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Imbas Forosnai – Visionary Inspiration

Imbas Forosnai- Visionary Inspiration

In ancient Ireland, there existed a ritual called Imbas Forosnai that the filídh, poets or seers, would practise to achieve visionary inspiration. The filídh were the successors of the druids, as the old gaelic tradition was an oral one, wisdom was passed down by word of mouth. In Brehon law times in Ireland, the poets were also the law givers, as the law was sung in verse.  This ancient oral tradition was partially written down by the druids of Tara, and St Patrick, in the 4th century in the Senchus Mór (pictured). The brehon law of the gaelic old order survived from time immemorial in Ireland until the 17th century.

Imbas Forosnai was a ritual used to invoke altered states of consciousness, and achieve visionary inspiration, or manifestation that enlightens. One of the oldest written records of Imbas Forosnai comes from the Sanas Cormaic, written in 908 AD. At this time the old pagan and druidic ways were already being forced underground, or assimilated, by the emergence of christianity. Imbas Forosnai is also frequently mentioned in much older Fenian Mythological cycle, An Fhiannaíocht, from the 2nd century AD, and is referenced in the Senchus Mór itself, the oldest surviving written gaelic law. Imbas Forosnai is even mentioned in the oldest of all celtic, irish mythology, the pre-christian era Táin Bó Cúailnge of the Cú Chulainn cycle. 

Imbas Forosnai is  described in Sanas Cormaic as a ritual involving eating the ‘red flesh’, thought to be a reference to the fly agaric, a psychedelic mushroom which grows in great abundance in Ireland. In shamanic rituals, it would have been combined with the liberty cap psilocybin mushroom to achieve altered states of consciousness.

Like the Mazatec indigenous tradition in Oaxaca, Mexico, where psychedelic mushrooms were used for healing, an indigenous tradition of psilocybin use existed in Ireland. Centuries of colonisation and suppression damaged this tradition, but it is not true to say that it became entirely extinct. Our old ways got passed down through the wise women, the mystics and the healers, and there exists to this day in Ireland, elders who remember some of our old traditions, and it came down to us through our music, folklore and mythology. Every Autumn, the psilocybin mushrooms grow in great abundance on our ancestral sacred sites and ancient places of worship.

At Inwardbound Psilocybin Retreats, we see ourselves as remembering our own ancestral, Irish, indigenous tradition of psilocybin use for visionary inspiration and healing. In Ireland, after a long colonial legacy of disempowerment, we are reclaiming our indigenous, gaelic culture, our ancestral memory, and tradition for ourselves.

What to Expect?

Stage 1: Pre-screening

The Call

Once your application is submitted, our screening process begins. Each successful application will receive an hour consultation with a psychotherapist to ensure our retreats are mutually suitable and to answer any of your questions. Our retreats are not suitable for people who have had a mental health diagnosis (such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bi-polar, clinical depression or personality disorders, suicidality), cannot cease any psychiatric medication (ie SSRIS), or are dealing with serious addiction or substance abuse issues.

Stage 2: Pre-departure

Intention – The Quest

Our pre-departure process allows us to communicate with all our participants, to answer any questions. We set an individual and collective intention and prepare for our journey. What is it that you intend to heal, how do you want to grow?

Stage 3: The Psychedelic Retreat

The Vision

Our experience retreats take place over five days at one of our beautiful retreat centres in the Netherlands. Participants are asked to make their own way to Amsterdam by 17:00 on the first evening of the retreat. From there we arrange transport to our retreat centre.

On the first evening of grounding and preparation, we set an individual and collective intention. What is it you intend to let go of, what do you intend to heal, how do you want to grow?

Our psychedelic sessions take place the afternoons of the second and third day, and are followed by two powerful days of integration using different therapeutic modalities from Art therapy to yoga. Our programmes are based on the pioneering work of Dr Stan Grof.

The retreat ends on the evening of the fifth day.

Stage 4: Post-Retreat Integration

The Return: Embodying the Vision

Immediately after your retreat, we provide a one-on-one integrative consultation session to help you embody and integrate your experience.

A few weeks after your retreat, we will organise an online video conference for sharing, support, integration, and grounding. What have you learnt? How do you embody what you have learnt into your everyday life?

On top of this, we also run a monthly Inwardbound Psychedelic Integration Group for past participants, a held space for people to process their psychedelic experience and how to integrate it into everyday life.