Firstman, co-founder of Rastafari Indigenous Village, and Steve DeAngelo, lifelong cannabis advocate, have joined forces to organize programs conducting psychedelic ceremonies, Life Is a Ceremony retreats. These retreats are where Earth’s peaceful warriors, healers, shamans, artists, change makers, and more, commune in nature’s wisdom, hold space for personal development, solve systemic issues — all within a village of elders among the glory of Jamaica’s most potent and powerful resources: visionary plants, the healing powers of nature, and the unique wisdom held within Rastafari Indigenous Village.
What Are Rastafari Indigenous Village And Life Is A Ceremony Retreats?
Located alongside the beautiful Montego Valley River, Rastafari Indigenous Village (RIV) hosts retreats for these advanced practitioners to further develop and nurture their wellness and strength, fueled by an immersive natural environment that synchronizes and synergizes with the medicines — namely cannabis, ayahuasca, iboga, and psilocybin. Facilitated in the true remote working village Rastafari Indigenous Village, regenerative gardens, foraged tree crops, medicinal herbs, traditional mural art, drum-making, balm yard, bush bath and Rastafari Ital food science, chants, drumming, story-telling, reasoning, singing in the Tabernacle, yoga and flow in the Bamboo Studio, star watching, moon gazing... All assist participants in integrating into a purposeful, grounded way of being. While promoting, protecting, and preserving Rastafari, participants come together to innerstand what it means to be fully alive: engaged in community and advocacy, with a deep reverence for Earth, its inhabitants, and interconnectedness, oneness — philosophies at the core of Rastafari way of life. An actual functioning community that is home to several families, RIV welcomes visitors as guests to a home, rather than as tourists to an attraction.
Firstman: Leader Of Rastafari Indigenous Village And Life Is A Ceremony Retreats
As the leader and co-founder of RIV, Firstman is a longtime advocate for the sustainable development of the cultural industry through the preservation, protection and promotion of cultural events; community development projects; traditional knowledge, and indigenous expression. He is a father, drummer, chanter, singer, songwriter, and orator. Firstman has had a long career as a community organizer and cannabis freedom activist; serving as a charter member of the Jamaican Ganja Task Force; as the Chair of the first Ganja Advisory Committee to the Government of Jamaica; and as a Co-founder of the Rastafari and Grass Roots Growers Association (RAGGA). Firstman has been certified by the United Nations as an expert in the 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention and the 2005 Cultural Diversity Convention; and by the State of Oregon as a Trainer for indigenous practices surrounding visionary plants (pending).
In 2016, Firstman and the RIV community were introduced to ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms and other sacred plants by MesoAmerican and South American medicine people. Immediately thereafter, RIV became the first traditional Rastafari community to incorporate these sacred plants into their own spiritual practice, expressing traditional beliefs with new insights, and creating a new, unique and very powerful Rastadelic™ expression of psychedelic culture and spirituality. For the first five years, this practice was shared exclusively within the Rastafari community. In 2021, the RIV team began offering this new ceremonial experience to guests visiting Jamaica.
One of their most passionate guests, inspired by the RIV’s mission and approach to plant medicine, was Steve DeAngelo, who has become a Senior Advisor to the Life Is A Ceremony retreats.
Cannabis Pioneer Steve DeAngelo
Steve DeAngelo is a globally recognized cannabis leader who was dubbed “the father of the legal industry” by former Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown. A lifelong cannabis activist, author, educator, and entrepreneur, Steve has spent almost a half-century on the front lines of the cannabis liberation movement.
Steve is the author of The Cannabis Manifesto and pioneer of the wellness approach to understanding cannabis use. His media projects include the starring role in Weed Wars, the first cannabis-oriented reality TV show, produced by the Discovery Channel in 2011; the lead role in Ask Steve DeAngelo, a video advice show available on Green-Flower.com; and extensive appearances on major media outlets including CNN, FOX, MSNBC, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Politico, and many others. His plethora of major industry awards includes the High Times Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award, one of two original inductees into the Marijuana Business Daily Hall of Fame, and the Peter Tosh Equal Rights Award. He has also been named one of the seven “Most Powerful People” in America’s cannabis industry by Forbes. His work has inspired millions of people to support cannabis liberation; and thousands to seek careers in the cannabis industry.
