ELEVATING EVERYDAY MOMENTS
The first time I had ever heard of Spinoza was two years ago when my web designer was showing me examples of beautifully curated websites – take a look here. Through a serendipitous turn of events, I was introduced to Maarten van Huijstee, the founder of Spinoza retreats, a few weeks ago. He told me about his fascinating journey into the plant and healing world and sent me Spinoza´s beautiful Manifesto, which I have included below.
On the Spinoza website, you can see the different Retreat Programs and book directly, buy their own brand of Magic Truffles and Mood Supplements and you can find a Magazine with all sorts of incredible content about psychedelics and the right way to approach them. They also have an App, which is incredible; I have been using it since Maarten sent it to me. You can find wonderful guided breathwork sessions, meditations, spectacular playlists, and sound journeys on it. I urge you to see for yourself!
“LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER.”
– Albert Einstein
I’m frequently asked about quality retreat options in Europe, and I’m quite discerning when it comes to recommending retreats and guides on Funga. However, after getting to know Maarten and Isa, another wonderful soul at Spinoza, better, I’m confident that you’ll find their approach incredibly compassionate and professional. In addition to providing psychedelic experiences, they place great importance on music and integration, which truly impressed me. Below, you can delve into the Manifesto, followed by an interview with founder Maarten van Huijstee to learn more.
Ask your local forester what it is that keeps trees generally healthy, and he or she will answer ‘mycelium’. Fungi. They form the cerebral network of the Earth. Think of it like a natural analogue ancestor of the world wide web, if you will.
We believe that psychedelic fungi and flora can have the beneficial effect of stripping down the dogma of how we think reality is supposed to behave. We become humble. We start to acknowledge that we cannot blindly trust all of our current judgements and may need to revise some of our habits.
We surrender to a space of openness – where insights and ideas can flow freely, even beyond our control. We observe them. We are grateful for them, for they are not our own, and certainly not ours to keep.
We learn. We become less fearful ‐ of ourselves, of our fears, of the enormity of the Universe and its infinite possibilities ‐ until only one possibility remains, and that is taking care of ourselves; the very nature we live in.
We believe that fungi and flora can function as a guide of the universal consciousness of nature. The logical and harmonious patterns that are present in the architecture of everything alive. In other words, the driving force of life itself.
Some people call it nature. The philosopher Spinoza also referred to it as god.
God is nature. Deus sive Natura.
FUNGA interviews Maarten van Huijstee:
How many retreats does Spinoza roughly guide per year?
We guide roughly 80 ceremonies per year. That includes breathwork and micro-dosing ceremonies, high-dose ceremonies in nature in our yurts, which are 24-hour retreats, and we also have private sessions.
Most of our ceremonies are guided in our nature location, around 50 per year.
What is your hope for plant medicine in the future?
I hope plant medicine gets reintegrated into everyday family life and culture and becomes part of a generational transfer between children and their parents. In between, we need retreat centers and spaces because education is not yet at that level. However, the ultimate way is to learn from your family how to work with plants, breathe correctly, and have the proper nutrition. It is important to learn how to use plant medicine not as something to be scared of but as something part of living a healthy and balanced life with your community and nature.
In the end, it needs to be part of preventative care. We need to teach people how to thrive rather than how to survive. The medical system is just geared at symptoms, but the root causes come from our cultural conditioning, so we need to solve it at the roots. The cultural conditioning is that alcohol, which is super toxic, is the norm and the same goes for sugar and generally an acceptance of a distorted relationship with food and nature. This is not to say magic mushrooms are for six-year-olds; a more developed mind is far better to receive it because a child still has that neuroplasticity. But we need to get it back into the homes and families on a responsible level.
What role does music play in your retreats?
Music is essential and is the essence of what we do. Music is the way we guide people through the whole spectrum of emotions. So, a journey at Spinoza is a journey of self-discovery, of getting closer to yourself and getting to know yourself. It is our tool to guide the energy in the room with our voices and instruments. It’s everything in the ceremony.
How important is the integration process and in your experience, what are good ways to do this?
Integration is key because that is really where the benefits are emerging. At Spinoza, people stay over in a retreat because we have our first integration session the following day. In that integration session, we give tools, tips, and tricks for people to integrate during the first week. We offer another integration session with the same group at the end of those seven days.
The tools that we provide are contemplation tools, especially music. The music triggers the first neural pathway and enables you to relive the experience in a way. You will have a different vision, but it will bring you back and remind you of your insights.
Another thing we do is ask people to express themselves through drawing or writing. A psychedelic trip is like a puzzle getting thrown in front of you with many things, but you still have to solve the puzzle in the weeks after the trip. Drawing, writing, or making music is a way to allow things to integrate and become clearer for yourself. It is like laying the puzzle through creative expression in the days when you still have neuroplasticity.
If you want to create a morning ritual or change parts of your thoughts and patterns, the week after the ceremony is a great time. You have the inspiration and ability for change. We also guide people in that and tell them what not to do in the integration process. Integrating a ceremony fully takes time, so you must keep it open. So, it is not about telling everyone your whole story and what it means, but it is about only talking to people who have had these experiences. If you speak to people that are wise in this regard, you can have a beautiful conversation about your journey.
What is your dream for Spinoza?
We see a future with (hopefully) around-the-world legislation and with simple centers with beautiful gardens that act as academic schools for people to learn and be taught about plant medicine. As I said, we believe this must also be part of the home culture and belong in the loving family setting. That is part of why we created an app to send education and actual products to people’s homes.
IT’S OUR MISSION
TO RECONNECT PEOPLE WITH NATURE
AND ACCELERATE THE WORLD’S TRANSITION
TO NATURAL MEDICINE.