Eva Césarová is one of the organizers behind Beyond Psychedelics 2018, a premier psychedelic conference in Prague that will feature luminaries such as Amanda Fielding, Rick Doblin, Julian Vayne, and many others. We spoke with Eva recently about her involvement with the Czech Psychedelic Society, the upcoming Beyond Psychedelics conference, and her own personal journey into the world of psychedelic healing and advocacy.
Thanks so much for speaking with us Eva. Beyond Psychedelics 2018 looks to be an amazing event, but before we speak about that I’m curious about your story. How did you find yourself involved with the Czech Psychedelic Society?
My journey went a bit the other way around. I fell for techno music when I was about eighteen and spent couple of years “partying hard”, surfing the realms of trance states with altered consciousness. My friend and now colleague Rita Kočárová went to Takiwasi in Peru (where they heal addictions with the use of ayahuasca) for an internship, and came back with an idea of a society promoting psychedelic science. Thanks to some life circumstances I moved to Prague around that time. Two weeks later the Czech Psychedelic Society had its first meeting and I was invited to participate as a friend and also a person studying marketing and media. So I was the only one with no psychological education (and actually with no clue). Nowadays, all that I do is related to psychedelics, science, addictions and altered states of consciousness. I even changed my university study field to get a master’s degree in Addictology.
Was your own introduction to psychedelics recreational or spiritual? When did you realize that psychedelics had profound healing potential?
Purely recreational. Although my first mushroom experience was in nature with a friend- so fortunately not at a party- we did not know what we are dealing with. Mushrooms are a quite common first psychedelic for young people in the Czech Republic. My friend’s ex-boyfriend was nicknamed “Mushroom” and he said they were good, so we trusted him. When I used recreationally I knew that it was a sort of self-medication and helped me to sort out a lot of things, but I was very disconnected from myself. My first deeply spiritual experience and self-realisation came with ayahuasca, almost eight years later after the mushrooms.
Out of all the different areas that psychedelics touch on- personal growth, drug policy changes, cultural changes, mental health, brain research- which aspect appeals to you the most?
It’s funny but it’s actually one that you did not mention. For me the most important aspect of psychedelics is spirituality. I believe that they can give meaning to our life. I believe psychedelics are a great tool for personal growth, but it is actually really hard to go on that path, and you can not go back, I must say.
On the other hand, most of my work is related to the fields you mentioned. I recently attended my third Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna and I am interested in drug policy as we are getting to the point where the “setting” of the whole structure needs a complete reset. I’m coordinating the communications and event production of the Czech Psychedelic Society in order to raise up the awareness about entheogens and psychedelic science among the general public. And I’m also working for the National Institute of Mental Health as a media person for the psychedelic research and upcoming PSYchedelic RESearch Foundation. I think we need to connect all of the information and experiences available in order to move further ahead in the best way possible.
Awesome. Is there anything you are particularly proud of in relation to Beyond Psychedelics 2018?
This year we are trying to involve the Czech public much more through smaller events that surround the conference. The program of Prague Psychedelic Week covers a large number of venues, concerts, performances, theater, workshops, experiences, etc. We are also dedicated to going more “green” on the production side, which is very important for me personally.
Is there a particular speaker or panel at Beyond Psychedelics 2018 that you are especially excited about?
We are dedicating a fair amount of focus to the shadow side of psychedelics, because there are many dark corners we need to be mindful us, and I am excited to see what will come of that. Recently I met the Dagga Couple from South Africa who are suing the state over the human right of using cannabis. And they have agreed to come, they have a lot to say.
How can people attend or support Beyond Psychedelics 2018?
They can find more information on the website www.beyondpsychedelics.cz. We review all inquiries and it is possible for those interested to get involved with many various projects.
In closing, what advice would you give to a young person who is interested in supporting the psychedelic movement?
For me, the moment I got involved it completely changed my whole life. So first of all, be aware! Then I would say: Find the others. Get involved. Talk with your peers. As soon as people understand that we are dealing with powerful medicines, we will be ready to use them properly.
We are very grateful to Eva for sharing her story and speaking with us about Beyond Psychedelics 2018. To learn more or buy tickets, click here.