“The brain is not a blind, reactive machine, but a complex, sensitive bio-computer that we can program. And if we don't take the responsibility for programming it, then it will be programmed unwittingly by accident or by the social environment.”
Timothy Leary, Founder of The Castalia Foundation
The Castalia Foundation is a global center for research on consciousness expansion. We were established in the early 1960s by a gang of renegade visionaries including Timothy Leary, Rosemary Woodruﬀ, Richard Alpert, Ralph Metzner, and Susan Metzner.Throughout the early 1960s, The Castalia Foundation held events and produced transcendent media to expand human consciousness. Under duress, our research hub, Millbrook, NY, was abandoned in 1966 and The Castalia Foundation went underground while our founder, Timothy Leary, was pursued around the world by President Nixon's neurosis.
Today, The Castalia Foundation funds projects that uphold the values of the the group’s original vision: To override social-conditioning and free humanity from the clutches of the hive mind.
Taking MDMA is statistically safer than drinking a glass of wine, riding a horse, or eating a peanut. However, Earth's governments are immensely fearful of all consciousness-expansion technologies. The authorities that govern your planet tend to get very excited and angry when a person explores their nervous system without the permission of the priest-class called ‘politicians’. Given this situation, The Castalia Foundation must legally disclaim all responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.
The Castalia Foundation also wishes to emphasize the importance of thinking for yourself and questioning authority. The information in this guide does not constitute medical advice. If you are looking for medical advice, you should consult the priest class your society calls 'doctors'.
All decisions regarding the use of MDMA, or any other medicine, to facilitate personal healing are taken at the individual’s own risk. By reading this guide, you waive The Castalia Foundation of any liability. We're not precisely sure how you'd injure yourself, given the safety profile of MDMA, but humans are endlessly inventive in this respect. Good luck and thank you for reading this disclaimer.
As a result of over six years of research, The Castalia Foundation has discovered that MDMA is far more effective if a person takes it alone, without anyone else present in the room. This discovery came as a shock for many in the MDMA community, not least 'therapists'. This is because, as Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Many ‘therapists’ have decided, therefore, not to understand this discovery. This is because it challenges the popular, and financially rewarding patient-therapist paradigm. If MDMA is more effective as a solo-use tool, what will a ‘therapist’ do if they can’t spend their time 'fixing' other people? The answer is obvious, but uncomfortable: These ‘therapists’ will have to confront their own deeper traumas. In other words: Physician, heal thyself. This is something therapists like to avoid at all cost.
Even when a traditional MDMA session appears to go well with a ‘therapist’, the traditional MDMA protocol contains numerous traps and tricks that will prevent a person from reaching a state of self-actualization. A person cannot fully heal by outsourcing their processing of trauma to another person, or a so-called ‘therapist’.
Inner resources must be built and re-enforced as the person returns to confront their inner world, again and again. Alone. It is only through this act of bravery, self-reliance and inner-compassion that the core wounds of childhood can be fully healed.
The old therapist model is one of dependency. It also assumes that the therapist has any idea what is going on. Typically therapists do not. Instead, the therapist-patient dynamic most often re-enforces the core trauma: That hierarchy and authority exist. This trauma is sadly re-enforced no matter how well intentioned or ‘anti-authority’ the therapist claims to be.
The traditional MDMA protocol advocates for such socially-antiquated concepts as the ‘surrogate parents’ of male and female sitters, who sit above a 'patient' on a bed. As most trauma on Earth began with a ‘family’ system comprised of two 'parents' looming over the cot of a baby, it is not difficult to see how methods like this serve to unconsciously re-enact, re-imprint,and normalize precisely the same harmful social-dynamics that MDMA has the power to deconstruct.
Researchers like Stanislav Grof, when working with LSD in the late 1950s and early 60s, claimed that traumas of omission must be healed by the presence of a caring sitter who can model the love the survivor never felt as a child; intervening at vital moments during the session to provide support. This is arguably true for classic psychedelics, like LSD, where inter-connectivity in the mind in enhanced, while self-compassion remains relatively unchanged. With LSD, there is a case to be made for the caring intervention of an expert guide. However, The Castalia Foundation rejects this approach for MDMA, which is a radically different substance.
MDMA is both the catalyst of self-transactional work, as well as a potent tool to activate a person’s inner-resources to self-analyse and self-heal. Adding an additional ‘therapist’ to this dynamic is unnecessary; distracting; often costly, and prone to accident.
MDMA allows a person to talk to themselves at the deepest levels of biographical consciousness. The biochemical sweet-spot of reduced fear and increased self-compassion invites wounded and previously split-off parts of a person’s psyche to dialogue with near-perfect clarity and understanding.
With regularly planned sessions, journeying solo with MDMA teaches a person to provide for themselves the external support and validation they should have received in their formative years. MDMA is unique in that the ‘psychotherapist’ comes bundled for free with the medicine itself. MDMA is, therefore, both classroom and teacher. As with so many learning-experiences in life, the best thing that can possibly be done for a person undergoing an MDMA session is to leave them alone, and in peace, to learn.
More often than not, a sitter during an MDMA session will cause a repetitive externalization of the support that should have been internalized. Doing sessions without a sitter encourages, instead, the gradual development of internal-resources that ultimately provide a person with a feeling of self-love, self-reliance, and self-respect.
