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Messages - Shy Violet

Ethics and Ecology / Are the tides starting to turn?
December 01, 2017, 08:04:04 AM
I have been feeling somewhat relieved that after years of endless positive PR for the bufo "doctors", in recent weeks, after the release of the Hamilton's pharmacopeia episode on the toad, much dialogue around the unethical practices of these facilitators has sparked up around facebook, and the fabricated myth of the Seris has been finally put into question. It is alarming to see that it appears to be the case that there are already others who are following in on the footsteps of these facilitators, and they are quick to point out that while the Seris did NOT use toad ancestrally, other tribes like the Yaquis and the Tohono did. It was refreshing to see the deleted scene where a Yaqui psychologist and a few Yaqui elders make it clear that while the tribe has a long history of revering the toad in their Konti Bobok procession ceremony, the reason for doing so is not the "ancient sacred medicine ritual", but because of the toad's role in bringing their crops to life with water.

The same woman who facilitated access to the Seri tribe for OR, went to the territory where the Tohono reside two years ago and manipulated them into believing the same string of lies that was used on the Seris, and they of course, bought it too and are now profiteering directly from the toad and even wanting to get political support for a "productive project" (read toad farms) to supply Europe's demand.

As the Yaqui psychologist clearly states in the deleted scene "Ni esta tribu, ni ninguna otra" = "Not this tribe, nor any other" in Sonora ever used toad as medicine. The Mesoamerican cultures is a different story and all i know is that any putative conclusions made about their use are laden with cognitive biases for self-serving purposes.

After a week or so of the newly revamped facebook group that is exposing one of the doctor's fraudulent schemes, i have to say i am feeling a bit dismayed at how that seems to be evolving. I can understand wanting to use comedy to lighten the load of what opening one's eyes to the reality of the situation entails, but i personally find it lacking respect and consideration to the seriousness of the situation.

The herpetologist featured in the above mentioned episode has graciously donated his time posting on the various facebook groups and unlike other posts that have generated high traffic and volumes of comments, his poignant perspective seems to be going largely unnoticed. There are people discussing "seeing in each other in the desert next summer", and that to me is a huge red flag that some people do not get it.

The toads dont need to be saved, no donations need to be made to purchase land to breed them, the toads need to be left alone, undisturbed as they have been over the last 10 million years that they have adapted to the unique landscape of the Sonoran desert.

As i mention in my initial post on this forum:
"The dissonance between what people say and what they do is concerning. Please, let's all wake up and get it right. What a wondrous opportunity this could be to rise above ignorance, greed, and stubbornness. If it wasn't so tragic, it would be almost comical to think that while pursuing enlightenment and healing for the world, we are compromising the viability of the little peaceful creature we claim to love so.  What a powerful lesson the toad is trying to instill in us, don't you think? It is almost like a cosmic test... let's not fail this, let's rise, use our deepest human wisdom and transcend the pattern of anthropocentrism and narcissistic tendencies that have characterized our species. "

I think this is a monumental task because it requires people being really attuned to themselves and open to reflections offered by others in order to become mindful of what may be blindspots in our perspective, as well as the humility to alter one's perception to act in accordance and congruence with one's highest values.

Romantic spiritualism to me represents an ecological disaster waiting to happen. I hope i am wrong, but unfortunately, i get the feeling that while the facebook group is serving an important transitory purpose, it may quickly de-evolve into back and forth commentary that finds a way to justify continuing the summer invasion of the Sonoran desert landscape which will only contribute to the decimation of what people claim to love the most. I trust this forum can serve the purpose of getting us out of that deluded loophople. Thoughts?

Thank you for reading.

Shy Violet :)
Ethics and Ecology / Re: Amphibians on Earth
June 15, 2017, 11:07:19 AM
Dearest Humble Voyager,

Thank you for sparking this discussion, you argue some very good points; I support your excellent observations. It is not surprising that amphibians produce the pharmacological cocktail they do inside their granular glands.

