Personal Spiritual Quest: Psychedelic Spirituality, Shamanism and Yoga

Personal Spiritual Quest: Psychedelic Spirituality, Shamanism and Yoga.

Alpha Centauri By Luke Brown. Multi-media.

Alpha Centauri By Luke Brown. Multi-media.

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.

Jehua Supai  - Featured in the book 'The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo' by Howard G Charing &; Peter Cloudsley

Jehua Supai – Featured in the book ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’ by Howard G Charing &; Peter Cloudsley

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.

hasam hisim - 1

hasam hisim – 1


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.


Tantric Marriage By: George Atherton

Tantric Marriage By: George Atherton

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. all writing by Nathan P Rose. 2011 – 2015.

Plant Intelligence

Plant intelligence

eveline hanson gaia mother earth

Eveline Hanson Gaia Mother of Earth

Plants live a secret life which is being revealed by science. The plants have been considered unintelligent for hundreds of years in western culture. The story of Noah’s ark does not mention the plants or the fungi which sustain all animal life. The plants move slowly and thus their behavior is more difficult to observe when compared with animals. Also the majority of the plant is usually found under the soil away from human eyes. The plants do not have a brain or a recognizable nervous system and science has largely assumed this means that plants cannot be intelligent.

Plants can interact with their surrounding environment in astonishing ways. The plants can communicate with each other as well as insects, birds, reptiles and other pollinators. When the movement of the plants is sped up they are very animal like. Plants are not isolated but rather are part of a larger community of organisms such as a forest, prairie or desert.

James (JC) Cahill is investigating if plants behave like animals. The information he has gathered provides evidence that some plants indeed act like animals. The root will seek out areas of nutrients when it find a patch it will slow its growth to consume nourishment. When seeking a distant nutrient patch it will develop and move quickly. This is a typical foraging pattern seen in many animals including human mushroom hunters (more on mushrooms later). The movement of the plant root in slow motion looks much like a worm in soil.

The leaves of many plants will move to capture the movement of light. Many plants become less active and the leaves close at night. The Venus fly trap is another example of a plant which behaves like an animal, it moves quickly as it eats insects and slugs. Plants can also claim territory by killing other plants like the nap weed and other invasive species.

The root structures of even small established plants have over 11,000,000 root tips each tip coordinated and intelligent with its movements. For a plant to move its roots they must grow and even this growth very much resembles the movement of worms. How can a plant coordinate millions of growing roots? The structure of these roots systems is much like the internet with its many independent branches in a network. One can remove 90 percent of the plants root and it can continue to survive the same is true with the internet. Let’s see how complex plant behavior above ground is with the sacred and powerful wild tobacco plant.

Wild Tobacco plant is an amazing plant which Ian Baldwin has studied focusing on its sophisticated ability to respond to threats in its environment. Its seed require a wild fire to begin their growth cycle and they can wait in the soil for hundreds of years for that to occur. The wild tobacco plants are attacked by many bugs and caterpillars in its harsh desert environment. Once attacked it releases a toxin, nicotine, which poisons any organism with muscles and thus poisons my bugs. The horn worm caterpillar eats the tobacco at an amazing speed eating a whole leaf in just minutes. The tobacco is sentient and once the caterpillar’s saliva is on the plant it recognizes its attacker and responds. The Tobacco releases a cry for help using a specific scent which attracts insects like the big eyed bug that attack the caterpillars. The plant knows what bugs to call and how to attract them using chemical volatiles or scents.

The wild tobacco also produces trichomes that have a smell which attracts ground foragers who eat the caterpillars like salamanders. When the caterpillars eat the trichomes they become delicious and easy to find treats for reptiles and rodents. The main pollinator is the Hawk moth which lays the caterpillar eggs. This is why the flowers of the tobacco bloom at night to attract the moth and to reproduce. The moth then lays eggs on the tobacco. Despite the tobaccos defenses they can be overrun with caterpillars. When this occurs the tobacco switches its pollinator. It changes its flowers and they began opening at dawn. The daytime flowers have a different look and smell. The day blooming tobacco flower has different sugar and nectar composition. The flower even changed shape and stopped bring in the hawk moth, instead it began to attract the humming birds. The tobacco chooses to switch its pollinator in just 8 days.

wild tobacco

All these scents, signals and defenses are proving the tobacco plant has incredible awareness of its environment. Furthermore, it has been observed that the surrounding plants are listening in on the signals of the tobacco and may raise their defenses as well. The communities of plants are interacting in complex and adaptive ways. The forest is the best place to observe real living plant communities Suzanne Simard has been studying the forests in Canada and has made ground breaking discoveries, pun intended…. continued in the article Forest intelligence.

