A partir de 1880, na França, verifica-se uma reação contra as concepções cientificistas da classe dominante, representadas na literatura pelo fatalismo naturalista e pelo rigor parnasiano.
Neste sentido, o Simbolismo surge não apenas como uma estética oposta à literatura (poesia, especificamente) objetiva, plástica e descritiva, mas como uma recusa a todos os valores ideológicos e existenciais da burguesia. Em vez da "belle époque" do capitalismo financeiro e industrial, do imperialismo que se adonava de boa parte do mundo, temos o marginalismo de Verlaine, o amoralismo de Rimbaud e a destruição da linguagem por Mallarmé.
O artista experimenta agora, à maneira dos românticos, um profundo mal-estar na cultura e na realidade. Mergulha então no irracional, fugindo ao mundo proposto pelo racionalismo burguês, e descobrindo neste mergulho um universo estranho de associações de idéias, lembranças sem um significado definido. Universo etéreo e brumoso, de sensações evanescentes que o poeta deve reproduzir através da palavra escrita, se é que existem palavras para exprimi-las. O Naturalismo e o Parnasianismo estão definitivamente mortos, conforme sentenciou um crítico literário da época:
Em uma época que, sob o pretexto naturalista, a arte foi reduzida somente a uma imitação do contorno exterior das coisas, os simbolistas voltam a ensinar aos jovens que as coisas também têm alma, alma da qual os olhos humanos não captam mais do que o invólucro, o véu, a máscara.
O Simbolismo define-se assim pelo anti-intelectualismo. Propõe a poesia pura, não racionalizada, que use imagens e não conceitos. É uma poesia difícil, hermética, misteriosa, que destrói a poética tradicional.

Odilon Redon


Gustave Moreau

Davi by Gustave Moreau
Paul Delaroche
Jean Leon Gerome

Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904). French painter and sculptor. He was a pupil of Paul Delaroche and inherited his highly finished academic style. Gerome travelled widely in Turkey, Egypt and North Africa. A sculptor as well as a painter, his female figures have the same classical precision of Ingres, but are in much more realistic poses. His best-known works are his oriental scenes. Two typical examples are in the Wallace Collection, London. They won Gerome great popularity and he had considerable influence as an upholder of academic tradition and enemy of progressive trends in art. He was not a big fan of Impressionist art.
John Willian Waterhouse

Anthony Frederick A. Sandys
Pierre Puvis

The Symbolist Movement

The Symbolist movement was first identified in literature; poets such as Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé and others began writing mysterious and elegantly polished verse shortly after mid-century. The Symbolist Manifesto in literature was published in 1886 by Jean Moréas. Visual artists were less likely to publish such theoretical charters in the nineteenth century, and the emergence of Symbolist painting is therefore harder to chart. Nonetheless, the movement quickly became multi-disciplinary and international. Brussels became one of the leading centers of Symbolist art and literature. Although Les XX were not exclusively Symbolist, one of the founders of the society, Fernand Khnopff, was a leading Symbolist. He was the first artist to be written about as a symbolist, in an article written by Emile Verhaeren in 1886. Verhaeren stressed Khnopff's modernism in this article, defining Symbolist art as part of:
"A strong recoil of the modern imagination toward the past, an enormous scientific inquiry and unfamiliar passions towards a vague and still unidentified supernatural, has urged us to incarnate our dreams and even our fear before the new unknown in a strange symbolism which translates the contemporary soul as antique symbolism did for the soul of ancient times.
Only it is not our faith and our beliefs that we put forward; on the contrary, it is our doubts, our fears, our boredoms, our vices, our despair and probably our agony."(1)

Symbolism was an idealistic movement, created by artists discontented with their culture. The style was refined, elegant, subtle, intellectual, and elitist.
If there is one central tenet held by Symbolist artists, it is that life is fundamentally mysterious, and the artist must respect and preserve this mystery.(2) Thus they insisted on suggestion rather than explicitness, symbols or equivalents rather than description, in both painting and poetry. Choosing music as their model, Symbolists found the creation of a mood to be as important as the transmission of information, and sought to engage the entire mind and personality of the viewer by appealing to the viewer’s emotions and unconscious mind as well as intellect.(3) The recognition that there was a major portion of mental activity that is closed to the conscious mind confirmed the Symbolists’ conviction that there was more to life than could be explained through positivist science.