The generalized occurrence of granular glands in the anurans (amphibians without tails) suggests that they represent a primitive character in the order. Again, if we think about it in terms of geological time and adaptive function, amphibians evolved from fish 400 million years ago, and gradually Tiktaalik Roseae (see "Your inner fish" by Neil Shubin) replaced fins with rays reminiscent of fingers to be able to prop itself out of the water, developed spiracles as the foundation for a respiratory system to breathe air that eventually gave way to lungs. Scales, protective cutaneous structures found in the fish and in the earliest amphibians, became unnecessary in the terrestrial environment. What amphibians developed instead of scales were the glands that have played the role of protection of the organism against a number of adverse factors in their new terrestrial environment. (See "Cutaneous granular glands and amphibian venoms" by R.C. Toledo and C. Jared).

These glands, in so far as they allowed these animals to spend longer periods of time on land rather than water, represented an evolutionary advance and a nifty adaptive strategy for dealing with whatever terrestrial adversary they were likely to encounter in a most efficient manner. Being barely adapted to land life and in transition mode from water to land critters, early amphibians were at the whim of anything that might have come across them on the shores of the Earth at the end of the Devonian period, so to exude and if necessary forcibly excrete transdermally the bufogenins and bufotoxins inside their glands most definitely conferred to them a protective factor and advantage in the midst of their extreme vulnerability as they adapted to their new ecological niche.

It is interesting to note that amphibians use their toxins for protection and NOT for attack. According to G.G. Habermehl, in his book "Venomous animals and their toxins", until recently it was commonly held that these secretions are used only against predators. However, his research showed that is not the case, as he observed that these toxins primarily protect against microorganisms. The skin of amphibians would be the perfect substrate for bacteria and fungi in the new terrestrial environment since it must be continuously moist to allow for the exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, so it makes perfect sense that these vertebrates took it upon themselves to generate a whole gamut of bioactive chemicals to protect their viability and livelihood.

Amphibian secretions may contain cardiotoxic, neurotoxic, haemotoxic, myotoxic, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, hypertensive, antibiotic and anesthetic components. You better believe the early amphibians devised the perfect pharmacopeia to match any adversary microorganism that could prevent it from successfully adapting to the ecological niche it may have newly found itself in.

"I would also argue that these types of toxins are actually evolutionarily advantageous because they are such simple compounds that are ubiquitous in nature." ... This is a beautifully elegant point you make Humble Voyager, I agree with you fully. I think it is safe to say that serotonin is a signaling molecule, and given that nature follows the principle of parsimony, it makes sense that rather than invent new compounds, with altogether different molecular structures, it would rather just tweak an atom or two to create analogues and slight variations of other compounds that are already being manufactured and don't take too much effort to produce, but nevertheless meet the organism's signaling needs and otherwise.

So, I agree with you that 5-MeO-DMT is a byproduct of the same metabolic process that produces bufotenine (5-HO-DMT). It is still interesting to ponder what adaptive function may the fact that the Incilius Alvarius toad, a species with a very geographically restricted area of distribution, possesses the enzyme 5-hydroxyindole-O-Methyl-transferase that converts 5-HO-DMT into 5-MeO-DMT in the parotid and tibial glands, whereas other amphibians don't. What about the very unique environment, the harsh conditions of the Sonoran desert region made it evolutionary advantageous for this amphibian to take that extra biochemical step of expressing this particular enzyme that renders it able to produce enormous quantities of 5-MeO-DMT? There has to be a logical biological advantageous reason for it, wouldn't you think?

Vittorio Erspamer, an Italian pharmacologist whose research led to the isolation, identification, synthesis and pharmacological study of more than sixty new chemical compounds, including serotonin itself and octopamine ( ) did some research with the Incilius Alvarius toad. In his 1976 paper titled "5-Methoxy-and 5-hydroxyindoles in the skin of Bufo Alvarius", he states that Serotonin (5-HT), which is the parent substance of all indolealkylamines present in the Incilius Alvarius skin is present only in traces. This means, he explains, that 5-HT once formed is immediately submitted to the combined action of N-methyl-transferase and 5-hydroxy-O-methyl-transferace; the final result being the formation and accumulation of enormous amounts of 5-MeO-DMT.

The amphibians that made it to our time date back 200 million years. That is a lot of time for nature to craft and refine its concoction, you would think that perhaps other amphibian species, particularly the Bufo Marinus toad for example as mentioned in the original comment by Flux, that also has these large glands and produces bufotenine, would have started also expressing this enzyme 5-hydroxyindole-O-Methyl-transferase and consequently producing 5-MeO-DMT as well. Why not? Why only Incilius Alvarius? 5-MeO-DMT does not necessarily contribute towards the capacity of the toad to ward off predators, (we know it only works if vaporized) it is the bufogenins and other bufotoxins that successfully scare away skunks, raccoons and anything else that tries to mess with them. (See Defensive Behavior and Effects of Toxins in Bufo Alvarius by Joe A. Hanson and James L. Vial).

Two things make the Incilius Alvarius toad unique... it is only found in the Sonoran desert region and it is the only bufo species that expresses this particular enzyme 5-hydroxyindole-O-Methyl-transferase ... so I feel its fair to argue that somehow those two elements have something to do with the fact that this toad is a generous 5-MeO-DMT making machine, whereas others are not.

That humans were nowhere near being around when the Incilius Alvarius species was evolving in the Sonoran desert is a great point that clearly invalidates the speculative idea I had expressed regarding the possibility of "interspecies altruistic behavior". I just thought it would be fun to entertain that possibility from a merely philosophical standpoint.

"Psychoactive compounds represent keys to the locks of neural receptors, and what better deterrent than a key which fits the locks on all animals? ".... Absolutely, another beautiful example of nature's inclination for sticking to the principle of parsimony to get things done.

"It is not until recent times of modern man that one constituent compound, 5-MeO-DMT has become valuable. To the untrained mind, the experience would be absolutely terrifying and would essentially result in the same end game as the venom did with other animals. However, mankind has an interesting brain."

This is an important point you make, and one that warrants further exploration as this lines up with the cultural phenomenon we are currently experiencing with the sudden (past 5 years) explosive popularity of toad venom as an "ancestral" practice. But let's save that discussion for another post and for now keep this on the biological, rather than the cultural track we have been discussing.

I could not agree more with you when you say that mankind has an interesting brain. I think the reason why we have the type of experience we have when these simple molecules bind to our receptors is because of the nature of our own hardware and our capacity for consciousness, symmetry, reason, etc. Our typical mammalian-primate perceptual system is enhanced with an elaborate conceptual system added on top and intertwined like everything else in our triune brain.
Which again, brings me back to the idea of "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" and presents me with the invitation to philosophize around the idea of how does our current phylogeny may recapitulate our future ontogeny?  "Anything that can evolve may eventually evolve"...

It is conceptually challenging for us to think in terms of geological time, given our average lifespan is what? 80 years if lucky? We are nevertheless made of the same star stuff that everything else that exists in the universe is and everything is ever-evolving. We don't tend to think about these things mainly because we are born into a culturally and socially constructed world that has been handed down to us through the institutions of ritual, symbol and myth that indoctrinate us into a particularly narrow religious/political/economical worldview.

If we go back to the idea of thinking of simple, ubiquitous compounds throughout nature as signaling molecules, it makes me curious so as to inquire what might nature be trying to signal back to itself by making these systems available? I guess I write this as an animist that sees nature itself as a dynamic energetic flow that is ever-fluctuating, expanding and exploring new realms of being and self-awareness. 

"And now we are in a stage of human-molecule relationship where the information being gained could potentially unify the species as an agent for natural survival" ....  What a bold statement to make, I am with you. I think we have a shot, let's not miss the point by way of our individual and collective blindspots.

Whatever the reason why 5-MeO-DMT may be present in the Incilius Alvarius toad, and however the mechanism for developing the human perceptual system that has endowed us with the ability to tap into these "altered states of awareness" evolved, here we are, cognizant and aware that there is a simple molecule present throughout the plant and animal kingdom that happens to fit our receptor locks in ways that lead us  to "unity consciousness states" that may result in the opportunity for enhanced self-awareness, which ultimately places the responsibility for positive change in each and every one of us. What are we going to do with this?

"These molecules are incredible agents of change. They can shift a perception wildly. But I would argue that they are worthless on their own."

Yes, not only worthless, they are incredibly dangerous if used in a less than ideal situation. I feel that as we move along the trajectory we find ourselves in with the research being done to legitimize the use of these compounds, it is very important that we keep a level-headed approach and are careful with the claims we make about them. The last thing we need is people's enthusiasm to make it sound like this is a panacea that can cure all ailments; that is simply not the case. The inner work required for personal transformation will never come from a molecule...the molecules are merely catalysts that kindly show us where our work lies, but then it is up to each individual's agency and volition to actually do anything with the insight they may have been able to download from the experience.

Will the human mind be able to integrate the concepts elicited by such a molecule into discernible change?"

This is a very important question and one that the individuals at the forefront of utilizing this molecule both for scientific and therapeutic purposes ought to strive toward living a positive answer to by holding each other accountable, using the compounds responsibly and sustainably, being congruent, doing our own work, being humble and open for growth and learning. Keeping in check the profit model that seems to be emerging, being extra sensitive to our own blindspots and having the willingness to bring those blindspots into focus to work with.

"It is not until a human being takes responsibility for its own operating system and makes the change in behavior, however hard it may be, that evolution can occur. And that process is very slow indeed."

I absolutely agree with you... and yes the process for taking responsibility of our own operating system and hardware is very slow indeed, but I do feel strongly that through concerted effort vested into practices like mindfulness, self-compassion, loving-kindness and through the responsible use of psychedelics as catalyzing agents for stabilizing long-term positive change,  we can initiate a process of self-directed neuroplasticity that may indeed help us over-write our primitive-mammalian brain and perhaps little by little add another layer to our triune brain, or at least, for the time being, little by little further exert an inhibiting executive top down control on our limbic emotional brain and our primitive reptilian brain so we may learn how to get out of, and stay out of "fight-flight" and figure out how to turn on the "play and engage" mode as we connect our neocortex in new and unprecedented ways.

Just a couple of days ago I was reading about this 40 year old genetic study in Russia where they were doing selective breeding for the behavioral trait of "tameness" among the silver fox. In just 40 years they were able to induce some powerful genetic changes, scientists report:

"As our breeding program has progressed, we have indeed observed changes in some of the animals' neurochemical and neurohormonal mechanisms. For example, we have measured a steady drop in the hormone-producing activity of the foxes' adrenal glands. Among several other roles in the body, the adrenal cortex comes into play when an animal has to adapt to stress. It releases hormones such as corticosteroids, which stimulate the body to extract energy from its reserves of fats and proteins. After 12 generations of selective breeding, the basal levels of corticosteroids in the blood plasma of our domesticated foxes had dropped to slightly more than half the level in a control group. After 28 to 30 generations of selection, the level had halved again. The adrenal cortex in our foxes also responds less sharply when the foxes are subjected to emotional stress. Selection has even affected the neurochemistry of our foxes' brains. Changes have taken place in the serotonin system, thought to be the leading mediator inhibiting animals' aggressive behavior. Compared with a control group, the brains of our domesticated foxes contain higher levels of serotonin; of its major metabolite, 5-oxyindolacetic acid; and of tryptophan hydroxylase, the key enzyme of serotonin synthesis. Serotonin, like other neurotransmitters, is critically involved in shaping an animal's development from its earliest stages."

So, while it is not viable to think that humans are going to start a selective breeding program, we can nevertheless use our higher cognition to try to find ways to affect our neurochemistry and neurohormones in ways that can lead to a similar outcome as the one found with the foxes. If we could find a way to downregulate our corticosteroid output and increase our serotonin production and its enzymes over the next 40 years...we may be able to experience a most powerful example of what Thomas Kuhn referred to as a "paradigm shift".
Ethics and Ecology / Re: Amphibians on Earth
June 08, 2017, 06:17:36 AM
Sorry for being such a turtle in following up with the comments to this post. Thank you Humble Voyager, for your kind words of encouragement and the suggestion to share elsewhere. I had not thought of it, but it may not be a bad idea. I will reach out to Erowid first and take it from there. Thank you kindly.

