The Missing Link
Holy Smokes! We Made It
After a year in development and another year patiently awaiting the release of Missing∆Link's long-anticipated psydub mix, A Path to the Future, I am finally able (and super excited) to present this most involved work. This was a monumental undertaking and an investment of countless hours. The end result is something that I am intensely proud of and I hope it carries you into a true sense of wonder. Thank you so much for spending your time with me!
In The Mix
Before we immerse ourselves in this labyrinth, fire up A Path to the Future at the link below. This mix was designed by Missing∆Link and he went to great lengths to fully integrate the art and music.
Done? Done. Let's go...
Though art styles and mediums vary widely the greatest works employ a number of critical techniques to captivate their audience. Behind some of the most enduring paintings an astute observer may identify an underlying meta structure known as an "armature". The armature serves as a skeleton upon which a composition is constructed and the substance of beauty applied.
Missing∆Link requested an involved story composed of a variety of solar symbols and incorporating his most beloved hallucinogens. I knew I wanted to divide the image into upper and lower realms and bilateral symmetry is a powerful signature of intense psychedelia. The cross as a foundation was a no-brainer. I simplified my armature to the most recognizable symbol of the sun and salvation and worked from there.
The cross holds great spiritual significance for me and is rooted deeply in esoteric tradition. Using it as an armature inspired the "As Above, So Below" motif that governs the composition. But I needed to go a step further to inform the movement between realms. I divided the quadrants another instance creating rays from the fulcrum of the cross. This made each quadrant more manageable and drove home our solar symbolism.
The aspect ratio of the image evolved over time and the sheer amount of problem solving that went into the final spacial relationships created the rest of the armature of its own accord.
Note the stacked pyramidal shapes created by the armature in the lower section. This relationship is echoed in both the imagery at the lower center and in the Ayahuasca experience that inspired it. I will describe that experience in depth later.
My client, Missing∆Link, requested the inclusion of 7 hallucinogens with a particular emphasis on Ayahuasca. It was an extraordinary challenge to not only clearly showcase each one but to also arrange them in a way that informed and complimented the overall motif.
A majority of the hallucinogens are located in the lower terrestrial realm as they are found in nature. The higher celestial realm is reserved primarily as the expression of N-N DMT.
Now. Let's dig in and explore the imagery. See you on the other side:)
The Shaman - Courier of Timelessness
Like Hermes, our Shaman is messenger of the Sun. He carries the burden of completed vision to and from the farthest reaches of the imagination. By virtue of his peculiar profession he has become intercessor between the psychedelic seeker and the Tremendous Mystery beyond. He is the Butterfly of Apocalypse, Keeper of Revelation and Arbitrator of Natural Law - the Worldbridger, uniting the earthly and celestial spheres.
The decorated visage of Janus, two-faced god of time and duality, frames the Shaman's head. The hypocrite's gaze pierces deep into the past and knowingly through the future, concurrently. Janus' countenance is overlaid with a casuistic network that reveals the conspiracy behind his presence. He is the razor edge of pattern recognition and the source of the Shaman's intuition.
The psilocybin mushrooms growing from the Shaman's body are an homage to an ancient rock painting from the Tassili Plateau in Algeria. It was only fitting to include this piece of psychedelic history here.
In the cut below, the psychedelic master's left hand (right side) mutates into the Ayahuasca vine and becomes the serpent spirit of the great liana. In his right hand (left side), he carefully shows the vision-inducing chacruna leaf. These elements are the key ingredients of the sacred Ayahuasca brew and I have purposefully preserved the recipe.
Lovely as the hummingbird, he sips the nectar of destiny. Terrifying as the ocean, he dismembers the uncommitted. Wise as the owl, he is conjoined to the occulted dimensions he navigates. But as free as a man can be, he submits to his appointment in humble service of his culture. The Shaman has died a thousand deaths. Through his tribulation he has mastered madness, perfected courage, domesticated fear and rises still as a testament to hope in an impersonal infinity.
The Shaman's Headdress
Let's peruse a couple important symbols worth mentioning here.
First, note that the spine of the Shaman's headdress is adorned with Hieroglyphs. This reveals an interesting anthropological fact about historic psychedelic usage in Mesoamerica. The surrounding stone and coursing cerulean energy also point to the visual quality of Mesoamerican psychedelics and are a clue as to how the characteristic hieroglyphs emerged as identifiable pictograms. This energy will make a number of appearances throughout our image and the passages below.