With the growth of these internal resources comes the realization that you are not alone: You have yourself. From this place of being alone but not lonely (a rare achievement on our wounded planet) a healed person begins to attract others of the same vibration. In other words: Once you no longer feel alone by yourself, then other relationships (if and when they appear) become a playful addition to your pre-existing, inner-sense of calm.
Psychologists call these chaotic phenomena things like displacement, transference, projection and resistance. But these are only a few of the complications inherent in MDMA therapy with a ‘therapist’ present. The more damaging problems are caused by unconscious, non-verbal direction—including cues and framing caused by the ‘therapist’ manipulating the set and setting.
A 'set' means the mindset or intention of the MDMA session, while the 'setting' refers to the environment in which the session takes place. Consciously or not, the traditional MDMA ‘therapist’ prevents the survivor from ever reaching a state of complete self-actualization. The mere presence of the ‘therapist’ invariably undermines the healing process by non-verbally re-stating many of the subliminal messages of the core trauma, such as: You cannot do this alone. And: Authority will heal you.
To be clear, the ‘therapist’ does not explicitly state these mantras, and may appear to vocally reject them. But it is the presence of the ‘therapist’ that inherently dis-empowers the ‘patient’, no matter the claims of the ‘therapist’ to the contrary. The very notion of therapy is itself corrupt.
Although it feels comforting to know that another human being is supporting you as you undertake MDMA therapy, ultimately it is fundamentally distracting and coercive. The Castalia Foundation has found that there is no other means by which to honestly confront the self than to do it alone. Anything less re-enforces co-dependency and limits the full range of possible experiences by framing the session within the bounds of what the ‘therapist’ and their ideological framework is able to accept or tolerate (consciously or not).
The very reason our societies are headed towards ecological collapse is because we are allergic to the full truth of what is done to us; typically in infancy and adolescence. This truth can only be processed with an enlightened witness who is open to any possibility, and ready to support the revelation of any material without fear, and in infinite love. The only person who is guaranteed to be fully open and receptive to your deepest traumas is you. No ‘therapist’ can do this: Although many will claim they can, given enough of your money.
MDMA permits a profound conversation between you and yourself. Involving another human in this discussion may feel like a good idea; and it is certainly one that the MDMA 'research' community has conditioned many of us into accepting. However, using MDMA with a ‘therapist’ or other well-meaning individual is like inviting a third friend to join you on an intimate date. Not only does it sidetrack you from the task at hand: To get to know yourself. But it also sends a clear message to your subconscious mind: "I don't trust myself to get to know myself alone; I am scared of myself."
The argument has been made (coincidentally, by ‘therapists’) that healing must be relational and transactional. In other words, that we cannot heal ourselves alone, and we need someone else there to help us reshape our means of relating. Although there may be some truth to this during traditional therapies that do not involve the use of MDMA, The Castalia Foundation maintains that MDMA is a unique compound.
MDMA has the unique ability to allow this relational and transactional healing to happen between different parts of a single human organism. In other words: During a MDMA Solo session, the survivor of trauma has the opportunity to talk with themselves.
Here, we have purposely chosen the plural 'themselves' to refer to the internal landscape of a single human. This is an acknowledgment of a foundational aspect of defensive-restructuring in the human psyche after extreme trauma.
After trauma, splits occur in awareness, and discrete sub-personalities are created. These sub-personalities contain trauma, sealing it off as a protective strategy. These traumatized parts consequently lurk beneath everyday consciousness and, often, only become apparent during sessions with MDMA and similar medicines.
We can summarize this introduction by saying that, during MDMA sessions: “One is company. Two is a crowd.” And also: “Nobody who had truly healed themselves would go around trying to 'helpfully' intervene in other peoples' MDMA sessions.” Anyone who was healed themselves would know that the solo-approach to MDMA healing engenders the deepest work.
Solo sessions also eliminate another substantial risk for those who seek a path of healing using MDMA: This risk is that often we unconsciously choose ‘therapists’, or sitters, who resemble those in our family of origin. This unconscious casting of ‘family’ members in a healing role will, very often, result in a sabotage of the healing process.
The Castalia Foundation has collected many stories of those who found themselves in ‘therapy’ with doctors who had precisely the same traumatic background as their alleged ‘patients’. While the ‘patients’ avoided their core trauma by acting-out various daily dramas, the ‘doctors’ compensated for their sense of powerlessness as children by role-playing an authoritative position and ‘healing’ other survivors of abuse.
Occasionally, this dysfunctional dynamic can result in a breakthrough of sorts. But, more often, it places a ceiling on the level of healing that can be achieved. A therapist who has not confronted their own traumatic past will, consciously or not, limit the depth and range of experiences of the ‘patient’ during an MDMA session. The ‘therapist’ will not typically do this consciously, or malevolently, but it happens nonetheless. With disturbing frequency. This results in endless therapists visits, over many years, during which very little is achieved other than upholding the pretense of progress, while avoiding the core trauma.
Solo-use of MDMA completely eliminates the risks inherent in your choice of therapist. The Castalia Foundation protocol is designed to circumvent the mechanisms your society has constructed to limit your potential to be healed. These mechanisms include the societal idea of a ‘therapist’.
Working with MDMA is a fascinating and rewarding experience. It is often one of going back through many locked doors and opening them. Opening these doors reveals layer-upon-layer of wounded sub-personalities.
