Painting – “Templo Sacrosanto” by Pablo Amaringo
There are a number of human experiences — I am thinking of such things as hallucinations, lucid dreams, visions, out-of-body experiences — that are characterized by presentness, detail, externality, and three-dimensional explorable spacefulness. We can call these visionary experiences. Such visionary experiences appear to be a central and consistent component of shamanism generally — most prominently, for example, in the ayahuasca shamanism of the Upper Amazon
Underlying the intricate geometric patterns of great complexity displayed in the art of the Shipibo people is a concept of an all pervading magical reality which can challenge the Western linguistic heritage and rational mind. The Ethnologist Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, calls this “visual music”.
Apparently, ayahuasca can push the human mind to heights of creativity that by far exceed those encountered ordinarily. I myself have realized this in conjunction with a vision in which I was guided through an exhibition displaying the works of an entire culture.
A number of artists have attempted to render the striking visual experiences that occur after ingesting ayahuasca or DMT. In the Upper Amazon, there are both indigenous artists, whose traditional work consists largely of abstract patterns, such as those found on the now well-known pottery, clothing, and other household goods of the Shipibo; and visionary artists, mostly mestizo, whose work is characterized by detailed representations of spirits, trees, animals, objects, and participants in ayahuasca healing ceremonies. These latter works fall almost paradigmatically within what has now come to be called outsider art, sometimes naïve art, and sometimes visionary art — direct, intense, content-laden, narrative, enormously detailed, personal, idiosyncratic, two-dimensional, and brightly colored.