The ABCs of Drugs

I’m hoping to find some time to work on a couple of longer posts soon once I get some other long-overdue projects off my plate, but in the meantime, a lot of stuff has been coming into the archive, and I thought it best to keep some material coming into the blog. So, here’s the first of a few short additions to whet your appetite for more to come later…

I received a copy of Steven Cerio’s ABC Book: A Drug Primer (1998). It’s a delightful little pseudo-children’s book for the drug geek‘s library as an example of one artist’s rendering of the aesthetics and iconography of a variety of anthropomorphized drugs from Angel Dust to Zoloft (other inclusions are Bufotenine, Heroin, LSD, Nicotine, Opium, Peyote, Quaaludes, Shrooms, and Valium). There is one drug for each letter of the alphabet and each is accompanied by a four-line poem written by Cerio, such as:

Y is for Yage, food of the Gods,

But beware of Bill Burroughs’ big arthropods.

The Great Ayahuasca, Amazonian vine,

imbibe some and become one with the divine.

It is, of course, in the DMT entry that Terence McKenna is mentioned:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Steven Cerio’s latest book is Sunbeam on the Astronaut.

Rancorous and Contumacious

Reviewers are often not amused by Terence. It’s clear that many are unfamiliar with his work and find themselves caught off-guard by the boldness of his advocacy. I received a copy today of one such review. The review is of the 2nd edition of Richard Glen Boire’s excellent Sacred Mushrooms and the Law booklet and appeared in Mushroom: The Journal of Wild Mushrooming Vol. 16 No. 4 (Issue #61, Fall 1998). The reviewer, Harley Barnhart, an amateur mycologist and accomplished mushroom photographer, found much to praise in the concision and thoroughness of Boire’s treatment of the legal formalities and ambiguities of the relationship between mushrooms and the psychoactive chemicals which some of them act as “containers” for. Barnhart, however, had no such praise for McKenna’s Foreword. Indeed, he offers much derision, noting a “rancorous” tone and a “contumacious” attitude. As a career military man (Barnhart spent more than three decades working for the U.S. Air Force, from 1943-1974), perhaps it’s not surprising that Terence’s willful disdain for authority was particularly salient for our straight-and-narrow reviewer. That said, Terence’s antinomianism is not particularly hidden, either. The very first words of his Foreword, quoting Charles Dickens, read (all in caps): “THE LAW IS AN ASS.” He goes on to offer Boire’s booklet as a “manual” for “anyone caught in the Kafkaesque danse macabre of ‘preparing for defense’.” He castigates the “underbelly of American justice” and its “moronic response” to drug use, a system which he finds is too “eager” to “trample rights” and to “extinguish forms of religious expression outside the ‘Christian family’.” For McKenna, the “constipated judicial mind” with its “absurd prosecutions” has produced a “folly” composed of “contradiction” that is symptomatic of “social decay.” It is perhaps, then, not entirely surprising that someone (Barnhart) who committed his entire adult life to fulfilling his role within a system of governmental authority might not find McKenna’s appeal particularly compelling.1998 - Mushroom - Harley Barnhart Disses TM 01

1998 - Mushroom - Harley Barnhart Disses TM 03

“This book is written with a…

Welcome to the Terence McKenna Archival Blog

Greetings! While this isn’t the first post of the blog, I thought it appropriate to give something like an introduction to the project for those who find themselves here wondering what this is all about.

I would like to introduce myself as Terence McKenna’s archivist and biographer (there may be others but I think my effort is unique in its scope). I have gathered together what I understand to be the most complete extant archive of material by, about, or related to TM. One major goal is to collect physical copies of any McKenna-related item, where possible, and (at least) digital copies of everything for posterity.

The archive currently emphasizes “print” material (as opposed to audio or video–the Psychedelic Salon and others are working that particular angle better than I could), though I do also have a modest collection of original cassette tapes and CDs that I hope to expand as appropriate. In terms of an audio/video collection, I am, at present, mostly satisfied with the digital copies that are available ubiquitously online, which I download whenever a new one appears. There seems to be no dearth of spoken-word TM material available on the internet and, while there are many more recordings “out there” that are not yet available online, the overall available set is, nonetheless, fairly comprehensive. It is, rather, the print material that is becoming harder to find, and most of it is much less well-known than the relatively omnipresent audio and video. And, so it is to the print material that I have largely turned my attention as an archivist–though I do, of course, keep my eyes on any relevant media. At present the holdings consist of (actual numbers may be greater than stated as newly acquired items may not have been cataloged yet):

29 editions of books authored or co-authored by TM (including 14 translations)

30 editions of books with contributions by TM

35+ journals or magazines with contributions by TM

65+ (print) interviews with TM

80+ reviews of books, tapes, videos, and music by or including TM

20+ Obituaries for TM

100+ Books that mention or cite TM

200+ Articles from journals, magazines, zines, and newspapers that mention or cite TM

20+ Books with blurbs by TM

Further items include:

Audio/Video footage of TM

Correspondences to and from TM

Unpublished lectures and writing by TM

Photos of TM

TM Ephemera (event flyers, ticket stubs, product catalogs, leaflets, etc.)

Personal Stories, recollections, poems, etc. about TM

Art depicting or inspired by TM

Music created in collaboration with TM, inspired by TM, or with TM voice samples

Advertisements for TM products and services

Books and articles in TM’s personal library

Books and articles cited in TM’s written and spoken output

My goal for the blog is to share the process of acquisition and research with you, to give you an insight into the process, as well as to share some of the interesting items that I find as part of the hunt. Please sign up to follow the blog and keep an eye out for new posts.

If you have materials that you would like to donate to the archive (whether physical copies or digital scans or files), please email:  terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

If you would like to provide monetary support to assist with the acquisition process, please use the Paypal link at the Terence McKenna Transcription Project and include a note stating that the donation is for archival acquisition [Crowdfunding campaign forthcoming]: https://terencemckenna.wikispaces.com/.