Realists and Naturalists had found value in exact physical description because they believed that a close study of visual appearances provided a direct approach to reality.(4) Symbolist artists and writers lost confidence in reality as perceived through the senses, and sought other avenues of knowledge. The dream was perhaps the most frequently cited alternative to conscious perception for nineteenth century philosophers and poets. In "Les Paradis Artificiels" Charles Baudelaire asserted that: "Common sense tells us that terrestrial things have but a faint existence and that reality itself is only found in dreams."(5) Awareness of this higher reality was not to be found through the usual senses or ordinary consciousness; alcohol, drugs and dreams were the gates to this transcendent realm. Fiction and reality became deliberately blurred, as both were but symbols of a higher, unseen reality. Idealists such as Stéphane Mallarmé delighted in the ambiguous relationship of dream and reality. Thus the faun in Mallarmé’s "L’après midi d’un faun" asks himself, "Did I love a dream?" and is unable to answer decisively. The pervasive doubt concerning objective reality that characterized the Symbolist milieu encouraged a focus on inner experience, which could be seen in a variety of forms. Artists sought to express their inner states through primitivism, mysticism, and the psychology of the unconscious.

Many earlier Romantic artists and writers, such as Thomas Carlyle and Edgar Allan Poe, had shared the conviction of the unreality of life; as Poe put it: "All that we see or seem / is but a dream within a dream."(6) Such an attitude made the naturalist’s insistence on truth to nature in a literal sense seem irrelevant. The Symbolists sought a truth to reality as they now conceived it, and demanded an art that was faithful to psychological realities. As the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch noted: "Nature is not only what is visible to the eye — it also shows the inner images of the soul — the images on the back side of the eyes." Belgian Symbolist artists revived the tradition of visionary art that was deeply rooted in earlier Flemish painting. Their visions now came from their own imagination, or from literature of the period.

Dreams afforded the Symbolists a perfect vehicle for presenting their own idealistic visions. Some, including Henry van de Velde and even Fernand Khnopff, were influenced by William Morris and the English Arts and Crafts movement, and envisioned a vague Socialist utopia. Others, such as Jean Delville, imagined a world founded on mystical Christianity. As long as there was no connection between the real world and the dream, however, the emphasis on dreams left the artists mired in a realm of fantasy and inaction, removed from any social change.

Many Symbolist artists and writers of the late nineteenth century sought an antidote to the excesses of materialism and positivism in mysticism or occult philosophy. Magic was to be the tool to make their dreams become reality; visual images were seen as magical talismans, and poems were compared to incantations. Occultism filled many needs, providing a sense of participation in a universal community as well as an elite circle of initiates, and a contact with eternal truths in an era of rapid change. Late nineteenth century mysticism was shaped by the ongoing scientific and philosophical revolutions of the period. Occultists combined the psychological discovery of the unconscious with the mystical theory of other planes of existence to create a new synthesis. The image of the artist as seer or priest was basic to nineteenth century art theory. Convinced that the unconscious was the source of both creativity and occult vision, certain artists now assumed the guise of medium and hypnotist.


Odilon Redon

Nas artes visuais, os simbolistas trabalhavam com imagens resgatadas do imaginário mítico - como o sol, a lua, a caverna, o eremita, a criança e a árvore - e exploravam as potencialidades expressivas do traço e da cor. Odilon Redon é considerado um dos principais expoentes nessa linha. Desconhecido do mercado de arte até os 45 anos, foi descoberto pelo poeta simbolista Stéphane Mallarmé, quando passou então a ser reconhecido pela crítica e pelo público. A poesia, as religiões e os mitos orientais e clássicos, assim como a ciência, tiveram importante papel no aprendizado e na formação do artista, que desenvolveu uma iconografia muito peculiar.
Ao mesmo tempo em que mantém a marca de sua poética fantástica, vinculada ao mundo interior e onírico dos homens, a obra de Redon apresenta duas fases, separadas por uma forte mudança técnica e temática. Na primeira fase, ele usou o monocromatismo em suas gravuras e desenhos, realizados principalmente a carvão. O conjunto desses trabalhos ficou conhecido como os Negros, na medida em que eram construídos com a gama de cor dos negros mais escuros aos brancos mais luminosos. A temática desse período é a do sonho próximo ao pesadelo, em que há um mundo místico, fantástico, de horror e dor, com a presença do drama da morte (tema presente em outros artistas de nosso jogo, ver Ciclo da vida). Um exemplo dessa fase é Aranha, de 1881, e Le Juré: o sonho termina com a morte, de 1887. Na década de 1890, adotou as técnicas do pastel e da pintura à óleo, introduzindo a cor em sua obra. Nesta segunda fase, ele trabalhou com temas mais suaves, e suas criações continuaram a tratar de visões imaginárias, mas com estímulos menos dramáticos. O colorido de Redon é luminoso e muito peculiar, como podemos observar em Cíclope, de 1900, Bouddha, de 1910, e O Silêncio, de 1911.



