An experiment screen print poster in discharge – Hand of Mysteries design

Today I ran an experiment on a whim.  I am not sure why I had never tried it before.  I was already going to print off a few posters of the Solve et Coagula design.  It popped into my mind while staring at the stack of blank, grey poster paper.  Why not see what happens if I try something different?  Today I also made a screen print poster of my Hand of Mysteries Design with discharge.

First, I printed my Solve et Coagula design.  The test was short and I only made 3 of these posters.  I think I will end up offering them as a limited edition shirt combo…

screen print poster alchemical diagram from Closet of Mysteries "Solve et Coagula" design
Solve et Coagula printed on 13 x 19 French paper Test run 3 prints

It seemed an obvious enough idea since paper is made from natural fiber which is dyed.  As long as the dye in the paper is reactive type which makes up most all of them, it should (and did) discharge.  Neat!

I only printed one of these posters since I was really just testing to see if it worked.  There may be some other source that already had this information but it seemed more fun to try it out than to Google it.

IMG_6439
Hand of Mysteries screen print poster in discharge on 13 x 19 French Paper.
screen print poster from Closet of Mysteries "Hand of Mysteries" design
The Hand of Mysteries is also known as the Philosopher’s Hand.

Now that I have seen that the process works, it is time to think of designs that integrate the technique in some creative ways.  I will need to make a screen print poster design with some discharge elements.  It shall be an interesting experiment.

Both designs are also available on t Shirts on my Etsy shop:
Closet of Mysteries on Etsy

Dragon of the Stone – Alchemical Dragon illustration explained

The alchemical dragon has been a symbol used by mystics for ages.  The most iconic of these illustrations from the Theatrum chemicum Britannicum is the two headed dragon facing the sun and moon.  It comes from page 212 at the end of the chapter called Liber Patris Sapientiae.

This Robert Vaughan illustration is one of many that were commissioned for the book.  In it, we have a two headed dragon with its necks entangled but heading out in opposite directions.  One head faces the sun while the other faces the moon.  The dragon represents the process of alchemy.  Symbolically, the dragon is action – making “it” happen.  His drawing is masterfully executed earning it a place amongst the greatest alchemical illustrations.

alcheical dragon by Robert Vaughan

This alchemical process is an action that is influenced by the opposing forces in nature.  The Sun and the moon represent the opposing forces of heating and cooling.  During the alchemical process, a substance is heated and cooled many times producing evaporation and condensation.

The sphere at the bottom is the elixir it stirs.  It represents the cycle of transmutation in progress.  The dragon sits atop it like a mother hen on an egg.  This can also be seen as the world and the alchemical process transpiring within it.

I like to ponder the idea that the universe is an alchemical experiment.  The intended outcome is pretty reliable.  As parts of the experiment, we have a tendency to buy into the idea that the time we live in currently is the only one that matters and that we must be the culmination of the intentions of history.  This could not be so based on the evidence of the culture around us.  I find it helpful to think of the world as an alchemical process that is ever changing toward a positive outcome.  The alchemical dragon serves as a reminder to me.

By the way, it also makes for a good t shirt:

Dragon of the Stone - Alchemical Dragon shirt from Closet of Mysteries
Ladies’ Dragon of the Stone T Shirt from Closet of Mysteries
dragon of the stone - alchemical dragon t shirt from Closet of Mysteries
Men’s Dragon of the Stone T Shirt from Closet of Mysteries

 

How the Days of the Week got Their Names

By preschool age, most people know the days of the week pretty well.  It is amazing that despite that fact, most people have no idea how the days of the week got their names and what those names actually mean.