By Transpersonal Spirit.



Nature. What Plants Talk about. Merit motion production. Written directed by Erna Buffie. 2013. DVD.

Suzanne Simard. The networked healing of forests. Ted lessons.

Plant Spirit Communication

The spiritual and healing power of plants cannot be denied. How could any human live without the help of the plants? They give us food, medicine, oxygen and so much more. Plants have the power to heal the body, mind and spirit. The study of plant medicine has been ongoing since prehistory and highly developed in the medical systems in India (Ayurveda), China (TCM) and in the western world. Indigenous communities throughout history have developed holistic sciences of botanical healing cross culturally using local plants. We now know many of the chemical constituents of the healing plants and can use many varieties of preparations to aid in healing. Many of these plants have been the foundation for development of pharmaceutical medications.

Juan Carlos Taminchi

Juan Carlos Taminchi

In many indigenous communities plants can play a central role in their traditional and contemporary religious practices. The Native American Church (N.A.C.) uses the sacred sacrament peyote internally and the religion itself could not exist without this central plant teacher. There are many examples of societies using other plant medicines as a sacred sacrament in their spiritual traditions such as ayahuasca, san pedro, datura, marijuana and other lesser known plants. In these cultures the physical plant itself is not the focus but rather the plant is integrated into a complex ritual and spiritual structure. The view of plant medicines as a packet of chemicals which have a certain effect on human chemistry is a contemporary idea which is just now influencing some of the medicine people around the world. Traditional medicine inside indigenous communities focuses on a holistic framework which involves communing with the sacred plant spirits in a special set and setting.

In these indigenous communities the focus is not the material plant but rather on the spirit world. The concept of spirits is difficult to understand in western society because there are no equivalent concepts in modern western worldviews. Every plant has a spirit associated with it, these spirits are not a metaphor but rather they are real intelligences within the plants and all things. The spirits are many and the sacramental use of plants is based in ceremony, ritual, song and communication with the spirit world. These various elements of the ceremony all bring in certain spirits whom are called by the medicine people through the songs, ritual objects and plants. These spirits hear the prayers of the participants and work in the spiritual dimension to bring about the desired healing.

Caught in the Web By Martina Hoffman

Caught in the Web By Martina Hoffman

The plants spirits often remind us that we are just humans and have limited influence but the spirits are powerful and can make magic and miracles happen. Healing in this way comes in the form of psychological, spiritual, physical healing as well as helping with anything in life. If one has no job and asks for a job in these ceremonies they will honor and pray to the spirits to help them get a job. This is part of the healing medicine and is essential to balance the health of the community and the individual. Some wish to see the future or to find happiness and love; others are there to gain power to help others heal or to make peace with a deceased relation. Plants are used to determine the future, to find the cause of disease, to find lost objects, to bring wealth, health and spiritual well-being amongst many other attainments. The central power of the healing medicine is not in the hands of the medicine people who guide the healing rites but is determined by the spirits.

In Plant Spirit Shamanism by Ross Heaven and Howard G. Charing they quote a Santeria priest saying, “As long as the diviner is in good standing with the gods and at one with the plants, he will find the answer his client needs (35).” This clearly illustrates the point that the person leading the healing needs to be connected with the intelligence of the plant and with the various spirits and gods. The plant and the spirits are not mythological beings, archetypes or fantasies but rather they are living creatures with intelligent who can communicate with those who develop an honorable relationship with the plants.

