After painting “Ley Lines,” I began researching another topic in the note New Tony had given Brent and me, DMT. DMT is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in nature and found in the human body.
In several places in South America, DMT is found in the vines of plants called Ayahuasca. For thousands of years, indigenous shamans have boiled those plants and have drunk the resulting brew in ceremonial rituals, accompanied by hypnotic rhythmic and repetitive music. There are many documented accounts of people having spiritual experiences in these circumstances. Many times, after such an experience, people produce “DMT Art,” a type of colorful, psychedelic art.
I was fascinated by all of this information, and I wanted to create DMT Art. I had no desire, however, to undergo the apparent purgative effects of drinking Ayahuasca (people often have symptoms similar to having a terrible stomach flu after taking it), and I had no plans to travel to South America anytime soon in any event.
I decided to try an experiment. If DMT is naturally occurring in the human body (some posit it might be produced in the pineal gland), maybe I could create DMT Art without ingesting DMT, but rather by activating the DMT inside of me by listening to the indigenous traditional music played at the Ayahuasca ceremonies, by meditating and by painting. After all, “[m]usic…is the only power known to man that can entrance the soul.” The Influence of Music, Marie Lahrmann Bird (Mind Magazine Vol. 1 Oct. 1897-March 1898, p. 100).
I put on the beautiful, haunting music and began to paint with no design in mind. I had placed the 30” x 40” canvas long ways or vertical. However, the first thing I found myself painting was the red, pink and blue spiral, which would become the left eye of the main animal figure. I had to paint the whole painting sideways backed up to my dining room table because the painting wanted to come out horizontal (40” x 30”) not vertical.
I played the trancelike music all day long over and over again. As long as the music played, the paint brushes flowed. If the music went off, but I had not consciously realized it, I would start to feel I didn’t know what to paint. Then I would realize the music was off, I would reset it, and I instinctively knew where to paint again.
During this process, if I started to get anxious, wondering, “am I doing the right thing,” I would hear a comforting voice in my head say,
“You were chosen to paint this. This is a gift for you. Everything you are doing is right because you are the person to paint this.”
I see the main face in the painting as some sort of owl/tiger/lion/butterfly animal spirit. I had read that often in DMT Art, a kind of face appears, and sure enough, one did. At some point, I was obviously aware that a face was taking shape, but it was a semi- or subconscious experience.
There are also several dinosaurs and one or two four-legged animal figures in the lower left of the painting. I did not consciously paint these. I made some brush strokes off to my left, and looked up amazed to see these figures had appeared there. I gave them eyes and eyebrows.
I felt such a strong connection of love to the dog-like figure entering the scene from the left, and he looked so regal to me, I decided to give him a green crown. I see two versions of the same animal represented there, one of him entering the scene and another of him with his head down grazing.
I also was not aware of making the heart shape in the middle of the painting. Once I saw it there, I outlined it in red and painted it pink. The next day, I noticed that the shape below the heart resembles South America with a river running through it, and I saw that the heart appears to be either going in or coming out of the continent. To the right, there is an orange design with what appears to me as green eye-like creatures.
I absolutely loved this experience, and feel it was a success. I believe I achieved a trance-like, meditative state, which allowed me to tap in on some level to the DMT inside me and to produce psychedelic DMT Art. This painting has a very different look from any of my other pieces. Many people have had a strong reaction to seeing this painting, and I feel it is because they are connecting to the strong energies I connected to when making it. Looking into the colorful, spiraled eyes of the animal almost makes me relive the trance.
One of the things I learned from making “Ayahuasca Trance,” is the powerful connection between music and painting. From this point forward, the music I would listen to while painting would play a major role in the outcome of my artistic sessions.
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