Sunday, July 27, 2014

Simple Affirmation

  For the new moon last night, I did a sort of ceremony in which I planted the seeds that I would like to see grow both in my life and in actual soil.  In the soil, I planted white sage and cilantro.  One of the seeds I planted for my life was for me to become a source of positivity to help others to find more light and happiness.  The best way I can think to work towards manifesting this is to share what insights I have that I use to grow positivity in my own life.  I will share with you how I practice so far.
  Recently, I have started meditating every morning.  My usual practice is to start cooking my breakfast when I get up.  This consists usually of diced organic red potatoes with some onions that I cook slowly for about an hour in a skillet, then later I will make eggs to complete the morning meal.  This gives me time to water my plants and make coffee before sitting on my meditation cushion.  I find that this slow process in the morning feels very natural for me and helps prepare me for the day ahead.
  Today, while sitting in meditation, I started by letting go of all of my thoughts that buzz around in my head.  This usually takes a bit of effort to quiet my inner dialogue.  I repeat as I breathe "breathe in, let go..."  After I am clear, I let myself dissolve and pictured myself as a calm and steady figure resembling a  statue of Buddha.  Then, I began to repeat to myself "I am alert and I am strong.  I am love and I am loved.  There is no limit to what I can accomplish."
  I by setting the tone for myself in this way, I create an expectation that I will work all day to fulfill.  It is simple but by practicing in this way, we can take control of ourselves to create results in our lives versus just reacting to what comes without intention.  I created a simple picture with this affirmation to share with you.  As I create more of these, I will post them here and on my facebook page.
Best wishes,
Scott

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Understanding the visionary nature of plant medicines

"Gaia" by Alex Grey

Intro

Since the earliest times of human consciousness, people have been exploring the spirit world, the inner world, and the physical world through visionary practices.  Often, this has been done by intaking specific chemicals derived from plants.  The pathways opened by the intake of these substances provide a number of effects which can include expansion of perception, self awareness, mental and physical healing, and occasionally cause people to lose their minds.  The following is meant to explore the nature of the reaction when people intake plant medicines and what to the pathways to the other side.

Species consciousness

  To better understand the nature of a visionary experiences, it is helpful to first understand that all species have a shared consciousness.  People have long referred to the connection between humans and the collective unconscious.  This is something that all species share.  There are many overlaps within the network, as the same energy makes up everything.  Think of this like an old dial tune radio.  Each species is tuned in to a unique channel but the frequencies cross over one another often as there are margins of overlap, like when you turn the dial on an old radio and can hear more than one broadcast simultaneously.  It is unknown to what extent different species are aware of their common signal, but we can make the general judgement based on our current evolutionary state, that humans are fairly unaware of their common frequency at all.  
  There are many scientifically unexplained animal behaviors in animals that provide evidence of their conscious network connection.  Monarch butterflies, for example, follow a migration route from Canada to Mexico.  This journey takes much longer than the life span of an individual butterfly but they reproduce and their young will continue the journey which their parents had begun.  If we look at this behavior from the point of view that this “instinct” is driven by the collective knowledge of the species of Monarchs, it seems to reinforce the idea that they share a thought network.  
Ayahuasca
Supposedly, we do not understand the so-called psychic phenomenon experienced by the butterflies or any other migratory animal who follow the knowledge of their ancestors.  Biologists simply shrug off many animal behaviors as “instinct” without ever explaining what “instinct” actually means.  The reason is that they don’t know what causes instinct and wish to make the claim that there is some physical mapping in the brain from an evolutionary mutation.  This is because science stubbornly refuses to delve into the fact that there is more to the universe than the easily observable physical aspects.  This is a limited outlook and  dismisses the true understanding of the universe, which our ancient ancestors understood quite well.  The fact is that there is a greater aspect to the universe that resides in an energy system and we would commonly refer to it as the spirit world.

