OPEN Foundation

Close this search box.

Does the Nervous System Have an Intrinsic Archaic Language? Entoptic Images and Phosphenes

Share This Post


Psychoactive plants have been consumed by many cultures, cults and groups during religious rituals and ceremonies for centuries and they have been influential on the eruption of the many images, secret and religious symbols, esoteric geometrical shapes, archetypes, religious figures, philosophy of religions since the dawn of Homo sapiens. Some of the psychoactive plants used for religious purposes were; narcotic analgesics (opium), THC (cannabis), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga), DMT (Ayahuasca and phalaris species), peganum harmala, bufotenin, muscimol (Amanita muscaria), Thujone (Absinthe, Arthemisia absinthium), ephedra, mandragora, star lotus, salvia divinorum etc. An important property of these natural chemicals is to induce the human psyche to perceive some optical forms and shapes, which are existent in the subconscious and collective unconsciousness, and which emerge during some certain trance states and ASCs. Some of these simple geometric forms are called entoptic images and phosphenes. Entopic images and phosphenes have been found in various cultural art work and the drawings of cave walls, which were formed during the shamanic religious rituals since the Neolithic times. Also entoptic images exist in many folkloric, traditional and cultures geometrical shapes. Long before the creation of languages, visual perception and information was the only source for the mankind to perceive outer world, as it is the only one in the primate world. This article reviews the possibility of an ancient forgotten visual sign and symbol language, which is genetically existent in the human brain and that, emerges out during ASCs, trance states and the consciousness altered by the psychoactive plants. The basics of this geometrical sign and symbol language may have generated the formation of some archetypal symbols and concepts, which are yet to be discovered. Near to this, emerging of many attributes of the sub-or-un-consciousness, during those “psychedelic plant journeys” had had a prodigious impact on the formation and creation of many religious “figures, characters, creatures, archetype images” that today exist, not only in the mythology, but also in many religions, as well, such as angels, spirits, Jinns, demons, Satan, mythological creatures, supra-natural creatures, gods, and goddesses. Mystical and religious experiences during the rituals using psychoactive plants may have also helped the archaic ancestral information, coded in the limbic system, to come out onto the consciousness, which may also have helped the evolution of the hominoids and Homo sapiens.

Sayin, H. U. (2014). Does the Nervous System Have an Intrinsic Archaic Language? Entoptic Images and Phosphenes. Neuroquantology, 12(3), 427-445.
Link to full text

OPEN Foundation

Join ICPR 2022 Online!

ICPR features world-leading experts from many academic disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany, and philosophy who come together to give a scientific conference for academics, therapists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and members of the public. Get your ICPR 2022 livestream ticket today and use the code OPENLIVE30 at checkout for a €30 discount.

Learn More


Subscribe to our new OPEN-Minded newsletter to stay in the loop, hear about our events, and become a part of a community dedicated to advancing psychedelics.

By clicking subscribe, I confirm to receive emails from the OPEN Foundation and agree with its privacy policy.

16 July - NDE's and Psychedelic Experiences: Commonalities & Insights