The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird goes into great detail about many researchers who use biofeedback machines to study the reactions of plants to their surroundings. Clive Backster began to use polygraph equipment to study plants while he worked as an expert in police investigation. By attaching the electrodes to plants he measured the surface tension of the leaves and determined how the plant responded to the stimulus in the same way that a polygraph is used in police interrogation for lie detection. When he would bring a burning match close to a plant it would have a dramatic response with the needle dramatically spiking and waving. Backster began to notice that the response on the polygraph machine occurred when he thought of harming the plant before any physical action was taken. This was repeatedly found in many different plants and all seemed to respond to human thought. The plants also showed reactions to the environment such as the movement of spiders in the room.

Yvonne McGillivary

Yvonne McGillivary

The plants also responded to human emotion. For example, Backster cut his finger and the plant responded as though shocked by the appearance of distress and blood. Later, he discovered that plants developed a connection to their owner and could sense their distress even when they were far away. When Backster walked several blocks away and thought lovingly of the plants they would respond. He repeated the test with friends and their plants would respond much the same way even at a distance of 700 miles. In this test the plants were placed inside a lead container which blocked all electromagnetic energy. He concluded that plants have tremendous awareness and intelligence and they were detecting some force which was outside the electromagnetic spectrum.

Alfred Vogal conducted similar experiments and ultimately came to this conclusion, “Man can and does communicate with plant life…Plants…may be blind deaf and dumb in the human sense, but there is no doubt in my mind that they are extremely sensitive…they radiate energy forces that are beneficial to man. One can feel those forces! They feed into one’s own force-field, which in turn feeds energy back to the plant (43).”

This extreme sensitivity of plants has been further explored by a group of Italians in a unique community known as Damanhur. They have conducted research on plants by attaching electrodes to leaves and routing the signals into a synthesizer instead of the standard polygraph which uses needles which draw lines on paper. They have been perfecting this technology since 1976 and have come to similar conclusions. The observed the plants becoming aware that they are producing the music in the room and begin to make it more harmonious and musical. If multiple plants are hooked up to these machines in the same space they will begin to make music in harmony with one another. If a human preforms music in the room the plants will respond to the human as well. The Damanhurians have videos of humans making music with the plants. When the machine is attached to wild plants in their natural environment they respond to what is around them the weather, animals ect. For example when a storm is approaching the music of the plants will be more chaotic and frantic then it is on a sunny day. (

Damanhur Temples of Humankind. Hall of Earth

Damanhur Temples of Humankind. Hall of Earth

All this suggests that plant have a great deal of intelligence, creativity and psychic powers as well. In other words, the spirit of the plant is very sensitive to humans and their intentions. The medicine people working with sacred plants develop the knowledge of how to communicate with the plants through their traditions, rituals and personal experiences. Ways of honoring the spirits of the plant are developed over millennium and passed down generation to generation. A strong line of communication between the medicine person and the plant spirit develops into a complex ceremonial and ritual structure which is used for greater connection to the universal life force or the Great Spirit. The connection to the supreme life force and its various messengers allows one to become more complete and integrated with the larger universe. This connection to the whole of existence brings about spiritual realization and healing. A medicine man once told me, “Healing is the remembrance of our divinity.”

By: Transpersonal Spirit


Heaven, Ross; Charing, Howard G. Forward by Pablo Amaringo. Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul. Destiny Books . Rochester, VT. 2006.


Native American Church

Native American Church

Tipi night fire

The Native American Church is a cross tribal religious organization which uses all night ceremonies to magnify the effect of their intentions and prayers. These ceremonies are done to communicate with the spiritual world which is filled with intelligence and life.   This unseen spiritual realm is interconnected with the natural world and all physical life. The spirits hear are called in by the medicine man and his alter and the prayers are carried by the spirits who help us transform our lives. This organization was not always a legal entity but is thousands of years old and center around the use of the Sacred Medicine known as Grandfather Peyote.

Peyote is a sacred medicine used for healing and primary religious experience. Peyote has many names including; The Medicine, Grandfather or Grandmother, The Sacred Medicine. It is used as a medicinal herb to treat physical ailments as well as for religious ceremony. In legal and scientific circles the term Entheogen is used to describe the religious use of a sacrament like Peyote. Entheogen is defined as: “A psychoactive sacramental; a plant or chemical substance taken to occasion primary religious experience.” The longest standing legal use of an Entheogen in The United States of America is the Native American Church (N.A.C.) and the sacred medicine Peyote.

In these ceremonies one enters a part of the world inhabited by healers and ancient traditions. The ceremony is fully considered the sacred relationship between humans, plants, healing and the spiritual levels of reality are woven seamlessly. Recorded here are the wise words of the medicine people, in first-person perspective,  as they introduce Grandfather Peyote.



We wandered toward the fire a large tipi stood against the big open sky.  When arr immediately greeted by the Medicine Man. He had a large friendly smile, long dark hair he came closer for a hug. After our embrace he said, “Welcome, I am so glad you guys could come. It has come full circle, we spoke some time ago and now, here you are. I am glad you two came.”

We greeted him and expressed our appreciation for allowing us to attend the ceremony.  I asked, “Where or when do I make the tobacco offering.” He responded, “You can give it to me now if you want.” So I handed him the tobacco offering and then he began showing us around.

He pointed out the fire and the sweat lodge, the house, the tipi, where to put the food we brought and then we came to a large metal pot with a lid. He said, “Here is the Peyote tea, we call it The Medicine, you can have as much or as little as you want.”

I asked him, “I have never had this particular type of tea. How much should one drink?”

He responds with a smile, “If you’re feeling cautious take one cup and see how you feel, it should start to be felt in twenty minutes or so.  It is best to take the tea slowly with a little bit at a time…”

I said, “I am not exactly feeling cautious.”

He laughs, “Then drink the whole thing and it won’t hurt you.” A silent pause…  “Lately, I start with just one cup and it can get me there, but many people will need more. It can show you everything; it has the power to answer all of your questions. There have been times when it answered all my questions.” He looked toward the fire with inner focus.

I questioned him further, “How long does the effect last?  I know the prayers and the spirits are going to have a healing effect also, but does it last like 4 or 5 hours?”

He quickly responds, “Umm… more like 15 to 18 hours.”  He thinks for a moment and says, “The greatest effect is noticed months and years later even though there is an immediate effect , the long term effect is there. It changes you.” He turns back toward the fire.  “When I was your age I did my first Peyote ceremony.” He laughs a little, “and look at what I am doing now.”


I went into the tipi and sat down by the fire, an older native man with a long black coat was coming through to sit right behind me. He bumped into me and said, “Oh I am sorry if I bumped you. Don’t take it personally. But if I get well on you then you should take it personally.”  I responded, “I will keep that in mind.”

The Medicine Man sang a song to start the ceremony and then spoke. “The medicine is Peyote which is a sacred medicine, we call it the Grandfather. Grandfather Peyote is the only medicine which is sanctioned for religious use by U.S. law so what we are doing here is protected in U.S. law and thus we are not doing anything illegal. These ceremonies are part of the Native American Church and people of all tribes are part of the Native American Church. There are now branches all over the world with even tipi meetings in Africa, many groups in Canada, South and Central America. You can take as much or as little as you like but we do require that on the first round some is taken even if it’s just a small amount. Likewise, if you want to drink a whole gallon of tea please feel free to do so, we have plenty and if we run out of this we have more so no worries about taking too much. The Medicine will be passed several times throughout the night so you don’t have to take a lot all at once and if you would like to you can pass The Medicine on without taking any. But not in the first round you are required to take some.”

The pot of Peyote tea was brought in and the Medicine Man gave some brief recommendations, “You should always pray with the Peyote before you drink it. It reminds me of a story about a woman who was using a face cream to help remove scars. She had been using this cream for a few years and noticed gradual improvement but then one day someone said to her, you have to pray over that first or else it won’t work. Since that day on the lady prayed over the cream before applying and her scars were gone in a couple of months. You see the medicine would not work until the prayers were said to activate it. The Peyote works in the same way as do many things in life.”

The Medicine Man began to explain about The Medicine Peyote telling the story of its discovery and showing its connection to women and water. “In fact, in the old stories from Mexico it is originally a women’s medicine and is called the Grandmother. In North America it is called the Grandfather. The story goes as follows. A woman was walking through the desert and was out of water and getting very thirsty. She suddenly heard singing, she looked around and saw no one but the singing continued. She looked on the ground and saw nothing but then the voice said, ‘I am here. I am on the ground.’ She moved the brush a little and saw a Peyote button. The Peyote said to the woman ‘eat me I am full of water.’ The woman ate the Peyote and that is how Peyote entered into ceremony. In fact, this place is not new to the Peyote ceremony the petroglyphs show that this same ceremony was happening in this same valley over 2000 years ago.”

