Women's Visionary Congress Logo

Mission and Work

The Women’s Visionary Council (WVC) expands the inclusion of women in critical discussions about mental health and community wellness.

In 2007, during the re-emergence of research into psychedelic-assisted therapies, the WVC began advocating  for more representation of women in public discussions about the ethics and safety of these investigations. The WVC presents conferences and workshops throughout the US and Canada which are open to people of all genders, including the Women’s Visionary Congress, a gathering of women researchers, healers, artists, and activists who explore different forms of expanded consciousness. WVC workshops also provide information on risk reduction and about the benefits and challenges of altered states. The WVC raises funds to provide grants to women whose work engages these topics and encourage their inclusion in scholarly discourse. It seeks to amplify the voices of people of color and support the transfer of knowledge among generations and cultural traditions. The WVC is building an archive of presentations by women in our community which includes more than a decade of research, activism, and personal stories of cognitive liberty – a body of knowledge that will benefit future generations of investigators. 

Goals and Values

The WVC advocates for the inclusion of women from all communities and generations in leading edge conversations about healthcare and social justice.

  1.   Respect for the contributions of women and people of color in the development of new therapies and community healing
  2.   Events where people of all genders can share ideas and present research from a wide range of disciplines
  3.   Open discussions about different forms of expanded consciousness, endogenous experiences, dream states, and our connection to the earth
  4.   Support for community-based food systems, woman farmers, and education about nutrition and medicinal plants
  5.   Honoring of traditional and indigenous forms of knowing together with qualitative and quantitative scientific inquiry
  6.   A grants program that supports both emerging and established researchers, healers, artists, and activists
  7.   Frank examination of ethical and safety concerns in the therapeutic use and commercialization of psychoactive substances
  8.   Risk reduction education including training in the use of naloxone to prevent opioid overdose 
  9.   Development of best practices to prevent sexual assault, uphold consent practices, and develop restorative justice systems
  10.   Engagement with people at every stage of their lives including the end of life and other rites of passage

Our History

The Women’s Visionary Council was founded in 2008 by female researchers and activists who saw that women were excluded from critical public discussions about emerging therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder, end of life anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health conditions. The renewed focus on psychedelic-assisted therapies using MDMA, psilocybin, cannabis, and other substances is increasing the need to discuss the ethical considerations of these investigations.

 

As new studies have been launched to examine the efficacy of these substances, it became clear that women investigating and working with these substances needed to be heard. This is especially true for women of color and indigenous women who have used psychoactive plants for healing and spiritual practices for thousands of years. Female activists who fought for the reform of racist drug laws, women from so-called counterculture communities, woman elders, queer and trans women, and female artists who found inspiration in these substances have also historically been absent from discussions about psychedelics. Women are also underrepresented among the academic and medical practitioners who advance this research. 

 

In 2007, a founding member of the WVC had organized the first Women’s Visionary Congress to give women from all communities an opportunity to be heard and present their work with these substances and other non-ordinary states of consciousness. For the next decade, this annual event provided a place where people of all genders heard women present the latest research and therapies, activism, art and spiritual insights. These efforts significantly increased the participation of women in discussions about psychedelic-assisted therapies and culture.  

 

Over the years, the WVC community expanded to embrace other conversations about healing and resiliency. Women speak about the transformation of community food systems and re-establishing connection with the earth and the seasons. Discussions about sexual assault in psychedelic ceremonies led to the creation of best practices for safety and restorative justice. Frank examination of both the benefits and dangers of substances launched WVC-sponsored risk reduction workshops. Conversations about racism and cultural appropriation expanded awareness of white privilege and exclusion. People of all genders and from many communities presented and participated in these discussions. 

Our Projects

Grants

The Women’s Visionary Council raises funds to provide grants to women on the forefront of psychedelic-assisted therapies for PTSD, end of life anxiety, depression, addiction, and other mental health conditions. We seek to amplify the voices of people of color, promote the advancement of women scholars, and encourage the transfer of knowledge among generations and cultural traditions.