Seven days

Have you ever wondered why we have seven days of the week?  It turns out, it is the same reason people consider seven to be a lucky or holy number (depending on the belief of the individual).  The roots are ancient and rather simple once we are made aware of the answer.  We can observe seven celestial spheres in the sky with the naked eye.  The observable solar system is how the days of the week got their names.  The most obvious ones are pretty easy to figure out based on this knowledge.  Let’s have a look at each day and it’s meaning in order. For good measure, I will also give a little more information about the days’ the pagan connections and zodiac correspondences.

solar system - how the days of the week got their names

How the days of the week got their names

Sun - how the days of the week got their namesSunday

Sunday is the day named after and said to be ruled by the sun.  This one is a bit obvious because it is literally “Sun-Day”.  This is why so many solar based religions engage their religious ceremonies on the day of the sun.  Sunday has historically been the day for solar deities such as Apollo, Horus, Ra, Surya, Jesus and many more.  The zodiac sign associated with Sunday is Leo.

Moon - how the days of the week got their namesMonday

Monday is named after the moon (Moon-day).  Monday is a day that has been historically associated with lunar deities such as Artemis, Sin, Kuhu, Diana, and many more.  The zodiac sign associated with Monday is Cancer.

 

Mars - how the days of the week got their namesTuesday

Tuesday is names after Mars.  The origin is Norse for their ancient war god was named Tyre.  Tuesday is derivative of the name “Tyre’s Day” (incidentally this is also where the word “tyranny” comes from).  This evolved through languages and time into the familiar name we use today.  Mars is, of course, the name for the Roman war god but the planet has carried many other names throughout cultures and history.  Some such names include Nergal, Mangala, Ares, and Hur Deshur.  The zodiac signs associated with Tuesday are Aries and Scorpio.

Mercury - how the days of the week got their namesWednesday

Wednesday is named after Mercury.  The name is another that was derived from the Norse god Woden associated with the planet.  The original name, like Tyre’s Day, was evolved from Woden’s Day into the common name in use today.  Some of the many names for Mercury from around the world include Hermes, Budha, Thoth, and Kokhav.  The zodiac signs associated with Wednesday are Gemini and Virgo.

Jupiter - how the days of the week got their names copy

Thursday

Thursday is named after Jupiter.  It turns out that those old Norse gods dominate all of the middle of the week.  Thursday is really “Thor’s Day” and evolved as the other names have.  Jupiter has also been called many names including Zeus, Enlil, and Marduk.  The zodiac signs associated with Thursday are Pisces and Sagitarius.

Venus - how the days of the week got their namesFriday

Friday is named after Venus.  The norse god Freya is associated with the planet Venus and the current name use developed from “Freya’s Day”.  Venus has been associated with love throughout cultures (Friday I’m in Love) and carries many names such as Ishtar, Aphrodite, and Ba’ah.  The zodiac signs associated with Friday are Taurus and Libra.

Saturn - how the days of the week got their names copySaturday

Saturday is named after the planet Saturn.  This one is another fairly obvious one since it sounds like “Saturn’s Day” when you say it.  Saturn is considered by many cultures to be the ruler of time, darkness, evil, agriculture and karma.  Some of the other names attributed to Saturn are Kronos, Shabtay (origin of the word “Sabbath”), Ninurta, and Sani.  The zodiac signs associated with Saturday are Capricorn and Aquarius.

The Connection

By looking beyond the mundane meanings that we take for granted, we can connect to the history that we are involved in.  I find it truly fascinating to dig in to language and find out what hidden meanings might be right in front of us but beyond our attention.  Our ancient ancestors put a great deal of reverence in creating the languages we speak.  The pantheon of our solar system across cultures explains just how the days of the week got their names.

Days of the week septagram

A Seven pointed star can be created to represent the sacred week.  The symbol is constructed with the sun at the top.  Each of the other spheres are simply placed at the end of the line followed from the previous.  Here is the version of the star that I have designed:
days of the week septagram by Scott Myst

I have made this diagram into an awesome screen printed t shirt which you can get from my Etsy shop by clicking the images below.  I screen print the shirts by hand on some of the best cotton shirts around!

Days of the Week t shirt from closet of mysteries days of the week ladies black t shirt from Closet of Mysteries days of the week t shirt by Closet of Mysteries

Solve et Coagula; creating a modern alchemical illustration t shirt design

I need more drawing in my life.  I found that the best way to accomplish this is to draw more.  That sounds so easy but when you have a house full of kids and screen printing orders backing up, it can prove to be quite challenging to find time for such things. I feel that putting a resulting image onto a t shirt will prove a good enough excuse to make some new work.  It did.  Here we go… This is a basic overview of the creation of my “Solve et Coagula” modern alchemical illustration t shirt design.

