371. The Inner Journey: Saving Your Soul to Save Us All w/ Dr. Erin Yu-Juin McMorrow

Dr. Erin Yu-Juin McMorrow

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

I return to the cycles of nature with Dr. Erin Yu-Juin McMorrow as we explore the divine connection between soul, soil, and sexuality.

Erin is an author, spiritual courage guide, and earth advocate. She holds a PhD in Policy, Planning, and Development from the University of Southern California. She studied Political and Social Thought at the University of Virginia, and served as the Director of Housing Policy with the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness. Erin is also a certified yoga teacher, craniosacral therapist, and entrepreneur.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

It's time we came back to Earth, and I can think of no one better to get us grounded than this week's guest: author, spiritual guide, and Earth advocate, Dr. Erin Yu-Juin McMorrow. 

I was highly charged after devouring Erin's book, Grounded, which explores the interconnectedness between the natural world and humanity. We can see nature’s history imprinted in the soil and how toxic expressions of masculinity (defined by Erin as patriarchy) rip through the natural Earth – which is an embodiment of the sacred feminine through Erin's lens. 

So how do we find roots when the soil is literally being ripped from under our feet? 

On the rational side of things, we can return to regenerative farming practices, start composting, and learn from our fungi friends. But things really get interesting when we dive into the spiritual, sacred potential in Earth and see how it relates to the divine feminine, and see how sex, soul, and soil are, in many ways, one and the same. 

05:00 — The Return to Roots

  • Working with soil, regenerative farming 
  • The role of fungi in the soil and why mushrooms are our allies
  • Relating soil to feminine sexual energy 
  • Learning how to compost
  • Regenerating earth and business  

43:35 — Reframing Environmentalism

  • What I learned after watching The Great Global Warming Swindle
  • The creative life force of the universe and why we need to shift our relationship with Earth
  • Getting caught up in environmentalism
  • How colonization separated us from the land 

01:04:18 — Plant Medicines to Reconnect with Nature 

  • The collective elevation of consciousness with medicine experiences 
  • The global renaissance happening right now 

1:15:33 — The Way Out of Patriarchy 

  • The collective pain body
  • The masculine expression of ego
  • Conquering cultural marxism to come back to oneness
  • The Goddess Archetype
  • Immersing yourself in natural things

1:51:49 — Expansion Through Sexuality 

  • How an orgy pushed Erin to her edge and how she broke through 
  • Cultivating initiation skills 
  • Releasing shame around sexuality 

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey: I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Erin, I thought a beautiful way to start this podcast episode would be a reading of the gorgeous poem in the beginning of your book, would you be open to starting with that?

[00:00:36] Erin McMorrow: Absolutely.

[00:00:37] Luke Storey: Okay. Great. I'm going to dial it in for us. I'm not a big poetry person, although I used to write a lot of lyrics when I played music and stuff, and even people will send me like a Rumi poem, and I mean, beautiful poems, and I'm like, that's nice, but I don't get a big feeling out of it. But when I read this, and especially when I listen to the audio book, I was like, damn, that is powerful. And it's such a perfect encapsulation of what's to follow in the book. So, thank you for your contribution and vulnerability in putting that in there. I know for some, it would be, for me, hard to share something like that. So, thank you.

[00:01:14] Erin McMorrow: Yeah. Well, it all came out in one piece. I just channeled it straight up.

[00:01:17] Luke Storey: Really?

[00:01:17] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[00:01:17] Luke Storey: You didn't labor over it?

[00:01:19] Erin McMorrow: Not at all.

[00:01:19] Luke Storey: Oh, my God.

[00:01:20] Erin McMorrow: I didn't edit it at all. It was an Instagram post that just came through. And when I posted it, it like got over a thousand likes within some—I went to Catalina, and like turned my phone off, and came back, and it was this quick—I mean, I don't have a huge following, so I think that was a lot, and it just resonated. Actually, I also posted it with a picture of a vagina with the Virgin Mary, so this sort of like the metaphor of The Great Mother, so we'll obviously get into that.

[00:01:47] But yeah, powerful. Okay. Are you afraid of the void, the fertile soil, the fertile soul, where seeds come to life? Crack open, fight for light. In darkness, we grow. From the void, we emerge. New moon, bloody flow. Where'd she go? Welcome to the collective blind spot, the collective wound. Death, release. Decomposition, rebirth. She is the garden. There is no exile. She simply holds space for us to finally face the eternal truth.

[00:02:28] How could this be? What can't we see? Cycles unbroken, simply imbalanced. Return again and again. Connect the dots, my lovers and friends. The wound only heals when we face in. The humble word, eight legged Goddess, Infinity Creatrix, Night Sky Everlasting. There's only one way home. Turn in. Tune in. Yin Yang. Up, down. In, out. Breath reveals. Holy love heals. Follow the drumbeat. Look toward the light. Bow to the night.

[00:03:07] The portal, the vortex, the mother, the spiral, the beat, the virgin, woman unto herself. Sexual healing, that's what I said. As above, so below. What are we pretending we don't know. Welcome the muse of creation and transformation. Priestesses of transmutation, goddesses of liberation. Bow to the great mother. Remember the soil, stuff of stars. The humble answer, rebirthing, the only truth there ever was.

[00:03:41] Luke Storey: Damn. So beautiful.

[00:03:43] Erin McMorrow: Thank you.

[00:03:43] Luke Storey: Thank you. I wish I could start every episode. I'm like it gave me a-

[00:03:47] Erin McMorrow: That was a nice way to start. I haven't done that.

[00:03:49] Luke Storey: A really nice way for me to ground in. So, thank you. So, the book we're talking about, which I can show on my camera angle, is Grounded: A Fierce, Feminine Guide to Connecting with the Soil and Healing from the Ground Up. And for those listening, you can, of course, find that where books are sold, you can find the show notes for this at lukestorey.com/grounded. Let's call it that, lukestorey.com/grounded. So, anything mentioned today will be linked in the show notes. So, God, there's so much I want to talk to you about today. Let's see. Where do I want to go with this? How did you arrive at your understanding of the importance of soil as it pertains to sustaining all life and the environment in general?

[00:04:30] Erin McMorrow: Well, it's a funny story. So, I got a PhD in urban planning and sustainable cities from USC. And I graduated in 2013. And I had been studying climate change, and sustainable cities, and sustainability plans, but I somehow made it through those six years without ever learning about the soil, specifically, or soil health. So, I knew nothing about it and I wasn't particularly a gardener, so like nada.

[00:04:56] And so, I was at this in-between stage where I had just graduated, and I had learned, of course, about all things about climate change, and ocean acidification, I had learned about. So, I had learned about the oceans and sort of the atmosphere, but the soil was this big kind of blind spot. And I stumbled into this group of volunteers. I was living in Venice, California, and a friend recommended it to me.

[00:05:18] And I thought it was about urban gardening, because I thought I was looking for a job in urban planning, climate change, something, at the time. I thought that I was going to be like a person who works in cities, who help change the built environment to fight climate change. And just such a funny memory of like, that's what I thought I was going to do. 

[00:05:39] Luke Storey: I've had a few of those myself.

[00:05:43] Erin McMorrow: And then, I stumbled into this group of volunteers, but very quickly learned about that relationship between soil health, and climate change, and soil carbon sequestration, which is now a far more mainstream idea. Even though a lot of people still haven't heard about it, it has what is now being called the regenerative agriculture movement, and there are lots of different branches and even debates over that terminology itself. But there is a larger, much larger idea around soil's role in climate change.

[00:06:12] Luke Storey: Cool. Awesome. Yeah. I think by the time this airs, actually, I don't know which one will come out first, but I just interviewed a guy named Robby Sansom, and he has a company called Force of Nature. And they're essentially a regenerative meat distribution company that either get new farmers started in regenerative agriculture or they help existing traditional farmers cross over.

[00:06:42] Erin McMorrow: Very good.

[00:06:43] Luke Storey: Yeah. It's better for the animals, the environment, all that. I had a really interesting experience, we went out to one of the farms here in Texas, and it's kind of like it's a network of different small farms, basically. And so, we went out there and they showed us a really—I mean, it's really fascinating, because they had taken a former industrial farm, and then are in, I don't know, what stage of regeneration, but different fields had had different time with birds, and animals, and all the things on it, which was really fascinating to see just the life of the soil, and get to touch it, and feel it.

[00:07:23] And then, they did a demonstration, where they showed sort of three different degrees of soil in these Plexiglas tubes, and then—no, rather trays with different levels of like plant matter essentially, like different soil conditions. And then, they made a fake little rainstorm on them, and they showed the water sequestration of each type of soil from like arid desertification, factory farm kind of thing, all the way to regenerative. And it was like no water came out of the regenerative tray. It was so cool. I'm just a visual person, so, so neat to actually see, and to see the welfare of the animals and the land. I was like, oh, my god, can you imagine the world if this was ubiquitous? 

[00:08:03] Erin McMorrow: Right. That's where we're headed?

[00:08:05] Luke Storey: Yeah. I mean, one can hope. The funny thing about it is it's so much more profitable, too. Even if you have a farmer that gives two shits about the environment and just wants to feed their family, they make way more money for longer, generationally.

[00:08:18] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, absolutely. And it's an investment also, a long-term investment. But that wasn't clear for a long time, because also, there are big forces that don't want to see things that way, necessarily. So, the storytelling has been a really interesting part of it, where it's like, how do we get the word out that there are these farms that are way more profitable when that's not what the larger narrative is saying, and they're saying that we need to deplete the soil to feed the world, which makes no sense, because somebody said famously that you can't feed the world with dead soil, it's pretty straightforward, so yeah.

[00:08:50] Luke Storey: Yeah. How do you refute that? And you used to do work with Ryland from Kiss the Ground, right?

[00:08:57] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[00:08:58] Luke Storey: Yeah, he's been on the show as well, we'll link to that one of the show notes, yeah. Actually, now that I think about it, Zach Bush and a number of other episodes around this topic. And it's not even something I'm that knowledgeable about, it just makes common sense, right? And it's like, what are the big needle movers? And those are the things that, in terms of social ills and things that I like to focus on, there are so many nuanced kind of causes one could get behind. But for me, I'm always just going back to like, hmm, Mother Earth is the soil, like as you so eloquently point out numerous times in your books, the fertility of life itself is underneath our feet. And I always keep getting drawn back to that. And I just love playing in the dirt.

[00:09:42] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[00:09:44] Luke Storey: So, one thing that you touched on a little bit, you don't get to science geeky in your book, but I have a feeling that you probably would know a little more outside of the scope of your book, but tell us about the role that fungi has in the soil, the mycelial networks and all this. I find that to be so fascinating.

[00:10:02] Erin McMorrow: Well, there's more and more. I love Paul Stamets for this, obviously, where he's like, there's sentient edge runners and that they know when we're stepping on them, they can sense our presence, which makes complete sense in the context of plant medicine as well. That all kind of wraps around. But just from a basic sense, I didn't know anything about mycorrhizal fungi, where I always thought from like elementary school, and I'm sort of holding up my hands as I describe this, there's like the soil line and your roots, that the roots were the things that were interacting with the soil itself and pulling up nutrients, et cetera.

[00:10:36] And actually, I discovered there's all kind of microbial life down in the soil, which I didn't know in 2013, and including the worms, and like nematodes, and all this other stuff. And then, this fungus basically, and this, the mycorrhizal fungi becomes a middleman, so it helps this kind of more little roots interact with the soil. And so, it's actually necessary for the plant to interact with the soil. And it helps with the carbon cycle, the carbon pump, where the plant itself brings the carbon down.

[00:11:07] And then, I say, it like inhales or eats the carbon, and then poops it out, like kindergarten terms. And so, that microscopic life in the soil is essential to life. And that's the part that isn't hard to figure out that many gardeners know. Once you know it, you can't unknow it, but that a lot of us are walking around, actually, have no idea like myself in my early 30s. Like somehow, I had lived my entire life and had no idea until I bumped into this thing. And now, I'm actually so grateful that this, whether it's the regenerative movement or all of the other pieces, and parts, and players that are coming together to help tell this story, that really ultimately gets back to Mother Nature.