How plant spirits communicate

Psilocybin Mushrooms
By now you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with plants? Plants, lacking the physical data storage unit of a brain, have a different way of holding the knowledge of their ancestry and self awareness.  There is much evidence of plant consciousness that has been studied through their slow movements of their behaviors.  For a general understanding of the study of plant behaviors, I recommend viewing the documentary “What Plants Talk About” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLmM1N754vU).  There is solid proof that plants have developed ways to communicate with each other so they can make appropriate behavioral decisions which will best benefit their network.  The best way to observe this communication is through the plants very own chemical makeup.  
  Here is where it gets really interesting.  Some plants have developed special chemicals that allow them to communicate with not only each other, but also animals.  It is only when we intake these chemicals ourselves. that we are able to begin to understand what the plant networks are really all about.  These plant chemicals are popularly referred to as “psychoactive substances.”  The intake of these chemicals change our brain frequency to resonate with the plant’s frequency.  The result is that we connect to that plant and begin to perceive ourselves as the plant does, we have now tuned into their network.

How people connect to plants/energies 

   The result of intaking psychoactive substances varies from plant to plant.  For example, when someone consumes the THC created by a cannabis plant, they begin to alter their perceptions to be more like those of that plant.  The plant’s consciousness is shared by the user and creates an altered state in which the person feels more like what it is like to be a cannabis plant.  The variety of plant shows its personality through the effect it has on the consumer.  This is why different strains of marihuana make people feel differently.
MAPS Magazine 2001
  The same sort of effect happens when a person ingests psylocybe mushrooms.  The psilocybin changes the brain waves of a person so that they connect on what could be best described as a “psychic” network in which the mushroom organism as a whole communicates with itself.  This is why people will experience a loss of self or ego during a mushroom trip, resulting in a change of perception.  Within the experience, the user can communicate with their host; a conscious collective of the mushroom organism that has a vast network throughout the universe.   
  All plant based experiences have a host which is the collective of all plants of that type.  The psychoactive chemicals have evolved in the plants as a way for the organism of the plant type as a whole to remain cohesive.  Ayahuasca users report encounters with spirits in the form of many jungle animals.  This is one way that the plant essence shows itself to the user and communicates.  The more powerful the chemical, the more a person has a loss of self and enters the world of the plant host.  Since ayahuasca is a DMT experience, the experience is so powerful that the person will entirely retune from their normal human frequency and perceive the world as the plants do. 

Synthesized chemicals

  When a chemical normally created by a plant is then synthesized in a lab (which is still mostly derived from plants), the plant spirit is diminished greatly and the chemical itself is left to create an experience based on the frequency of the substance.  Most of the time, the result is more harmful to the user than good.  The only chemical synthesized in a lab that do not seem to have an extremely negative effect on the user are DMT, LSD, and MDMA.  Others made through heavy processing, such as cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and pharmaceuticals created for western medicine, have a huge range of addictive and toxic results.  For evidence of this, simply look at the drugs that produce huge social, personal, and physiological problems with the users.  Where the psychedelic chemicals can have problematic results for cultural power structure, and occasionally a person’s ability to cope with what they learn through their experience, none of them have shown any evidence of physical addiction or dangerous overdose potential.

Effects, benefits, and warnings

  Each plant spirit is, in a sense, a teacher.  By taking us outside of our own limited perspective, we can learn things we did not previously know.  This is how the shamans use plants for divination to find prey, lost objects, or to see into the future.  In the Sioux legend of how Peyote was discovered, a woman was shown where to find food and medicine by the spirit guide of the Peyote cactus. By venturing out of our own consciousness and into the of the plant “mind” we can also look at ourselves objectively which is sometimes quite difficult for people.  When we are constantly reacting to hang ups that we are creating through our habits, such as thought of fear, the plants can show us those problems.  Facing our fears often causes what people refer to as a “bad trip.”  While these experiences can seem traumatic, when viewed properly, they reveal to us something we need to work on to make ourselves better.
"DMT" by Alex Grey
  Another important fact to note is that the plant spirits, like people, can be of different nature.  Some are light while others are dark.  It seems that the direction of a trip on DMT, for example, is close to the polar opposite in direction to that of salvia divinorum.  While DMT is like an elevator ride upwards into a place of light, salvia takes you down like being flushed into and swallowed by the earth.  While there is something to be learned from either experience, the salvia one can be much tougher to handle.  Datura is one plant teacher that I would be very cautious of as some people are lead by the spirit of the plant down a very dark path and a few don’t return.