Vila Céu do Mapiá dá exemplo de organização

No dia 10 de agosto de 2006, no Plenário nº 1 das Comissões Permanente da Câmara dos Deputados, sob a presidência do deputado Federal Luiz Eduardo Greenhalgh- Presidente da Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Minorias da Câmara dos Deputados, realizou-se o seminário.

Com auditório lotado por juízes, promotores públicos, desembargadores, professores e estudantes universitários, oficiais da polícia militar e delegados da políca federal, representado diversos estados da União, em uma jornada de aproximadamente 10 horas de trabalho, debateu-se o tema Justiça Comunitária, sendo que a Vila Céu do Mapiá foi o único estudo de caso apresentado por membros de uma comunidade.

Com a assistência técnica da Secretaria de Projetos e tendo como presidente da mesa Fernando de La Rocque Couto ( Céu do Planalto), através de exposições que empolgaram o distinto público presente, a Vila Céu do Mapiá foi muito bem representada por Regina Pereira ( D. Regina), Rodrigo Terra Costa Faillace e Airton Oliveira da Silva .

O evento foi filmado e exibido "ao vivo", para todo o país ,pela TV Câmara e será objeto de um livro, à ser publicado pela Câmara Federal ,por sugestão do supra mencionado Presidente da Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Minorias.

O evento, cuja programação foi previamente divulgada através do Boletim Eletrônico do IDA-CEFLURIS, site IDA-CEFLURIS e do site Santo Daime, faz parte do Projeto Justiça Comunitária, que além do debate na Câmara Federal envolveu a capacitação dos 03 representantes da Vila Céu do Mapiá, durante uma semana de visitas de instrução a diferentes instituições públicas ligadas ao tema.

O detalhamento da capacitação e os desdobramentos desta importante iniciativa da Igreja Céu do Planalto serão divulgados em futuro próximo.


A parábola do filho pródigo e a saída de Adão do paraíso


Ary Scheffer

Um homem tinha dois filhos.
O mais jovem disse ao pai: ‘Pai, dá-me a parte da herança que me cabe’. E o pai dividiu os bens entre eles. Poucos dias depois, ajuntando todos os seus haveres, o filho mais jovem partiu para uma região longínqua e ali dissipou sua herança numa vida devassa. E gastou tudo. Sobreveio àquela região uma grande fome e ele começou a passar privações.
Foi, então, empregar-se com um dos homens daquela região, que o mandou para seus campos cuidar dos porcos. Ele queria matar a fome com as bolotas que os porcos comiam, mas ninguém lhas dava.
E caindo em si, disse: ‘Quantos empregados de meu pai têm pão com fartura, e eu aqui, morrendo de fome! Vou-me embora, procurar o meu pai e dizer-lhe: Pai, pequei contra o Céu e contra ti; já não sou digno de ser chamado teu filho. Trata-me como um dos teus empregados’.
Partiu, então, e foi ao encontro de seu pai. Ele estava ainda ao longe, quando seu pai viu-o, encheu-se de compaixão, correu e lançou-se-lhe ao pescoço, cobrindo-o de beijos. O filho, então, disse-lhe: ‘Pai, pequei contra o Céu e contra ti; já não sou digno de ser chamado teu filho’.
Mas o pai disse aos seus servos: ‘Ide depressa, trazei a melhor túnica e revesti-o com ela, ponde-lhe um anel no dedo e sandálias nos pés. Trazei o novilho cevado e matai-o; comamos e festejemos, pois este meu filho estava morto e tornou a viver; estava perdido e foi reencontrado!’ E começaram a festejar.
Seu filho mais velho estava no campo. Quando voltava, já perto de casa ouviu músicas e danças. Chamando um servo, perguntou-lhe o que estava acontecendo. Este lhe disse: ‘É teu irmão que voltou e teu pai matou o novilho cevado, porque o recuperou com saúde’. Então ele ficou com muita raiva e não queria entrar. Seu pai saiu para suplicar-lhe.
Ele, porém, respondeu a seu pai: ‘Há tantos anos que te sirvo, e jamais transgredi um só dos teus mandamentos, e nunca me deste um cabrito para festejar com meus amigos. Contudo, veio esse teu filho que devorou teus bens com prostitutas, e para ele matas o novilho cevado!’
Mas o pai lhe disse: ‘Filho, tu estás sempre comigo, e tudo o que é meu é teu. Mas era preciso que festejássemos e nos alegrássemos, pois esse teu irmão estava morto e tornou a viver; ele estava perdido e foi reencontrado!’»
Lucas 15, 11-32