[00:11:45] Luke Storey: And Alyson said on the way out, how is the interview? She said, oh, it was amazing. She said, she likes mushrooms as much as you.

[00:11:53] Erin McMorrow: I was like, what type? She goes, hello, so we'll get to that later.

[00:11:59] Luke Storey: It's interesting, because I don't eat culinary mushrooms. Never liked them. Probably never will. I don't like the flavor, and I can eat natto and like other things that other people would find just not palatable, but the mushrooms, I mean, psychedelic mushrooms as allies, I just think of them, and not like I do it all the time, but the experiences I've had, especially while in nature, have led me to the understanding that they are our friends and allies. So, when it comes to the soil, I don't see a big difference between the fungus there and the mushrooms in general. They're just such an interesting species.

[00:12:41] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

[00:12:42] Luke Storey: And people think they're plants, that always bugs me. It's like when people pronounce espresso like as espresso, and you're like, ah, weird little thing, but people say, I do plant medicines like mushrooms, I'm like, well, no, it's not-

[00:12:54] Erin McMorrow: I know. But there's not a good word, because I use plant medicine pretty widely and people would be more specific about it. I feel like it's more accessible, and I do tend to my language that way, because I feel like I'm trying to bring some pretty esoteric topics, or sort of nerdy topics, or all sorts of topics that people would not necessarily pay any attention to and bring those together.

[00:13:14] Luke Storey: The only word—yeah, I mean, I do too. The only word I found and I don't even know the real definition, so I could be totally wrong, but it's entheogens. 

[00:13:20] Erin McMorrow: Entheogen, yeah. I love that.

[00:13:21] Luke Storey: Right?

[00:13:21] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[00:13:21] Luke Storey: Because that kind of could include a number of different things, and it just classifies everything that gives you an expanded awareness of consciousness, I guess you could say. Thank you for that. And you relate soil to feminine energy and to sexuality. So, how would you describe soil as being sexy? What's the correlation? 

[00:13:47] Erin McMorrow: Well, I do tell the same story a lot, but it's the simple idea that a lot of people haven't totally put together is that when you plant a seed, you part the soil, and then plant the seed inside, and then cover the soil, and then life gestates for a while. And then, at some point, life is born. And then, of course, after life is born, the thing grows up, and at some point dies and goes back to the soil.

[00:14:09] So, it's a metaphor for everything, but that is the mother metaphor. I mean, that is the womb, essentially, that seed gestating in the darkness. And it's the yin. It's the darkness from which life comes. So, we tend to honor the Sun for being the source of life, which it is, and also, the darkness is also an incredible source of life, just like the forest floor. So, that initial womb metaphor, it goes along with the sense of that receiving the yin again, that's the womb and that's the divine feminine.

[00:14:41] That's the essence of receiving, where all of nature is giving and receiving. And so, where the masculine is that giving energy, the soil, the darkness, the womb, the yin, that's all that receiving energy. And that gets tantric also, and it shows up in yin yang. It shows up in all different cultures. It doesn't belong to any one culture. There's always this balance, and always this dance in nature and in spirituality.

[00:15:06] So, I was pretty deep into the book before I put all of that together. Like that was not where I started. I started in a totally academic space where I thought I was going to be talking about like, how much carbon per however much of soil can we suck into the ground, and then it just unfurled into this like as the feminine does. It unfurled itself into this dance. And that's where I got—obviously, we can talk a lot more about the different threads and through lines where it took me, but that's how it got to me.

[00:15:38] Luke Storey: Have you ever pondered the moon's relationship in that cosmic dance?

[00:15:43] Erin McMorrow: So, it is the Sun and the Moon also, same sort of cosmic energies, and the moon—so, that seed metaphor is also the moon metaphor, is also the menstruation metaphor, it's the cycles of nature. And that also links directly back to the carbon cycle, obviously. Everything in nature moves in cycles. And so, it is also like women, girls, and femmes. It's like that nature of the cyclical menstrual cycle is that connection back to the soil, back to the attending, even giving back. And we were talking with Alison about giving menstrual blood back, which is a very witchy, like in some circles, very normal, but not everybody is totally into that. That is the sense, same as compost that we receive and we give back to the soil, we receive and we give back to the soil.

[00:16:28] Luke Storey: Yeah, I just thought of that, and I just remembered, as you were talking about the kind of the natural world parallels energetically, totally forgot about this, but one of the first times I took ayahuasca, I was outside staring at the moon, and it became so abundantly clear to me that it was the epitome of feminine energy, and I never thought about that. I never read it, and I was like, that's what feminine energy is.

[00:16:55] And it went on this whole thread, because it's like the Moon is up there receiving that energy from the sun and doesn't really ask anything in return. It's just they're like receiving, and reflecting, and then having that, I don't know if it's the magnetic effect on the Earth, and on living beings on the Earth, and menstruation, and all this kind of stuff, it was, God, I wish I could kind of remember it or articulate it.

[00:17:22] I'll have to reflect on it, but it was a profound moment. It gave me a real appreciation for that energy and an understanding of it. Yeah, very interesting. So, what about growing our own food? You mentioned that you weren't a big gardener. I've tried it. I had like an urban garden, company in LA at one point come out with hydroponic grow trays, and the raccoons came and ate it.

[00:17:51] And I still screwed it up even it wasn't even really growing food myself, right? It was very much babysat, and it still was ultimately a failure. Have you attempted it yourself? And do you think that this is a way forward in any practical sense for people living in urban, suburban, obviously, would be more possible in a rural environment? But what do you see as far as that goes?

[00:18:14] Erin McMorrow: Yeah. So, I've never lived in a place where it would make sense to fully support myself that way. I think that maybe where my life is headed, so that'll be interesting. Alyson and I talked a lot about Austin, actually, and I'm like headed back to the woods and something like this back to the land. Largely for that reason, I would like to tend more. I would like to be more active in the thing that I'm actually studying, writing about, talking about.

[00:18:35] I think in the way that I write in my book, I actually prefer to introduce it really gently and let it be this funny thing that happens, where the compost, people try the compost, and it ends up terrible, and all of these things. To me, also, the spiritual aspect is just the intentionality. And that's where, really, there's, I think, a great divide from like the strictly scientific conversation all the time, where if we're talking about Mother Nature and we're talking about the Moon, like, I sort of had this imagery of the Moon over us now that you brought us there.

[00:19:03] Luke Storey: There might be by the time we're done.

[00:19:05] Erin McMorrow: Because I have had that in plant medicine ceremonies as well. And in particular, the first time I had ayahuasca about the Moon.

[00:19:10] Luke Storey: Really? 

[00:19:10] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, and it was like [making sounds] and she was coming—and I call her she, like she was coming up over—I was strangely outside. This happens a lot, where other people end up inside, I am like drawn, dragged outside pretty much. And I was outside and the moon was rising over. I was at a place where there's a roof, and I could like hear her before she came, and that the light was coming up, and then she just came up in all of her glory. And before that, one of my first, I wouldn't even call it a plant medicine ceremony, like mushrooms at Burning Man was like it was the Moon.

[00:19:44] I was like, we were winking back and forth. It was like she was winking at me, like just reminding me. And when I stared at her, and the stars were like dangling down in the sky, right? And I was like, oh, it's a memory, I remember, I remember this place. I remember this thing. And so, there's this cosmic conversation that's happening. And so, actually, the way I think about that back to growing food is that it's more like that to me. It's much more like my job is not to run around telling people what the most effective way is to build your box or whatever.

[00:20:18] It's like, this is a cosmic dance. And so, the best thing to do if it's a few little plants in your little house, a lot of people over COVID when they were inside for especially the first few months built that tiny garden, and started like talking to their plants for the first time, and started really interacting. And we were talking about Zach Bush, MD, I believe, in one of the interviews I was hearing with him speaking, he was like, people ask him how to do certain things, he's like, get a mint plant, because it's really hard to kill.

[00:20:46] And then, instead of pulling the leaf off, just go and bite it straight from the plant and let that thing affect your mouth directly. Feel that direct connection and let the plant teach you. And I think that's actually some of the best advice, where like we're all trying to look for the book, or look for the expert, or look for the thing. It's different in every where you live, too. Soil is incredibly particular. And I had never thought of this one, but the way all women are different and the way, yeah, just the way all women are different. I don't know. Do we use the word pussy here? Like are we-

[00:21:19] You can say pussy all you want. I will give an explicit disclaimer at the beginning.

[00:21:24] Okay. Because the book Pussy: A Reclamation by Mama Gena is one of these like lightbulb, like life-altering books I found, and just using that word, there's a power to it. So, we were getting back to eating the leaf, and this sort of thing, and the variety of women, and how every single woman has a different flavor, a different aroma, different something. That's how the soil is. So, where we're looking for these kind of cookie cutters, like how do you do this thing with the soil? Like you can't force it.

[00:21:55] Luke Storey: It's like a book for dudes like, how to turn a woman on and make her come 10 times, multiple orgasms, squirting?

[00:22:01] Erin McMorrow: It's like do these 10 things in this pace, it's like, that's not how it works.

[00:22:04] Luke Storey: Actually, that's brilliant. Thinking about that, that's a great analogy. It's like every woman is so different in the way they arrive at arousal and being prepared for intimacy or penetration. And so, I mean, in a classical sense, they're getting ready to take a seed, and hopefully impregnate and gestate the baby. So, it's a very, very wise and interesting correlation between the soil, like every soil has its own unique personality. And as you described earlier in the earlier correlation, like opening it up and putting the seed in, covering it back up, each soil wants that done a different way. That's very fascinating.

[00:22:45] Erin McMorrow: They're like tending and stewarding, even like romancing, or I don't know if seducing is correct, but maybe sometimes. It's sort of like, I think vintners, people who do wine, I know you don't drink, but that relationship with the soil and like the flavors, because the flavor of the given soil, wherever it is, even if it's stone, even if it's really rough, it is in the wine itself. So, there's a flavor, there's this aroma that unfurls, and generational families.

[00:23:14] I guess when we get back to food, maybe have smaller scales where there's that generational sort of handing down, it's this dance with the soil, this sort of thing. So, I think that's why when it's like, where do we start? It's like, well, we're beginners, most of us. And so, just starting somewhere, starting to play with the energy, starting to invite ourselves. And also, let it be messy. Let it be, we don't know yet, being okay in the I don't know. And then, that's when I feel like the soil and the plants really respond when we're getting back to growing food.

[00:23:45] Luke Storey: Yeah, so true. And you're right that different—I don't know it to be true with wine, I mean, I'm sure it is. Anyone that enjoys Napa County wine, or wine from Italy, or whatever, I never drank wine that way. I drink it very fast and usually directly out of the bottle. Like why would you put it in a glass? Then, you have to refill it so fast. But I used to smoke Cuban cigars, and I thought it was just a thing, dudes like, oh, Cubans, it's like a status symbol, because they're expensive and rarefied, because, I guess, technically illegal here, embargoes and whatnot.

[00:24:23] But I swear to God, like there's a massive difference between a cigar properly grown and processed in Cuba than anywhere else. And a lot of people that couldn't get a hold of Cubans, for whatever reason, no, the Nicaraguans are just as good, and from hearing that, I'm like, let me taste it, no, it's not. It's just different. So, literally, it's not even a snob, I just wouldn't smoke anything other than Cuban cigars. There's something about them, and I guess it's the soil and the tradition of the way that they're grown and all of that. There definitely is something to the personality of the soil and what comes out of it.

[00:24:56] Erin McMorrow: The tending and the terroir, forgive my terrible French. The tending, also the love that goes into it, and that, yeah, those senses of tradition, where intentionality has gone into it. I know coffee is very similar this way. So, you have like coffee sommeliers, you have water sommelier. You have anything, like tea.

[00:25:13] Luke Storey: Yeah, I think I'm one of those. I think I'm a water one.

[00:25:15] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, that makes sense.

