Among the forgotten dwellings once belonging to Pittsburgh’s oldest champions of capitalism is a very special mansion called “The Sleeping Octopus”. This collection of white pillars, old bricks, and patterned wallpaper houses an exceedingly unique event: SOAP, the Sleeping Octopus Assembly on Psychedelics.
Now on its second year of production, SOAP is one of the worlds most intimate and wonderfully perspective-diverse psychedelic conferences. It’s a small space populated by a large spectrum of individuals ranging from long-time thought leaders to first time psychedelic answer seekers. To say that it’s an environment conducive to connection is a gross understatement. Replete with entheogenic art and pieces strange esoteric literature, the space itself begs comment. Even the wallpaper provides an intensely congruent backdrop, perfectly framing the wonderful humans gathered here.
Moving through and interacting within SOAP leaves one feeling like a participant in something genuinely revolutionary. Speakers of the conference are those individuals actively shaping the landscape of psychedelic medicine, thought, policy, and culture. Prodigies of activism like Rick Doblin (MAPS) and Mitchell Gomez (DanceSafe) generously shared their deep perspective with all interested, both on and off the stage. Harm reduction heroes of the Zendo Project, Sara Gael & Ryan Beauregard, taught us how to be of service in times of psychedelic difficulty. Kilindi Iyi recounted his experience eating fifty dried grams of psilocybin, sending waves of horrified awe and wonder echoing through the crowd. It was a place of undeniable magic, dripping with potential.
Psychedelic Club had the privilege of co-sponsoring the event and joining the crowd in slack-jawed amazement. To be in community with such incredible, like-minded humans is a feeling like no other. It’s the kind of experience that fills a psychedelically inclined person floating through the sometimes barren cultural landscape with renewed hope for the future. Water in the intellectual dessert, nourishment for the future-hopeful trippy soul.