Conclusion

  It is my belief that all organisms have an underlying connection which constitutes a collective “whole.”  Each human, for example, is an individual part of a larger human animal that is its own conscious entity.  This is why ideas simultaneously become popular all over the world and why people can sense things about each other.  Some of the plants have evolved ways in which they can break down their barrier of individuality and connect as a whole.  When they share this state with people, the result is a greater sense of connectedness and loss of ego.  While we all live our lives as individuals, the plants can teach us to function as a whole in which we better understand the symbiosis of the natural design and how we can function through mutual growth rather than by selfishly using resources without regard to consequence.
  With all experiences, I recommend taking it very seriously as many of our ancestors have.  By entering the world of the plant spirits, you venture into a sacred realm that can provide life changing benefits.   It’s a good idea to study the traditional use of plant medicines as well as to read up on people’s experiences on sites like the DMT Nexus and Erowid.  With the right perspective and preparation, you can benefit from the psychedelic experience and gain an understanding of the lessons learned from them.

By Scott Allison

Monday, July 7, 2014

Deer Headed Shaman design (a backstage look)

  
Before moving to northern Arizona, I spent a lot of time venturing into the area for recreation.  On one adventure, I noticed a metal sculpture of a deer headed man at a gas station in Flagstaff.  After that, the image seemed to jump out at me every time I came to the area.
  Since moving northward from Phoenix, I have seen this fellow quite a lot.  Finally, while visiting a gem shop in Cottonwood, Cristina inquired about one of the metal sculptures of the deer headed man with the shop owners.  They explained that he is a shaman and that is why you will always see him with a medicine bag around his neck.  
  After doing some research, I found that this particular motif of shamanism has been common around the world since ancient times; mostly occurring within tribes of people who, not surprisingly, sustain themselves by deer hunting.  This is yet another example of the curious connection between cultures with supposedly no contact and separated by oceans yet doing the same things... 
  I decided to create my own hand drawn version of this character for a t shirt design.  Here is a sneak peek at the finished product:



Below are the various stages of the creative process through completion...

I began with a reference image and found this one to suit my needs nicely.  I like the look of this deer and the 3/4 turn on his head will work well for a drawing.



I like to work with a .5 mechanical pencil for most all of my drawings before inking.
I begin with the deer head since it is the main focus of the piece.


  As I began to work on the body, I decided to give him a staff to aid him in his magical endeavors...
You can see that I started out giving him two of them but thought better of it.


I then added more detail with the fire resulting from his conjuring, the essential medicine bag, and lots of folds in his rough robe.


Once satisfied with my pencil sketch, it was time to do the inking.  For this I use a waterproof india ink and calligraphy pen. 


The final stage was done by scanning the drawing at a high resolution and adding some cool tribal elements to create a background to make my shaman stand out.


Get the shirt here:
Ladies' Deer Shaman Tee
Men's Deer Shaman Tee

 Click to go to Etsy Product listing Click to go to the Etsy Listing

Thanks for visiting!  Be sure to follow the Closet of Mysteries Blog for the latest and greatest in magical, mystical, etherial, and always mysterious happenings from the shop.
- Scott

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gardening projects around the Closet

In Between printing shirts, designing shirts, and chasing children, we are learning how to grow a lot of plants.  It is our goal to one day know enough about growing to sustain ourselves, but we have much to learn... you have to start somewhere.  Here is what we are up to...

Some organic garlic from the grocery store sprouted so we just went with it...

Some house plants and a Buddha



Purple Nightshade grows all over the place around here.

The Prickly Pair from the front yard has yellow flowers

A collection of herbs and veggies...



a young pedro forrest...

Steel trough is now an herb garden.

the Barndywine before she went outside...

Growing green onions from green onions.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Closet of Mysteries inside look at the new shop

The Closet of Mysteries has a new home in the Verde Valley of "northern" Arizona (It's actually the middle of the state but we call anything north of Phoenix "northern" AZ).  I have set up my screen shop in a shed behind our little house.  This is our phase two in a three part plan to live an independent and sustainable life "off of the grid".  I will explain more about that in later entries.  For this phase, Cristina and I have rented an inexpensive, small place where we can print shirts and grow plants to work towards our goal of building our own sustainable community.
It has been nearly a month since we moved and we had almost no time to get settled before work's demand required us to be production ready.  The first couple of weeks were a flurry of unpacking and printing shirts but now we have a lot less unpacking occupying the days.  Life is never slow enough to say things have settled down, but we will call them settled down for convenience sake.  I found some time to take some pictures while printing in my new shop.
We have started a bunch of seeds and I will share about those next time...
This is my shop! 
The screens are made with UV sensitive material so here is some of my very state of the art cardboard construction employed to protect unexposed screens.
I only use the most environmentally friendly professional water based screen printing inks.  The Gen IV are awesome. 


