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The Ground Shots Podcast

Nov 30, 2019

Episode #30 of the Ground Shots Podcast features a conversation with Laura Pendell, writer, artist and partner of the late ethnobotanist Dale Pendell.

Laura and I got together after several meet-ups last year to record this conversation in their shared library and studio in Penn Valley, California this past summer. We intended to record a conversation that celebrates Dale’s work, perspective and unique way in the world.

Dale Pendell was most known for his books in the Pharmako trilogy (Pharmako/Dynamis, Pharmako/Poeia, Pharmako/Gnosis) a project that explored the use, history, pharmacology, sociology, personal experience, chemistry, and alchemy of most plants or substances considered 'psychoactive.' He also wrote novels and poetry. Dale had a unique writing style that mixed his own experience, research, poetry and old folklore.

I'm grateful Laura took the time to record a conversation with me about Dale's work and way in the world. I think that fans of Dale's work will gain some unique insight from out conversation here.


In this conversation with Laura, we talk about:

Dale's nature of exploration and the way he navigated his interests

the Pharmako trilogy and their demonstration of Dale's experimental nature with plants

Dale's ability to combine different facets of things together in his work

Dale's unfinished and unpublished works including a book on his prison experiences in Mexico and the U.S., and a collected writings book that is in the works

Dale and Laura's camp project called 'Oracular Madness' during the early years of Burning Man and Dale's book 'Inspired Madness' as a reflection on the camp

Dale's book 'The Great Bay: Chronicles of the Collapse' and how it is a unique view of a possible future scenario and it's telling stories of our modern times

Dale's talks on 'Horizon Anarchism' at Burning Man

Dale's artist book 'The Gold Dust Wilderness' one of the first works he published and silkscreened and based on his experience living off grid on a mining claim in Trinity county, Ca in the 1970's. This book was the genesis of his unique writing style of information, imagination and poetry (it's so cool to see this book in person!)

Dale's herbal root beer, elixir, and absinthe projects

Laura's connection to poetry and absinthe

Dale and Laura's connection to Zen Buddhism

Laura reads some of Dale's poetry including 'The Ballad of the Hungry Ghosts,' 'Medicine,' and 'Stonecrop'

the herbarium collection that Dale compiled over decades in Nevada county, Ca and beyond (over 1000 specimens)

Dale's relationship with the psychedelic and drug database Erowid



Dale Pendell’s blog:

Pharmako trilogy by Dale Pendell:

Dale’s lecture on ‘Horizon Anarchism’ at the 2006 Burning Man:

Erowid resource library (There’s also a physical location where the Erowid library is located, near Auburn, CA)

Apache Stronghold Oak Flat:

Signal Fire:

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Theme music: 'Sweat and Splinters' by Mother Marrow

Insterstitial Music: ‘Drawing the White’ by The Momentary Prophets

Produced by: Opia Creative