Renate de Wilde is a Dutch Plant Medicine Guide having recently moved from Ibiza, back
to the Netherlands. After serving in the military she went through a lot of personal struggles while trying to get her life back to normality. She saw old friends struggling as well after their missions, some of them had PTSD and had changed in significant ways.
Since leaving the military life, Renate finds her escape in extreme endurance sports. After a lot of self-experience with all kinds of psychedelics, she started guiding at a retreat center and found more purpose in her plant medicine path. Psychedelics helped her to reconnect with herself and her true essence.
Today, she guides people in private psilocybin sessions. After joining a conference about psychedelics and veterans, she finally found a way to do something back for her friends and other people who suffer from the impacts of being in war. Currently, she guides retreats for Psychedelic Warriors and works alongside Psychedelic Insights in The Netherlands.
In this new edition of Amplify, let’s learn more about Renate and bring light to the challenges of the lives of all veteran women around the world.
This interview was conducted by Jessika Lagarde.
WOOP: Hi Renate, could you tell us a bit more about your background?
Renate: When I was about 17 years old, I decided to join the Dutch Army. My training was tough, but I had a great time. Then I joined the armored infantry. For me, as a woman, it was quite difficult to fit in. I felt alone and I had the feeling that I had to prove myself every day.
After a few years, I quit the army. That was a difficult period. The army is a whole world on its own and it's difficult to fit back into the "normal" society. I missed the adventure and pushing my boundaries, physical and mental. So I started with adventure racing to get that feeling back. With my Dutch team, we did amazing 4 day non-stop races all over the world. And at one point during this journey, psychedelics came into my life.
WOOP: What has brought you to the psychedelic path?
Renate: I was at my lowest point when I quit the army. Totally stuck and I had depressed feelings. This was my turning point in life. I decided, no matter what I would become better out of this. So I started with a life coach. And then quickly spirituality got also my interest.
My boyfriend at that time, a navy seal, told me about magic truffles. I had my doubts but I gave it a try. This experience was incredible. After this experience, I also started to explore other psychedelics, such as LSD, Ayahuasca, San Pedro, Bufo, Changa, and other healing medicines. And that was the beginning of the journey that brought me where I am today.
WOOP: Can you share a bit about your most life-changing psychedelics experience?
Renate: I can say that my first experience was the most life-changing one. Because it was the
starting point of my interest in psychedelics. From there, my healing journey unfolded at such a
fast pace. During that experience, everything was so beautiful - nature, the sky with all the
colors and different shapes. I felt so blissful, totally at the moment. And at one point I said: "This is the best day of my life."
I was a bit shocked about what I said. And I felt a bit of shame. Because the best day of my life
was on "drugs". Of course, now I don't see these medicines as drugs. The truth was, I was for the first time in years so connected and in peace with myself and with nature. And that felt great!
WOOP: How have psychedelics empowered you?
Renate: I think the most important one is that I forgave myself for so many things. I was always so hard on myself. I punished myself for a lot of things. The psychedelics showed me experiences from a different point of view. Psychedelics showed me the core of some traumas and gave me the opportunity to heal them. Psychedelics gave me also another look at how reality is. And then you see that a lot of the things that we are worried about are not important at all. So I found more peace in myself. And I learned how to find my own way in society.
I had one experience, that I felt so much love that it was overwhelming. I'm very grateful to have that experience. If I feel bad, I can always fall back on this experience. That I know that life loves me and that I am deeply loved.
WOOP: How do you believe this type of experience can be beneficial for others (especially for veterans)?
Renate: Psychedelics are a beautiful way to reconnect with yourself. In the military, it's difficult to not get disconnected from yourself. You learn at an early stage how to shut down your emotions. I had built so many walls around me and I got so hard on myself without even noticing it. I believe the psychedelic experience can be beneficial for veterans to get more in peace with themselves. To get more trust in their own healing process.
This can help them in their process of self-acceptance and forgiveness for situations that have happened while they were active in their jobs. Psychedelics are showing things from a different perspective so that can also take heaviness off their shoulders. This can allow them to build off their walls and get a better and healthier relationship with themselves, others, and life.
WOOP: Anything else you would like to share?
Renate: Yes, Psychedelic Warriors is also going to organize retreats especially for women veterans in 2022. I believe that as a woman you experience military life very differently. For me, it was sometimes very difficult being the only woman and that feeling that you have to prove yourself every day. The jokes, discrimination, and the loneliness. Also putting yourself in that male energy, and trying to be someone you are not is very difficult at times.
It is so nice to connect with other women who went through the same experiences. We are women and some of us are also mothers. And it would be great to raise our kids with less trauma and with love and an open heart.
If you would like to contact Renate or learn more about her work, please check her Facebook page or Psychedelic Warrior’s website. Psychedelic Warriors is organizing a woman's veteran retreat in 2022. After the first Psychedelic Warrior retreat in 2021, they conducted an observational study by the University of Leiden to study the effects of their psilocybin protocols on Quality of Life and Resilience. A documentary about this retreat will be launched soon.