Visionary art is an artistic style which pays homage to the mystical experience and the transcendent spiritual wisdom of humanity. The art emerges out of the artist’s inner journey into the realms of collective vision and their personal insights and experiences. The vision is then used as inspiration for the work of art and for self-realization. Once completed the art is an expression of the inner journey, a catalyst to trigger transformative experiences in the viewer. It is a form of prayer and surrendering to a mystical state of consciousness. Robert Venosa put it simply by referred to his art as “the transcendental mirror”; the transcendent images reflect the transcendent aspects of the viewer and leave the residue of this visionary reality in the mind of the beholder.
The visionary artists are making a powerful statement about the value of the inner reality and the power of mystical experiences to transform and uplift the world. The visionary community sees the primary mystical experience as being the core of all spiritual traditions. As time progresses and cultures change new archetypes are created to express transcendent experience. The new archetypes reflect the contemporary expedition into this other inner dimension of being through contemporary means. Visionary artists, like the ones featured in this blog, are making a statement about the positive and challenging aspects of visionary experiences and validating the reality of this internal experience. This artistic and visual validation of the transcendant is in agreement with new medical research showing the healing power of extra-ordinary states of consciousness especially with psilocybin or MDMA guided psychotherapy.
This visionary artwork is truly a product of an emerging spiritual movement based on direct experience; many of the symbols used to describe the indescribable mystical reality are often inspired by spiritual traditions of the whole Earth. The ability to experience global spiritual culture is a radical shift from 40 years ago, this phenomenon is shaping the way spiritualism is approached and is changing the dialogue about the fundamental nature of reality.
The core of spiritualism in visionary art is in the direct experience of the infinite reality, where all is one, space-time and self are transcended. This is in agreement with the teachings of Tantra, Buddhism, indigenous leaders, and parallels theories emerging from quantum physicists. Today many have created their own religions or spiritual path by drawing inspiration from ancient traditions. This spiritualism based on the inner journey is expressed in visionary art. The experience of creating the artwork is similar to prayer as it connects the artist to the inner consciousness and can evoke powerful non-ordinary states of consciousness in the viewer and or creator of the art.
The creative vision of this community goes far beyond the flat surface of the canvas. Interactive festivals like Burning Man, Boom Festival, Envision, symbiosis are intentional electronic music driven festivals; Desert Daze for psych rockers and other intentional gatherings are an outcropping of this new dynamic and creative arts community. These artists are looking to create installation art, video art, architecture, music, light shows, dance, festivals and other forms of expression. Short intentional gatherings create a visionary space and become a place in which personal transformation, spiritual journey, enthogenic inspired dance and performance can combine with a supportive community. Once the gathering is over they leave no physical trace all that remains are the images, memories and the art.
To achieve these inspirational experiences of personal transformation and mystical revelry a combination of means are utilized by visionary artists including art, dance, music, prayer, meditation, yoga, psychedelics and other ‘technologies of the scared’. These experiences are often evoked through an entheogenic state of mind, many people refer to entheogens as being psychedelic substances but truly, Entheogen is a term meaning god seeking or evoking the mystical reality. Therefore, a visionary work of art is created in an entheogenic state of mind wheather induced by consumation of plants and substances or through inner means. The difference between ingesting a psychedelic substance and taking an entheogen is in the intention; if one is using an entheogen they are seeking unity and spiritual communion with the divine but if one is using a psychedelic they are simply consuming a substance without the intention of inner exploration. Ironically, the casual psychedelic user will still often enter entheogenic states of consciousness especially when exposed to visionary or healing arts.
Many people when viewing visionary art recognize the landscapes the artists are rendering for their own experiences, this suggesting that realms of this other dimension can be similar for people around the world and this similarity of world creative vision is called archetype and has been the subject of intense academic study. Visionary art validates a parallel dimension of being known in western psychology as the transpersonal, this is literally another world different from our material reality which is found by traveling inward. Visionary art suggest that this otherworld really exists because the artist can go there and render its archetypal image and others recognize and relate to the art. The art validates this reality and the artist produces data for the scientists and others exploring this other dimension of human consciousness.
Visionary arts is inseparable from the healing arts, prayer, meditation, yoga and shamanism; they all encourage the movement toward wholeness. All the world’s religions have utilized sacred arts to uplift and inspire the best parts of ourselves. The Earth is rapidly transforming into a place which may not be habitable by humans because of our ignorance about the interconnection of all life. The religious and mystical experience reveals in heart shattering glory, the oneness of existence. The great yogis and shaman of the world all affirm that we are all united on this earth and in the web of life. The recognition of this primal truth has powerful healing and transformative potential. Visionary art plays a powerful role exposing the public to a contemporary expression of this mystic interrelatedness through arts which mirror the transcendent.
By: Transpersonal Spirit
Grof, Stanislav. The Cosmic Game Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness. State University of New York Press. 1998.
http://lila.info/on-visionary-art-and-on-drawing/ Rob Percival 2010
Psychedelic Healing and its Deeper Implications
“I believe that the exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness for spiritual and mental healing is necessary for true health and well-being for all of us and the lack of this connection to the greater universe with-in is endangering the survival of the planet Earth.”
Psychedelics are becoming more and more mainstream and are now gracing the cover of newspapers like the New York Times. Turns out that psilocybin and MDMA are one of the best treatments out there for end of life depression and anxiety and for all types of PTSD.
