Spirit Molecule documentary Australian tour

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Undergrowth.org  and Entheogenesis Australis   present the 2010 Spirit Molecule documentary Australian tour, with screenings across the country in December followed by talks with the writer/director Mitch Schultz. Tickets are AUD $23/20 concession, and advance bookings are recommended.

All tickets sold through www.greentix.com.au  see dates and links below.

Listen to an interview with Mitch Schultz, the writer-director here:  



The Spirit Molecule documentary  

(75 mins, 2010, written & directed by Mitch Schultz)

After over 40 years of dormancy, a new psychedelic revolution has emerged.

At the nexus of this next-generation mystical revival, lies a molecule naturally produced abundantly throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Regarded as the world’s most potent psychoactive compound by scientists and psychedelic explorers alike, dimethyltryptamine (or DMT) is also naturally produced in the human brain.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Rick Strassman conducted the first government-sanctioned, human psychedelic research with DMT. Dr. Strassman’s research serves as the narrative backbone for The Spirit Molecule. A documentary described as a psychedelic Baraka meets What the Bleep do We Know, the film presents an intriguing discourse on the science of the soul, and will undoubtedly open Pandora’s Box. By challenging current misconceptions about this class of compounds, The Spirit Molecule unravels fascinating parallels in neurology, quantum physics and human spirituality.

In stylized scenes reminiscent of Rod Sterling’s Twilight Zone bookends, Joe Rogan (Fear Factor), alongside an impressive collection of accomplished minds and a group of Strassman’s own brave psychonauts shepherd the audience through the great unknowns of the DMT experience... revealing the molecule’s ubiquitous nature, its role in our culture, evolution and life itself. Stunning visualizations and highly conceptual imagery intuitively weaves a visual landscape, and a fascinating snapshot of our understanding of consciousness today.

Could Dimethyltryptamine, a simple molecule with a complex name, hold the key to understanding reality, consciousness and our relationship to both?

Many who have experienced DMT profess this, and much more...


With an exclusive 20-minute short film, "Surfing" by Verb Studios (Tim Parish), narrated by Rak Razam and soundscapes by Buttons Touching, based on the book Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey




Wed December 1st, 9pm to 12pm
P: (03) 9349 5201
380 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053

BUY TICKETS here:   http://www.showclix.com/event/14882/



Wed 8th December 7pm - 1030 pm
45 St Pauls Street
Randwick  NSW  2031
T: (02) 9399 5722

BUY TICKETS here:  http://www.showclix.com/event/14883/


Tuesday 14th December 7-10pm
Tribal Theatre
346 George St
Brisbane, 4000
T: (07) 3211 5880

BUY TICKETS HERE:  http://www.showclix.com/event/14884/



Thursday, 16th December 7-10pm
Byron Theatre and Community Centre
69 Jonson Street, Byron Bay
T: (02) 6685 6807

TICKETS for Byron on sale exclusively from this website: 



Boom Festival 2010: Divine Mothership of Trance > by Graham St John

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My eyes open upon a lakeside vision.

As I come up, by me sits a woman who might be an Elven princess from epic Tolkien. She bears an uncompromising grin, and I imagine a light jeweled coronetelle wound about her brow as her gaze is cast across the bight. Sparkling azure eyes are fixed upon the structures on the other side, now fading under brilliant pre-twilight.

I too had been surveying shapes on the Other Side -- its contours now also receding from view. For some duration, perhaps fifteen minutes or so, my sensorium had been exposed to vistas of inter-dimensional proportions, remote visions, spectral gifts that played havoc with my normative space-time continuum. Here, lakeside, I had been submerged in a world parallel to the "real". While it is a "world" to which I am unaware in daily life, within the Mothership where The Veils had thinned to a flickering filigree, these worlds had collided.

I had been visited in this duration by hyperspatial emissaries, bearers of gifts presented to me as in a series of objects unfolding in a longue durée of brilliant patterns; offered Persian-like carpets rolling out incessantly and self-unfurling banners festooned with motifs I could hardly understand; unloaded containers evoking God's Tool Box, with countless back-lit panels opening before me like drawers within drawers within drawers; revealed puzzles possessing morphing shapes and shifting depths like inter-dimensional Rubiks Cubes. I was enticed by a divine strip-tease performed by animate Matryoshka dolls shedding infinite layers of finely embroidered safran garments the discarding of which never obtained absolute exposure. It was a ceaseless operation, and all I could do was stare in complete wonderment, with my eyes closed, and my mouth ajar, at the process of revelation. I wish I possessed the mechanism to understand the contents of these gifts, were operating the program to process the data, had installed the wares to recognise the Logos, held the knowledge to reassemble this hyperspatial Kinder Surprise.

With eyes closed, I had been gazing upon a world parallel to my own, just as she had been gazing across the lake to the other side. We are equally overcome by the wondrous images encountered. And as our vistas merge under a carnival of reflected lights, I see that which grows mesmerising in the faded heat and light of this day.

We are hunkering in the dirt across a small bay of Lake Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal. On the other side lie clusters of bizarre tents and fantastic structures like those found in an oasis of sound and vision to which one has trekked many thousands of kilometers. The structures belong to the zen gardenesque Healing Area, a Puja Tent, Sound Temple, yurts, Sweat Lodges, tipis, mandala meditation and massage therapy buildings.

