In this episode my guest is Ian Benouis who is a West Point graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, US Army officer and combat veteran who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama. He is an activist for the beneficial use of plant medicine, especially for veterans with PTSD. Ian is also a Muslim and a psychonaut.
Down that Rabbit Hole with Ian Benouis, West Point Graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, Army Officer involved with Operation Just Cause – the largest effort focused directly on the war on drugs, and most recently a sacred plant medicine advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Finding healing for his own traumas through working with plant medicines, such as Cannabis, Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, and 5MEO-DMT, Ian now spends much of his time advocating for the rights of veterans to heal from PTSD through the use of these natural remedies.
“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.”
“It’s so important to ask “What are the reintegration resources for these people doing these particular medicines?” If you can’t answer that question, then you sort of have a problem. That’s like saying, I’m going to take all these people, give these great life sermons, but have no plans or way to inculcate them into their life. So, what’s the point? It’s like seeing a cool movie- it feels good and it’s entertaining, but yeah your psychedelic experience is only as good as your amount to integrate.
To me, it’s the metaphor of the tree and the fruit: nobody cares how many ayahuasca ceremonies the tree has been to, or what its spiritual practice is, you just care about the fruit. Does the fruit taste sweet?
I love these metaphors, and through my healing work I now understand the power of parables. Because on these medicines that’s what you get: those are the gifts, especially on ayahuasca. It’s a picture, a song, some kind of symbol, or an abstract concept that has meaning to you that you can take back because it’s a concept. You can’t necessarily take back the 15-minute action sequence, that’s kinda hard.”
This week we talk with the veteran Ian Benouis who works to connect those who served with the plant medicines. He works with the Weed for Warriors Project and the Veterans for Entheogenic Therapy. Psychedelic Therapy for Veterans You can see their project of taking 6 soldiers with PTSD to the Amazon for Ayahuasca in ‘Soldiers […]
The reason that I can do any of my work to help our veterans reintegrate back in to society by washing off their war paint and healing the moral and spiritual injuries they came back with from war is because cannabis saved their lives to begin with. Cannabis is a gateway to life. I have many brothers and sisters who are in this room today alive only because of cannabis.