Stephen Mopope Peyote Prayer

Stephen Mopope
Peyote Prayer

“In this first round everyone must take some Medicine even if it’s a small amount and take four portions of any size of the mush. Also don’t just swallow the Medicine, pray with it, offer it to the fire, and offer it to your head and heart. This is a sacred teacher and it can reveal things to you that you may not have known before. With this ceremony there is no need for a mediator you can talk to the Divine yourself and get your own answers for your own path.”

He seemed saddened when he spoke about how attendance at all religious ceremonies is down both in Catholic institutions and in the Native America Church (NAC). He went on to discuss how happy he was to see so many younger people at the ceremony and offered this advice, ”Although there are many new religious groups emerging, remember it is important to learn spiritual things in a good way. Traditional spiritual institutions have thousands of years of wisdom in what they do and they can lead you safely and in a positive way. Tradition is very important. In this life there are many difficulties but always remember, so much of what we do here is for later. What we do now is to help us later.”

Fred Cleveland Peyote Ceremony watercolor on board

Fred Cleveland Peyote Ceremony
watercolor on board

“You should know that people may be throwing up in here. We call this “getting well” it is to remove the negative connotation. We call it “getting well” because that is in fact what we are doing. We are removing sickness from our body. This sickness when it’s out needs to be removed. When you “get well” a person comes and cleans it up and takes it outside to bury it in a hole.”

The Medicine Woman chimes in “Also I want to say that getting well is part of The Medicine but there is also something very rewarding about not getting well and experiencing the Peyote in your body. Also for the back row after The Medicine is passed out we will give you plastic bags so that you can get well in the bag but if you have dirt in front of you it is best to get well in the dirt this way is better so if there is dirt available use that but if not you use the bag.”

The Medicine Man spoke up, “It is tradition for the host to thank other medicine men who attend the ceremony. I want to introduce a special person he is a healer, medicine man and the son of a special medicine man who has since left his body.  Would you like to say anything? We’d be honored.”

“Yes” says the man behind me with the long black coat, “My Dad was great but I am not him. His words helped many people and introduced many to great healing and to our traditions. He was a great healer and so were my Grandfather and his Grandfather. But I am not him, I am an insignificant significant. I just want to add about getting well, when you get well it is something coming out of you that you don’t need that you are letting go of. You are removing those spirits from your body and we bury them in the earth to stop them from coming back or from getting anyone else sick. People go to healers and get exorcised, have spirits removed from them, but the spirit is not buried it is just pulled out and usually it will just go back to the person’s home and wait for them to return and they get sick again. Also it is best to get sick inside the tipi if you go outside the spirits are not as contained. I also want to thank everyone here for coming and praying like this. You know that twenty years ago there were no white people praying in this way and now there are many people who are coming to the Medicine to be healed. I see this as a very good thing the Medicine brings us all together. So I would like to thank my friends holding this ceremony”

Huichol Yarn Painting Wirikuta Land Of The Sacred Peyote.

Huichol Yarn Painting Wirikuta Land Of The Sacred Peyote.

The Medicine Man thanks him again and continues, “Altars are used to communicate with the spirits. Certain altars are designed for certain spirits. This is why altars vary from medicine person to medicine person and from ceremony to ceremony. The altar for the spirits must be prepared in the proper way even slight changes in the altar are powerful signals to the spirits. One must be mindful and do their best to follow the flow of the ceremony according to the medicine person mediating the ceremony.   This alter is the half-moon altar and it was put into my care by those before me. The prayers of all those who have come before the altar are still present with this altar. “

The Medicine Man continued, “There are specific spirits associated with each altar and they will hear those prayers and take them up. It is as though by praying to the fire the prayers are being spoken directly to the creator there is no priest no mediator. It’s you and the creator; it’s your prayers. You also need to be careful what you wish for because they can come true and if you pray for a Camaro and you already have twenty of them you will get it but it may be the last ride of your life. So there are two sides to every prayer so you want to be specific because the prayers may come at a cost.”

