Art, Music and Consciousness

Just turn up the Music  this is my take on how art changes consciousness for me.  How it works doubly for me, as a shaman and an artist. 
I just finished reading this article by Jacob Devaney (2015) How Art Changes Consciousness.  Before reading the article a second time around, and letting it influence my writing,  the art and music will tell my personal experience.
Have you ever listened to music, really listened, and caught the reverberation of the sounds that just seem to push your emotions or mind off the edge?    Sometimes the acoustics of a room or place can create certain conditions that the sound has special characteristics.  According to Parker and Smith (2013), Musicians use the science of musical sound, “a unique field where science and art overlap to produce unexpected results”.

Before taking up shamanism, my intuitive ability was strongly in connection my artistic right brain.  Spirit communicating with me, and expressing itself through art.  During that period of life, I would not have connected the two actions, but now knowing how the three shamanic realms work together and how spirit works through the unconscious/conscious mind it is obvious. Starry Night VanGogh

The music plays, processing through the ears creating visions in the head, muting other sounds; transporting the listener on a journey with each note, seducing the listener into another world.  With skillful control, the musician maneuvers the listener through realms of fantasy, of love, of dreams, of lands across the sea, and in the eithers.

Most children grow up wanting to be a doctor, firefighter, police officer, writer, like mom, or like dad employment.  Some want to make music, sing, dance, or possibly become an artist.  Many careers are made attractive to children by their family or peers, because of the money, fame, or because it looks promising.  For me, the ideal career was art, and its attraction began in early development.

In the formative years, children easily develop the artistic abilities before their peers, and audiences have the opportunity to influence their creative talent.

The experiences that children have in the first 10 years influence how their brains will be wired as adults.  By age 2, a child’s brain is as active as an adult’s and by age 3 the brain is more than twice as active as an adult’s—and stays that way for the first 10 years of life.  Not only are children’s brains more active, they also have higher levels of neurotransmitters, which assist in the formation of synapses.  This and other attributes of the early brain suggest that young children are primed for learning—particularly as infants and toddlers (Shore, 1997).


O, here I had plans to write about this wonderful day and the moon energy has been positive with work since the new moon moving smoothly.  Music plays softly in the background, as I take Time now to reflect and move into creative mode.  When, working on something extraordinary I like to be elusive, (keeping the project to myself) until completion.  It is a belief it adds energy to the project — a mystery.  How is the energy in your part of the world today?


I am motivated to journal the shamanic trance, the expression is a visual expression of intention, and the results of the journey.  Over the course of my lifetime, writing and artwork have gone hand in hand.  Sometimes I would incorporate both, others focusing on only one venue at a time.  Combining words, art, pictures, media, and the journey in an explosion of the mind and intuition into a powerful illumination of manifestation.  In a state of artistic meditation, (this is what I would refer to my creative state), it is as though nothing else exists, just the music and the realm I occupy.

Now here—I have to include ecstatic dance practices, because they too fall into the category of shamanic trance and journeywork, also known as trance dance.  I have found dancing is another experience that can easily cause the timeless trace experience.  Experiencing dance as movement, to ride on the rhythms of the music can elicit very different and distinct experiences.  The experiences cause selflessness, and take the dancer out of the bounds of reality into other territories.  It brings a person up, or down, taking them through the cycles of life on a journey beyond the present location.

Dance and rhythm affects the young and old, as the music prompts different associations.  People dance to experience frenzy, to connect with spirit, to send prayers to creator.  Swaying back and forth, to mesmerize, to relax, and to meditate– our sense of transforming in response to the present moment.  The energy of the music has many possibilities.  .

Try this free form, sacred, non-verbal, meditative dance form for yourself.  Listen to your body and your own divine guidance as you enjoy the freedom of the experience, however it comes through!

Let the story continue.  As most learn over time children use creative art to represent experiences that they cannot verbalize.  Pictures may be drawn, with certain attributes exaggerated that represent the child’s experience.  Love, abuse, rivalry, and peer pressure are often expressed in childhood art.

