Kat Lakey is the founder and director of The Psychedelic Assembly. From her first encounters in 2008, entheogens have been a guiding light in her career, which until now has largely been as a background figure in the psychedelic community.
Her unusual upbringing by her mother Laura Lakey (a commercial illustrator and oil painter) and father John Lakey (a cartoonist, sculptor, and author), predisposed Kat to a life devoted to creativity, playfulness, and imagination. Her prolific parents' careers at a myriad of companies including; Dungeons and Dragons, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Fox Animation Studios, ensured that she and her sibling's childhoods were always filled with cartoons, toys, costumes, pretend games, and encouragement. John and Laura endlessly supported Kat in finding her own path to happiness in life, no matter how unusual it became.
Kat's early work as a freelance videographer took off after the creation of her and her sister Alexa Lakey's 2011 viral video “The Greatest Speech Ever Made” Since then, she has produced content for television personality Jason Silva, Kahpi - The Ayahuasca Hub, and the “Thank You Plant Medicine” campaign. The Lakey sisters went on to produce a podcast series for “The Psychedelic Salon”, which charted William Leonard Pickard’s novel “The Rose of Paracelsus”, in an effort to bring attention to the plight of the formerly incarcerated psychedelic figurehead. The sisters also self-published a surreal young adult novel about lucid dreaming titled “Wide Awake and Dreaming.”
In 2017, Kat began an Ayahuasca apprenticeship in Peru with Jessica Bertram, an Ayahuasquera who came by strong personal reference from Dr. Dennis McKenna. She worked with Jessica in the Madre de Dios region of the rainforest at a small center named “Parign Hak.” There she studied traditional Amazonian plant medicine with the Amarakaeri people and acted as the retreat coordinator and social media manager for the center. She ran a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2018 to help revitalize the facilities and over the years her work helped Parign Hak gain visibility and recognition as an indigenous-owned and operated retreat that provided transformational experiences for the participants and reciprocity for the rainforest and the local communities.
While walking the apprenticeship path was critical for restoring balance in Kat's own life, in March 2020 on her last visit to Parign Hak she realized that she wasn't destined to become an Ayahuasquera herself. While on a retreat at the center and completely cut off from the outside world, COVID-19 began spreading rapidly, Peru closed its borders, halted all domestic travel, and declared martial law. Upon leaving the center, Kat and the four retreat participants were held under house arrest in a small town in the Madre de Dios for weeks, where Kat acted diligently to ensure that everyone was released and returned home safely. Parign Hak was forced to shutter its doors, Kat left Peru, and the trajectory of her life took a new turn.
Upon moving to NYC in 2021 to work as the in-house videographer and events coordinator at The Blue Building in Midtown Manhattan, Kat became deeply involved in environmental activism. During the peak of the Marco Temporal Nao demonstrations in Brazil, Kat was searching for a way to become involved in Amazonia-based activism in NYC. While there were solidarity demonstrations planned in San Francisco and London, there were no coinciding events scheduled in NYC. Kat took it upon herself to organize two public demonstrations surrounding the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the rights of its indigenous people, reaching out to organizations such as Amazon Watch and Extinction Rebellion for help. One demonstration took place in front of the Brazilian Consulate in August 2021, and the other at the United Nations in September 2021. She continues to advocate for the protection of the Amazon rainforest in NYC under the slogan “Less Concrete More Jungle”.
Kat describes herself as a multimedia artist, activist, author, organizer, and dreamer.