Entheogenesis Australis (EGA) has grown organically over the years, starting out as a small Victorian based ethnobotany interest group called Mini Ethnobotanica Victoria. EGA is now one of the longest running ethnobotanical conferences in Australia and to our knowledge the world.
Inspired by the 2001 Ethnobotanica conference at Wandjina Gardens in northern New South Wales and the growing interest in ethnobotany in Australia, a small Victorian network developed, led by Tim Payne and Carl Turney. This group held ethnobotany meetings in Ringwood library, east of Melbourne, and plant swap meet ups and social gatherings in the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria that occasionally still happen today. The meetings and community grew across Australia, linked by a couple of very active online forums - most notably, the world’s longest running ethnobotanical forum, The Corroboree. In 2003, Carl sought support from others in the community to assist running the 2004 symposium in his absence. Jonathan Carmichael, Adrian Glaister and Martin Williams joined the team and with that shift in 2004, Mini Ethnobotanica Victoria formally became Entheogenesis Australis, as the group aimed to expand the focus and scope of the conference.
The first official Entheogenesis Australis (EGA) conference was held in Belgrave, Victoria on Sunday the 6th of June 2004, running over a single day and having two streams. It was advertised and very well attended, introducing a much wider audience to the study of ethnobotanical plants.
In 2004-2005, the core group at the time started to chart a more conscious and intentional direction. Art, music and wellbeing programming were added to EGA events to complement the lectures and workshops.
After a series of successful conferences, Entheogenesis Australis was incorporated as a not-for-profit association in 2008.
EGA conferences alternated between outdoor and indoor environments, including events at academic venues in the Melbourne metropolitan area, and large-scale open-air events in rural Victoria. By 2009, a dedicated group of around 20 part-time volunteers were working on the conference, and in the same year, EGA introduced a journal publication to supplement the conference presentations.
In 2010, Rick Doblin (MAPS) attended the EGA Symposium, and discussions following an EGA workshop led to the formation of our sister organisation Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM).
EGA launched an online drug policy discussion group in 2010. You can express your interest to join the policy discussion group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
EGA uses social media networks to share news, articles, and original educational content, including its public Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EGA.plant.org
EGA has a community discussion group on Facebook that focuses on general awareness of a wide range of relevant issues. Join the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/entheo/
EGA also has a Twitter account that highlights a wide range of perspectives, including botanical research, art, philosophy and policy amongst other things: twitter.com/EGAPolicy
In 2013, EGA launched a YouTube video channel - Entheo TV - enabling the public free access to educational material recorded at EGA conferences. Subscribe to Entheo TV: www.youtube.com/entheotv
In 2014, EGA celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a successful conference at RMIT.
In 2016, EGA ran a successful community fundraising campaign, 'Support the Conversation Around Psychedelics', to kick start development of the 2017 EGA Symposium in Australia. If you are in a position to consider offering financial support for future events, please see EGA’s Donate page
In December 2017, EGA realised its most ambitious project to date - a large scale outdoor conference at ‘Holmesglen at Eildon’, Victoria, where many leading thinkers and prominent experts in the field from Australia and around the world converged to discuss various aspects of ethnobotany. The conference was attended by 650 people and was a massive success, presenting the latest discoveries, research and developments to a diverse audience.
The 2017 conference was also a significant academic success, setting off a cascade effect in the research field in Australia that had been slowly growing for the previous 15 years. Once again, EGA worked with PRISM and experts who had attended the event to workshop better outcomes for Australia in various areas of psychedelic research. From this point on, there has been a rising tide of interest. Media has started to cover the area in a much more positive light. Within three months of the 2017 conference, the doorway for ethnobotanical and psychedelic research in Australia had finally been opened.
In 2018, EGA officially became a botanical charity and in 2019, a new symposium named ‘Garden States - A Forum for Cultivating Ethnobotanical Plants, Knowledge and Community’ was held over one day in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
In 2019, a joint clinical trial between EGA’s sister organisation PRISM and St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne was announced to investigate the use of psilocybin as an adjunct to psychotherapy to treat depression and anxiety for terminally ill patients.
The 2020 Garden States symposium was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and will now take place in the first weekend of December 2021. You can find the latest information and tickets for the upcoming symposium here
The next EGA major outdoor symposium is tentatively set for early December 2023 or 2024, dependent on developments around the COVID-19 pandemic.