“Yeah, let’s transition from the bullet war to the meme war. I’ve been really moved by the responses from the Soldiers of the Vine screenings. I’m like “Wow, I built a field of dreams, and people actually showed up!” People are getting whatever they need out of it, versus our own self criticisms about what could have been better. That’s the real amazing thing about it. Share the message with people, and people will self-organize and self-activate. There’s no cult, there’s no dogma, it’s just spreading the love of healing and then people will naturally do whatever it is they feel they were created to do.
I think ultimately these plant medicines are psychic mirrors: they give the opportunity for greater self-reflection. Used ceremonially together, you get an intensification from all those spheres online together, mirroring each other. We all need to shut up and take our medicine and do our work. My personal belief is that the universe is a superorganism that makes up a mirror for the divine, where the ego is a construct that creates the illusion of separateness so that we have a game to play, and it’s the best game ever.
And that’s our potential salvation, and how our planet is getting hooked up into an electronically supported superorganism platform for communication. I think we’re trying to all connect each other up to heal ourselves, to unify as a planet, and then on to whatever’s supposed to be next. I don’t know what that is any more than the next person, but I have an open heart and open arms and trust that the universe knows what it’s doing.”
Interview in Psychedelic Times Part 2 –From Blackhawk Pilot to Plant Medicine Activist: A Conversation with Ian Benouis
About Ian Benouis
Ian is a West Point graduate, former US Army officer, Blackhawk helicopter pilot and combat veteran.
He is Patient Number One for the Mission Within which treats special operators with PTSD, TBI and addiction using iboga and toad in Mexico. Ian has been helping wounded veterans for over 7 years.
Ian has moderated numerous veteran’s panels including the MAPS Psychedelic Science conference in 2018 in Austin and the Bufo Congress in 2019 in Mexico City. He has founded an ONAC church chapter which was later returned to the parent church. He is a founder of a Santo Daime church which is the US chapter of a Brazilian government approved church and has founded a number of other medicine churches in the US with his law partner Greg Lake.
Ian participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. This operation was the largest combat operation in US history focused directly on the War on Drugs and was the largest special operations deployment ever conducted. He was a pilot-in-command and his aviation brigade flew more night vision goggle hours than any unit in the military except for the Task Force 160 Special Operations which his unit was ultimately rolled up into when the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California military base was shut down.
Ian grew up in Hawaii in the 1970’s where cannabis was decriminalized and fully integrated in to the culture. He has been healing himself for over 30 years with sacred plants, a spiritual practice, and being a student and practitioner of ethnobotany. Ian was a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer after he got out of the Army witnessing firsthand the meteoric rise of the SSRI’s and synthetic opioids in the early 1990’s.
He is a casualty of the drug war having been arrested for cannabis while in law school. Ian is an intellectual property attorney who has been working in the corporate world for over 20 years in the primary roles of VP of Sales and Marketing and General Counsel. He is a political activist in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space nationally and locally in Texas. Ian was previously the Chairman of the Board for a public policy foundation in Texas for over seven years.
Ian was featured in the Spike Jonze produced episode Stoned Vets on Weediquette the cannabis focused series on Viceland on HBO with a number of other veterans protesting the VA’s policy on medical cannabis and trying to end the veteran suicide epidemic.
In 2016 Ian organized a trip for six veterans with PTSD to Peru in May for a 10-day plant diet including ayahuasca and other plant medicines with three Shipibo trained shaman brothers that are third generation plant medicine healers. Ian also took some of the same veterans to Mexico for treatment with iboga and 5-Meo-DMT. This experience was captured on video and was released as a documentary in March 2017 entitled Soldiers of the Vine.
He is member of the team supporting the movie From Shock to Awe a feature-length documentary that chronicles the journeys of military veterans as they seek relief from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the help of ayahuasca, MDMA and cannabis. This movie premiered at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona, AZ on June 2, 2018 where it captured the inaugural Mangurama Award for Conscious Documentary Storytelling.
Ian Benouis’ Drug War Story as part of Psymposia’s Drug War Stories – Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing the Drug War. This was part of the Drug Policy Reform Conference November 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.
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