[00:25:17] Luke Storey: Actually, I don't think—no, I didn't end up interviewing him, but I met a gentleman, God, his name escapes me at the moment, but he's an olive oil expert. And so, he travels all around the world and finds these little family farms that make incredible olive oil and grow olives in their own way. Yeah. And he has a monthly service. I'll put it in the show notes. I don't remember the name.

[00:25:41] But for a while, they were sending me these boxes every month, and I'm just like, who can eat this much olive oil? I was a family of one, so I started giving them away to friends and stuff, but these oils, where like each one had its own such a unique flavor profile, and they were just incredibly robust and delicious. And that was another example of that. When human beings interact with the soil in an intentional way, magic happens.

[00:26:06] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, Mother Nature.

[00:26:08] Luke Storey: What about composting? Alyson and I are about to move in this house, and I want to do things right and expand a little bit. We're actually going to—I think. I'm interviewing this guy named Jim from, I think, his site is foodforest.com, and they come to your house, and like I'm not even going to landscape yet, A, because I can't afford it right now. Got to work on the inside, but they come to your house, and basically like get rid of all your lawns and all your plants that don't do anything but look pretty, and just turn your whole freaking property into a food forest.

[00:26:40] So, we're going to do that as best we can. But then, I'm thinking about all of the food waste that just goes down the garbage disposal or gets thrown out. So, I want to learn if composting is feasible, now that I have a yard and I'm going to be growing some of our own food. What are your thoughts on composting? Is that doable? Like what's the learning curve?

[00:27:01] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, similar. It's very similar, where it's like you can do the tiny thing in the city or you can do the whole worm thing if you have space. So, it feels like where you're headed is maybe giant worm bin, and like maybe even like a compost toilet or something like that. That's another thing that you can have people come out and help with. In fact, your food forest people probably do that as well.

[00:27:21] It's really fun that that is a business opportunity that's popping up. My friends are starting these businesses, because they have been doing it for so long. And same thing, like starting small, starting with something simple. In many cities, I don't know how Austin works in particular, but there can be compost bins where you literally just like put your stuff, like save it in the freezer, save your cuttings and your food waste in the freezer, so it doesn't create any smell or something.

[00:27:47] My agent does this in New York, and then she just takes it to her farmer's market, where they collect it, and she just picks up her food for the next week. And so, there's not that many extra—she's not tending to a worm bin anywhere. And she has less food waste, less food waste rotting in her stuff. And then, it's a spectrum, so you can just get—some cities are actually giving out compost bins. And so, it's like these plastic things that are designed to keep vermin, what we call vermin and things like those things would attract, and you start messing with it.

[00:28:17] And there 's like greens and browns, and you put them in, in the right proportion, and then you add a certain amount of like nitrogen or a certain amount of water. But again, it's something you can Google. It's specific to where you are. And I really think the essence of it is like just start playing with it. Like do a tiny bit of research, ask your gardener friends, they'll geek out, ask your geek out friends, and they'll get you into it.

[00:28:39] Luke Storey: I have them.

[00:28:39] Erin McMorrow: Yeah. And then, you're off to the races.

[00:28:41] Luke Storey: Yeah. I just like the idea of, A, I just even before I was aware of, I don't know, environmental issues, et cetera, I just don't like wasting anything. Like every time I empty the trash at our temporary apartment, I'm just like, how do Alyson and I create so much freaking garbage, like we're two people and I barely eat? I'm like, what is this stuff?

[00:29:04] I just don't like wasting time, I don't like wasting anything, so the idea of the inedible parts of food just kind of like being thrown in the trash. I mean, I guess ultimately, it's going back to the Earth, but I have seen big compost piles that are steaming, right? There was just this life in them. And then, as they turn into this rich black, or maybe super dark brown soil, it's just like, oh, my god, you can make that? It's really fascinating.

[00:29:32] Erin McMorrow: It's that offering back and that sense that we can put that together. Also, on the bigger scale, like that zero waste economy. I mean, that's actually where I started in graduate school. It was like, this makes no sense. Like there is no waste in nature. There literally is no such thing. So, why are we designing a world, an economy, where we're creating all of this stuff that then all gets put into what we call landfills, or into the ocean, or whatever, can't compost? Like there's a book called Cradle to Cradle that's really famous, and it's many years old by now, where it's like, we literally need an economy where we redesign all of this stuff to make it able to go back into the Earth without creating a bunch of toxic BS. And then, we can no longer like drink the water, go to the ocean, or things like this.

[00:30:15] Luke Storey: Yeah, no kidding. It's funny when I walk in a store like a Target, or Walmart, or something like that, I walk in and I literally just see a landfill.

[00:30:23] Erin McMorrow: I know. Me, too. It freaks me out, yeah. 

[00:30:25] Luke Storey: I mean, I'm just like, this is literally all garbage, especially stuff that's made cheaply. And I think that's my waste aversion is I'm someone—I'm not trying to be a big shot at all, but I'll usually buy like the most expensive thing of a thing, because I just want it to last. I don't like inferior products, just bothers me. They're inefficient and wasteful. But when you want to save a couple of bucks or you don't have the money, and sometimes, I don't, and I have to buy the cheaper thing, I'm like, okay, this thing has an X amount of months or year shelf life, it's going to go in the garbage, it's going to end up in a landfill, and it's probably not compostable or even biodegradable.

[00:31:02] Erin McMorrow: Like it was super toxic. It was toxic the way it was made. I mean, that is where I feel like the regenerative agriculture movement is headed or has been working on, where these companies, and it's still a challenge, because it also can raise the cost. And then, there's obviously a large conversation there, but at least on some level, it's a beginning of going through the entire product and the life cycle. So, it's like, where? So, this thing, the shirt that I'm wearing, where were the plants grown? Where was the stuff sourced? How was it sourced?

[00:31:30] What kind of soil did it come from there? All the way into the use of the thing, and then is it compostable back on the other end? Like packaging, lots of products that are coming out as like—now, actually, I think "regenerative", we'll call it regenerative, what consumers are demanding in those terms. Consumers are outpacing the amount of products that there are yet, because it takes a lot to redesign this whole thing and to not get crushed by waste capitalism. So, that's what's being worked on right now by a lot of my friends.

[00:32:03] Luke Storey: God, it's so nuanced, because I'm someone who I just value my God-given right for freedom and capitalism, and it, with all of its faults, seems to be the best thing we've been able to test. I mean, egalitarianism, I'm sure, would be great. There's other ways that I think we'll move toward as a species, but I am not for more government, and bigger government and regulations. So, say, I'm a major shareholder at DuPont, like a very evil company, I'm going to be incentivized by profit.

[00:32:34] I mean, not me, but let's just say, an arbitrary me that doesn't care about things much, except money. But I'm going to be incentivized by profit and I'm not going to want government regulation. And government regulation isn't really fair to me as the shareholder at DuPont. Don't tell me I can't make plastic, and pesticides, and things, right? Like it's a free market.

[00:32:53] And that's what's enabled Western cultures and places like this to flourish in so many ways, is entrepreneurship and that. So, I think to your point, is it not really in the consumer demand where the answer is and awareness like people like you are bringing to the world, because then, multinational corporation decision makers, shot callers like, well, we don't really want to make it like this, but this is what's hot. Case in point, being organic milk in Walmart, right?

[00:33:21] Erin McMorrow: Well, this is what's happening, so it's happening. And the organic movement was a big leading edge on that, right? So, that happened and sells a lot. And so, there we are. But now, there's another movement—there are many. There are many things coming in, growing in behind, which is incredible. Now, we're looking at the regenerative nature of organizations themselves, businesses themselves.

[00:33:42] Like if the whole model is extractive, we're extracting from humans as well. And so, how does that get done? And that's getting woven into these companies that are changing their ways, and big companies are coming, advanced, and all these things, because the word regeneration has gotten hot. And then, there's an interest, there's a huge piece that comes all the way back around to, we're talking about this regenerative word, or whatever, that is now marketable, that is now, there's a great thing to that.

[00:34:10] And then, it's like, wait a second, indigenous peoples for all of time have always been talking about Mother Earth, and this way of being with Earth, ways of tending to the Earth. This entire like, I can't characterize it myself, but this way of working with, =rather than extracting from. And so, that is coming all the way around. So, we're having many conversations at the same time, because this awareness in so many different places on different levels is popping up.

[00:34:39] And so, it's not just an economic conversation, it's not just a—it's certainly—I don't think it's a political conversation in the sense of like left versus right, because I think they're both outdated by now. And really, I don't think like more capitalism or more government, we're not going to get anywhere that way. There's a lot more to this story. And so, I think that finally, even though it's been bumpy, the interweaving of all of these different pieces is coming together. Does that make sense?

[00:35:05] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[00:35:06] Erin McMorrow: It's very complex, but so is nature, and very simple.

[00:35:10] Luke Storey: Also, it's exciting, with the doom and gloom that is always available for us to observe and be terrified by. It's also encouraging to know that in the midst of all that noise, that there are people helping to make progress in a way that is heart-centered, but also logical, right?

[00:35:30] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, more and more.

[00:35:30] Luke Storey: I think you have great minds and great hearts combining, right? Because like the left and right thing, I mean, I always think of left and right politically as, and I agree, it's kind of two masks on the same face at the highest level, right? So, it doesn't really matter what really changes ultimately, whoever IS supposedly in charge, but it's that you have kind of, your more linear, logical people that are making decisions based on fact, right?

[00:35:56] And then, you have people that are more emotionally heart-centered that are making decisions based on feeling, and when things, in general, and whatever sector of life kind of lean one way or the other, it gets out of balance. And I think something you really talk a lot about in your book in a roundabout way at times is that need for balance, and specifically, as the feminine energy has been so discounted for so long that you have a lot of the problems that you have. Anyway, but before we go there, I'm going to get curious here for a minute, and I don't know exactly how to frame this, but as someone who feels deeply connected to nature, I mean, it's one of the reasons I moved here, I just want to be further from a city.

[00:36:41] And I live even further out from where we are right now. I've always loved nature, animals since I was a little kid. I mean, my favorite thing always has been to be in nature. I have never littered. I recycle. I mean, I get pissed off when I see someone else littering. I am not a fan of toxins in our environment, like I really deeply care. Yet, at the same time, when it comes to environmentalism, I have a hard time with a lot of it, because I see, when I'm talking about the social action part of it, not just an individual like my behavior, but it's like there are a lot of well-meaning people, but there are seeming so many blind spots and kind of hypocrisy to that.

[00:37:27] So, I wanted to get your take on a couple of these, because I think the work you're doing is so important in this realm and I get stuck on some of them. And when I hear about things like global warming, and climate change, and things like that, there's a number of things that come up, one of which being, which I think this just ruined me on a lot of it was this movie I watched years ago, a documentary called The Great Global Warming Conspiracy, or I think, the Great—oh, swindle, The Great Global Warming Swindle.

[00:37:55] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[00:37:55] Luke Storey: And I didn't know it. I was like, global warming, that sucks. There was Al Gore and all this stuff about it. I thought, well, I'm going to learn about this, and swindle, what do you mean? It's on the news. And the movie is basically all of these physicists and scientists showing ice core drillings going back eons that the Earth has been way hotter than this for many cycles before. And it's nothing new and it's not caused by cow farts or too many cars.

[00:38:19] And it's very compelling. I mean, it's not like some right wing extremists like denying climate change or something, I mean, it was accredited, highly intellectual, valid people. And I thought, well, then why is there this sort of politicized push for this if that's not really what's going on. And also, kind of every—I'm 50 now, so I've been around for a few decades, and every five or 10 years, there's like an extinction event.

[00:38:46] The oceans are going to rise and this is going to happen, ice is going to melt, et cetera, and it doesn't really pan out. Then, another one comes later. And I think also, kind of a lot of well-meaning grassroots organizations seem to be then co-opted by corporations that I don't trust, someone like Al Gore, we find out he's got investments in oil companies, and you're like, really?

[00:39:12] Environmentalists flying around in private jets, like all of that stuff. And more than anything, this is the one that really gets me. And you might not even be aware of this yourself, because many people aren't, but something that's very rarely talked about outside of super nutty conspiracy theory, people that are so called that, is the issues with geoengineering, in the form of chem trails and also the ubiquitous radiation our environment that is probably poised to eliminate the bees at some point.

