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If you’ve ever dabbled in psychedelics, you’re probably familiar with DMT. Maybe you haven’t taken it, as it’s known as one of the strongest naturally-occurring psychedelics out there, but you’ve probably at least heard of it or known someone who’s experimented with it.  Looking to learn more about DMT and the visuals and art it produces? You’ve come to the right place, psychonaut friend. 

What is DMT? How can you consume DMT? 

DMT, formally known as dimethyltryptamine, is a heavy psychedelic that can produce experiences often compared to a stronger version of LSD. In scientific terms, DMT is an endogenous serotonergic psychedelic, which refers to a drug that stimulates internal experiences of “radical shifts in conscious experience” due to its interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain (Frontiers). Experiences on this drug have contributed to some of the most colorful and intriguing art to date, made either under the influence of DMT or with inspiration from artists’ own experiences!

Known for facilitating encounters with entities, DMT is also called the spirit molecule. It is a unique compound found in the Psychotria viridis (chacruna) plant, and is often drunk as tea during ayahuasca ceremonies. The drug can also be smoked (mixed with herbs to make changa), snorted as a powder, or injected, although this is particularly dangerous.

How long does a trip last?

How long a DMT trip lasts is dependent on dosage, your body size, if other drugs were taken with it, and which ones. As with most psychedelics, whether or not you consume DMT on an empty stomach can greatly impact how it affects your body, and we suggest eating something before embarking on your psychedelic journey to minimize nausea and the potential for negative experiences.

The duration of a trip is also dependent on the method of consumption; when smoked, DMT usually kicks in really quickly, trips are intense but short (sometimes only a few minutes). However, when used during an ayahuasca ceremony, it’s more likely that the DMT trip will last longer (up to several hours) due to the setting and consumption via tea, which requires more time to ingest and take effect.

What effects does it have?

DMT can have a wide variety of effects, but the most notable are breakthrough experiences to other worlds and encounters with entities! Entities refer to interactions with otherworldly beings, sometimes described as the personification of the DMT itself which can act as a guide, but can take the form of other beings as well. We’ll dive into this more later! The main impacts of taking DMT include visual and auditory distortions and hallucinations, perceptions of time and movement speeding up or slowing down, double vision, color and sound distortions much like shroom visuals (often called DMT visuals or DMT trip visuals), out-of-body experiences, and some people even report near-death experiences.

Reactions to the drug can be unpredictable, which is why it’s important to only consume psychedelics in a regulated, supervised environment with a trip sitter or other guide. DMT is not recommended for those with pre-existing heart conditions, due to its tendency to raise blood pressure and heart rate. It can also cause nausea and vomiting, and can deeply impact mental health by inducing flashbacks, triggering new problems, leading to self-harm during a bad trip, or causing unpleasant emotional effects that can last for days after consumption. Please note that DMT is a federally illegal drug and possession, purchase, and sale of the substance is a crime.

Are DMT entities real?

One of the most powerful experiences a person can have on DMT is encounters with DMT entities! Ayahuasca experiences have been extensively studied, but experiences of smoked DMT are largely understudied in comparison, but in a Frontiers study, 94% of DMT experiences studied included encounters with otherworldly beings. These entities are sometimes called beings, guides, spirits, aliens, or helpers, as well as angels, elves, religious personages, or plant spirits. It’s not common, but some folks even refer to them as gnomes, monsters, or deceased persons. Most people who experience an encounter with a DMT entity describe the being as feminine, often spirit-like, and sometimes identify them as Goddesses, Gaia/mother earth, or Mother Ayahuasca. 

Some users have described their experiences with entities as a personification of the DMT itself, claiming that the DMT was guiding them through their trip. These entities perform a number of functions and roles within a person’s DMT trip, often fulfilling elaborate interretlational purposes. The main purposes observed in the Frontiers study were showing or communing, helping or nurturing, and manipulating and controlling. These entities can make or break a good trip, and play a substantial role in turning a trip “bad.” However, an overwhelming majority of encounters with entities are spiritually productive and somehow enlightening for the user, with 13% of users in a study referenced by Psychedelic Spotlight claiming feelings of familiarity, belonging, or feeling at home in the DMT world.

When experienced by an artist, these journeys can be translated from vibrant internal experiences to vivid visual works of art, which is commonly called DMT inspired art!

What is DMT inspired art?

DMT inspired art focuses on creating physical manifestations of the psychedelic creatures and visuals experienced during a DMT trip. Common descriptors of this kind of art are vivid, vibrant, rich (with regards to colors), and intricate (with regards to designs and details). Some people compare DMT visuals to LSD visuals, but claim that they’re more vivid on DMT. If you’re an artist, DMT could be the boost you need to start creating more wild works! 

Creatures that are frequently experienced during a DMT trip include tentacled beings, felines, insects (specifically mantids), and reptiles. Others report being visited by robots, aliens, humanoids (human-like beings), or machine elves. You’re probably wondering, What the heck are machine elves? They’re also called fractal or clockwork elves, as well as tykes, in reference to the word sometimes used to describe small children. These creatures sometimes appear during a DMT trip with the goal of teaching the user something, and interactions with them tend to be prankish and playful.

With the vibrant experiences captured in DMT trip reports, artists can create paintings and other creations they may never have thought of otherwise! DMT painter Martina Hoffman focuses on capturing DMT spirits in her work, specifically the friendly, nurturing maternal figure often called Mother Ayahuasca. Keep reading to discover other artists and how they use DMT in their work!

Which artists have used DMT through their work?

DMT artists and DMT trip art both exist, but many of the most powerful pieces are created by artists who commit their practice to creating DMT inspired art. It can be hard to grasp without quite a bit of practice both tripping on DMT and translating DMT experiences into DMT artwork!

Some notable DMT artists are listed below, with some of their takes on creating psychedelically inspired art:

Martina Hoffman

Known for her work painting DMT spirits, Hoffman creates beautiful paintings of entities, specifically Mother Ayahuasca, who is a commonly experienced maternal being who appears to provide guidance during a DMT trip.

Amanda Sage

With a goal of revealing art’s role in spiritual transformation, Sage creates DMT inspired art that can guide and inspire even the most sober of people!

Android Jones

In an effort to create artwork that can translate psychedelic experiences into visual pieces, Jones seeks the Ultimate Truth in his creation of art–what he likes to call his life’s work.

Salvia Droid

Known in everyday life as Kyle Sawyer, this artist got his name from the natural hallucinogen salvia divinorum (sage of the diviners), and translates the boost to consciousness DMT provides into artistic creations.

Alex Grey

Perhaps the most well-known psychedelic visionary, Grey uses psychedelic substances to create art that captures mystical dimensions of consciousness. He sees these substances as powerful and sacred, and strives to respect them in his work.

Allyson Grey

Awakened through Ram Dass’ book Be Here Now, Grey was called to express an essentialized world view through her art. The resulting works act as a personal and shared meditation on the structure of thought, life, and enlightenment. 

Pablo Amaringo

Amaringo is regarded as a master communicator of the ayahuasca experience, expressing the convergence of mystical and real-life beings in beautiful DMT artwork.

Susan Seddon Boulet

Drawing inspiration from mythology, poetry, Jungian psychology, spiritual traditions, and a deep love for animals and nature, Boulet’s work exerts a profound influence on consumers of it. She is considered one of the founders of the visionary art movement in the US, and her artwork is known for its fairy tale quality that brings up sentimental childhood playfulness.

Final Thoughts

To learn more, we encourage you to check out the other corners of our website, including this in depth article on the history of DMT. Do your research, properly prepare, be safe, and enjoy the ride. 

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