Robert "Rio" Hahn
Track: Psychedelics – Science, Spirituality and Therapeutic Potential
The Sacred Datura Plant, Potential New Therapeutic Tool
Plants have been used since time immemorial for the treatment of a variety of physical, psychological, and spiritual disorders. Sacred plants have been used as a curative for man's disconnection with his biosphere, the effects of which are today threatening our very existence. In this day of synthetic high cost "miracle drugs,” many plants have been overlooked as curative sources. Notable amongst these is Datura, one of the most revered and feared plants, which may hold hitherto unexplored promise as a modern therapeutic tool. Knowledge of Datura’s intoxicating effects dates back to pre-history and its use can be found in the earliest Sanskrit and Chinese texts, as well as in Egyptian iconography. Traditional cultures treated Datura with cautious respect, and it has been associated with sorcery and witchcraft. In the Sanskritic period, Indian medicine used Datura for treating mental and bodily disorders. In Amerindian cultures, Datura is used during puberty initiation rituals and as an aid in acquiring an ally. It has been used in homeopathy to treat rage and violence and as a treatment for ADHD. Physician Anton von Störck (17301803) proposed Datura as a cure for mental disorders, and doctor Samuel Cooper in 1797 used it in studying the mind, which led him to encourage the search for other such plants. Today, Datura’s psychoactive alkaloid, scopolamine, is used for motion sickness, as a bronchodilator for asthma relief, and in cold medicines to dry out the mucous membranes. Despite its widespread psychological use in traditional cultures, and early recognition in both Eastern and Western medicine as a treatment for mental illness, very little, if any work has been done with it as a modern therapeutic tool. Datura grows as a weed in many regions of the world, and remains a legal non-controlled, perhaps even non-controllable, plant of great therapeutic potential. Datura's unique qualities offer an opportunity for new research in widespread psychological applications.
Track: Holotropic Art as an Expression of Inner Process
Workshop: Mind Mirrors: Learning to SEE in a Heightened State of Awareness
Expression of one's inner processes through art offers tremendous potential for therapeutic work. In order to facilitate this work it is useful to have a tool that allows you to mirror your psyche. As Titus Burckhardt stated, "The mirror is the immediate symbol of spiritual contemplation, and indeed of knowledge (gnosis) in general, for it portrays the union of subject and object." Oliver Wendell Holmes further observed that a "photograph is a mirror with a memory," suggesting a tool that is today easily accessible to anyone. The world-renown photographer Minor White created such a tool. In the Mind Mirrors workshop you will learn to see in a heightened state of awareness using previously unpublished exercises for seeing contained in my new book, "Mind Mirrors, Minor White and the Art of Seeing." In 1946, Ansel Adams founded and Minor White directed, the first fine-art photography department in the US at the CA School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Inst.). White in his workshops developed the unique exercises. Artist turned mystic, White drew on his studies of hypnosis, Jung, Underhill, Herrigel, Blake, Ouspensky, and Gurdjieff, working with a personal student of Gurdjieff's. White found most extraordinarily, that as seeing develops, your perception and experience of yourself changes, affecting all levels of your being. You begin to see, where before you were only looking, even though you may have called it seeing. To make any real change in yourself, you have to change the way you see. In learning to see you expand your awareness and deepen your understanding of yourself and the world. In this workshop you will not work with cameras, you will work with yourself, beginning with entering a meditative state of mind and proceeding to learn how to induce a heightened state of awareness that can be applied as and where you desire. The exercises are best done in a workshop environment, so this conference offers a great opportunity to begin this valuable work.
Rio Hahn began consciousness work with behaviorists Ray Birdwhistle and Irving Goffman at the Annenberg Graduate School, U. of Pennsylvania, where Hahn received his degree. Work with Minor White at MIT led to Hahn's new book, Mind Mirrors, unique exercises for learning to see in a higher state of consciousness. An explorer, he is a Founding Member of the Society for Ethnopharmacolgy, a Fellow of both The Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Society. He was Scientific Chief for a two-year ethnopharmacological Amazon expedition working with shamans, with participants Terrance and Dennis McKenna and Wade Davis. Hindu Sanskrit scholar and yogi, Swami Dharmjoyti, initiated Hahn into the unprecedented oral use of the psychoactive plant Datura in Nepal. This work, presented to the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and published in the English and German editions of the Entheogen Review, led his friend, LSD discoverer Albert Hofmann, to name him Dr. Psychedelica. As an ethnobotanical explorer, Hahn brings a unique perspective to consciousness studies and their application in modern therapy. He is now exploring the use of the legal Datura plant as a new therapeutic tool.