Joe Horton


Joe Horton is a Minneapolis-based musician, interdisciplinary artist, father, and meditator. There’s not much small talk with Joe -- we got right to some pretty complex topics like how meditation can put us in touch with reality, why or how we exist as humans, how psychedelics can be used purposefully in conjunction with a meditation practice, and how the birth of his daughter has impacted his life.

You can check out Joe’s upcoming experimental film Vessel at the Minneapolis Institute of Art September 12-22, 2019.

Enjoy both parts of our conversation!

Meditation was definitely one of the things that helped just exposing me to the fact that my mind was rambling, and those ramblings were self-destructive in the way that they were like a blanket laid over my real self. 

Thoughts can oftentimes be a constant distraction. 

Meditation has given me a ground from which to spring off from. So now instead of the ground being the cultural clothes that you put on : Am I this enough? Am I that enough? I feel like my ground or my baseline is nothing. And that’s what’s great about meditation is that it isn’t anything. 

Art constantly presses you forward…. I’m always at the edge of my ability. 

[Meditation] has freed me up a lot to be a lot more brave. I’m way more likely now than I ever have been in my life to attempt something that I maybe am like that’s too ambitious. 

The less attachment I have to my work, the more I enjoy the process, the more the rigor and ambition is healthy and not self-destructive, and the better I think the work is. 

The person who has really influenced me the most is my daughter. When she was born, I had this really clear sense that I was beaming information to her, and it made me take it more seriously than I ever have to be like you better be really careful about the information that you’re beaming to the person because this is her life. This is it. And it changed the way I interacted with the whole thing. I became much more serious about my own spiritual life. 

There is as much chance of a goldfish understanding the metro system in New York City as we have of understanding [ why we are all here]. 

Reality is closer to a language than it is a reality.

The best thing about psychedelics is that you can come out the other end with a deep deep sense that everything is okay. That you’re okay to die, it’s not what you think it is. Your life is fine. It’s okay. Suffering is okay, pain is okay.  

More from Joe :

Check out Joe’s upcoming experimental film Vessel at MIA September 12-22, 2019. He’s been an artist-in-residence at MIA this year, and this film is not to be missed!

FIX music and art collective

No Bird Sing

Mixed Blood Majority

Notes from the videos :

Part I

boundary disillusionment 

psychedelics as a complement to a meditative practice 

Carl Jung

Pema Chodron

The Hindu saying “As the angel of death approaches, terror. As the angel of death arrives, bliss.” 

the Dalai Lama


the sacredness of love for your enemy

Part II

cause and effect 

densities of understanding

the Gaian mind

a pervading intelligence 


human symbiosis with plants 

plant cognition / plant intelligence

co-evolution with plants 

personal vs. impersonal beings 

the nature of reality 

the experience of taking psychedelics

advice for taking psychedelics as a spiritual practice

the ego

Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

Psychology and Alchemy by Carl Jung 

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Gnostic Gospels

oral indigenous + folk stories / traditions

Alan Watts

DT Suzuki

J Krishnamurti  

Filmed at Yess Yoga on occupied land in Minneapolis, MN.

Filmed, edited by Maggie Dimmick of Ethel Studio

** Ethel Studio does not support or encourage the use of illegal drugs. If wanting to try psychoactive plants in ceremony, as medicine, or as a compliment to your spiritual journey, do not taking any info here as advice for how to do so. **