Aaron Rodgers Says Using Psychedelics Helped Ease His Fear Of Death

Aaron Rodgers Says Using Psychedelics Helped Ease His Fear Of Death

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this week that using psychedelics helped him alleviate a fear of death that he had lived with since he was a teenager. The revelation follows Rodgers’ admission earlier this year that his experience with the psychedelic brew ayahuasca preceded being selected as the NFL’s most valuable player two years in a row.

Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers says his use of psychedelics helped him ease his … [+] fear of death.

Getty Images

During his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday, Rodgers was asked by his former teammate, A.J. Hawk, if he feared mortality. Rodgers responded that he no longer does, citing his use of psychedelics to help him get over his phobia.

“I had a major fear of death… there was a lot of weird sentiment around Y2K, remember that? The world was going to end,” Rodgers said, as quoted by CBS. “For me personally, since I was a young teenager, I was like, man if the world ends and I’m 16, I’m not going to be able to accomplish anything I want to accomplish.”

“I definitely had a fear of death,” the Green Bay Packers star continued. “And ayahuasca, and psilocybin actually, really helped me with that and relieved a lot of the stress around the idea of needing to accomplish things before I actually die … and taking away some of that fear. I think when you’ve seen the other side, it makes the idea of death more of a passage and less of an ending.”

Rodgers’ use of psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca helped him ease his fear of death.

getty

Rodgers said that his fear of death led him to worry about not being able to experience goals in his life such as playing in the NFL or getting married. But using psychedelics made it easier for him to confront his own mortality.

“It relieved a lot of the stress around the idea of needing to accomplish things before I actually die, kind of taking away some of that fear,” Rodgers said. “I think when you’ve seen the other side, it makes the idea as more of a passage and less of an ending. More of just kind of the next chapter of life.”

NFL Star Revealed Psychedelic Use This Summer

In August, Rodgers revealed that he had traveled to South America to take ayahuasca before being selected as the league’s most valuable player in back-to-back seasons, saying the traditional psychedelic brew changed his thinking and significantly improved his mental health. Rodgers made the revelations about ayahuasca experiences during an appearance on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast, saying that the psychedelic drug helped him find self-love and mental wellness.

The Superbowl champion quarterback said he made the trip to South America before winning the MVP award for the third and fourth time. Following the ayahuasca experience, he said, he “knew that [he] was never going to be the same.”

“For me, I didn’t do that and think ‘oh, I’m never playing football again,’” Rodgers said, as quoted by USA Today. “No, it gave me a deep and meaningful appreciation for life. My intention the first night going in was ‘I want to feel what pure love feels like.’ That was my intention. And I did. I really did. I had a magical experience with the sensation of feeling a hundred different hands on my body imparting a blessing of love and forgiveness for myself and gratitude for this life from what seemed to be my ancestors.”

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew of leaves and vines that is used by indigenous groups in South America’s Amazon basin for social and spiritual ceremonies. The concoction contains the potent psychedelic drug dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which can cause intense vivid sensations and hallucinations. Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, led a study on ayahuasca published in 2019 that found the brew caused a change to waking brainwaves the researchers compared to “dreaming while awake.”

“DMT is a particularly intriguing psychedelic. The visual vividness and depth of immersion produced by high-doses of the substance seems to be on a scale above what is reported with more widely studied psychedelics such as psilocybin or ‘magic mushrooms,’” explained Carhart-Harris. “It’s hard to capture and communicate what it is like for people experiencing DMT but likening it to dreaming while awake or a near-death experience is useful. Our sense is that research with DMT may yield important insights into the relationship between brain activity and consciousness, and this small study is a first step along that road.”

Ayahuasca Led To Best Season Of Rodgers’ Career

During the podcast interview with Marcus, Rodgers said that his experience with ayahuasca “set me on my course to be able to go back in to my job and have a different perspective on things. To be way more free at work, as a leader, as a teammate, as a friend, as a lover. I really feel like that experience paved the way for me to have the best season of my career (in 2020).”

He added that ayahuasca helped him reframe his mindset, leading to mental health improvements that helped him play two of the best seasons of his career, winning his third and fourth MVP awards in 2020 and 2021.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” Rodgers said about the ayahuasca experience in South America. “I really don’t. I don’t really believe in coincidences at this point. It’s the universe bringing things to happen when they’re supposed to happen.”

“There’s signs and synchronicities all around us at all times if we’re awake enough to see them and to take them in and to listen to our intuition when it’s speaking to us or pounding us in the head saying, ‘Hey dummy, this is what you’re supposed to be doing,’” he continued.

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew of leaves and vines that is used by indigenous groups in South … [+] America’s Amazon basin for social and spiritual ceremonies. Photo by Mark Fox Photography

getty

Rodgers said that he decided to try ayahuasca after an earlier experience with psychedelics. Marcus noted that the NFL star had once told him that “one of the best days of my life” featured taking psychedelic mushrooms on a beach where he said he “felt [him]self merge with the ocean.”

Rodgers said that many people focus on the negative side effects of ayahuasca, which can include vomiting, diarrhea and uncomfortable hallucinations, instead of the “deep and meaningful and crazy mind-expanding possibilities and also deep self-love and healing that can happen on the other side” that the drug can induce.

Self-love, Rodgers said, was a key benefit of his mental health journey.

“To me, one of the core tenets of your mental health is that self-love,” Rodgers said. “That’s what ayahuasca did for me, was help me see how to unconditionally love myself. It’s only in that unconditional self love, that then I’m able to truly be able to unconditionally love others. And what better way to work on my mental health than to have an experience like that?”

  Asset Class Performance: November 2023