Psychedelics are known to have catalyzed life-changing shifts in consciousness for many who have used these substances both consciously and unconsciously. I had the fortune to recently interview Jascha Renner from Set and Setting.
Jascha creates customized psychedelic journeys for people looking for a total reset in their life path both personally and professionally. It was a mind-blowing and enthralling chat that follows. Check it out below.
“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”― Terence McKenna
Sina Saffari: Hey Jascha thanks for taking time to chat. It seems like you’re going into new territory taking psychedelics into the corporate sector. Can you tell me a bit about your positioning and the thought behind it?
Jascha Renner: Yeah, it’s a process figuring it out. There’s a real set of diverse people who I work within my coaching program from entrepreneurs to business professionals, but also just ‘normal’ people. And I think that connects with the essence of what psychedelics do, they don’t affect certain kinds of minds, they just do the same thing with all kinds of minds because what they do is they bring everybody back to base level and at the base level is the same for everyone. So I think from that perspective. I work with everybody.
And, I like to give people a chance to attend something offline, which is why I’m organising a retreat in October 2020. With everyone’s attention online these days, I think it’s important to allow for safe places where people can connect with each other and with psychedelics in natural setting offline.
S: For sure. How do you navigate the legalities involved and the laws around the use of psychedelics in the various countries you work with. I’m talking about the retreats in particular.
J: So, retreats happen all over the world. In every country, they’re happening. They’re happening, no matter if it’s legal or illegal. Because if you look, if you look at from a from, let’s say, a new perspective, or a different perspective, it’s illegal, but nobody’s bothered about it. No government’s actively looking for illegal retreats. The government, police or law enforcement are looking for drug dealers, they’re looking for ‘drugs’, and retreats, in general, are about transformation, it’s not about ‘drugs,’ it’s about transformation. Nobody thinks about it this way, if it’s not framed in this way. And I also think that, especially with psychedelics, at least in my experience, if you just pretend they’re legal, nothing will happen, because why would the government care? They have so many issues with drugs and drug dealers and so on, they won’t care about a person that has a few psychedelics administering to people who want it. So that’s my perspective on the legal aspect.
Yeah, of course, if you want to make it bigger, and if you want to scale it, then eventually you’re gonna have to think about legal issues. And I think the only European country where you can scale it is the Netherlands, but Portugal might also be a possibility.
S: When I first came across your work, it felt like you’re on the edge of something new. It appears as if you’re entering new territory here, does it feel that way for you?
J: I’d say so, I haven’t found anybody who puts out the message in a way that is relatable, professional, and authentic. I mean, there are some people who talk about psychedelics. Of course, there are many YouTubers, and there is Paul Austin and the Third Wave from the US. But, they always talk about it by distancing themselves from it. That’s especially true of people who put it in a professional surrounding, they talk it always with this distance, like psychedelics have this advantage or that advantage, they’re going to treat depression, help with relationships and so on, but nobody says outright; I’m taking them. I took them myself, I transformed myself. This is how it works. This is how it’s done.
The only thing they’ll risk by doing that is probably is their reputation. So I don’t know. I guess it’s about how people want to be perceived in the world, and it can be a source of stigmatization. So what I figured, in the end, is that during the past years, I’ve always really tried to got to a place where I talk openly about it. In my company, I was working in tech and software for many years, and I noticed that uh-huh, so, if I just talk openly about it and I’m a happy person, then nobody will care. The same with your parents, right? Your parents don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy. And so that’s what I felt. As long as I keep focusing on myself. Keep focused on being the best version of myself possible and be a happy and fulfilled person, then I can do anything. Really, I can talk about everything and people will not be thinking ‘what the hell is this guy doing’? But that’s okay, I can’t appeal to everyone.
S: So, you said you’ve had your own experiential kind of transformation with psychedelics. I’m curious what would someone look to get out of coming on retreat with you or working with you privately? What kind of could transformation could they expect to see in their lives?
