Navigating the Dream Realm: Shamanism, Healing & Lucid Dreaming w/ David Jay Brown

In this installment, author and psychedelic explorer David Jay Brown joins us, to discuss his new book “Dreaming Wide Awake: Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Healing, and Psychedelics”. You can find more from David at the following:

Manifesting the Stone w/Timothy Wilkerson

In this installment, Alchemist Timothy Wilkerson joins us to discuss approaches of laboratory alchemy and it’s philosophical underpinnings.
You can find more from Timothy at the following:

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Scheduling of Kratom by DEA Protects Big Pharma

The DEA has announced the scheduling of Kratom, a southeast Asian plant used extensively in traditional medicine, to Schedule 1 beginning 30 September. According to the DEA website, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”


Curiously, the cannabis plant and its active component, THC, are also Schedule 1 substances despite mounting evidence of it’s medical benefits and little evidence of long-term harm caused by use. Cannabis has recently undergone a renaissance in legal stature, however, being made legal both medicinally and recreationally in several by several State governments.


The problem faced by advocates of cannabis use is the same, however, is the same Kratom advocates are faced with due to DEA scheduling. Under Schedule 1 status, it becomes incredibly hard to conduct the sort of peer-reviewed studies that organizations like the FDA require to issue permits for clinical trials and eventual availability to the public.

Continue reading “Scheduling of Kratom by DEA Protects Big Pharma”

Toppling an Empire w/ John Carico

In this installment, former guest, writer and political activist John Carico joins us to discuss political dissent, the 2016 election cycle, and the value of the new media. You can find more from John at the following:

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Manifesting a Living Paradise w/Blue Cobalt

In this installment of the Free Radical Media podcast, we are joined by Blue Cobalt of Living Paradise. Cobalt and his team are working on a multi-season documentary series, “Intentional,” which documents Intentional Communities of all kinds across the country, and soon, the world.

Whether these communities be “hippy communes,” spiritual retreats, urban rent sharing collectives, or any model in between or beyond, Blue Cobalt discusses the ins and outs of building sustainable communities. Along the way we discuss what Living Paradise has learned about community, horizontal relations between individuals, and how forming our own communities outside of the paradigm of modern politics and culture is vital for changing ourselves and the world we occupy.

Listen via YouTube or Archive streaming below:

You can find more information about and watch the first episode of Intentional for free at their website, and if you enjoy the project, you can contribute to their Indie Go-Go campaign.

They can also be found on Facebook.

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What Is Left of the Left: Lessons from the Streets of the Philadelphia DNC

-Eric Scott Pickard

This is a piece I wrote regarding my trip to the DNC in Philadelphia, originally published in The Fifth Column News.

Philadelphia, PA (TFC) –  I arrived in Philadelphia for the 2016 Democratic National Convention not knowing quite what to expect – expectations are hard to rely on, in this particular election cycle. I did, however, know one thing: I wasn’t getting in the convention center, and I didn’t really care to. I assumed that the real pulse of the convention would be where the pulse of Philadelphia, where the pulse of any city is: on the streets, with the people. I wasn’t disappointed.


The two major political parties in the United States are “Big Tent” organizations, one for the entirety of the political Right and one for the entirety of the political Left. The Democratic Party, then, is the Leftist organization, and indeed there were Leftists by the tens of thousands in the streets. Curiously, they didn’t seem to have much love to spare for the appointed nominee that was ostensibly there to represent their interests. Among the most vocal – and numerous – were supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, who just recently conceded defeat and openly endorsed Hillary Clinton. Opinions on this move ranged from stunned disbelief, to a belief that the endorsement was some sort of ploy or ingenious political maneuver, to a deep resentment and feeling of betrayal – sometimes all in the same individual.


What is certain is that few among them had any desire to swallow the Clinton pill. Sanders delegates even walked off the Convention floor itself, and booed and heckled a number of the speakers, from Cory Booker being jeered to say something – anything – about the Black Lives Matter movement to Elizabeth Warren, who many Sanders supporters assumed would be chosen as the other half of their ticket, receiving calls of “we trusted you!” The mood of the city, and indeed, the mood of the entire country, seems to have turned entirely against the Establishment, “Big Tent” style of governance that has reigned over American politics for the past half century.


This fundamental distrust has been a long time coming. It is perhaps traceable back to the Global Justice Movement of the 1990’s, or to the twin political insurgencies of the Tea Party Movement and Occupy Wall Street in more recent years. Many I spoke to in Philadelphia had participated in – or wanted to participate in – The Occupy Movement, which surely laid the groundwork for the success of the affable but previously obscure Senator from Vermont to do so well against a candidate with vast name recognition and who had all but been declared the presumptive nominee after the 2008 election. Nearly all of the disenfranchised Sanders supporters I met, including delegates, claimed they were shifting allegiances to Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. Many see this as a new rise of socialism, especially among young Millennials, and especially among those who, until now, were not especially invested in politics.