[00:39:41] If we don't have bees, then we don't have food, that we don't have people or anyone else. So, there's kind of all of this, to me, low-hanging fruit that is not being talked about or where these government agencies are, their solution is taxing carbon-producing businesses, right? More taxation, I'm like, huh? There's a financial incentive there from the highest level. And then, there's a complete ignorance of main offending countries like China or India, for example, because that would be racist or something. I don't know.

[00:40:13] So, I'm just like, I always get stuck on it, and I'm just like, I don't think I'm into environmentalism. I think I just really love Mother Earth, but I'm sort of confused about what my position is, because the waters are so murky in terms of who's doing what, and why, and who's kind of controlling the narrative. So, I know that was a really long, probably something you can't even respond to in a logical way, but I just wanted to bring that up, because it's like a lot of times when I hear the perspective of environmentalists, I'm just like, it just rings as kind of bullshit, yet here I am really caring, so what does one do? So, I wondered if you have any kind of response to that, Like what's your perspective on that? Like, are we just totally lost or are there too many cooks in the kitchen? Like, what is happening with this? Where do we find the truth about what's actually happening?

[00:41:03] Erin McMorrow: Right. That's an amazing question, but that might be the best question anybody's asked me.

[00:41:09] Luke Storey: This is what happens when I sit down to meditate, it's like, well, wait, global warming, we've been warmer before. And then, another one is like, we need plants, right? Whether you're a vegan or you eat animals, like we need plants, plants eat carbon, so I'm like, why are we trying to get rid of carbon? But again, I don't understand the science.

[00:41:27] Erin McMorrow: Okay. So, I'll see. I mean, there are so many pieces.

[00:41:30] Luke Storey: And feel free to discard or pick apart any of them.

[00:41:33] Erin McMorrow: I just think my answer is going to go all over the place, just saying, we'll just see what happens. One thing for me, the book is fascinating, because a book takes so long to write. And once it's in print, you can't touch it anymore, which is a wonderful thing, and also, there's already, I feel like, life, in my mind, is moving so fast, and things in my understanding of things keeps changing.

[00:41:54] So, there's stuff in there that I wouldn't have written the same way anymore, which is interesting. And even my political evolution, the way I thought, I thought, for a long time is evolving. Because I mean, look at what's happening last year-and-a-half, right? Just the speed of things changing and this unfoldment, again, of all kinds of new information and new perspectives, and a break apart of the categories that we were putting things into before. And I have felt right about things for, as we all do.

[00:42:27] Luke Storey: Of course, you can't be right, because I'm right.

[00:42:29] Erin McMorrow: Clearly, I'm correct. And so, what I think is you're speaking into something that is similar to this conversation around the word regenerative, because it's so hot. Inside of that conversation is a lot of debate about what it is, where it came from, what are its roots? Is it appropriate? Is it good? Is it useful? All of these things and it's all moving at the same time. I think the underlying, the bottom thing is actually what you came all the way back to, which is Mother Earth.

[00:42:59] It's really simple. And I think plant medicine is actually, or entheogenic medicine, or whatever you want to call it, is actually the key to that. Because when you were talking about heart-based and rational, where we're getting this pop in Silicon Valley, of use of plant medicine, microdosing, things like this. I think it's shifting things. Also, within like these categories of left and right, and then when you get into spirituality and non-duality, this is what I've been reflecting on just for the last week.

[00:43:30] And I finished writing this last year. So, sort of I had this weird theory just yesterday, I think, that was like, what if the left and right in the US is sort of what was baked into the foundation? And it's not fully baked, but what if it was baked into the foundation of the US as a kind of teaching from a spiritual perspective, as a teaching mechanism of balance somehow?

[00:43:57] Because I started to see things like, ah, if the conversation tips too far, which I thought I was always like fighting for, for many years, then really, I have seen power get corrupted or things come unfurled. I'm like, whoa, that thing I thought was awesome I don't actually think is so awesome anymore, or this perspective actually makes more sense now. Even on climate change things, maybe that's that from a spiritual perspective.

[00:44:24] And then, there was something, oh, even the words climate change, I realize, are challenging, maybe even problematic, like some people don't believe in that wording of global warming. There's so much stuff around it. Again, I try to simplify it, like use things that enough people can at least understand what it is in a basic way and try to like simplify those definitions.

[00:44:47] But what I came to in just grappling with the notion of climate change and the like debate around it or whatever that is, when I looked at like the six mass extinction or whatever, we do have biodiversity loss, like that's totally happening, the bees, these sorts of things. What are the things? Like the shells of small- shelled animals in the ocean dissolving, because they're acidic, like really simple things that we can-

[00:45:13] Luke Storey: That are verifiable.

[00:45:15] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, that are easily verifiable, not even out there in any way. And you don't have to like be pro-science or whatever the hell against that or whatever this is, that, like I know it's really something, but I-

[00:45:29] Luke Storey: Follow the science is my favorite new like cultural meme, because it's usually said by people who aren't actually following the science. But anyway, I digress. Go on.

[00:45:40] Erin McMorrow: I mean, there's so much up, obviously, like real time, this moment about that. But that, to me, I was like, okay, what my take on that, if I stand back, and again, I would phrase it differently in the book now if I wrote it now, is that clearly, like the Earth is telling us something, something is happening right now. And I personally don't believe that it's just like, oh, it just happens on its own, it's a cycle that happens without us, and like nothing happens without us, because there is this intentionality of humans in the Earth.

[00:46:08] And so, when we're consistently acting without intentionality, which is what we're describing about the plastics and the poison, and I mean, the poison in the water, I listen to your Erin Brockovich, it's so verifiable, it's like, come on, and it's insane. And so, it's like that, it's like, okay, whatever our political views, like we get to take responsibility for that, poisoning our own food and water is not a good idea, whatever you—there's no other way to slice it.

[00:46:35] So, this, it's like, okay, if we just get all of these categories out of the way and stop arguing about it, what's in there? And I feel like there's this deeper spiritual truth that's actually very simple. It's like humans stewarding with the Earth and this relationship between, if we care for and tend to the Earth, the beauty of the food, and the thing, I'm not even going to call them products, the things that we get to enjoy, the expression of Mother Nature. Like she loves that, in my view, she loves for us to have beautiful cigars, and maybe great wine, and great sex. Like to me, that is the nature of creative expression of the creative life force of the universe. And that's the only thing that's actually going on.

[00:47:16] And I think if we argue too much about the details, that's where we get lost. And I'm totally guilty of it myself, even though I don't believe in guilt, that's another one, or it's like being intentional about our words, too. Like how are we framing exactly like the climate change conversation, or global warming, or we're arguing about this, it's like, okay, how can we—the real question is, how do we shift to be in right relationship with all of it, all of it? And I think that's what's happening through all this crumbling and this sort of shapeshifting that's going on,

[00:47:47] Luke Storey: Oh, that's beautiful. Yeah, thank you for that. That's so eloquent and perfect. Yeah, I think, I don't know, within the, what's the word? Semantics, is that the language?

[00:47:59] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[00:48:00] Luke Storey: With all the different terminology and things like that, humans have such a propensity to get ego-identified with what they believe to be true and right. And so, when one person says it's global warming that's going to kill us, and I think like, I don't know, have you seen the ice core drillings, then I think I'm right, and now, I'm like a climate change denier or whatever. I'm like, no, I love nature, like I lay on the ground freaking naked.

[00:48:24] I'm a freak. I don't know any—I mean, I know people that love nature as much as me, but I'm very devoted, but I think you're right. When you were speaking, I thought of indigenous cultures and I've not spent time around unadulterated, uninterrupted indigenous cultures, but just based on what little historical knowledge I have, I at least picture and assume that there has, for the most part, always been a symbiotic relationship with the land.

[00:48:51] I mean, maybe pre-agriculture, right? And now, what's kind of sad about that is that with the imperialism from the powers that be that figured out how to make guns a while back, and went into all of these different places, India, the Amazon, wherever, Africa, and said, we want your resources, we are more powerful, and we have guns, in those countries now, they're some of the biggest polluters, because they've been subjugated, and put off of their farmlands, and things like that, right? They've been relocated, and speaking here, Native Americans, that I think as having such a beautiful relationship with creation.

[00:49:36] And it's so interesting that kind of the repercussions of that are as such, right? It's like you go to what they call a third-world country, and you find so much pollution and dirty rivers. And like you go to Costa Rica and some places, and there's just like garbage flowing down all these rivers into the ocean, but those are the people that probably had it right mostly in the first place until they were sort of overtaken. So, it's really interesting. And again, like, so what's the solution? It's, how do we get back into relationship with what we are, which is we are the planet as much as a fish, or a plant, or anything?

[00:50:14] Erin McMorrow: I would say also, getting back into right relationship with all of the indigenous people who are alive now, and speaking this truth, I think there is a lot from people who I've heard speaking about it. It's like indigenous people, for example, saying, we, and I really want to be careful not to try to speak for anybody else, and so being like, we have not always necessarily been this way, not to like overspiritualize, or over like put people on a pedestal, or want to move backwards in time, or whatever, but just that like they're older cultures.

[00:50:50] And so, they have been through cycles of war, and destruction, and all of these other things. And ultimately, it can be said in many different ways, but it's said very similarly around the world, that this ego thing basically. One way or another, whatever you call it, when the ego takes over, its thing is to divide and separate. Its thing is to believe in separation and to insist upon it, when the soul is like, we are one. It's like, no.

[00:51:20] And so, I feel like, actually, all of the concept of private property, where the belief that, and this is an interesting one politically, but from a fundamental—like even fundamental is a challenging word to use, but I don't believe that people or land can be owned actually. I personally don't believe that, and I feel like that is in the wisdom of the Earth itself. And I realize that makes everything we do highly problematic, like everything.

[00:51:47] And so, it's not just these countries, or those countries, or this history, or that history, or these people were bad, and did this, it's like the whole thing to me is the ego run amok, and the like spiritual return is all of us remembering that, whatever thread we come through. And I came through academic, went to soil, went to what I thought was regenerative ag, which took me to realize this like indigenous story from all over the world of The Great Mother, which I had no idea about five years prior, plant medicine, and the goddess thing, and I'm like, oh, it's all in here, and the lesson that I'm learning internally in my own healing journey is the same.

[00:52:33] They meet. They actually meet rationally and they meet internally, where it's like, I believe in unity consciousness. I believe that we are, in fact, all one, and we are in a great remembering. And so, all of this wackiness is that process, and it's all really interacting with the ego. So, the ego is really tricky, and slippery, and fast, and it would be like, this is a country. It's like, do countries really exist? Like it's like, this is a hand, I'm like, do hands really exist? Like it gets all the way down in there, which is a wacky conversation. I mean, it's endless, as we know, but I feel like your mind works similarly in that sense.

[00:53:12] Luke Storey: Oh, my God, yeah, totally. I mean, that's why in your book, I related to so much of it, yet there were things, and I'm going to cover some more of them, but I think the first hurdle for me is like, what is environmentalism? And how does an individual actually do that right without vilifying and getting caught up in the ego story of it, that I'm right, you're wrong kind of thing.

[00:53:35] Erin McMorrow: Personally, I don't believe in "environmentalism" anymore. And even when I was in graduate school, we were pulling apart, in an academic way, the problems of the sense of environmentalism, and one of the basic ones is still like a colonizer kind of thing, where it's like, somehow, we are separate from nature. It's the only way private property could exist, is if we're separate from nature, and all of that doesn't fit actually. All of that is out of alignment.

[00:54:04] Luke Storey: The dominionistic approach that humans have adopted, in that we are higher than God and in control of our surroundings, right?

[00:54:14] Erin McMorrow: And separate from, yeah.

[00:54:14] Luke Storey: One of my favorite things that you said just now was that you don't believe that it's possible to own land, and I don't actually, now that you say that, think that it's possible to really own anything, even your name.

[00:54:28] Erin McMorrow: Totally.

