In this edition of the Psychedelic Parenting Podcast, Jonathan sits down with Dr. Katherine MacLean, PhD. Katherine is formerly of the Johns Hopkins University’s Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit (BPRU), the home of the well-known Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Studies, where she held space for healthy individuals while under the influence of synthetic psilocybin. While at Hopkins, Katherine was the lead author on the paper “Mystical Experiences Occasioned by the Hallucinogen Psilocybin Lead to Increases in the Personality Domain of Openness”, and was instrumental in creating the currently ongoing study looking at the effects of psilocybin on people with a long-term mediation practice.
She is currently, with her husband, John, living and working at Happy Acres Farm in Sherman, CT, raising free-range chickens, grass-fed cattle, and a milk-fed infant. Katherine is also currently involved in a project building psychedelic community and support in New York City called the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program with Ingmar Gorman at New York’s New School.
During our conversation, Katherine discusses her path to motherhood, though her medicine work, Buddhist meditation, and the loss of her sister from cancer. She discusses the question of whether we should let our infants “learn to self-soothe,” or should we commit ourselves to holding space for them 100% in their early years. She discusses how motherhood is a contract to being open to sacrifice and suffering.
Katherine and Jonathan also discuss the ways that our culture of “Protestant work ethic” contributes to disconnection from the self, how it minimizes the importance of being with, and caring for, ourselves and our loved ones in the moments of birth, death, and pain. They also re-imagine a new form of work that gives birth to future labs, offices, and kitchens where career and home life will be harmonized and balanced.
Topics and websites discussed in this podcast:
- Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Studies
- “My Experience as a Guide in the Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Research Project” by Mary Cosimano (MAPS Bulletin, Winter 2014)
- The Center for Mindful Learning Zen Center in Johnson, VT