A parábola
Esta é uma das mais importantes e abrangentes parábola do Novo Testamento. Apresenta-se uma versão da expulsão de Adão do Paraíso, vista pelos olhos de um evangelista — Lucas . Uma adaptação da passagem de Adão à nova aliança de Jesus com um Deus Pai, Bom e Compreensivo, que compreende o caminho evolutivo tomado por seu Filho, e que o espera e recebe-o de volta de braços abertos! Este é bem um ensinamento de Jesus! Só poderia ter sido transcrito por Lucas, por isso que esta parábola é exclusiva deste Evangelho, não havendo referencia a ela em nenhum dos outros. Tal fato vem corroborar a atual interpretação, que passaremos agora a analisar passo a passo.
Trata-se da representação do processo evolutivo pelo qual nós estamos passando neste eon. Mostra a passagem do Ser de um reino a outro reino, de um reino do tipo sub-hominal para o reino hominal. Esta passagem é caracterizada pelo processo evolutivo, no qual o Ser passa de um estado de harmonia com o Todo, no qual não tem consciência disto, para um estado no qual estará em harmonia com este mesmo Todo, porém conscientemente.
A casa do Pai
A parábola começa mostrando que na Casa do Pai, a mônada espiritual vivia em harmonia, sem necessidade de prover sua subsistência da mesma forma que Adão no Paraíso! Aqui a mônada é o filho de um Pai que lhe é semelhante. Somos emanações da Divindade. O Filho na casa do Pai é semelhante a esse pai e guarda em si as potencialidades Dele. A tendência evolutiva normal do filho é crescer e se identificar com este Pai.
O despertar
Um dia, em um dos filhos (não em todos), desperta o desejo do conhecimento; de tornar-se consciente de sua situação, de suas necessidades, de sua evolução, de conhecer da árvore do Bem e do Mal! Este pede ao Pai a sua Vida, para que, usando-a, adquira essa consciência.
Pedindo a Vida
As traduções da Vulgata interpretam este pedido como "herança", dando uma conotação material no pedido do filho. No texto original grego, do evangelho de Lucas, o que o filho pede ao pai é ousia (do verbo ienai que significa "ser"), parte do ser. Logo adiante, quando o pai divide os bens, a palavra é taxativa: bios o que o filho pede verdadeiramente ao pai é a Vida! Ou, numa interpretação mais atual, o Self.
O Pai concede sua parte da Vida, para que faça dela o que em sua consciência lhe aprouver. Para que a use para o bem e para o mal, para a harmonia e para a desarmonia, para que pelo seu sofrimento, malbaratando sua vida, chegue um dia à conclusão de que a vontade da Casa do Pai é realmente a sua vontade. Para que possa um dia dizer "Eu e o Pai somo um"!
Assim o Filho parte da casa do pai para vivenciar este eon da sua evolução, que é essencialmente o período evolutivo pelo qual todos nós estamos passando. Neste eon a Humanidade caminha para conscientemente participar da Harmonia da Casa do Pai. Saindo de casa do Pai de posse da Vida (ou Self), penetra no mundo da satisfação dos sentidos. Afastando-se cada vez mais do Todo e identificando-se cada vez mais com seu ego, com a sua persona. Assim gasta toda a sua vida, vindo a passar privações — porque sobreveio uma grande fome. Situação inevitável neste caminho descendente.
A descida
Estando já de posse da Persona, senhor da sua identidade e no máximo do seu egoísmo, ao invés de retornar à casa do Pai, busca encontrar o caminho por seus próprios meios, tornando-se empregado dos homens da região do mundo, os quais, por sua vez, o designam para cuidar de porcos imundos.
Tomada de consciência