And more immediately across the bight stands the elegant Sacred Fire stage. Bearing a roof resembling a princely turban, it has been established upon a rise above a fire burning near the water's edge. Its flames are visible on a point of the lake where a puja ritual was held during the Opening Ceremony one week ago. The Sacred Fire was the scene of a tumultuous orgy of ethno-trance acts last night (including Wild Marmalade, Hilight Tribe and Ganga Giri), the eve of the Full Moon when there was also a fire walk.

We are at the 2010 edition of Portugal's Boom Festival. Founded by Diogo Ruivo and Pedro Carvalho in 1997, the biannual festival has evolved into a sacred site for enthusiasts of psychedelic music, art and culture, who have descended, like us, upon this lakeside site in the Beira Baixa province, from locations around the globe. For thirteen years, Boom has been the venue for the ecstatic and consciousness expanding expression of the Goa vibe (see short film on Boom history): a veritable psychedelic Mothership. And now, here we are, being abducted by the vibe. Behind us, back around our peninsula, abductees are probed by bass, protracting their limbs and winding their heads on another plane, at the Groovy Beach stage, this year a magnificent horned structure built by the people from the Do Lab. (see video).

Back beyond the Groovy Beach, lay an extraordinary shanty oasis at which there was always something new to hear and see: the Golden Shack Gamelatron (a collaboration between Shrine and Taylor Kuffnery). Beyond the Gamelatron, at the festival's crossroads, lay another oasis, nothing less than the Ambient Paradise, the chill stage purposely built like a decompression chamber with calming LED lights and which at its centre holds a stage with dragon sculptures reclining above a pool of water.

To our right we are captivated, for in that direction lies the Dance Temple. Down in the Temple over the past week we have been treated to sensual wonderments, premiere sounds on the psychedelic continuum, from polished Goa nuggets care of Man With No Name and Psychopod, night sounds of the likes of REV, electrance care of Perfect Stranger, progressive psyvibes manipulated by Zen Mechanics, M-Theory and Flip Flop et al, to soaring morning melodies orchestrated by James Munro, Antix and Sally Doolally. In this global sacred site for the psytrance community built by Belgian visionary François and with design input from Android Jones and programming of Alfredo Vasconselos, we had been exposed to the work of Dick Trevor who could surely be awarded an honorary doctorate in Psychedelic Science at the Advanced School of Re/Mixing (and who recently played a devastating four hour set at the Ozora Festival -- probably the best set to which I've been privileged) and Treavor Walton, founder of California's Moontribe, who, wearing a t-shirt reading "Dance You Fuck" (I needed no such encouragement), not for the first time this season, unleashed a vocal sample care of Israeli duo Quantize which evoked the underlying theme of the year, week and day .... "heavy doses of Dimethyltryptamine".

Allow me to digress. Found in various plants, produced in the human brain (according to Rick Strassman in The Spirit Molecule, the pineal gland), and often smoked ("free based") in a chillum with an effect lasting between 15-30 minutes, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, was spruiked by Terence McKenna as one of the most powerful vehicles for inter-dimensional transit. He wrote in True Hallucinations that its "strangeness and power so exceeded that of other hallucinogens, that di-methyltryptamine and its chemical relatives seemed finally to define, for our little circle at any rate, maximum exfoliation-the most radical and flowery unfolding-of the hallucinogenic dimension that can occur without serious risk to psychic and bodily integrity." While William Burroughs reported traumatic experiences mainlining synthetic DMT at high doses, McKenna was a cheerleader for tryptamines, efforts echoing his personal commitment to spiritual technologies believed integral to humanity's push toward liberation in transpersonal consciousness, and his indebtedness to Hermeticism, the search for the "philosopher's stone" or lapis philosophorum-"nothing less", he wrote in the same source, than "the redemption of fallen humanity through the respiritualization of matter" (1993: 77).

Since the 1990s, references to DMT escalated within psytrance productions-in which McKenna remains the most commonly sampled individual, his popularity proliferating following his death in 2000. Indeed, like a familiar from the beyond speaking on behalf of the multitudes who continue to encounter hyperspatial dimensions, his immortal brogue is stamped all over psytrance productions. For instance, on their debut self-titled album, 1200 Micrograms filter McKenna recollecting a life-changing experience from 1966: "I remember the very very first time I smoked DMT..." ("DMT", TIP.World, 2002). Throughout the decade, artists projected McKenna as something resembling a seer. In 2001, Avihen Livne teemed up with Jörg Kessler and, as Cosma Shiva, producing "In Memory of Terence McKenna" on the EP by that name. The psychedelic dirge invokes McKenna: "vaporize it in a small glass pipe" ... "a shaman is someone who has been to the end, is someone who knows how the world really works" ... "what the alien voice in the psychedelic experience wants to reveal is ..." and later the ghost of McKenna speaks in the unintelligible alien tongue he would sometimes deliver in his presentations.