I have often looked at old alchemical illustrations and wondered “what is it trying to tell me?”  It wasn’t until I was aware of a bigger purpose that I realized that the creation of alchemical artwork is part of the transmutation process.  By creating intricate illustrations, the coded alchemical process becomes embedded into the psyche of the artist to bring about the philosopher’s stone.  Transmutation is therefore carried out, in part, by the process of communication about transmutation.

genesis in the retort alchemical illustrations

Drawing an alchemical illustration

This new perspective has inspired me to participate in an old practice and create a basic alchemical diagram.  My intention is to create a t shirt design with the finished image.  I want that image to reflect the ancient alchemical diagrams while still feeling like it is my own true artwork.  The one thing I cannot escape when dipping in to such a project is time.  There is no substitute for the time and patience it takes to make intricate images.  What I will create is not very intricate but will still push my patience (not my strong point).  If you had to pick one over the other, I would say patience is more important in making this sort of art than talent is.

Solve et Coagula alchemical illustration work in progress

Solve et Coagula

“Solve et Coagula” refers to the universal on-going process of breaking things apart and bringing them back together.  It is this natural process in distillation that brings about the purification of a substance.  The physical story of alchemy tells us that the elixir is distilled over long periods of time where it becomes vapor and then condenses into liquid once again.

Solve et Coagula modern alchemy diagram by Scott Myst Solve et Coagula modern alchemy diagram by Scott Myst

Watch video of drawing IN ACTION!

My final alchemical illustration design

solve et coagula alchemical illustration by Scott Myst

Of course, you can purchase your own Solve et Coagula alchemical illustration t shirt from my Etsy shop.  I screen print each shirt by hand with care in my own shop.

Solve et coagula alchemical triblend t shirt

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Looking Beyond – A Magical Grackle ink drawing by Scott Myst

I thought I would share the stages of progress of my most recently completed original magical grackle ink drawing.  I called this piece “Looking Beyond”.  Grackles are abundant in my area and I have been fascinated with these birds for a long time.  The males sport flashy black feathers that shine in iridescent colors of blue and green around their heads.  They have appeared to me in dreams a number of times and I always have seen them as a messenger from beyond and a sort of spirit animal.  Let’s take a look at this magical drawing in progress.

This is a detail of the completed artwork:

Detail of magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

The process

I began with a pencil drawing which is my typical approach.

Work in Progress magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

I recently purchased a new calligraphy pen for drawing.  It will never look this clean again…

Calligraphy pen

I commence the work by following along the original drawing for the most part but add a lot of detail as I see fit.  I like the way the trees are coming a long at this stage.  This new pen pleases me.

Work in Progress magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

Once the pen work is done, I add in the tones with a watercolor brush.

Work in Progress magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst Completed magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

Here is a detail of the eye at the bottom.

Detail of magical grackle drawing by Scott Myst

Final artwork

Here is the final magical grackle ink drawing scanned and made pretty:

looking beyond - A Magical Grackle ink drawing by Scott Myst

Two random side notes about my experiences with grackles:

I once observed a small group of these clever guys ripping into packets of sweetener and gobbling up the powdery content at an outdoor coffee shop.  The method was quite clever; nap packet from table and take it to the grass, stab beak into paper packet then open beak to make a nice sized hole, then feast on contents.  On a side note, these were the worst looking grackles I had ever seen.  Their shabby appliance reminded me of Gollum (artificial sweeteners turned them in to the bird equivalent of tweekers).

