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Lotus Entheogenic Church’s Pill Hill Seed Swap highlights the hills over pills

I got to check out the Lotus Entheogenic Church Pill Hill seed swap in Oakland, CA’s historical pill hill (mill) neighborhood at the beginning of February 2024. You may have heard that Oakland has decriminalized magic mushrooms. One of the best developments to come out of this change in regulation was the advent of legally protected mushroom churches. In that same vein, Lotus Entheogenic serves as a gathering place for many different entheogens besides psilocybin containing mushrooms. Namely, their popular seed swap event also included many vendors with cannabis seeds which are also expressly legal under current federal law. If you missed the February or March rendition of Lotus Entheogenic Church’s Pill Hill Swap, look out for the next one!

pill hill swap feb 2024 lotus church

Lotus Entheogenic Church Pill Hill Swap Recap

This was my first time visiting an entheogenic church. Frankly, I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities this afforded people and that the established pipeline of grassroots regulatory change to the local jurisdiction all the way to functioning entheogen church that has been trailblazed in Oakland shall inevitably be repeated elsewhere such as in Arcata. There’s something distinctly American dream-esque about starting your own church and finding out it’s insanely popular with the masses.

lotus entheogenic church pill hill seed swap table

Religion is a hell of a drug ;).

I’ve heard about Lotus Entheogenic Church on and off over the last several years but it wasn’t until a classmate told me about his experiences with Psilo Bay Trip at “Church” that I decided it was time to make the drive and attend myself.

Lotus Entheogenic Church Seed Swap brought the hill to Oakland

I pulled up, parallel parked, and walked into the entrance to the building next to its loading dock. Finding the address for events like this is always tricky because it is usually withheld as much as possible for security reasons. That’s just the way it is and will be for the foreseeable future. The truck bay of this particular building had a pair of armored, armed security guards greeting any guests and directing them up the spiral staircase to the source of the dank smoke and eager chatter.

First thing you notice is the free seed table where attendees left donations so that anyone entering seedless could leave seedful. I donated The Seedery’s Filipino x Brother’s Keeper. A hill selection brought down to the Bay.

lotus entheogenic church pill hill seed swap table filipino.jpeg

This event was wholly inside and featured a good mix of myco and cannabis vendors. Combined with smoking indoors and suffice to say, errone got high.

Within the event, there were several different types of psychoactive mushrooms, and even other psychoactive substances like DMT in vapes. Psilo Bay Trip took the time to describe which mutations or strains would be more visual or more introspective. Which ones would be better for a night out and which ones would be better for a night in. ie. The difference between a Burmese and a typical Golden Teacher or APE (Albino Penis Envy).

mendo myco table at lotus entheogenic church pill hill swap

Breeders and cultivators from both the cannabis and myco sides of things made the trek from down the hill into “civilization” to share their wares and give educational talks to the crowd. Familiar names like Fault Line Seeds, Black Cat Genetics, Mendo Myco, Ital Foundation, Mama K, and Savage Oak.

ital foundation table at lotus entheogenic church pill hill swap

Yes, medicinal topicals were also available.

mama k table at lotus entheogenic church pill hill swap.jpeg

One particular quarter of flower that I came across that I will never forget. A jar labeled “My Love Has Wings” at Joey Burger and Tamara Thorn’s table. The cultivar, My Love Has Wings, was worked from a Chinese landrace in Lake County for decades. The nose was ginger tofu flower dessert version of that haze – and is hands down the rarest genetics I’ve seen and smoked in 2024. They told me that the breeder who acclimated the Chinese landrace to Lake County and developed it into an heirloom called My Love Has Wings is a woman who has been in the hills for decades. 

tamara thorn joey burger my love has wings chinese landrace cultivar

Smoking a chinese landrace has been on the bucket list for well over a decade. I’ve searched far and wide for information – from reaching out to Reeferman for Yunnanberry stories to diving deep on forums, I could only read about it. By showing up to events like this, I was able to experience it. That’s the power of an Entheogenic Church.

At events like these… The booths are clear focus points of good energy but so too are the attendees. For instance, I ended up running into Dalton with East Bay Seed Collective and trying some Purple Haze from that crew and passing on some of the Filipino x Brother’s Keeper seeds from The Seedery. Seeds were swapped!

The event was a perfect meld of those in the hills doing the genetics work (for both shrooms and grass) and those in the cities that are inevitably responsible for bringing new work into the mainstream. Seeing Mendo Myco’s booth and knowing events like this could be the vector for newly domesticated mendo oyster mushrooms to reach the mainstream. Knowing that the African Golden Rift seeds that I bought from Ital Foundation are going to match the delicious high from the flower sample… It brings the joy of potential to a tangible level. 

Whether I’m looking for seeds, new flavors in flower, new flavors in hash, landraces, heirlooms, that new new, or something else – this is the perfect event to show me all of the above. The more of these events I go to, the more I realize that the bonds between the urban parts and the rural parts of the culture are damn strong. For me to be able to find landrace/heirloom Asian cannabis AND psychedelic mushrooms in the same room as chill people… Hell, it was cathartic.

If you ever get the chance to attend a Pill Hill Seed Swap or any Lotus Entheogenic Church event, don’t miss it. Straight up, they’re bringing OGs down from those hills and I already know that Pill Hill and the rest of the Yay area is better for it. This connection has been ongoing for decades and betyerass it hasn’t died and won’t ever.

Shoutout to T and V for making the drive to attend with!

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Founder of The Highest Critic
Unpaid /r/trees mod
Certified Ganjier
Kine bud enthusiast

flower mill ad - X grind, yes mill

Caleb Chen

Founder of The Highest Critic Unpaid /r/trees mod Certified Ganjier Kine bud enthusiast

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