Art and the conscious mind

Toda we had a lecture about about art and spirituality and how the two inspire one another. Spirituality as well as magic is something I’ve always been interested in but until now I have not seen how I could properly integrate it into my practice. I particularly enjoyed learning about how entropic and hypnagogic  imagery have influenced art. I had never heard of these terms before but have felt that I’ve always been inspired by them nonetheless.  I am an extremely visual thinker and untill learning about these terms I had taken this for granted.  I stopped to admire the dancing images behind my eyelids and found a whole new world inspiration.



Entoptic Imagery and Altered States of Consciousness


” In their discussion of paleolithic cave imagery, Lewis-Williams and Dowson define entoptic imagery as visual experiences arising from anywhere within the optic system, which includes the eyes, the occipital lobe of the brain, and the many other portions of the neural cortex that process visual stimuli.  This definition comes from the Greek translation of entoptic meaning “things perceived within vision”, and is commonly used by anthropologists and archaeologists (Williams & Dowson 1988). ”


“scientist who experimented with mescaline on himself recorded the following experience; “If the mescaline taker keeps his eyes closed, he sees riotously colorful ‘mosaics, networks, flowing arabesques, interlaced spirals, wonderful tapestries . . . great butterflies gently moving their wings, fields of glittering jewels . . . soaring architecture . . . and finally human figures and fully formed scenes where coherent histories are enacted’ (Smythies 1953).  These reports on the visions induced by mescaline further exemplify the similar structures found in entoptic images across individuals.  Somehow, the entheogen produces similar images of jewels, interlaced webs and spirals, beautiful architecture and so forth within the visual system.  As we can see from the above reports, different individuals interpret the images they see in slightly different ways, but the similarities and patterns are clearly there.  This research made it very clear that there are patterns in the entoptic images observed by different individuals when consuming mescaline(…..)  Research into the entoptic images induced by entheogens was continued by Louis Lewin, who spoke of the similarity in imagery that is produced by different types of substances, such as cannabis and mescaline.  He stated that Cannabis produces fireworks and multicolored stars, while mescaline produces colored arabesques, carpets, and filigree latticework (Lewis 1924).  In 1977, Siegel found that individuals exposed to THC and placed in a light and soundproof chamber would see many structurally similar geometric forms which would combine, duplicate, and superimpose with each other. This research once again indicates that, although different entheogens may create somewhat different images, there are definite patterns to be found in entoptic images observed by different individuals and induced by different substances and methods.”


The world of psychedelia and altered states of consciousness have always seemed so inspiring to me but I have not explored them in depth as in relation to art and my practice. through looking at my own experiences and visions as well as seeing how other artists have examined these concepts I feel inspired to explore for myself.

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