Françoise Bourzat is a counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area. In collaboration with healers in Huautla de Jimenez, Mexico, she has practiced and guided ceremonies with sacred mushrooms for the last 30 years. She teaches at CIIS in San Francisco, runs online courses and lectures in various institutions. She is one of the lead investigators in an FDA approved research on psilocybin assisted therapy for Covid related grief in Los Angeles. She trains psychedelic guides internationally and is the author of the book entitled Consciousness Medicine, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA
Françoise Bourzat is counsellor trained in Somatic Psychology And body-centred psychotherapy. And she works as a guide for people working with expanded states of consciousness for healing. She now trains others to be therapists and facilitators and teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She trained for twenty years in the indigenous Mazatec tradition of healing with psilocybin mushrooms and is the author of the book Consciousness Medicine: Indigenous Wisdom, Entheogens, and Expanded States of Consciousness for Healing and Growth which is what we talk about today.
The premise is simple: Two highly accomplished women in Psyolcybin therapy – one in scientific research and the other in traditional medicine – come together to share and compare notes.
The theory is a bit more complicated: the discourse that unfolds in this episode is like hyphae (mind’s) meeting and together nourishing (conversing) a larger mycelial network (the conversation itself) to fruit (the episode) and spore (you listening to it). And, hopefully, the ideas will hypha in you and, eventually, the process will repeat through further discourse, inoculating the culture at large.
Lofty goals, I know, but not unreasonable given the brilliant wealth of knowledge, experience, and wisdom each of these women—Francoise Bourzat and Rosalind Watts—bring to the conversation.
Recent research into the healing potential of psychedelic substances has sparked a resurgence of interest in LSD, mushrooms, and other mind-expanding psychotropic substances. Yet without adequate preparation and counseling during and after the use of psychedelics, much of the transformative potential of these experiences is lost.
Francoise Bourzat’s work provides clear guidance for people using psychedelics and other transformational processes for healing or for their spiritual development, as well as for the therapists who are guiding them along the journey.
Consciousness Medicine: Conversations with Françoise Bourzat about Bridging an Ancient Lineage with Traditional Psychotherapy
In this conversation, we talk about Francoise’s personal experience and journey into psychedelics, the special magic of mushrooms, and the work that she is currently doing to address some of the very real problems we face in the world now.
What you will learn:
How psychedelics can facilitate a process of liberation, open fields of compassion and allow a person to feel/heal more deeply
Some characteristics of indigenous traditions and the unique ways in which they educate individuals to do medicine work; how to ensure respect while engaging in practices from other cultures
Why a guide is so important in psychedelic work, and how Francoise is bridging the gap between ancient traditions and contemporary psychotherapy
How psilocybin may be able to support the mental health pandemic and the complex grief that so many face with losses due to Covid 19
What it’s been like as a woman working in the psychedelic space
Hard-won insights and knowledge on spiritual awakening, psychedelics, cannabis, and the future of humanity. Inspirational interviews with visionaries and thought-leaders.
Babble with a Pyschonaut
“This was an absolutely amazing discussion with Francoise Bourzat, the highly respected Psychologist behind the book Consciousness Medicine. If you have a respect for psychedelia and the healing effects it can have in the proper (and legal) settings, her book and this episode is for you. We talk briefly about rave/party culture, her book, and some new research in the field of psychedelic psychotherapy. You don’t want to miss this one!”
Clever Creature with Jason Gots
“What if faith is paradoxically what we need the most/in these Facebook days when everything is giving up the ghost?” The random word of the episode—”Lace”—plants a seed that grows into a trip-hop tune about cognitive biases, an existential weird-fiction detective story, and a deep dive with Consciousness Medicine author Françoise Bourzat on psychedelics and psychological healing.”
Consciousness Medicine with Françoise Bourzat
Fungi Day: Women Psychedelic Leaders
Join some of the many women leading the psychedelic movement to discuss the current challenges and possibilities we face to birth the use of psychedelics during this critical time. Featuring: Pam Kryskow, MD, Researcher, Educator, Physician Mary Cosimano, M.S.W, Johns Hopkins University Amy Emerson, MAPS Executive Director and Director of Clinical Research Francoise Bourzat, Therapist and Author Moderated by Marcina Hale, Therapist and Filmmaker
Fungi Day: Shift in Consciousness
Featuring Futurist and Storyteller Jason Silva, Mycologist Paul Stamets, Anthropologist and Author Jeremy Narby, Therapist and Author Francoise Bourzat and moderated by Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg.
We have to shift our consciousness to gain the perspective we need to bring about change. We have not changed our behavior in response to the science and the facts. We need to speak to the heart, to understand how we are all connected, because we will protect what we love.
There are many culturally specific names for the psilocybin mushrooms, some begin, others revering. Each name, however, carries a complex of meaning that reflects where the mushrooms reside in that cultural context of use. That context, internal and external, positions the mushrooms in relationship to the user, and the user in relationship to the mushrooms. The meaningness of those relationships informs the subjective nuances of the mushroom experience, awakening (or officiating) the profound value they might offer us in becoming better, healthier, happier people.
