Happening:

Seeing through the smoke


Christopher Gallagher

Whether it’s art or MJ, give the gift of psychedelia

Ar 171209688
Artwork by illustrator Rick Griffin.
Ar 171209688
Artwork by illustrator Rick Griffin.

“To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic.” — Humphrey Osmond

The holiday gift-giving season – there is a lot to it nowadays, but ask yourself: What is it that you are trying to give those you care most about? Is there something you can do past taking the time and effort to come up with something that matches the personalities and habits of your friends and family members?

Consider the psychedelic. Defined wonderfully in, of all places, Urban Dictionary as “mind manifesting. It is used to describe the state of consciousness typically experienced while under drugs such as LSD, mushrooms, mescaline and cannabis – consisting of various stages of ego-release and an often startling alteration of perceptions.”

“Ego-release and alteration of perceptions,” you say? This seems like it may be the perfect gift for this season. What would better serve most of us than to take a break from ourselves, from the layers that we take on and the world around us adds and builds and stacks onto until that essence of what we are becomes nearly hopelessly laden with masks and superstructures and responsibilities and a lot of other stuff that can get hard to carry around at all times? What can benefit us more fully than the opportunity to look at the same old people, places, and things, seeing them with a “new set of eyes,” a perception offering another way to interact with the world around us?

Last week, I suggested gathering a pinch of the raw psychedelic material of the cannabanoid molecule in its varied combinations to build superjoint creations of your own handiwork. I promise these will be well received by those for whom you apply your labor. There are sure to be a couple folks, be it reason of their youth or some other circumstance, for whom an eighth of moorocks or a blunt sprinkled in keif may not be the exactly perfect present (or maybe it is perfect but the person receiving the gift is so wonderful that one gift will not suffice). Fear not, there are other ways to access the mindset of manifestation.

All art is psychedelic. Whether it be the smile on Mona Lisa making you wonder what she was up to, the strokes of Van Gogh making the night sky move, the dream worlds of Dali or the concert posters of Rick Griffin drawing you in, or the visionary geometric energy maps of Alex Grey causing you to ponder the nature of matter, art draws you out of your daily mind into another aspect of consciousness.

Art can be a gift that lasts a lifetime; a nicely framed poster or print or an original work by a local artist given as a holiday gift may find a place in a person’s world from which it can impart its wisdom for the remainder of their days. It is not only two-dimensional artists whose work can help your mind lose the bounds of your ego and understand our communal integration. I urge you to look into your local sculptors, glassblowers, digital artists, and musicians along with painters. Consider tickets to a live performance for a friend who would probably not otherwise buy them. And keep open the possibility of access to a front-row performance by the greatest psychedelic artist of them all: Mother Nature and the bounty she provides us in the form of the million-and-one year-round outdoor activities available to us here – maybe a day, week, or season pass would make the perfect present.

Be the psychedelic giver this holiday season, DGO, and watch as the energy you put into your gifts expands to fill the space of love from which it comes.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at chrstphrgallagher@gmail.com.