With their material saturated in the effects of DMT and ayahuasca, the Shpongle-inspired ethnodelic outfit Entheogenic (Helmut Glavar and Piers Oak-Rhind) offer a sounding board for McKenna. The opening track on Spontaneous Illumination (C.O.R.N. Recordings, 2003), "Ground Luminocity", heads off into a deep jungle vibe, with bird calls, insects buzzing and water flowing over rocks, all nurtured by flute and warm percussive lines. And like an epigram, the voice of McKenna: "The search for a doorway out of mundane experience .... Nature is the great visible engine of creativity" (Ott's 2005 remix of "Ground Luminocity" [Entheogenic, Dialogue of the Speakers, Chillcode], finishes the sentence: "against which all other creative efforts are measured"). An apparent tribute to the seminal work co-authored by the McKennas, "Invisible Landscapes" begins with the bard: "life is a problem to be solved... its a conundrum. It's not what it appears to be. There are doors. There are locks and keys. There are levels. And if you get it right, somehow it will give way to something extremely unexpected." "Twilight Eyes" has a classic orchestral feel, with McKenna averring that "shamans in times and places gained their power through relationships with helping-spirits", and with the line (from I Claudius) "I promise you, you'll dream a different story altogether", the listener is set adrift with McKenna standing on a ceaseless shoreline proclaiming "imagination, really, is the last frontier", while waving the wayfarer off into deep dreamspace.

And now bathed in twilight, I am seated upon the ceaseless shoreline of Lake Idanha-a-Nova, coming up with knowing smiles and nodding heads, and shedding tears in recognition of a permanent impermanence. And like a comic book magi of sacred compounds attired in crinkled Flower of Life pajamas and appearing majestic against the fading light, before us dances nanobrain, our hyperdimensional adventure tour guide. "Acceptance", "love" and "peace" are the words he'd repeated earlier before dispensing an alien brogue not dissimilar to that channeled by McKenna. It has been a long and tiring week at the pulsating heart of the world's visionary dance festival, but the tide was in on the shores of possibility.

I am compelled to take further stock of the cultural aesthetic in which we are implicated. This is a festival culture whose music has been, for at least fifteen years, quite literally smudged with DMT. While attempting to locate the first DMT-influenced track is probably futile, plunged into the Blakeian-infinite which they sought to resonate, The Infinity Project's Mystical Experiences (Blue Room Released, 1995) is likely to have been partially influenced by DMT. The line "I met an alien with a blue aura" (from "Blue Aura") is as proximate to DMT-space as Mary Poppins is to nanny duties. In 1997, the legendary Danish mind experimentalists Koxbox went "Searching for Psychoactive Herbs," the ultimate track on their Dragon Tales (Blue Room Released), an inspired album cleaving away from the astral-planes drifters hallmarking the Goa tradition. With the track "D.M.Turner" (a tribute to author of The Essential Psychedelic Guide, D. M. Turner who drowned in his bath in 1996 after injecting a serious dose of ketamine), it appears that their search had not been in vein. Forming the group DMT in 1998, members of the Goa trance royal family Raja Ram, Graham Wood, Greg Hunter, Johann Bley and Martin Glover produced the track "DMT" (Dragonfly Classix, Dragonfly Records). But it was Shpongle's landmark Are You Shpongled? (Twisted Records, 1998) that had sung the ode to DMT. With its calypso bassline, "Divine Moments of Truth" features Raja Ram divulging his experience in DMT-space: "it was like a gigantic creature, that kept changing shape".

Over the next ten years and more, references to DMT-space proliferated in music and cover art, in visionary art and event design. Whether in the work of Carey Thompson, whose gateway installation the DMTemple became, in 2006, a prominent feature at festivals in Europe and the United States, including Turkey's Soulclipse, Sunrise Celebration, The Glade and Burning Man, as well as Boom (a variation of which featured at Boom this year), or in the music itself, DMT had grown legion.

The gateway concept has been especially appealing. Within the visionary arts and music community, DMT has been associated with a movement towards a state of grace, a reconcilement to one's own physical demise, an encounter with ego-death and indeed mortality itself. Shpongle had the measure of this on Nothing Lasts ... But Nothing is Lost (Twisted 2005) on which McKenna had the final word. On "Exhalation" there's a break in Raja Ram's flute and McKenna eventually exhales: "Nothing is lost..." The track "Nothing is Lost" from the same release is both a dirge sung for McKenna and an acceptance of impermanence, offering his master's voice: "Nothing lasts... nothing lasts. Everything is changing into something else. Nothing's wrong. Nothing is wrong. Everything is on track. William Blake said nothing is lost and I believe that we all move on." In this revelatory mode inspirants are challenged to find peace with the ultimate truth, to accept their inevitable complicity in the cycle of life/death. "Life must be the preparation for the transition to another dimension", explained McKenna on "Molecular Superstructure" from the same album. With the expansion of personhood enabled by DMT, and with the now pervasive work of Alex Grey a popular means of expressing comfort with mortality (see especially his painting "Dying"), the barrier that separates life from death for us moderns grows ambiguous.


But inside the 2010 Boom Festival, upon the edge of abduction, just where was all this heading fifteen years after The Infinity Project's Mystical Experiences?

