East Forest – Creating Ritual for Journeywork through Sound

April 16, 2019
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In this episode, hosts Joe and Kyle interview music artist, East Forest. Influenced by psychedelic Psilocybin sessions, Trevor Oswalt, the mind behind the project, produces soundtracks for psychedelic journeywork sessions.

3 Key Points:

  1. East Forest is a music artist and producer with a mission to create a playground of doors for listeners to open and to explore their inner space.
  2. His recent project, ‘Ram Dass’, captures the words of wisdom of Ram Dass and pairs it with sound, a project with four chapters that will release throughout 2019.
  3. Ayahuasca is connected to the Icaros, but psilocybin doesn’t have a music ritual. His goal with his project, Music for Mushrooms: A soundtrack for the psychedelic practitioner, is to bring ritual to psilocybin journeywork.

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Show Notes

About (Trevor Oswalt) East Forest

  • East Forest is a 10 years and running music project that unfolded exploring into sharing and medicine circles and developed into a public interface
  • Its based around introspection and tools for people to use
  • Between retreats, podcasts and live performance, Trevor is inviting people in to assist with their journeys

Ram Dass

  • Trevor is working on a 4 part record project with Ram Dass
    • He had the idea to do a record with spiritual teachers
  • Ram Dass had a stroke 20 years ago, and he got Aphasia from it
    • It would take him 15-30 minutes to answer a question, so Trevor would put it to the music and put Ram’s words on the pauses in the music
    • His wisdom and story would come alive in the songs
  • The first time Ram Dass did psilocybin was with Timothy Leary and he said it changed his life
  • Ram Dass talks about the ‘witness consciousness’ a viewpoint of things from the soul
    • It is a place where you can love everyone and tell your truth and accept your dark thoughts
    • You can’t get rid of your dark thoughts, but you can learn to live with them

Journeywork Soundtrack

  • Music for Mushrooms: A soundtrack for the psychedelic practitioner
    • Its a 5 hour playlist for journeywork that guides you and helps you do the work
    • He made it live during his own journeywork session over a weekend the previous summer
    • He says he is influenced by Keith Jarrett, who does long form pianist pieces
  • Joe says trance in music is under explored
  • Trevor describes a trip that he had where he took mushrooms and listened to his own (first) album that he made
    • “It was as if I created this album without knowing what I was creating. My soul had tricked my ego into doing it so I could use it as a tool in that moment to transform into something new.” – Trevor
    • There is a lot of music, science, and arts that are inspired by psychedelics
    • He describes its a symbiotic relationship between psychedelics and music
    • That’s the thing about art, you put it out there and everyone puts their own meaning to it
  • His first experience with psychedelics was in college with mushrooms
    • He was outside at a festival and it was a very transcendent, blissful experience


  • He attends retreats where there is either yoga, wilderness hikes or mainly revolved around music
    • He does a retreat using music at Esalen with his partner, Marisa Radha Weppner
    • They are doing another retreat in June at Esalen during the summer solstice and he will also be releasing the third chapter of the Ram Dass Record
    • Next Esalen Retreat


  • He went to Vassar college in New York and there were pianos all over the school, he learned how to play simple songs and was shocked of how great it sounded coming to life and that fed on itself and he was hooked
    • His first album was made in iMac with pro tools and his skills developed from there
  • Sound quality is critical in journeywork
  • Joe’s friend has mentioned that it’s hard to make a living as a music creator, she goes by Living Light
  • Joe also mentions a festival he attended listening to Reed Mathis and the Electric Beethoven
    • They went on a 20-30 minute talk about how the music is a ritual
  • Kyle used to lead some hikes, once was with Trevor Hall and it has gotten more common to collaborate these experiences with music

Live Music

  • During Ayahuasca, the shamans sing the Icaros, and the song is a part of the ritual
    • No one uses Ayahuasca recreationally, the ceremony has never been detached from the drug
    • With psilocybin, in the western culture, it’s almost always only been used recreationally
    • His goal was to create a new musical tradition that would speak to our western years and make sense to us without taking from another religion and putting it to our ritual



About East Forest

East Forest is an American Ambient/Electronic/Contemporary Classical/Indie Pop artist from Portland, Oregon, United States. The project was created by Trevor Oswalt who derived “East Forest” from the German translation of his last name. To date he has released eight full-length albums and six EPs. East Forest’s newest release, “RAM DASS” is a full length album releasing in collaboration with the acclaimed spiritual teacher. Covering topics such as dark thoughts, nature, the soul and so much more, these songs are full of inspiration. The album will release in four “chapters” throughout 2019, culminating in a full length release on August 9, 2019.