Biographies of the WVC 2014 Speakers

Gabrielle Agin-Liebes

Gabrielle Agin-Liebes is the Research Project Manager for the New York University
Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study which seeks to examine the effects of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy on anxiety and psychospiritual distress in cancer patients. She is also the Research Project Manager for a new trial investigating the effects of psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcohol dependence in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. She is the co-investigator of a qualitative interview study which aims to understand the processes of sense-making and the attribution of meaning, in the Cancer Anxiety Study participants, within the context of the psilocybin treatment sessions. Gabrielle is a Masters student in the Graduate School of Arts and Science at NYU. She is the former Educations Program Coordinator at the NYU Child Study Center/Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.

Irina Alexander

Irina Alexander's path started in drug policy, which led her to harm reduction, sex workers' rights, Burning Man, goddess gatherings, yoga, and eventually the west coast, where she's been working for the past two years as an outreach counselor for homeless youth. She's volunteered at Burning Man with the Full Circle Tea House and the Zendo doing psychedelic harm reduction, and is a firm believer in benefit enhancement. She currently sits on the International Working Group of Youth Rise, a harm reduction and drug policy organization led by young people. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, reading Tom Robbins novels, cuddling with friends, going to massage school, unicorns, playing pretend, and organizing events like the Burning Man Reintegration Station.

Denis Berry

As one of the trustees for Futique Trust, the umbrella trust for Dr. Timothy Leary's estate, Denis has overseen the trust affairs for the past 10 years following the unexpected passing of Rosemary Leary. She now resides in northern California.

Laura Blanco de León

Laura Blanco de León is President of the
Association of Cannabis Studies of Uruguay. She has been a member of the advisory board of the National Drugs Council for the legislation in Uruguay regulating cannabis and its derivatives since 2012. Co-founder of the collective of growers Plantatuplanta, since 2005, Laura has advocated for cannabis users and their right to cultivate cannabis as the only means of access not punishable by the laws then in force in Uruguay. The Association of Cannabis Studies of Uruguay was founded in 2011 as a civil organization with the aim of promoting cannabis research and its medicinal uses, disseminating the different uses of the plant, and promoting the ability of users to grow it legally at home. A public accountant by profession, Laura specializes in farming economics and futures markets. She is a member of the Lanpud organization (Latin American Person Who Use Drugs) and a founding member of the Latin American Cannabian Coalition (CLAC).

Brisa Blu

I believe there is an infinite reality to Life that we lovers of it ascend in knowledge of every day. It excites and inspires us to define our individuality and choice of path through it. I am an admirer of the many ways with which we create our sense of Self and stay grounded to our sense of Center. I have always found Center with the Earth and remind myself of our innate commune with her by harnessing the energies that flow through us from her natural gifts. I have found a path in art creating adornments of natural materials with their boundless and healing vibrations. We are charms of our inner beauty, which is enhanced and energized by the natural beauty that surrounds us all.

Brad Burge

Clancy Cavnar

Clancy Cavnar is currently completing her postdoctoral hours in clinical psychology at the Marin Treatment Center, a methadone clinic in San Rafael, California. In 2011, she received a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California, with a dissertation on gay and lesbian people's experiences with ayahuasca. She attended New College of the University of South Florida and completed an undergraduate degree in liberal arts in 1982. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Master of Fine Art in painting in 1985. In 1993, she received a certificate in substance abuse counseling from the extension program of the University of California at Berkeley and, in 1997, she graduated with a master's in counseling from San Francisco State University. In that same year, she got in touch with the Santo Daime in the USA, and has traveled several times to Brazil since then. She is Research Associate of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of three books: The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca (Springer, 2014); Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use (Springer, 2014) and Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Valerie Corral

Valerie Corral is the co-founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a pioneering medical marijuana collective and cooperative. Valerie was a key player in the crafting and passage of Proposition 215 (also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996), which allowed patients with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana medicinally. WAMM became the first medical marijuana collective to be granted non-profit status in the United States.