When I worked at ASU, I used to walk from a neighborhood across the street to avoid paying for parking on campus.  The road I walked down on campus had some very large trees along the sidewalk in which grackles would nest.  As I walked along that sidewalk during the spring when there were hatchlings in the nests, the males would dive bomb my head making a strange clicking sound.  The first time scared the hell out of me as I did not see them coming.  After a couple of times, I learned it was a better idea to walk on the opposite side of the street 🙂

Thank you for viewing!  I hope you enjoyed it.  Feel free to leave comments.  Sign up for updates with the form below to be notified when I post new content.

Hand Drawn “World Tree” T Shirt Design by Scott Myst

I recently completed my hand drawn “World Tree” t shirt design.  Here is the behind the scenes look at the design from beginning to end.

world tree muscle tank top from closet of mysteries
While reading Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade, I was inspired to make a shirt design around the concept of the World Tree.  The tree is an archaic concept of a life force that penetrates all levels of existence; the underworld, our mundane or physical world, and above into the heavens.  This concept is present in most cultures from Siberia to the Norse traditions and are even the original basis for modern christmas trees.

The Drawing 

To begin my work, I pulled out my antique compass which was originally my father’s.  He bought the set brand new in the 1930’s.  It is a work of art in its own right.

Vintage compass set

I laid out a standard five pointed pentagram as the background and added the tree in the center.  Next, I added the alchemical elements around the outside.  Once the pencil work was complete, I began inking with illustration pens.

World Tree Original Drawing by Scott Myst World Tree Original Drawing by Scott Myst

World Tree Original Drawing by Scott Myst
World Tree Original Drawing by Scott Myst

World Tree Original Drawing by Scott Myst

The Screen print

Once the drawing was complete, it was scanned and prepared in for output onto shirts.  I removed any remaining pencil marks and made the artwork a solid color for the best screen print.  World Tree original art screen print from Closet of MysteriesThe image is printed large on the front of the t-shirt in a single color for a bold and unique shirt you can’t find anywhere else!
World Tree original art screen print from Closet of MysteriesWorld Tree black t shirt from Closet of Mysteriesworld tree tank w
I love creating unique graphics by hand since it always results in something that is a truly unique expression.  My two passions come together when I create artwork based on ideas I contemplate while studying the mysteries that intrigue me the most.  I hope you enjoyed this look into my process of creating this hand drawn “World Tree” t shirt design.  Feel free to leave comments and suggestions for future projects.

I also welcome discussion about the mystery schools, shamanism, magick, and spirituality 🙂

Walpurgisnacht and Beltane – the thin veil for harnessing spiritual growth.

Walpurgisnacht festivalWalpurgisnacht is known as witch’s night.  It is the time of year when the veil between this world and the spirit world is thinnest – opposite of the year wheel from the Samhain holiday.  Traditional celebrations typically involve a bon fire, a may pole, and various other things celebrating fertility and abundance.  The Walpurgisnacht celebration is held on April 30th preceding Beltane or May Day.  Thusly, the preceding moth that follows is considered to be a time in which more spiritual energy is accessible than other times of the year until November when the door opens again.New_York_RenFaire_2004_maypole
There is a lot of disinformation about Walpurgisnacht and Beltane.  I have seen people refer to it as a Satanic holiday.  To clear things up, the veil is thin between the worlds.  That’s just that way it is.  It is not evil or demonic any more so than the dawn or twilight.  There are indeed evil people who take advantage of the accessibility to the available spiritual energy.  The truth is that anyone can.  It is the intention of those very evil people to make everyone else believe that these times are evil so that they can own a monopoly on that sort of power.  After all, they would not want too much positive energy mixed into the ether to dilute their ambitions.

year-wheel
Click image for the Year Wheel t shirt on my Etsy shop!

Taking part in the seasonal cycle is a beautiful ancient practice.  It is like understanding how the seasons work with the harvest.  By understanding the ebb and flow of unseen energies, we can take the reigns of our lives and direct ourselves to meet our true potential.  Don’t we grow food better when we have an understanding of the way that the seasons effect the growth and fruiting patterns in plants.  Imagine where we would be without that knowledge.  Understanding how spiritual energies work can provide the same sort of growth in our spiritual lives.

