New book uses AI to picture entities encountered during DMT experiences

Researchers mapped recurring entities being shown to users of DMT. With new techniques that extend the experience under the psychedelic drug, it might be possible to understand more about them

Lidia Zuin
6 min readMay 10, 2023

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Planned for publication in 2024, The Illustrated Guide to the DMT Entities is a book written by the researcher David Jay Brown and the artist Sarah Phinn. Their objective is to map the entities with which DMT users have encountered with the help of illustrations created with the generative artificial intelligence application Midjourney.

The project adds up to an increasing number of researchers that have been mapping these psychedelic experiences. Last year, for instance, the study Phenomenology and content of the inhaled N, N-dimethyltryptamine (N, N-DMT) experience analyzed 3778 reports shared on Reddit, finding that 45,5% of them included encounters with entities. These are mostly seen as female (24,2%), divine (17%), alien (16,3%), reptilian or insect-like creatures (9,2%), as well as mythological beings such as mechanical elves (8,4) and jesters (6,5%).

It is no wonder why DMT has been called the “spiritual molecule” and that it is also found in religions such as Santo Daime — after all, ayahuasca (the root used to brew the tea drank during their rituals) has DMT and harmine in its composition. The curious part is that almost half of the users have experienced encounters with entities and that they repeat over the reports, to the point that it’s possible to create a “bestiary” of them and find intersections with existing cosmologies.

Since the foundation of Santo Daime in the 1930s, the religion was already sincretic enough to include references from Catholicism and Spiritism, as well as other esoteric manifestations, shamanism and enchantment, and African-Brazilian religions. This becomes more evident in the hymns sung during the rituals, especially the hymn “The Cruise” written by Master Irineu, the founder of the religion.

As described by Gusman Neto in “A inserção da Umbanda no Santo Daime” (The insertion of Umbanda in Santo Daime), the hymns show the presence of “elements…

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Lidia Zuin

Brazilian journalist, MA in Semiotics and PhD in Visual Arts. Researcher and essayist. Technical and science fiction writer.