Bett Williams, author of The Wild Kindness; A Psilocybin Odyssey(Dottir Press) and contributor to Lucid News and DoubleBlind Magazine lives near Santa Fe, NM with her partner Beth Hill where they are hunkering down during Covid-19 and recording episodes of their podcast No Cures, Only Alchemy.
The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey is the lyrical, unforgettable memoir of Bett Williams's relationship with psilocybin mushrooms, otherwise known as magic mushrooms. In pursuit of self-healing, she begins experimenting with mushrooms in solitary ceremonies by the fire. Word soon gets out about her New Mexican desert mushroom farm, though, and people arrive in droves. Not long after, the police read her Miranda Rights, her relationships fall out of whack, and her dog Rosie just might be CIA.
On a quest to find help through the psychedelic community, Bett is led to Cleveland to meet Kai Wingo, an African American leader within a high-dose psilocybin community, and to Huautla de Jiménez, home of well-known, well-respected curandera María Sabina. Back home, Bett begins a solid ritual practice with the help of her partner and friends, bearing in mind the medicine's indigenous roots and power to transform one's life.
Amidst the mainstream flood of New Age practices and products, The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey is a dreamlike reminder that psilocybin mushrooms are a medicine of the people, not to be neatly packaged, marketed, or appropriated.
In honor of Bett’s book, we asked her to share a Weedsday playlist for tripping on psilocybin mushrooms. She says, “Sometimes I’m bummed out by having to play music of my own choosing. They are a mycelial thing, having to do with grids and crossroads and all these things are little moments of relationality, encounters with other. It’s easy to get sick of oneself and one’s own playlist in the midst of a mushroom interrogation. So, in putting together these selections, I employed the advice of my mycelial friends and my partner Beth, just like I would do in a ceremony – hey can you play a song? I’m too…uh…just play something. I miss everyone and am dreaming of being together again.”
1. Alice Coltrane ft. Pharoah Sanders - Journey In Satchidananda
2. Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms
Poet Ariana Reines suggested “Parallelograms,” a song I am familiar with. I had no idea it lived in her brain too, this beautiful artifact, making math and telling the story of Linda Perhacs, a dental hygienist from Topanga Canyon and an American psychedelic folk singer, who recorded the song in 1970, to little response until recently.
3. Steve Roach - Reflections in Suspension
I asked Sidibe, after listening to the track “Emptiness/Fullness” off her album Reckless Abandon, what song she would pick, since clearly this track was influenced by Brian Eno, who is always good on a mushroom trip. She said yes, the track was indeed influenced by Eno, and to listen to “Reflections in Suspension” by Steve Roach, saying it’s a great sound to be in-between worlds with.
4. Pharoah Sanders - Astral Traveling
My partner Beth Hill picks “Astral Traveling” by Pharoah Sanders as her contribution, having gone camping to escape the internet and Covid-19 anxiety. She played it on her phone by a river and said she’s never heard music interact with flowing water in just such a way, as if the river became another instrument, with insects and birds, the music, and everything. “It filled a space that was left open for it,” she said.
5. Violeta Parra - Volver a Los 17
Clement Hil Goldberg, animator, filmmaker and writer, would no doubt request “Volver a Los 17” by Violeta Parra, because of old times, and because there’s no better sound in the midst of a mushroom trip than the joyous childlike tragedy and heartbreak of Violeta Parra: Returning to seventeen / After a century of living / Is like deciphering signs / Without wisdom or competence, To be all of a sudden / As fragile as a second / To find a deep feeling / Like a child in front of God / That is what I feel / In this fecund second /… what feelings can grasp / Knowledge cannot understand / Not even the clearest move / Not even the wildest thought / The moment changes everything / The condescending magician / Separates us sweetly / From rancor and violence / Only love with its science / Makes us innocent.