While participation is a festival is a fantastic way to celebrate, a simpler and more personal approach can also be employed.  Participation can be as simple as taking the time to actually give thanks for the good things in your life.  A  \”ritual” is simply an action with meaning.  Any sort of action will create a result if the meaning is focussed on clearly while it is enacted.  Whether the belief in external spiritual beings are real or imagined, by giving offerings the act embeds into our subconscious minds the attitude of gratitude.  Being thankful always brings about more positive results in our lives.  When we are thankful, we are happy which undeniably brings about better results than when we harbor negativity and unhappiness.  This time of year is the perfect time to plant those seeds and begin generating the positivity that can collectively turn our cultural journey towards a bright future.
May all of you enjoy the blessings of the season of growth and abundance!  Much love from our family to yours.

seedling in good hands

Travels around southern Arizona finds include an abandoned freemason temple in Cooldige

Yesterday our magickal trio headed out adventuring around some of the off the beaten path areas of Southern Arizona.  Travels provided us with sights including an abandoned freemason temple in Cooldige, a strange graveyard just outside of Florence, and a very bumpy road out into the Box Canyon.

I would guess that not many people go to Coolidge, AZ.  Those that do are likely to be there to visit the Casa Grande Ruins which are the remains of an ancient mysterious structure built by inhabitants of this area thousands of years ago.  We will be visiting and writing about the site in the near future.  That site is on the outer edge of town which results in most outsiders remaining outside of Coolidge.  Its a strange place apparently half empty and forgotten since who knows when but full of interesting treasures.  My personal favorite was the abandoned Masonic Temple.

Abandoned Freemason Temple in Coolidge AZFreemason Logde Sign Coolidge AZMasonic Temple sign on abandoned Freemason TempleAbandoned Freemason Lodge

The front door has the Compass and Square painted on.  The elements are working their magic on this place now.

Freemason compass and square painted on temple door

It turns out that Coolidge has some haunted buildings as well…

Sppoky ghost in Cooldige AZ window

Heading out of Coolidge to Florence, we took a back road and happened upon an old graveyard.  When we stopped to check it out, we discovered the tombstones of Freemasons (surprise, surprise!).  Most of he headstones were from the early 1900’s.

Headstone of Freemason outside of Florence AZ

Freemason grave yard headstone

No southwestern photo exploration is complete without some buzzard reminding us of the harsh environment surrounding us waiting to consume our flesh…

Desert buzzard near Florence AZ

We ended our day with a drive down a very bumpy dirt road towards the Box Canyon which lies about 30 minutes east of Florence.  This is not a road for low clearance vehicles but our mighty steed (a 1997 Nissan pickup) handled the road like a champ.

Road to the box canyon

The Saguaro cactus is unique to the Sonoran Desert.  This one resembles a mother cradling two babies in her lower arm.  Did you know it takes 75 years before a saguaro grows its first arm?

Mother saguaro cactus holding babies

There are a lot of farms along the way to the Box Canyon…

Along the road to the box canyon

Thank you for accompanying me on this brief exploration.  If there is any place in Arizona you may be curious about, let me know and we will see if we can check it out 🙂

Drawings from the magickal sketchbook

I have a pretty nifty sketchbook that I purchased while a student in Florence, Italy in 2003.  I could not bring myself to draw in it for the longest time.  I broke out of that a couple of years ago and now it is my go-to sketchbook where I hash out most of my ideas and studies.  Here are some of the magick drawings I have been working on lately….
Scott Mytst's sketchbook for magickal drawings

Pentagram Drawing

This is a basic experiment with in sacred geometry originally drawn with a compass and pencil.  Other elements from hermetic and alchemical illustrations are added with my own personal twist of course.IMG_2245

eye in pentagram magical alchemy  IMG_2246

Ouroboros

I have long admired the ouroboros symbol for its deep meaning and overall aesthetic appeal.  Do not be surprised to see a new design featuring the twin snakes consuming themselves in my shop in the near future.

