A former Art Director at Wallpaper and Conde Nast, Darren Ellis started renting out his studio space in Hackney Wick to spiritually-inclined events to make the rent. 2 years on, Aho Studios has evolved into one of London’s most progressive alternative community spaces, with Daren hosting a regular roster of visiting elders, shamans and wisdom keepers at his home, which he jokingly refers to as ‘The Shaman Inn’.
The Lowdown on Aho Studios
Sandwiched between artists’ warehouses and trendy eateries on the up-and-coming Prince Edward Road in London’s Hackney Wick.
What’s the line-up like?
Regular monthly events include weekly Kambo, Cacao and Rapé (pronounced rapay) circles, Shamanic drumming events and an annual training to learn the path of the Medicine Wheel. These form the background to one-off workshops from elders from tribes like the Huni Kuin tribe from the Brazilian Amazon and Ngai Tūhoe Maoris from New Zealand’s Aeotora.
East London hipsters, millennials who realise that drinking is no longer where it is at, people from all ages and walks of life in search of an alternative community outside of the traditional office-to-pub culture.
And that’s not all… UCL (that’s the University College of London) also uses the space to run psychedelic integration groups for the current trials they are doing on the health benefits of Psilocybin
Psilo…what? Sorry, you lost me there.
Psilocybin is the psychoactive compound found in over 200 types of mushroom and is type purported to have significant impact in reducing depression and anxiety. Like the use of CBD as a health derivative of Cannabis, mushrooms are emerging as the next plant that we may have underestimated.
“Whether this is down to a shift in consciousness that is universal, or an energetic shift in London, people are looking for something else. We get people who used to go drinking but are now choosing to spend their Friday night at a cacao ceremony or ecstatic dance”
With the rapid growth in alternative festivals, ceremonies and the rise of plant medicines, spaces like this provide a safe space to explore and a new base to share experiences with people who don’t think you’ve gone totally cuckoo.