The man behind me spoke again. “Yes, be specific because if you say a loose prayer like, I pray for all the animals in the world, the spirits may take a little energy from you for every animal in the world and leave you drained of energy.”

The Medicine Man continued. “Yes, and also I will often say ‘may this person be healed if it’s for their highest good’. Also, don’t be afraid to pray for yourself if you need money or a car or healing for yourself, pray for those things. I use to always pray for something spiritual but then I realized what good is the spiritual when I have no truck so I prayed for a specific truck and that exact truck came to me. So if you need a job or anything like that don’t be afraid to ask. Also I often pray for the ancestors, family and friends and for the land, rain, spiritual knowledge and wellbeing. Just make sure you are specific in your prayers and thoughtful.”

The ceremony ended with the sun emerging from the mountains and great thanksgiving for the abundance of life given to us by the creator. The ceremony was full of medicine people, university students studying world religions, and seekers from various traditions altogether praying and healing with the sacred medicine Peyote. I am eternally grateful for the openness I experienced from all who were present at this ceremony and for the Grandfather Peyote.

Jeff Yellowhair Morning Water

Jeff Yellowhair
Morning Water


Transpersonal Spirit


Council on Spiritual Practices  –

Visionary Art

Visionary Art

Net of Being By Alex Grey

Net of Being By Alex Grey

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 and a form of prayer and surrendering to a mystical state of consciousness.  Robert Venosa put it simply referring 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 and makes new archetypes for the transcendent experience through art.  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.

Essential Love by Anderson Debernardi

Essential Love by Anderson Debernardi

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.

Burning man

The creative vision of this community goes far beyond the flat surface of the canvas. Interactive festivals like Burning Man, Boom Festival, Envision 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 with-in or evoking the mystical reality. The Council on Spiritual Practices defines entheogen as, “a psychoactive sacramental; a plant or chemical substance taken to occasion primary religious experience. Example: Peyote Cactus as used in the Native American Church.” 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.

By: Alex Grey

St. Albert and the LSD Revolution
By: Alex Grey (

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.

Pagoda Dorada By Pablo Amaringo

Pagoda Dorada By Pablo Amaringo

By: Transpersonal Spirit


Grof, Stanislav. The Cosmic Game Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness. State University of New York Press. 1998. Rob Percival 2010 (anderson debernardu’s website) (council on spiritual practices website) (Pablo Amaringo’s website)

Visionary Artist: Laurence Caruana

Visionary Artist

Laurence Caruana

laurence caruana  the pearl

The Pearl By Laurence Caruana

Laurence Caruana has had a strong impact on the contemporary visionary art movement as a writer, teacher and artist. He has written several books and online articles about visionary art including the Visionary Art Manifesto and The Visionary Revue. He teaches worldwide sharing the classical painting technique called mischtechnik as well as lecturing about visionary art and writing about emerging visionary artists and culture. Now after many years of work he is opening The Academy of Visionary Art in Vienna with the aid of several visionary artists including Ernst Fuchs, Kuba Ambrose, A. Andrew Gonzalez, David Heskin, Maura Holden, Amanda Sage and more. His impact as a teacher, writer and lecturer of visionary art has advanced the dialogue about visionary art in a dramatic way.

Laurence Caruana’s work focuses on dreams, myth, symbolism and what he terms the image language. He says the image language is the language from before the fall of Adam and Eve. We lived in a paradise heaven filled with amazing dream like images, he relates this image based time to childhood and believes the child lives more closely to this world of imagination language. Through art one can explore this image language which through art emerges and meets the material world.

Scarab Christ by Laurence Caruana

Scarab Christ by Laurence Caruana

When young he wanted to become an artist and attended the University of Toronto where he fell in love and explored a range of mediums including sculpture, theater, and painting. His desire to marry his college love was thwarted by her deteriorating mental illness which led to the creation of interesting work from Caruana focusing on psychological elements of human experience. Once completing his degree he left her and Toronto and traveled Europe developing his craft as a writer and recording the image language of his dreams.