As you progress through this experience, you may begin to gain a deeper understanding of why Russian culture has maintained the Matryoshka doll as an enduring symbol. This wooden doll structure, with layers upon layers, reveals younger and younger sub-personalities, back to the child within. The core of the Matryoshka doll is an infant: The only doll in the set which cannot be opened. Our enduring core.
Most of us on planet Earth are like this Matryoshka doll, whether consciously or not. We exist as multiple layers of trauma, orbiting an imprisoned core of truth, freedom and creativity: the lost child within. Therefore, with each solo-MDMA session comes the opportunity to peel more and more layers of harmful conditioning off the essence of your inner core; to shed another layer of the Matryoshka.
If someone was to attempt to depict the architecture of human consciousness at this point in history, they could hardly do better than to place a Matryoshka doll down on the table, point at it, and say, here, this. This is the problem with us. This is our sickness. We have too many protective layers as a result of trauma or, as Wilhelm Reich put it, we are ‘armored’.
The MDMA healing process does not work at maximum efficiency with a ‘sitter’ or ‘therapist’. This is because two Matryoshka dolls cannot really help each other. They will likely strip off a few layers, but no more. Typically the ‘patient’ is as lost as the ‘therapist’. The therapist plays the role of an ‘authority’ figure and will only (if ever) pronounce the ‘patient’ cured once the ‘patient’ returns to consensus reality. After all, at this point the ‘patient’ appears to the ‘therapist’ as if they are cured: They are now returned to the cult’s (or culture’s) acceptable realm of conscious awareness: In other words: The ‘patient’ is now calmly asleep, and moderately depressed; just like the majority of 'society'.
To quote the tragic conclusion of George Orwell’s novel 1984, “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
This is most often the tragic outcome of ‘therapy’. The ‘patient’ is returned to their sick society, but now as a calm, docile participant. The patient now loves Big Brother.
The author R.D. Laing famously described insanity as “a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” The problem then is clear: because our world is so wounded and corrupt, our medical definitions of 'sick' and 'well' are typically reversed. In such a society, the role of the 'therapist' is, then, to return the 'patient' to the world the patient has rationally rejected. In other words: the ‘therapist’ seeks make the 'patient' a sick-participant again; to restore them to the unremarkable status of a 'tax-paying citizen' in a broken sociopolitical hellscape.
Sadly, both the ‘patient’ and the ‘therapist’ are likely to be extremely happy with this state of affairs: Nothing fundamental is challenged; society is not confronted; power is not confronted; it is painless and apolitical. By contrast: Solo MDMA therapy offers you the opportunity to progress way beyond any culturally or medicinally-sanctioned state of ‘cured’.
Solo MDMA work can restore the child within you to full functionality. It can liberate you. This is possible because, alone, during an MDMA session, you are free of any conscious, or unconscious, sociocultural cues which limit the extent to which you can face and process trauma. Solo MDMA therapy compels you to develop the capacity to be your own guru; shaman; priest; doctor (insert your authority figure of choice here). It eliminates one of the most common traps of mainstream thinking: The idea that someone else will save you. Or that someone else will love you and heal you.
Unconditional love is a reality only for children. Sadly, not many children. More often in our culture, unconditional love is absent in our families of origin. Many psychologists and ‘therapists’ have consequently attempted to re-parent their ‘patients’ and to transactionally ‘model’ this unconditional love. These ‘therapists’ hope that the ‘patient’ will internalize this external model. Invariably, however, this results in mediocre improvements, or failure.
Not only is unconditional-love impossible to teach, but any ‘therapist’ who truly loved themselves would not agree to be a therapist; knowing the task was certainly doomed to failure via unconscious-repetition: If we do not know how to love ourselves, we cannot show others how to love.
Additionally there is the insoluble knot at the heart of psychotherapy: The ‘patient’ is inevitably paying to be listened to and accepted. This, tragically, is an energetic re-enactment of early childhood. Many of us ‘paid’ as children to receive a simulacrum of love from our caregivers. As children, we did not pay with money, but the currency of payment took some other form: Our freedom of expression; our bodies; our safety. Once we have left the realm of childhood, and become adults, unconditional love cannot be given to us. We can only give it to ourselves.
The journey to unconditional self-love and deep healing is nothing less than an heroic journey; in the most profound and classical meaning of the word 'heroic'. The journey requires disciplined commitment that is precisely the energetic parallel of what should have been given in childhood, but may have been omitted.
The task in healing our deepest traumas using MDMA is, therefore, the exact psycho-emotional equivalent of caring for a newborn child all the way through to adulthood.
Most wounded adults in our society choose to ‘have’ (‘give birth to’) children and unconsciously repeat their own trauma on another generation.
If you watch most ‘parents’ interacting with their children, you will merely observe the parents’ unconscious play-back of ‘child-rearing’ methods that were programmed into them by their own parents. MDMA, used respectfully and carefully, presents a healthy alternative to this blind play-back.
Before you consider guardianship of children, the healthy alternative is to revisit the child-parts within you, under the effects of the MDMA, and to parent these parts back to inclusion in an integrated whole. This process then eliminates the need to ‘have’ a child to decant disowned pain into. Instead, you can revisit your own wounded-child within, and take steps to heal that child.
