Thursday, April 14, 2011


In the Austrian province of Carynthia, about 20 km from the St. Egid Chapel in Klagenfurt (famous for Ernst Fuchs' elaborate interior *) you will find the Fortress Castle of Hochosterwitz.

Situated on a 500 foot high rock, you ascend to the castle proper via 14 fortified gates on a 2000 foot long path. There are new and exciting vistas found at every turn of the way, spiralling upwards toward this magnificient structure. It has been said that this castle had never been conquered, and no enemy ever made it past the 4th gate.

Arriving at the top, the view over the land is magnificient in every direction. The illusion persists that on a clear day, one could see as far as Italy.

I am comparing this journey to the spiritual journey one takes while creating art when first setting down a mark. This initial mark is the entry point on your journey through the inner universe. Each successive mark, like one of the gates of the Hochosterwitz, is taking a step closer to revelation. As you ascend, the journey gets more complicated, since the keys to the gates are more like tumblers - you need to assemble that which you have learned so far in the right and specific order to unlock the next step, to defeat the elaborate defense mechanism barring you from going any further.

Imagine now, if you will, that a quick and easy way to the top is provided via a cable car or an elevator. You simply pay at the bottom to be taken to the top. When you get there, you may view the same vista that I do, but what you miss is the journey upwards and the many wondrous things encountered along the way, as well as the appreciation, sense of bliss and satisfaction of having accomplished this ascent. Your view might be the same, but your appreciation of it lacks the experience of the trip and thus I would suspect the understanding and awe of what you see at the top.

Entheogens are the elevators that you may use to spare you the journey to get to the top. In my opinion, it is accomplishing the journey itself that counts here and truly lets you appreciate what you find when you get there.

Rather than a pale snapshot of the top view, when taking this journey on your own power, your art would reflect this whole experience in its entirety.

* this blog is the result of a discussion about the use of drugs by artists, such as Ernst Fuchs. The question was asked by the interviewer in this recent article:  Ernst Fuchs: "Wir leben ja bereits mitten in der Apokalypse" - story in the Kleine Zeitung, Austria, 12.04.2011

See more about the art of Ernst Fuchs at the

No comments: