Council on Spiritual Practices About CSP | Site Map | ©
Search CSP:   

Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Psychedelic Art.

Masters, R. E. L., and Houston, Jean. (1968).
New York: Grove Press.

ISBN: None

Description: First edition, 190 + i pages. Edited, designed, and produced by Marshall Lee, a Balance House book.

Contents: List of 30 color plates and 110 illustrations, 4 chapters including ones by Barry N. Krippner, bibliography, index.

Excerpt(s): Surrealism was exclusive; psychedelic art is inclusive; it does not withdraw from the external world but rather affirms the value of inwardness as complementary awareness. The aim of psychedelic experience is to expand the consciousness so that it can be a consciousness of more. Unlike surrealism, psychedelic art makes a basic tenet of spiritual harmony with the universe. Psychedelic art is not antagonistic to the religious art of the past and does not find its affinities with daemonic and heretical art as such. It is more mature than surrealism in declining to equate the beautiful with the bizarre. It has no fascination with madness or the hallucinations of madness. It seeks out the images and other phenomena to be found in the depths of the normal expanded mind. It shares with surrealism, and much other art, the intent to shock the viewer into a transformed awareness.

Where surrealism is magical, psychedelic art would be scientific in its approach to "mind." It also would be religious and mystical and finds no incongruity between being all these things; in fact, it might be called a scientific-religious or mystical-scientific art. In some ways more naive than surrealism, psychedelic art has yet to work its way through a kind of childish wonder at the realities uncovered in the altered states. Particularly, psychedelic art tends to be naive in its metaphysical outlook and in its religious and mystical awareness. These are generally shallow and rather primitive. Barry Schwartz calls psychedelic art "the surrealism of the technological age." This is true if we understand that psychedelics, with technology, have worked a transvaluation of many of surrealism's concerns. (page 97-98)

The hunger for some kind of religious or transcendental experience is genuine. Especially so in America and some other countries where, for the first time in history, many millions of people no longer have a primary economic concern. Among some of these people, a religious man is replacing the old economic man. At the same time, the traditional religions are felt by more and more people to be inadequate. They do not, for one thing, provide means for personal growth; and the ritual content of much psychedelic experience suggests that this is one critical area of failure. These facts explain some of the appeal of psychedelics and also the current embracing of superficial but new and sensational religions with their false gods and prophets. ...

Much psychedelic art is presently limited by some degree of adherence to these pseudo-theologies and neo-primitive concepts. There is no reason why it must remain so. When circumstances are more favorable, a profoundly spiritual art should be able to emerge. (pages 100-101)

Compilation copyright © 1995 – 2001 CSP

[Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]