On August 26, 2018 Jennifer DeLeon sat down with practitioner, teacher, writer, and artist Daniel Moler to discuss his art. The Urban Shaman is honored to share some of Daniel's visual art pieces and insights into his work and process. We look forward to future interviews with Daniel and invite you to explore Daniel's various articles, books, and website, which we will link below.
Jennifer: Hello- I am super excited to interview you because I am also an esoteric artist, and when I went onto your website I noticed that at that time you only had one of your art pieces up. Your website said more to come, and I was thinking, 'yes of course more is too come- - it’s not like you don’t have anything else to do!' So let’s go through. I’m going to save the one that you just finished for last, although I was unable to look at it because I was instructed not to look at it yet, by you know, them. Because as I’m sure you know, intuition is everything and if you really do actually follow your intuition, then that would be good.
Okay so the first one, Autumn Soul. Tell me, where did this come from, and also tell me how the information comes into you from your spirit guides? How does the information come into you when you’re doing the art, or is there a method that you’ve actually discerned?
Daniel: Autumn Soul is a portrait, but it’s also a series that I am wanting to start, that I’m going to term 'soul portraiture.' This is for the sake of trying to tap into the essence of the person rather than just being a realistic portrait of who they are. I actually started this one two years ago, and then I needed to put it away and wait for the right time to finish it. But we just recently went through a big [thing] and ever since then it’s like some kind of dam opened and I recently completed that painting.
[But for] each subject matter I will want to start using people who are important to me, who have inspired me over time, such as famous writers, musicians, and artists as well. The particular subject matter of this one happens to be my wife, whose name is Autumn. Her name has always had multiple connotations for her. Not only is it a very important season for the both of us in terms of moving into the season of darkness, which is very important for inner work, but it’s her name and it just perfectly encapsulates who she is. Not everybody is comfortable with their name, but she is one of those where her name is very much her medicine name, instead of receiving some medicine like ‘woman tail feather of the great owl’ (laughing).
In terms of my process I have to keep myself open like a channel. If I am not in a regular meditative, if I don’t have a regular meditative curriculum in my life, I will not receive the intuition to begin my creative work at all. So my intuition is based on me being disciplined, as weird as that may sound. But I have to keep my- it’s an oxymoron, but everything in the universe is a paradox, and everything pulls on the polarities of positive and negative. I have to keep my body in a regular rhythm of discipline, not only just with exercise and things like that. Setting up my altar, I have an altar space that I work at, and asking for myself to be open every day. If I don’t do that I get clogged up. The dam gets clogged, or the canal gets clogged and it doesn’t flow through.
Jennifer: Yeah and then it goes 'boom' and explodes and then you get a tsunami, so you don’t want to hold off.
Daniel: Yeah, exactly. And sometimes when you get that tsunami it’s too much to contain and then it’s not able to come out in pieces that people can consume. And that’s what art and writing in the creative arts is about. For this particular series I am less interested in having a realistic portrait of the individual, and [more interested in] capturing the essence of their soul, and part of the way that I like to do that is capturing the movements of the way that their soul symbols represent that person's life path. I am a huge symbol person. I believe that symbols are very important in terms of being able to communicate ideas and concepts from the unseen that we can’t really put into words- like math. I think they’re very important for activating certain aspects of our soul. So the intention is that the person, whoever I am painting, is able to look at this and the portrait taps into a part of themselves that opens up their soul and aligns them with their true soul path.
Jennifer: Yes, it calls forth the higher self.
Daniel: Yeah. So this is the first one that I really began of that series and I think that I am going to try to tackle one other person that I know next, and then I am going to move on. I am going to experiment with a couple of famous people, like maybe William S. Burroughs, Salvador Dali, or someone like that.
Jennifer: Salvador Dali! Him and Georgia O’Keefe both, and they, when I am doing my art I know it’s going on. I am in this like erotic, exotic zone of whatever and then all of a sudden next thing I know half of the artwork has melted off my canvas or my computer or whatever and I’m like, 'what? Salvador Dali again?'
Daniel: You know I didn’t think about Georgia O’Keefe. That would be a wonderful one to do. I’ve been thinking
about Dali, and I don’t know if I want to bring that presence in just yet. I do have kids that I have to take care of.
Jennifer (laughing): Yes- it’s true! And he did do a piece called The Great Masturbator, in case you didn’t know. So you gotta look out for him!
Daniel: Yeah that would be a great one to have. Hang that one up on the family living room wall.
