This is where you learn about 


Hi, I'm Chris Mandel. I was raised by two mathematicians with careers in science, one Roman Catholic and the other agnostic and very secular. The religious tension between my parents served as the springboard for a lifelong obsession with spiritual and philosophic inquiry. 

This inquiry began as a child when I tried on atheism for a minute at about age 10 (it didn’t work) and also began exploring prayer (that worked better). At age 12 I’d had enough! Was God real or not? I had to know! I devised a test. I’d do my best to believe in God for one week, pray to God, and assume their existence. I don’t remember the details of the experiment (I hadn’t yet learned the importance of recording once’s data), but after a week of pretending to believe in God I became secretly, obsessively religious, silently in dialog with my notion of the divine all the time, everyday. I also started playing trumpet at that time, soon gravitated toward jazz, and became fascinated by free improvisation and avant-garde composition.  

In my late teens and early twenties I went through a highly formative, but alas short-lived, phase as a devout Catholic. I loved (and still love) devotion to Jesus and Mary, the rituals, and art. Unfortunately the theology and politics of mainstream Catholicism didn’t have room for me and I had chose to move on.

Early Development
At college my studies concentrated on music and philosophy at Gonzaga and Portland State universities. During the day I studied the classic humanities and social sciences along with classical music and traditional jazz. At night I explored drugs, free jazz, and eastern philosophy. 

My favorite philosopher was the famous spiritual thinker Ken Wilber, who lived in Boulder Colorado. My wife Erin and I took this as a sign to move to the Boulder area after college. I soon fell into the “Integral Movement,” the subculture built around Wilber and his ideas. Integral Theory became the foundation of my philosophic approach and I had the pleasure of working directly with Wilber a number of times in the early 2000s. Ask me about the time we got in a staring contest sometime. tldr… I lost.

Simultaneously, I studied at the Psychic Horizons Institute where I received my first formal meditation training. Soon after I applied these skills as a “psychic bartender” in a services-oriented metaphysical shop, giving clairvoyant readings and holding space for people processing their spiritual experiences on a daily basis.

Things were going well spiritually but something was missing; I needed to learn how to rock! I joined a mystical, psychedelic, free improv, metal band, called The Left Channel in 2004. It was amps at 11, heavy distortion, yoga, meditation, mushrooms, and rock and fucking roll twice a week for a year. This is were I discovered Salvia Divinorum, which eventually became my primary psychedelic sacrament. 

For a few years around 2008 I tried to give mainstream Christianity another chance, I really tried! I played music and ran sound at a Methodist church and got my Master’s of Theological Studies at the Iliff School of Theology. At first I intended to become a conventional minister but I didn’t have a denomination; I had no institutional religious home, so I changed my focus to pure academics. I concentrated on sociology of religion and wrote my thesis on spirituality in avant-garde jazz, interviewing several 60’s era jazz artists about their spiritual lives. 

In 2009 I taught English in China. This is when I discovered the famous 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreats of SN Goenka. I went on my first in the northern territory of Hong Kong and have participated several more times since. Vipassana mindfulness was a better fit than the visionary techniques of Psychic Horizons and soon became the foundation of my spiritual technique. But unlike traditional Vipassana, I also had psychedelics. 

Becoming a Teacher
I’ve had a youtube channel where I published music and videos about philosophy for a long time but they never got much traction. Then in 2021 I published a video called “How to smoke Salvia Divinorum.” It immediately started getting hundreds of views per day, which shocked me! I was moved to make more, and they found viewership. 

Through psychedelic video I found my audience and my tribe. After decades of spiritual seeking and artistic struggling I found my place. Video became my primary voice, combining my passions for art and music with my background in philosophy and psychedelics. On average I produce about one video per week including interviews with folks in the psychonaut community, my own journey-oriented live electronic music sets, substance tutorials, philosophic explorations, and filmed psychedelic adventures.

In addition to producing video, I dabble in one-on-one psychedelic spiritual counseling, host online and in-person psychedelic themed ceremonies and workshops, and am currently exploring opening a physical psychonaut social club. 

Iliff School of Theology
Master’s of Theological Studies

Psychic Horizons Institute
Certificate in energy work

Portland State University
Bachelor's in music and philosophy

Ascension Metaphysical Store
Served as GM and “psychic bartender” at this services oriented metaphysical shop.

10:30 Catholic Community
Taught children’s Ed and youth group at this progressive Roman Catholic organization. 

Vipassana meditations retreats with SN Goenka

New York School of Improvised Music