Psychedelics, mysticism, art, and literature have always been deeply interwoven. Here are some of history’s most interesting artists and writers who tapped into a higher state of consciousness to channel more profundity and overall impact into their work.
Huxley is an intellectual and writer held in high regard over the past century. His dystopian novel, Brave New World, is still as relevant as ever and continues to influence society with its sharp, and clever portrayal of a world where people are manipulated by mass-produced entertainment and chemicals.
His two less known works, however, need to make their way into mainstream culture: the Doors of Perception, and Island. Both these books explore the effects of psychedelics on consciousness and society.
The Doors of Perception is required reading for people who are interested in consciousness alteration. Island, on the other hand, is the utopian opposite of Brave New World where people on an island live in harmony because of the connectedness created by a natural psychedelic.
Huxley viewed altered states not just for tripping out but as methods of intellectual, social, and artistic discovery. He was so dedicate to reach transcendence that he reportedly had his wife give him a dose of LSD as he died.
Few writers have brought Eastern ideas to the Western World as successfully as Hermann Hesse. Hesse is a German writer who wrote the novel Siddhartha – the story of a man named after the Buddha on a quest for enlightenment. His book found success in Germany but it wasn’t until the 1960s counterculture when his work found its regal throne.
Hesse wasn’t influenced by Eastern religious traditions alone. He also derived inspiration from the works of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung. In Jung’s study of psychology, Hesse found depths of profoundly mystical elements ad Jung himself is amazed by the mystic and occult activities of man. He believes these rituals are powers of the unconscious mind which make their way to the surface.
Jung’s influence on Hesse’s work is most evident in the novel Demian which explores Jungian psychological archetypes and the unconscious mind.
William Butler Yeats
W.B. Yeats is known for many things. He’s a public leader, a Nobel laureate, and one of the most mind-opening writers of his generation. He also happens to be a Hermetic magician. His passion is equally divided into his pursuit of literature and his pursuit of esoteric and mystical studies.
Yeats frequently combined his love for the two – he incorporates symbols from Celtic mythology into his writings. He is also a member of a secret society which studies rituals and mysticism: the hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
His ventures into the mystic world is reflected by his poetry. As he grew older, he experimented with communicating with the dead. It’s said that his wife Georgie Hyde Lees would channel spirits to bring Yeats metaphors for poetry.
For Yeats, the mystical life is the center of all his endeavors.
Ginsberg’s poem Howl is a transformative venture for many young adults and for anyone who is on a journey towards greater spiritual awareness and understanding consciousness. At one point, Ginsberg was the most influential psychedelic and visionary artist in the world. He’s also the proclaimed arch-poet of the legendary American Beat movement.
He derived his inspiration from wide and varied sources including religious tradition, spirituality, and esoteric movements which attempted to achieve enlightenment. Ginsberg’s psychedelic experiences were filtered through a deep love of other psychedelic artists especially Blake and Yeats.
The Jewish tradition of Kabbalah also fascinated the Jewish Ginsberg and references to it are always inserted into his writing. Ginsberg studied the traditions of Kabbalah extensively and incorporated it with Eastern mystical beliefs particularly Hinduism and Buddhism.
His writings, so fascinated with the occult and esotericism, gave the spiritual dimension to the 1960s counterculture. He engaged other visionaries, traditions, and by the end of his life, he has defined the spirituality of an entire generation.
Blake is a visionary. However, his influence overshadows his name. He is one of the least popular poets during the English Romantic movement. His paintings went about unappreciated and without detailed commentary compared to his contemporaries.
That said, his ideas and visions have influenced many idealistic artists ranging from Alan Moore to Nick Drake. The visions mentioned earlier doesn’t pertain to progressive ideas but literal visions of an alternative, higher spiritual reality.
Blake lived his life as a devout Christian and he claims to have seen visions of God, angels, and spirits since he was four years old. He describes his Christianity as visionary, free, and mystical. Blake understood ecstasy, joy, and rapture as elements of human connections with God and that institutional religious groups are preventing people from contacting the divine.
Prophetic visions are regular features of his stirring poetry and paintings.
Wrapping up this list is one of the most well-known modern artists who is currently exploring altered consciousness states and mysticism – Alex Grey.
He describes himself as a visionary painter and he has gained fame for his art inspired by psychedelic visions. He’s also a leading figure in organizations such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Centre of Cognitive Liberty.
Despite his immersion in his art, Grey is a tireless advocate who tirelessly campaigns for a greater understanding of psychedelics and for less prejudice for people who want to explore their personal consciousness through the use of entheogens found in nature.
Grey wants to increase awareness by expressing the beauty of transcendent states through his art characterized by bold colors, sacred symbols, intricate fractals, and representations of altered states of consciousness.
You don’t have to dedicate years of your life to understand psychedelic effects. While it’s good to read about the successes of great men, you also need to make your own discoveries. Discover what the psychedelic world holds. Order magic truffles online today.