Jennifer: Oh yes. Dr. Seuss was originally an erotic artist also, and most people don’t know that. And then a children’s book author, and then also a political war cartoonist. He also tries to channel in, but I think there’s reasons Salvador Dali is here now. It seems to be his presence is very strong and I can only imagine what that might be.
Daniel: Well I think just because we're really living in an absurd time-line right now. Absurdities may reign supreme. He is the god of that absurdity, of surrealism. So all we can do is make our offerings to Dali’s soul and hope that he spares our sanity in some way that we can actually perform.
Jennifer (laughing): Yes, exactly. When when we look at his work, we know. It’s basically a reflection, exactly like you said, of what’s going down.
Daniel: Yeah, I actually have one of his paintings hanging up in my office. I’m looking at it right now. It’s the one of Christ on the cross but he’s floating up in the sky and it’s got that kind of oblong perspective over the water. It’s pretty wild.
Jennifer: Yes. Yes. Gotta look out for those reflections.
Daniel: Oh narcissists. Yep.
Jennifer: Yep, they think we’re narcissists, but really we're just getting into the weird vortexes with them in the mirrors and doing magic. Speaking of vortexes, what’s up with the triangles on this? One’s up and two are down, now what? (Referring to Autumn Soul).
Daniel: This is actually a representation of the triads on the Kabbalah Tree of Life. My wife and I are big Kabbalahists, and that’s what my upcoming book is about is Kabbalah (Qabalah) from a shamanic perspective. She’s the one that was really, she was very integral in studying Kabbalah with me and we both did a path-working on the Tree of Life together. It took 2 ½ years to do. She really emulates the idea of the triads and working the sefirot on the Tree of Life, which are the little spheres in a triadic form, because you can’t just study one sefirot or the paths between them individually. You have to study things in terms of relationship.
Jennifer: Right. Right. Context.
Daniel: And this is one of the main basis. So this is one of the main ways of being able to study it. The top one is ascending because that’s the supernal triad. That’s the supreme godhood or supreme triad of consciousness in the universe and it’s really the only real thing in the universe, at all. Everything else is just an illusion, just a reflection of that, speaking of reflections. So that’s why the next triangle is an inversion of that. The next triangle is a reflection of that supernal triad and that’s called the ethical triad. This is where, this is like the machinations of the universe. This is where the universe becomes, to be built based upon the will of the great originating mystery, God, or source, or whatever you want to call it. And then that final triad is the foundational triad and these are all inverted because like cups, they’re like chalices that are receiving the information from on high, and so that final triad, the foundation that takes these machinations of the universe and puts it into form and that’s what the bottom circle, cross and circle are. That’s not Malkuth, the kingdom. That is this world. That is the end result of Creator's imagination coming into form, into reality. And it just so happens this is not only the symbol of Malkuth in the Kabbalahistic traditions, but this is the symbol of the Native American medicine wheel, and many other native cultures have this symbol as the prime symbol for earth and this, the reality in which we live in. It’s kind of a universal symbol.
Daniel: And the infinity symbol on top, that’s her primary sign because we are also big followers of the tarot, and she has a way of discerning sense of birth date by what the main tarot card is, like their life path. For me it’s the hanged man. For her it’s the wheel of fortune, which is just the cyclical nature of reality, and that’s her flow, is that infinity of the cyclical nature of things, which is why her soul portrait too is very flowy. There is no hard-core discernible lines other than the symbols themselves and so forth.
Jennifer: It’s just like you said- this stuff is contextual and it also goes back to the tool/weapon thing. Well, what are you doing with the artwork? Are you trying to hypnotize people with it? And why are you trying to hypnotize people with it? Why do you have extra glossy, reflective glass over it? So what’s up with the white eyes? Is she just emanating a lot of white light or are we pretending we’re the zombies we know are here now, or what?
Daniel: (Laughing). No. I wondered and I asked myself and the daemonic entities which reside in my head if I needed to add her eyes or not, but no it was about her emulating that light of the divine and light of the creator and keeping that there. The eyes are the window to the soul so to speak, and I wondered that if I gave her irises and pupils that it would humanize the portrait too much and would be less about essence and more about physicality.
Jennifer: Yes, that makes total sense. Yes, yes, yes. And yes on the eyes [being] the windows to the soul, and many other souls to, as I recently found out. I started doing mirror work for the first time. Oh my goodness. Yes, this eye thing-it really is true, windows to the soul.
Daniel: It very much is, yeah. Window magic, er, I mean mirror magic is very interesting (laughing). But window magic too. Actually there is a technique from the…..
Jennifer: Yes- anything that’s reflective.