Mike Crowley

Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, a chance meeting in London with an exiled Tibetan lama set the course of Mike's life. First ordained as a lay-practitioner in 1970, Mike continued further studies and meditation retreats, culminating in his ordination as a (lay) lama in 1987. He has taught Buddhism in England and the US, at the Jagellonian University, Crakow and at the Polish National Buddhist Center and he has lectured on Tibetan History the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw. He has presented his research on Buddhist psychedelics at various forums including the University of Kent, UK and CIIS, San Francisco. He lives on a farm in a remote part of northern California where he provides Buddhist instruction to a few students.

Lafeshia Edwards

Hi! My name is Reiki Master Lafeshia Joy. It is with honor and pleasure that I bring the Reiki Coalition to the WVC this year! I have been practicing Reiki since 2006, and became a Master of the Art in 2011. Reiki has changed my life in every positive way. As a young girl, I can remember feeling love for every living thing on this Earth, and through Reiki I can now share this unconditional love, through pure Life Force Energy. What a gift! Over the years, I have developed and honed amazing skills through my connection to Reiki energy - I can now perform energetic surgery, which is a removal of foreign energetic objects from the body. I also have the ability to see Auras ranging the entire color spectrum. My overall sensitivity has been vibrationally heightened exponentially, and with this, my entire calibration continues to soar. I am delighted to share such a powerful, yet gentle healing and stress relieving technique! I am present with open arms and completely open heart.

Stephanie "Pebbles" Emery

I have been practicing Reiki since 2012, and received my Reiki Master attunement from Paula Battiglio in Chicago.

I see my healing work as a collaborative partnership that transcends the duality of "healer" and "patient", in which both participants are actively engaged in the healing process. I will work with you to determine a focus for our healing work, and will guide you through visualizations throughout the session in order to keep us both equally focused on the healing energy being exchanged. My intention is that you leave our session with an expanded kit of healing tools that will allow you to create sustainable, stable, positive change within yourself.

Greeners Assocation for Psychedelic Studies (GAPS)

The Greener's Association for Psychedelic Studies (GAPS) is a student group at The Evergreen State College that does not seek to encourage or discourage substance use, but rather to allow the free flow of information concerning psychedelic use. Through weekly presentations and events, GAPS is able to provide students with information related to harm reduction, spirituality, therapeutic uses of psychedelics, as well information related to recreational use. Along with this, GAPS meetings allow those interested in psychedelics a place to meet and connect with one another in the area.

Rachel Harris, Ph.D.

Rachel Harris, Ph.D., is a psychologist with both clinical and research experience. She received an NIH New Investigator Award early in her career as a Research Scientist in the Miami VA Hospital and the Psychiatry Department at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Harris has published over forty scientific articles in professional journals. Her clinical experience began as an Esalen Residential Fellow and she has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for over 35 years. Rachel is the author of 20-Minute Retreats and co-author of Teenagers Learn What They Live and the best-selling Children Learn What They Live.

Kat Harrison

Kathleen Harrison, M.A., is an independent scholar and teacher of ethnobotany. She has initiated and participated in recurrent fieldwork, mostly among indigenous people in Latin America, since the 1970s. She is the president and co-founder of Botanical Dimensions, a non-profit organization that has worked for 28 years to collect medicinal and shamanic species and the lore that helps us understand how to regard them. Kat teaches at various universities (currently University of Minnesota, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Albany College of Pharmacy, and Goddard College), specializing in tropical ethnobotanical field courses in Peru and Hawaii and integrative healing traditions in California. She helps her students understand the nature-based worldviews of traditional cultures, along with the role of plants in healing and story. She is based in rural Northern California and Hawaii.

Shonagh Home

Shonagh Home is an author, teacher and shamanic practitioner. Her offerings focus on the shamanic mysteries of the spirit realms and the world of nature. She assists her students in the development of their intrinsic abilities that include the faculties of intuition, creativity and multi-dimensional awareness. Shonagh is a loving steward to 4 beehives that hum with magic. She is author of the books, Ix Chel Wisdom: 7 Teachings from the Mayan Sacred Feminine, Love and Spirit Medicine, and the upcoming Saving the Bees: A Modern Melissae Speaks.