J: It differs so much as people have many different issues. So there are some smaller issues like I want to be more focused at work, have better relationships, get out of certain patterns and so on. Then there some more major questions like I want to know what I’m going to do next, what’s my mission? What I’m going to find in life? Where do I find purpose? And of course, then they are the even bigger questions where people ask themselves, What is life? How did we get here?
And, I think that these are all questions that are inhibited by ego, by the delusion of our own ego. So I think that’s why psychedelics work. They remove this obstacle in a broader sense in such a way that they can help virtually anybody, because they kind of wash away everything that you thought you are, thought the world is like, and gives you this total reset. And actually, I had a phone call yesterday with a guy who was interested in the retreat, and he also said, I want to reset. And I think that’s what psychedelics do, they offer a temporary reset of your brain structure and then getting back to basics. And of course, a day later you can be normal. But what we’re facilitating within sessions or within with the work I’m doing within the retreat is that this reset is going to be sustainable, it’s going to long-term, it’s going to last longer than just the experience itself. There’s a certain kind of preparation and a certain kind of integration you can do. And that’s really what’s missing right now in this space.
I think what’s missing now, in a sense that these kind of substances are not only for some people, but for many people. We have what we need in terms of a framework of how to use them in a way that’s not like yeah, I want to see some colours. I want to see shit moving. But I want to use them as tools for my personal development and maturity.
S: Right. And so how do you facilitate this lasting transformation? I’m taking the ‘total reset’ isn’t micro-dosing, it’s a full experience. It could bring up a lot of difficult experiences and feelings for people. How do you work with this?
J: I think the first thing you have to do, when you do do this kind of work, at least when you want to do this responsibly, is to do a thorough screening of participants. So, not just anybody can take part. We organise a conversation with those people before their first retreat. I have a conversation like this conversation as we’re having right now for an hour, so I can really get to know this person. And during this conversation, and also during the retreat itself, I think the most important factor for a facilitator or a guide is experience.
Mainly experience with people, experience with how to have an authentic connection with people and also experience with the substances itself because I do not, from the bottom of my heart, believe you need a particular training to become a psychedelic facilitator. I believe what you need are basic human skills, such as empathy, deep listening and connection. And also, again, the knowledge about what it’s going to be like when you’re in a different state of mind.
As you said, someone might lose their mind, and that’s, that’s what we want. Because that’s what this person needs. And maybe we have different views of what it means if a person loses their mind, it doesn’t mean that the person runs around and shouts around. Yeah, becoming crazy temporarily is not necessarily what we believe it is. And I lost my mind plenty of times on psychedelics. So I know what this person is feeling right now. I know what this person is needing right now, which is essentially, nothing, which is essentially just holding space, being there not reacting to their confused ego which is crying out and to get attention, but that’s a whole other story.
I think it’s important for facilitators to have a certain kind of experience. And with the retreats I’m organizing, I also have a team of people who have attended many retreats as facilitators themselves, so experience, just experience is more important than having a certificate in psychology.
S: Okay. so where are you at with your initiative? What are the next steps for you right now?
J: The first thing I’m going to do with my projects is to organize a retreat this year in Portugal, more underground, continue doing that. And I believe next year will be the year of going more above ground with it. But you know, I don’t think that far yet. Because right now I’m focused on my projects at the moment, which is, I’m also starting a podcast. There’s a lot I’m doing right now and also to fine-tuning everything. So the main focus is to get more experience organizing retreats. I’m also pushing for educating people about this work, especially in Germany, as you might’ve seen I have a German YouTube channel. That’s my home country and I think it’s really important, especially there because Germany is a little bit behind in terms of psychedelics.
I have an English YouTube Channel as well, but I only have two videos on there. There are many English YouTube channels already so I’m focusing on the German which is also my mother tongue. it’s a little bit more authentic for me. English is also something I want to dive into maybe the near future. Who knows.
Jascha Renner is a Psychedelic Coach, Earthling, Technology Lover & YouTuber. Jascha helps professionals utilize psychedelic substances for personal exploration in a structured and safe way.
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”Steve Jobs