This rise in socialist tendencies in the young electorate may not be precisely that, however. A Pew Research poll from 2011 did, indeed, show that among those under 30 had a 49% favorable opinion of the word “socialism” compared with a 47% favorability with the word “capitalism.” Certainly these numbers must be at their highest since before the Red Scare, but compare those numbers to a Reason-Rupe poll that show that only 16% of that same group could give an accurate description of Socialism. What does this mean?


It’s not about ideology.


Time and time again on the streets of Philadelphia, this point was hammered home to me. There is a deep discontent, a deep alienation, that pervades this election season. It’s not about socialism, it’s not about neo-liberalism, it’s not about the clear (and terrifying) rise of American fascism. I isn’t even about Bernie.Take the words of Sanders delegate from Los Angeles, Miguel Angel Zuringa:


We didn’t belong to him. We were Bernie’s warriors. Now, he was our leader, and he will always be, and we continue to fight the revolution. When the leader gets taken down in a revolution, what do you do, do you give up? That’s not how revolutions are won. You find the next leaders, and we might have multiple leaders at this point… I’m not holding Bernie’s hand anymore.


Sanders intended on starting a political revolution, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams – they are continuing on without him. Behind this unrest, not just on the Left, but the Right as well, is a sense that the political machine is rigged in the favor of the capitalist class – the rich. This is something that seems to be almost an intuition, something that was felt by everyone I spoke with. The rise of the Internet and independent media, as well as the obvious crumbling of the system as a whole, has pulled back the curtain and the machinery has been revealed. In a time when the young are facing crippling debt with few job opportunities, when technology has allowed everyone to see the discrimination and brutality that people of color face in their communities in real time, when the prisons are owned and operated by private entities seeking to incarcerate for profit, when the entire world seems to be at war with itself, and when the planet is spiraling rapidly into an unfixable cycle of climate change, the only answer many seem to have is to embrace any potential, any real change. Not ideology; desperation – a sense, right or wrong, that this could be the last chance, and they seem motivated to seize it.


Protesting on the Ritz - Eric Scott Pickard

What was striking about this is the course that it has taken. I was there filming during the Black Lives Matter march – the “DNC Resistance March Against Police Terrorism and State Repression” – and the solidarity of the crowd was palpable. The group was diverse – from old grandparents to young people, immigrants, people of color and people with white skin, anarchists and communists, liberal organizers and OWS veterans. One of the main chants is the most telling: “Don’t vote for Hillary, she is killing black people.” This isn’t a contest of political ideologies, but a deep desire for justice and fundamental change, an organic uprising in response to a world that many intuitively feel is headed towards disaster. I can only liken it to the New Left of the sixties, a shift in political and cultural values that seems set to shake the Establishment’s windows and rattle their halls.


In the end, my experience in Philadelphia – the place where the set of laws that govern this nation were born – was one that leaves me tentatively optimistic. It is possible that those groups that choose to rally behind third parties will have wild success against the two most disliked Presidential candidates in history, yes, and breaking that two party bio-poly would be positive for American democracy. But I am also encouraged by the potential that exists in the solidarity and unity that I saw; not the “Party Unity” shell game that was so touted in the Convention Hall itself, but the unity of groups of people who come together to express their discontent with one voice. I continually heard rumors around FDR Park, where many protesters were encamping, about a new rise of the Occupy Movement, the networks of which still exist in great strength. Black Lives Matter has become the most vibrant and effective protest group in years. Alternative and New Media organizations, citizen journalists, and impromptu social media groups and organizations are spreading information and educating. Nearly everyone I spoke with – especially young people – told me they planned on returning to their communities and organizing, both politically and socially.


Bringing these groups together can only be a good thing. As Dr. Cornell West put it, the United States faces a choice between a “neo-fascist disaster and a neo-liberal catastrophe.” If the American people are to defend themselves from this dismal vision of the future, they will need to connect and organize. If what I saw in Philly holds true, they are doing just that.

-Eric Scott Pickard is a poet, activist, and thinker. He is a journalist with The Fifth Column News and a co-founder of Free Radical Media, and a host of the Free Radical Media podcast.



IWW Convergence at the DNC (Video)

At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Free Radical Media’s Eric Scott Pickard took some time to speak with fellow Industrial Workers of the World members in Center City near Independence Hall.

Co-Hosting the round table conversation is  John Carico, another Fifth Column News staff writer and former guest on the Free Radical Media podcast.

The IWW, a radical labor union formed in 1905, is an organization dedicated to syndicalism – the formation of all workers into “One Big Union” that would change society. Watch the conversation among Wobblies below:



This impromptu convergence of IWW members occurred during an anti-war rally, at which Pickard and many others later spoke. While the rhetoric and showmanship was going on in the Convention Center, the real conversations, the good conversations, were going on in the streets. Free Radical Media is dedicated to bringing you those conversations and viewpoints, as they are sadly left out of the mainstream narrative.

