In my essay on DMT jesters and tricksters, I described how the entities of the DMT experience often take on the appearance and behaviour of court jesters and trickster beings found in mythology, offering an ultimately Jungian explanation, but stressing still how mysterious and idiosyncratic this psychedelic effect is. I also examined the psychological and existential nature of trickster entities in a later post.
Something I think I didn’t give enough attention to in the essay on DMT jesters is the gestures of these beings. The expressions, mannerisms, and postures of the entities of the DMT space are curiously jester-like; the entities can manifest the essence of a jester even if they don’t don the clothing, colours, and patterns typical of one. Even without pointy hats and shoes with bells on them, harlequin diamond patterns on their clothing, or jester makeup, the way that these entities move in this realm is very suggestive of a jester.
We can refer to these distinctive behaviour patterns as jestures or jesticulations (both portmanteaus). These jestures can include grinning, laughing, cavorting, and displaying and splaying limbs and hands in a silly, cheeky, humourous, odd, and entertaining way. These movements are often reminiscent of dancing, acrobatics, or magic tricks. The DMT jesters can adopt mudra-like hand poses (those symbolic gestures of the hands and fingers found in yoga, Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, used in rituals and religious iconography). These DMT entities also gesture theatrically as if they are welcoming you to – and guiding you through – the unfolding show. They are not just the denizens of the circus realm; they are also the presenters on duty.
We can see the gestures of jesters in various paintings, such as The Laughing Fool (1540s) by an unknown Dutch artist; The Court Jester (1870), The Court Jester (1871), and The Jester (1871) by Claude Andrew Calthrop; Jesters at the Court of Empress Anna (1872) by Valery Ivanovich Jacobi; and a few paintings by Ilene Meyer (see here, here, here, and here). You can find many depictions of jesters that portray similar behaviours, such as the statue called “The Jester” found on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon, which refers to a character, Touchstone, featured in William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. At the base of the statue, there is a quote from the same play, as well as a well-known line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the latter of which reads: “Alas! Poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite Jest.” Yorrick is the name of a dead court jester employed by Hamlet’s later father; Hamlet finds Yorrick’s skull, which causes the prince to deliver a famous soliloquy on the unavoidability of death.
Gestures – our postures and expressions – reveal our moods, and in the case of jestures, the mood revealed is one of playfulness and rambunctiousness. But these jestures are so distinct that they can be said to disclose not just a general mood but a specific character or archetype; in this case, the character is the jester, the gestures of which might also belong to merry musicians, agile acrobats, and the mischievous, childish, toy-like behaviour of Lilliputian beings (e.g. elves and imps). These latter diminutive entities are found in mythologies throughout the world and are common enough in hallucinations that they warrant a separate category: Lilliputian hallucinations, also known as microptic or diminutive hallucinations.
DMT entities, whether they wear jester garb or not, can manifest jestures like presenting and manipulating objects in a jolly way, performing tricks, twirling, whispering secrets and sweet nothings, shushing, sticking their tongues out, moving in a springy or bouncy fashion, prancing, tilting their heads to one side, performing mesmerising dances, pulling faces, teasing, adopting strange postures or contortions, giggling, tickling, playing peekaboo, outstretching their arms in a ta-da or voila kind of way, twisting their moustaches, and showing exaggerated facial expressions of surprise, excitement, joy, and cheekiness.
It is strange that DMT entities can act so stereotypically like jesters. However, this is not to say that these entities appear and act solely like jesters. They can express a wide range of appearances and moods; they can be joyful and loving at times, and hostile and threatening on other occasions. Sometimes, their trickster nature, although entertaining or jokey, may have an undercurrent – a hint or felt possibility – of nastiness. There is a sense that their teasing could easily turn into bullying.
One’s set (or mindset) going into the experience may influence how the DMT jesters appear. But also important is how you respond to them in the moment; these entities can alter their mood and interactions with you in synchrony with the attitude you take towards them. If you heed the call of the jesters, try to learn from them, and respond with curiosity instead of fear, then they can be extremely friendly and welcoming. They may even appear like old companions who have long awaited your return, eager to show you around and entertain you before you have to leave again.
“jestures or jesticulations” Nice.
You are onto an important distinction that I found in my own research as well. Entities need to be examined not only by their appearance but by their attitude and behavior. I found cases where entities appeared as Jesters but acted like teachers, guides or surgeons. And in some cases Entities with other appearances behaved like Jesters -Tricksters.
I would be curious your thoughts on my recently published research paper examining the phenomenology of complex DMT experiences that touches on this and other categories of experience: https://akjournals.com/view/journals/2054/aop/article-10.1556-2054.2022.00209/article-10.1556-2054.2022.00209.xml
Hi Stephen, thanks so much for sharing your research paper. It’s fascinating how often very specific visual phenomena recur. I’m reminded of this recent tweet:
Very strange that this clockwork, machine-like world being controlled by elves would be so common. I also like that at the end of your paper you mention: “Further research can also be done to examine the experiences of Deja Vu, hyperdimensionality, the Sacred and Eternity in DMT experiences.” I have an essay written on DMT-induced deja vu, hopefully to be published in print alongside other essays. I’d like to see more on that experience and the other phenomena you mention.