedelic film festival” and plowing through a bunch of films and doing their own deep dive. Very cool. I joined in for a couple, a screening of Aware: Glimpses Of Consciousness, which we watched at the same time, and joining a pre-and post-screening zoom call for a chat with other members. The other was watching a new personal fave Descending the Mountain. It has been a movie I’ve been wanting to see for years, so it was great to have a free and legit viewing sourced by one of our members and the group energy impetus to set aside the time even in a busy period.

As another side quest, I invited all members to join me in a daily awareness/mindful practice for 30 days on week 2. This coincided with week 2’s lesson on awareness, one of the lessons in the first module on foundations for working with psychedelics.

When the 30 days were up, one of the members suggested we keep it going for another 30 days, so we’re currently continuing with that, with a post and update in the Signal group each day. I like sharing and supporting others in meditation practice, so this is something I’ll definitely invite from future cohorts.


Ultimately I’d like to build something that outlasts me, that stands on its own, something that would just continue if I disappeared. And whilst this small community isn’t there yet, I see the embers of something great. So I’ve decided to reopen the course for another 10 members in January.

I like this group size, its small enough to keep intimate and give all members a chance to get to know each other, but large enough to have some group energy and diversity.

Registration will be open for one week from the 10th – 17th January. The course will begin with the first live call on the 19th.

If you’re interested, I encourage you to join the waitlist here for early access.

What’s Inside CPE in 2023

Beyond the 6 weeks, I will be offering a whole bunch of extras throughout 2023 for all new course members.

We will have monthly community calls for all course alumni, and I’m quite excited to see members new and old mixing.

I’ll also be offering quarterly workshops. The first, Music, Playlists, and the Art of Listening in Psychedelic Sessions, is already on the calendar for February 5th. These workshops will be included for CPE members, but I will also open them to others who’d like to join in the fun.

We will also have a bunch of guest classes, experiences, and calls.

This includes a neuroscience class from Manesh Girn, a live deep listening session with Wavepaths & founder Mendel Kaelen, a look into psychedelic facilitated nature connection with Dr Sam Gandy, a research overview and Q&A with Floris from Blossom, and a few others to be confirmed. These classes themselves could be a course and I’m excited to learn from these experts alongside the community.

If you want 2023 to be the year where you go pro in your knowledge and practice with psychedelics, this is an amazing opportunity. It’s a course with basically an added one-year membership to a club with expert classes, community calls, and quarterly workshops.

What’s On For You in 2023?

To close on a year’s end theme, I’d like to invite you to consider, what are your goals for 2023? What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations? What would, if accomplished or experienced by year’s end, would make the year a meaningful one for you?

If it’s anything to do with psychedelics, come join us in the CPE!



the conscious psychedelic explorer course

Next week I will open The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer, a comprehensive program on developing the ability to use psychedelics for insight, healing, and growth.

Ahead of the course, I wanted to refresh and share my intentions for this cohort. This will be the second group, after having run it with the first group over 4 weeks in November last year.


My primary intention for this course is to support others on their path of growth, exploration, and healing, through the conscious use of psychedelics.

It’s something I know and something I’m good at. Psychedelics are a personally meaningful topic for me, having helped me hugely in my own life, so I naturally have an enthusiasm for sharing on this subject and helping others where I can. It’s an area I feel I can help other people in a valuable and meaningful way.

I will offer support primarily by way of video lessons, live calls and a group chat.

The video lessons will run through the core content of the program. My intention with these recorded lessons and the workbook is to create a body of work that can support people who are using psychedelics for years, and hopefully decades, to come. I worked deeply on this and devised a four-part framework to approach work with psychedelics that covers all of the key topics. I call this The Path of the Psychonaut.

It covers two levels of preparation and two of integration; preparing to work with psychedelics, preparing for a single experience, integrating a single experience, and integrating on the path of using psychedelics. You can find out more on the program page, or hear me talk about it with Josh Gonsalves on a recent episode of the Mind Meld podcast.

the path of the psychonaut

The framework is cyclical, as the path continues


I also intend to continue building a community of mindful psychedelic explorers. I really enjoy hosting live calls with members of our group and having a chance to interact with people in real-time. It offers an opportunity for a deeper level of learning, and a chance to connect with like-minded others. 

I’ve met a few of the first cohort in person, in Switzerland, Amsterdam, and Berlin, as well as those I’d previously welcomed on retreat, and hope that these online connections continue to spread into the real world.