Daniel: Yeah. It not only mirrors your own soul back to you, but it allows you to see different things. What I was thinking in my head and I kind of paused for a second, is that mirrors are windows as well into the reality of soul, and there’s actually a technique that the curanderos in Peru use sometimes in their healing ceremonies, of using a window. They’ll bring a window into the space where they’re doing the healing and they will only look at their client through the window to diagnose them and to decide what kind of prognosis that they’re going to deliver. Because it's still that kind of reflective surface that allows the screen of the soul-realm to overcome the vista, the sight of the curandero. So it’s really interesting how mirrors and souls are used around the world.
Jennifer: Yeah, it’s pretty incredible. One day I’m going to get an entire room full of mirrors and stand right in the center of it and see what happens.
Daniel: It’ll be like a fun house. That’s awesome!
Jennifer: Or I’ll just spontaneously combust. But yeah, no big deal.
Daniel: You’ll just flit into another realm where everything is just constantly self-reflective with itself.
Jennifer: Yeah (laughing). All right, so the next one I love- Shaman Claus. And for those that don’t know, there is a theory out there that Santa Claus came about because Santa and/or the tribesmen/women and/or the reindeer all ate amanita muscaria, which is not exactly a hallucinogen, but it is a deliriant. So in essence they got so drunk that they decided to jump in the sleigh and fly around, or whatever version that you like. So that’s the basic thing that people kind of know what’s going on there-the details, the details. I see those elves, the dragons, and whatever else those are. So tell me, what’s going on?
Daniel: So this was based on some research I did a long time ago, and this is a pretty old, I think I did this back in 2012. And yeah, based upon the Siberian shamans who are the origin point of all of the ideas that we get of Santa Claus, even down to the red suit and the long beard. The Siberian shamans would wear these maroon colored suits, but they were very much trying to emulate amanita muscaria, which was one of their primary healing tools. And the reason why reindeer come into play is because they herded reindeer, and one of the ways they took the amanita muscaria to dissolve its' poison is they would give it to reindeer and the reindeer would eventually piss it out and then they would take the piss and drink the piss of the reindeer, because the reindeer's digestive system was able to dissolve any of the poisons inside of the amanita muscaria. But the reason why reindeer fly is because when they ate the mushrooms they began jumping around and leaping around as if they were trying to even just lift off the ground. And that’s where the legend of the flying reindeer came from.
Jennifer: I love it.
Daniel: Yeah, and all the way down to the way that they found the amanita muscaria- they would follow the Northstar as a source of guidance, shamanically, in like a shamanic trance until they found the healing medicine. The mushrooms were usually found growing under gigantic pine trees, which is the Christmas tree of today. So you know when they would find them and the Northstar would be above that pine tree, and then you get the star on top of the tree. And then [even the legend of the chimney] because they lived in yerts and the snow would pile up high during their long winters, and the only way to get in and out of a person’s yert was through the chimney, because you could just walk right up to it the snow was so high. So the way that the shamans would deliver their medicines is that they would have some kind of stock or some other satchel that they would use and they would just hang it onto the chimney so that the people could then retrieve it later. And a lot of times that would help dry out the mushrooms and other medicines which they needed in order to preserve during the long winters. So, yeah it’s just insane. This was heavy during a time when I was studying Terence McKenna. I even wrote a book on Terence McKenna at the time. I was having conversations with his brother and he has this concept of these beings in the other realm, in the invisible realms called machine elves, which are like the invisible architects of reality. These are the elfish beings that actually help make the illusion we see as reality.
Jennifer: They're like Salvador Dali’s minions. (laughing)
Daniel: Oh, you brought him in again. Yeah, they totally are. That would be a great picture actually. Maybe I should do that picture of Dali standing over the auspices of reality being created and all these machine elf minions around him building it, tearing it apart.
Jennifer: With his bullwhip
Daniel: And his ant-eaters, walking his ant-eaters. Have you seen that picture of him walking his ant-eaters in the middle of New York? Oh my God- that guy was insane.
Jennifer: He really was crazy. And if we're saying he’s insane then you know what that means.
Daniel: Oh yeah. We all basically are insane. So that’s the crux of this image. It actually, when I made it, and I just kind of threw it out there on the Internet, it ended up making the rounds. People started sharing it. I have even seen memes of it. I’ve seen people from around the world have this as their Facebook profile picture and shit. I have no idea how it just got spread out as much as it did. But it’s a fun image. I like it.
Jennifer: Yes, it is fun. I want to ask you about some more of your images. Let’s go to the one you just finished. I’ll let you pronounce that one because I’m not tricky like that.
