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Reason for Warning: This aesthetic mentions topics about drugs, mind-altering methods, and potentially unsettling art is common in this article.

Psychonautics is defined as the methodology for discovering altered or non-ordinary states of consciousness, typically produced by meditation, hallucinogenic and/or psychedelic substances, as well as phenomenological-based research which attempts to navigate these altered states of consciousness to gain a deeper insight into the nature, structure, and mystery of the human psyche and the unconscious mind.

The terms "Psychonaut" and "Psychonautics" have been diversely applied to cover all activities in which altered states of consciousness are utilized to investigate, augment, or enhance the human condition. These activities include ancient ceremonial practices of traditional shamanism, various forms of meditation, trance, yoga, lucid dreaming, sensory deprivation, and the controlled use of hallucinogenic or entheogenic substances.

A person who endeavors to explore altered states of consciousness for the purposes mentioned above or any other, may be called a psychonaut.


Psychonautics is an inherently unique methodology which depends on the individual. Psychonauts may discover their own methods of exploring their own conscious states. Experiences may be intentionally sought after, but can also be stumbled upon serendipitously.

Some methods used by psychonauts are:

  • Psychoactive substance use - Psychoactive substances in general forcibly alter the conscious states of the individuals consuming them, as such they can be used as tools for psychonautic purposes. That being said, the predominant class of substances used by psychonauts are psychedelics, hallucinogens, and dissociatives such as LSD, LSA, DMT, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, ibogaine, Ketamine, etc.
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Dream exploration - Also known as oneironautics, a branch of psychonautics which focuses on exploring and enhancing dreams, this includes techniques such as keeping dream journals, and lucid dreaming techniques in which the person attempts to retain a degree of volition and awareness in their dreams.
  • Ritual - Rituals may be used as means of inducing altered states of consciousness, and also used for practical purposes grounding and of obtaining a suitable focus and intention.


Art in general can be seen as individuals expressing their conscious states through various mediums such as: books, drawings, sculptures, music, etc. Psychonauts exploring their own conscious states may make ineffable discoveries which are thought of as very difficult to express and understand with the standard human psyche, this has paved a way for artists to attempt to do just that with their creations.


Psychedelic substances may have different but somewhat cohesive visual effects, this includes but is not limited to:

All of those visual effects may be prevalent in art inspired by the psychedelic experience, especially when the psychonaut attempts to re-create the visual experience through drawings or other artistic mediums.

Cognitive effects[]

Use of psychonautic methods may result in cognitive effects such as, but not limited to:

Psychonauts may attempt to express these cognitive effects through their artwork which can result in very distinct and unique creations in all artistic mediums.


Psychedelic music genres such as Ambient, Psytrance, or Psydub are generally seen as genres which are inspired by the psychedelic experience or made to enhance the psychedelic experience.

Psychonauts may create listen to these genres (or other) in order to enhance their experiences or lead their experiences a certain way. Artists may also create psychedelic music which express the experiences they've had in altered states of consciousness.

An example of various artists producing psychedelic music are:


Psychonauts may write experience reports which attempt to convey experiences they've had exploring their consciousness. These trip-reports may differ widely from each-other which is a good statement to how unique experiences can be.

Famous books and writings are: