Before answering this question, it is important to define what a psychedelic guide is. It can be helpful first to make a distinction between a guide and a trip-sitter.
In contrast, a guide is going to be more involved in your journey. A guide is someone who has experience working with other people in altered states and has often undergone certain trainings or rituals in their process of working with psychedelics. A guide can be a shaman, a nurse, a counsellor or a therapist. At this time, guides can take on many different forms but it is important to consider that above all, a guide is someone who professionally offers their services and has intimate experience with the psychedelic landscape.
The first thing to consider when starting your search for a guide is to ask yourself first whether you need to work with a guide or not. A guide can be very beneficial in facilitating a transformative experience but they are not necessary to achieve this. Some reasons you might choose to work with a psychedelic guide could be because they can…
Create a safe container allowing you to go deeper and further into your experience than you would be able go alone
Offer relational dynamics through allowing you to project or transfer feelings onto them
Offer guidance, coaching or counselling to support your journey including before and after your psychedelic experience
Offer physical body work such as massage to help you navigate somatic problems
Provide you with space and time to integrate what you have learned
These are just some of the reasons why working with a guide might be right for you. On the other hand, if you are an experienced psychedelic voyager, you might feel comfortable journeying without a guide. I would like to see a world where more people feel empowered to use psychedelics by themselves as this would reflect a culture that has confronted and come to terms with its collective traumas and shadows.
Ok, so you have decided that you do want to work with a guide. Awesome! Before starting your search, it is a good idea to create a criteria for yourself. What are some of the specific qualities you are looking for in a guide? Here are a few things to consider…
These four areas are just a starting point. The Psychedelic Association of Canada (PAC) has created a very useful checklist which highlights some additional criteria you might want to consider before starting your search. Some of those criteria are:
After you have developed a criteria, it is time to begin your search for a guide. It is important to take your time with this process and do your best not to rush into having your experience.
Here are some ways to start your search…
One good place to start if you are based in British Columbia would be to check out this free, curated list of psychedelic practitioners found here. Our friends at The Flying Sage have compiled databases containing psychedelic friendly practitioners around Vancouver. Each database lists different underground and above-ground facilitators offering psychedelic-assisted healing. Other databases can be found on Third Wave, Psychedelic Support and MAPS but keep in mind these are mostly focussed on the US.
Psychedelic communities are one of the best places to start as this is where you will find other people who are passionate about using psychedelics intentionally. You can join The Flying Sage community directly here but know that there are many other psychedelic communities to explore. Here are a few others…
Find a community that you resonate with – each one has a different vibe and spot in the psychedelic eco-system. If you are having troubles finding a psychedelic community in your area, try…
Visiting your local university. A lot of psychedelic community starts in the research field.
Join virtual Discords, Signal and Meetup groups. Most of the communities listed above have something like this.
Start your own! If you can’t find the community you are looking for in your area, do it yourself! If you want some tips, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we can get you started in the right direction.
Once you have found some guides to reach out to that seem to meet your criteria, schedule a time to meet with them and ideally, try to do this in person. It’s important to feel in to their energy ahead of jumping into a psychedelic experience with them.
Use your intuition to help your search and remember it is very important to develop trust with whomever you are going to be journeying with. Trust is essential for surrender and surrender is essential for transformation.
I would LOVE to hear any feedback you have on what I have shared. Please feel free to reach out to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
With psychedelic love and gratitude,
– Michael 🤍
Having quality mushrooms for your journey is essential.