It’s beautiful when a group comes together with a common cause, or of course, common-unity. It was something I experienced growing up, primarily in sports teams and music groups. In both of these, I experienced a sense of kinship and bonding with my teammates or bandmates. When we stepped out onto the pitch, or the stage, we were in it together. We had each other’s backs and would’ve (and often did, in rugby), taken blows for each other if it helped the team and our common cause.

I’ve also experienced this sense of community as an adult in yoga and meditation groups. More recently, a meditation group that I helped to organize for a couple of years in Berlin. Though individual motivations may have varied, what we all shared was the desire to develop in some way. Everyone wanted to be a better person and saw the group as a means of helping realize that goal. We practiced together, and I practiced guiding the group in all kinds of meditation and mindfulness exercises. Like all the other communities I’ve been a major part of, I found some great friends in the process.

This group also had a shared interest in psychedelics, and I’ve organized sessions with most of the regular members at one time or another over the last few years. I’ve sat, I’ve been sat, and I’ve journeyed alongside them. And the nice thing was, I knew everyone had experience in mindfulness, which is a recommendation I offer to anyone working with psychedelics. That is a practice that I’ll bring more of into The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer Community with this next cohort.


My deepest level of intention is to do work that contributes to the evolution of consciousness. I believe we are here to learn, and to expand our awareness, and that psychedelics are an invaluable tool that can accelerate this process.

In doing so, I hope to spread positive ripples and benefit humanity with a deeply meaningful contribution.

Join Us for The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer

If you’d like to go deeper in your use of psychedelics for healing, insight or growth, then I invite you to join us.

Whatever your level, beginner or pro, you’re welcome.

You can find information on the course page here.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and contact me or book a call.

I hope to see you inside!

Warm wishes,


psychedelics carnival festival online blog

psyjuly welcome

Welcome to PSYJuly 2021!

Over the next 31 days we are going to be featuring 31 articles on psychedelics, one for each and every day of July.

This is the second edition of PSYJuly here at Maps of the Mind, with the inaugural edition last year, and becoming a blogging carnival and more collaborative and community minded project this time around.

Welcome, and I hope you enjoy!

Connecting the background

In the process of organising and setting this up it has been really nice to reach out and refresh communications with acquaintances and friends in the community but it has also been great to make introductions and new connections. It’s exciting in that you never know where these small sparks may lead. Sure, some may go nowhere, but also, and more importantly, some may go somewhere. I’ve had many meaningful, supportive and collaborative relationships arise from these kind of initial encounters and they continue to bear fruit in both my personal and professional life.

My sincere hope is that this will bring about more of those connections for both emerging and more established figures within the psychedelic space. I’ve benefited so much from being involved and included in various projects when I was looking to become more engaged and I am truly grateful that I was given those opportunities, be they volunteering at conferences and retreats, writing guest posts, and even just exchanging messages and emails. I hope that in someway I am able to give back through PSYJuly.

Who are the posts going to be by?

Due to my scattergun approach of contacting people and putting word out through various forms such as email, twitter, facebook, and telegram, and being flexible with deadlines to allow certain friends and acquaintances to contribute I cannot at this moment really give a finalised full lineup. 

At present I would estimate that around half of the posts will be guest posts and half will be written by yours truly. The guest posts are coming from various people: authors, activists, movers and shakers in the psychedelic space, as well as some up-and-comers.

What topics are going to be covered?

Oh baby we’ve got a whole host of goodies. Occultist psychonaut Julian Vayne will be kicking us off tomorrow and then we’re gonna be traversing our way through a host of topics, with Psychedologist Leia Friedman walking us through how to navigate the psychedelic renaissance, and then Akash Kulgod telling us why it should be actually called the psychedelic revival.

We have a special audio post from the (Ir)Reverend rabble-rouser Danny Nemu and we’re going to share lessons from ayahuasca from Mr. Steve Pavlina. My comrade and Magic Medicine author Cody is going to share his excellent post on Tripping for Self-Realization, brother outlaw KR is going to give us the lowdown on how to be a connoisseur with nitrous oxide, the girls from A Whole New High on how to surrender to a psychedelic experience, my buddy Dave from the MIND foundation on integration and, well actually I don’t want to give it all away. Let’s keep a few little secrets back. There’s more beauties to come.