[00:54:28] Luke Storey: Like how do you own a name? 

[00:54:30] Erin McMorrow: Even you body.

[00:54:31] Luke Storey: I mean, it's like, truly-

[00:54:33] Erin McMorrow: We give it back. It's like on loan in Western terms.

[00:54:37] Luke Storey: We're leasing it, hopefully, a long lease.

[00:54:38] Erin McMorrow: But we're just in it. We are of the flow. We are an expression like just, well, that's not a real plan, but even that, even there's no real or not. It's an expression.

[00:54:51] Luke Storey: This is toxic plastic that somebody is going to end up in a freaking landfill.

[00:54:55] Erin McMorrow: But even this, like it's an artistic expression. It has a creative, it's part of—it's a fractal.

[00:55:02] Luke Storey: It looks better than this, just the stuff. Let's see. So, you also talked about how you think plant medicines could or are playing an integral part of our reconnecting to the nature of the planet itself, to one another, to ourselves, and every time I have one of these experiences, I'm like, how can we put this in the water supply in Washington DC? In fact, I posted a meme the other day that's a helicopter like dumping all this dust, it's probably like a pesticide helicopter. And then, in the dust, it says DMT, and then something about like, on our way to DC, I was like, please, God, help us. 

[00:55:44] But I mean, realistically, I've seen this just blow up, especially being here in Austin. I mean, there are ceremonies going on all the time. I don't usually participate in them, because you don't need to all the time, but I think there is a huge awakening happening, and I think a lot of it is due to some of the clinical use and the deregulation on the medical psychiatric side, and some of it on the rekindling of these shamanic traditions ,and sort of plant medicine, tourism, and things that are going on like that. So, what's your experience of it? And where do you see it going? Am I naive and overly hopeful that this is going to save us, because so many people are going to wake up?

[00:56:27] Erin McMorrow: I'm pretty sure that's the way it works, because I'm like, Mother Nature's in charge. She is everything. So, of course, on some level, I actually don't think we can destroy ourselves in the way that we're believing that we can, if that makes sense. And even that, I wrote differently in the book, that wasn't that long ago. Shoutout to Rick Doblin in the MAPS, everything, the MDMA trials, and everything like this, because I think, again, the suppression of plant medicine, the oppression on top of it, and the fear-based story that got built into it is like, that's why I feel like so many people have been afraid of it, whatever expression or medicine that it is, and that is tied directly into like colonial oppression, genocide, all of these things.

[00:57:11] It's all tied together, and still, like it's not that she's smarter than us, like she is us and everything else. But you see, we can't outsmart her. And so, I think to me, when I first saw this upwelling of medicine showing up in kind of like more Western places and parts of my life, conferences, and things, or people talking about it, I was like, my read was, my sense was like, oh, and I was really into the divine feminine specifically at that moment.

[00:57:42] And it was like people going to the medicine because they were going through a hard divorce or people going to the medicine for all of these reasons that had nothing to do with being Earth warriors or whatever we call it, and having this incredible awakening, and then changing their business, or making different donations or changing their lives. I have seen people completely quit their like startup lives, and be like, I am committed to the Mother, and do, and get in there. And so, I think, actually, I feel that that is where it's headed. If I were to take a guess, I feel like that's it, yeah.

[00:58:17] Luke Storey: I would agree. And it's hard to be objective about it, of course, because we're either in the beginning or the middle of it, wherever we are in a linear sense. And when you have your own subjective experiences like that, they can be so earth-shattering and so expansive that, I think we are, at least speaking for myself, I think I project that onto everyone. Like well, everyone's going to have the kind of awakening that I just had, and are going to sort out their relationships, and able to find forgiveness, and self-love, and heal trauma, and all of the things that are possible in some of those circumstances.

[00:58:53] So, it's hard to say, but I do, even if I step back and just let go of my own personal relationship to those experiences and how they've impacted me so positively, I get a sense that this is the thing that's going to take us there. I really do. It's hard to stay asleep if you go to 5-MeO-DMT. I mean, like, things are just not the same. And I know this to be true not only for myself, but so many other people in my life that not even like committed cosmonauts, but just people that have done even ketamine therapy, things like that.

[00:59:27] It's just, they're markedly different people post-experience. And therefore, as you indicated so brilliantly, their decisions are now different, because they've had an existential change in their nature, in their character, right? So, every thought, word, deed is going to carry forth from a different perspective, because of that internal alignment. It's exciting.

[00:59:52] Erin McMorrow: It is. I'm also running into the like the not at all people, and it's just from where I grew up, I grew up around DC, right? So, perfect example.

[01:00:02] Luke Storey: Probably not a lot of ayahuasca ceremonies around DC at the moment. You should start some, legally, of course.

[01:00:08] Erin McMorrow: Well, that's actually where my mind went when you were saying this was that it's like in the federal government, you're not allowed to do anything, I believe. And I remember friends applying into like the CIA or applying into whatever, and they would ask, and it was serious business, like if you had ever touched weed, if you had ever done anything other than drinking, which is so ironic.

[01:00:31] And so, yes, there are huge parts of what I would call Western culture that are still like literally not allowed, or absolutely terrified, or against, like morally against. And so, that's an interesting juncture, where my doorway was yoga. I was stressed out. I think that's the main entry point, where people just—the healing entry point, like you get to a point where there's so much pain from something, and then you enter into something to take care of yourself.

[01:00:59] And I went into yoga, and then I went into cranial psychotherapy, and learned about energy work there that was hugely frowned upon in the culture I grew up in, and in academia. And so, bumped into all of those things, and eventually, just the medicine from whatever form, whether it be breath or whatever, kept working on me and kept, insofar as there is a me, and so kept going, and I just kept becoming more and more committed to it, and more and more unwilling to succumb to the collective around me that was trying to shut it down, which was most of my journey.

[01:01:31] It was a pretty gnarly, like seven years of like a no, no, no, coming from most places, and then like all of these invitations coming from somewhere else. And when we get into sexuality and all of this, too, it's like, oh, that is some deeply ingrained stuff. And there's talk about intergenerational trauma healing. That's hundreds or thousands of years, sometimes. So it's big, it takes courage.

[01:01:56] Luke Storey: Yeah, it does. It takes courage and an immense amount of curiosity. I think that's always my question. Yeah, my question is always fundamentally, is there more? Is there more? Even in an expression of joy or finding a bit of shadow around something that's unhealed, is there more? What is that? Let's lean into it. Let's go there. So, yeah. I think it's an exciting time. I'm so grateful for people like you and for this emergence of independent media that I'm participating in now to have long-form conversations and be able to really dive deep. And I'm so hopeful, because many people are along for the ride.

[01:02:38] I mean, who knew when I started doing this? I thought, I don't know, I'm just going to do this thing, and maybe my friends will listen to it, and it's growing, and it reaches a lot of people. So, I don't know, there's definitely something happening right now that's a bit of a renaissance, I think, which is exciting. And that's what I do my best to keep my attention on, because at the same time, in the extreme duality that we're experiencing, there's also forces that I don't believe are benevolent, that are really charging forward with some dedication, so it's like, oh, it's so easy to focus on that, and yet lose track of where you're going with this.

[01:03:19] Okay. I want to talk about now, got my handy little list here, your definition of patriarchy. It's kind of the antagonist in your story of a book, and it's something—I guess I'm a guy, I don't know if I'm triggered by it, so therefore, I'm like, What? What is that shit? Like I'm a nice guy. Now, I wasn't always, but getting more kind, I think, and conscious. But then, at the same time, in your book, at one point, you kind of frame it as it's not like, I think when I hear patriarchy, I hear men are bad, and I'm like, good luck, ladies, like we need each other, right?

[01:03:59] Erin McMorrow: Right.

[01:04:00] Luke Storey: We need each other in a symbiotic balance, masculine-feminine relationship. But in your book, you frame it more like a collective pain body, or a collective ego identification or dominance, or something like that, but it seems to come back to kind of like, this is the thing we need to deal with. So, now, of course, time is past, as you said, since the book—honestly, if I wrote a book today, which I'm working on, like in two years, I'll be like, oh, my God, I've changed.

[01:04:29] But in your perspective now, like what does that even mean? And how are we to find an understanding of it and a way out of it for both us male-bodied people, and otherwise?

[01:04:41] Erin McMorrow: And it absolutely has evolved, and I can pick up on where it evolves in my own writing, which is really fascinating. I write in this moment, I believe it's an externalized ego, basically, and it's non-gendered. And, say, in this like time moment, the way that it has manifested in linear time in the last like 5,000 years has primarily been this White male conqueror thing, there's a thing.

[01:05:07] So, just to acknowledge that in that sense, like the legacy of violence that's gone behind it, that is still very much alive in all of our bodies, however we have incarnated. And we all have healing to do around it. We're all traumatized by the violence, whatever like side we were on, and I believe in reincarnation anyway. So, we all have serious healing to do around this.

[01:05:33] And I don't think it's, at all, useful to place blame on anybody or any group of people. And I mean, it doesn't even fit into alignment or a paradigm for me. And insofar as it is a name for the collective ego, and you just ended the last point on some like potentially nefarious forces that are like whatever, however one might identify that, I still think that's the ego on some level. It's an energetic level. There is like our internal ego, and then there's a collective ego.

[01:06:10] And I think that what we're just talking about, that balance of plant medicine and the places, say, subcultures, like the DC area, or where are people doing lots of plant-here, where it's way more common and the conversation is much more, I feel like the healing is rippling, it ripples, because when I do my healing, and then we have these conversations, and we're open, and we have done healing around the words that we're using, and we seek to meet each other that way, and we're no longer emotionally triggered in the same way, because we worked through a lot of that stuff, that has an energetic ripple effect that's incredibly important.

[01:06:52] And also, when the clusters, I'm going to say, of humans that are not doing that work that are, say, like, sometimes, anti, like really anti, or I would say perpetrators in the sense of like really like pushing back on, say, legalization of plant medicine, for example, or I mean, I could name a number of horrible things I'm not going to name, but all of that stuff, I think, is still, it's that stuck ego and it's fighting. It's trying.

[01:07:20] And in an individual plant medicine ceremony, like that ego kicks. That's what it does. I just did a post about it, where it's like, that's its job. And like the bigger that spirit kind of bubbles up and rises up, it's like that ego is going to try to find some other way to get in and convince you that you're smaller than you are, that you're not who you think you are, that you're not infinite, that you are separate, that this is all wacky, that you're just on drugs, and like, listen to your parents, whatever, whatever the story is, and it will dress up like anything, especially, it'll dress up like things, I think, like organized religion, like large institutions. 

[01:07:57] And then, there's an institutional effect, so we're working, we're weaving, we're untangling, I feel like, is the work of untangling this. And when I call it patriarchy, it's like it's in us, too, even if I catch myself acting out of ego or I notice it, and I draw myself back into alignment, I feel like I can do that gently now. And that's part of the practice. It's like not walking around thinking that I'm enlightened, and also, not letting like the ego pop back in, and do that thing, where it's like that spiritual ego thing, it's like, as soon as you like actually get this big heart-opening in this thing, the first thing it does is come in, and be like, oh, look at how much more spiritual I am than the other person, which is still ego. 

[01:08:40] Luke Storey: Oh, yeah. I've been there.

[01:08:41] Erin McMorrow: I mean, it's that. I feel like that's what we're dealing with on the individual and on the collective. So, it shows up like an institution. It shows up like media. It shows up like something. And it's like re-inviting ourselves back into the, oh, that's just the ego. Like actually, I remember who I am. Actually, I can always come back to this. And actually, I'm always safe, too. It doesn't matter how many times I slip back into it and forget. There's always a loving invitation to keep remembering.

[01:09:07] Luke Storey: So, thank you for that. So, you just reminded me of a really funny, like speaking of spiritual ego, I went to India, and I think it was 2004, and visited a bunch of ashrams, and all this kind of stuff. And when I came back, I think I went there with pure intentions, right? Like I wanted a deeper level of spirituality, but my ego adopted this sense of specialness and kind of vanity around it, so I came back with the mala beads and was namaste-ing everyone.