These studies are not something new but rather part of a tradition of clinical research which began near the start of the 20th century (1900’s) with the study of mescaline and peyote. Psychedelic research expended greatly in the West with Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD at Sandoz Laboratory in Switzerland in the year 1942. Hofmann discovered LSD when he was making derivative of ergot. Hofmann himself states that he was drawn to the substance for mysterious reasons and he believes it called out to him. When working with this new compound he accidentally ingested the substance through unknown means and he became the first person to experience LSD. (See my article Psychedelic research Past and Present for more information https://transpersonalspirit.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/psychdelic-research-past-and-present/ )
From the generations of psychedelic researchers to follow Stanislav Grof mas made the greatest contribution and discovered the healing potential for LSD and non-ordinary states of consciousness by the mid 1960’s. There was a back lash from the political war on drugs which worked to end psychedelic research and condemn the globe to an expensive and human rights degrading time of history which we are just starting to dismantle. MAPS and Rick Doblin have continued to brilliantly advance this research despite the huge challenges. It is now common news that Silicon Valley was highly inspired by engineers who used LSD to develop ideas, the arts and music was forever changed.
The larger picture here is that psychedelics in general have enormous healing potential and cultural impact which some people have already discovered and utilized and which indigenous communities have honored since pre-history. Psychedelics also hold the key to something far greater then higher quality of life and better mental health they unlock the mysteries of religion and give a glimpse of expanded consciousness. In truth, this glimpse and immersion into the universal life force and love is often the true catalyst for the deepest healing. Many people feel disconnected from the greater reality, a greater reality whose principles agree much more with quantum physics and the mystic sages then with the material sciences.
The reintroduction and sanctioned use of consciousness expanding plants into American culture will allow people to open their minds to parts of human experience that they may have never known existed. In America the number of people who never catch a glimpse of the true potential of human consciousness and never feel the most powerful ecstasy of human experience is leading to a dangerous mental sickness which cannot be named and the only cure is to connect with our expanded self. People are seeking something outside themselves which is truly to be found inside but it can only be found if we have done the work to seek it out using methods which are effective. Many people associate these states of ecstasy as being frightening because they lose control have to surrender are in an unfamiliar space which is located inside themselves; its rightly terrifying that there is a deep vast place inside which we rarely see and feels filled with angels and demons.
When these parts of ourselves are rejected and hidden we feel incomplete and lose touch with who we are and can lose a sense of purpose. For extreme blocks built with trauma and ignorance psychedelic therapy and give a vision of what we are and we can taste “truth” inside of ourselves. It can go so much further and then all this; cultures for thousands of years, generation to generation have developed relationships with these other realms of consciousness and the plants and practices that get us there. The knowledge they hold and practice is a part of their way of life and is essential to the way they see the world. I believe that the exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness for spiritual and mental healing is necessary for true health and well-being for all of us and the lack of this connection is endangering the survival of the planet earth. Perhaps, through the newly emerging legalization of marijuana and the development of therapist guided psychedelic therapy many more people will be able to utilize the most effective mental health treatment ever developed but it is also possible that another political backlash could keep these medicines hidden for another 100 years.
This is a recap of what I gathered from a lecture given by Graham Hancock in support of his new book. The quotes are all from memory, dates, names and other information was cross referenced in Graham Hancock’s incredible new book Magicians of the Gods.
The lecture was at the University of Minnesota in a nearly sold out room. It began with Dennis McKenna, expressing his personal interest in Graham’s work. He honored Satha, Grahams Wife, who has put her life into Graham’s journalism. She goes to the sites, dives underwater and takes photographs, without her none of this would have been possible. Dennis Mckenna spoke of Graham Hancock’s continued resolve to put forth exciting and controversial theories which show that ancient advanced civilizations existed at least 5,600 years earlier than previous thought. He has studied the scientific evidence for 30 years and recent discoveries conclusively show that an ancient advanced civilization existed at the end of the ice age, 11,600 years ago.
Graham came to the podium and set the stage with a polite apology about only having had 2 hours of sleep two consecutive nights. Then he set forth to deliver a powerful 3 hour presentation rewriting human history without one break or sip of water. He began with a video of himself and Zahi Hawass a leading Egyptologist, speaking in Egypt. They were at a lecture in which the two were scheduled to each give a presentation and then debate. Zahi Hawass refused to debate and refused to witness Graham’s lecture. In The Q and A section an audience member asked Hawass about Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, which is the earliest confirmed display of human civilization setting advanced human culture back to 9600 BC. Embarrassingly Hawass had never heard of it. Then the moderator who was also an Egyptologist stepped in and explained the discovery of this site. Why would Hawass be so blindly opposed to hearing new information about the history of human culture and the new understanding of cataclysmic world changing events recently discovered by mainstream science? Graham said, “This is what we are up against.”
The Magicians of the Gods lecture began like a college history lecture and the timeline of human history was projected on the screen. His talk was focused on 12,800 -11,600 years ago also known as 10800 BC – 9,600 BC. This time is known as the Younger Dryas cooling period. This is when the global temperatures suddenly dropped for 1,200 years and then just as rapidly the temperatures shot up. In traditional history advanced human civilization only began 5,000 years ago but with the discovery and carbon dating at Gobekli Tepe it is now known that civilization began at least 11,600 years ago at the ending of the Younger Dryer cooling event.
Graham continued to the next slide with no pause; the Younger Dryas Cooling event was caused by a comet impact event of massive proportions. A comet broke up in the earth’s atmosphere striking multiple times leaving characteristic sediment and ash layer in the soil across the entire northern hemisphere of the Earth. The primary point of impact was in the North American ice sheet and ground zero was in Washington State.
This created massive destruction and flooding. The impact broke up the ice sheets covering the northern hemisphere and giant glaciers entered the ocean. This dropped the temperature of the ocean and water levels raise was up to 400 Kilometers in some areas; the global rise in water levels submerging many ancient sites and changing the map of the globe dramatically. This stopped the Gulf jet stream causing global cooling plunging the world into a dramatic drop in global temperature which would last 1,200 years. Cataclysmic flooding would go on for just a matter two to three weeks with high speed water carving the Earth. This wiped out a large area of land and any living thing in the area. In the aftermath many part of coast line remain submerged up to this day.