Out of the process of solo healing with MDMA comes an understanding of authentic religious practice. Authentic religious (or 'reconnecting’) practice is to know and love yourself, free of an intermediary (a doctor, a priest, a guru or therapist). This journey is not an easy one, but it offers a rare gift in our world of fear and shadows: It offers truth, life, and freedom.
The Castalia Foundation has written this protocol as a complete reference manual for anyone who is interested in using MDMA to deprogram themselves from the societal-conditioning that has led our species to the brink of planetary collapse. However, this book is not designed as an authoritative guide to the process of self-healing and is, instead, a living document that we are open to revising as new information arises.
In reading this manual, and in undertaking your own MDMA sessions, it is a good idea to pay attention to your own, intuitive healing instincts.
The very nature of trauma is such that each person constructs their own internal labyrinth to contain wounded parts within. In other words: the self-protective systems that come into play after a traumatic event are, in many ways, a creative expression of your own ingenuity in keeping yourself sane and carrying on.
You built the labyrinth you will be navigating back through using MDMA, and so only you will know the precise way in which to undo what was done. Consider this manual as a collection of known pathways back through known labyrinths, but by no means an exhaustive compendium of every possible turn.
The Castalia Foundation has written this manual for explorers who are ready to confront the forbidden realms of both their own psyche, and what Jung called, ‘The Collective Unconscious’. Most of the traumas we experience during our lives are a product of the entire social ocean in which we swim. In healing yourself, you also contribute in a small part to the healing of the entirety of our species.
This is an honorable undertaking, but also a difficult one. It is hard to be awake on a planet of many sleepwalkers, but the fear and temporary loneliness that such a journey brings is nothing in comparison to the immeasurable beauty and joy to be found in waking up. We hope you will take this journey.
Research by The Castalia Foundation has determined that, with astonishing frequency, therapists are unconsciously avoiding their own traumas by role-playing the part of ‘healers’. Sadly, there seem to be very few exceptions to this.
The Castalia Foundation wants to emphasize that this is not entirely the fault of 'therapists' themselves, as many of them are genuinely unconscious of their deeper motivations for pursuing this ‘profession'. However, our sympathy for these ‘therapists’ is outweighed by our compassion for you, the alleged ‘patient’ in this game. Readers who are interested in learning more about the problematic dynamics created by 'therapists' might enjoy the extensive work of Polish-Swiss psychologist and philosopher, Dr Alice Miller.
Alice Miller was, initially, a practicing psychoanalyst, but later came to recognize that her profession was simply the means by which a corrupt society loosely maintained itself in the face of the break-down of truth. Miller was a pioneer in describing the process by which the traumatic programming of a child by their caregivers is the main source of mental illness in adulthood.
Miller wrote in her book Drama of the Gifted Child (1979), “Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.”
Later in her life, Alice Miller completely disavowed psychotherapy and critiqued the role ‘therapists’ have inadvertently played in upholding the violence and inequality of The State. A good place to begin with Miller’s work is the book, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware (1984).
Another noted psychoanalyst who rejected traditional therapy as a means of healing is Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. You may enjoy Masson’s books, Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing (1988), and The Assault on Truth (1984). The former book brutally dissects therapy and its underlying assumptions, while the latter deals with the persistent failure of therapists to address the core trauma experienced by their ‘patients’; namely abuse in the family of origin.
If you are interested in learning more about the shortcomings of the patient-therapist model, you may also be interested in the work of R.D. Laing. Although Laing did describe himself as a psychologist, he took every step possible to deconstruct the notions orbiting the ideologies of this profession.
Laing explored the idea that most alleged mental-health conditions do not exist. Instead, what we call ‘mental illness’ is often an entirely natural response to extreme societal and familial circumstances which are typically hidden from immediate view. In other words: A sick society nominates individuals to bear the burden of the sickness of the entire society. A good place to begin with Laing’s work is the book, Sanity, Madness and the Family (1964).
If a person undertaking solo MDMA therapy is prepared to view their ‘therapist’ as a hired-friend, and no more, then a formal meeting with a ‘therapist’ who simply sits and listens could, in a small number of cases, be a useful adjunct to MDMA sessions.
In theory, a ‘therapist’ who merely listened might help process feelings and emotions in the days following the session. However, most ‘patients’ find that they must lie to their therapist about the means by which they came to be healing so rapidly and effectively. It is also incredibly expensive to hire such a ‘listener’.
Going to a ‘therapist’ also runs the risk of this unhealed ‘expert’ nudging things off track. If the 'therapist' knew anything about MDMA and had used it effectively over many years, they would have abandoned their role as an active ‘healer’. It is therefore, sadly, inherently problematic to involve a ‘therapist’ in the MDMA healing process. This includes ‘therapists’ who have allegedly ‘trained’ in the use of MDMA.
The Castalia Foundation has attempted to provide, in this book, a means by which you can fully heal without the use of a ‘therapist’. For many in our society, this may sound like a radical approach. But it is the only approach that will heal us quickly and effectively enough to reverse the damage already done by these ‘healing’ professions and the society they maintain.
Not only is the MDMA Solo protocol more effective than any traditional MDMA protocol, but it is freely accessible to anyone, at zero cost, aside from purchasing the medicine itself. The MDMA Solo method can also rapidly and discretely scale to address the needs of vast swathes of our planetary population.
Using a ‘therapist’ to conduct an MDMA session is like using a stable-boy to maintain a jet airplane. The method by which we transport ourselves into the territories of the subconscious has been completely changed by the discovery of MDMA.