Beatriz Caiuby Labate

Beatriz Caiuby Labate has a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of psychoactive substances, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Visiting Professor at the Drug Policy Program of the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE) in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She is also Research Associate at the Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg University, co-founder of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and editor of NEIP's website. She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twelve books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles.

La Laurrien

I am a visionary wordcrafter and community activator. My life focus is conscious coevolution of self and world through creative collaborations with like minded explorers. I am an art-maker of various mediums, and I am living life as if it is my most realized art piece. Working together with a group called Atlan, we are in the process of building an intentional land based community in the Columbia Gorge. What matters most to me is learning how to live and sharing the process with others. My inquiry into what life is and how it works, fuels my spiritual path of Art, Medicine and Visionary Community. And these pursuits fuel in turn, my Spirit unfolding. I believe that this quest is something we all share however varied our approach. As I question the ways of the world, I also realize the importance of questioning my own assumptions. I have come to recognize that language is a force for change in the world, created by those who use it. And for me, playing with words is one of my favorite ways to commune with the Mystery.

Mariavittoria Mangini

Mariavittoria Mangini, PhD, FNP, has been a family nurse midwife for twenty five years. She has written extensively on the impact of psychedelic experiences in shaping the lives of her contemporaries, and has worked closely with many of the most distinguished investigators in this field. Her current project is the development of a "death midwifery" practice providing services to dying persons and their families.

Joanna Naughton

Joanne Naughton was a member of the New York Police Department for over 20 years, starting as a police officer and retiring a lieutenant in 1987. She worked in the narcotics bureau making undercover street-level buys for three years. Later, as an attorney, she witnessed the drug war from the defendant side, representing indigent defendants for the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan.

Like most law enforcers, Joanne started out believing that the war on drugs was the ethical and moral solution to drug problems. But she began to have doubts when she noticed that no matter how huge the latest seizure of drugs, and no matter how important the arrest of the latest "drug kingpin", nothing changed. Drug trafficking didn't go away, nor did illegal drug use. "It slowly dawned on me," she says, "that if the drug laws were working, we wouldn't be hearing periodically about these big drug busts. When was the war on drugs going to end?" She realized that punitive drug laws are ineffective and lead to a colossal waste of lives and resources, not only in the US but around the world. Joanne has spent a lifetime as a public servant in criminal justice. While an NYPD officer, she was also involved in developing the first sex crimes unit in the country, a model that was widely replicated. In 1997 she ran for District Attorney of Westchester County, New York; and from 1998 to 2011 she was an Assistant Professor at Mercy College where she taught Criminal Justice.

Annie Oak

Annie Oak is the founder of the
Women's Visionary Congress (WVC). She is a journalist, event organizer, and founder of the Full Circle Tea House. She lives in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco and is a long-time student of yoga.

Kyrstyn Pixton

Kyrstyn is a Portland based songwriter and producer -- a multitalented one-of-a-kind performance artist, creating unique live shows that blend piano, voice, electronics, and impromptu loops from audience participation. Her sound blends intricate song-writing with luscious vocal harmonies and vast hard-hitting electro-acoustic soundscapes.

Diana Slattery

Diana Reed Slattery is a novelist, psychonaut, xenolinguist, and video performance artist. She completed a Ph.D. in psychedelics and language at the University of Plymouth, UK, in 2010.

Dana Smith

In 2004 Dana Smith founded a fine arts digital press for the purpose of creating limited edition artwork. The project is called Dana Dana Dana and can be seen in its entirety online at Very small edition, hand-made books and digital prints are the focus with an emphasis on working collaboratively with other artists. The books and print editions are represented by Booklyn Artists Collective, Brooklyn, New York, and have traveled to fairs and exhibitions world wide, and are housed in libraries, museums, and private collections internationally. Dana's longest collaboration has been with Mark McCloud, artist and renowned overseer at the Institute of Illegal Images, a massive collection of lsd related art in San Francisco. Together Dana and Mark created "LSD Barbie" in 1993 (as shown in the background of the photo of Dana), and later in 2003 started, an ongoing project to document Mark's extensive collection of blotter papers.