Blue Lunar Monkey's "Mysterious Xperience" (Beyond 2012, 2008) spruiks like a carne: "it starts quite quickly and there's quite a strong rush ... and there's quite a display of geometric, kaleidescopic visual imagery". But then it grows introspective in ways expected upon a ride in an amusement park: "I think what may occur with DMT is that it opens specific doorways, which are otherwise closed. And through those doorways it is possible to make contact with external freestanding kinds of real experiences". By 2009, the door to eternity seemed to have been left ajar. Hujaboy's formulaic full-on "Liquifried" (VA, Planetary Service, Mechanik, 2009) offers American comedian Joe Rogan's condensation of McKenna and Strassman: "it's called dimethyltryptamine. It's produced by your pineal gland. It's actually a gland that's in the center of your brain. It's the craziest drug ever. It's the most potent psychedelic known to man, literally. But the craziest thing about it is it's natural and your brain produces it every night as you sleep. You know, when you sleep, during the time you're in heavy REM sleep and right before death your brain pumps out heavy doses of dimethyltryptamine." At this juncture, like a carne barking in a fairground midway, Rogan's rant seemed to be on a high frequency play-loop. Thus, on "Freakstuff" (A Spark of Light, FX System), Brazilian Arthur Magno (aka Fractal Flame): "life is a massive fucking mystery. And there's only a few different ways to really crack below the surface of that mystery. And the best way is psychedelics." The same bark had been used by Hujaboy, accept that he decided to include "and the heavier the psychedelic, the better." Mood Deluxe permitted Rogan another breathe: "And guess what? No one's dying from psychedelics. All our thoughts on psychedelics are all based on bullshit propaganda, that you heard about people, you know, going crazy and losing their minds. You're not gonna go crazy, you're gonna go fucking sane" (on "Stealthy Fungus", Divine Inventions, Liquid, 2008). An audio-billboard for the red pill, "DMT Molecule" by Mister Black includes material from the same monologue: "you should all smoke DMT and join my cult mother fuckers!" Rogan even made an encore on Fractal Flame's "DMTrip": "you take this shit and literally you are transformed into another fucking dimension." And by the time Israeli duo Reshef Harari and Adi Ashkenazi (aka Quantize) arrived, any subtlety, subliminality and mysteriousness appears to have vapourised. Their "Dymethyltryptamine" [sic] (Borderline, Echoes Records, 2009), begins with the filtered voice of McKenna repeating "DMT" which quickens next to the pulse before Rogan bursts through with the new black: "heavy doses of dimethyltryptamine."

You can almost smell the bravado, perhaps even thicker than the pungent vapour of DMT itself. But while some of this smacks of braggadocio as producers and DJs compete with one another for hardcore user status, the significance of this sampladelic tsunami should not be underestimated, for the writers of psychedelic sonic fiction (psy-fi) are channeling the zeitgeist. Whether in private alcoves by the beach or suburban terraces on summer afternoons, in special blends optimised for group sessions and indeed for the dance floor itself, DMT is the new black-if by which we understand "black" to be the equivalent of an inter-dimensional portal through which one vibrates in a depth-shifting coat of electric colours, and through which one grows connected to the ever-at-hand-albeit-illusive mysteries, the numinous that captivates one with an intrigue that fuels daily life, and fires a recognition that death and life are not unambiguously separate.

Over the past few years, this recognition has grown ever proximate care of changa, a DMT-blend first prepared and popularised in Australia, and now smoked on dance floors around the world. This short-lasting preparation, has inspired other DMT-enhanced leaf blends which may include, for instance, pau d'arco, damiana, pink lotus, calea zacatechichi, lions tail, calendula, passion flower-the latter being a MAO inhibitor rendering the experience like a "smokable ayahuasca" (see article on changa by Jon Hanna) and has even inspired an effort to establish psytrance as a "religion".

Changa may be rooted in McKenna's 1997 speaking tour of Australia. In his talks at various events, McKenna shared the wisdom that DMT could be harvested from alkaloids in local Acacia, and local psy-fi artists acknowledged the significance of the wattle, the national floral emblem (and local designation for Acacia). On "Burning Point" (Sun Control Species-Unreleased, 2004), Australian artist Drew Davidson (Sun Control Species) drops a McKenna sample pungent with the acrid vapour: "The national symbol of Australia is the wattle. It's an Acacia. The Acacia ecology of Australia is jammed with DMT."

The experience in DMT-space (especially the sonorous chirping of insects) had an early impact on trance music production in Australia, notably Space Tribe's 12-inch Ultrasonic Heartbeat, which features "Cicadas on DMT" (Spirit Zone Recordings, 1996), and later the music of Insectoid. If Aldous Huxley had articulated that mescaline afforded a trek into the "Antipodes of the mind", the "psychological equivalent of Australia" where "we discover the equivalents of kangaroos, wallabies, and duck-billed platypuses-a whole host of extremely improbably animals", replete with exotic birdlife (kookaburras), insects, didjeridu and Aboriginal songlines, "Insecticide" and "Tribedelic Nomads (Animistic Mix)" (from Insectoid's Groovology of the Metaverse, WMS Records, 1998) might have been the soundtracks to the antipodean trek from the Antipodes. "New Vistas" offers the pertinent sample to this remote viewing: "I feel that I am merely an agent, giving your some keys, which have been given to me, to pass on to you. These keys are to unlock doors out of your present prison. Doors opening in on new vistas. Doors beyond where you are now." This material reeks of tryptamines and offers echoes of the experiment at La Chorrera down the Rio Putumayo in the Columbian Amazonas in 1971, on the subject of which the McKennas had written in The Invisible Landscape (1975: 109-110): "Because of the alien nature of the tryptamine trance, its seeming accentuation of themes alien, insectile, and futuristic, and because of previous experiences with tryptamine in which insectile hallucinatory transformations of human beings were observed, we were led to speculate that the role of the presence was somehow like that of an anthropologist, come to give humanity the keys to galactarian citizenship". The national floral symbol of Australia seems to have been ingested, and the keys to the tryptamine palace handed over, in further work, such as the various artists producing on the Demon Tea label, whose compilation titles Oozie Goodness - The Eye Opening Elixir (1998) and Not My Cup Of Tea (2001) offer insight on this development.