Graham Hancock believes that during, before and after this event there was advanced human civilization which was destroyed by the comet impact and global temperature change. The hunter gather societies continued to survive around the world following the impact. Graham says it’s possible that humans with advanced knowledge from the city centers survived and traveled out to other areas to spread their knowledge and preserve their traditions.
There is evidence which suggests that many ancient sites may have been misdated or misinterpreted because of the established theory that civilization began 6,000 years ago. With this assumption in mind researchers would have excluded evidence which suggested otherwise. The greatest example of this is the Sphinx in Egypt. There is mounting evidence which shows that this structure in older than previous thought because of water erosion on the stone on and around The Sphinx. The erosion pattern shows heavy rain fall which could only have been possible if it was built between 11,000 – 12,800 years ago during the Younger Dryas cooling event or before. The older date for the Sphinx was thought impossible by archaeologists because there was no other known civilization at that time, but now we know an ancient civilization existed 11,600 years ago in Gobekli Tepe, Turkey.
Mysterious thing about the Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is the highest craftsmanship and most impressive artwork are the oldest in the site. The site was abandoned 1000 years after it was started and finished with the lowest quality of arts and architecture. Perhaps this is due to the influence of an already established high civilization which came in and introduced the area to megalithic building techniques and agriculture. This concept supports the human diaspora from city centers caused by comet impact proposal.
If comets did destroy human civilizations in the past is it possible that it could happen again. In fact, a comet came dangerously close to Earth on October 31st 2015 and was only spotted 20 days before passing the Earth. The comet was as close to the Earth as the Moon. The comets which have wreaked havoc in the past are part of the Taurid Asteroid Belt and this comet in 2015 was also part of this asteroid belt. We pass through this debris field twice every year and due to the movement of the solar system through space we are moving into more and more dangerous territory within in this debris field.
This is supported by a team of astrophysicists exploring the dangers of comet impacts on Earth. Currently, the governments of the world devote very little money or attention to preventing comet impacts on Earth. Perhaps, the whole earth can work together to stop a common enemy, namely, the comets and we can avoid the fate of our ancestors. Graham repeated that he does not want to be a messenger of apocalyptic warnings but is merely suggesting that people should be interested in preventing this kind of cataclysm from occurred in the future and pointed out that we have the technology to prevent comet impacts but the program has a very small budget. Then he said, “In the end all that matters is love.” He received a standing ovation!
The Q and A section was brief after a three hour presentation. He commented on the level of knowledge that is hidden within the geometry and trigonometry of the ancient sites. These sites hold with-in them both astrological knowledge outlining the movement of the planets, constellations and even the long cycles of the procession of the equinox or the infamous wobble in the Earth’s rotation. He admitted that to this day he has no idea how it was possible for these ancient civilizations to move and cut the massive building stones sometimes weighing upwards of 900 tons. He speculated that a technology mediated by consciousness could have been developed. He spoke about his optimism for the future and attributed it to the young people of the world who no long trust authority figures who are controlling our minds and lives for the purpose of increased control and power.
Graham ended the lecture with a powerful statement about visionary plants and their transformative power. A woman asked, what can we do to help improve the world and Graham responded, “Ayahuasca lots of it, in heavy doses… We need to raise our consciousness and visionary plants have played an important part in that…” This is all paraphrasing from memory but he then said, “It is uncanny how this Ayahuasca has emerged from the jungle and spread around the globe at just the point in time when the Amazon is facing near total destruction and the Earth’s ecosystem is being challenged in new and dangerous ways.”
Incredible, The Magicians of the Gods reveals even more about the comet impact and ancient civilizations!
Personal Spiritual Quest: Psychedelic Spirituality, Shamanism and Yoga.
The spiritual quest has been at the core of everything I have done in my life. Spirituality is the examination of who we are personally and expansively and why we are on Earth and what we can do about it. Although I have only reached 31 years of life on Earth I have continuously followed my own spiritual path. I have spent time with many spiritually wise persons from many cultures around the world and studied hundreds of books and resources on world religions. There is a universal message between the teacher’s and that is respect for all life, humility and the conversation between you and the divine is a personal conversation.
In my experience there is no need to cling hard and fast to one branch of a specific tradition and stick with it for life. This kind of specificity is common in many spiritual and religious individuals but this kind of commitment may not be required to develop profound respect for life, humility and to remember our connection with infinity. Each person has an individual path which only they can traverse. That path can include in-depth commitment to some particular teaching, study or community. The path can also be creative and highly individualized mixing and blending the wise words from cultures and intellectuals around the world into our own personal context.
The important thing is that whatever practice is important and meaningful to you is the thing to do. The power in any practice is our focus and intention. The personal connection to what you are doing and the reason for doing it is what gives it the power to transform our body, mind and open our spiritual reality. Our destiny is a field of possibility which is affected by our past, present and future and the choices we make. There are many practices which can help to develop personal control over our mind and this can increase the potency of our practice. The shamans of Peru remind us that we dream reality into being in every moment. The master Yogis say we must learn to control the mind and body to find stillness and transcend into infinity. Rolling Thunder a North American indigenous medicine man says that the preliminary step to study become a medicine person is the ability to recognize any bad thought and put it out like the flame of a candle.
There is certainly a connection between the body, mind and spirit. In advanced yoga they are instructed to withdraw all the senses into the body, then to withdraw the mind into the heart to still all thought then in that heart cave we can hear the voice of the divine. This kind of bodily control extends into the extraordinary feats like being able to change heart rate, brain wave pattern, body temperature and to stop the breath all together for extended times (do not try at home). However, these accomplishments are but dangers along the path as they distract us anyway from the deepest reality and stir our thoughts. The way these yogic masters accomplish such feats is through a systematic practice which revolves around understanding and affecting the flow of life force or prana which is behind everything in existence.