Just as many stable-boys were seeking a means of avoiding redundancy after the horse-and-carriage began to fade in popularity, and the age of the motor car began, so too are many wounded 'healers' looking to find a role in the age of MDMA. We wish these ‘therapists’ well. And we bid them farewell. Their time is over.
When Professor David J. Nutt (FMedSci) headed the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, his group determined that MDMA, LSD and Mushrooms were the safest known social drugs, representing a very low-risk to the user or those around them. In contrast alcohol was found to be the most dangerous social drug; more dangerous than heroin. If you are curious to learn more, you can read the detailed scientific paper on this topic: Drug harms in the UK: A multicriteria decision analysis (Lancet, 2010).
The reason MDMA is illegal is that, with proper use, it will ultimately lead you to question many of the societal constructs which were previously invisible to you. You will then pose a risk to ‘authority’. As the media-theorist Marshall McLuhan said, “One thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water, since they have no anti-environment which would enable them to perceive the element they live in.” In other words: When you are inside something it is often hard to see the thing you are inside. In this case, the thing you are inside has a name: ‘Society’.
Society on Earth is currently held together by a series of lies and machinations that are too numerous to go into here. Not only this, but you would likely not believe us if we told you what is actually going on. The only realistic way to attain this understanding is to have a long and deep conversation with yourself about the period of time in your life when you were relentlessly programmed, via a series of imprints, by those surrounding you as a child.
Although you are likely to have experienced subsequent traumas while living on Earth, the most profound and affecting traumas will have occurred during the first decade of your life. You are also extremely likely to have no conscious recall of many of these formative programming experiences.
Society has normalized childhood amnesia, and for good reason: If you, and a mass of other humans, fully remembered what was done to you as children to reach a point where you readily accept taxation; rent; kings and queens; the stock market; and high school (to name just a few bizarre constructs of your age), then the current edifice of power would collapse overnight.
If you have read any history books, you will know that the edifice of power does not like to collapse overnight. In fact, the edifice of power likes it to be exactly where it is: Above you; in a position of exploitation.
This is the reason why MDMA was made illegal: It threatens entrenched power by freeing the individual from trauma-based programming. We mention all of this because, if you undertake a full course of MDMA Solo self-healing, then you will slowly awaken to a very difficult geopolitical-reality. It is a reality which you will almost certainly feel is almost unbearably corrupt.
The problem is this: As you heal your own trauma, you will begin to raise your awareness of the sociopolitical context in which you were traumatized. And you will begin to discover, as the ancient tribal cultures have always known, that you were not sick after all. Instead: your whole village was sick, and then they hurt you.
If you feel like you are not ready for this kind of profound awakening, then it is advisable to stop reading MDMA Solo at this point and go back to staring at your cellphone feed.
MDMA therapy is a seriously challenging undertaking and we don't want anyone on board with this protocol who is not prepared to see it through to the end. There will be challenges along the way and many times that you will be tempted to stop the protocol, or (as the mind is a very 'clever' thing) you may convince yourself that you are finished with MDMA before you have fully self-actualized.
Many people throughout history have convinced themselves that they are self-actualized; or enlightened, while actually being insane maniacs wreaking havoc on the people around them. This is the position of most gurus. We, therefore, will spare you our sales pitch.
We can, however, offer a broad picture of how it feels to have fully completed MDMA Solo therapy: You will feel strong, confident, able to speak without fear. You will feel consistently calm and compassionate, and unafraid to confront those who you see doing harm around you. You will sleep soundly, and deeply; you will be attuned to your body and its needs. You will have stopped coping mechanisms including the use of government-endorsed painkillers, like alcohol, and you will find yourself able to easily see through the illusions of your age. You will no longer experience depression (now knowing it to be misdirected anger) and you will have a full recall of the details of your childhood and the programming process you were subjected to in the so-called ‘school’ system. You will see yourself for who you are, and you will intuitively sense the path of grace and walk along it.
Right now, that may all sound like some hippy bullshit, but we assure you it's attainable. It is the details of this process that we will now share with you. This process has been tried and tested by many in our communities, and it has proven itself to be the cheapest and most effective means by which to heal pain, process trauma, and confront our deepest wounds. If this sounds like a path you’d like to tread, then step this way.
'Depth psychology' broadly refers to the study of the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are the most famous examples of those who practiced depth psychology. The 'unconscious mind' is a term that describes deep, inner processes, that you are not aware of during normal waking consciousness.
Unconscious processes often have a strong impact on your behaviour patterns, but only rise into your conscious awareness during work with traditional psychedelics and empathogens like MDMA. To use an analogy: MDMA lets you look deep inside the 'engine' of your mind.
The Castalia Foundation would like to defend Freud at this point, since it is extremely likely you will have been turned against him. Many of Freud’s early theories are excellent, but he was later set off-track by his society, who refused to accept the conclusions in his paper, The Aetiology of Hysteria (Über die Ätiologie der Hysterie, 1896). This paper is worth reading. It demonstrates Freud’s astonishing insight into the true causes of society’s distress. Naturally, it was met with resistance and Freud was forced to recant it. He then promptly became a cocaine addict.