[01:09:40] And I don't know. It's like, I guess the ego thought that it was better than other people now or even my other spiritual friends that I had ascended to a different level. Of course, I was totally unconscious of this, and I had a mentor at the time, and he saw me doing the namastes, and like I had changed, and I thought, maybe I'm like almost enlightened. And he was like, man, knock that fucking Indian shit out, he was this old biker guy, he was not having it, and he's like, that's your ego. I'm like, ego?

[01:10:07] I just went to India to get more spiritual. I totally didn't get it. But I've definitely lived that. I want to further unpack this idea of patriarchy a little bit, because I have a little more clarity about it, but I want to see if I can frame it in a way that makes sense and if this might be kind of what it is. So, when you look at, let's say, just egoic dominance or the collective pain body, the nature of ego in and of itself, I think, when it's in its most destructive form is rapacious, right? It just takes and takes, and it dominates, and controls, and uses things up, and doesn't contribute, and doesn't give back.

[01:10:48] It's like the animal nature. It's a hungry wolf that's just like [making sounds] devouring everything. And if you look at the grand scale of colonialism and things like that, this taking of one's resources of another land, and overpowering them, and subjugating them, and taking away their religions, and their plant medicines, and their ceremonies, and forcing Christianity on them, and all of that ugliness, I can see how that would, I don't know, be able to be labeled patriarchy, because it's kind of the masculine energy expression of ego, where perhaps, a feminine.

[01:11:21] And I'm just riffing here, but perhaps, a feminine energy expression of ego would be one that is self-deprecating, and yielding, and people-pleasing, and keeps giving, and giving, and giving, is acting out of fear and insecurity, and is more on the receiving end, and embodied in shame, and self-loathing, and things like that, where it's in that fight or flight, it's more in the fight—I mean, the fleeing or the freezing mode, right? Sort of like ego, as it works through us, presents in different ways based on its need to survive, and its wholehearted effort to keep us alive and in our body, right?

[01:12:01] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[01:12:01] Luke Storey: I mean, I love my ego. Thank God we have one. You'd be walking around with soiled underwear all day, you'd never shave, and God knows what else you do. So, it kind of keeps you in line, but when we're not aware of it individually, and then of course, collectively, it takes on these forms. So, from the patriarchal side of it, does that kind of make sense to you that it's-

[01:12:20] Erin McMorrow: I think so, and that's beautiful, yeah.

[01:12:23] Luke Storey: ... an expression of a collective ego that is that dominant destructive force within humans?

[01:12:28] Erin McMorrow: Yes. And I think it's important to, there's that thing with like patriarchy, matriarchy, and also, the toxic masculine, and that's also a difficult term. But I tend to differentiate what I would call this sacred masculine and the sacred feminine from the toxic masculine, which is also embodied patriarchy. To me, it's all essentially the same thing. And that is that exactly. That's the sort of like the over the taking of all of the things. And there is—lots of people, actually, it's so triggering. It did come up, where it's like the toxic feminine, that it's also like manipulation, and to some degree, like mean girling and things like all of these sort of cultural things. 

[01:13:08] Luke Storey: Seduction, right? 

[01:13:09] Erin McMorrow: Seduction in a negative sense. I think there's a beautiful-

[01:13:11] Luke Storey: Well, yeah. I mean, more in the manipulative sense, right?

[01:13:14] Erin McMorrow: Right. Exactly. Yeah. And so, I think it's really important to parse all of that out, and I actually probably would devote way more of the book to it if I were to write it again. And it's beautiful that like the way that it came through me this way is like an introduction. And lots of people are interested in open heartedly unpacking this, which I think is what's really needed. It's like, okay, now that we have some concepts around the masculine and the feminine, if we weren't working with them otherwise, we can be like, okay, none of these words are perfect, even like the entire English language has its issues.

[01:13:48] And so, it's okay, we're working with what we've got. How can we describe ephemeral, impossible things the best we can with stuff that kind of makes sense like this and this. So, I think to me, patriarchy as a workable term with toxic masculinity is useful, but it's become so triggering now. I think we don't have anything better to describe it, but it's really important to unpack it.

[01:14:12] Luke Storey: Yeah, that's why I wanted to do it, because reading your book, I noticed like there would be, I mean, you mentioned reincarnation. Like of course, when I look in the mirror, I see a male, but like I have a sense that I've been a lot of things. You know what I mean? So, I'm mindful not to become to identified as like, oh, I'm a Caucasian guy, and it's like, no, I'm not, I'm a spirit.

[01:14:33] I mean, you take a good plant medicine ceremony, and I think anyone would realize, oh, I'm not the thing I thought I was at all, right? Because all of that goes away, the more superficial identification that we have. But as I was reading your book, there were times when—more listening to it, I was like, there she goes with the patriarchy again. I'm like, what the fuck, man, have you seen the suicide rates on men?

[01:14:54] And like I'm thinking of all this kind of male right's thinking, I'm like, oh, there I go, like keep an open mind here, because there's more to this, right? But only if one individual like myself can disidentify from the microself-identification. And in those what I perceive to be nefarious forces at large, there's a lot of kind of Marxist ideas infiltrating our culture now in the form of cultural Marxism, where we're getting human beings to sub-identify, and sub-identify, and break down, and break down into smaller and smaller groups in this really sophisticated divide and conquer right to trick people into thinking that they are a man, a woman, this race, that race, et cetera, which, of course, we are on a superficial level and people have their experience of what that is, of course, and every person's burden is the heaviest, right?

[01:15:47] People do suffer, because there are certain color, or a certain gender, or sexual preference like obviously that goes on. So, I'm not suggesting that it's ignored or denied, but there is culturally definitely a push to, as I perceive it at least, I don't know this to be true, my perception is much more self-identification and disunity as a result. So, it's another like rabbit hole-

[01:16:11] Erin McMorrow: It's tricky, yeah.

[01:16:12] Luke Storey: It's another rabbit hole that's so nuanced if you're a kindhearted, loving person, and you do your best to be that way, right? Because you don't want to denigrate other people's experience. But at the same time, I find it more useful for myself, and I think that I make the biggest contribution in the world when I'm able to discount the way I would identify externally, and get into my heart, and just be a soul that's here having a human experience. 

[01:16:38] So, it was interesting for me, because I'm like, wait, what about the guys? So, I'm glad we're able to kind of unpack some of that, because at the same time, I had another realization, and that was, I mean, even if we're looking at like patriarchy in a truly traditional way, okay, evil men came, and did bad things to women and children when they should be protecting them, and caring for them, and have honor and valor, and do the things that great men do in a classical sense. And I'm like, I'm a victim of that toxic patriarchy.

[01:17:12] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, exactly.

[01:17:13] Luke Storey: Try driving your car down the street with no license plates on it, and you get pulled over, like what system put that in place? I didn't put the road here. I'm a living being, moving on this planet that produced me, I'm moving from one place to another, and therefore, they call it driving and some authority, assumed authority figure in the form of rent-a-cop with a gun is going to force me to the side of the road, and tell me what I can and can't do, right? It's like I'm part of that system, I have a birth certificate, try not paying taxes, right?

[01:17:48] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[01:17:48] Luke Storey: So, it's like, that system, it's not like, oh, I'm a White—I mean, I'm sure I've had privilege in my life, because I'm White and whatever. I've also had horrific trauma and abuse. And maybe it wasn't because I was White, but maybe it was, I don't know. The guy that molested me, maybe he only liked White boys, and that's why it happened to me. It gets crazy, but it's like, still, all of us, with the exception of very few remote tribes around the world that are hanging on by a thread have been adopted into a system that we didn't agree to. Like I didn't ask for a birth certificate, and to get an all capital name called Luke Storey that is now a sub-corporation that's owned by the Corporation of the United States.

[01:18:33] So, it's like we've all been adopted into this thing involuntarily and unknowingly by our ancestors in, I guess, what you would call Western culture, right? So, it's really interesting to kind of zoom way, way, way out and disidentify from, well, I'm a guy, and we have it hard sometimes, too, to like, wait, no, this thing, this imbalance of energy in this power structure has also imprisoned me to one degree or another, and I'm living as kind of a free slave, and I'm very grateful for the privilege that I have to be able to be as free as I am. And freedom, of course, is found within, but the system that we're under right now is ubiquitous and it is all pervasive.

[01:19:19] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, I completely agree.

[01:19:21] Luke Storey: It's an interesting thing to be in, yet at the same time—and I'm sorry for pontificating like this, but your book like got me fired up on all these expansive thoughts and feelings. But it's like at the same time, if everything is God, then that system that I'm like, fuck you, too, is also God, right?

[01:19:44] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[01:19:44] Luke Storey: The duality, and the control, and these powers that be that came out of Babylon, and then formed the royal families, and figured out how to create armies, and then go take over these other lands, and capture people, and all of this stuff. It's like it's all on purpose. That's how it's supposed to be so that we have the opportunity to grow spiritually, and to earn, I guess, karmic merit, right?

[01:20:05] Because you could join the baddies and join the Nazi Party, or you can go save Jews and hide them in your basement, right? It's like in the most horrific of circumstances, each individual embodied soul has choices in every single thought, and word, and deed. And if everything was utopia, we would be left without the opportunity to evolve. We would live in a celestial realm and just all sit around grooving as angels, right?

[01:20:36] Erin McMorrow: Exactly.

[01:20:37] Luke Storey: So, I don't even know where I'm going, I'm just shooting the shit with you at this point.

[01:20:42] Erin McMorrow: Well, it's perfect. I mean, it brings me to the sense of that inhale, exhale of the universe, and this idea that whether you call it the UKAS or any number of things in different traditions that we sort of expand and contract, this is actually all that's happening. And so, there are points where we are the most in oneness somehow, and there are points we're in for this separation.

[01:21:04] My opinion that could always change with more information is that we are in a point of great separation now, if not the furthest point of separation, where there is a sort of U-turn, where there is an actual. It's like the pain is so great, and I feel like this system that you're talking about is that, it's basically giant prison. It's prison of every kind, physical, like the hardcore, literal steel and stone to the prison in our minds of all of these sorts of things.

[01:21:21] So, I think there is this beauty of unpacking those nuances that you were just talking about, that entire thing, like what about this identity and that? And how do I be present to other humans who have been harmed by these identities, and also not fall into the trap of separating everybody out even further, and getting even further into it? And again, I think it's all the ego and the ego is also still her, him, whatever, great nature, great spirit. And so, that's the trick, is that it's always like, I think that's how tricky it is, right?

[01:22:04] Luke Storey: It is.

[01:22:04] Erin McMorrow: I mean, there's really like one answer, and it's love. Like that is the ultimate, and it doesn't mean like bypassing, it means like every single being including plastic plant is like is imbued with love. And I mean, even the like dead or alive, that I was in a death-facing ceremony in the woods in Oregon, and it was like there was a dead tree, right? The tree was down, big redwood, and I was able to like run, walk on it. And in the ceremony, I mean, I faced my own death and all of these funny ways.

[01:22:37] But in this moment, I got to see, witness, feel the life force energy running through literally everything, and it was showing me that like, oh, there's no dead tree. It's not a tree and it's not dead, anymore than there's a live tree. These are all categories, every single bit of it. And so, that sort of like is the love, can a fake plant be also love? Like, of course, it's all love, like literally, all of it, all of it. And that learning part, that's so interesting. I just had, what was it? Yeah, it's a big ceremony relatively recently. It sounds like I sit all the time.

[01:23:13] I don't sit like that often, but that love running through, it was that I got to see and feel just, this is the thing about plant medicine ceremonies, they're hard to describe, sometimes, in words, where it was just that like all of that, I got to feel the great whatever, the great oppression, the great separation. And a lot of people recently have been sitting, and asking like, why? Why the masks, why the things? And the answer is always to remember. We forget to remember.

[01:23:45] It was really simple but silly. And one of the answers I got to is, I was like, why do we incarnate? Like recently, my cat has passed away, and I'm like, I lost my cat, I don't feel like I lost my cat, because we transformed, but we incarnate to feel each other. We actually get to experience. We get to experience sex. We get experience food. This is why these are the great gifts. This is why that like oppression of those things runs directly counter to the creative life force of the universe, which is life, and death, and is ultimately all love.