Daniel: El Lanzon- it is Spanish for 'the spear.'
Jennifer: Well this will be fun. The thing that stands out to me the most is you overlaid this, the light, the white bright light is like literally jumping out to kiss us, attack us, who knows.
Daniel: Yeah, that was the goal. So I explained to you before about my love for symbols, and for me symbols are really like a piece of the world soul that’s coming to manifest within the language, or form. And I’m really obsessed with ancient symbols and iconography, and specifically the Chavin culture of Peru is one of my personal favorites. This is a pre-Incan civilization and it’s a civilization that my heart and my own spiritual life is very close to, and so the whole goal of this particular painting is to capture the essence of the soul of Lanzon, which is a spear-like relief that exists within an ancient Chavin temple that is used for very special ritual practices and rites for the village temple. It was basically made in the dark and an initiate was given the sacrament of wachuma, which is a cactus that used to be there, made into a tea, which is a hallucinatory mescaline-inducing sacrament. An initiate was given that sacrament and then they were led into the dark, labyrinthy, underground maze of this Temple of Chavin, and had to make their way in the dark as a rite of passage, and you would come across this giant relief that’s in the middle of this labyrinth that is carved in this particular form.
Jennifer: Yes. Gotta have a labyrinth, and gotta have some symbols, and there’s other symbols in there. There is what look to be snakes. Did Medusa get loose in this too?
Daniel: A lot of the characters in the Chavin iconography are kind of a mix between jaguar and snake and sometimes condor and owl, which are all sacred animals in those traditions. This particular one the snake is representative of transformation, of being close to the earth and the jaguar is that being that walks between worlds and will tear you to pieces, tear your body to pieces so that your soul can thrive. So this particular relief inside the temple is called the spear because the original Spanish archeologist [Chavin] who found it called it that because it looks like a spear. But it’s really supposed to represent the bridge between the higher realms and the lower realms, all connecting together to be unified here on this plane.
Jennifer: So is this spear going into the ground, or anywhere in particular, or just random spears, or what?
Daniel: The way this image is, it’s the relief kind of pulled outward, because if you wrapped it around the actual relief in the temple, it’s one single spear that’s shoved into the ground. The point is going into the ground, and then the top part where the shaft would be is going up actually into the next level of the temple, into the next room. So it’s a giant blade being shoved down into the earth. So my goal for this, you can kind of see the mist behind that particular symbol, that’s really the true soul or essence of the spirit of Lanzon. What we have is this iconography, which is why it sticks out so much. And you have the cacti there supporting that sacrament, which one takes in order to commune with that particular soul and spirit.
Jennifer: Yes, and that makes sense anyway because those are some pretty prickly cacti there, and it just goes along with his whole theme of snakes, fangs, thorns. Look at those nails! Oh my gosh! What’s up with those feet and those nails? Why are they swooping up like angel wings- maybe they are?
Daniel: Well, he’s half jaguar and man. He has clawed feet and hands. Why the nails are actually pointed upward, I mean that’s the way that it’s done in the relief in the original sculpture. But what always stood out to me, and I actually point this out in my book, is that the right hand is pointed upward but his left hand is pointed downward. And the reason that is so significant for me personally is that, if you look at the tarot card of the magician, the magician’s right hand is pointed upward and his left hand is pointed downward in this symbol that you see in all kinds of sculptures and imagery through religions all across the planet. You see it in sculptures in Iran of the demon-god Pazuzu, I think it’s called. You see it in the Baphomet image. You see it in images of the Buddha, in Christ. And so it’s kind of like what Lanzon is, it’s that image. By raising your right hand and lowering your left hand you’re kind of making yourself the [conduit] for the higher realms of imagination and soul to be able to move through you.
Jennifer: So is there some significance as to why it’s the right going up versus the left going up- the masculine/feminine stuff?
Daniel: So the way I was trained in the particular shamanic lineages that I’ve been a part of, you receive energy through the left hand and you give out energy from the right, so why it’s reversed, I’m not sure. I don’t know. This is a thing that is still a mystery to me, but it’s something I would like to do a lot of research on and figure out why these places across the planet have this particular image, why the right hand up, why the left hand down, because it seems very distinct.
Jennifer: Oh yeah. For sure. Yeah, and also in my world the masculine and feminine sides are a thing, but I heard the right side was masculine and the left side was feminine, and then someone told me you have to switch the halves of your brain and then something about which is your dominant hand. And it comes down to your interpretation, that’s why this happens. I mean, it’s a problem that Baba Yaga has three dismembered hands. We need to figure out why. Yeah, there’s definitely a hand-thing.