IMG_2247

Hand of Mysteries

This magick drawing a sort of self portrait with the hand of mysteries or philosopher’s hand but I think I lost my likeness when I inked the drawing.  I expect a larger version would be more successful in capturing facial features…

IMG_2249

IMG_2248

Thank you for checking out my sketchbook and magick drawings!  If you enjoy this sort of content, leave a comment and share this on your social media.

Understanding visionary nature of plant medicines; psychedelic experience

“Gaia” by Alex Grey

 

Intro

Since the earliest times of human consciousness, people have been exploring the spirit world, the inner world, and the physical world through visionary practices.  Often, this has been done by intaking specific chemicals derived from plant medicines.  The pathways opened by the intake of these substances provide a number of effects which can include expansion of perception, self awareness, mental and physical healing, and occasionally cause people to lose their minds.  The following is meant to explore the nature of the reaction when people intake psychedelic plant medicines and what to the pathways to the other side.

Species consciousness

  To better understand the nature of a visionary experiences, it is helpful to first understand that all species have a shared consciousness.  People have long referred to the connection between humans and the collective unconscious.  This is something that all species share.  There are many overlaps within the network, as the same energy makes up everything.  Think of this like an old dial tune radio.  Each species is tuned in to a unique channel but the frequencies cross over one another often as there are margins of overlap, like when you turn the dial on an old radio and can hear more than one broadcast simultaneously.  It is unknown to what extent different species are aware of their common signal, but we can make the general judgement based on our current evolutionary state, that humans are fairly unaware of their common frequency at all.  
  There are many scientifically unexplained animal behaviors in animals that provide evidence of their conscious network connection.  Monarch butterflies, for example, follow a migration route from Canada to Mexico.  This journey takes much longer than the life span of an individual butterfly but they reproduce and their young will continue the journey which their parents had begun.  If we look at this behavior from the point of view that this “instinct” is driven by the collective knowledge of the species of Monarchs, it seems to reinforce the idea that they share a thought network.  
Ayahuasca
Supposedly, we do not understand the so-called psychic phenomenon experienced by the butterflies or any other migratory animal who follow the knowledge of their ancestors.  Biologists simply shrug off many animal behaviors as “instinct” without ever explaining what “instinct” actually means.  The reason is that they don’t know what causes instinct and wish to make the claim that there is some physical mapping in the brain from an evolutionary mutation.  This is because science stubbornly refuses to delve into the fact that there is more to the universe than the easily observable physical aspects.  This is a limited outlook and  dismisses the true understanding of the universe, which our ancient ancestors understood quite well.  The fact is that there is a greater aspect to the universe that resides in an energy system and we would commonly refer to it as the spirit world.

How plant spirits communicate

Psilocybin Mushrooms

By now you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with plants? Plants, lacking the physical data storage unit of a brain, have a different way of holding the knowledge of their ancestry and self awareness.  There is much evidence of plant consciousness that has been studied through their slow movements of their behaviors.  For a general understanding of the study of plant behaviors, I recommend viewing the documentary “What Plants Talk About” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLmM1N754vU).  There is solid proof that plants have developed ways to communicate with each other so they can make appropriate behavioral decisions which will best benefit their network.  The best way to observe this communication is through the plants very own chemical makeup.  

  Here is where it gets really interesting.  Some plants have developed special chemicals that allow them to communicate with not only each other, but also animals.  It is only when we intake these chemicals ourselves. that we are able to begin to understand what the plant networks are really all about.  These plant chemicals are popularly referred to as “psychoactive substances.”  The intake of these chemicals change our brain frequency to resonate with the plant’s frequency.  The result is that we connect to that plant and begin to perceive ourselves as the plant does, we have now tuned into their network.