Perched upon the headdress and basking in the light from above is Bufo Alvarius, the Sonoran Desert toad. This little beasty produces a venom rich in 5-MeO-DMT and is well-known for being licked by locals and nomadic hippies alike. 5-MeO-DMT is a powerful tryptamine hallucinogen that generates perfected visions defined by beautiful bilateral symmetry. It is fast acting with a relatively mild duration but has maximum capacity to "blow the lid off the container". If it doesn't completely overwhelm the participant it often results in unitary experiences, and a profound, utterly convincing sense of merging with non-dual God consciousness. The Bufo toad is flanked by 12 eyeballs looking toward the heavens.
THE CELESTIAL SPHERE
Almost everything in the light above the clouds is informed by my direct experiences with N,N-DMT. I have taken some artistic liberty in order to enhance meaning and augment the purposes of the greater work. So, this is not a "plein air" psychedelic vision. Nonetheless, it is a faithful translation.
Our attention is immediately drawn to the central "femalien" entity. She is consort to our Shaman and representative of the "externalization of the soul". She is ambassador of the celestial DMT dimension and embodies our collective aspiration to live forever. Her All-Seeing eye, augmented by the lens of esoteric insight, surveys the past that roots her in space and time. In her womb... a young spirit is conceived. We shall respectfully call her "The Keeper".
The Keeper is enshrined in a living cathedral fashioned by the pure will of God. Around her, giants seek the heavens and 16 curious eggs rise toward the light that pours in from the apex of the dome.
To the left of The Keeper...
... and to the right of her...
...stand 6 towering entities. The Keeper's Children. They are the risen muses and guardians of Divine design. Their presence is simultaneously familiar and beyond comprehension, much like the experience they represent.
Return to Terra
Pareidolia is hard at work in the swirling atmosphere. Faces emerge and melt into each other forming clouds filled with liquid personality. This is the veil between worlds where travelers leave their residual imprint as they pass between dimensions.
Take heed of the alien and the glow of the cerulean sky...
Continuing our descent into the Earthly Sphere we get a better look at the Ayahuasca serpent spirit. I infused her skull with the features of a jaguar giving her a feline appearance. Her skin glows with an otherworldly light as she pushes out of the jungle darkness and into consciousness.
Triangles pass along the serpent's body distracting the eye as she shapeshifts from corporeal vine to supernatural entity.
Sapo and The Kambo Specter
Like the Sonoran Desert toad, the Sapo frog excretes venom that has psychoactive properties, though its effects are vastly different. I have never ingested the Sapo frog venom, Kambo, so I can only communicate what I have gathered from practitioners. I sincerely hope I have captured its essence.
In the lower corners of our composition we encounter some very curious beings. These shadowy, amphibious humanoids are the result of my intuitive effort to anthropomorphize the spirit of Kambo. Notice his facial features and how they resemble the Cloud Alien depicted in the previous section. This visual synchronicity echoes our greater motif once again. As Above, So Below.
Perched upon the Kambo Specter's shoulder is the truly magnificent Sapo frog - the source of Kambo. Sapo is quite large, as frogs go, and is identified by its unmistakable cackle, sleek appearance and bright yellow-green complexion. Sapo venom is regarded for it's purgative effects and heavy intoxication. Though not much has been described concerning it's visual appeal, the stories I've heard suggest that there are some hallucinogenic qualities that accompany the purge. These anecdotes have informed the visual representation of the Kambo Specter seen here.
The Kambo experience seems to be altogether unpleasant. I have heard about everything from inflammation of the face and uncontrollable streams of puke to ubiquitous feelings of crippling dread and claustrophobia. Close friends of mine have looked into their bodies and seen disgusting, oily masses clogging essential organs. Others have described endless, bending tunnels constructed of poisonous spines that court severe distortions of time. Most that have partaken believe the purge releases a decade's worth of accumulated toxicity. And nearly every person I have spoken to holds the frog in very high esteem
Because of my lack of direct experience it was very important for me to dig into the experiences of friends and consult my intuition as I created the Kambo Specter. Through reliance upon my own resonant journeys I was able, hopefully, to visually extract the most important characteristics of this medicine.
Ayahuasca, Egypt and Timewarps
I would like to direct your attention to the Pyramid in the lower center of the scene. Though this area is perhaps the least artistically interesting of all of the elements, it is brimming with symbolic significance.
It is crucial to point out that this scene is inspired directly from my most profound Ayahuasca ceremony.
