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.

Nasir-Al-Mulk-mosque Sacred Architecture


Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque


Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji - Nasir al-mulk mosque

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji – Nasir al-mulk mosque


The interior space of Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque is amazing with visual patterns which seem to come from another dimension. In the Early morning the wall of stained glass illuminates the space with shifting otherworldly colors refracting against the patterned interior. This mosque is still used for worship today.

This mosque is wholly inspired by the spiritual dimension of existence. Its appearance is similar to many works of psychedelic and visionary art from around the world. The spiraling domes, textured fractal ornamentation, the geometric pattern becomes much like optic art which seems to trick the eye through overwhelming beauty and complexity.

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji - Nasir al-Mulk ceiling

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji – Nasir al-Mulk ceiling

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji - nasir-almulk-fisheye---Shiraz

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji – nasir-almulk-fisheye—Shiraz

In Early morning you can see colored lights coming inside mosque. The best time for visiting this place is in beginning of winter and about 8-9am. The light coming through the windows first leans to the left of the mosque and as the morning progresses moves to the right.

Located in Shiraz Iran it is known as the Pink Mosque some also call it the rainbow mosque. Its construction was begun in 1876 and completed in 1888 designed by Muhammad Hasan-e-Memer and Muhammas Reza Kashi Paz-e-Shirazi. It was built under the command of Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir Al Molk a lord of the Qajar Dynasty.

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji - Nasir-Al-Mulk-mosque-little---ShirazMohammad Reza Domiri Ganji - Nasir-Al-Mulk-mosque-little---Shiraz

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji – Nasir-Al-Mulk-mosque-little—Shiraz


Nasir al-Mulk Mosque by Omid Jafarnezhad on 500px


amin adbedini

Iran, Shiraz, Masjed-e Nasir-al-Mulk (Nasir al-Mulk Mosque), Islamic Architecture


Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, IranNasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

More from the ceiling decoration

By: Transpersonal Spirit


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


Visionary Artist: Anderson Debernardi

Visionary Artist

Anderson Debernardi

Essential Love by Anderson Debernardi

Essential Love by Anderson Debernardi

Anderson Debernardi is an artist, a master painter from Peru. He is best known for his ayahuasca visions series. His ayahuasca visions are beautifully painted in incredible color with great attention to detail. His artwork depicts the beauty and diversity of the Amazonian ecosystems with its animals, plants, rivers and stones. He also depicts the transcendental landscapes travelled by his peoples with the religious ceremonial use of sacred plants. Anderson’s work speaks to the healing power of nature and the inner landscape explored by the Amazonian peoples in traditional ceremonies.

Anderson Debernardi - magic-serpents

Anderson Debernardi Magic Serpents

Anderson Debernardi was born on the 12th of June 1968 in the Peruvian Amazon. At the age of 18 he was one of the founding students at the Usko-Ayar Amazonian School of Painting. Anderson Debernardi was a student of Pablo Amaringo, the internationally known painter of ayahuasca visions and founder of the Usko –Ayar Amazonian School of Painting. Debernardi spent his time with his art and at one point he moved into Pablo Amaringo’s home for greater focus on his studies. He later became one of the primary teachers at the Usko-Ayar School of Painting.  He attends lectures and conferences around the world as a master painter of ayahuasca visions as well as rainforest landscapes. He has given presentations in many conferences about ayahausca and other sacramental plants to represent and support the indigenous rights to ceremonies.

anderson debernardi adan-visionario

Adan Visionario by Anderson Debernardi

Anderson believes that the rainforests of the world must be protected from devastation. He states, “I believe that the life of the rainforest and its’ culture must not be destroyed. The plants are a gift of the natural mother and to protect it is our responsibility (1).” This statement reveals the threat that his culture faces as the ways of his peoples are being destroyed along with the landscape which nurtured this way of life. The plants, animals and medicines of the rainforest must be preserved for the future; the entire Amazonian region depends upon the diversity of the rainforest’s ecosystem.  Debernardi’s art explores the great beauty of nature and the profound wisdom which can be gained through the natural world’s mysteries.

anderson debernardi ayahuasqueros-healing

Ayahuasqueros Healing by Anderson Debernardi

Debernardi’s art creates an opening into the unseen world explored through sacred traditions of the Amazonian peoples.  The paintings featured here are portraits of the visionary vistas explored in ceremonies with the sacred medicine ayahuasca. He beautifully depicts the visions of the ayahuasca medicine ceremony. He portrays the inner landscape filled with spirits, angels, serpents, patterns, space ships, crystalline cities, plants, kaleidoscope patterns, hot colors and animals. The inner landscapes are of ‘the otherworld’ or ‘spirit world’; the images show a dimension of reality which exists beside our own but is not visible much of the time.  Through these images, Debernardi, tells the story of the mythological beings who inhabit the consciousness of the Amazon.

anderson debernardi iniciacion-shamanica

Iniciacion Shamanica By Anderson Debernardi

A cultural barrier exists which makes the images seem esoteric, however, they speak to a place which is sacred and mystical deep with-in our consciousness. The heart of this ‘otherworld’ is grounded in nature and religious communion with the natural world.  Debernardi’s work opens the ayahuasca dimension to the viewer and evokes the transcendent realities which lie deep in our collective psyche. Debernardi gives us all a rare view into the realms of the sacred; a mystical world filled with divinely inspired motifs and living beings painted with masterful beauty.

Anderson Debernardi mitologias-amazonicas

Mitologias Amazonicas By Anderson Debernardi

anderson debernardi shaman-cosmico

Shaman Cosmico By Anderson Debernardi

anderson debernardi shaman-transformation

Shaman Transformation By Anderson Debernardi

anderson debernardi sinfonia-shamanica

Sinfonia Shamanica By Anderson Debernardi

anderson debernardi araraunas-in-love

Araraunas In Love By Anderson Debernardi

anderson debernardi harpy-eagle-hunting

Harpy Eagle Hunting By Anderson Debernardi

anderson Debernardi hummingbird

Hummingbird By Anderson Debernardi

By: Transpersonal Spirit

A related article about Anderson Debernardi’s teacher Pablo Amaringo can be found here:


(1) Cosm: Journal of Visionary Culture; Cosmic Creativity Vol. 7. Cosm Press. New York. 2012.