And then, of course we have your resident host yours truly. I’ve got a few articles that I’m pretty excited to share, some that have been formulating in the background for a few months and have built into a nice little list of articles to write. I’ve already started working on a number, and I am really glad to have the impetus to sit down and write them and the opportunity to finally share them.

Getting Set…

Each post will be shared here and published by midday European time each day. If you’re stateside then they’ll be up by the time you’re awake so you can enjoy with your morning cuppa or breakie. You can bookmark the PSYJuly 2021 homepage for easy access to the latest posts over the month. And finally, I invite you to join us in celebrating psychedelics during this time.

Last year I started day one answering the question: Why Psychedelics?

This year, I’m delighted to announce we have author Julian Vayne with a special adapted section from his modern classic Getting Higher, on a fittingly following theme:
Why take psychedelic drugs?

See you tomorrow!


PSYJuly 2021 psychedeelic carnival

PSYJuly 2021 is a online celebration of Psychedelics!

From 1st – 31st July 2021, one blog post about psychedelics will be published each day here on Maps of the Mind.

Last year I did PSYJuly largely as a solo project, writing and publishing 30 posts in 31 days, and featuring one guest post. I had an incredible time over the month and enjoyed connecting with my readers. This year, emerging from the isolation of corona, I would like to explore collaboration and community, so I am opening it up to feature writings from psychedelic bloggers, writers, explorers, activists and other psychedelic people from around the world.

I will also likely host a group call or two through the month to allow a space for readers, participants and contributors to connect. That will depend on how it’s going and expressed interest in this idea.


The intentions for PSYJuly 2021 are:

  • To share information amongst psychedelic explorers and enthusiasts. To create an event and place to collect and share experience, ideas, and wisdom.
  • To build bridges amongst the psychedelic community. To create connections at a time where there are tensions within the movement. To encourage collaboration and conversation over infighting.
  • To offer a platform to emerging or aspiring writers, or experienced psychedelic explorers without a channel.

Will any of this cost anything?

No, it will be entirely free!

Would you like to take part?

If you would like to contribute and feel you have something valuable to share, submissions for blog posts are now open!

Some themes that I am currently leaning towards are:

  • How to: practical advice for psychedelic explorers
  • Tips, tricks & resources
  • Integration
  • Community
  • Personal stories, especially those willing to share their mistakes and lessons that were learned
  • Working in psychedelics
  • The psychedelic movement

That said, the only hard and fast criteria is that the piece is somehow about psychedelics, so if you have something else you would like to contribute, I invite you to make a submission. Length and format of blog post are flexible, I will personally read all submissions.

The post could be:

  • a text post
  • a video post
  • an audio post
  • a post linking to other resources
  • a list post

    Or something else that I haven’t thought of.

The lower word limit for text posts is 700 words.

The deadline for submissions is midnight CET June 18th.

Why make a submission?

For yourself, it will be an opportunity to connect with others, be part of a fun event, and gain exposure for your work.

But above all, you will be helping to spread the gifts of psychedelics and contributing to this exciting movement.

How to make a submission

You can make a submission by sending me a message via the contact form. Be sure to include the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your website (that you’d like linked when the article is published
  3. A short bio
  4. A link to a previously published article or blog post on psychedelics (if applicable)
  5. A summary or outline of the post you’d like to write (No more than 300 words)

If you have one, you are encouraged to publish the post through your own website or channel, with a link back to the carnival hub page on Maps of the Mind. Further details will be included once your submission is accepted.

There are a total of 30 spots available. If there are not enough relevant submissions, I will fill the empty slots and write the remaining posts. I will review all submissions and contact all successful applicants by June 19th. You will then be given a date in July to submit your piece by and any other relevant details.

Can I just read, follow along or partake without writing or submitting anything?

Absolutely. The purpose of PSYJuly is to create information to share and open channels for connection. I hope you’ll join along in whatever role it may be.

If there is anyone you know who might be interested, please pass this along with them.

I look forward to hosting PSYJuly and further spreading the gifts of psychedelics this summer!

john robertson psychonaut

Hello. My name is John Robertson and I am a Psychonaut. 

john robertson psychonaut

A psychonaut is someone who uses psychedelic substances as tools of exploration. Exploration of the mind, of reality, of the universe. Like cosmonauts, psychonauts willingly enter into the unknown on a mission of discovery. We are explorers.

This year marks 10 years of being a psychonaut with my first psychedelic experience in late 2011. My use of psychedelics has evolved over time and so has my relationship with them. In the name of openness, today I’ll share what my current use looks like, including styles, intentions, substances, and frequency.

