Exploring Altered States, Extreme States, Multiple Selves, and Non-Consensus Realities
According to statistics, anywhere from 5%-13% of people experience visions and voices during their lifetimes. Members of our community might have experiences with altered states of consciousness, see visions and hear voices invisible to others, have experiences with multiple selves, and be in other non-consensus realities. Within mainstream psychiatry, such experiences are classified as hallucinations and psychosis and are often highly stigmatized, even by heath care professionals. Popular social discourse casts people experiencing such states as potentially dangerous and violent. People experiencing extreme states and non-consensus realities are rarely offered the spaces and opportunities to explore this aspect of themselves in a non-clinical and non-psychiatrized context, often having fears of stigma from friends, family, and colleagues, the risk of being forced into psychiatric hospitalization by mental health professionals, and the fear of being seen as dangerous and unpredictable. Violent behavior by domestic terrorists is equated with underlying mental illness. People are rarely offered alternatives to the mainstream treatment with psychotropic medications, and the opportunities to explore relationships with their voices and visions, and states of consciousness outside of mainstream reality. Outside the prevailing social discourse, people experiences with voices, visions, and non-consensus realities might be deeply spiritual, profound, and beautiful, and many people experiencing altered states feel that such experiences are integral components in their personal growth. Even within the mainstream mental health system, psychedelic agents and vision quests are recognized as powerful tools for working through traumas and exploring oneself.
For our September meeting, Icarus - NYC will team up with the Hearing Voices Network (HVN-NYC) and center our gathering on the experiences of voice-hearers, creating a welcoming space where non-consensus realities can be explored from the perspective of openness and curiosity for all those who wish to share. During this gathering, we will explore how our experiences of reality might differ from person to person, what approaches in addition to – or beyond – psychotropic medications exist in addressing extreme states and non-consensus realities, what approaches can be used to build positive and supportive relationships with one’s voices, and how we can practice self-care and community care. We will seek to address altered states from the perspective of openness, curiosity, and being non-judgmental in a radical and non-hierarchical community. We will seek to recognize and realize how non-consensus realities can broaden everyone’s perspectives on the scope and nature of human consciousness.
This meeting will be open to both voice hearers and non-voice hearers. Being mindful of the privileges and power that larger society creates between voice-hearers and non-voice hearers, and the stigmatization of such experiences, this meeting will be centered on the needs and experiences of voice-hearers, and non-voice hearers will be requested to honor and defer space (and when necessary, talking time) to our voice-hearer siblings. We recognize the vulnerability that comes with sharing experiences with non-consensus realities, so all attendees will be requested to not take photographs or recordings in the sharing circle and to kindly step outside the space if the need to use cellphones or other personal electronic devices arises.
Join us for this month’s Icarus gathering, where we will come together to share experiences of loss and mourning. This topic is open to whatever it means to you. We will come together to support each other and explore how we make meaning from endings. This include endings of all kinds; mourning of the passing of significant others, coping with the ending of relationships, or the loss of our past selves in relation to these significant changes in our lives. The loss of certain identities and ways of being in this mad world, loss of hopes for the future or visions of freedom and the melancholia that comes from increasing awareness of the vast depth of inequalities, of oppressions that prevent us from actualizing our true selves. The Permanent Loss, giving up, and acceptance of No Longer having, of leaning into our traumas and inter-generational pasts binding us to ancestors – in stark contrast to the “upward ladder” liberation offered by neoliberal capitalism. And yet, what is lost can be found. What can’t be found, can be re-grown. And what can’t be regrown, can be created. Let’s create a space together; in between endings and beginnings.
our project introduction
shared reading of our Community Agreements
group Introductions and Safety Guidelines
Sharing of support and resources
TRANSPARENCY: Though we are committed to collective liberation and are a mixed race collective, our history has traditionally brought in white, middle class people. In order to protect Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC) from tokenization and psychic harm, we as a collective commit to prioritizing the needs of QTPOC in our public events and promoting QTPOC leadership in our collective. We acknowledge the emotional labor that QTPOC may perform in these spaces, which often go unrecognized. Therefore, we want white cisgender people to independently undo racism, gender binarism / sexism, while remaining accountable to QTPOC. We are currently engaging in an ongoing process of integrating these goals internally within our organization, among our mixed race organizers, and within the structuring of our external events. *
ACCESS ISSUES: The space is accessible for wheelchair users but does not have a bathroom for wheelchair users. We use mics to support people who are hard of hearing.
Bluestockings is wheelchair accessible, with no steps or platforms, and wide aisles between shelves. Our bathroom is not wheelchair accessible. There is a Starbucks two short blocks down the street with an accessible bathroom (at Allen and Delancey). Metered street parking is readily available in the blocks surrounding Bluestockings. Bluestockings is not a scent-free space, but we encourage visitors to please refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes or other scented products (including essential oils) and smoke far away from the entrance to the space.
And then we’ll hang out for a little while and be gone until another month. Make sure to sign-up for the mailing list at the event or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DATE: Sept. 4th, 2019
LOCATION: Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St, Manhattan
Hope to see you there! Mad love, Icarus Project NYC