What is a psilocybin retreat?
A psilocybin retreat is a chance to put everyday life on pause and discover the transformative potential of a psychedelic experience in a safe and fully legal environment.
Retreats, increasingly popular with people from across the world, are getaways of a new kind, where lasting and meaningful self-understanding and personal transformation are the ultimate goals.
The experience, however, isn’t for everybody. Those looking for a quick shot of hedonism or a story to tell should look elsewhere.
A psilocybin retreat is a holistic process of reconditioning and recreation, designed for people looking to make a personal or professional breakthrough in their lives, meet like-minded people, and explore the outer reaches of their consciousness.
Synthesis is a leader in the field of psychedelic retreats, offering a unique experience with the utmost professionalism.
It does, however, fit into a wider history of psychedelic ceremony and retreats. This history can help us to understand where we are today.
A (very) short history of psilocybin retreats
Amazonian cultures have used the psychoactive plant brew ayahuasca in their healing ceremonies since ancient times.
Peyote, a type of cactus with psychedelic properties, has been used for healing and divination by generations of Native American people.
Iboga, a psychedelic rainforest shrub native to Western Africa, has been central to Bwiti spiritual ceremonies for as long as anyone can remember.
The use of psychedelics for ritualistic, spiritual and recreational purposes, it’s clear, is nothing new. They have been in use by humanity for millenia.
It is only relatively recently, however, that psychedelic ceremonies and the concept of the psychedelic retreat has arrived in the Western popular consciousness. Flowing from this, ventures across the globe have cropped up to allow curious people the chance to experience psychedelics for themselves.
Ayahuasca retreats have emerged in South America. Ibogaine clinics have taken off worldwide. And the Netherlands, home to some of the world’s most progressive psychedelic laws, has, for the first time, seen an explosion of psilocybin retreats, including Synthesis.
One clear overlap between all such retreats is that they spring up wherever psilocybin is legal, responding to a desire by people across the globe to explore the benefits of psychedelics in a safe, law abiding way. These are not the psychonauts of outdated cliché, but everyday people looking for a way in which to change their lives.
This all leaves one question: Why? Why now is there a growing enthusiasm around psychedelics? Why now are a new breed of psychedelic retreats, which use psilocybin as the agent of transformation, gaining popularity?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer here.
One clear factor, however, is the resurgence of scientific research into the effects of psychedelics since the turn of the century. Fuelled by the rise of the internet and a desire by sections of the scientific community to circumvent the psychiatric orthodox, studies evidencing the potential benefits of psychedelics in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and OCD have proliferated.
While retreats such as Synthesis do not claim to offer medical help, and, indeed, are not suitable for people with certain medical conditions, this renewed scientific interest in the power of psychedelics has no doubt contributed greatly to their rise.
More nebulously, we must also consider the human need for understanding that undoubtedly leads many people to psilocybin retreats. In a tumultuous world, it should not come as a surprise that many people are seeking personal transformation and answers to deep, personal questions in new and intriguing ways.
At Synthesis, moderate-to-high doses of psilocybin truffles, or magic truffles, are used to induce the psychedelic experience. Closely related to magic mushrooms, these truffles contain two psychedelic molecules, psilocybin and psilocin, that together are responsible for the hallucinogenic effects.
The psychedelic trip that psilocybin truffles offer can lead to intense changes in perception, often causing people to see reality in a new light or from a new angle. Users often report a entering a profound state of mind in which realizations about the self and the wider world come to the forefront, often accompanied by feelings of interconnectedness, unity and love.
It is the role of Synthesis to provide a safe, intentional and expert-guided setting that forms the perfect environment for embarking on this type of personal journey.
Synthesis and the psychedelic experience
While, as we’ve seen, the concept of the psilocybin retreat itself is becoming more and more recognized, the experience Synthesis provides is unprecedented for several reasons.
For one, Synthesis is guided by a blend of scientific and holistic knowledge.
The environment created during a retreat is influenced by the latest scientific research and understanding. The expert facilitators are leaders in their field with years of experience, each armed with both the practical and theoretical knowledge to guide participants on a safe, structured and meaningful trip.
Lead facilitator Natasja Pelgrom, a Holistic Transformational Mentor with significant counseling experience, has assisted and facilitated in over 500 psychedelic ceremonies internationally. Daan Keiman, also a lead facilitator with an MA in Spiritual Care, comes from a background in mental health care, combining this with a strong personal experience in exploring the outer reaches of consciousness and understanding.
The scientific understanding and personal experience of the facilitators, however, is bolstered by an holistic understanding of how complementary practices can enhance and potentiate the transformative power of the psychedelic state. By incorporating this knowledge, which includes breathing techniques, dietary restrictions and the fostering of a connection with nature, Synthesis is able to be at once cutting edge and connected to a wider, more open-minded context.
The level of quality and professionalism provided at Synthesis psilocybin retreats also sets them apart.
The setting itself is thoroughly modern and designed with its exact purpose in mind. Every aspect of the environment has been carefully thought out to allow each participant to get the most out of their experience as possible.
There is also an understanding that each and every person responds to the psychedelic experience differently, and that everyone has different needs and reasons for participating. This is why the approach of Synthesis is flexible and pragmatic, allowing it to adapt to a wide range of needs and benefit as many people as possible.
Synthesis has been designed and setup with precision, all in order to achieve one overarching goal: to provide people with a safe, meaningful psychedelic journey that will positively impact the course of their lives.
Why the Netherlands?
The Netherlands, and especially Amsterdam, provides the perfect location for a psilocybin retreat for one fundamental reason: the use of magic truffles is legal.
These magic truffles are produced industrially, adhering to excellent growing standards, and sold in headshops throughout the Netherlands. Packaging clearly states the potency of the truffles, allowing users to be safe and accurate.
Looking to the future
Synthesis is leading the way in the world of psilocybin retreats. The concept, however, is a relatively new one and there is always progress to be made.
By keeping abreast of contemporary scientific research into the area and learning from practical experience, the retreat facilitators are constantly evolving, reshaping and improving the Synthesis experience.