Visionary Art

Although ayahuasca drinkers will experience widely unique visions, that are connected to their past and present spiritual beliefs, a curious spiritual effect has been noted:  no matter where the participant has come from to the ayahuasca ceremony, he or she will, to some extent, also experience visionary images influenced by the immediate culture where the ceremony occurs.  For many participants, it is their first trip to South America, and they have no way of having seen these visions already, so it is not merely a case of memory recall.

The visionary commonality will also include the specific plants used in the ayahuasca concoction.  This will be true for the individual and for the other members of the group as well.  Each will have his or her own unique visions, but most participants in the ceremony will, at some point, see the same visions. These visions will often include: images of serpents, large indigenous cats, birds, palaces, ancient civilizations, open landscapes and vistas, and celestial and heavenly scenes.  The visionary commonality will also include the specific plants used in the ayahuasca brew. These are not visions of things in the tent or room that the participant could just look at, but rather things that come to their mind. Accounts of visions also include descriptions of intensely colorful scenes, rotating and/or pulsating images, and floating patterns.

The individual visions seem to go to the very core of each individual, in deep layers in which no other participant can partake, that are very intimate to each person. They are unrelated to the individual’s cultural and community experiences.  These visions have frequently been picked up by the shamans and guided before the effects of the ayahuasca wear off. 

Many ayahuasca ceremony participants find it difficult to put their visions into words.  Though they can describe the images they have seen, they are not able to easily provide the narrative.  What they can do, however, is remember the vision images.

Paintings completed by participants frequently reflect the bright colors and patterns seen during visions.  They also often show a blending of very ordinary scenes with images that indicate a spiritual awareness or divine presence.  The images may be very familiar or very abstract.  There also are pictures filled with dark colors and images that reflect terror, the presence of evil, or other pending spiritual harm.  But no matter what is presented in these pictures, they are always saturated with color and visual energy.  The whole canvas is filled with color and shape.

Some of the most famous visionary painters of all times is Pablo Amaringo, from Peru. Nowadays there are a lot of great ayahuasca artists in Peru. Some places, like Iquitos, have their local cooperative, where local children and adults can learn visionary painting.

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