[01:24:15] Luke Storey: Wow, that's beautiful. It reminds me of times where I watch a little kid's fascination with something just innate and simplistic. It's like a three-year-old would walk in here right now, just be like [making sounds] just freaking out over everything. It's really interesting. And I see them like, oh, that's a soul that just popped in and is given amnesia of past lives, and all of this is just new. And it's this fresh experience, but not really.

[01:24:46] It's sort of like a scene in one long, never-ending infinite movie that we participate in as a character. It's really, I think, that kind of humility, and curiosity, and caring is essential in order for us to be able to dissect some of these challenging ideas and topics. I think dialogues like this are so important, and I'm not like tooting my own horn for being a participant in said dialogue, but these are the conversations that I want to listen to, these are the books that I want to read. I I want the question answered, is there more?

[01:25:24] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[01:25:25] Luke Storey: And ultimately, like you've said, it does, and you really go to this in the book in terms of people that care, and you want to be proactive in helping other people, right? Because your cup gets so full, you're like, what can I do? I'm good. I'm good. You've got a good life. How can I contribute? And it seems to be, as you said, so accurately, it's just in the embodiment and the simplicity of love. And I've read a quote a couple of days ago by Mother Teresa that, apparently, she said a lot. She said, if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.

[01:25:59] Erin McMorrow: Yeah. 

[01:26:01] Luke Storey: So that the change that we seek really must start with ourselves. And that requires a lot of surrendering of preconceived ideas, and positionalities, and identifications with this belief and that belief, in this group and that group, and who we are, and it's not easy to let go of those things. 

[01:26:19] Erin McMorrow: Well, even that is part of the great dance. Even that, I feel like, is like consciousness experience, like it's stuff still, if that makes sense, like there's a fun to it, there's a joy to sitting here like you as a separate person, and we're doing this. It's like, oh, that's love, too, even the question, the challenges, that all of it, so that, I don't know if that makes any sense, but yeah, it gets to a point where I'm like, am I making sense? 

[01:26:45] Luke Storey: I wonder that, sometimes, the conversations that go in this direction, I think there's only a certain type of listener that's going to hang in for an-hour-and-a-half and like really go, whoa, but I don't care. It's like, this is what I would—if we went out to dinner, we're just hanging as friends like I would be having the exact same conversation. That's why I like going out to places that are quiet, because I really want to learn from people. So, yeah, but I do want to cover some other things, and thank you for going down those huge, like unanswerable questions with me.

[01:27:14] Erin McMorrow: Oh, that's my favorite thing to do. Thank you.

[01:27:16] Luke Storey: And I think where I wanted to go was your work around the goddess archetype. So, now that we've sort of cleared the path of loose and somewhat vague definitions of patriarchy, but ones that make sense to me at least that I kind of get my head around is this goddess archetype? And I can see that as being definitely true with historical proof and relevance, right?

[01:27:44] That feminine energy seems to be the thing that is first suppressed by this rapacious thing we're calling patriarchy, or a masculine energy of ego, or whatever it is. And there's a passage in your book I wanted to read, actually, that I think really got my attention and got me thinking, oh, wow, there's really something to this. It's on Page 60 and 61 in the book, Grounded. Again, we'll link to this in the show notes, lukestorey/grounded.

[01:28:19] Allow me to guide you through the terrain of the dark goddess, the exiled, forgotten, banished, suppressed, and oppressed part of the collective psyche that holds the keys to our greatest collective challenges and opportunities. And then, there's a lot of historical references to these archetypal figures, which I won't read, because I won't be able to pronounce most of them, and it's a lot of data. She is the primal void that gives life to all things, the original mother, is it the Crone?

[01:28:46] Erin McMorrow: The Crone.

[01:28:47] Luke Storey: The Crone, okay. The Crone, I was like the Crone like the homie, me and the cronies. The Moon, the night sky, priestess of the sacred fires of sexual, healing, desire, connection to feminine independence and the Earth herself. She is the drumbeat of the goddess, the primordial sound, the blood of each mother's heartbeat, the source, the origin. In her banishment, we have banished ourselves.

[01:29:09] In her suppression, we have suppressed the only thing that allows us to truly understand ourselves as part of the cycles of nature. And by forgetting her, we have forgotten who we truly are, along with our worthiness and our power to heal ourselves. The answer to the most dreadful challenge humankind has ever faced does not live in the rational mind. She lives in the shadows, in the dark recesses of our own psyches and long lost archetypes in the collective unseen underground, in the mud, in the soil, in the fertile darkness, where life thrives, and forms, and dies, and reorganizes, and rebirth to live again.

[01:29:48] She is the forest floor, the mushrooms, the dank, sweet smell of life and death. She lives in the place between the space unseen. She is pussy. She has placenta. She has menstrual blood. She is muse. She is mother, grandmother, and goddess. She has been pushed, prodded, criminalized, cursed, denied, sold, held captive, defiled, mutilated, tortured, oppressed, burned, and killed en masse. She has been rewritten, co-opted, erased, ridiculed, cast aside, gaslighted, belittled-

[01:30:18] Erin McMorrow: Desecrated? 

[01:30:27] Luke Storey: Desecralized and bullied. She has been turned into temptress, seductress evil witch, devil worshipper, freak, demoness, dark poison, drug, siren, hag, property, vengeful jealous wife, and threat to all that is holy and good. She is the fertile soil. She welcomes the seed, envelopes it, it's just gestation. It's been a long podcast, folks, forgive me. And holds holy space for birth. Life springs forth from her and she nourishes its roots.

[01:30:58] She lives in constant exchange with all that is. And when we sleep, when we pass, when we cross over, she welcomes us back. She oversees the transition. She is the great inhale. She is the garden. She is the great mother, the yin, and she is holding us gently in facing our shame, grief, disconnection, and rage, welcoming us back to our darkest hour. That is some badass writing, like honestly.

[01:31:25] I had to read that, not even realize it was that long, but it speaks to the imbalance, and that point in the beginning before I read it of, why is that the thing that they go after? Right? It's like the female spiritual elders, and the traditions, and the space holders, and tradition carriers seem to be some of the first to go. It's really interesting in that way.

[01:31:55] So, as I got further in the book and reading things like that, I'm like, oh, there is this thing that wants to extinguish that feminine energy. And it's not even about men or women, just on an energetic, so what else is there, I guess, for us to do to celebrate and to cultivate that regardless of gender? I know within myself, I have super feminine energy and always finding ways to become in balance.

[01:32:22] I think the part of me that's having this dialogue with you is predominantly feminine, and it's creative, and heart-centered, and fluid, and moving, and malleable, right? I'm not like fixed holding space masculine energy while you just emote, right? So, how can we find more of a relationship with that energetic and bring it back to life, whether it be through personal practice, or tradition, or anything?

[01:32:49] Erin McMorrow: There's so much. Thank you for that. Such a good reading and unpacking. I haven't ever, other than the audio book, heard a human read that part of it, and that also, just like that first poem, that came through almost in one piece. And there was a lot of rage in that moment actually coming through me, that rage and grief. Actually, the first thing that comes to me is maybe a little counterintuitive, but sitting with that rage and grief, because it has been, and I'll say it's always both, it's never just the feminine or just the masculine, and I'll get back around to my own journey with my own masculine. It's really fascinating.

[01:33:24] I feel like the first thing that was required for me was to drop into that yin yoga, and that was that first time I stopped running at that hamster wheel level of being like achievement and whatever of just what I thought was normal life, and just breathing, and just letting that go. So, I feel like spending more time in spaces like that, however that is true for you. I know a lot of people still go into yin yoga, and are like, oh, I can't do this, it's not a workout, like I can't sit still for this long.

[01:33:58] So, I think that just being with our bodies in the yin is part of it. And then, just the literal, like take off your shoes, go put your feet in some soil somewhere, just connect, smell, if you can get to some forest soil and really smell that rich, literally, so fertile soil, that doesn't require any tending, the forest tends to it itself. It's this entire thing. And that's where all like the mushrooms are, right? That's where our friends live.

[01:34:24] And so, to be with that energy, and then as I made space for them, started to shed some of this conditioning and these things, like grief and rage, and I start to become then conscious of some of these broken narratives and some of these horrible characters in our origin stories and things, these defilers, these whatever, that mirror in my life from whenever like other people or from myself unto myself, I started to let that grief and rage up.

[01:34:54] So, I have practices in the book, where it's like, get in a car, scream into a pillow, really honor it, really let it go. That is Dark Goddess stuff. Also, you can let that back to Mother Earth, to the great everything, and know that you don't have to carry it. So, starting to like release that. And from there, for me, it actually turned all the way back around to deeply healing my masculine, which actually came.

[01:35:21] I was writing this book more when I was doing my healing of the feminine, masculine was like hanging out over here, and all the toxic masculine was going, so it was like, okay, let's detangle all this stuff, let this go, feel this grief and rage. And then, the masculine could finally be like, okay, now, he gets to—literally right now, my whole right side of my body is working some stuff out, because I've cleared some very specific things and become conscious of some very specific things.

[01:35:46] And it's like, oh, that's where that true protector is. That's where that true initiatory energy is. That's not this, whatever we've been taught it is, that we know it's not aligned to that thing that comes in. It's like, oh, this is a really natural, this is the mountain energy, and that yin is the ocean energy, equally powerful. And that's when that begins to play. So, I feel like those are, I don't know if you want more specifics about like specific rituals or anything like that, but that's how I still walk through it.

[01:36:17] Luke Storey: Yeah, that's beautiful. And I like that part of your book that there are all of these little inserts of practices, like, okay, we talked about some stuff, now, go, try this. Would you talk about some of the practices you mentioned towards the end of the book about immersing ourselves in natural things? I think that was really cool.

[01:36:38] Erin McMorrow: Like the actual literal practices or the-

[01:36:40] Luke Storey: Yeah, where you were talking about natural fabrics, and smells, and yeah, that kind of stuff, just like less synthetic shit around us.

[01:36:49] Erin McMorrow: Yeah. Well, this is interesting, because I wrote the book, almost like six years of it, I was in this really beautiful little place up in like Topanga, Malibu, and I was cultivating this the whole time, not completely realizing that that's what I was doing. And also, the place has a really natural soundscape and light scape just by the virtue of where it is. So, not a lot of car noise, not a lot of extra toxic, then fumes and things like this, not a lot of extra lights and things coming in.

[01:37:18] And when I just recently moved, right as the book was coming out, and I stayed in wonderful places. I mean, nothing wrong with these places, and staying with my friends in their lovely homes, but moving around, coming down the mountain, it was like, oh, okay, the amount of sound noise, like garbage that we have going on, the amount of, and even it's a vibrational, like we just tune out of it, we don't realize, so like being in a place where I didn't have it all the time, I was suddenly sensitized, and then like there are entire rooms like vibrating. 

[01:37:53] It's like, jeez, and that's affecting our bodies, and it's like the electromagnetic fields and all of this as well. Like all of the TV noise, all of the bright lights, the blue lights, all of this. So, I had already written this, but I got reminded, and it's like, okay, now, I'm in a deep healing phase, because it took a lot of energy to do that birthing process for two months. And the next two months, most recent, have been like, okay, back to it, I'm actually back on the mountain, which is funny, but, okay, how is my soundscape?

[01:38:26] Check in. Like is it a lot of natural sound? Is it birds? And I know this isn't necessarily easy to access, which really says something about our culture and how like privilege you have to be to hear natural sounds, to be somewhere, where there's clean air, and clean water. These are the basic things our body needs. So, check in with your soundscape, including natural sounds. Also like, is there a lot of car noise? Is there a lot of TV noise? Try to lessen that as much as possible.

[01:38:53] Aromatherapy is huge. I mean, just in being able to take a little bag of essential oils with me wherever I go, I can then be with my space that way and also calming, just lavender, regular old lavender essential oil, or three drops in a bath, if you can get that, being able to actually just, I don't even know how to put words to this, just tend to my little space, and feel comfortable and good in it. And so, yes, all the senses, sound, sight, all of the different lights we have, vibrations, scent, and I think that's most of it.

