Open Learning Course

Psychedelics and Entheogens

Study the transpersonal nature of the psychedelic experience, altered states of consciousness and exceptional experiences.

Start date: February 2022. Length of study: 10 weeks. Tuition: £400.

Psychedelics – mind/soul manifesting – or entheogens – creating the divine within – are substances that stimulate profound qualitative changes to one’s state of consciousness. These substances, in the form of flora, fungi, and occasionally fauna, have been used by humans for millennia in their magico-spiritual practices, often termed ‘shamanic’. More recently these substances have been explored scientifically and medically for their potentially beneficial properties in the treatment of psychological and, increasingly, physical health problems, as well as in the catalysis of creative problem solving and spiritual insight, and for personal growth.

In the current era of what has been called the psychedelic research renaissance, it is becoming increasingly important to explore, study and understand the transpersonal dimension of psychedelic experiences, as these have been shown to go hand in hand with most high dose experiences and they have important implications for the treatment of psychological conditions in clinical research. Furthermore, much can be learned about the nature of consciousness and its underlying neurobiology from examining the transpersonal nature of psychedelic experiences, and this research is at the cutting edge of consciousness research.

This course will explore the transpersonal nature of the psychedelic experience, drawing upon transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, cross-cultural psychiatry, neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany and the study of religions, among other disciplines. It will cover the study of a range of transpersonal and exceptional experiences, such as mystical, shamanic and mediumistic experiences, inter-species communication, entity – such as divine beings – encounters, psi experiences, out-of-body and near-death experiences, insight and creativity, love, compassion, connectivity and empathy, and other experiences and concomitants of the psychedelic encounter.

Taking a cross-disciplinary approach the course will both encompass and challenge the prevailing ontology of materialistic-reductionism, and draw upon multiple cross-cultural worldviews in the epistemology and interpretation of the psychedelic experience.


Accordion Content
  1. Discuss what psychedelic experiences may reveal about he nature of reality, the shamanic worldview, and the neurobiology of consciousness and transpersonal experience.
  2. Explore research into the potential of transpersonal psychedelic experiences in healing contexts, and suggested implications for mental health.
  3. Consider research from a range of disciplines and methodological approaches that contribute towards understanding the transpersonal psychedelic experience.
  4. Engage live with the tutor through forums and webinars.

There are no formal entry requirements to join this course. Come and study purely for personal interest and enrichment … and get the same level access as our postgraduate students who will be studying alongside you!

Before each course begins you will be provided with a Course Outline which will list the reading materials, time-lines, and any activities required as part of the course.

This course features 2 discussion forums, experiential activities and several live webinars.

Course leader

David Luke

Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College.

Student stories

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