Psychedelic Therapy Style Method

I use psychedelics in many different ways but of the classic psychedelics my most common use is that of a psychedelic therapy style.

This means taking a medium to high dose in a comfortable and controlled indoor environment. I use headphones and an eye mask, while listening to a preselected playlist of music from start to finish. The headphones to immerse me in the experience, with the music acting as a type of guide, and the eye mask helps to keep my attention directed inwards.

I sometimes do this with friends but more often I do this alone. I find doing it alone really allows me to let go: I can express myself freely without worry of disturbing someone else. This might be sobbing, weeping, laughing, talking to myself out loud, groaning, grunting or making other animalistic or primal expressions. It may also be moving my body in some way like shaking, pacing around the room or even beating my chest. 

When working alone I have a set procedure that I follow and have built through practice. On the day, my ritual includes putting my phone on airplane mode, saying a prayer and giving thanks, and writing down my intention and saying it out loud before I consume the dose. I also close the ceremony by giving thanks and finally ringing a bell. It includes various preparation and integration practices, such as clearing in the days before, checking in with both of my parents, and journaling while listening to the playlist again on the day after the session.

I find this type of session to be the most useful thing I can do to gain access to the hidden realms of my psyche, to make the unconscious conscious, and to gain a better understanding and acceptance of myself. It helps to clarify things for me and I nearly always come out of a session with an extremely clear sense of where my heart wants to go and what I need to do next in my life.

I use this style of session as a tool for personal growth and view it as a foundational part of my spiritual practice.

These days I almost exclusively use psilocybin, though I have used LSD in the past and had great results. 

Exploring for Fun

I also use psychedelics in more casual ways and often with the express intention of having fun with friends. This may be inside, it could also be outside. The one thing that is consistent is that I like to be well prepared in terms of equipment, such as basics like having some food, drinks or snacks ready, and comfortable spaces to lie down with blankets. I also, like in the psychedelic therapy style, always write down all the doses I take and the times I take them. If I’m out or at a friends’ place, I will do this in my pocket notebook which I take everywhere with me.

I also like to give some thought to the types of things we might want to do beforehand, and may prepare things to entertain or amuse myself or the group with. These may be things to look at, things to touch, ponder, or experience. For example, music videos, wikipedia articles, or pieces of visual art.

When exploring for fun it is usually with LSD or 2C-B and sometimes combined with MDMA. Nitrous oxide has also often been in the mix in the past, but that is less common and more reserved for special occasions these days. Still, hitting a gas on a candy flip is something that I think every psychonaut should try once in their lives 😉

Between Fun and Therapeutic

Though I place the highest value on the classic psychedelics, I also use non-classic psychedelics such as MDMA and ketamine for having a comfortable exploration at home. This is usually a mixture of growth oriented introspective style work and a fun exploration of ideas or themes. I sometimes also mix in 2C-B for this type of session and have enjoyed trying different combinations of these three substances. I also like to experiment with different types of ratios in terms of dose and timing of doses, and sometimes also blend in some marijuana to mix it up and increase entropy in my streams of thoughts and experience.

For introspective style work, I do journaling to explore my thoughts and feelings. Generally the content is often about my relationships with others, things I’d like to do such as lifestyle changes or experiments, and ideas around creative and professional projects.

For the fun exploration of ideas or themes I will also explore with certain materials like music or art and journal about them.

I also like to do things which are a little more creatively ambitious which may extend over the course of multiple sessions to create a deeper exploration and expression. For example, during lockdown this year I explored the theme of ‘the Loner’ and loneliness. This is something I identify with and, living with two couples and not being allowed contact with anyone else for 2 months, this came up strongly for me. I explored it by creating a playlist of songs on the theme, reading the wikipedia pages of loneliness and solitude, and gave myself expression by writing and recording a punk song: ‘Loner’. It was awesome.

On more casual sessions like this I will also often just have an open free association brainstorm kind of thing just using pen and paper to externalise thoughts and ideas so I can see them and more easily make new connections.

Normally sessions will not be either therapeutic or fun, but a mix of both, always with the therapeutic and more challenging content coming up at the start of the session before giving way to a more relaxed tone and sense of agency about where I want to put my attention.