The life-force concept is seen in cultures around the world and it is said to be the transcendent force which is also the fabric of existence. This force flows through the body as blood, oxygen, lymph, energy, the nervous system electrical current, the DNA, the whole vibrational spectrum of human existence. The shaman, yogis and mystics each use the life force as a way to deepen their awareness linking the body and mind into the realms of spirit. This life force can bring us into another dimension far beyond what is familiar in normal waking consciousness. The universe imagined and unimagined is united in life force and we are intrinsically linked to all existence through this ever present stream of life.
The mystical visions of the transcendent realms are not common in literature produced by European culture in the last 1000 years or so, perhaps due to religious fundamentalism which lead to the death of millions. Even with-in that context saints with-in the Catholic Church still experienced divine ecstasy. In recent history American and European cultures have begun integrating these kinds of transcendent experiences back into their lives. Through the practice of meditation, yoga, shamanism, creativity and sometimes spontaneously people will slip into the realms beyond material reality and gain an overwhelming ecstasy they describe as sacred. Psychedelics are a major player in this shift in perspective as these ancient medicines link us back to the prophetic visions of paradise.
Parallel to those stories is the unbroken lineage of indigenous communities around the world who have long held traditions which evoke spiritual ecstasy through nature, community and ingestion of plants. Nature is the gospel to these communities and many hold a long tradition of using sacred plants. All life is sacred but there are some plants which are particularly helpful to human spiritual well-being. These plants have been called entheogens (‘invokes the divine’) and psychedelics (Mind manifesting) in the West. These entheogen plants are sacraments in a spiritual tradition which is cross cultural and goes back to the beginning of human kind and even involves the Neanderthals. This cross cultural shamanic tradition holds the spirits of the plants to be their primary teachers. The plants show them what to do and the spirits do the doctoring when healing. One could say there is an intelligent life force associated with the plant and through honoring it we gain access to the worlds of consciousness inhabited by the plant spirit or intelligence. This other realm is known as the otherworld, spirit world and the realm beyond death.
This shamanic tradition is at the root of all religions as it predates organized religion by thousands of years. Nature is been the living presence of the divine and through nature humanity can gain great knowledge and wisdom which is applicable to holistic well-being. In ancient India the spiritual culture which one can call shamanic yoga or pre-hindu religion is at the root of current spiritualism. This ancient shamanic tradition also spoke of the devis or spirits with-in each plants, rock, and drop of water (from the Rig Veda oldest known spiritual text in human history). It also used ritual, trance and plants to transcend.
There is a foundation in human consciousness which is drawn to this world of spirit and this ancient imprint is left from millions of years of evolution and is still present and active in humans. The shaman, the yogis, the Buddhists all utilize practices which focus intention, bring greater awareness to the unseen forces in life and utilize states of extraordinary consciousness.
Today in the scientific community psychedelic plants like marijuana, MDMA, LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), DMT and Ayahuasca are showing tremendous promise as healing medicine in the right setting. These studies started in the 1940’s stopped in 1970’s and started again in the 1990’s. These studies show that these psychedelic substances which have been taboo and illegal are the most effective treatment known for certain “untreatable” kinds of PTSD. The interesting thing about these studies is that many subjects who gain extraordinary healing do so by going through a mystical experience of the sacred. They describe transcending into the hands of god, being united with all life, all is light, or communicating with divine intelligences like angels, aliens or other spirit beings.
The direct spiritual experience or the mystical experience is the basis of most spiritual traditions. In many cultures around the world the demonization of psychedelics never occurred and they have a long history of using these plants as healing tools and as spiritual teachers in the context of their medicine ways and community. The beautiful thing that is occurring now in Peru for example is the communication between Westerners and Indigenous medicine people because of the sacred plant medicines especially Ayahuasca. Many of these shaman are not able to continue their lineage of knowledge as in the old days with modern transportation and children looking for lives beyond the fast disappearing jungles. This pressure is allowing much of this body of knowledge to be brought to scientifically minded contemporary peoples with jobs and lives outside the ancient forests.
Ayahuasca is important for another reason because DMT is one of the primary psychoactive neurotransmitter in the brew. DMT is produced in the human body naturally as well. This important link is highlighted by the fact that pure DMT causes people to go into a kind of lucid dream state where they go to parallel dimensions of existence. These explorations into these parallel dimensions often involve connection with infinity, spirt beings, crystal cities and more. For more on this Pablo Amaringo’s artwork and Rick Strassman’s book DMT Spirit Molecule are great resources.
Spirituality is now developing a new language through which to understand these most dynamic and ethereal questions. Rick Strassman PH.D has put forth the term Theoneurology meaning, “The brain is the agent through which God communicates with humans (Strassman 2014).” Research into psychedelics is revealing what happens in the brain during mystical states of consciousness. The term psychointegrator has been proposed by Luis Edwuardo Luna and others to describe psychedelic plants because studes and brain scans show psilocybin causes nearly 100 times more interconnection between various regions of the brain. Furthermore, under the influence many regions of the brain become less active leading to the theory that the brain is a filter for the overwhelming stimulus around us and when it is calmed the brain integrates and can experience the divine.
We are headed toward a new understanding of spiritualism and to a great degree we can see how racism and religious persecution continues to hinder spiritual development to this day. Does using a non-harming plant medicine in a ritual setting for spiritual or religious reasons constitute and illegal act or should it be protected citing the constitution. The answer is for some its legal for others it is illegal. This paradigm is going to have to change in order to uphold the constitution and to live in a democratic society which accepts diversity and cross cultural communication. Freedom of religion cannot exist without protecting sacred land and without free access to plant medicines.