Flux, that is a wild and fascinating question regarding Bufo Marinus you pose. I checked in with my biologist friend and he explained that Bufo Marinus does hibernate like the I. Alvarius toad does though, so the notion of darkness having something to do with the I. Alvarius toad's ability to produce 5-MeO-DMT may not be a viable explanation. It might be more likely to be the case that in order for the large toad species to have access to a wide variety of critters to eat in the vast landscape of the Sonoran desert, it had to develop a way to metabolize (and transmute?) other animal's toxins. It is well known that the I. Alvarius toads will eat almost any prey they can subdue and ingest, including those with defensive stinging capabilities. Almost all toads are generalists. In my conversations with the biologist he went on to explain that if the unique qualities of I. Alvarius are related to its diet it must have a unique way of metabolizing certain items and/or possibly combined with how it deals with/metabolizes certain items in dormancy. It's all speculation at this point.

In my personal life and professional work and endeavors I am guided by a quote by Theodosius Dobzhansky that states:  "Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution".

So for me, it begs the question... what is the evolutionary advantage that producing 5-MeO-DMT confers to the I. Alvarius toad? To which much to my surprise my biologist friend answered: "Is there an advantage or is it a coincidence"?

As you stated in your comment, I. Alvarius may "not need" to include 5-MeO-DMT in its venom for protection... is it possible here we may have an example of interspecies "altruistic behavior"? Another wild thought to ponder... All speculation.

In any case, i agree with Humble Voyager that it is better to find sources of medicine elsewhere and leave the toads alone. With I. Alvarius being endemic to the Sonoran desert, we need to strive to prevent localized extirpation events from taking place as that would severely impact the species as a whole and we will have missed the point.

Ethics and Ecology / Re: Amphibians on Earth
June 01, 2017, 11:27:29 AM
This quote applies... the expression "right relationship" really resonates with this particular topic.
Ethics and Ecology / Amphibians on Earth
June 01, 2017, 08:18:09 AM
Amphibians evolved from fish about 400 million years ago, when the amount of dry land on Earth increased greatly due to climatic conditions at the time. Certain fish, (possibly Tiktaalik Rosea) adapted to these changing conditions by gradually developing limbs to crawl and lungs to breathe with. Such organisms came to be known as amphibians, a name that means "double life".  Many of the species that developed during this period no longer exist. The groups of amphibians that survived to the present day can be traced back no further than 200 million years.

The word amphibian itself comes from the Greek amphibios, which means "living both in water and on land", which refers to their distinctive feature as the only vertebrate group that generally possess an aquatic phase of life (larvae), and a terrestrial one (adulthood). This renders amphibian populations sensitive to alterations in both environments, leaving them in a particularly challenging ecological situation.

Because amphibians are highly sensitive to changes in their surrounding environmental conditions (i.e. temperature, humidity, water and soil pH, for example) they are considered indicator species. Given this, healthy amphibian populations are usually a sign of healthy ecosystems. On the other hand, as their populations and diversity decrease, so do the number of healthy ecosystems around the world, possibly signaling the loss of numerous other living species. In such a manner, amphibians give a rough idea of the local and global health of the planet.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is the most comprehensive information source on the status of wild species and their links to livelihoods, and who publish  the "Red list", which assesses the extinction risk of species, in the last 25 years, more than 120 species of amphibians have disappeared. The planet's amphibian species are becoming extinct at a thousand times higher rate than normal, according to the study by more than 500 scientists from over 60 nations that have contributed to the Global Amphibian Assessment:

This is an alarming circumstance, especially considering that modern amphibians have been on the planet for more than 200 million years, even surviving the dinosaur extinction and all subsequent natural global climate changes, including extreme droughts and ice ages. However, the current rate of amphibian extinctions might be due to a particular sensitivity to anthropogenic environmental disturbances.