Psycholytic Style

I also do this type of fun/therapy session occasionally with a good friend of mine. We use ketamine as it is his preferred substance. Likewise, the first section of the session we generally do more therapeutically oriented work, and we will go for a more psycholytic style approach, using our conversation and interaction as a means to to dig in to and look closely at perceptions and feelings, question beliefs, reach deeper levels of understanding, and ultimately find some resolution with current issues in our lives. We also sometimes do role plays, acting out interactions with different people in our lives who we currently have tension with, and look at quotes from our favourite philosophers.


I am a huge fan of music in general and just love listening to music on all psychedelic substances. I also occasionally like going to concerts and taking something. For example, a couple years ago, I went with some friends to see one of my faves Kurt Vile at the Kulturastrahaus and for the whole show just danced my little heart out down front. 

One of my more recent all time favorite life experiences was taking 2C-B with MDMA and seeing the-man-the-myth-the-legend, Ty Segall. Front row I got absolutely pounded in a tornado of thumping guitars that swept through the core of my being and left me mixed parts obliterated and exhilarated. Yeah, just awesome.

Nature Connection

Less often I take psychedelics out in nature so I guess I’m more of a city psychonaut. However, I think that is mostly due to the fact of psychedelics being illegal and my uncomfortable feelings of being outside and exposed in an uncontrolled environment. After all, psychedelics can and often do increase feelings of sensitivity and vulnerability. That is, however, something I would like to change because I would like to deepen my appreciation of the beauty of the natural world.

How often I take psychedelics

The frequency of my use really varies season-by-season and year-by-year. My practice and use, like life and myself, is a living, evolving thing. I do try to make time for psychedelic therapy style sessions at least a few times a year but there isn’t a set pattern that I stick to. Use of the non classics is more regular, even though I would say it is less beneficial. That is because my psychedelic therapy style sessions are a bigger deal, a 2-3 day affair, also with the added preparation time needed in the run up. They require more from me, in time and energy commitment, so it is harder to fit in. Still, I think I do a decent job.

For example, in 2019 I did around ten sessions with classic psychedelics, (about half in psychedelic therapy style), and ten-fifteen with non-classics. Last year, overall use increased with corona and I had around nine sessions with classics, and fifteen or so with non classics. So far in 2021, I have had two experiences with the classics, and a fair few of the non-classics to get me through a protracted lockdown.

I also sometimes microdose psilocybin or LSD but not often or with any kind of consistent frequency. 

My Name is John Robertson

Up until now I have written and worked under the name John Andrew. Andrew is my middle name and I first used this name before I was working in the psychedelic field.

At the time I had just finished a stint of three years as an English teacher and I was taking something of a sabbatical to travel. I was hoping to make it as a blogger but I wasn’t sure if at some point I would need to go back to teaching English or find some other kind of more conventional job to give myself another injection of cash that would enable to go on doing the types of projects that were closer to my heart.

I was worried about potential employers googling me and finding my blog writing about all my crazy and illegal psychedelic adventures and ultimately limiting my options and ability to work. It is kind of sad that I felt I had to hide such a huge part of what I see as a beautiful and core part of my identity but such was my predicament.

I used the name John Andrew for jobs such as workshops and public talks and continued to use it as I entered more deeply into the wider psychedelic network. When finally committing to full-time psychedelic work some years later I thought that it would be kind of fun to continue using what had become my pen and now psychedelic name. After all, having a pen name is kind of cool, and I also wanted to build on the name I’d started to establish.

By this point it was not that I was really hiding it from anyone that was important to me. I revealed my psychedelic side to both of my parents at the time of their separation. With everything that was going on I felt the need to reach a much deeper level of openness and honesty with both of them. I wanted them to really know their son. 

Initially my Dad was more accepting than my Mum and he was actually a huge support to me in the founding of the New Moon Psychedelic Retreat project which launched in 2019. He encouraged me to follow my heart and seeing that I had clarity on what I wanted to do, he pushed me to fully go for it. That is what I did and I committed myself to a project of a scope that I had never taken on before. I put a part of my heart and soul in to New Moon in a way that was a deeply meaningful and formative experience.

Since then it has then now come the point where people know me through my public psychedelic work and will actually call out to me as John Andrew. Or people closer to me know that my name is John Robertson, but they’ve also seen my name around as John Andrew and there is some kind of confusion. It’s not really that I was trying to keep those sides separate in recent years, it’s just that I had used that name for a while and just thought it would be more convenient to continue using it.

I now want to clear up this confusion and be called by my family name for my work. This is me taking one more step on my path of long term integration.

I am John Robertson.

And I fucking love psychedelics.