Madison Margolin – Set and Setting – Ep. 26 – A Spiritual Container For Psychedelics with Natalie Lyla Ginsberg

Madison Margolin is joined by Natalie Lyla Ginsberg to discuss how spirituality can act as a container for psychedelic explorations. 

Natalie Lyla Ginsberg co-founded the Jewish Psychedelic Summit with Madison Margolin this past spring. She is also the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Here, she works to disentangle science from political partisanship, and to create safe, equitable and regulated access to psychedelics, and all criminalized substances. Natalie is particularly inspired by psychedelics’ potential to assist in healing intergenerational trauma, for building empathy and community, and for inspiring creative and innovative solutions. She is also partnering with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues to develop a psychedelic peace-building study. Natalie received her B.A. in history from Yale, and her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) from Columbia. Keep up with Natalie on Instagram!

The Root of Trauma // Psychedelic Therapy 

Natalie Lyla Ginsberg always had a strong resonance with ancestral traditions, rituals, and social justice work. During social work school, she worked with incarcerated individuals and highly traumatized people. In her work, she noticed that therapy was very symptom-focused. She grew a curiosity to find the root source of people’s trauma instead of just treating symptoms. This lead her to research drug policy reform and how psychedelics can be used therapeutically.

“I really quickly realized that so much of the trauma that the people I worked with were facing really stemmed from systemic injustices like mass incarceration or policies like the war on drugs.” – Natalie Lyla Ginsberg

For more on trauma and mass incarceration tune into Ep. 10 of Brown Rice Hour: Truth Telling with David Ragland, PhD
The Role of Spirituality in Psychedelic Healing (8:02)

Having a spiritual practice seems to be beneficial in the context of psychedelic healing. When using psychedelics in therapy, often people experience a deep sense of oneness with the divine, with nature, and with other human beings. Spirituality grounds us and gives us a place to understand our experiences from. Natalie feels that psychedelics deepened her relationship with Judaism. This nourishing spiritual connection to religion and ancestors can be called upon during psychedelic trips.

“Even when people don’t have particularly mystical experiences in therapy, even just the framework of listening to your inner intelligence and trusting the magic of your subconscious, understanding your body, that is deeply spiritual.” – Natalie Lyla Ginsberg 

Shabbat and Being Here Now (21:06) 

Sometimes it takes a psychedelic experience for us to appreciate the core practices of our religion. Natalie describes how she used to frown upon doing nothing on Shabbat days. However, after experiencing psychedelics and realizing the power of present-moment awareness, her perspective was changed. She realized that all along Shabbat had that exact same purpose of presence as Be Here Now teaches. There is so much value in sitting with ourselves in stillness.

Check out another episode of Set and Setting to learn more about Judaism, Mysticism, and Being Here Now: Set and Setting – Madison Margolin – Ep. 19 – Jewish Mysticism w/ Benjy Epstein
Ascending Up and Coming Down (37:30)

Psychedelic and mystical experiences are always available to us within our birth religions or spirituality, we may just not know where to look. Psychedelics help us find this source and come back into our roots. When we are on a psychedelic journey, it is like an ascension and religion is the ground. For some, mystical expereinces may not mean as much without being able to see the ground.

“When you’re on a spiritual path it is like an ascent up, and there is something rooting, at least for me, in my ancestry and my history that is grounding to that ascent.” – Natalie Lyla Ginsberg