The Breakthrough Experience: DMT Hyperspace and its Liminal Aesthetics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Known to produce out-of-body states and profound changes in sensory perception, mood, and thought, DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a potent short-lasting tryptamine that has experienced growing appeal in the last decade, independent from ayahuasca, the Amazonian visionary brew in which it is an integral ingredient. Investigating user reports available online as well as a variety of other sources consulted in extended cultural research, this article focuses on the “breakthrough” event commonly associated with the DMT trance. The DMT breakthrough event coincides with significant revelatory outcomes associated with perceived contact with “entities” and the transmission of information often in the form of visual language. Examination of the breakthrough event offers insight on the liminal phenomenology of DMT and other tryptamines, a liminality that is given primary expression in reported travels in “hyperspace.” The article examines user reports of DMT “hyperspace” observing a transitional process that, unlike conventional passage rites, is private, individualized, internal, and “ritual like.” As an exploratory discussion of an under-researched phenomenon, the article enters this virtual terrain through a discussion of the gnostic, therapeutic, and recreational modalities of DMT use, before exploring ritual-like modes of transmission and concluding with comments on the ontological significance of the DMT trance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Number of pages20
JournalAnthropology of Consciousness
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

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