At the lakefront laboratories downstream from these developments, we are intrepid Australians  communing around a blend of our national emblem presided over by the alien anthropologist nanobrain. The blend is what he styles nanga, a potent changa derivative also dubbed aussiehuasca. It contains Peruvian Banisteriopsis caapi vine shavings which serve as an MAO inhibitor, and DMT "coaxed from Aussie acacialoids by alchemical maestros". As he informs me, "50/50 percentage ratio by weight, mixed with intent and charged with love ... vibrate to integrate, BOOM!"

Out here upon the frontiers of experimentation, we are in proximity to a transnational cult of seekership in which participants are exposed to new sensorial possibilities care of pungent blends and potent derivatives of changa ready-made for an interactive and inter-dimensional dance floor experience. McKenna had touted DMT as the fastest route to the Otherword which he characterised as "hyperdimensionality" or "hyperspace". As Otherworldly events, as hives of consciousness, psychedelic festivals expose participants to something akin to a Mystery School in Hyperspace. While none of this constitutes formal ritual, nor formal education, at Boom's Dance Temple we can read all about it in the music, and smell it in the morning air. We can see it in the animated movements of fellow Temple worshippers hailing from a multitude of countries, and we feel it shaking hands with God under a misting system at 148 bpm.

With yet another promo for DMT, and Strassman's book, take Swede Wizack Twizack's (Tommy Axelsson) "Spirit Molecule" (Space No More, 2010). The effort to uncover this "strange chemical" and understand its capacity to replicate an experience identical "to events to come after life", should not be undervalued. Opening the door to a psychedelic fairytale, "Spirit Molecule" sails off the map of terra-cognito to relate "the secret history" about which trance multitudes might approve: "since the dawn of time, man has used psychedelics. From the ancient myth of Adam and Eve until today ... From the Eleusian rituals ... to modern day ayahuasca parties, every society has used psychedelics".

Speaking of mystery cults, a few days back I introduced a presentation by Chiara Baldini, my galactic sister (with whom I share a Dreamspell galactic signature: Yellow Planetary Seed). Chiara had been on site some two and a half months assisting in the preparation of the Liminal Zone, Boom's educational arena. Part of an amazing bamboo structure called The Drop (which also included Boom's performing arts space, the Theatroom), the Liminal Zone has evolved into a significant portal of consciousness expansion, replete with ecological principles and visionary art, and which this year has been physically embraced by a Visionary Arts Gallery featuring work from, among others, Android Jones, Amanda Sage, Xavi and Carey Thompson (this years Arts Director).

Chiara had also become, over this period, an embedded historian, writing pieces for the Boom website, such as this essay exploring the significance of Shiva and Dionysus in Goa trance. She has also produced a chapter investigating the cult of Dionysus in contemporary psytrance for the collection I recently edited The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance. Her presentation "Boom vs Eleusis" was an entertaining and insightful speculation concerning the Mysteries of Eleusis and their contemporary equivalent. Connections with Eleusis, the two millennia long ancient Greek festival of initiation to the cult of Persephone and Demeter, have been repeatedly drawn within contemporary psytrance, especially among those who seek to return to states of connectedness and intentional ritual they perceive have been lost or forgotten.

It might be argued that the Boom Festival itself exemplifies this loss of direction or vision. While there may be a connection between the kykeon (the barley-derived drink knocked back by fasting initiates at Eleusis on the final night of the festival before they were exposed to the mysteries inside the Telesterion) and LSD-25 (whose psychoactive properties derive from alkaloids in the fungus ergot which may have parasitised the barley drunk at Eleusis), it could surely be argued that, unlike the mystery cults of ancient Greece, there is little evidence at Boom of singular mythical authorities whose stories govern the lives of its festal population. Also, with the prevalence of dodgy drugs, and with the proliferation of cocaine (at least that which is sold as "cocaine") and questionable "MDMA" and other substances, liminars enter this arena with a high degree of risk. And not only that, with growing commercialization (e.g. Boom is selling coca-cola in 2010), along with the gangs of thieves ransacking tents on the final night of the event and throughout the festival, is it any wonder that critics have vent their spleens at the Boom organisation? Opponents have long included those who mount and attend Anti-Boom, an off-party situated across the lake from Boom for years? This year, Anti-Boom would actually be shut down by police after the first night of operation when they launched sonic salvos, like Boom-breaking audio fireworks, from their pirate enclave across the lake.

