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Sacred Medicine and the Psyche: An Introduction to Psychedelic Exploration

October 3, 2022 – December 2, 2022

Eight Weeks Online | Offered Live via Zoom

Program Description

Known by many names – psychedelics, entheogens, sacred or plant medicines, allies, hallucinogens – the substances opening the psyche to the depths of the personal and collective unconscious are once again in the news in the midst of what has been called a “psychedelics renaissance.” Thousands of Westerners journey every year to the Amazon basin or Central America in search of spiritual awakening with Ayahuasca or San Pedro, while as many underground groups gather in cities around the world for sacred ceremony with these and other medicines. Individual exploration of psychedelics has not ceased with the passing of the 1960s and appears to be growing. Meanwhile, respected researchers at prominent universities and research facilities are once again demonstrating the value of substances such as psilocybin, MDMA, and other psychedelics in healing from trauma, addiction, anxiety, and depression – and in finding comfort and peace with terminal illness.

This eight-week online course places the contemporary exploration of psychedelics within the context of depth psychology and the individual lifelong path of individuation. Whether or not one has personal interest in experiencing psychedelics, considering the power and particularities of these various substances provides insight into the depths of the body-mind-spirit and the possibility of connection to collective or universal realms. For those with an interest in exploring psychedelics, the course will provide basic grounding in theoretical frameworks, factors that impact experience, and best practices to maximize safe journeys. Attention will be given to issues of cultural misappropriation, ethics, shadow, and legalities, as well as the growing study of the correlations between particular experiences in psychedelics and the planetary placements in the experiencer’s natal and transit charts as shown by archetypal astrology.


Presented by Pacifica Graduate Institute and the Institute of Transpersonal and Archetypal Studies (ITAS)
Pacifica Graduate Institute and the Institute of Transpersonal and Archetypal Studies (ITAS)


Course Details

  • A detailed syllabus comprising suggested reading and multi-media viewing each week to deepen context and suggest avenues for further exploration
  • Online discussion assignments via D2L learning platform
  • A pre-recorded lecture for each of the eight modules
  • Live two-hour Zoom sessions with Jay Dufrechou each Wednesday at 1pm Pacific Time (4 pm ET, 9 pm GMT/BST). Recordings of each session will be made available via the online learning platform
  • Course log-in information will be sent out 7-10 days prior to start date

Who is the course for?

  • People interested in the history of human exploration of inner worlds through sacred medicines, including healing practices through ceremony and in present-day clinical settings
  • Depth psychologists and therapists of any orientation wishing to better understand the experiences of clients exploring psychedelics or drawn to the exploration, including techniques for integration of experiences
  • Other professionals of various specializations (physicians, nurses, clergy, sitters) interested in supporting people in the growing lawful settings for psychedelic-assisted therapies
  • “Psychonauts” desiring to increase their theoretical and practical grounding in ways of working with psychedelics for a variety of purposes
  • Educators, researchers and life-long learners interested in the sociology of the “psychedelics renaissance,” including the fascinating contrast between paradigms (e.g., materialist-scientific vs. depth psychology-transpersonal vs. indigenous-spiritual-religious)
  • Astrologers interested in the possibility of using archetypal astrology to predict the nature of particular psychedelics experiences and optimize integration of experiences (the work of Stanislav Grof and Richard Tarnas)

What will you gain by taking the course?

  1. Familiarity with the place of sacred medicines in world history and culture, including the contemporary moment
  2. Basic understanding of the maps of consciousness and theories of healing and psychopathology emerging from the study of psychedelics experiences, particularly the work of Stanislav Grof, and comparison to Jung’s understanding of the psyche and analytical therapy
  3. Working knowledge of the similarities and differences between the substances falling under the psychedelic panoply with respect to typical experiences, origins, cultural milieu, benefits for particular psychological challenges, and perils and promise
  4. Appreciation of the cultural shadow and psycho-social complexities involving psychedelics, including issues of cultural misappropriation, addiction, law, projection and politics
  5. An introduction to the basic theoretical and practical underpinnings for applying archetypal astrology to working with psychedelics, including considering the timing of psychedelics journeys, intentions, integration, and working with experiences in ongoing therapy

Overview of weekly topics

Module 1: Introduction to psychedelics in history and culture
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Module 2: The transpersonal model emerging from the work of Stanislav Grof, including a comparison with Jungian psychology
Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Module 3: Psychedelics as Nonspecific Amplifiers of the Psyche: the role of set and setting; factors that influence experiences with psychedelics
Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Module 4: LSD – Psilocybin – current research – and contrasting paradigms
Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Module 5: MDMA, Ketamine, Iboga, and movement toward lawful clinics
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Module 6: Ayahuasca – Peyote – San Pedro – Jaguar/Toad Medicine (5-MeO-DMT) – cultural appropriation issues
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Module 7: Archetypal Astrology and Psychedelics Experiences
Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Module 8: Shadow, Addiction, Cultural Issues, Perils and Promises
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Program Details


Eight weeks online
October 3, 2022 – December 2, 2022
(there will be a one-week break Nov. 21-25 for the Thanksgiving Holiday)


  • $450 Pacifica Student Rate
  • $525 Pacifica Alumni, Full Time Students, & Senior Rate
  • $650 General Rate

About the Teacher

Jay Dufrechou PhDJay Dufrechou, PhD, took a break from his law career in the mid-90s to follow his spiritual experiences into the study of transpersonal psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), now Sofia University. His dissertation research into experiences of grief, weeping and other deep emotions in response to nature became his book, Moving through Grief: Reconnecting with Nature. Jay has taught as adjunct faculty for ITP/Sofia, including supervising dissertation research, and most recently taught an online course on Psychedelics: Clinical and Research Applications. Along with Ryan Westrum, Jay is the author of The Psychedelics Integration Handbook. Jay co-founded the Institute of Transpersonal and Archetypal Studies (ITAS) with Keiron Le Grice and other colleagues. He has studied the work of Stanislav Grof extensively, including training in the facilitation of holotropic breathwork, and is currently assisting Stanislav and Brigitte Grof in developing programs under Grof Legacy Training.

General Information


Hosted Online


Cancellations 14 days or more prior to the program start date receive a 100% refund of program registrations. After 14 days, up to 7 days prior to the program start date, a 50% refund is available. For cancellations made less than 7 days of program start date, no refund is available.

For additional information, including travel, cancellation policy, and disability services please visit our general information section.

Registration Details

  • Number of Weeks: 8 Weeks 

October 3, 2022 – December 2, 2022