During this auspicious night in the Brazilian jungle I experienced my consciousness vertically arrayed into 7 distinct but concurrent dimensions. Brazil and my Ayahuasca-saturated brain occupied one of these dimensions but it had no more and no less significance than any of the other dimensions. There were 2 dimensions above Brazil and 4 dimensions below. Each of these dimensions operated upon timelines related to each of the others but were compartmentalized and isolated by a psychic boundary. Though I was persistently aware of all 7 dimensions simultaneously, I journeyed through each of them in linear succession.
The higher dimensions were defined by high technology and timelessness but are not relevant to the artwork. As such, we will home in on the lower dimensions.
The following is quite lengthy so feel free to refer to the diagram above at any point.
Lower Dimension 1 - A Perfect Egyptian Era
...Descending from the high-tech, post-temporal dimensions above Brazil, I passed back through my body still plastered to the floor of the maloca. The environment below felt warm and came into focus like refracted light through water - a mirage. I was still recumbent but I felt weightless.
The scene was bright and a firmament of open sky bent like a lens above. Glistening white dunes rolled in beneath me and I could feel grains of sand bouncing between the hairs on my forearms. Three perfect Pyramids, tiled in shining limestone, drifted above the desert floor and into perspective. Element by element a picture-perfect Egyptian landscape emerged.
My levitated body seemed increasingly peculiar in that environment. Cognizant that I was fully "there" but seeing also that I had physical presence in another dimension was very wild indeed. My mind warped around the implication of being in more places than one. I became dizzy for a moment. Grazed by vertigo I decided to relax into the pliant, arid dreamscape before me. My surrender was rewarded with a mythic wave of understanding.
I dissociated from my identity as "HUMAN" and realized that my body was not the generator of awareness nor a transceiver for consciousness. Instead, it was a multidimensional expanse; an amorphous instrument specialized in compiling delineations of infinity. The more time, the broader my capacity to record, the greater my vessel became until I cast a shadow across a vast swathe of desert. Now, stretched across the sea of sand, I felt less and less a corporeal being and increasingly like an indicator of duration. Space merged with Time and I, the mirror of both. In the fullness of the experience, the top of my head anchored in the present and my feet reached 2 millennia into the past. The advent of the Great Pyramid projected into the 21st century through the conduit of my existence. I was the container of an epoch...
And Ayahuasca gently carried me away toward the next spectacle.
Lower Dimension 2 - The King's Chamber
I disintegrated into a kind of empty noise, like the void between television channels, and reintegrated in the adjacent dimension below the desert. Here, I found myself in the heart of the Great Pyramid. Lying supine in the center of the King's Chamber I was delighted by magic. Cerulean sky energy whirled and weaved through the Chamber. The most wonderful variety of cyan and indigo hues flirted with the golden, sandstone walls and filled the scene with extreme nostalgia. The event was convincingly real quite like I was reliving a prior incarnation... or something like it. The sky energy swirled downward engulfing me. Its gravity pulled me through a lapse in consciousness to the dimension below.
Lower Dimension 3 - Pyramid of the Black Sun
Half a world away from the sands of Egypt, but no further than a tangential psychedelic idea, I awoke in a tomb washed in darkness. I could feel the aching gravity of Teotihuacan above. The massiveness of the Pyramid of the Sun heaved down upon the burial chamber.
I was confined to a solitary sarcophagus covered by a translucent crystal barrier. Through it I could see the surrounding chamber reaching skyward and disappearing into outer darkness. The expanse of the void, its emptiness, its opaqueness, the paradox of its very existence, all implied the probability that I was dead. The pleasant novelty of this journey was dissipating rapidly.
A tinge of claustrophobic panic spiked in my chest. I sensed a dreadful presence. Though its genesis proved intuition correct, I was ill-prepared to cope. The darkness came alive with all number of barely visible dangers. Hints of phosphorescence suggested a gargantuan heap of vile creatures. Glints of reflected light bounced across the breaching spines of contorting reptoids. Abominable beasts flashed rows of serrated teeth and the void itself was manifestly aware. The crystal between us glimmered and the ritual of intimidation turned to brazen assault.
Vicious, mangled serpents slapped against the crystal barrier, writhing in splattered puddles of obsidian fluid. Spindly tentacles quivered along the seams of the sarcophagus searching, almost desperately, for a crack. I squirmed but my movement was arrested by my confinement. Indescribably psychotic predators seemed to pile to infinity behind the veil of absent light. It was all utterly disturbing.
I considered how long I had been there and wondered if I would ever be someplace other, perhaps with someone I loved. I wanted out.