Weaving Worlds: Indigenous Traditions & Western Psychotherapy with Eugenia Casimiro, Mazatec healer; Françoise Bourzat, guide and autoher; interviewed by Ismail Ali of MAPS
The powerful healer and teacher Francoise Bourzat joins Daniel Ahearn to discuss Plant-Medicine and the process and potential of this technology. It is a powerful conversation and a deeply rewarding experience hearing her share her wisdom.
Mt. Tam Psilocybin Summit, September, 2019
New Dimensions Radio
“Sabina’s legacy of bringing magic mushrooms to the West lives on—perhaps more powerfully than she could ever have imagined. Today, psilocybin-assisted therapy is on the precipice of FDA approval and already a billion-dollar industry. As we enter a new phase of an ancient experiment in the use of mind-expanding plant compounds for healing purposes, the story of María Sabina serves as a cautionary tale for the emerging psychedelic pharma industry—and a reminder of the long and complicated history of these medicines.”
“Through our healing process, expanded states can teach us to have compassion and love for the child who endured and invite our healthy, original self to trust in life again.
Perhaps the greatest gift expanded states of consciousness offer is the opportunity to reconnect with the aspect of ourselves that is always already whole. Beyond the wounds and belief systems exists an original, essential being. This is the self that remains unscathed, wise, and healthy despite all we have endured. It is the innocent self that entered childhood, expecting the environment to be safe and loving and caretakers to be respectful and kind. Through our healing process, expanded states can teach us to have compassion and love for the child who endured and invite our healthy, original self to trust in life again.”
“One of the key aims of integration, Bourzat explains, is to carry the beneficial aspects of the psychedelic journey into everyday life. ‘If someone had a beautiful experience of nature, and in the journey they experienced beautiful birds, a meadow, then I would say you actually need to do that in your life. You need to cultivate that experience, and maintain that goodness that you connected with in the journey,’ she says. ‘Or say someone connected with a loved one they had lost, and felt love and tenderness and dealt with unfinished business in the journey, then I would suggest some ritual in real life – writing to the deceased person or beginning a journal and making that part of their life.’”
Francoise Bourzat on Medium, May, 2020
“My work in guiding people through mushroom experiences has shown me, over and over, that everyone wants a better harmony with themselves, their family and the world around them. As our current societal conversation starts to include the world of psychedelics and their promise for treatments, the interest in creating companies around their manufacturing and distribution is starting to rapidly emerge.
Some of the leaders in this field have consulted with me, and I have heard some investors and entrepreneurs share their own “come to Jesus” moments during psychedelic experiences; they connected with their pain or their isolation and somehow, they landed in the graced space of peace. And as they did so, they woke up to the sacred nature of the psychedelic experience itself.”
Francoise Bourzat with Kristina Hunter, Utne Reader Online, August 2019
Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.
“Over many millennia, humans have explored the vast reaches of our planet: its deserts, oceans, mountain ranges, and forests. Throughout our evolution we have developed numerous civilizations, cultures, languages, weapons, and foods. We have discovered and studied animals, plants, fungi, and minerals. Meanwhile, for as long as we have been exploring our external world, we have pursued the equally fascinating realms of our inner world. There is evidence that humans have been exploring consciousness for thousands of years.”
Francoise Bourzat, MAPS Bulletin Spring 2019: Vol. 29, No. 1
“In indigenous cultures, because ritual is woven in with day-to-day life, there is less of a need for intentional integration practices. The community often engages in ritual as a group, and each person is likely to receive support from friends and family. The person facilitating the ritual, the local curandera or shaman, often lives in the village and can keep an eye on those who were present. In our modern industrialized world, while rituals and ceremonies are gaining popularity in many communities and cultures, many journeyers return to their family, work, or school, after an extraordinary experience and find there is minimal appreciation or understanding from others. This leaves many journeyers with few people to connect with and a potential sense of isolation. Thus, the integration process is something we must intentionally create in order to honor these experiences in the best way.”
April 26, 2019, Dan Lattin, San Francisco Magazine
“Françoise Bourzat, who offers “shamanic counseling” out of offices in Noe Valley and on the Peninsula, has been leading magic mushroom pilgrimages to Mexico for the past 20 years. She works with medicine women of the Mazatec tribe in Huautla de Jiménez, a town in the state of Oaxaca. The mushroom cult in that remote village was “discovered” in a famous 1957 Life magazine profile of the healer María Sabina, who blended shamanic rituals and Catholic devotional practices.”
Sacred Mushrooms of the Mazatec Tradition: Transforming the Inner Landscape of the Human Psyche on Chacruna.net
April 5, 2019, Chacruna.net
“What I have learned from Julieta, beyond her words, is that this path of healing is about an intimate relationship with the Earth; it is about people walking on the mountain trails with awe and of seeing the fog filling the valley in the evening. This path is about community, it is about the children and an entire family living in a large compound where people laugh, cry, argue, and stay together. It is about how the marketplace is the heart of a town where people meet and interact. This path of healing is made of these many aspects, creating a life of wholeness and connectedness.”