We have found that the best results with MDMA Solo therapy come as a result of several hours of self-study into some core psychological concepts. We don’t want to prescribe any particular doctrine, but Jung tends to be a useful guide to many of the subconscious forces that ebb and swell within us. Some knowledge of complex underlying psychodynamic mechanisms can be very useful in the periods between MDMA sessions.
It is not the objective of this book to educate you in depth psychology. Instead we offer a list of excellent books which we highly recommend reading before you embark on the path of self-healing using MDMA. These works can be found in the 'Reading Suggestions' at the end of this book.
In effect, the best-case scenario for your healing is that you self-educate to a reasonable level of expertise in psychology. Again: Be wary of much of the literature on this subject: A corrupt society tends to promote and popularize 'psychology' books that do nothing to challenge the state of the world. In our reading list at the end of this book, we have tried to acquaint the reader with a small library of books which actually challenge and enlighten.
To return to our 'engine' metaphor for your mind: If you were going to work alone to fix the engine of your car, beforehand you would (we hope) read a significant amount of material about how the car is assembled, how to access the engine, and what to do once you are there. This is akin to some aspects of the protocol as we describe it in this book. Ideally you want to be in a position where you are your own guru, and your own psychoanalyst.
Some critics would rightly point out that being your own psychologist can create some nasty feedback-loops, where the subconscious mind actively sabotages the work you are doing, while simultaneously convincing you that everything is going very well indeed. However, we have found that by introducing regular MDMA sessions, it is more or less impossible for this feedback loop to occur for any sustained period of time. The chemical inevitability that MDMA will break through your patterns of resistance make this self-psychologizing approach effective despite its limitations and risks when used without MDMA.
While some researchers claim to know the precise chemical action of MDMA, and its effect on various neurotransmitters in the brain, The Castalia Foundation has found little evidence to support many of the claims surrounding the precise mechanism by which MDMA functions. Indeed, it is in the interests of the pharmaceutical cartels to mislead the public regarding MDMA, as it threatens their profits. Much of the pharmaceutical industry profits from patching-up 'diseases' that MDMA could otherwise easily resolve. In addition, governments license MDMA research, and would clearly not give funding to any group who threatened to actually heal the planetary population with MDMA.
A healed population would not tolerate government in its present form. We are therefore presented with a research landscape that is extremely controlled and limited.
Just as it is one thing to read sheet music, and quite another to actually hear a piano being played, we don’t feel that knowledge of the alleged biochemical action of MDMA helps a person undergoing an MDMA Solo experience.
Specifically, The Castalia Foundation disputes the theory that serotonin availability is a core determinant of mood in humans. Our professional position is supported by other researchers. If you are curious about the origins of the scientific-fantasy that binds serotonin and mood, you could read the British Medical Journal editorial, Serotonin and Depression: The Marketing of a Myth, by Professor of Psychiatry David Healy.
Professor Healy found no correlation between a medicine’s serotonin reuptake-inhibiting potency and antidepressant effect. You might also enjoy the report by Pies R.W. Serotonin: How psychiatry got over its high school crush (Psychiatric Times, 2015). In this article, Pies desribes how depression is "far more complicated than a simple deficiency of one or more neurotransmitters."
Indeed, depression is precisely as Freud, Laing and Miller indentified it: A habituated-reaction to traumatic circumstances, typically initiated in childhood. A more advanced perspective on depression is to view the condition as bio-psycho-social; meaning that biology, psychology, and society are all components in the formation of the 'disease'. We will cover this topic in more detail later in this book.
Much research in the MDMA field focuses obsessively on the actions of a single neurotransmitter, serotonin. This research is therefore misguided and we don’t find that it offers much value at all. That said, the issue of MDMA neurotoxicity is now hopelessly ingrained in the public consciousness, even if the evidence does not support it.
Despite the dubiousness of much ‘research’ into MDMA, it is interesting to at least familiarize ourselves with the current state of 'science' in this area: It is claimed by neuroscientists that MDMA reduces activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is a region of the brain which deals with our fear response. MDMA may simultaneously increase activity in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is a region of the brain which deals with logical thought. MDMA may also increase traffic-flow between the amygdala and the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a brain region believed to be responsible for memory formation and retention.
This increased flow of traffic between the amygdala and the hippocampus is thought to be an observable, neuro-biological marker for the experiential process of excavating, processing and integrating traumatic memories; first into conventional consciousness, and then into long-term storage. Naturally, this kind of 'neuroscientific' brain-mapping is hopelessly speculative and does not help us to understand MDMA, or its use as a healing tool.
'Neuroscientific' brain-mapping is technically a modern pseudoscience. It is an advanced-form of telling someone's fortune by reading tea leaves. For example, Anders Eklund, of Sweden’s Linköping University, uncovered a fatal programming error in the software that interpreted most fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) data. This error invalidated over 16,500 neuroscience studies over the last 20 years. In other words: Neuroscience based on fMRI scanning-systems relies on the wildly-arbitrary ‘parsing’ of statistical-data that typically disintegrates under scrutiny.
Leaving aside the biochemical tap-dance that MDMA may, or may not, perform in the human nervous system, we will now provide a brief outline of the subjective, human experience of taking MDMA within a planned, intentional, self-therapeutic context.
After taking MDMA, behind the scenes, a dizzying array of neurological transmissions no doubt take place in your brain as past experiences and feelings are re-filed by the MDMA. This is rather like a chemical secretary sorting out decades of mess in a dusty back-office. However, your subjective experience will be very different.