I looked away from the darkness and fixed my attention to the inside of the tomb. It was ancient and not unpleasant but exuded a definite emphasis on function over form. My eyesight was extraordinarily clear. Everything appeared in ultra-high definition and felt almost "more real" than real. Mesoamerican Hieroglyphs crawled along the surfaces of the sarcophagus and the environment seemed to be intelligently responding to my interest. The tomb was either sentient or a magical machine encoded to comfort me during these episodes, I could not tell.
The chamber resonated, vivified with beautiful textures. Indecipherable but very meaningful linguistic patterns passed in and out of the walls leaving behind shimmering distortions in the simulated environment. The Hieroglyphs within my immediate vicinity grew prominent and glowed cerulean intimating the familiar sky energy that carried me to this dimension. These living pictograms sent slow, ultraviolet pulses between each other and seemed to be communicating. The pulses built frequency forming paths of liquid light that coursed every groove and defined the significance of each Hieroglyph. The light condensed into serpentine laser splines that lifted from the surface of the sarcophagus and entered my skin. I was jacked in to the tomb and waves of rejuvenating life force passed through my veins like cool saline. The howling void was still and it was time make its acquaintance.
An abrupt sound, like the pitch of an airlock, split the crystal barrier and it opened into the space beyond. What happened next is unutterable but it changed the trajectory of my life. Though I will reserve the story for another artwork I have represented the event by the light in our Shaman's chest.
Vision into Symbol
So... let's reflect upon the visual cues in the artwork that point to the story above.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt (Lower Dimension 1 & 2 in our story) is represented by the beams emanating from the solar heart of the Shaman. The holographic appearance of the Great Pyramid acts as a container for the Pyramid of the Sun (Lower Dimension 3). The base of the Great Pyramid aligns with the base of the stepped Pyramid of the Sun as it very interestingly does in the real world.
If we count the hidden participants behind the Pyramid of the Sun, there are 16 people arrayed around the base of the Pyramid. The participants are arranged just like the actual group of participants that accompanied me in Brazil. Their faces are covered in mushrooms and represent my very first Ayahuasca ceremony with the group. The very first vision of that very first ceremony clearly depicted my unhealthy relationship with psilocybin mushrooms at the time and I learned that my sense of self had become inextricably bound to them. I had an addiction.
The bodies of the participants are elongated and stretched toward the fulcrum below the Pyramid of the Sun, calling back to the desert timewarp (Lower Dimension 1).
16 floating eggs encircle the participants. We should remember that there are also 16 eggs rising toward the light in the top portion of the larger image (Refer to "The Celestial Sphere" section). These are deliberately related... As Above, So Below.
If we distill the number 16 down to its numerological sum we get 7 (1 + 6 = 7) - the number of completion, balance and perfection. This conveniently reflects the 7 (total) parallel dimensions I journeyed through in Brazil.
The participants rest upon a tiled labyrinth. Violet mist drifts through its corridors hinting at the mysteries of the underworld below. The lovely cerulean sky energy, the energy that weaved through the King's Chamber and coursed the Mesoamerican tomb(Lower Dimension 2 & 3), pulses along the Labyrinth's tiled surface. This energy lights the participant's bodies and sustains them through the "little death".
We notice that the labyrinth also serves as the substrate of the Peyote Cactus. A cursory read through Castaneda's acquaintance with Don Juan or a visit to the Native American Church will provide context for this relationship.
Following the steps up to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun grants us an encounter with a pair of Void Entities (Lower Dimension 3). Between the Void Entities sits a boiling cauldron that provides the final clue to the preparation of Ayahuasca: water and fire.
Dark smoke rises from the cauldron and swirls around the solar heart of the Shaman lending significance to his mercurial nature. The depiction of the sun also marks the apex of the Great Pyramid and describes the climax of my journey through the dimensions (Lower Dimension 3 and beyond).
Out of the solar light arises the Phoenix. From one vantage, the bird is enormous but when viewed as a talisman around the Shaman's neck, he becomes iconic.
As one of the last elements that I added to the work, the Phoenix is truly a seal of completion.
Pretty Sure The Link Isn't Missing
Without a doubt, psychedelics broaden the scope of our vision. They shake up habit and rattle our culture cages and might well beat the living hell out of us on any given day. But they can also rapidly expand our spiritual horizons and trigger the most profound transpersonal experiences. Wholeheartedly they have changed me and wrenched open ancient longings for communion with Eternity. They have not always been gentle and they have indeed been the source of much pain over the years but they have always reliably invoked creativity. And for this I am forever grateful.
If you didn't catch the first cue to listen to Missing∆Link's Mix and this work has finally inspired you to do so, you can catch it here. Don't forget to give the mix "a heart".
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Thank you for you, graciously, for your time and may God bless you.