Nesta situação de máxima degradação, busca "encher seu estômago" (esta é a expressão da parábola) com as vagens que eram dadas aos porcos. Essa associação com estes homens nem mesmo enchia sua barriga. Não busca aplacar a fome, mas encher o estômago, como alguém que ainda está identificando a si mesmo como o seu ser material. Esta é a degradação final do Ser que desceu ao fundo do poço de identificação com a matéria. Associa-se a Lúcifer (porta luz), que é o homem dessa região. Este pode ser identificado com nossa fase de materialismo, de excessiva auto-confiança, de crença cega na ciência e na tecnologia. Que tem tentado encher a barriga do homem sem jamais aplacar a sua fome.
Neste momento, "voltou-se para dentro de si" (a citação é literalmente esta) e disse: "quantos empregados de meu Pai têm pão com fartura, e eu aqui passando fome! Vou embora procurar meu pai e dizer-lhe: Pai, pequei contra o céu e contra ti; já não sou digno de ser chamado teu filho. Trata-me como um dos teu empregados". Este é o grande momento da parábola, onde o Filho Pródigo compreende que o caminho para a sua felicidade está dentro de si. Que é por dentro de si que vai poder retornar à paz e à harmonia da Casa do Pai.
O verdadeiro despertar
É o despertar, após um atroz sofrimento. Este verdadeiro despertar vem aqui acompanhado de um sentimento puro, de dentro do coração, que pede perdão, que sabe que pecou contra o céu e contra o pai, e que humildemente não se julga mais digno de ser o filho, mas um empregado. Não tem nada mais a ver com qualquer busca de satisfação ou de realizações mundanas.
O retorno
"Partiu ao encontro do Pai!" "Ainda estava longe, quando o Pai o viu, encheu-se de compaixão, correu e lançou-se-lhe ao pescoço, cobrindo-o de beijos". O pai o identifica à volta desde o momento inicial, mas o Filho Pródigo não está visível desde o inicio da jornada de volta. O Pai o vê ainda que muito longe! Enche-se de compaixão, lança-se-lhe ao pescoço, transmitindo-lhe o poder do verbo pela ativação do plexo laríngeo, para que possa, a partir daí, ter o poder de construir pela palavra. Aqui há uma analogia com o momento da entrada da era de Aquário, onde tem início o poder da palavra falada. Cobrindo-o de beijos, devolve-lhe a Vida que lhe faltava, por compaixão!
A recepção
O pai diz aos servos: ide depressa, trazei a melhor túnica e vesti-o com ela; ponde-lhe um anel no dedo e sandálias nos pés. O pai então manda que a natureza (seus servos) o vistam com a melhor túnica, para que tenha a melhor vestimenta que este mundo lhe pode dar. Que lhe coloquem no dedo um anel, uma aliança que sele o matrimônio (que se formou na aventura) do Ego com o Eu maior. Sandálias, para que seja elevado além das coisas deste mundo de onde veio. Que matem um novilho — encerrem a era de Touro, Era do Deus terrível! Festejemos todos esta evolução!
O filho mais velho
O filho mais velho só identifica a festa de muito perto, mostrando como são pequenos seus recursos. Chamando um servo, este lhe conta o retorno do irmão e a festa do pai. É um servo do pai, a própria natureza, que honestamente lhe expõe no que ficou. "Não queria entrar e o pai saiu para suplicar-lhe". Mostrando que nunca fez distinção entre os filhos.
— "Há tantos anos que te sirvo e jamais transgredi um só dos teus mandamentos, e nunca me deste um carneiro para festejar com meus amigos. Veio teu filho, que devorou teus bens com prostitutas e para ele matas o novilho cevado!"
O interessante deste diálogo é que o Filho mais velho não mais se identifica como irmão do Pródigo, e se refere a ele como "teu filho".
O pai termina a exortação ao filho dizendo: "Teu irmão estava perdido e foi achado, estava morto e viveu!". De novo o pai afirma "teu irmão", não negando a oportunidade de desenvolvimento àquele que ficou. Estava morto e viveu — descobriu a vida eterna (Imanente), à qual tantas e tantas vezes Jesus se refere em seus sermões.
Interpretação de José Carlos Fragomeni

