I thought it essential to break the taboo on these substances,” Feilding explains. “And hopefully, slowly, by doing good work with the very best experts on both policy and science, we can build up an evidence base which will inform people that these substances have potential benefits, and that criminalising them doesn’t help anyone. Because historically they had always benefited mankind. They used to be sacraments, they were termed the flesh of the gods but now they’re [considered] the substance of the devil

– Amanda Feidling



If you rather listen to Amanda Feilding´s life journey, Funga highly recommends this podcast. If you have more time I urge you to continue reading the article below:

“If LSD is having its renaissance, Feilding is its Michelangelo. She works 15 hours a day, seven days a week, to coordinate—and contribute to—research on one of the most highly controlled substances on Earth. And not with any old dumpy university she can find—we’re talking big names, like Imperial College London. Study by study, each following rigorous research standards, Feilding is building a case for making LSD a standard weapon in the clinical fight against mental illness. It’s a path, though, that’s fraught with scientific pitfalls—researchers are just beginning to understand how the human brain works, much less the mechanisms behind psychedelics.” (read full article here)

Amanda Feilding, born in 1943, established the Beckley Foundation in 1988 “to study the effects of psychoactive substances on the brain and to lobby for drug policy reform. The foundation is named for Beckley Park, the sprawling fourteenth- century Tudor manor where she grew up in Oxfordshire.” (How To Change Your Mind – Michael Pollan)


Feilding grew up in a manor her parents couldn’t afford to heat. REN ROX FOR WIRED


Amanda left for boarding school, which she describes as a “terrible mistake.” There, she asked for books on Buddhism because her godfather (who she had never met) was a famous Buddhist monk, a man named Bertie Moore. After the nuns refused, Amanda decided that school was not for her and left England with 25 pounds in her pocket to find her godfather in Sri Lanka. However, she never got that far because she got lost in the Syrian desert and ended up living with Bedouins. After six months, she returned to England to study comparative religion with an Oxford professor and fine art at the Slade School (London).


Amanda, with her pet pigeon, she described as her “soulmate”


In 1965, at 22, she was introduced to LSD, which instantly amazed her. The mystical experience had always been of great interest to her. Amanda has said that the “unattractive” man that had turned Leary onto LSD poured “4000 trips of LSD in my coffee,” which ended in a huge trauma that forced her to return to Beckley for a few months to recover. A party led her back to London, where she met “the great love of her life” Bart Hughes, a Dutch natural scientist. “The counterculture at the time had embraced the drug as a way to expand consciousness. All well and good. But Feilding and Huges wanted to go deeper, to explore the use of LSD as a kind of medicine for the brain. Even after the spiked coffee incident, Feilding grew fascinated with the physiological underpinnings of the drug, as well as its potential.” Bart gave an interview with a magazine that asked him about LSD, which led to his deportation, which lasted for 25 years. The couple left for the Netherlands with almost no money in their pockets.


Feilding—photographed in 1970 with her pet pigeon, Birdie—began experimenting with LSD in the mid-1960s.


“I thought that LSD had the power to change the world,” she says. “That was our work, understanding the ego and the deficiencies of humans and how one might heal and treat them with altered states of consciousness.” And not just with LSD, mind you, but also yoga and fasting, anything that would (in theory) manipulate blood flow in the brain. Including the ancient practice of drilling a hole in your skull.

Feilding remains convinced that blood flow is the key to psychedelics. And blood is what drove her to undergo a bizarre and controversial procedure called a trepanation, in which you drill a hole in your skull to theoretically increase cerebral circulation. It’s an ancient practice that’s popped up across world cultures, usually for the treatment of headaches or head trauma. This, as you can imagine, is not backed by science.
Most people, though, wouldn’t perform the procedure on themselves. But in 1970, Feilding sat in front of a camera and drilled into the top of her forehead. “I share the film now,” she narrates in the film of the process, “in the hope that it may attract the attention of some doctor able and willing to start the essential research into the subject, without which it will not become an accepted practice, available in the national health to anyone who wants it.” (Feilding implores people to never perform their own trepanation.) (text taken from here)


The decor of Feilding’s cavernous mansion includes a human skull drilled through with six holes.


Watch Amanda Feilding´s trepanation self-tape, Heartbeat In The Brain. (WARNING – sensitive content)


Even though Feilding is not a trained scientist, she has 50 years of experience using psychedelics. She also thinks like any of the classically trained scientists she authors papers with. “The real focus is not who is doing the study,” says Doblin of MAPS, “but how the study is being designed, and how sincere are the efforts to follow the gold standard scientific methodology.”

And Feilding’s studies are great, he adds. “They’re the epitome of neuroscience research these days.” (text taken from here)



“Feilding launched a series of seminars through the foundation, Society and Drugs: A Rational Perspective, which drew in speakers and policy-makers from across the world. She leveraged her influence to help frame a more realistic approach by the UN and sympathetic governments toward cannabis in particular.

She returns to other favourite strands of research – a collaboration in Brazil using ayahuasca to make neurons fire in a petri dish; her plans to look into the ways psychedelics might encourage “brain plasticity” in Parkinson’s patients; an idea to try to prove enhanced cognitive function by studying the effects of LSD on winning strategies in the board game Go; policy roadmaps for the regulation of cannabis and MDMA.” (read full article here)


Watch My LSD-Induced Love Affair With a Pigeon | HAMILTON’S PHARMACOPEIA


All pictures in this article taken from here