In all this we are to find our own way to the spiritual heights we seek. This can only be done by following that which supports our lives and is meaningful to us. When a prayer or a practice feels meaningless it is not worth doing because the passion of your soul is not in it. Do not however fall into the trap that says the spiritual path should be easy because it is not. Many times when we are closest to god we are in fact suffering. Many people deprive themselves of enjoyable things simply to suffer to come closer to god like fasting, sundance or a psychedelic ceremony.
Alex Grey is an example of a spiritualist who has followed his vision to become one of the world’s most well-known painters. He has gone as far as to say that he honors the direct spiritual experience and mystical visions by making art; thus his art is sacredly inspired and is his deepest prayer to humanity and the divine. Others have found they can share their teaching through mediation, offering the healing arts, music, raising a family, pursuing a spiritual life and bettering the world.
There is no model upon which to build our personal inner temple but rather we have to build it and explore the territory with our own determination. With practice, concentration and non-judgment we can learn anything in life and develop a personal spiritual tradition informed by what inspires and moves us. The mystical union with the divine is not always the focus of our practice, however, the ever flowing divine life force is inseparable from who we truly are.
By: Transpersonal Spirit
Strassman, Rick, DMT Spirit Molecule: A Doctors Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences. Park Street Press. Rochester, Vermont. 2001.
Strassman, Rick, Slawek Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska. Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds Though Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies. Park Street Press Rochester, Vermont. 2008.
Strassman, Rick. DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: Anew Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible. Park Street Press. 2014.
Grey, Alex. Net of Being. Cosm press. 2012.
Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder Speaks A Message for Turtle Island. Clear light Publishers Santa Fe NM, 1999.
Swami satyananda Saraswati. Kundalini tantra. Yoga publication trust, Meunger, Bihar, India. 1984, 2007.
Transpersonalspirit.wordpress.com all writing by Nathan P Rose. 2011 – 2015.
Reishi is Japanese for “divine” or “spiritual mushroom”, the word is derived from rishi which means a wise sage. In China its known as Ling Chi, Ling Chih, Ling Zhi or “tree of life mushroom”. The most common name for this mushroom is the mushroom of immortality because of its ability to bring health. Reishi was associated with royalty, health, recuperation, longevity, sexual prowess, wisdom and happiness. The Reishi is often portrayed in Asian art work alongside the wise sages as a symbol of longevity. The myth and lore about the Reishi stretches back thousands of years.
This mushroom is available today for us all. It can be taken in tincture, tea or capsules. The dried Reishi mushroom should be cooked in water at a high heat for 30 minutes to 2 hours to get the full potency. The tea tastes earthy and a little sweet it is nice with honey. The mushroom is used by herbalists in tonic soups and teas and has a long history of use by ancient sages and spiritual masters of Asia as it aids is calming the mind and opening the energetic pathways of the body.
The dried Reishi mushroom can be made into a tincture by adding the mushroom into a mason jar filled with brandy or vodka. Shake the sealed jar daily with healing intentions in mind and wait 3-12 months. In the end you can filter out the mushroom and use a 1/16 to 1/8 of a teaspoon or a dropper full in hot water (180 Degrees) to boost immunity and promote longevity.
Description: Polypore with a hard, woody, shiny, varnished appearance. The spores, mushroom body and the mycelium are all medicinal and used in herbal preparations. Found worldwide. Active constituents: Has a wide variety of active components, including alkaloids, proteins, amino acids, polysaccharides (including Beta-D-glucans), ergosterol and other sterols, triterpenes, neucleotides (including adenosine), volatile oils, minerals, vitamins and lipids. Uses: Athletic performance: Enhances oxygenation of the blood, reducing and preventing altitude sickness in high altitude mountain climbers. Cardiovascular health: Lowers cholesterol levels, reduced blood and plasma viscosity in a controlled study of patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Immune enhancement: Potent action against sarcoma, stimulates macrophages and increases levels of tumor-necrosis factor (TNF-α) and interleukins. Immunopotentiation: Anti-HIV in in vitro and in vivo animal studies; protects against ionizing radiation. Liver health: Reduced liver enzyme levels (SGOT and SGPT) in hepatitis B patients. Respiratory health: in studies 60-90% of 3,000 patients with chronic bronchitis showed clinical improvement, especially older patients with bronchial asthma as it aids in regeneration bronchial epithelium (bronchial tract lining). Supports individuals with cancer. Miscellaneous uses: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory; liver detoxification and protective actions.
Scientific research about Reishi’s medicinal properties: It is directly active as a anti-microbial (Suay et al. 2000) Reishi primarily functions as a biological response modifier, stimulating production of macro phages (often due to interleukins-1, -2, -6, -10) activation the host’s production of natural killer cells, T cells and tumor-necrosis factors. More than 100 distinct polysaccharides and 119 triterpeniods have been isolated (Gao 2002), These triterpenoids and polysaccharides demonstrate immuno-modulatory properties. Can be good for bronchitis, asthma, and allergies (Hirotani and Furuya 1986; han et al 1998; Zhu et al 1999). Has been shown to limit the in-vitro growth of Meth-A and LLC tumor cell lines (Min et al. 2000) and cervical HeLa cells (Zhu et al 2000). It strongly stimulates the activity of T-lymphocytes (Bao et al. 2002). Natural killer T cells were significantly augmented when cancer cells were co-cultured with human spleen cells (Ohtomo 2001) Slivova and colleagues reported Reishi inhibited breast cancer cell adhesion, reducing motility and migration of highly metastasized cancer cells. Reishi’s polysaccharides caused a 5 to 29 fold increase in the tumor-necrosis factors, interlukins -1 and -6 and a substantial augmentation of T lymphocytes (Lieu and other 1992). polysaccharides of Reishi significantly inhibited the growth of leukemia (U937) cells. This mushroom also restricts tumor angiogenesis. (Lee and others 2001) found that Reishi prevents oxidative damage from the effects of cancer chemotherapy. Reishi has a Beta-Glucan from the mycelium enhanced the production of nitric oxides from macrophages but decreased other free radicals and the collateral harm they cause to healthy cells (Han et al. 198; Li et al 2000; Zhou and Gao 2002). Tumor necrosis factors (Alpha TNF’s) were released by macrophages 8 hours after exposure to derivatives of mushroom polysaccharides targeting cancerous cells, followed 4 hours later by a burst of nitric oxide, which then killed the diseased cells.