Solidarity Forever!

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Of Mercury & Sulphur

two-mercuries copy

Patrick Ryan

Of Mercury & Sulphur

         Our world is one of seemingly disparate forces. Contrasting frequencies give birth to our experience; allowing us to indulge in BOTH pleasure & pain, ignorance & knowledge, light and shadow. We have been conditioned — both culturally and biologically, to go towards certain experiences while simultaneously pulling away from others. This is literally how life is lived for the majority. Our hearts become saturated with lightness while in love and as heavy as lead when broken. A young child smiles brightly at the world in their earliest days, a sick elder cringes at their looming demise — the tao spirals and whorls forth its creative vicissitudes by the very friction of its seemingly opposing forces. The miracle is this; without the inevitable pain that is guaranteed, the pleasure would be incomprehensible. Without the decay of the dead, new life couldn’t spring forth. Without the nauseating pangs of loneliness, communion would lose it’s sultry sweetness. The spectrum through which this reality is experienced, expresses itself due to the leverage of opposites. An aspiring awakened being journeys towards wholeness; as psychiatrist Carl Jung noted “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Indeed.

The pulsating rhythm of existence gives rise to phenomena that allow for our conscious embodiment. As any physicist should know, our world is merely a set of vibrational frequencies expressing themselves in what we perceive. The fundamental oscillation that is constantly at play permeates both the minutia and macrocosmic displays and most importantly reveals itself in our everyday personal narratives. Consider this — our most heartbreaking and challenging personal encounters have, in one form or another, allowed us the possibility to more thoroughly contemplate its opposite. Parental abuse? Motherly and/or fatherly love becomes something that shall continue to be a core focal point of our lives. Poverty? The security of even a small amount of money is relentlessly churned in our minds. Hunger? A nice warm meal seems to be of celestial origins. The utterly incomprehensible genius of this moment is designed to allow by its very being to counterpoise, to commune with itself — ESPECIALLY that which is most far and distinct. Things are literally hurled forth into time by this fundamental impulse. The dance of contrast gives way to opportunity.

On the inhale, life pours herself in. Oxygen fills our blood and being with its wholesome invigoration. Exhale, carbon dioxide is released tension expels, the release is cherished. These cycles are consistent and dependable and yet for many go by unnoticed and unexamined. Rhythm and flow is what IT is all about. The rhythm can be counted and explored in endless numerical manifestations. The flow can also be deeply felt — moving our hearts, minds and bodies through endless meandering experience. Why not just let it all go and dance with it? These patterns have a platonic cascading effect throughout literally everything else. Horrified and tense, breath becomes rapid and shallow. At ease and in good company, breath is deep and full. Why do we have the silly notion that one aspect of this dance is favorable to the others? As if the universe honestly gives a fuck. Creation has no remorse for the timid and fearful. Play and indulge in her! The secrets she bestows are only acknowledged and understood once fully apprehended — taking it all in. Allow the contrasting display to show the whole poetic glory of her magnificent show! To hell with the rigid conceptualizations our culture has given us. Fuck static definitions and ideas. Experiment, break the rules and by all means have fun! Trying to fit some sort of ideological mold in whatever endeavor one partakes is about the most anti-creative, stifling act one can ever commit. Want to do a certain activity fast and quick? Try instead to do it as slowly as possible. Want to be productive? Experiment being so lazy you feel pangs of nausea. To follow the rhythm one must gain a broader understanding of the space between the noise.

True indulgence is only acquired by tasting both sides of a spectrum, as any good chef should know. The art and alchemy lies in knowing when and where to place and utilize such contrasting forces. On the brink of extinction humanity finds itself lost in it’s frantic search for comfort and security where recoil and resistance breeds contempt and dismay. Communion and harmony will be our saving graces and unfortunately only achieved through utter and complete renunciation of final conclusions about ANYTHING. Penetration into the heart of paradox is the greatest act one can engage; drowning oneself into the depths of distinct poles of experience and conceptual understanding sheds the binding straight jacket of ideology and allows one to concede to the immaculate truth of oneness.

The churning spokes of the Kali yuga invite the blinding light of a golden age. How else could such a play dramatically unfold? It is only through acknowledging our blinding ignorance that we reach true illumination. As the great sage Socrates said “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” this world’s greatest gift is to strip us of our most absolute convictions. To shine the light of truth on our most resolute and burdensome beliefs and rituals, only to reveal the utterly free and open truth of now. As Christ did in the corrupt temple, shall we smash our deepest resolutions to mere shards and fragments; revealing the underlying falsities permeating undisputed doctrines. It’s only through descent into Hell that we gain the fortitude to climb into heaven — realizing that the crescendo of the human drama, is the very apex that we have been yearning for.