Daniel: I think it’s however an individual feels the flow of energy. I mean, I think a lot of people are right-hand dominant, so that’s normally what people would use- their hand of action and the other hand being the hand of reception. But it could be the other way. I mean, whatever. Who cares? It’s all an idea anyway. That’s the whole point of why I like to bring symbols in the way that I do so prominently, because it doesn’t matter what the symbol is really, it’s what’s behind it. The whole point of the symbol is it’s own destruction. So left, right, whatever.
Jennifer: Yeah. I get a little bit of ascended master, archangel, just basic information coming through me, and then I’ll get, like you, I’ll get a specific deity, and so also I will incorporate it into whatever’s going on. And so the other thing is that it’s not just from them. It will then go custom-made to them. It will then go to their deity. And then there will of course always be something in there that doesn’t make any sense even to us because it’s not for us. We’re just the conduits. I’ve noticed there’s this three-part communication that comes with, you know, this art. Which kind of makes sense because above, below, and in the middle- of course there has to be a three. It’s very interesting.
So this is acrylic on canvas. When you do the background, is that white part done separate and then overlaid, or do you literally paint it white like that on there?
Daniel: I do paint in layers. I usually start with just the background and then I bring in other items like the cactus, and then I usually do the symbols last so that part is just painted out over everything else, as this kind of, well like you said, smack in your face, sort of BOOM!
Jennifer: Waking us up.
Daniel: Engagement. Engagement with the audience, with the viewer. So I’m a layer painter. I have to paint in layers anyway because of my life and the way it’s set up. It helps me break things out into time. If I gotta get the kids to practice, or something, you know I can do one piece at a time. But also that’s kind of the way things come to me from the other realms anyway. I very rarely know exactly how things are going to turn out in the end. This is the same way I write as well, and maybe even an entire novel. I just get a basic idea and then I start with a piece and then I wait for that next puzzle piece to come to add to it.
Jennifer: Yes and that’s a key, that way of thinking is….
Daniel: I call these different pieces of things that come to me ‘Scooby Do clues.’
Jennifer: (laughing) I love it!
Daniel: Because I have to, over time…. The way I receive transmissions from the unseen anyway, is that I usually get a puzzle piece of something and I’m never going to get the full picture or puzzle of it. Sometimes it takes years for me to put something together, so I feel like the goal of my soul is to be like the Scooby Do gang, collecting these clues over time and to just see it as a fun adventure, and not be all concerned about having to find the answer necessarily, not having to completely understand it. It’s all going to get unmasked in the end anyway.
Jennifer: That's why people collect scarves, knowing that one day they will have an outfit to wear with that scarf. It's kind of the same idea (laughing).
Daniel: (Laughing) Right on.
Jennifer: Scooby do clues- that's a really good way of saying it because I can go that route too. I can go direct channeling or if I don't have enough energy for that day then I default to what you call Scooby Do clues- same thing. It's like I'll only amp myself up enough to get little clues and then I can play scavenger hunt, or whatever else I need to play with it at my own speed. So on the days when I actually do have to attend to earthly matters that's the route we go. Just clues and cues. I've only recently gotten into buying things that make no sense that I'm called to, and then putting them on my altar while I wait. 'And now we wait'- the motto of shamans everywhere. And now we wait, in infinity.
Daniel: Absolutely. Patience is definitely a virtue, and then just kind of giving into the mystery of things and allowing it to be a mystery. Allowing it to just be weird. Like how we've been talking about Salvador Dali......
Jennifer: Alright. This is good stuff. I wanted to go through all the rest, but we only have 'x' amount of time. I am glad I picked the ones I did. Of course the third one had to be picked. The first two also because those will be, well especially the Santa Claus one because people need to see that- Shaman Claus.
Daniel: Well, I appreciate it. I don’t usually like to unveil my work too much and I am just now recently starting to be okay with that, which is funny because that was actually my first love was art at one time, and I’ve probably neglected it for far too long. But I really think the, whatever you want to call it, the other entities, the higher powers, the unseen world, is really calling for more and more art to be made because we have to find a way to start universally transcending language to be able to communicate with each other.
Jennifer: Yep. Thank you so much…
There were unfortunately numerous connectivity difficulties in the original recorded interview, so it was entirely transcribed. But we appreciate how video can demonstrate the energy and dynamic of the interview and give additional insight into the personality of the interviewee. So we decided to share an out-take of the original interview. We enthusiastically invite you to explore Daniel's various articles, interviews, and websites shared below.
Daniel can be found at: