"When I first took LSD I realised: this is the mystical experience. It’s the losing of the ego, it’s the floating
up the mountain.”
Amanda Feilding is flying the flag for the medical benefits of recreational drugs like cannabis and LSD with her pioneering work at The Beckley Foundation. Based out of the 75-year-old's tumbling country pile in Oxfordshire – which is ringed by a moat and has an island encircled with temple-like pillars – the foundation funds leading research into the medical benefits of psychedelics and mind-altering substances.
Amanda is also a countess whose lineage traces back to Charles II of England. In the 1960s, after travelling around Sri Lanka on her own, she discovered acid and hung out with the beat poets of the era, never without her beloved pet pigeon Birdie by her side. She met the Dutch scientist Bart Hughes, who introduced her to the shamanic practice of trepanation – essentially drilling a hole in one’s head, which she performed on herself in 1970.
Needless to say, a conversation with Amanda Feilding, with the wind blowing through the trees,
is quite a trip in itself.
This episode is produced by Lucy Dearlove.