How people connect to plants/energies 

   The result of intaking psychoactive substances varies from plant to plant.  For example, when someone consumes the THC created by a cannabis plant, they begin to alter their perceptions to be more like those of that plant.  The plant’s consciousness is shared by the user and creates an altered state in which the person feels more like what it is like to be a cannabis plant.  The variety of plant shows its personality through the effect it has on the consumer.  This is why different strains of marihuana make people feel differently.
MAPS Magazine 2001
  The same sort of effect happens when a person ingests psylocybe mushrooms.  The psilocybin changes the brain waves of a person so that they connect on what could be best described as a “psychic” network in which the mushroom organism as a whole communicates with itself.  This is why people will experience a loss of self or ego during a mushroom trip, resulting in a change of perception.  Within the experience, the user can communicate with their host; a conscious collective of the mushroom organism that has a vast network throughout the universe.   
  All plant based experiences have a host which is the collective of all plants of that type.  The psychoactive chemicals have evolved in the plants as a way for the organism of the plant type as a whole to remain cohesive.  Ayahuasca users report encounters with spirits in the form of many jungle animals.  This is one way that the plant essence shows itself to the user and communicates.  The more powerful the chemical, the more a person has a loss of self and enters the world of the plant host.  Since ayahuasca is a DMT experience, the experience is so powerful that the person will entirely retune from their normal human frequency and perceive the world as the plants do. 

Synthesized chemicals

  When a chemical normally created by a plant is then synthesized in a lab (which is still mostly derived from plants), the plant spirit is diminished greatly and the chemical itself is left to create an experience based on the frequency of the substance.  Most of the time, the result is more harmful to the user than good.  The only chemical synthesized in a lab that do not seem to have an extremely negative effect on the user are DMT, LSD, and MDMA.  Others made through heavy processing, such as cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and pharmaceuticals created for western medicine, have a huge range of addictive and toxic results.  For evidence of this, simply look at the drugs that produce huge social, personal, and physiological problems with the users.  Where the psychedelic chemicals can have problematic results for cultural power structure, and occasionally a person’s ability to cope with what they learn through their experience, none of them have shown any evidence of physical addiction or dangerous overdose potential.

Effects, benefits, and warnings

  Each plant spirit is, in a sense, a teacher.  By taking us outside of our own limited perspective, we can learn things we did not previously know.  This is how the shamans use plants for divination to find prey, lost objects, or to see into the future.  In the Sioux legend of how Peyote was discovered, a woman was shown where to find food and medicine by the spirit guide of the Peyote cactus. By venturing out of our own consciousness and into the of the plant “mind” we can also look at ourselves objectively which is sometimes quite difficult for people.  When we are constantly reacting to hang ups that we are creating through our habits, such as thought of fear, the plants can show us those problems.  Facing our fears often causes what people refer to as a “bad trip.”  While these experiences can seem traumatic, when viewed properly, they reveal to us something we need to work on to make ourselves better.
“DMT” by Alex Grey
  Another important fact to note is that the plant spirits, like people, can be of different nature.  Some are light while others are dark.  It seems that the direction of a trip on DMT, for example, is close to the polar opposite in direction to that of salvia divinorum.  While DMT is like an elevator ride upwards into a place of light, salvia takes you down like being flushed into and swallowed by the earth.  While there is something to be learned from either experience, the salvia one can be much tougher to handle.  Datura is one plant teacher that I would be very cautious of as some people are lead by the spirit of the plant down a very dark path and a few don’t return.

Conclusion

  It is my belief that all organisms have an underlying connection which constitutes a collective “whole.”  Each human, for example, is an individual part of a larger human animal that is its own conscious entity.  This is why ideas simultaneously become popular all over the world and why people can sense things about each other.  Some of the plants have evolved ways in which they can break down their barrier of individuality and connect as a whole.  When they share this state with people, the result is a greater sense of connectedness and loss of ego.  While we all live our lives as individuals, the plants can teach us to function as a whole in which we better understand the symbiosis of the natural design and how we can function through mutual growth rather than by selfishly using resources without regard to consequence.
  With all experiences, I recommend taking it very seriously as many of our ancestors have.  By entering the world of the plant spirits, you venture into a sacred realm that can provide life changing benefits.   It’s a good idea to study the traditional use of plant medicines as well as to read up on people’s experiences on sites like the DMT Nexus and Erowid.  With the right perspective and preparation, you can benefit from the psychedelic experience and gain an understanding of the lessons learned from them.
 
By Scott Myst