[01:39:32] Luke Storey: Yeah, it's amazing. And I noticed when I was living in LA, anytime I would leave the city, and just go to the woods, or the beach, or whatever, then I would really notice the density of the city. And when you're in it, like you said, you acclimate, and it just becomes normal until you hear silence. Even now, living out here, which is obviously much quieter at this place outside of Austin, but I was in the house. When was that?

[01:40:02] Yesterday. And I sat down to meditate, and just the air conditioning was on, and it was excruciatingly loud. I'm just like, God, I'm kind of hot, but I went and turned it off, because I actually just wanted true silence. It's really, really so important. So, I love you alluded to that just natural fibers, and smells, and lighting is so crucial as we sit under these horrific blue lights. I would be remiss if I did not touch on the topic of sex before we end this conversation.

[01:40:30] Erin McMorrow: Absolutely. 

[01:40:30] Luke Storey: It could take us another six hours, but I thought that your exploration of that in the book was pretty brave and vulnerable. Specifically, you talked about kind of coming to an edge in your expansion and it was recommended. I think you had two or three choices of a sexual activity that you could choose, one of which being a group sex kind of orgy situation and you elected to take that. So, I have to touch on that story, of course. But more than anything, how has exploring sexuality, and being, in such a dramatic way, an expression of feminine energy in its purest form, how has that been a part of your healing? And how has that changed within you?

[01:41:21] Erin McMorrow: It's a huge topic, obviously.

[01:41:22] Luke Storey: Yeah. And you don't have to go into all of the nuances of it.

[01:41:26] Erin McMorrow: I mean, I love talking about it, just like, oh, there's so much here. Oh, there's so much. Okay. So, since that moment, that choice of three things that we'll get to, it has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. And I was telling Alyson, we've talked about it as well that when I got to that point, I didn't feel particularly suppressed or I didn't feel like anything was wrong.

[01:41:51] This is why it was a really interesting invitation by somebody who could spot it in me energetically. And so, I was like, oh, I have good sex, it's fine. And then, when the invitation came along, I was faced with the realization that, I mean, I was shaking, I was crying, 24 hours, no choice, but a 24 hourlong invitation to potentially step into this thing, and I was like full on. At some point, I was crying on the floor, literally weeping, and I didn't call back until like the last minute.

[01:42:26] Luke Storey: I could think of five dudes right now, they'd be like, I'm pumped for tomorrow.

[01:42:30] Erin McMorrow: Well, actually, there's a funny part in the story. Well, in the actual orgy that I got to, I mean, it was relatively local, and so I ran into a few people that I knew, which I know I probably would. And it was a very well held, very, very curated event, and they had never tried anything like it either. It was also a big step for them, and they were also completely terrified, which I found really relieving.

[01:42:54] I was like, oh, because I assumed that like, no, but it's astounding. We're humans, we have so much stuff here, and so much of it, so much unseen, so much even beyond what we might think is like a healthy sex life. Why wouldn't I—I was telling Alyson, like I was like, I hadn't even—I wrote in the book, I hadn't even considered, I hadn't even thought of some of these things, or actually a few, no, it's like threesome or something, like I heard they're awkward.

[01:43:21] So, just whatever, but really sitting with it, really facing it, I was like, oh, there's so much stuff in here. There's so much. And that's where I got into masculine, the initiation part. I realize I've been pursued my entire life pretty straightforwardly, like zero initiation skills. None, could not lean in for a kiss, like nothing which is like really embarrassing. Like it's hard to embarrass me, I guess, now on that level, but like yeah, it was just like mortification, no idea.

[01:43:52] Like I was like a young boy in our culture, that I'm like, whoa, like kudos to you guys, like it's hard to cross that line. It's hard with these sorts of things. So, endless amounts of learning in that, and then also like the actual energetic, like sacral healing. So, it was just, immediately, I talked about this one, so I chose orgy, because I felt too threatened by, the threesome thing was like potential jealousy or something like that.

[01:44:19] The intimacy, the close intimacy, and dominatrix actually was the one furthest away from me, which I didn't realize, but that initiatory, that like holding energy, and I know nothing about the dominatrix arts, which are phenomenal, by the way, because there's this entire sexual empowerment, healing community, huge, huge community that it never occurred to me to like listen to their podcasts and like learn this stuff.

[01:44:43] And there's so much fascinating stuff there. So, there's this sort of opening, it's like, okay, where are your edges? Just like spiritual growth of any kind, it's like, oh, getting curious, and being like, oh, there's more. When I got curious, but I found like huge amounts of fear, amazing amounts of fear. And now, let's see, I made the leap, so I am good at being curious. And then, once I get past that crying on the floor phase, like check myself at it.

[01:45:10] And so, I started mentioning it to people. And a friend of mine is a medicine woman and was in, she had just—I planted the seed, and then it came around at some point, and I was invited, and it was like the perfect invitation, because I knew how beautifully held it would be by these particular people in this particular way, and it was. It was incredibly loving and by people who know how to hold that kind of space.

[01:45:35] And then, I had this unbelievably mind-boggling, amazing experience from all of that fear. Like the. teachings in that, just being like, wow, look at where I was, and look at what's possible, that I had never even considered to try. And then, from there, that actually led to more healing with an ex of mine who became a lover, which we were able to do all kinds of healing in there. And I was able to bring that masculine initiatory practice into there, being like, hey, I'm really bad at this, like I need help. 

[01:46:11] And I have had guys like helped me with things like, literally being like, I don't know. And actually, this is cute, I went on a date with a woman at some point, and we were both like, and we're both, by now, like we're a little more practice, but we were like, this is like feminine on feminine, like nobody knows how to drive. And we figured it out. We were able to laugh about it, but we both had the experience of considering ourselves straight for our entire lives, not considering ever crossing that line.

[01:46:42] And so, a lot of just well-worn habits, so we're never questioned. And then, all the way into the dominatrix arts, which I'm not even—I'm a beginner, but being able to truly step into that kind of energy, have that kind of courage to step all the way in there, and be able to hold space for other people in their processes. Also, it brought up places where there was trauma, where I didn't know.

[01:47:10] It brought up all—of course, that's the stuff that was holding it all down was the gunk, the shadow, and on some level, just the over culture, just this thing that we're this like whatever prison of all the different kinds thing that's like, no, you're not allowed to do that. So, it never crossed my mind. So, that's not who you are. And then, of course, all of the shaming. And I literally just did a post today about shame, because this morning, it was like, there's this like shame release.

[01:47:38] It's like, oh, this is sacral, and this is like their stuff falling out of me, that's like, oh, and when you let go of that shame, all of this other shame falls away, too, of speaking publicly about it, all of the things that we get shamed for on a regular basis, and then in sacrals, also money. So, it's tied in there. It's like, wow, how much stuff was there? How much was I carrying? How many family stories? How many cultural stories? As opposed to it being as connected to what I was writing about, which is the creative life force of the Universe, which gets to express however it feels true. So, it's a lot. Yeah.

[01:48:15] Luke Storey: Wow, that's awesome. Well, thank you for your courage to explore that. I mean, I know human sexuality, it's the thing that there's often the most shame and also just lack of self-knowledge, I think. And I had to go to so many different extremes in my journey of different types of relationships and all the things. I mean, it's too long to explain and it's your show, but I relate in the sense that that particular area is one that is ripe with opportunities for expansion and growth, right?

[01:48:50] Erin McMorrow: Yeah. Well, also, sacral is like sex, money, creativity. So, like if any of us sit with like those edges, really, how much—and I know, like I have lots of coach friends and things like this, so it's like there's lots of money work going on. We all are carrying something around or we've been clearing it for a long time, and all of that stuff around sexuality, and then our own creativity, like it's creative expression.

[01:49:13] Even writing the book, I mean, I thought of myself as an academic at first and sort of also being shamed out of being like my own shame, but then also like the institutional shame, being like, okay, I'm going to wonder this way, and I'm going to be a writer, and I'm going to write about sex, and I'm going to write about spirituality, that's all so much of the journey. It's freedom, though, or all the way back around to freedom.

[01:49:35] So, this is where I feel like freedom is not necessarily around, like Republicans are for freedom, and whatever. It's like, there are through lines, there were threads, and I think it's fascinating to see what's happening in our culture, where just categories are shifting like this because true freedom, true spiritual sovereignty of our bodies, of our sexuality, of this balance, this is with the tantric path, masculine and feminine in this dance, and like the hieros gamos. 

[01:50:04] And now, I'm learning all of this. I'm like, oh, she have a shakti, oh, like of course, the eternal lovers. And so, it's like, also, I have a lot of dumb moments, like years into the journey, like, oh, it's a silly, perfect metaphor, and it's all leading back to our own integral integrity, integration, full expression as whatever sovereign being we incarnate us.

[01:50:31] Luke Storey: Wow. Thank you for that. Well, damn it. I think we did it.

[01:50:35] Erin McMorrow: I think we did.

[01:50:36] Luke Storey: I don't know what else we could have covered and not call it like an audio book or something, so yeah, thank you. Thank you for that. Yeah. We're deep in the cut here. Alright. Thank you so much for your courageous self-exploration. I think that's what drew me to you and your work is I just love people that are willing to go there, and to just keep decimating the boxes they find themselves in until eventually, hopefully, there aren't many boxes left, and that we can find that true sense of inner liberation. So, thank you. Thank you for your commitment and curiosity. I got one more question for you, and it's a short one, who are three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life and your work that you might share with us?

[01:51:19] Erin McMorrow: I remember I heard this before, and I decided not to think ahead, and I forgot.

[01:51:23] Luke Storey: Good job.

[01:51:25] Erin McMorrow: Teachers or teachings?

[01:51:26] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[01:51:26] Erin McMorrow: Okay. So, what did come to mind when I first heard it were my own like individual teachers that are not necessarily famous, Cat Kabira in Bali was the woman that taught my yoga energetics and cranial sacral class, and she's still teaching out there. Friend, and sometimes, client, we switch off, and coach at the time, Alyssa Nobriga was incredible. She's in Los Angeles. She is a phenomenal coach.

[01:51:56] And so, she had a huge impact. She was the like 2018 moment. Cat was the 2014 moments. And let me see, Marianne Williamson is just like low-hanging fruit, A Return to Love back in the day, and all of her courage, all of the stuff that she's been—whether you agree with her politically or not, I just feel like the categories and boundaries that she's just smashed apart in the last several years and that spiritual courage, I greatly respect her work.

[01:52:34] Luke Storey: Yeah, I used to go see her speak a lot in LA. It was one of the great things about being there for a time. Yeah, she'd been on this theater down on Wilshire every Wednesday or whatever it was. Yeah. Wow. Good stuff.

[01:52:45] Erin McMorrow: Yeah.

[01:52:46] Luke Storey: Thank you so much for sharing. Lastly, where can people find you on social media, website, anywhere you want to send anyone to get to know you better?

[01:52:53] Erin McMorrow: Well, my name, erinmcmorrow.com, so that's easy, and I'm most active on Instagram. So, you can find me on all the social media, but it's Dr. Erin McMorrow on Instagram, and that feeds actually into most of my places. And my book is on there. Also, the book is obviously Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your classic. Also, I'd like to encourage people to support indie bookstores and either just walk in wherever you are, find it, or I think it's bookshop.org. if I got that right, that you can get indie books, yeah.

[01:53:21] Luke Storey: Awesome. Thank you. I didn't know that. We'll put that in the show notes, too.

[01:53:24] Erin McMorrow: Awesome.

[01:53:24] Luke Storey: Well, thank you so much, and thanks for coming to town. I'm so glad we're able to do this in person, not be sitting on a Zoom. It would have been a different experience, I'm sure great, but not like this. This was awesome.

[01:53:35] Erin McMorrow: Yeah, I'm so grateful. Thank you so much and thank you for your work.

[01:53:37] Luke Storey: Yeah, thank you.


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