The antioxidant properties of Reishi have been well established (Chang and But 1986; Chen and Zhanga 1987; Wang et al. 1985; Yang et al. 1992; and Lee et al. 2001) and thus provides a powerful antioxidant effect. Reishi can play an important role in minimizing the effects of aging by reducing damage from oxidative stress associated with free radicals. Constituents including Lanostanic triterpenoids have been shown to be anti-inflammatory (Ukai et al 1983) in the treatment of arthritis (stavinoha et al. 1990, 1996; Lin et al. 1993; Mizuno and Kim 1996; Lee et al. 2001). Mushroom inhibited platelet aggregation and gave positive results in treatment of atherosclerosis (Tao and Feng 1990). Significant results were obtained in a clinical study in the treatment of prostate inflammation (Small et al. 2000). Zhang (2002) isolated an bioactive glucose-galactose-mannose sugar that enhances lymphocyte activity and immunoglobulin. Reishi helps respiration, since this species enhances the oxygen absorbing capacity of the alveoli in the lungs, thereby enhancing stamina (Chang and But 1986). Andreacchi and others (1997) demonstrated that Reishi increased coronary flow due to vasodilation, with a corresponding decrease in diastolic blood pressure and no change in heart rhythm.
By: Transpersonal spirit
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American Primitive guitar and raga guitar.
American primitive is a style of guitar which emerged starting in the 1950’s with Elizabeth Cotton and John Fahey. It was known as “primitive” a term inspired by the French impressionist painters. Primitive refers to developing an unconventional style and taking a non-academic path of study with the art form. The American Primitive style blends folk and blues into primarily instrumental compositions. The finger picking style evolved to blend the dissonance from blues, the fingering of folk music and a flavoring of Indian classical music.
American Guitarists John Fahey, Elizabeth Cotton, Robbie Basho, Leo Kottke, and Peter Walker inspired the newly emerging renaissance of this guitar style. This American Primitive style of guitar also involves a number of English guitarists John Renbourne, Bert Jansch, Davy Graham and Michael Chapman’s solo guitar pieces are prime examples. The various musicians each made unique contributions to the development of this diverse style, each with their own emphasis on folk, blues, ragtime and raga.
Today there are more Guitarists influenced by or playing in the American Primitive style then ever before. It has reached into the avant-garde, folk, blues, jazz, ragtime, new age, world and fusion music. Artists sometimes referred to as the new American Primtivists Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghan, Daniel Bachman, Glenn Jones, Ben Chasney, Sir Richard Bishop, Steve Gunn, Alexander Turnquist, Bill Orcutt, Paul Metzger have all advanced the style in their own unique direction.
The most striking feature of this movement was not the integration of folk and blues which lays its foundation but the new integration of classical Indian musical structure known as the raga into the compositions, often called American raga or folk raga. Ravi Shankar was responsible for introducing many Americans and Europeans to Indian raga. As one of India’s greatest musicians his story is essential to the American primitive movement and its fusion with raga.
Ravi Shankar was born in April 7th 1920. He was born in a privileged family and studied music and arts from a young age. His Father and brother both moved to Paris in the 1930’s and Ravi soon followed. He went to school and studied in Paris where he began to play music publicly at the age of 13. He was instrumental in building the bridge between European and Indian music. In 1956 Ravi Shankar released his American debut album “Three Ragas”. He was a teacher to American guitarist Peter Walker, George Harrison of the Beatles, Phillip Glass and Anoushka Shankar (his Daughter) amongst others.
Ali Akbar Khan is known as one of the greatest sarod players in Indian history. His first 12″ LP arrived in 1955, that same year Yehudi Menuhin, world class classical violinist, invited Khan to play at MOMA in New York. He would later play at the concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison and his brother in-law Ravi Shankar. Peter Walker would study with Ali Akbar Khan for a brief time.
In 1957 Elizabeth Cotton was playing a primarily blues style which laid the foundations for the coming American primitive movement. Elizabeth Cotton played in an unique style and had many instrumentals which blended folk and blues. Her influence on the coming generations of guitar players has been greatly under appreciated.
John Fahey was the most notable guitarist to develop the New American style with a recording in 1959 under the name Blind Thomas later that year he would record “Blind Joe Death” both were later reissued on his own Takoma Records in 1964. Takoma Records became a label which brought this new guitar sound into the public attention. Many of the tracks on these albums were unique in picking style and in composition bring together folk and blues.
1963 Davy Graham released his debut album “The Guitar Player” and the following year released the classic “Folk, Blues and Beyond.” Davy Graham like Fahey blended folk and blues into intricate finger picking patterns.
1963 Sandy Bull releases “Fanstasias for Guitar and Banjo” which incorporates many middle eastern tonal structures on guitar and banjo.
Rabbie Basho was a major influence in this style born in 1940 with the name Daniel Robinson Jr would not begin playing guitar until college. “Daniel Robinson Jr. Once enrolled at the University of Maryland, he made a rapid transition from barrel-chested jock to cosmic beatnik to 12-string innovator self-styled in honor of a 17th-century Japanese poet (2). ” Over a two-decade career, his songs morphed from raga-style instrumentals to Native American tributes that featured Basho’s distinctively challenging vocal style (2).” Basho played the 12 string guitar in a way which had a meditative atmosphere. He transcended east and west with a transcendent sound which has had influence on new age composition. His vocal styling is not often mentioned because it is operatic and warbling which was incorporated only after his first few releases.
