A few of us at Synergetic Press recently attended an intimate community gathering held at the Shulgin Farm in Lafayette, California, celebrating the life and legacy of Ann Shulgin.
The Farm is an electric place that rambles up and down and lets you be, deeply. When we rolled up the hill to the “Last Gathering” after Ann’s passing, her wit and curiosity and gusto for living were present, scattered among her friends and long admirers in a constellation. You could catch someone wiping the juice of a homemade pickle or a crumb of almond cake from their lips without breaking meaningful eye contact with their companion. This place, that made so much wild history, remains approachable for Ann and Sasha’s love of the people.
These are the grounds of so much psychedelic invention and inner exploration, where Ann wrote extensively about the shades of emotion that vex us, elevate us, and teach us. This permission to face ourselves and each other permeated the gathering, which was full of ease and recognition. At the top of the hill, Ann’s daughter Wendy had placed a collection of Ann’s objects—bark art and painted ceramics and a whole table of fine perfume—offering them up to remember her. As I stood by, holding a small mauve butter dish in a Scandinavian style, I watched a man I’d just met lift a bottle of perfume to his nose, nod approvingly, and place it in his satchel. “For my wife,” he said, bringing Ann’s presence into an ever wider circle of wordless reverberation.