If you do not follow the precautions and preparatory steps outlined later in this book, then your MDMA session may not have the intended healing effect, and your session may end in a ‘comedown’; a ‘depressive’ phase which is sometimes caused by a person using MDMA without adequate respect and insight. This phase can often be avoided with planning and care.
Upon swallowing a carefully chosen dose of MDMA (see the section titled, Dosing Strategies), the solo-traveler will often enter a phase of mild uncertainty. A sensation of ‘nothing is happening’ will likely pervade the first hour. This is a mild defense of the ego (the current state of default-consciousness) which does not like the idea that anything so small as a tiny capsule of crystalline powder could fundamentally shift its perceptual field.
At some point during, or shortly after, this first hour the solo-traveler will become aware that something is shifting; that some change is occurring, and that the earlier feeling that ‘nothing-is-happening’ has been replaced by a distinct widening of awareness.
At this point, it cannot precisely be predicted what will occur. Typically, the most pressing subconscious material will begin to rise to the surface of awareness for processing. Often this rising-up of material will begin with a distinct feeling of fear, or panic. This feeling of fear is precisely the subconscious affect-storm that kept the material away from everyday conscious-awareness up until this point. In other words: In order to safely excavate and process a compartmentalized traumatic experience, we must first disarm the ‘guard’ at that door of our internal ‘castle’. Often this metaphorical ‘castle’ contains all the unfelt and blocked-off pain and confusion that could not be safely felt at the time of the original trauma.
Provided that the solo-traveler breathes deeply and regularly, with meditative intention and trust, this internal ‘guard’ will put down its weapons and allow access to the traumatic material. The overwhelming pain and confusion of a traumatic experience often trips a metaphorical circuit-breaker in the mind at the time of the event. Under the effects of the MDMA, however, an entire traumatic episode can, during an MDMA session, rise up again in astonishing detail.
You are likely to experience a broader understanding of the context in which you were traumatized, as well as an increased sense of compassion and understanding for the effect it had on you.
The next phase of this process will often, although not always, involve a release of sadness and there may be crying and shaking (more on this later in this book). Finally, a cascade of realizations will likely occur, during which you discover that you have made many mistaken assumptions about yourself. These assumptions specifically orbit your sense of responsibility for any trauma you have experienced.
Often, and especially as children, we blame ourselves for what is done to us. With the realization that these false self-beliefs stemmed from the trauma, and not from truth, it will typically feel as if a great weight has been lifted, and this feeling will persist into your everyday life. These new realizations may then be followed by the excavation of more trauma. And the cycle of revelations will repeat until the MDMA Solo session is finished several hours later.
The description above was an extremely broad outline of an MDMA Solo session. There are many other possibilities, and not all sessions end in such a succinct and conclusive way. Sometimes it is necessary to run another session in the days following the first; particularly when dealing with very complex and prolonged abuse experiences. Other times it may be necessary to integrate material from a session using dance, yoga, mediation or self-bodywork. Furthermore, some sessions may only reach a satisfying resolution a day (or several days) after the actual MDMA experience.
Because we have all been hurt in very different ways; and because we have all constructed different internal structures to compensate for, and protect ourselves against, these traumas, it is hard to predict what any one session will bring. However, The Castalia Foundation has attempted to describe a generic experience with MDMA. While it may not represent your personal experience, you will be able to recognize elements of as you progress in your healing.
MDMA is one of the latest in a long line of medicinal tools that, throughout human history, have served to reconnect a person with themselves and the world around them. More ancient forms of these tools include ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca, also referred to as yagé, is a psychoactive tea that has been used in Peruvian culture for over a thousand years.
Ayahuasca is an integral part of the spiritual practice of many tribal communities in the Amazon. Ayahuasca is brewed primarily from a combination of the Psychotria viridis shrub and the stalks of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine. The tea induces many hours of mystical experiences during a 'ceremony’, and is one of the most intense psychedelic experiences in the world.
We mention ayahuasca in this book because of the way in which this medicine can be intensified by vibrations in the air during a ceremony. Ayahuasca evolved as a healing medicine together with a parallel technology which is used alongside the ayahuasca. This parallel technology is: Music.
During ayahuasca ceremonies, this music often takes the form of songs, or icaros, which are sung by a shaman. These songs have several purposes: First, they function as a form of reassuring guidance for those who have drunk the ayahuasca. Secondly, as an indication of passing time. Thirdly, the shaman’s icaros are a strong catalyst of the ayahuasca tea itself. In other words, the shaman’s icaros, or songs, can stimulate and intensify, through vibration, the effects of the ayahuasca.
A rational-scientific exploration of this phenomena may yield an unsatisfying understanding of the underlying mechanism of action, but the subjective experience itself cannot be denied: A person undertaking an ayahuasca session will discover that the shaman’s songs indeed appear to interplay with the psychedelic experience.
Strange though it may sound, it is as if the ayahuasca can, by some currently unexplained process, be remote-controlled to some degree by the icaros of the shaman.
Music is, in many of our so-called Western ‘modern’ societies, often not given much consideration in terms of its power to affect our mood, invite thought, or transform a space. Nonetheless, music’s power to do so remains. Although the profound impact of music is obvious to anyone who has attended a live concert and been moved to tears, we are often surrounded by music of a relatively low quality and psycho-emotional vibration.
