Hi, it’s Thursday and it's time for another Amanda!
This time, I talk to Amanda Feilding, who you could say was somewhat of a psychedelic and scientific socialite in the sixties, and who has been a strong advocate behind the resurgence of psychedelic science and reform. Also known as Lady Neidpath and the Countess of Wemyss and March, she lives in Beckley Park, an estate just outside Oxford.
Amanda’s contribution to global drug policy reform and early psychedelic research has been pivotal and widely acknowledged. She was first introduced to LSD in the mid-sixties, at the height of the first wave of scientific research into psychedelics. Impressed by its capacity to initiate mystical states of consciousness and heighten creativity, she quickly recognised its transformative and therapeutic powers.
Today she is the owner of the Beckley Foundation, a UK-based think-tank and UN-accredited NGO, dedicated to activating global drug policy reform and initiating scientific research into psychoactive substances.
I won’t say that Amanda and I are old pals, but I have met her a few times. It’s one of these stories where you could think maybe the universe personally arranged that meeting (if you believe in such things). The story went like this: I clicked on a picture of a guy on a dating app. His name was Hugh and happened to also look like Hugh Grant, who I adore. I did not pay very much attention clicking on Hugh at first, but we ended up meeting in London, and Hugh told me about his guided LSD experience. He then asked me if I would fancy having lunch with the infamous “Countess of LSD'' in Oxford and I immediately said yes, because seriously, who would have said no to this?! At this point, my psychedelics knowledge was limited to Michael Pollan's book, which I had read three times by this point. I knew meeting Amanda would be something…
So we arrived just outside Oxford at Beckley Park which was built in 1520. Home not only of the Beckley Foundation, it is also here that Amanda Feilding lives, directs, researches and holds court. “The Tudors needed a party location, a hunting lodge,” explained Amanda at her home, and after a very short lunch of French wine and Thai food we went for a walk with Amanda's Corgis (yes, just like the Queen!) and of course, Hugh.
I think it was the day the penny started to drop at just how powerful psychedelics could be and for the record, no we did not do any LSD! I just listened to Amanda talking about her experiences from her grand living room. Later on, I discovered that many big investors in psychedelics had met with Amanda and were convinced by these psychedelics as a rediscovered tool. Hugh and I became good friends, and Amanda became an inspiration: one of these people in psychedelics that you need to shake things up and push things forward in times of stagnation.
THE NEW HEALTH CLUB YOUTUBE SHOW IS COMING!
We are super excited to announce our upcoming YouTube series “The New Health Club” and I am thrilled to have found an amazing production company called Cinegramm who are doing such a brilliant job, especially with remote recordings! Do check them out!