Psychedelics and the Mind

Psychedelics and the Mind, offered by the renowned UC Berkeley, delves deep into the intricate world of psychedelic substances and their profound connection with the human mind.

  • 200 Enrolled
  • All levels
  • Last updated Sep '23
  • English
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Course Description

Psychedelics and the Mind is a free course, offered by UC Berkeley, that delves deep into the intricate world of psychedelic substances and their profound connection with the human mind. Led by Professor David Presti, this comprehensive 8-module course seamlessly integrates the realms of science, history, and culture, catering to both newcomers and seasoned experts.

Participants will embark on a journey that elucidates the scientific intricacies of psychedelic compounds, the historical and cultural narratives surrounding their use, and the contemporary debates that shape their perception in today’s society.

With a rich tapestry of insights from leading experts such as Michael Pollan, Jennifer Mitchell, and Dacher Keltner, among others, students will emerge as well-informed individuals, equipped with a nuanced understanding of psychedelics’ significance in modern wellness, science, and cultural discourse.

You will learn:

  • What is Bwiti?
  • Roles in Bwiti initiation/treatment
  • Instruments in Bwiti: ngombe, mogongo
  • What is an Nganga
    • Maboundi/Yombo
    • Maboundi/Yombo
  • Sustainability/reciprocity

You will learn:

  • History of the Fang tradition
  • Dissumba vs. Dissumba Fang
  • Ombwiri/Mbumbayano Fang
  • The kambo
  • State of Fang Bwiti in Gabon
  • Impact of Westerners coming to work with the sacred wood

You will learn:

  • History of the Missoko tradition
  • Various branches of Missoko initiation:
    • Miobe/Mioba
    • Ngonde Na Dipuma
    • Sengedia
  • The impact of logging on the tradition
  • What the future of Bwiti could look like in Gabon

You will learn:

  • History of Dissumba
  • Various branches of Dissumba initiation:
    • Abanji/Mabanji
    • Ilombo
    • Ombwiri
    • Ombudi
    • Loro
  • The ngombe (sacred harp)
  • Healing rituals involved in her tradition
  • Training to serve the wood
    • What does it involve?
    • How long does it take?




About Instructor

Tatayo (“Fruit of the Wind”) first arrived in Gabon in 1971 at the age of 21 and became a Gabonese citizen. In 1979, he became the first white person to be initiated into the Bwiti Fang tradition in Gabon. In 1994, he was initiated into the Misokko tradition. As a guide for numerous expeditions and missions, including those of National Geographic, the BBC, and others, Tatayo is considered to have “opened the door” to westerners in Gabon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for start and finish dates/times. This course is currently being offered live and dates/times will change throughout the year.


This course includes

  • Modules 8
  • Duration 8 Hours
  • Skills All levels
  • Language English
  • Availability Cohort
  • Certificate No
Psychedelics and the Mind Course Image