Steve DeAngelo: From Activism To "Father Of The Modern Cannabis Industry"
The first half of Steve’s career was focused on activism, which he financed by smuggling and distributing cannabis in the East Coast legacy marketplace. During the 1970s, his leadership helped the annual 4th of July White House Smoke-In grow to national prominence, expanding from a few hundred attendees to over 30,000. In the 1980s, he was a co-founder and key organizer of the legendary Hemp Tour (precursor to the Cannabis Action Network); and in the 1990s, Steve was a major fundraiser and organizer for Initiative 59, Washington DC’s medical cannabis law. Steve left Washington DC and relocated to California in 2001, after the US Congress blocked implementation of Initiative 59.
In California, Steve’s activist work included the launch of Americans for Safe Access, the leading medical cannabis patients advocacy group; and the passage of Prop 64, California’s adult use initiative. He also successfully defended multiple legal attempts by federal authorities to shutter the doors of Harborside and other California dispensaries; and helped launch the National Cannabis Industries Association, the cannabis industry’s first trade association.
Steve’s most notable business achievements came in the second half of his career. These include co-founding Harborside, one of the first six legal cannabis dispensaries licensed in the United States; Steep Hill Laboratory, the first cannabis laboratory company; and the Arcview Group, the first dedicated cannabis investment network.
Following the passage of adult use legalization by California in 2018, Steve resigned all his positions in operational cannabis companies to refocus on activism; founding the Last Prisoner Project in 2019, the Radio Free Cannabis podcast in 2020, and the JUSTÜS Foundation in 2022. The Last Prisoner Project is dedicated to releasing all cannabis prisoners worldwide; the JUSTÜS Foundation is dedicated to ensuring a viable pathway for legacy cannabis operators to enter the legal industry, and Radio Free Cannabis is a global cannabis news and activism platform.
Rastafari Indigenous Village, Life Is A Ceremony Retreats, And The Psychedelic Revolution
During these years, Steve also took advantage of his freedom from executive responsibilities to tour emerging cannabis economies worldwide. During this tour, he developed a relationship with Rastafari Indigenous Village, the first Rastafari community to incorporate visionary plants other than cannabis into their spiritual practice. That relationship helped lead Steve to his current role as a senior advisor to Rastafari Indigenous Village.
Today, Steve is excited to share the lessons he learned from cannabis with those innovating the psychedelic revolution. Steve believes that cannabis and the other visionary plants offer humanity a wisdom that is necessary to preserve the planet and all her creatures. He will continue his work until these medicines and the people who revere them have a safe and honored place in all human societies.
Steve DeAngelo's Life Is A Ceremony Weedsday Playlist
The Life Is A Ceremony playlist, according to Steve, “was inspired by my visits to Rastafari Indigenous Village, in Montego Bay, Jamaica— the first Rastafari community to embrace psilocybin and ayahuasca.” Allow these song choices to help you embark on your own psychedelic journey, with their organic calls to identity and community.
Xavier Rudd - "Rainbow Serpent"
A call to the Tribe: Who we are.
Soul Majestic - "Time Has Come"
A call to the Tribe: Our time.
Tubby Love - "Money"
A call to the Tribe: Our goal.
Tubby Love - "Let It Be Alive"
A call to the Tribe: Our path.
Black-Eyed Peas - "One Tribe"
A call to the Tribe: Our destiny.
What are your favorite Weedsday tracks? Tell us about them - reach out at @honeysucklemagazine on Instagram and @HoneysuckleMag on Twitter!
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Featured image: Steve DeAngelo (center) and Firstman (right) in the Rastafari Indigenous Village (C) Jamie Soja @sojaphoto