Keynote speaker biography

Graham Hancock

Writer and Journalist

His books have sold more than five million copies worldwide and have been translated to twenty seven languages. He is the author of the "Magicians of the Gods", and of the major international bestsellers "The Sign and the Seal", "Fingerprints of the Gods", "Heaven's Mirror", "Underworld", "Supernatural", and the novel "Entangled".

In 2005 Graham published `Supernatural: Meetings with The Ancient Teachers of Mankind`, an investigation of shamanism and the origins of religion. This controversial book suggests that experiences in altered states of consciousness have played a fundamental role in the evolution of human culture, and that other realities – indeed parallel worlds – surround us all the time but are not normally accessible to our senses.

While researching Supernatural, Hancock travelled to the Amazon to drink the visionary brew Ayahuasca – the Vine of Souls – used by shamans for more than 4000 years. It was his experiences with the vine lead to his his first work of fiction, `Entangled`. Written with the same page-turning appeal that has made his non-fiction so popular `Entangled` tells the story of a supernatural battle of good against evil fought out across the dimension of time on the human plane. It was followed by two other novels, `War God: Nights of the Witch` and `War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent` — the first two volumes of his three volume supernatural adventure series on the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Returning to non-fiction Hancock has now completed `Magicians of the Gods`, the sequel to `Fingerprints of the Gods`. Published in 2015, Magicians is not an update of Fingerprints, but a completely new book presenting compelling new evidence for a lost civilisation and for the global cataclysm that swept it from the earth.

Conference session

Psychedelics and Civilisation

Psychedelics and the visionary states associated with them are demonised by the technological cultures of the 21st century and the mere possession of a psychedelic substance such as LSD, psilocybin or DMT can result in public humiliation, loss of property and reputation, and lengthy jail penalties.

Things were very different in the antiquity. Indeed the evidence shows that many of the greatest civilisations of the past, from ancient Egypt to ancient Greece, and from ancient India to the ancient Americas, enshrined the use of psychedelics as a sacred practise and found immense value in the visions that ensued. Further back still, in the epoch of the great cave art 30,000 and more years ago, recent archaeological research suggests that shamanistic use of psychedelics was instrumental in the birth of the modern human mind.

In this talk Graham Hancock investigates the possibility that by demonising and criminalising the use of psychedelics, rather than seeking out ways to harness their power for altering consciousness in safe and nurturing spaces, our society may have set itself on a profoundly negative path - a path that might even deny us the next step in our own evolution as a species.