The Alembic

The Founding Team

Michael Taft

Michael W. Taft is a meditation teacher, author, and podcaster. Michael teaches meditation courses, retreats, and individuals worldwide, and is the author of several books, including the bestselling The Mindful Geek. He is the founder and host of the Deconstructing Yourself podcast.

From Zen temples in Japan to yogi caves in India, Michael has been meditating for over thirty five years and has extensive experience in both Buddhist and Hindu Tantric practice. Michael is a co-founder of the groundbreaking Alembic center in Berkeley. He was previously editor-in-chief of Being Human, and was the long-time editorial director of Sounds True. Michael lives with his family in the Bay Area.

Kathryn Devaney

is a neuroscientist and dedicated meditation practitioner, with over 20 years of meditation experience. Since 2002 Kati has sat retreats across the US, Europe, and India and she has collected behavioral and imaging data from meditators across several retreats, events, and laboratories. 

Previously, Kati designed and taught her course ‘Meditation and the Brain’ at Stanford, taught Cognitive Psychology at Boston University, and has given invited lectures at MIT, Harvard Medical School, IIT Delhi, and elsewhere. Supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, she earned her PhD in 2018, using fMRI to examine attention and default mode network function in experienced Vipassana meditators. 

Erik Davis

is an author, award-winning journalist, sometimes podcaster, and popular speaker based in San Francisco. He is the author of five books, including High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the 70s; Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica; The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape; and the 33 1/3 volume Led Zeppelin IV. His first and best-known book remains TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information, a cult classic of visionary media studies that’s still in print.

Erik’s scholarly and popular essays on California, music, technoculture, drugs, and spirituality have appeared in scores of books, magazines, and journals, and his writing has been translated into over a dozen languages. Davis has spoken widely at universities, conferences, retreat centers, and festivals, and has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, NPR, and the New York Times. He graduated from Yale University in 1988, and earned his PhD in religious studies at Rice University in 2015. He currently writes the Substack publication Burning Shore.

Meditate • Move • Imagine • Inquire