In 1962 Daniel Robinson (Robbie Basho) would hear Ravi Shankar for the first time. This introduction to the music of India had a major effect on Basho and many other guitarists who evolved this style.
In 1965 Basho releases his debut albums, “The Seal of the Blue Lotus” and “The Grail and The Lotus” on Takoma Records and they become true classics.
“Blind Joe Death” by Fahey is reissued on Takoma Records.
Bert Jansch released his first solo album “It don’t bother me” and “Bert Jansch” in 65’. These albums featured skillfully styled blues guitar with an English folk flavor and impressive finger picking.
John Renbourne also hits the scene with a solo album. Renbourne developed a classical English folk style using compositions from the renaissance and infusing that with blues and eastern raga influence. At points in his career he would employ the sitar, tanpura, and tablas (Indian drums) on his recordings. In 1966 Bert and John release a duet album which features incredible guitar playing. That same year Bert and John would begin to form The Pentangle.
1966 Ravi Shankar meets George Harrison and Harrison brings Indian music to the world in the following years. Harrison brought Ravi Shankar to play at music festivals and on American tours. Harrison took on the task of learning the sitar and even included Indian inspired music on The Beatles album “Revolver” and “Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
1966 Peter Walker’s album “Rainy Day Raga” was a breakthrough album blending folk, and Indian raga. Peter Walker was born in 1937 in Boston MA. In the early 1960’s “during a stint in San Francisco he heard the legendary Ravi Shankar perform and Walker’s lifelong fascination with Eastern raga was formed, along with his like passion for the flamenco tradition(6). ” “He studied with Ravi Shankar for a time in Los Angeles and also studied with Ali Akbar Khan in San Francisco. Returning to the Boston area, he became a regular on the 1960’s Cambridge and Greenwich Village folk scenes, where he became close friends with guitarist Sandy Bull and the tragic folksinger Karen Dalton(6).”
His debut album “Rainy Day Raga” is best described in the linear notes by Walker: “American raga, or as Bob Shelton of the New York Times calls it, American folk raga – the word raga is used because of the association with Indian classical and folk music, employs the Indian concept of starting with a drone, then a melodic line based on the scale, then weaving, reweaving, and interweaving the melodic line so that a freely improvised piece is constructed… Then when the melody line has been inserted I feel free to improvise, based on emotion…The music reaches a fusion point, and a sound is produced like running brook water with the improvisations like bubbles flickering over the surface. Then the piece must be closed out. (7).” A critic wrote “Peter Walker – tall, thin, dark haired, and intense – is an exciting young guitarist and creative musician who through his own playing, and as a musical director for Timothy Leary’s “Celebrations” is giving a new direction and a new sound to American “folk” music today. (7).”
1968 The Pentangle releases their first album “Sweet Child” immediately followed by the amazing albums “The Pentangle” and “Basket of Light.” The same year Incredible String band released “Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter” and “Wee Tam” featuring Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. These albums are hippie psychedelic folk with whimsical charm and eastern raga-acid-folk embellishments. Green Crown is a notable track which is a wonderfully psychedelic raga folk song the likes of which have yet to be recreated.
Takoma Records released Minneapolis based Leo Kottke’s second album “Circle Round the Sun” in 1970 which sold well (3). The rare and classic band Magic Carpet released its one and only self-titled album which infuses sitar into folk music.
In 1972 Glenn Jones is introduced to John Fahey in high school. (2)
1973 Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan release “Ragas” a stunning double disc LP featuring two of India’s greatest musicians.
On Feb. 28 1986, Robbie Basho dies on a chiropractor’s table in Berkeley after an “intentional whiplash” procedure causes several blood vessels in his neck to burst.
At the same time thirty-three-year-old guitarist Steffen Basho-Junghans first hears Basho’s music while living in East Berlin. “I discovered it with a German-licensed release of the first Windham Hill guitar sampler from 1981… About five or six months later, I got a message that Robbie died nearly at the same time that I was discovering him.” Throughout the 1980 to present day Steffen Basho-Junghans has been playing in the raga folk style. He was born in 1953 in Germany and toured extensively and developed a guitar festival in Berlin. In the 2000s he began releasing solo guitar albums which display incredible musical talent, creativity and impeccable skill. One of the most refined and polished integrations of folk and raga in meditative form. Steffen added Basho to his name out of respect and to honor his fallen musical hero’s legacy.
1992 Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, a world renowned Indian musician, had his first major album release. He transformed “the Hawaiian slide guitar into a more Indian instrument, adding chikaris and sympathetic strings, and eventually coming out with a 24-string instrument based on the old Hawaiian six-string. This is universally regarded as the highest form of the slide guitar’s development anywhere, making Bhattacharya one of the masters of the instrument, especially when considering his amazing abilities in playing Indian forms on it (19).” Bhattacharya is one of the greatest musicians I have ever witnessed play on stage.
”In 1997 “Twenty-seven-year-old musician Jack Rose hears Fahey’s 1974 LP “Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier’s Choice)” on WUVT FM in Blacksburg, VA. “Basically that record was the blueprint for me on how to merge Asian and American country blues into a raga form,” he says. “When I first heard it I thought the entire record was improvised. Later I found out ‘Thus Krishna on the Battlefield’ was improvised, but that the…title track was completely composed (2).”