Gustave Moreau 1826-1898

... It has taught us a new way of looking, of seeing, of perceiving and beholding. Now, through dreams, meditation, deep breathing, and a variety of other means - the gate to that higher world may once more be opened, and the image itself transcended.
Most of us take reading so for granted that we forget the Visionary states it may induce. It is not merely a question of imagining the worlds which words may conjure - although that too is a visionary act. As Gustave Moreau reminds us, "I am all the more for dreams, for phantasmagorias of the imagination which I bring to my reading, with its many tales of lost and far-off civilizations - a naïvité, an impulsive child-like acceptance of everything unbelievable. ...How else could we dream of India, of the forests of the New World, of fantastic islands in the Indian Ocean or antedeluvian flowers in the heart of Africa..."
As we read, words trigger images from our memory. But the simple word 'temple' for example, in all its emptiness and generality, may conjure up a whole series of specific memory-images in any one person - each image finely-detailed and described. Meanwhile, the very same word may evoke an entirely different series of memory-images in another person. Such is the power of the imagination. Where these two people begin to share their memory-images is at the level of art: actually building such a temple communally, or rendering it into a painted image recognizable to us all (and thus, a 'communal vision').
As we read, our art and imagination render into form those mysterious worlds which words describe.
The Symbolist movement emerged in France in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was based on ideas shared between both artists and literary figures. Those ideas shared were a rejection of Realism and Naturalism. Unlike their preceding generation they saw art as being subjective, ambiguous, and mysterious, and instead of looking outward into the world for their subject matter, it came from their emotions, dreams, and spiritual psyche.
The poet Jean Moreas first gave title to the movement in 1886,with his Symbolist Manifesto. He rejected the doctrines of Naturalism by novelist Emile Zola, and in his manifesto he singled out three poets as leading figures in the movement: Baudelaire, Mallarme, and Valery. Through their writings these poets supported and contributed to the Symbolist painter's success. Of the visual artists three stand out as the forerunners of Symbolism: Gustave Moreau, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and Odilon Redon. Puvis is known to be a precursor to the Symbolist movement, and although he never identified himself as a symbolist, and remained an independent artist, he was a great influence to the next generation of painters involved in the movement. He was quoted as saying, "I wish to be not Nature, but parallel to Nature."
Moreau and Redon were discovered by another crucial literary figure, Huysmans. He was another advocate of imagination and fantasy, and his book Against Nature published in 1884, he brings together the shared ideas between literary and visual artists. Moreau along with another artist Bresdin whose work as a printmaker would have a great influence upon Redon, stood out against the immersion of Naturalism in France during the 1860's and 1870's (the 1870's was the great decade of Impressionism).

Feitio of the Santo Daime

Céu do Mar

Cruzeiro do Sul

Fotos:Luis Eduardo Pomar
Santo Daime's feitio is a ceremony with great spiritual simbolism. It is the main iniciate ritual, where the knowledge are given for each one that participate.
During the feitio ,the participants must be very attempt for the spiritual and material work is developing, where the Daime is taking for all , sometimes it takes
a week long. At spiritual view, the result is a preparation of a Divine liquid that acess us to the spiritual world.
Scott Crammer


Magestic Visions

Eric Nemetz

Kim Nelson

Banisteriopsis Caapi, the Ayahuasca's liana

Photos by Lou Gold



RAFFAELLO SANZIO (b. 1483, Urbino, Duchy of Urbino Italy -d. 1520, Rome, Papal States [Italy]), master painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance. Raphael is best known for his Madonnas and for his large figure compositions in the Vatican in Rome. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur.
The paintings of Raphael are living things; the flesh palpitates, the breath comes and goes, every organ lives, life pulsates everywhere.