Sage Institute

As a nonprofit fiscal sponsor we supported Sage Institute, a sliding scale clinic offering psychotherapy and psychedelic-assisted therapy (as it becomes legal) to under-served communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sage Institute also trains clinicians who reflect the diverse identities of the people they serve. After over a year of assistance from the WVC, we are proud to say that Sage Institute is now operating under their own 501(c)(3) status.

Safety Guides

The WVC addresses safety concerns for those participating in ceremonies that use psychedelics or engage in personal use of psychedelic substances.  Our founders have created Safety Tips for those participating in psychedelic ceremonies, a Manual of Best Practices for Radical Risk Reduction and Safety Protocols for Event and Community Organizers

Risk Reduction Workshops

Since 2015, the WVC has presented risk reduction workshops at no cost to participants. These workshops provide training in the use of Naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids including fentanyl to save lives from overdose. The most recent WVC risk reduction workshop took place in January 2020 in San Francisco where we joined with other community groups to provide training on how to use Naloxone and reagent testing kits.

Meet Our Board

Maria Mangini Photo

Mariavittoria Mangini

Director

With 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 Thanatology program for the study of death and dying.

Patricia James Photo

Patricia James

Director

With Patricia James is a medicine woman and cross cultural expert. Her focus is on bridging ancient wisdom with our contemporary times, bringing practical application to the mystical, and to weaving a new ‘braided way’ to live life well. Patricia maintains a private practice in the Bay Area that focuses on psycho-spiritual mentoring, integration, teaching, speaking, and group and individual workshops. She conducts ritual-based ceremonies. Patricia is of Seminole heritage, and is a traditionally trained Cheyenne Pipe Carrier and Priest. Initiated in multiple indigenous spiritual traditions, she has studied wisdom practices and trained in modern healing modalities such as breathwork for nearly 3 decades.

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Rajan Dunne

Secretary

With Dr. Rajan Dunne is an integrative psychiatrist in private practice at Wildflower Psychiatry and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Arizona. She has worked as a co-investigator on a clinical trial studying psilocybin-assisted treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and has been a clinical supervisor and mentor for trainees entering psychedelic-assisted therapy roles. She is a graduate of the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research certificate from the California Institute for Integral Studies, and currently serves as a mentor for students in that program.

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Annie Oak

President

With Annie Oak is the co-founder of the Women’s Visionary Congress and the Women’s Visionary Council. Annie is a science and technology journalist and works with researchers who analyze human rights data. Founder of the San Francisco-based Full Circle Tea House, she is also co-founder of Take 3 Presents, which produces immersive art events.

Ladybird Morgan

Director

With Ladybird, one of the co-founders of The Humane Prison Hospice Project, served as the initial Executive Director while being responsible for program development and primary facilitation and supervision of the Brothers’ Keepers Peer Support Crisis Counseling and Compassionate End-of Life-Program at San Quentin. In addition to her 20+ years working in hospice and palliative medicine, she has a wealth of experience dealing with trauma, mental health, and the painful repercussions of sexual violence. Ladybird has guided medical practitioners, families, private caregivers, as well as directors of programs and institutions around the world on how to be present to experiences that may be hard to hear or bear witness to. Her work has included Doctors Without Borders and The Zen Hospice Project.

Kristina Soriano Photo

Kristina Soriano

Executive Director

With Kristina Soriano is a Texan-born Filipina who has lived in San Francisco since 2005. With her Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration, she is passionate about helping organizations with psychedelic advocacy. She has volunteered with the Zendo Project at Envision Festival in Costa Rica, and at Burning Man in Nevada. Her most recent project has been to establish a Donor Advised Fund with her husband called the Psychedelic Literacy Fund, to co-finance the translation of books about psychedelic therapy into different languages. She is also a trained classical pianist, a music teacher, and loves to sing medicine songs while accompanying herself on the ukulele.