Monday, June 17, 2013

Dr. Miller Interviews Dr. Dennis McKenna

Dr. Miller Interviews Guest: Dr. Dennis McKenna, world renowned ethnobotanist and neuroscientist, on his most recent book The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.

Dr. Dennis McKenna is an ethnopharmacologist who has studied plant hallucinogens for over forty years. Outside of scientific circles he is best known as the brother of Terence McKenna, a cultural icon in the psychedelic community. Together they are co-authors of The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching and Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide: A Handbook for Psilocybin Enthusiasts

Their unanticipated encounters with alien mysteries while searching for exotic hallucinogens deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest had a profound impact on their lives, and on late twentieth century culture. In Brotherhood of The Screaming Abyss, Dennis further explores the complexity of ideas that the two brothers shared, and the peculiar obsessions that led them into some of the strangest uncharted territory ever plumbed by two questing minds. This book is Dennis’ personal story of their intertwined lives.

Dennis McKenna’s professional and personal interests are focused on the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral research focused on ethnopharmacological investigations of the botany, chemistry, and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two orally-active tryptamine-based hallucinogens used by indigenous peoples in the Northwest Amazon.

He received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, and in the Department of Neurology, Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1990 he joined Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology, and relocated to Minnesota in 1993 to join the Aveda Corporation as Senior Research Pharmacognosist. He has been an adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota since 2001, where he teaches courses in ethnopharmacology and botanical medicine. He has taught summer field courses in Peru and Ecuador, and has conducted ethnobotanical fieldwork in the Peruvian, Colombian, and Brazilian Amazon. He is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit scientific and educational organization focused on the investigation of the potential therapeutic applications of psychedelic medicines.

The Welcome: A Healing Journey for War Veterans and Their Families

Dr. Miller Interviews Bill McMillan, M.F.T, Michael J. Maxwell, MS, and Bob Eaton

Bill McMillan, M.F.T., co-produced The Welcome with his spouse, award-winning documentary filmmaker Kim Shelton. Bill is co-director of the Welcome Home Project, a program that helps local communities actively participate in the return of their soldiers. His current practice focuses on veterans’ reintegration into civilian life.

Michael J. Maxwell, MS has spent the last thirty years working with combat veterans. In the late 70's he helped develop and implement the first Vet Center in Oregon. He worked at the Portland Vet Center for eight years as a therapist and then as the Team Leader.

In 1987 he left the Vet Center to join the Portland VA Medical Center staff to help develop PTSD programs for combat veterans. Mr. Maxwell retired from full time employment with the VA in 2006 and is currently involved in training, consultation and program development. He is a Vietnam era vet having served in the Army from 1971 to 1973.

Bob Eaton is a Vietnam vet who appeared in the film. He now mentors vets and their families. Bob continues to write songs and now records and performs them around Southern Oregon.

The Welcome offers a fiercely intimate view of life after war: the fear, anger and isolation of post-traumatic stress that affects vets and family members alike. As we join these vets in a small room for an unusual five day healing retreat, we witness how the ruins of war can be transformed into the beauty of poetry. Here our perceptions are changed, our psyches strained and our hearts broken. And at the end, when this poetry is shared with a large civilian audience, we begin to understand that all of us are a vital piece of the Welcome as Veterans try to find the way back home. Their examples of unflinching honesty, courage and love lift us up, inspiring all of us once again to feel our common humanity, always the first casualty of war.


The Mission of the Welcome Home Project is to bridge the historic gap between veterans (including their families) and the civilian communities in which they live. We use the film The Welcome in local communities around the country to catalyze dialogue, to raise awareness and to spur direct involvement by civilians.

Visit: www.thewelcomehomeproject.org and www.thewelcomethemovie.com