Music is, when directed in a meaningful way, often an extremely complex and powerful means by which to communicate. It is, perhaps, our most advanced communications technology. This is because music communicates not only ideas and thoughts, but also emotions. The latter being music’s most mysterious capability. Music is able to effortlessly transcend all known human language systems and shift the mood of a space. Music is, magically, not reliant on any formal understanding by those present.
A poem read in German, for example, would not be comprehended by the average Chinese citizen. However, a piano piece by Ludwig van Beethoven would likely have a substantial impact and be fully understood on an emotional level. Such is the power of music to energize, empower, and communicate.
The Castalia Foundation hopes that, by this point, you have an appreciation for the ways in which choice of music can effect your MDMA Solo sessions. We also reach something of an impasse: Your choice of music for your sessions must be your own choice. Nobody else can know your specific needs during a session. Luckily, the subconscious mind is a powerful thing: Your choices when preparing a playlist for a future MDMA session will, when you run the session itself, often become oddly prescient. This is because we all have an inner-healer aspect to our psychological constitution. It is this part that will frequently become most active when you prepare for a session.
For reference, we provide here a music playlist that has been used to great effect during MDMA Solo sessions at The Castalia Foundation. As with all our guidance, we do not expect this to be used as a formula for all solo-travelers, but instead this playlist is designed to be built-on, altered, or discarded in favor of your own personal choices. Our playlist, in the suggested order of tracks, is as follows:
• Rai by Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch
• Mesa by Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch
• Isaiah's Theme by Harry Gregson-Williams, Hans Zimmer
• Time by Hans Zimmer, Tina Guo, Gavin Greenaway
• The Docking Scene by Hans Zimmer, Roger Sayer, Gavin Greenaway
• Katherine by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch
• Mission Control by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Wallfisch
• Space Task Groupby Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Wallfisch
• Planet Earth II Suite by Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe
• Flight over the Alps by Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe
• Savage Beauty by Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe
• We Are the Designers by Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe
• S.T.A.Y. by Hans Zimmer
• Where We're Going by Hans Zimmer
• We Built Our Own World by Hans Zimmer
• Ship Drop by Alan Silvestri
• Spacewalk by Thomas Newma
• Forest Fires by Axel Flóvent
• Concerning Hobbits by Howard Shore
• Arrival to Earth by Steve Jablonsky
• Comptine d'un autre été, l'après-midi by Yann Tiersen
• Arrival by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• Sapir-Whorf by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• First Encounter by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• One Of Twelve by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• The Candlelight Vigil by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• Inside The Pods From “Varmints” by Jóhann Jóhannsso
• Not Knowing by Rae Morris
• Light of the Seve by Ramin Djawadi
• The Ring Goes South by Howard Shore
• Don't Go (Acoustic Version) by Rae Morris
• The Shadow of the Past by Howard Shore
• Becoming one with Neytiri by James Horner
• Cornfield Chase by Hans Zimmer
• The Imitation Game by Alexandre Desplat
• A Lannister Always Pays His Debts by Ramin Djawadi
• Ert Jörði by Ólafur Arnalds
• Somnolence by Arcana
• Illuminate by The Kite String Tangle, Dustin Tebbutt
• You Mean the World to Me (Live), by Freya Ridings
• Unconditional (Live at Omeara), by Freya Ridings
• Symphony No.3, Op.36: II Lento Henryk Gorecki
• Champagne Supernova (Remastered) by Oasis
• I ain't scared of lightning by Tom McRae
• The Nomad Koral Banko
• La Fille Sans Larmes by Lo Mimieux
• Hopes and Dreams Emmanuelle Rimbaud
• Longevity by Nolo Talos
• Echos of You by Oneke
• The Watchmaker by Gendrial
• Consideration by Reef
• East London Street (Drums Only Version) by Hidden Orchestra
• You've Got The Love by Florence + The Machine
• Tears in the Rai by Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch
• The Music Box by Ave Air
• Memorie d'amour by Leon Noel
• Cor Meum by 8th Floor Wide
• May You Never by John Marty
• Shining Light by Ash
• Gorecki by Lamb
• Codex by Ramin Djawadi
• Wishing by Alexis Ffrench
• Let Her Go by Henry Smith
• Charlotte's Daydream by Pieter de Graaf
• I Put All That Away by Max Richter
• Kanada's Death Pt.2 (Adagio in D Minor) by John Murphy
This example playlist initially avoids music with lyrics; although it does include some as the session progresses. As a general rule, it is better to use music that cannot be misinterpreted, or is directive or distracting. Hence the bulk of our example playlist is made of music without singing. That said, we have found it very empowering and transformative to include some songs with lyrics towards the latter parts of a session. Songs with lyrics can be healing, particularly if those songs speak to universal human values.
The example playlist is designed to be started approximately an hour after taking the first dose of MDMA. The playlist has been structured to approximately peak with the most common intensity curve of the onset of the MDMA. In other words: as the MDMA increases in intensity; so too does the music. This helps carry the session and potentiate the effects of the MDMA; just as a shaman’s icaros potentiate the effects of ayahuasca.
An MDMA session is typically concluded once the music playlist is finished, but this is absolutely not a rule. Many sessions run way beyond the limits of this example playlist, and you may want to add your own tracks.
Continue reading - Go to Part II >>