Cameron Adams
Director of Breaking Convention

The Feminine Enshadowed: The Role of Psychedelics in Deconstructing the Gender Binary

Ethnographic research on psychedelics forums shows that it is common to associate a feminine spirit with psychedelic substances; even, perhaps, the Jungian archetype of the sacred feminine. A perusal of cross-cultural materials seems to support the feminine nature of psychedelic plants. However, the concept of the feminine cross-culturally is inconsistent except that it contrasts with that which is masculine and vice versa. This undermines the concept of a unified feminine archetype and rather suggests a situation where we find multiple femininities.

One facet shared by these femininities is that they constitute one possible means to access the Jungian shadow, and further depths of the psyche due to their socially defined hierarchical position. Instead of being an autochthonous psychic given, the perception of a feminine nature to psychedelics is a perceptual artefact of cognitive and cultural filters and the psychedelic experience lays bare these filters; the masculine/feminine contrast is an echo of the contrast between the socially promoted normal waking state of conscious and downplayed altered states of consciousness.

Cameron Adams is a co-founder and director of Breaking Convention: Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He completed his Ph.D. in Environmental and Ecological Anthropology in 2004 with his study of Highland Maya Ethnophysiology and Cognitive Metaphor. He has studied psychedelic communities online since 2009 and has focused on psychedelic phenomenology, healing with psychedelics, and the relationship between psychedelics and conspiracy theories.