Frequently Asked Questions - Atman Retreat

Basics

Psilocybin is the naturally occurring active ingredient in many species of psychedelic (“magic”) mushroom. Once ingested, it converts to psilocin in the body and induces an altered state of consciousness: a psychedelic experience. Learn more about psilocybin here.

Psychedelics are a class of psychoactive compound that induce altered states of consciousness. The term psychedelic comes from “psyche” and the Greek word dēlos, which means “to manifest”, together meaning “mind manifesting”.

Examples of “classical” psychedelics are psilocybin, mescaline, LSD and DMT. Other substances sometimes considered psychedelics (depending who you ask) are cannabis, MDMA, ketamine, and ibogaine.

Our upcoming retreat dates are:

  • November 13-16, 2019
  • November 17-20, 2019

Applying to Atman Retreat

Start by filling out our online application form. Your responses on this application may be enough for us to accept you into a retreat. If we need more information or would like to discuss aspects of your application in more detail, we’ll contact you to schedule an intake call with a member of our team.

Once you’re accepted into a retreatyou’ll receive a link by email to pay and secure your spot. After making the payment, we’ll send you a comprehensive preparation package that includes travel guidelines, a retreat schedule, information about psilocybin mushrooms, and more. Then you can book your flights and start preparing for the retreat!

If you’re accepted into a retreat group based on your written application alone, it will only take a few days.

If we need to schedule an intake call with you and you’re available to speak with us soon, it could take up to a week. If we need to schedule an intake call with you and your schedule is less flexible and/or we’re very busy, it could take up to 2-3 weeks.

Absolutely! Start by filling out the application form (one for each person) and we’ll take it from there.

Maybe. There are a limited number of private rooms, and this depends on the preferences of other participants who may have signed up before you. Please indicate your room preference(s) on the application form and we’ll do our best to accommodate. You can also contact us if you have any questions.

Yes. Low-income tickets are priced at $395 USD and allotted to those with limited financial means. Please only apply for a low-income ticket if this applies to you, and if a low-income ticket is your only realistic option for attending the retreat. To apply for a low-income ticket, simply indicate your preference when asked on the application form. You’ll then be asked to answer a few additional questions about your financial situation.

Individuals with personal or family histories of bipolar, schizophrenia, or other personality disorders may be at risk if using psilocybin. A strong psychedelic experience can exacerbate or trigger the onset of these conditions. These risks are addressed in detail in our application process.

Retreat Experience

Our retreats are four days / three nights.

Three facilitators attend each retreat, and one or two additional members of the Atman Retreat team will also be present to manage logistics and provide additional support. The total number of team members on each retreat is 4-5.

  • Psilocybin session in a group setting
  • Accommodation for the duration of the retreat
  • Vegetarian (or vegan) food prepared fresh daily on-site
  • Guided preparation and integration activities
  • 1-on-1 check-ins with facilitators
  • Meditation, yoga and breathwork practice
  • Access to private beachfront and swimming pool
  • Transport to and from Montego Bay Airport (MBJ)
  • Follow up integration call post-retreat
  • Preparation and integration written materials

Atman Retreat starts at $1,795 USD for one participant. This is paid only once you are approved to attend – after filling out the application form and having an intake call with one of our facilitators. We also have low-income tickets available, which are priced at $395 USD.

No. You’ll need to book your own flights to and from Montego Bay (Sangster International Airport – MBJ).

We work with local growers in Jamaica to source the mushrooms. The mushrooms are carefully grown, dried, finely ground and capped into 0.33g capsules for precise dosing. Capsules also protect the psilocybin from degrading in sunlight, and help minimize nausea.

There is one psilocybin session, on the second day of the retreat. Participants first take an initial dose, the size of which is determined based on preferences, intentions, prior experiences (or lack thereof), and bodyweight. After approximately 1.5 hours, a facilitator offers an optional booster dose, which is approximately 50% of the initial dose.

Generally between 3-5g of dried mushrooms, which is the equivalent of around 18-31mg of psilocybin. Our application process is designed to help us and you determine a dose best suited to your preferences, intentions, and experience.

Psychedelic experiences are varied and often unpredictable. There are as many individual psychedelic experiences as there are people, and probably more. You may have heard or read things in media or online that cause you to think “I want that experience!” However, consensus within psychedelic communities is that it’s beneficial to enter a journey with openness, and to let go of any expectations or desires for a specific experience or outcome.