Laurence Caruana has made many pieces of art inspired by women whom he has loved over the years and the profound effect each of these past lovers had had upon him. His paintings mix reality with his dreams which he translated into art.  This early period of his work is very much filled with heartbreak and understanding the nature of the women in his life and how they impacted his personal growth.  Each of these paintings based on these women is a mixture of art, myth and dreams both fantastic and real. Laurence Caruana emphasizes the power of dreams in his work more so than many visionary artists. His approach to dream is similar to the late psychologist Carl Jung in that he feels dreams reveal information about our inner reality from a material, spiritual and mythical perspective.

laurence caruana rape of e

The Rape of Europa By Laurence Caruana

He came in contact with his wife, Ernst Fuchs and psychedelic experiences in his 30s all of which would become the most important inspirations in his life. He became an assistant to Ernst Fuchs and began learning painting from him through apprenticeship. His skill flourished and he developed the techniques of the master painters particularly mischtechnik. His meeting with Fuchs, his teacher and mentor, was preceded by years of dreams involving Fuchs which began after he had seen “Moses and the Burning Bush” painted by Ernst Fuchs.  Ultimately, Caruana learned to commune with the mythical world of imagination and the gods through visions and depict those visions through painting.  He used the paintings as doorways to a direct experience of the sacred. He learned to see the sacred in his life which was reflected in his dreams, madness, enthogenic visions and art. Ernst Fuchs was a guide leading Caruana to understand his own ability to see into the divine and to share those visions through painting using the classical mischtechnik as adapted by Ernst Fuchs.

Caruana wrote The Manifesto of Visionary Art and published it in The Visionary Revue and was invited to speak at conferences workshops and events. He has exhibited in Paris and abroad and discovered the eco village of Tori Superiore where he teaches the mischtechnik.  Finally his passion became his vocation and profession fulfilling his dream of becoming an artist.  Life itself is a gradual unfolding of the sacred.

laurence caruana the vine of the dead

The Vine of the Dead By Laurence Caruana

In Cauruna’s writing he details how visionary artists approach the viewing and creating of the visionary artwork. This includes dialogue about enthogenic experience, mystical art, painting technique and even a new way of viewing art he calls entering through the image as well as history of visionary art. Mystical art is the foundation of the visionary art movement monumental works of the ancients dedicated to the divine reality. In modern times many people are gaining access to the mystical experience through the use of mind altering plants known as psychedelics or entheogens. The entheogen is the use of psychedelics for the purpose of mystical and spiritual development. The mystical experiences are then integrated into an artistic representation to share those visions with the world.

This idea of entering through the image is significant because most visionary artists have a unique way of seeing the image. They will stare at one point and distort their vision so the colors merge, blend and animate. For Laurence Caruana he covers one eye to get this effect.  For me personally, I bring my eyes into a soft focus and stare at one point after a few moments the surface comes alive and the image beings to transform as the patterns and colors shimmer and move. From there the imagination is given free rein to reform and create new images out the available material.  In this way one can enter through the image using the image as a key or door way to one’s own imagination and experience. Others say the ideal viewing of visionary art is in spiritual practice such as staring at the image while in meditation. Others say the ideal setting and viewing of visionary art is after consuming psychedelics. For others this image distortion is achieved through the use of multi-colored lighting or moving and shifting projections in the space and on the surface of the painting. This differentiation of lighting can bring out certain colors and patterns in the image to give the viewer another way of seeing and interpreting the image. This kind of viewing was seen a lot in the 60’s and 70 psychedelic poster movement as the posters were view in the setting of live music with multicolored lights and projections. By seeing the artwork in this way one can allow their own consciousness to fill the image and can transport into another realm of experience through viewing art.

laurence caruana Vishnu-Christ.Avatar-72dpi.1500w

Vishnu Christ Avatar by Laurence Caruana

Laurence Caruana’s latest and largest achievement is the Academy of Visionary Art in Vienna. This is establishing him as one of the foremost teachers of visionary art and he is bringing together many visionary artists to collaborate in the functioning of this educational institution.  He is one of the foremost teachers of the Mischtechnik of painting along with Ernst Fuches and has impacted the visionary arts community worldwide.

By: Transpersonal Spirit