The Creative Process and Entheogens

by Alex Grey

Twenty-five years ago I took my first dose of LSD. The experience was so rich and profound, coupled as it was with the meeting of my future wife, Allyson, that there seemed nothing more important than this revelation of infinite love and unity. Being an artist, I felt that this was the only subject worthy of my time and attention. Spiritual and visionary consciousness assumed primary importance as the focal point of my life and art. My creative process was transformed by my experience with entheogens.
Due to it's visionary richness, I think the entheogenic experience has great importance for fueling an artistic and cultural renaissance. By giving artists a meaningful experience and access to deeper and higher aspects of their soul, they are given a subject worth making art about. A worthy subject is an artists most important discovery - it's the magnetic passion that burns in their work and attracts us to it and determines whether they will attempt to evoke what is deepest and highest in their viewers.
Oscar Janiger's studies of LSD and creativity showed that many artists felt the work done while tripping or post-tripping was more inventive and inspired work than their previous work. Keith Haring, one of the most celebrated artists of the 1980s, credited LSD with stylistic breakthroughs that brought him to his own unique work. I feel the same way about my art. This doesn't mean I recommend sacramental drug use for everyone, but I do think it should be a legal option for all.
"How can we bring the insights of the entheogenic state into our lives?" For the visionary artist this is a somewhat straightforward translation of the mystical experience into artworks that transmit the depth of feeling and perception of the subtle inner worlds. The entheogenic state is, of course, unique to each individual and yet there are archetypal states of being that are experienced by large numbers of psychonauts and can be evoked with our art. Let's look at the trajectory and potential stages of the psychedelic experience and see how it translates into works of art.
1) In the beginning stages we notice some physical body changes. We might feel jittery or some rushes of energy through the body, possibly an opening up of the chest or head. We feel a heightened sensitivity to colors and notice wavy or slowly billowing distortions of our outer world perceptions. When we look inward, we begin to perceive dynamic geometric forms and cartoon-like figures morphing into strange and inventive shapes. The unconscious is becoming conscious. The depth of mystery and meaning that our conceptual mind keeps at bay in our ordinary perception becomes flooded with portent.
2) Our perception is open to the beautiful and in the back of our minds we begin to feel that reality is weighty or there seems to be some kind of symbolic importance to life. The perception of beauty and meaningfulness is mingled. Rushes of bliss and laughter, releases of ecstasy. You lucidly interpret your life in a more holistic framework. Everthing is o.k. even if it is out of our control. Beginning to surrender to a higher power.
3) Psychodynamic visions. Unresolved repressed emotions emerge and are faced via dramatic personally meaningful imagery. This can lead to frightening encounters with suppressed memories, and can begin to break down an individuals ego structure. This is perhaps not as important or lengthy a phase for emotionally stable and integrated individuals.
4)Transpersonal stages - Birth, death and rebirth experiences. The ego/small self is frightened, crushed, overcome and reborn through intense cythonic and cathartic visions.
5) Archetypal and mythic figures - In our last trip, Allyson and I were meditating on each others faces and began to see "everyface" of humanity wash across the face of our adored one. Allyson became every woman every man and every animal and for her I became all men and all animals.
6) Energy release - kundalini movements in body - chakras opening - awareness of subtle energy systems.
7) Universal mind - cosmic unity - voidness or emptiness as ground of being beyond polarities.
Each of these stages or structures of higher consciousness and the subtle inner worlds can be evoked in our art. The Integrative Entheogenic Vision in art would at least bring together the opposites as most every sacred art tradition has done in the past, both the dark and the light, reason and intuition, science and religion, male and female, life and death, matter and spirit.
Heinrich Kluver studied the effects of mescaline on normal subjects and he found there were certain visual and perceptual "form constants" that recur in psychedelic voyages. I think these shapes have relevance to developing our entheogenic artistic vision. The "form constants" are the spiral, the lattice or fretwork, and the imagery of tunnels and funnels or passageways. There is a perception of "greater dimensionality", both visual multi-dimensionality and ontological dimensions of meaning. Iridescent and finely filigreed organic and comlex geometric shapes evolve and dissolve, referencing both nature and sacred architecture. Colors appear more radiant and overwhelming. Light itself takes on a palpable character. The white light is everywhere present holding everything together.
An experience of such overwhelming power can influence an artists approach to their work. In order to bring forth her or his deepest work, an artist needs to be sensitive and courageous toward their own creative process. There are many stages in the creative process. Several scientists have attempted to outline the mysterious phases of creativity.(1) Below is my adaptation of their findings.
The Creative Process
(1) Formulation - discovery of the artist's subject or problem.
(2) Saturation - a period of intense research on the subject/problem.
(3) Incubation - letting the unconscious sift the information and develop a response.
(4) Inspiration - a flash of your own unique solution to the problem.
(5) Translation - bringing the internal solution to outer form.
(6) Integration- sharing the creative answer with the world, and getting feedback.
Not all artists will recognize each phase in their work, and each phase takes it's own time, widely varying from work to work. The first stage is the discovery of a problem. This is the most important question for an artist, "What is my subject?" The formulation of the problem arises from the artists worldview and may set the stage for an entire life's work, that is, if the problem is sufficiently broad. The problem is the "well" dug to reveal the Source, the Vision, the creative matrix of questions and obsessions which drive you. Solving your aesthetic problem becomes your mission.