That said, there are some commonalities across most psychedelic experiences. For example, you may experience visual distortion, color saturation, and solid objects may appear as if they’re moving or “breathing”. You may experience physical sensations differently, feel hot or cold, feel parts of your body in a different way or feel parts of your body you’ve never felt before. Your sense of time may become distorted, and it may seem to become compressed or expanded throughout the journey.

You may experience strong emotions – positive and negative – and you may experience two or more seemingly contradictory emotions at the same time. You may experience a deep and healing emotional release.

You may see, imagine or remember people in your life, past and present, in particular those you have close relationships with. You may visit archetypal realms featuring figures, symbols or imagery from various cultures and mythological traditions. You may be visited by animals, or you may yourself transform into an animal. You may have the experience of everything as divine or holy, or of this alternate reality as being somehow “realer” than normal waking reality. You may lose your sense of being a separate self, and feel yourself dissolve into the universe or the cosmos.

These are only some of the many possible aspects of a psychedelic journey. A psychedelic experience can be overwhelming, and it can be underwhelming. Upon consuming psilocybin mushrooms, there is a small but real chance that you may not have a psychedelic experience at all. Once again you are encouraged to let go of your expectations or desires for specific experiences or outcomes, and be open to whatever comes.

We do not claim or attempt to treat any medical or mental health condition. While it’s common for people to have therapeutic experiences with psilocybin, attending Atman Retreat is not a substitute for medical services, psychotherapy, or any other form of treatment. 

Further, research protocols indicate that psychedelic therapy is most effective with multiple preparatory and integration sessions, and sometimes multiple psychedelic sessions. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to recreate this level of care with a retreat model at this time.

We may be able to offer a private 1-on-1 session, depending on timing and the availability of our facilitators. For this, you’d need to book your own accommodation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The cost of a private session is commensurate with the personalized care and attention you would receive. If you’re interested in a private session, please contact us here.

Psilocybin is generally safe and well-tolerated.1 It’s not physically addictive, and overdosing is almost impossible (it would require eating at least several pounds of mushrooms). Researchers in the UK deemed psilocybin mushrooms to be safer than alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and over a dozen other substances.2

The “set” (an individual’s mindset) and “setting” (physical setting) of a psychedelic experience greatly influence the process and outcome.2 If set and setting are properly prepared, the experience is much more likely to go well. If you’re accepted into a retreat group, we’ll send you a comprehensive prep package ahead of time, so you can learn about what to expect. You’ll also be briefed on the effects of psilocybin on retreat. Our experienced, knowledgeable facilitators will be there to support you every step of the way. Your session will take place in a comfortable indoor setting, designed to hold space for psychedelic experiences.

We take every measure to ensure each participant’s retreat experience is safe, comfortable, and positive in both the short and long term. However, psychedelic experiences are not for everyone. Our application process is designed to help both us and you determine if a psychedelic experience is a good fit for you.

Please note: Individuals with personal or family histories of bipolar, schizophrenia, or other personality disorders may be at risk if using psilocybin. A strong psychedelic experience can exacerbate or trigger the onset of these conditions. These risks are addressed in detail in our application process.

Safety

Psilocybin is generally safe and well-tolerated.1 It’s not physically addictive, and overdosing is almost impossible (it would require eating at least several pounds of mushrooms). Researchers in the UK deemed psilocybin mushrooms to be safer than alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and over a dozen other substances.2

However, individuals with personal or family histories of bipolar, schizophrenia, or other personality disorders may be at risk if using psilocybin. A strong psychedelic experience can exacerbate or trigger the onset of these conditions. These risks are addressed in detail in our application process.

Our retreats are held in Montego Bay, located on the Northwest coast of Jamaica. Montego Bay is a safe, popular tourist destination with many hotels and resorts. When you attend Atman Retreat, you’ll be picked up by a driver at Montego Bay/Sangster International Airport (MBJ) and driven directly to our venue. The venue is a private, gated villa (most homes in Jamaica are gated) with staff on-site at all times. When it’s time to depart, you’re driven back to the airport. There can be safety concerns in Jamaica, but they’re concentrated in Kingston, the capital city located on the Southeast coast.

References

1. Nichols (2016). Psychedelics. Pharmacological Reviews. 68 (2). 264-355.

2. Nutt et al. (2010). Drug Harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. The Lancet. 376 (9752). 1558-65.

3. Carhart-Harris et al. (2018). Psychedelics and the essential importance of context. J Psychopharmacology. 32 (7). 725-731.

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