Scientists have theorized that this alarming decline in the numbers of amphibians and amphibian species around the world is due to a number of factors: pollution of freshwater ecosystems, the destruction of amphibian habitat by ever-spreading human populations, and possibly increased ultra-violet radiation due to ozone depletion. 

With regard to the toad in question on this forum, Incilius Alvarius, it is a large toad in the family Bufonidae that can grow up to 7.5 inches long and live up to five to 15 years in the wild. Its presence on the planet dates back to just prior to the formation of the Sonoran Desert roughly 8-10 million years ago to which its natural habitat almost exclusively coincides with. In the regions it is native to, Incilius Alvarius is protected by state and federal law.

None of the states in which Incilius Alvarius is, or was native to legally allows a person to remove the toad from the state. In New Mexico and Arizona it is unlawful to capture, collect, intentionally kill or injure, posses, propagate, sell or transport this amphibian. In Sonora, in order to capture or collect any amphibian, a federal permit is required.

Based on the IUCN's Red List assessment of the status of this toad species conducted back in 2004, Incilius Alvarius is categorized as a "least concern" species, based on its "wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population and because it's unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category."

Historically the Incilius Alvarius toad was found from southeast California, eastward across much of southern Arizona into extreme southwestern New Mexico, and southward through much of Sonora to northwestern Sinaloa.

No authors have noted declines of the Incilius Alvarius Toad in Sonora, however, in 2014 Yaqui Tribal members said the species had declined in the vicinity of Vicam and Bácum, and surveys at various sites in that region by retired biologist J.C. Rorabaugh and others in July 2014 failed to detect the species, although other anurans expected in the area were commonly encountered. 

This called the attention of a field biologist who has taken an interest to develop proactive measures to prevent the decimation of their populations. The species is monitored yearly in Arizona and no declines have been noted, but biologists have explained that the human impact would not be noticed immediately, but rather a few years down the road, when it may be too late to take proactive corrective action.

Since 2012, Incilius Alvarius has been undergoing ever-increasing human environmental pressure. The popularity of the naturally derived compound from this unique toad, its venom, has grown as the result of particular individuals who, although with good intentions to help people, have overexposed this once obscure little desert dweller in an exponentially global way, thus placing the toad populations in a precarious situation.

It is important to note that none of the states in which Incilius Alvarius is endemic to, legally allows a person to remove the toad from the state. In New Mexico and Arizona it is unlawful to sell or transport this amphibian across state and international borders. In Sonora, although you need a federal permit in order to capture, manipulate, or collect the venom, laws are a bit more malleable in Mexico than they are in the United States, which has resulted in vulnerable populations of toads south of the border.

The Mexican state of Sonora has seen an influx of foreign visitors over the past five years who, after learning about the unique feature of this toad through media outlets such as the Vice episode that documented the use of the toad-derived psychoactive compound, have decided to take it upon themselves to journey to Sonora, to places like Magdalena, which are easily accessed after crossing the border from Arizona into Mexico to get their own supply of the toxin.

With the continued popularity of this underground little creature partly through the release of films such as Episode 1 of the series titled "Shamans of the Global Village", which features details such as how to identify the toad, where to find the toad and how to extract the venom, the threat posed for the continued existence of this toad is real and significant.

With more and more people each year going to the Sonoran desert from faraway places such as Australia and Spain to collect venom to take back home and, in some instances, actually removing the toads from their natural habitat, the viability of the species is being put at risk, and with it the health of the overall ecosystem in the Sonoran desert.

Even though Incilius Alvarius has a large reproductive capacity with large toads laying clutches of up to 8000 eggs each, their livelihood is challenged when the uninformed see it as a harmless action to remove the toad from its habitat. According to amphibian experts, when big specimens are removed from their habitat, the reproductive capacity of the species can be significantly compromised, and indeed lead to the decimation of an entire population in a given area.

