Filmmaker Jon Reiss Launches Celebrity-Packed Podcast

Cult filmmaker Jon Reiss (Better Living Through Circuitry, Bomb It) explores the world of psychedelics and the profound impact plant medicines and entheogens have on healing, personal growth, and artistic expression with leading experts, healers, and teachers.

The first three episodes of his podcast, Plantscendence, edited by Julia Sharpe-Levine and featuring music by Ani Matevos and Lucas Strazz, were released on March 14th on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeart.

“I began my plant medicine journey four years ago while searching for a way to get out of some mental ruts. Experimenting with various plants proved to be radically life-altering for the better,“ said Reiss in a news release.

Within each episode, Reiss engages in insightful conversations with a diverse array of experts, practitioners, artists, grief counselors, and everyday people who have harnessed the power of plant medicine to heal trauma, navigate loss, unlock creativity, and become more of their true selves.

The Plantscendence podcast explores how many individuals have discovered solace, purpose, and deepened connections through the use of remarkable plants, fungi, and other natural substances. Plantscendence provides a platform for both seasoned enthusiasts and curious newcomers to explore the intersection of plant medicine, spirituality, personal transformation, and healing.

The first season of Plantscendance features guests including Musician Vera Sola, U.S. Army veteran and facilitator Itzel Barakat, and actress (and gay icon) Gina Gershon.

Vera Sola is a poet, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist whose musicianship arrived as a shot in the dark after a plant medicine ceremony. The result was a sprawling, epic album, Shades, which she performed and arranged entirely alone for a few months in 2017. Her follow-up album, Peacemaker, was released on February 2, 2024, on City Slang Records.

Itzel Barakat is a Panamanian-American who served six years in the United States Air Force. After her service, she returned to California and resumed her federal service as a Wildland Firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service. After her first deeply impactful plant medicine journey, she began apprenticing as a facilitator at plant medicine retreats organized by several veteran non-profit organizations. She serves as a veteran liaison and board member of the organization War Horse Creek, which provides equine-assisted coaching for trauma-affected veterans and first responders. Aligned with these organizations, she aims to provide veterans impacted by PTS(D) with unique healing modalities. Barakat is pursuing her master’s degree in clinical psychology to become a Somatic Therapist. Her goal as a therapist is to provide a whole-person approach in assisting veterans, first responders, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other trauma-affected groups.

Additional guests for the remainder of the first season include Nganga Chor Boogie, artist Doris La Frenais, plant wisdom practitioner Sitaramaya Sita, author, teacher, and healer Spring Washam, grief counselor Larry Carlat, and author and initiated traditional medicine woman Tricia Eastman.


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