In 1998 Ben Chasny released his first album under his moniker Six Organs of Admittance. This was the same year the Chasny first heard a cassette of Peter Walker’s “Rainy Day Raga” and it deeply influenced his guitar playing. He would go on to make many albums evolving the psych folk, psych rock, American primitive and raga guitar styles as well as noise and avant-garde.
1998 Sir Richard Bishop released his first solo album “Salvador Kali.” He was a founding member of the experimental rock outfit the Sun City Girls and has continued his love of eclectic musical styling. His albums range from the avant-garde, jazz, blues, folk, world music, raga, ragtime and free form improvisations.
February 22, 2001, John Fahey left his body for the unknown expanse.
Jack Rose released his first homemade CD-r in 2001.
In 2003 Chesny (Six Organs of Admittance) would release “For Octavio Paz” a solo guitar album which is a gem in the instrumental American Primitive style and one of two solo guitar albums (7).
In 2003 “James Blackshaw, a young musician from Kent, England, puts out his debut, “Celeste”, a CD-R of pastoral acoustic-guitar numbers with an initial run of 80 copies. “Discovering Robbie Basho was a real turning point for me,” Blackshaw says, “and to call him influential with regard to my own work is an understatement. Much more so than Fahey, even. (2).”
2004 Glenn Jones released his first solo album, “This is the Wind That Blows It Out.” Before going solo he was a member of the group Cul de Sac which collaborated with John Fahey on one of their albums. Glenn is a student of the “Takoma style” and plays a clean and beautifully melodic guitar and banjo pieces (8).
2004 Jack Rose releases a pair of debuting albums, “Two Originals of Jack Rose” on the Beautiful Happiness label and “Raag Manifestos” on VHF. Jack Rose got his start in the avant-garde electronic noise-punk band Pelt most known for their double CD “Ayahuasca.”
2004 Meg Baird comes to the surface with the band Espers, a Philadelphia based psych folk ensemble featuring Greg Weeks, Helena Espvall and Otto Hauser. The group first appeared in 2002 and released 3 full length albums. Which include intricate finger picked guitar styling with a heavy psychedelic folk influence. Meg Baird would later release solo albums and collaborate with her sister Laura Baird to form The Baird Sisters.
2005 “Kensington Blues” by Jack Rose also released on the label VHF is a masterpiece in the American primitive style with many raga influenced pieces.
2005 Minneapolis based musician Paul Metzger releases “Three improvisations on Modified Banjo.” This album is filled with meditative long form arrangements for a 21 string modified banjo built by the artist himself. The album integrates folk, jazz with a heavy middle eastern, raga influence and Japanese Bouzouki music. Glenn Jones stated in Minneapolis that this album is a large part of what inspired him to take up the banjo. Paul Metzger is currently creative director for Nero’s Neptune a Minneapolis record Label run by Mark Trehus which releases limited edition records by Metzger and other artists.
2006 Scot Ray releases “Scot Ray participated for three albums with Bill Barrett (chromatic harmonica), on dobro & acoustic slide-guitar as a duo under the name of Gutpuppet. As far as I know, this is his first solo-release. Here he plays dobro, 6 & 12 string dreadnaught and the 22 string chaturangui, -the Indian guitar designed by Indian master Debashish Bhattacharya (17).”
2007 Alexander Turnquist emerges releasing his debut album “Faint at the Loudest Hour.” His music is more meditative using harmonics and integrating that into landscapes of swelling echoes.
Steve Gunn released his debut solo album “Sundowner.” Based in Brooklyn, New York he began as a hardcore metal musician in high school who loved Indian music. His recent releases show a blend of singer songwriter with American Primitive guitar. Some albums long formed and experimental with others more or less song based.
Jack Rose died on December 4, 2009, of a heart attack, he was 38 years old. This was a major loss as Jack Rose brought many musicians together and was an outspoken member of an otherwise quite group of guitarists.
2010 Daniel Bachman releases his first album on cassette called “Feast of Green Corn” on Mirror Universe Tapes (12). Daniel would go on to release several albums which feature the American primitive style. He often leans in the blues direction on many of his pieces but in the 2010’s is ever more integrating eastern influenced guitar.
2013 Glenn Jones releases “My Garden State” a really wonderful album recorded by Laura and Meg Baird.
Steve Gunn puts out two albums “Time Off “(2013) which is more song based approach with interesting songs and really enjoyable guitar which reflects influence from the 1960’s rock to American Primitive guitar. Steve Gunn and Mike Gangloff’s album “Melodies for a Savage Fix” which explores drones and raga folk and blues with 20 minute tracks.
Daniel Bachman’s “Orange County Serenade” (2014) plays like a thesis on the American primitive guitar including all the best of raga, blues and slide in original compositions.
American Primitive and raga guitar influences and highlights-
Ravi Shankar- India’s Master Musician (1963)
Robbie Basho – Seal of the Blue Lotus(1965) Reissued as Guitar Soli.
Peter Walker – Rainy Day Raga (1966)
John Fahey – Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier’s Choice) (1973)
Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan –Ragas (1973)
Six Organs of Admittance – For Octavio Paz (2003)
Jack Rose – Kensington Blues (2005)
Paul Metzger – Three improvisations for Modified Banjo (2005)
Steffen Basho-Junghans – late summer morning (2006)
Michael Chapman – Trainsong: Guitar Compositions 1967 – 2010 (2010)
Glenn Jones – My Garden State (2013)
Steve Gunn – Time Off (2013)
Article By: Transpersonal Spirit
- The Cosmos Club
Turtle sex, chiropractic death, and peyote under the pillow:a year-by-year account of American primitive guitar
By David Dunlap Jr. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/cover/2006/cover0707.html?navEdit (there are many factual errors in this article!).
- Peter Walker. Rainy Day Raga (stereo). Originally released Vanguard Records Santa Monica Ca. 1966. Reissued with addition notes on Harte records 2008. Linear notes.