Annie Sprinkle

Annie Sprinkle was a prostitute and porn star for twenty years. She became a pivotal player in the sex positive feminist movement, an internationally known performance artist, and the first porn star to earn a Ph.D. Sprinkle and her partner Elizabeth Stephens have been living and working together for thirteen fertile years. More information about Beth and Annie's work and their pioneering ecosex manifesto can be found at

Rhoney Stanley

Rhoney Gissen Stanley was an assistant in the underground labs where rebel chemists made the psychedelics that energized the hippie counterculture. Today she is a practicing holistic orthodontist in Woodstock, New York. "Owsley and Me: My LSD Family", a love story set against the background of the psychedelic revolution of the '60s, is her first book.

Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth Stephens is an artist, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a filmmaker. Her new film, "Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story", examines mountain top removal, a particularly destructive form of coal mining now used in her home state of West Virginia. Together with her partner, the artist Annie Sprinkle, Stephens has created a pioneering ecosex manifesto.

Renae Stowell

Renae Stowell is a student at Cabrillo College studying Psychology with a focus in Human Sexuality and Nutrition. She hopes to finish her BA in Psychology abroad before starting her Master's in Clinical Psychology. She is particularly interested in exploring the correlation between sexual trauma and eating disorders. After losing her virginity to rape, Renae struggled with bulimia for nearly a decade. She has experienced tremendous healing through her involvement in the BDSM community and her work with psychedelics, and she intends to employ the tools she has gained from these experiences into her future practice as a counselor.

Jane Straight

Jane is a true pioneer in the realms of collecting, preserving, and disseminating rare medicinals. She speaks often about plant lore, ethnobotanical insights and universal teachings for connecting to the source through our plant allies. Jane was one of the contributing cast of characters during the important subculture shift to plant based medicine and shares vital information about the relevance of intentional connection to the botanical world around us. She will brings a beautiful living plant altar and heart based stories. Jane will also offer a kava social ceremony.

Anna Szostek

Anna Szostek is the Communications Manager for the Women's Visionary Congress, and works as a writer, editor, and web consultant in Oakland, CA. She received her Master's degree from the University of London with a dissertation on the effects of industrialization on embodiment through the lens of early modern Japanese fiction. She has continued to explore dissociation and embodiment in the years following through the study of traditional and novel medicines.

Katie Tomlinson

Katie Tomlinson is the founder and coordinator of the student group the Greener's Association for Psychedelic Studies (GAPS) at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wa. Two years ago, Katie had a deep desire to make a flag post within the community of Olympia for those interested in psychedelics to be able to find one another. This desire, fueled by her and many other students along the way, has led to the creation and continuation of GAPS. Since the group started she's been on quite the adventure as she learns to work with administration on issues related to psychedelics, spread information related to harm reduction to the students, and with learning how to best be in service to her community in a position of leadership. Her dream is to one day become a licensed psychedelic therapist.

Kathleen Wirt

Kathleen Wirt will speak publicly for the first time about the Albert Hofmann Friday Night dinners she held at her home in Venice, California from 1997 to 2005. Reacting to Zero Tolerance and America's Drug War, intellectuals "of like mind" met secretly at monthly potluck dinners with speakers who were experts on the issues at hand. Psychedelic elders passed wisdom to young ravers, alliances were formed, and guerrilla warfare was engaged. Speakers and attendees included Sasha and Ann Shulgin. Jack Herrer, Dr. Oscar Janiger, Myron Stolaroff, Art Kunkin, Gary Fisher, Charles Grob, John Lilly, Laura Huxley, Allen Ginsberg. and many more. Lorenzo Hagerty wrote in "Caitlin's Salon," Chapter 9 of his book "The Genesis Generation," "you might imagine that you had found yourself at a Communist Party cell meeting in Chicago in the 1930's."

Foreground art on this web site is based on paintings by Martina Hoffmann.
Image of crocheted Lorenz Manifold equation that describes the nature of chaotic systems, courtesy of
Hinke M. Osinga and Bernd Krauskopf, University of Bristol, UK.

Web site design by Studio Reflex

Copyright Ž 2007-2013, Women's Visionary Congress, San Francisco CA US

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.