But for all the bitter broadsides, beauty, wonder and intention is in bountiful supply on the shores of lake Idanha-a-Nova. Over in the Healing Zone, there are multiple daily workshops, for instance, on sound healing, water practice, Qigong, meditation, yoga, sweat lodges, etc. And down in the Dance Temple individuals and crews of nationals from a multitude of states and altered states converge to conduct personal rituals of transformation, an exposure to Otherness rarely achieved elsewhere. It brings tears to your eyes, as it would to my Finnish companion on a bus back in Lisbon the day after. Tears of joy welled in his eyes as he recounted his first exposure to the Temple a week before, when he wept openly. These moments of transit neither possess nor require elaborate description or explanation, other than that the liminars habituating the torrent of bass and adrift on the mesmerising melodies within the Temple's Funktion One set up might announce little more than that they're having "the shit". But we needn't even measure this experience against the (limited) vocabulary supplied by participants, but by the preparations that those who descend upon this site in central western Portugal undertake to enable their exposure to the Mysteries. They make pilgrimage from all across the world (see Day One entrance video from BoomTV), participants from scores of countries, many hauling their buses, their funky motor homes and their arses great distances. For instance, I've had recounted to me tales of those who've trekked across Europe to arrive at Boom, and others who have cycled. What's more, they expend considerable effort in acquiring the resources by which their exposure to Otherness is assisted.

No, this is not the Telesterion at Eleusis. There is no unifying mythic system by which participants are able to interpret their visions or translate their altered states. Not a ceremonial occasion, in the shamanic-anarchist style advocated by McKenna the Dance Temple facilitates a multitude of private encounters with the numinous, multiple states of entrancement. And there are no heirophants, just as there are no singular types or sources of consciousness alterants-no unifying symbols, such as the head of barley a la Eleusis. But among this literal "alphabet soup" of research chemicals-which clearly retains the "meat and three vege" of LSD (commonly signified by the image of its synthesizer, Albert Hofmann), cannabis sativa (whose leaf is a ubiquitous symbol of altered states), psilocybin (with the image of the mushroom axiomatic to alterity) and MDMA (the "love" drug)-we find that DMT has evolved as an authority unto its own, whose private and public teachings are extolled in the sonic mythography and visionary artistry of our times. For the initiated, the numinous affect of usage precipitates reverence, and entire cults of adoration develop in which this plant matter and its psychoactive fruits are venerated. With DMT, since these "fruits" derive from plants with relatively indistinct features, their adoration is rarely expressed in iconography, but is known in its pungent vapour, the olfactory memory of which signals one's own connection with the Other World, and to those with which one has been vapourised.

Disembarking upon this beachhead of possibility, gazing into the Otherworld, it occurred to me that DMT does not enable access to The Mysteries, like a puzzle to be re/solved, a game to be completed, a lock to be opened, a story to conclude. Indeed, solving mysteries is the conceit of the old scientific model. As we subject the unknown to possession, measurement and control, mystery grows ever more illusive, receding from view like the Elves vanishing to Valinor. And it further occured to me, above the clouds on a flight from Lisbon to Budapest post-Boom, that the puzzle-like objects I had been presented with in a nanga session on the shores of Lake Idanha-a-Nova were not to be "solved", cracked open, uncovered, but to be recognised as signs of the greater Mystery in which I was implicated, in which we were soaked-fragments of the universe in which we're a part. Here, the gift is that recognition.

Many thank yous to my traveling and camping companions, especially Nano, Chiara, Aleaha, Paris, Damo, along with Marco, Karl, Graziella and all the organisers and participants of Boom 2010, all accomplices at the scene of the sublime. Special thanks to Dick (Maestro) Trevor. Thanks also to Boti at whose apartment in Budapest I completed this, and to Jakob for his stunning photos. Parts of the story are extracted from my forthcoming book Global Tribe: Spirituality, Technology and Psytrance.


Baldini, Chiara. 2010. "Dionysus Returns: Tuscan Trancers and Euripides' The Bacchae." In Graham St John (ed) The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance. New York: Routledge.

McKenna, Terence. 1993. True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author's Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil's Paradise. San Francisco: Harper.

McKenna, Dennis and Terence McKenna. 1994 [1975]. The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching. New York: Seabury Press.

St John, Graham (ed). 2010. The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance. New York: Routledge.

Australia's Green Economic Potential > by Ben Eltham

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Australia’s Green Economic Potential – a CPD Briefing Paper by CPD Fellow, Ben Eltham.

In this downloadable PDF created for the progressive think tank the Centre for Policy Development, Ben Eltham has proposed a realistic yet inspiring vision of Australia's future sustainable economics. It presents a clear understanding of the opportunities available through embracing sustainable economic policy solutions in four areas: water, energy, cities and urban transport, waste management & recycling.

Exploring issues covered in the United Nations Environment Program’s Green Economy Report in an Australian context, it provides a primer to the challenges involved in transforming our economy to operate within environmental limits.



 Read more thinking points from the Centre for Policy Development here:




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VILLAIN (STAGE LEFT) is the new music video for Melbourne gypsy hardcore royalty the BARONS OF TANG from their second E.P 'KNOTS AND TANGLES' (2010).

The video channels a classic speakeasy bar from the 1920's, with tango, blood and fiticuffs to the manic soundtrack of the BARONS restless songcrafting.

Directed by Jim Batt and starring performers and choreography from Circus Trick Tease.


More info:




OUR GENERATION >a new documentary on Indigenous Rights in Australia

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OUR GENERATION is a ground-breaking new documentary on Aboriginal rights by Sinem Saban and Damien Curtis.

