Psymposia’s Psychedelic Stories “Blue Dot Tour” Recap

Lucille looks like an old black pickup truck – but she prefers to be called a submarine.

Left to our host Lex Pelger by his Pap, Lucille spent the last 2 months driving across the continent and back again. She carried Lex to over 20 cities to host Psymposia Psychedelic Stories. On an open mic, people shared their first-person accounts with psychedelics, psychoactives, plant medicines, or any other experiences that activated that rich pharmacy between their ears.

We heard stories of mushrooms curing cluster headaches. We heard from a mother who lost her daughter in the drug war. We heard tales of transformation next to trips of terror.

We treasure these events because, while the science and data are important, stories change hearts and minds.

Lex Pelger and Lucille

We called the trip the Blue-Dot Tour. Initially, inspired by the recent storytelling night we hosted in Viroqua, WI for the Driftless Psychedelic Therapy Symposium, we planned to tour through those blue cities in red states that serve as such pressure cookers of local culture and activism. But as it turned out, we were also invited to red cities in blue states and purple villages in green states. The name stuck anyway.

Each event was built in collaboration with the local psychedelic community, and usually included a screening of Robert Barnhart’s A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin – the perfect primer for those new to psychedelics and an excellent source of anecdotal evidence about mushrooms for end-of-life anxiety for those already in the know.

Events ranged from small groups around the campfire to hundreds packing a bar. People came out of the psychedelic closet in backyards, schools, libraries, and on our stage at Psychedelic Science 2017. We started in NYC.


Join Our Newsletter

Independent drug journalism. 

In your inbox.

Join Our Newsletter

Independent drug journalism. In your inbox.


NYC Tour Launch Fundraiser

The tour kicked off with a secret-address launch party in NYC to raise funds for Lucille’s gas.

Lex Pelger hosting the NYC Blue-Dot Tour Launch Fundraiser

Boston, MA

Lucille’s first drive went up to Boston for Psychedelic Stories at Northeastern SSDP‘s 7th Annual Perspectives in Psychedelic Medicine, with Rick Doblin, the Founder and Executive Director of MAPS.

This event was the first one on Facebook Live.


Philadelphia, PA

Lucille then drove down to Philly, hosted by the Philadelphia Psychedelic Society. Bad traffic made her late to the show – much to the hideous embarrassment of the usually punctual PA farm boy driving her – but the founder Adam Wenger made him feel much more at ease. They had a beautiful community that had already been gathering for years and the amazing stories flowed. Listen for them on an upcoming episode of the Psychedelic Salon podcast where we’re releasing these every other week.

Lex hosting Psychedelic Stories: Philadelphia

Lancaster, PA

Even Lex’s parents hosted in his home town of Lancaster.

Lex in Lancaster, PA

Baltimore, MD

Lucille then brought Lex and his travel companion Kat Villaverde down to Baltimore, base of operations for Psymposia partners Mike Margolies and Brian Normand.

In the kickoff event for an ongoing series in Baltimore, we heard stories from several participants in the Hopkins psychedelic studies.

Lauri Kershman in Baltimore sharing about her experience at Hopkins with psilocybin for cancer-related depression/anxiety
The Psymposia team whiteboarding in Baltimore with black coffee. From left: Mike Margolies, Lex Pelger, Brian Normand

Athens, GA

In Athens, the Psychedelic Club at UGA hosted us at a lovely DIY music venue for backyard storytelling around a campfire under a full Georgia moon. This crew of young activists already functioned like a family, and it turned into a particularly powerful night.

As the bluest dot in the reddest state, the stories from that evening became the first of the tour to be released as an episode on the Psychedelic Salon.

Austin, TX

The brand new Austin Psychedelic Society hosted us in a library with special guest Robert Barnhart, producer of A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin. He proved his generous good nature when technical difficulties meant watching his documentary on a laptop. Afterwards he said it was good because it forced him to really listen to the sounds of his own film and helped him to understand it more. What a mensch.

Here’s the episode:

Boulder, CO

In Boulder, we were hosted by the Naropa Alliance for Psychedelic Studies and the Psychedelic Club of Boulder. We also hit our first psychedelic family hat trick. The editor of Lex’s books, Zoe Platek, shared a story after both of her parents told about their own journeys with psychedelics.

Psychedelic Stories: Boulder

Oakland, CA – Psymposia Stage at Psychedelic Science 2017

The highlight of the trip was the Psymposia Stage at Psychedelic Science 2017, where we hosted a conference-within-the-conference — a full weekend of talks, stories, live podcasts, and conversations about the future of psychedelic science, medicine, policy, and culture.

We featured fresh perspectives from researchers, activists, artists, educators, indigenous voices, and people around the world, including Duncan Trussell, Hamilton Morris, and Dennis McKenna.