Although amphibians are very susceptible to changes in their environment, they are also incredibly resilient. I think that while it may be fair to say that no harm has been done, we can take proactive action and develop a deeper attitude of reverence, gratitude and respect for the toads by simply leaving them alone. I feel it would be wise of all practitioners to stick to using 5-MeO-DMT in its synthesized form for their healing work, which is so valuable on this beautiful planet of ours.

As someone who is very interested in seeing clinical outcomes as well as mechanism of action studies conducted with this molecule, I fear that the wave of neoshamanism that has been fostering irresponsible and unsustainable use of this finite natural resource could effectively shut down our chance to get scientific work off the ground.

I would like to make a call to action to make sure we act out of the wisdom of our hearts, and not the nearsightedness of our mind. That we move forward with discernment and congruence, and not operating out of our blind spots.

At the rate things are going globally for all amphibians and locally for Incilius Alvarius, it would be wise for us to assume the worst case scenario and foresee that the species may well be decimated in the wild over the next decade if we keep up what we are currently doing as a community and continue to tolerate and turn a blind eye to the types of abuse going on – with the toads themselves, with unethical practices, with the incongruence of our actions, with the profit model that is commercializing this sacred gift of the Earth. 

Incilius Alvarius has been around the planet for 10 million years, can you imagine how devastating it would be if in a matter of 10, 20 or 30 years, humans came to wipe out what nature has so elegantly crafted in such a beautiful and delicate balance?

The dissonance between what people say and what they do is concerning. Please, let's all wake up and get it right. What a wondrous opportunity this could be to rise above ignorance, greed, and stubbornness. If it wasn't so tragic, it would be almost comical to think that while pursuing enlightenment and healing for the world, we are compromising the viability of the little peaceful creature we claim to love so.  What a powerful lesson the toad is trying to instill in us, don't you think? It is almost like a cosmic test... let's not fail this, let's rise, use our deepest human wisdom and transcend the pattern of anthropocentrism and narcissistic tendencies that have characterized our species.

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin".
-William Shakespeare
Hello Flux,

Thank you for the invitation to seed the section of Ethics and Ecology. I will take you up on it very soon. I appreciate the encouragement :)

Upward and onward!

Introductions/Newbies / The Beginning of Rainbowland
April 29, 2017, 10:11:09 AM
I am grateful for the opportunity to access a space where people of like-mind can come together to hold open, genuine, and productive conversations on the topic of best practices, ethical behavior, and ecological considerations surrounding the use of 5-MeO-DMT. This unique tool nature has ingeniously provided for us which comes in various forms: a blade of grass, the sap of a tree, the flesh of a seed, or the gland of a toad, is certainly making a strong appearance in the global field we find ourselves embedded within. My prayer is that we heed and honor the message this little molecule delivers by upholding ourselves and each other to an impeccable standard of accountability, responsibility, authenticity and sensibility.

In the last five years, the world has seen a huge surge in the popularity of this once obscure naturally occurring tryptamine, specifically the form sourced from the Sonoran Desert toad. Not that many years ago (10?), some toad practitioners were swearing  the people they served to utter secrecy, particularly about the identity of the "sacrament". Cat's out of the bag and for sure warrants rigorous study and open-hearted discussion on sustainable practices and best ways to move forward in a way that doesn't threaten the viability of the endemic amphibian species that has made the Sonoran Desert landscape its home for untold millennia.

I feel that as a global community, we have turned a blind eye on a big problem that has emerged in the world of contemporary pseudo-shamanism. My hope is that we can use this medium to compassionately and objectively undertake the task of retracing our steps back, take corrective action and move forward with wholesome integrity.

I trust that this forum will be used as a platform to further expand our view and understanding of the role this natural compound plays in our contemporary society and culture. That we will be able to explore and engage in a dialogue that allows us all to shine new light into areas of our collective shadow, and humbly take responsibility and own our blindspots so we can grow as individuals and as a congruent and internally cohesive community of psychonauts, practitioners, researchers, and advocates.