The painting in the background is a copy of a Francis Bacon painting that I did for a painting class at ASU (a long time ago).  The thing is huge but I always have found it a home.  I am going to hang it up later... 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

13 of the creepiest old Halloween pictures I could find

With Halloween approaching, I thought it would be fun to share some of these creepy old photos that I found around ye olde internet.  Most of you probably know that the tradition of Halloween as we know it goes back quite a ways into our history.  The Catholics adapted the Pagan traditions somewhere around 800 A.D. and ever since then, the europeans and their descendants have been adorning masks and coercing treats from their neighbors with threats of tricks.  Compared to the costumes from generations past, today's seem quite mild.  If one of these showed up at the door today, most people would sit quietly behind their peep hole hoping to whatever power they subscribe to that the thing would go away and quickly...

I think this guy is a side of beef...?

How could I not include a creepy gnome and a pair of amanita muscaria?  Not the scariest, but certainly my favorite....
There you have it!  Taking a DIY approach to Halloween costumes could prove far more effective in scaring off the evil spirits than buying some injection molded plastic outfit from the super stores... Happy hauntings!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox and Ancient Cultures


Today is the Autumn (Fall) Equinox.  On this day, the sun passes over the Equator and the day and night are of equal length.  This is a time when, in the northern hemisphere, the night becomes longer than the day and the seasons are dominated by the moon rather than the sun.  Of course, the opposite is true for the southern hemisphere as their summer begins.

Throughout history, cultures around the world have celebrated this crossing through many traditions and holidays.  It is curious to note that the cultural practices around the world bare striking similarities to one another.  One most notable way should, which should not be overlooked, is the building of colossal stone structures that align to the sun marking this important date.  Main stream historians dismiss this as some sort of coincidence which, when considering the evidence, is truly absurd.

On the equinoxes, if we could travel all around the world, we would be able to see this incredible feat of astrological engineering working its magic at hundreds of ancient stone sites.  One of the most famous is, Angkor in Cambodia where the sun rises along side the main pyramid spire and gracefully sits atop the tower.  Teotihuacan, In Mexico is another pyramid site at which the setting sun “touches” the top of the giant stone structure as it sets on the Equinox.  A lesser known structure is in Connecticut in the US called Equinox Calendar Chamber at Gungywamp.  This site is home to what is known as the American Stonehenge and on this day, the setting sun will create a beam of light through a tiny window of the ancient stone chamber and illuminate a calendar wall.  Other equinox alligned sites include: Chichin Itza in Mexico, Loughcrew in Ireland, The Sphinx and Great Pyramid in Egypt, and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.  There are too many to list here but I encourage you to research these sites on your own.

Loughcrew, Ireland
It is clear that ancient people all over the globe found it greatly important to mark the changes of seasons.  We would be a bit naive to think that this practice was due to the need to keep track of planting seasons since many of the structures predate agriculture.  Rather, the ancients believed that there was a spiritual significance to the connection of humans to the celestial.  The transition of the daytime dominated season which brings life and growth into the nighttime dominated one which brings about death and rest, marks the part of the cycle which makes life on this planet possible.  It also represents the spiritual path of the soul.  It is through the cycle of birth, growth, and death, that rebirth can bring our spirits closer to enlightenment.  

I live in the low desert of Arizona which means, for me, this is a time where life can begin again.  Here the sun brings death to my plants and the heat of the endless summer keeps me hidden indoors.  As the rest of the hemisphere begins a decent into winter, we desert folk can return to the outdoors and enjoy a mild winter which I will spend growing food, hiking, biking, and camping.  To celebrate this occasion, I am going offering a special price of $15 on my "Year Wheel" T shirts in the Closet of Mysteries Etsy store until SEPT 27th!  Happy Mabon!

Ladies' "Year Wheel" t shirt
Men's "Year Wheel" t shirt