we need new gods

the old gods are dead. the gods of neon, credit card, and beeping screens have led us astray.

Are you searching for more?

Our programs facilitate a renewed sense of purpose, deeper connections, and creative mind states - the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics - without the use of entheogens.

Rooted in Buddhist and shamanistic traditions, our methods and practices activate your innate awakened awareness and cultivate your previous insights.

As Columbia research scientist Lisa Miller explains: "Each of us is endowed with a natural capacity to perceive a greater reality … The awakened brain is the neural circuitry that allows us to see the world more fully and thus enhance our individual, societal, and global well-being."

We guide you to this awakened state - slowly, safely, and on your terms - connecting you to a more creative reality, where you will experience transformative insights, deeper connections, and a newfound a sense of purpose.

When the setting and intention are strategically shaped, the results are surprisingly predictable,
strikingly similar, and feel oddly familiar (as though returning home).

We will do it together, with a sense of humor, and we will do it with love.

You are ready. You always have been.

origin story

"When I was nineteen, I took entheogens (psychedelics) and experienced a newfound peace and fulfillment. 

As corny as it sounds, I recognized that love and compassion solved many of my problems. 

This began a lifelong quest to answer a single question: could these benefits be achieved without entheogens?

In Buddhism and Tibetan shamanism, I found empirical, systematic methods of achieving these results. 

As a professor, I translated Buddhist and shamanistic thought and practice within the context of American culture, using the sciences, humanities, and popular culture to make these teachings and methods accessible. 

The result is new gods, a series of sequential programs that deliver the therapeutic benefits of entheogens via an accessible, gradual path of transformation"

- Joel Gruber, PhD 

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about me

I spent several years in India and Nepal, studying philosophy, meditation, and Tibetan language at the monasteries of Namdroling and Pulbari, the Manjushree Institute, and the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives. 

In the United States, I earned my MA at the renowned Naropa University and my doctoral degree within the prestigious Buddhist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

 As a professor of Buddhism at the University of San Diego (USD), I won several awards for outstanding teaching. Currently, I teach at the historic center of holistic healing, The Esalen Institute. 

I have authored dozens of articles published in journals, edited volumes, and popular forums. Drawing from my research, I founded new gods. 

I am currently preparing to publish early research on the efficacy of transcendence, awe, and altruistic love as treatments for anxiety, depression, and addiction.

what people are saying

“Dr. Gruber combines his decades-long scholarly investigation into contemplative traditions with an embodied understanding of meditative practices to create a systematized approach that he seamlessly communicates to his students.

The new gods' program was one of the most healing, life-changing experiences I’ve ever undertaken... At its root, the program is about learning to approach the world from a place of compassion for others and for oneself.

This may sound simple, but to reach that understanding on a deep level, we must each undertake a singular journey—one through which Dr. Gruber guided us with wisdom and empathy... I came to realize that external solutions and salves (which are inherently temporary in nature) can’t provide me with anything like the depth of healing and empowerment that has resided quietly within me all along.”

Dr. McCormick Templeman, Author/Professor

“Dr. Gruber’s passion created an opportunity for me to process my thoughts and experiences so I could find that sense of peace again. After dealing with overwhelming anxiety for months, I no longer live in a state of constant fear and worry.

New gods gave me the tools to actively shape the way I experience the world which in turn made my reality so much more enjoyable.

The expertise and perspective Dr. Gruber brings is truly unique and cannot be replicated by any mindfulness app. Learning to understand, work with, and live in peace with the overly critical voice in our minds is difficult and sometimes scary. There’s no one who understands and offers support through this process like Dr. Gruber.”

Shannon McAvoy, Berkeley Law Student

“This course was an experience. It was telling in its very nature of even the way I interacted with the course, let alone the consciousness gained, content reviewed, experiences shared, and discussions we’ve had.

The level of awareness you can gain, the things to learn, and living life with more purpose is the essence of new gods.

It’s a community and place like no other where things are being talked about in a real, vulnerable, and piercing manner.”

Roc Beas, Commercial Real Estate

frequently asked questions

  • What does the name “new gods” mean?

    Whether we like it or not, we worship the objects we think about most. Rather than recycling old religious themes, or continuing to focus on the gods of credit card, plastic, and neon, we help you create new modes of worship that suit your lifestyle and draw out your awakened awareness.

  • Is new gods religious?

    No. It is for people of all faiths (or none).

  • How is it possible to experience the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics without psychedelics?

    Entheogens (psychedelics) provide a more expansive view of reality by shattering your ordinary mental patterns produced by your brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN). Our programs provide innovative content, meditative exercises, and advanced mental imagery practices that bypass the DMN to produce extraordinary perception. There are two main methods. First, we use mental imagery to activate awakened awareness. Second, we use contemplative activities for integration.

  • Who is new gods for?

    We all could use a deeper connection to our mind-body, environment, and one another. The prototype was designed for college-age students suffering from depression, anxiety and addiction issues. The final product is for working professionals seeking purpose, meaningful connections, and a break from their professional identity, all of which reduce anxiety, depression, and addiction.

  • Where do the techniques I learn come from?

    Mainly Buddhism and Tibetan shamanistic practices, though they come from a wide range of academic and intellectual traditions.

  • Can I do these programs while working?

    These programs were designed to work with your busy schedule, wherever you live. They are offered online and teach you to cultivate awakened awareness in the midst of chaos. This approach facilitates lasting change (regardless of circumstance).

  • What is a typical day like?

    You wake up, login, and read innovative, research-based content focused on a theme. It is not enough to read, you engage with the content through structured writing. Next, you are introduced to a range of meditative practices to deepen your insights from reading. It is not enough to meditate, you enact those insights that day and document your process. In the evening, you activate your awakened awareness through mental imagery, which allows you to understand your mental/behavioral patterns in a new light, with love and compassion for yourself and others. Then you share these insights with others.

  • Can I do the program on my own?

    You do the work on your own, but you do it within a community. Each program takes place on a particular date, with a particular group, with group meetings, via zoom. The strength of our program is the people, and the secret ingredient is bodhicitta, or intelligent love and compassion. By showing up for one another, we transcend previous limitations and achieve the impossible, overcoming that which previously held us back.