The whole thing was livestreamed and you can watch it on our Facebook page. You won’t find content like this anywhere else.

Psymposia and the Cosmic Sister Feminist Panel at Psychedelic Science 2017. From left: Mike Margolies, Leia Friedman, Lex Pelger, Neşe Lisa Şenol, Katie Bain, Selma Holden, Faye Sakellaridis

Los Angeles, CA

For the next two stops in southern California, we teamed up with the Aware Project. In LA, our featured storytellers included Michael Wood of Veterans for Standing Rock, author Elizabeth Bast, occult explorer Jason Louv, psychedelic facilitator Tricia Eastman, and hypnotist Albert Nerenberg.



Mike Margolies and Michael Wood of Veterans for Standing Rock, one of the featured speakers for Psychedelic Stories: LA

San Diego, CA

In San Diego, we were joined by special guest Lorenzo Hagerty of the Psychedelic Salon. We also heard from MAPS ibogaine researcher Tom Kingsley Brown, and Elizabeth Bast joined us again with her husband, artist Chor Boogie.

Lorenzo Hagerty of the Psychedelic Salon podcast at Psychedelic Stories: San Diego

Portland, OR

We were hosted by the Portland Entheogenic Exploration + Research Society for a double-header event with over 300 attendees. Go Portland.

The event opened with The Third Wave‘s Paul Austin, who has been on his own tour lecturing about microdosing.

Paul Austin of The Third Wave giving his talk on microdosing in Portland

After Paul’s talk, the people of Portland shared their stories, including two powerful angles on MDMA for PTSD from a veteran in the MAPS study and a rape victim in underground therapy.

Veteran Nigel McCourry shares about his experience in the MAPS MDMA for PTSD study at Psychedelic Stories: Portland

Victoria, BC

Lucille took the ferry across the border to Canada for an event with the Victoria Association for Psychedelic Studies. Powerful stories were told in a lovely gathering room on the University of Victoria campus.

Vancouver, BC

At the University of British Columbia with the UBC Psychedelic Society, some of the local academics had to ask that their (incredible) stories not be recorded for the podcast – but we were joined by MAPS Canada Executive Director Mark Haden and Advisory Board member Ken Tupper.

Chicago, IL

We teamed up with the Chicago Psychedelic Club at High Dive Chicago. The strong vibrant local psychedelic community fostered a rich array of storytellers like psychiatrist Dr. Matt Brown.

Columbus, OH

In Columbus, we collaborated with Mind Manifest Midwest for an event out of a bicycle hangar where the local community organizes its branch of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Brian Pace of Mind Manifest Midwest at Psychedelic Stories: Columbus

Kent, OH

Kent State University’s SSDP chapter hosted next, and it became a fine night around the campfire as this closeknit group of friends caught up, told stories, and supported each other.

Charlotte, NC

Social work grad student Laura Camilo reached out to bring us to Charlotte and found us a venue at local bar Petra’s. Almost everybody who came out shared a story that night.

Atlanta, GA

We then joined up with PsyAtlanta at the Metropolitan Studios where some of the funniest stories of the trip went down.

Live Oak, FL – Tipper & Friends

For the second year, we joined the Tipper & Friends music festival, with Psychedelic Stories on the lawn at 4:20.

Margie Weiss, Rachel Morningstar Foundation, sharing her story on the lawn at Tipper & Friends

Lex also spoke on the main stage along with Mitchell Gomez, Executive Director of DanceSafe, and Margie Weiss, who shared the moving story of her daughter Rachel Morningstar Hoffman, who was murdered while acting as a police informant during a drug sting.

Main stage at Tipper & Friends. From right: Mitchell Gomez, Lex Pelger, Margie Weiss, Paul Levine

Charleston, SC

Psychedelic Stories: Charleston was also the launch event for the Society for the Exploration of Altered States. We were joined by special guests Michael and Annie Mithoefer, the co-therapists for the MAPS US MDMA/PTSD study.

Michael Mithoefer at Psychedelic Stories: Charleston
Duane David, Founder of SEAS, at Psychedelic Stories: Charleston

Nashville, TN

Finally, Lucille went to Tennessee to meet the brand new Nashville Psychedelic Society in the halls of the Nosse College of Art. We had the highest share rate of the entire tour – over 80% of people who attended told a story – a fitting end to the last stop.

Psychedelic Stories: Nashville

We are a 100% independent voice in drug journalism. Our content is free and we never have corporate ads, sponsored content, or sketchy affiliate programs.

This means we require support from readers like you - the grass roots - so we can remain independent and keep digging into the biggest issues with no strings attached. You can make a huge impact by supporting us for as little as $2 a month. 

Support us on Patreon today