This film is a heartflet journey into the heart of Australia's Indigenous relations, a hidden shame that is pushing the world's oldest living culture to the edge. Through the stories of the Yolngu of Northeast Arnhem Land, theOur Generation looks at the Government's ongoing policies of paternalism and assimilation, examines the real issues underlying Indigenous disadvantage, and opens dialogue on ways forward that respect Aboriginal culture and dignity. A fresh and unflinching look at unresolved issues, with music by John Butler Trio, Yothu Yindi and Gurrumul.

For more information, visit www.ourgeneration.org.au

Sietta > Silence

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"You go digital, I'll go analogue..."

Like an angel abducted a beat poet, 'Silence' is the first video from 'SIETTA' featuring the voice of Caiti B and beats by James Mangohig (TZU, Culture Connect) the result is a startlingly beautiful collision of soulful electro breaks. From the 'Come Back Easy Play' EP. 

Video produced by ROUND 3
story & produced by Bryce McCoy, John Paul Beirouty, Vidad Narayan
cinematography by Bryce McCoy
directed by Vidad Narayan


Check out more by SIETTA on myspace and their new website.

UG banner 16/8/10

UG banner 16/8/10

From Independence To Integration, Part One > Michael Garfield

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From Independence To Integration, Part One

"As a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do."
- Ursula LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea.



The last few weeks found me out on the road again – first, from a swirl of exit gigs in Boulder up to Edmonton, Alberta for the
Motion Notion Festival; then to Portland, Oregon for a lesson in the permaculture and sacred arts of dying developed by medieval monks; then down the California coast for stops to paint alongside Alex & Allyson Grey at Trinity Tribal Stomp before sitting on a panel about the future of art at the Integral Theory Conference. (You can find a photo gallery from the tour so far on my facebook page.)

Hopefully, I'll be able to resolve the challenge of integrating hardcore travel with personal availability, and can turn this fall's forthcoming national tour (!) into an awesome live internet chronicle of discovery and creativity. (I'm definitely interested to hear suggestions for creative ways to engage everyone from the road...) In the meantime, you have my apologies for letting work pile up until we have to choke it all down at once.

There is so much more to come – music, presentations, timelapse videos, and small-format art – but for now, I hope you enjoy this flurry of recent live paintings!

Stay in touch and have a beautiful day...

(Click on any image to enlarge it – especially the process pics.)

Temporary Autonomous Zone Flag #1
2010 07 03, 05, 10 Mishawaka, Red Rocks, Fox Theatre
(Whitewater Ramble, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Jeffrey Hyde Thompson Band, Dechen Hawk, Varlette)
24"x24" - opaque pens on 1/8" masonite
11"x17" poster prints for $25 - order
original painting available - inquire

The "Temporary Autonomous Zone" is Hakim Bey's idea of an anarchic ephemeropolis, based on the understanding that the universe is too creative for any one vision of perfection to stand forever. Even the most noble utopian visions eventually degrade into fascism as time marches on and our current ideals are replaced with newer forms...even the American Dream eventually became the American Nightmare. So the T.A.Z. isn't about revolutions; it's about insurrections. It's about knowing that nothing lasts and that we party here today in service of kosmic creativity, not our fixation to human political agendas.

And by the way, Oh My God, part of this piece was painted during my first creative sojourn to Red Rocks Amphitheater for their free July 5th Colorado Symphony show – all the good old American standards like the 1812 Overture and Yankee Doodle. Painting alongside Scramble Campbell, I now know why he's made that place his home away from home for live art...

In honor of Bey and Thomas Jefferson – America's first paleontologist – I dedicate this painting to the ongoing spirit of independence, exploration, and ethical humanism that drove this nation's founding, even though those ideals have now congealed into something horrifying. Here's to hoping that that T.A.Z. spirit – ecstatic, irreverent, erotic, and deviously, lovingly, tragically hopeful – finds itself again in all of us, like flowers growing from rotten meat. Constructive deconstruction.

2010 07 15 & 16 Motion Notion Festival
(Fergie, Cruz-ae vs Tristan Newton, Sundrop, Schwag Dankus, Lo Progression, k3v, Groovy Cuvy, Kristoff, Organic Manic)
23"x31" - opaque pens on 1/4" masonite
11"x17" poster prints for $25 - order
original painting available - inquire

I'm sure this one had a lot to do with the incessant rain at Motion Notion...beautiful, but it turned the entire festival into a Woodstock-esque mud party and prevented me from wearing my white pants. And I'm sure it had something to do with the repetition of psytrance oontz for days on end. It's not often I limit my color palette so dramatically, but doing so deepened the meditative quality of this one, both during and after. And it's true to the incessant electronic rhythms in which I was bathing as this piece emerged.

This piece is dedicated to James Katalyst, organizer of Motion Notion, who gave me a fabulous reception and who nearly ran himself into the ground to put on a killer weekend of dance music. Thanks for having me up in Canada, James...and that includes "Thanks for letting me play the only acoustic guitar set at your electronic dance music festival, on the same stage as Bluetech, Blue Lunar Monkey, and Crystal Method." Aw, yeah.