In an effort to illuminate the many stages of the creative process, I'd like to share a bit of the story behind my painting, Transfiguration. I have always been mystified by the body-mind-spirit relationship and the difficulty of making these multiple dimensions of reality visible in a work of art, but not until my LSD experiences did I want to make mystical consciousness itself the subject of my art. It took me about ten years of making art and obsessing over this subject to reach the formulation that this was one of my primary artistic problems, an important part of my vision.
During the next stage of saturation I looked over everything I could find about the subject. It was a period of research which led me through many tracts of transpersonal psychology and the art of diverse cultures. I prepared a slideshow and lectured on the subject of "Transfiguration", showing artistic representations of transcendental light or energy in relation to the body. At that point I didn't know I'd be doing a painting by that name.
The incubation stage is where the vast womb of the unconscious takes over, gestating the problem. The embryonic artwork grows effortlessly at its own pace. For the Transfiguration painting, this phase lasted about half a year.
Then early one morning I woke from a dream. In the dream I had been painting a piece called Transfiguration. The painting had a simple composition, two opposing spherical curves connected by a figure. Floating above the earth sphere, a human, which was fleshly at the feet became gradually more translucent. At about groin level it "popped" into a bright hallucinogenic crystal sphere. The dream revealed a unique solution to my simmering aesthetic problem. But this illumination or inspiration phase, my "Aha!" moment provided by the dream, was extended or underscored later that week when I smoked DMT for the first time. As I inhaled the immediately active and extremely potent psychedelic, I got to experience the transfigured subject of my painting first hand. In my vision, my feet were the foundation of the material world. As I inhaled, the material density of my body seemed to dissolve and I "popped" into the bright world of living geometry and infinite spirit. I noticed strange jewel-like chakra centers within my glowing wire-frame spirit body, and spectral colors which were absent from my dream painting. I was in my future painting and was being given an experience of the state in order to better create it.
After receiving these two visionary encounters of the same painting, I began to draw what I had seen in my sketchbook. This started the translation phase, bringing the inner solution of my artistic problem to an outward form. I drew the body and worked on the computer to help me plot an accurate texture map of the electric grid around the hypermindsphere. I then assembled the various elements and stretched a fairly large canvas, because I wanted the viewer to identify with a "life-sized" figure. Finally, I started painting. After many months of work, my wife Allyson continued to ask me about an unconsidered area of the painting. This was the space beneath the hypermindsphere. I hadn't noticed the space in my visions except that it was dark. This was a puzzling dilemma, which lasted for a week or two, because "empty" looked wrong or unconsidered, yet what belonged there?
As is sometimes our custom when we are aesthetically "stumped" and need to see our work with fresh and creative eyes, Allyson and I smoked marijuana and gazed at the piece. Suggestions of what should appear in the empty space began to coalesce. Stars obviously, but this was not just outer space, this was inner space, the place of numinous angels or demons, of Terence’s "self-dribbling basketballs", beings with skin like a faberge’ egg, the oddly glowing mindspheres anticipating the transformative megasphere above. This seemed like the appropriate answer among the many that occured to me. Work on the piece lasted almost a year.
Part of the function of the vision and the creative process is the integration of the inspired moment, via the art object or event, into the world beyond the studio, a process which continues as I share this story. We made a poster of this piece, and it will be reproduced in my new book, Transfigurations. Allyson and I have decided to retain the actual piece for the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.
For myself as well as other artists, entheogens have played a crucial role in the creative process, however, I don’t advocate that artists live in a constant haze of chemically altered consciousness, and some sensitive artists should completely steer clear of the substances. Vision drugs catalyze our inherently visionary and potentially mystical dimensions of consciousness. May they be recognized and honored for the powerful and sacred substances that they are, proof of the importance and infinite vastness of the subtle inner worlds of imagination and illumination, and may they open an endless source of inspiration for new universal sacred art.

Visionairy Art

Roberto Terra Costa

Lou Gold

Alex Grey

Paul Heussenntamm

A.Andrew Gonzalez

We live in a time of unprecedented global culture. From Cave Art to the latest in contemporary art fashion, artists have access to the vast legacy of visual art. The art of every continent has been published in some form. Without too much effort the strange gods of all cultures can inhabit our imaginations, simply by viewing their images in museums, books and magazines. What lessons can we derive from this unique perspective? Lesson number one is that for nearly every culture, art has been a spiritual and unifying force in the human community.
Artists at the dawn of the 21st Century have the unique opportunity to create a universal spiritual art. This art will be born from visions of the unity of all mystic paths and the re-emergence of sacred archetypes in the collective unconscious. The spirit of the times will choose artists sufficiently prepared for this task. The challenge to an artist today is integrating the vast visual legacy of human culture with their own deepest and highest personal insights, distilling that into works of art and making a living at it.
Alex Grey