6 Must-Hear Episodes of Eamon Armstrong’s ‘Life Is A Festival’ Podcast
Photo courtesy of Eamon Armstrong
The towering paragon of self-reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once said “Life is a festival only to the wise.” Today, the vastness of present day festivals comes with a lovable cast of demigods and caricatures, yet few embrace (let alone live) the festive life Emerson so famously imagined with as much gusto as Eamon Armstrong.
As the host of the ‘Life is a Festival’ podcast, Armstrong bridges intellectualism with activism and the sincere with the silly. The almost two-year-old show features the brightest stars from the festival industry alongside celebrity philosophers including Jason Silva, Jamie Wheal and Charles Eisenstein. The podcast invites listeners to nourish their own philosophical expansion with the same joy and zest for life we bring to festivals themselves.
Not one to be bashful or tip-toe around tough talks, Armstrong’s podcast is explorative and encouraging in a way a lot of students wish academics could be. He offers a glimpse into the minds of powerhouse creatives with deep dives into timely topics from mature and modern masculinity to indigenous identity, diversity and inclusion, psychedelics and more.
You should definitely dive into each and every episode, but we sat down with Armstrong to unpack six of our favorites.
The Wizard of Awe Goes to Burning Man | Jason Silva - Ep. 30
Episode 30 was a hearty discussion with Jason Silva, from the immensely popular viral series “Shots of Awe.” In it, Armstrong and Silva talked about the impermanence and creative potential of Burning Man.
“We went on a magical bike ride at Burning Man together,” Armstrong says, “and I feel like he just really got it.”
Fumbling Towards Inclusivity | JR Nexus Russ (Catharsis on the Mall) - Ep. 32
On the topic of racial inclusion at Burning Man and beyond, JR Nexus Russ shared that, when we create utopian societies and seed them with our unconscious bias, we inevitably end up right back where we started.
“You’re actually just replicating the iniquity of the home you left.” Armstrong explained. The episode also encourages anyone working towards inclusivity to push through the fumbles and keep on going.
How to Help Someone Having a "Bad Trip" | Sara Gael (The Zendo Project) - Ep. 51
“I believe that the psychedelic emergences [which contrast greatly from psychedelic emergencies] that occur at festivals can be profoundly healing,” Armstrong says, “if there is space to work through things in your psyche while in that psychedelic space.”
Armstrong has had a lot of experience giving people this space in current role as the Director of Community for the psychedelic practitioner platform, Maya Health. Episode 51 is about meeting Sara Gael at Envision Festival, where Armstrong volunteered to provide psychedelic peer support. It was an early step in a long road for Armstrong into the world of harm reduction and psychedelic therapy.
From Crisis to Coronation | Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics) - Ep. 60
Armstrong had a discussion with the globally-known philosopher, Charles Eisenstein, about his 10,000 word essay surrounding the Coronavirus, The Coronation.
“What I wanted to do in that conversation and in a lot of the podcasts I released around that time,” Armstrong says, “was to encourage my audience who are used to personal growth in a festival context to recognize that, for all of its suffering and discomfort, this great Slowdown can be a gift when approached with the same spirit [with which] we approach festivals.”
Eros and the Shepherdess: A Tale of Trans Emergence | Zhenevere Sophia Dao (MogaDao Institute) - Ep. 72
In a candid talk with trans post-Taoist master Zhenevere Sophia Dao of the MogaDao Institute, Armstrong explores transphobia and gender identity.
“Animosity towards trans people and ‘transphobia’ has a lot to do with our own fear of what could be possible in our being,” Armstrong says. “Zhenevere is a perfect example of what’s spiritually possible when we release certain societal boundaries.”
Wrestling with the Predator | Ian Mackenzie (The Mythic Masculine) - Ep. 74
Episode 74 sits with Ian MacKenzie, host of The Mythic Masculine podcast in an attempt to tackle toxic masculinity, cancel culture, and the accounts surfacing about performers like Bassnectar and Nahko. MacKenzie and Eamon touch on Jungian archetypes as lenses for understanding this behavior, especially the Addicted Lover.
“[Sometimes], when young rock stars are given all this power and clout; traveling in the world getting all of this attention, they’ve actually not been initiated into mature masculinity,” Armstrong says. “This is part of the issue of the Addicted Lover.”
For more on the Life is a Festival podcast, visit Eamon Armstrong’s website.