Ayahuasca in My Art and Philosophy

Ayahuasca Visitation by Alex Grey

My first ayahuasca sessions were in January 2001 in Brazil, and I immediately fell in love with this mind- and heart-opening sacrament. My very first journey was so positive I described it as God sitting on my eyeballs. I met a being made of flowing, iridescent jewels who came close to my face so I could remember. The Ayahuasca Visitation was a drawing based on that first trip. My second session was a series of dark and scary visions, including an autopsy on myself and a game of hide-and-seek with God. As I lay among the dead bodies at Auschwitz, God asked, “Can you see me now?” The relentless intelligence of the unconscious processes unleashed during the journey made me surrender to the weirdness and wisdom of the jungle medicine. Over the past 15 years, I returned many times to the retreat center and deepened my relationship with the inner cosmos unlocked by Aya.

Visionary art influenced by DMT often displays ornate pattern languages of dotting and radiating flow forms. I noticed this when drawing some of the angels and fucking dragons I was seeing. One of my favorite times on ayahuasca was while painting Seraphic Transport Docking on the Third Eye. I was able to work without my hands shaking, as sometimes happens with other psychedelics. I could close my eyes and check on the colors and luminosity.

The greatest inspiration I’ve had so far on ayahuasca were visions of the Net of Being. In 2003, deep in the jungles of Brazil on an ayahuasca journey, I entered a great net of being, a fiery, jewel-like web of Godselves weaving an endless anthropocosmic tapestry. It was a realm of universal beings with an omnidirectional topology of interconnected heads and hearts, fusing boundless wisdom and love. A luminous ball inside the basketlike head of each four-faced God was the heartglow shining an eerie under-light for the level of Godheads rising above and beyond sight. The flaming lattice of eyes and galaxies revealed a new order of the x-y-z axis, an endless soul-field of infinite consciousness.

Cannabacchus by Alex Grey

The word seraphim comes from the Hebrew verb saraph, meaning “to burn.” Seraphim means “the burning one.” Because angels are light-beings, the Net of Being, an infinite circuitry made of fiery light, represents the ideal agency through which the Divine may manifest. An angel is a spiritual being dedicated to the service of divine purpose. Angels do as commanded by the Absolute, the Great Mystery. The great Sufi mystic Ib’n Arabi said that the imagination is our angel, where “God meets God.” A symbol of the infinite, creative, visionary imagination, the Net of Being is an interwoven thoroughfare in which God is simultaneously, superconsciously operative in every dimension of space. The grid of Godheads gaze at one another with a mirror-like interreflectivity evocative of the mythic Jewel Net of Indra, or Buddhafields, from the Avatamsaka Sutra. The arching foreheads of the QuadGods act as pillars in a topology of angel-tecture creating an endless web of forever-receding corridors. Peace, power and nobility are the qualities attributable to these watchful faces.

Excerpted from Ayahuascca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, Edited by Luis Eduardo Luna & Steven F. White

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