Georgia OKeeffe


Freud and Erikson have much to say about childhood development, and the experience of artistic expression.  The shaman knows only spirit and the way of the shaman.  Theoretically, we begin life with basic virtues, and build the stages of life on strengths we hope the ego applies wisely.  Is the world a safe place?  On the other hand, is it full of unpredictable events and accidents waiting to happen?         Moreover, what did Jung say about the expression of art?


“Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of contradictory aptitudes.  On the one side he is a human being with a personal life, while on the other side he is an impersonal, creative process…The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.  As a human being, he may have moods, a will, and personal aims, but as an artist he is ‘man’ in a higher sense–he is ‘collective man’–one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic life of mankind.  To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.  Jung (1933).

These past years practicing the shamanic way of living, there have been mind-opening experiences, views into the realms of illumination.  Is it just the brain when we exploring the other worlds that influence us so profoundly?


Put some music on… what day is today, where are your emotions, what music are you drawn to: rock and roll, instrumental, classical, or chant.  Embody the music invoking a mood, setting the mind off on a journey to the other worlds, where the artist’s hand becomes an extension of the shaman’s spirit.  Turn up the volume, shut out everything except the journey.  Fly high with the allies, feeling the fire, and letting the sound take the shaman where it will, along with your brush.


Many shamans use drums or rattles to reach the shamanic state of consciousness.  The instrument has a resonance of 200 to 210 beats per minute.  Chanting mantras is another alternative to reaching an altered state of consciousness.  The pulsing, vibrating, sounds will bring about sensations in listeners similar to that of a highly charged ritual.  This perception can about with almost any music.

It is the artist’s interpretation and perception of the subject that meet your eye.  Even if the concept and modality are realism, the artist and art relate the artist’s personality and experiences.  The music/art combination is as ayahuasca is to Peruvian shaman, or peyote is South American shaman.  It is all in the perception.

Several books describe journaling, and using art as a medium for the journal.  Personally, journaling is a favorite release that since childhood either writing or art.  Unfortunately, the work no longer exists, if it did, some things I would not share.  Cameron J. wrote The Artist Way, which is a wonderful book to begin keeping a journal more will be included later.  She speaks of sharing everything on your mind, as though the journal is your best friend, and get everything off you mind.  The concept is a good one, it releases pent up anxiety and more.

There are also websites and blogs about creative journaling.  Since, I enjoy writing and art it seemed like a good match.  The creativity that felt like it was sucked away still might have a chance at recovery.  It may not be realistic; it may not appear anywhere more than in a corner pile.  At least the fire that once burned still smolders.  My desire to use art/music as a shamanic medium for journey remains strong.

With music, the journey begins with the intention of connecting with an ally specifically for creative journaling.  Having the intention to learn a way to process the information, and what tools to use, and the ally will guide these techniques.  Turning within, going deep, going to the upper world with my power animal, with intention… finding an ally/teacher who will work with me…

She is all a gossamer a glow, dancing with the moon, and dancing, with the music.  A mist the color of smoke, blue grey floats on the damp chill of the full moon night.  She dances, dances her dream, and floats with the blue grey smoke…


Feel the rush of energy… free to fly, she dances with fire.




What do you think Van Gogh had going on in his mind?  Where was his journey that “Starry Night”?  What about Munch, and “the Scream”, or how about Picasso, and Georgia O’Keeffe?  These artists all famous for art that originated out of their minds journey.  The famous sculptors… and then famous dancers like Michael Jackson, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, and Martha Graham.  All probably knew about fire in the head and connecting with that feeling.

Blessings, Sidonia Nightsky ©2016


*Carl Gustave Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933, Harvest Book, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York, 1961 paperback, pp. 168-171.

 Parker Ph.D.S.E., &  Smith Ph.D., J.A. (2013) Musician’s Acoustics Paperback – Create Space Independent Publishing Platform; 1 ED.

Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”

Visual Journaling: Going Deeper than Words by Barbara Ganim

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