Gate Crashers
2010 01 16 & 24 BMoCA & Trinity Tribal Stomp
(Fresh2Death, H1N1, DJ Grabass, Elephant Art Jam)
20"x30" - opaque pens on 1/8" masonite
11"x17" poster prints for $25 - order
original painting available - inquire

Not a new piece, but considerably more deep and defined than when I first posted it. It was definitely missing something after the first night, and after months of looking at it funny I finally gave it the treatment it deserved. Something to the tune of "salts crossing a permeable membrane," or (since, I guess, salts don't have tri-radial symmetry) the collective and narrative version of this painting.

Tunnel To The Moon
2010 07 24 Trinity Tribal Stomp
(Dumpstaphunk, Clan Dyken, Garaj Mahal, David Starfire)
25"x31" - opaque pens on 1/4" masonite
11"x17" poster prints for $25 - order
original painting available - inquire

It was a full moon in Aquarius the night this painting emerged in epic fashion from the piney woods of Northern California's Junction City Park. Garaj Mahal (a seriously amazing group, all musicians of rare talent) missed the dimly-illuminated turn-off to the festival and ended up getting there hours late – but it was ultimately for the best, because they played in the late night dome, at ground level, creating a house concert vibe that I haven't seen since...well, since they got screwed out of a gig in Lawrence, Kansas a few years ago and ended up playing an actual house concert. The rest of the music was fabulous, as well...Fareed Haque of Garaj Mahal played guitar with DJ David Starfire for much of David's set, which was a total treat – to say nothing of Dumpstaphunk's loose and delicious throwdown earlier in the evening.

And did I mention I got to paint alongside Alex & Allyson Grey again? If it's not obvious, creating in their company forces me to seriously step up my game. This painting has a few things going on that I've never even attempted, including an Escher-esque stairwell paradox if you follow the diamonds around in a circle (the rainbow ones are going in and the white ones are going out, which is impossible in three dimensions because of how they overlap). And the Fibonacci Sequence is in there in two different dimensions: both as Golden Spirals in the plane of the board, and also from five to eight staring down the tunnel at the Moon. Lots going on, here.

This painting is dedicated to Johnathan Singer, maestro VJ and the guy who coordinated the visual arts for the Stomp. What a mensch!

2010 07 25 Trinity Tribal Stomp
(The Wailin' Jennys, Freedom Tribe Reunion, Heyoka)
24"x24" - opaque pens on 1/8" masonite
11"x17" poster prints for $25 - order
original painting available - inquire

A variation on a familiar theme...be they ferns, tentacles, or whatever, I'm obviously kinda hooked on the grabby swirls. These strike me as somewhat "mecha-caterpillar," like the self-assembling military robots in the climactic scene of Greg Bear's badass sci-fi novel /Slant. Look closely and you'll see the eight-pointed star motif that has become another of my calling cards, ringing out in rows through the resonant space.

This painting is dedicated to Alex & Allyson Grey for all they have done to inspire me and so many other artists...what else can I say?

Seraph Body
2010 07 17, 18, 25, 29, 31 Motion Notion, Trinity Tribal Stomp, ITC 2010
(Blue Lunar Monkey, Anahata, Bluetech, Adham Shaikh with John Wilkinson, Jay Michael, Michelle C, Cary Chang vs David Stone, Crystal Method, and during poster presentations)
17"x23" - opaque pens on 1/4" masonite
11"x17" poster prints for $25 - order
original painting available - inquire

The Caduceus, as a low-resolution map of the human subtle body, doesn't really translate here. Too many wings; not enough coiling. The serpents are joined at the bottom, where all five of the lower chakras are fused into a contracted nub. What's going on, here? Near as I can figure, we're looking at the corresponding map of a seraph or "burning one," historically related to the serpent, six-winged and unexpressed in its lower chakras (no material form) but wide open up above. A being of musical intersections and mathematical balance, reeking of eternity, glowing from within, too aware for human rationality to fathom without terror, rising calmly from the eternal flux of creation and destruction. (Tangentially, I find it extremely interesting that the angels nearest to God take form as burning serpents...)

I finally crossed the event horizon for this one and bought some empty paint markers to fill with my own colors. First stop: interference pigments like the pearlescent red filling the background space in this piece (even though it's hard to make out in pictures).

It'll be a while before I get over the novelty of starting this piece at an outdoor rave in the Canadian wilderness and finishing it in a Hilton hotel in California during the poster presentations at an academic conference. In the meantime, I dedicate it to Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, my once-professor and founding chair of John F. Kennedy University's Integral Theory Program. You changed my world, man.

More art next week. :)


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  Lessons from Trees

1.  It's important to have roots.
2.  In today's complex world, it pays to branch out.
3.  If you really believe in something, don't be afraid to go out on a limb.
4.  Be flexible so you don't break when a harsh wind blows.
5.  Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow.
6.  If you want to maintain accurate records, keep a log.
7.  It's okay to be a late bloomer.
8.  Avoid people who would like to cut you down.
9.  As you approach the autumn of your life, you will show your true colors.
10.  You could be Brilliant! in other words "bloom where you are planted."

Eat The Suburbs > Gardening For The End of the Oil Age

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EAT THE SUBURBS takes the oil debate from the bowser to the backyard and follows Melbourne's "permablitzers" as they prepare for the end of the oil age... one garden at a time.

A film by Tanya Curnow.

For more info, check out:




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