Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #31 – The Irish Times Trips Out With Terence McKenna, the ‘Psychonaut of Inner Space’ in 1994

Today’s random item is among those items from the archive that are largely irrelevant. It offers no significant information about Terence McKenna (except a lead to another newspaper article) and no significant insight. However, what it does provide an example of (an admittedly very small datapoint at best), is a localized published response to the awareness of Terence McKenna’s existence. That is, it shows us one set of responses to psychedelic culture and the notion of a psychedelic philosopher. In this case, the response is to dismiss and minimize via humor.

The article, titled ‘Tripping Out With Terence, the Psychonaut of Inner Space”, appeared in The Irish Times on May 23, 1994, and, although the byline is attributed only to Brendan Glacken, it appears to be a dialogue of some sort (perhaps entirely invented by Glacken or, perhaps, with an unnamed interlocutor). The overall tone, as you’ll see, is disapproving and dismissive albeit in a semi-informational and light-hearted vein, but there are some delightful Irish colloquialisms that I’ll leave you to sort out for yourself. This, then, is one of the ways that an Irish audience might have been introduced to Terence McKenna in the mid-90s.

[If you’d like to see the original piece (you would!) from the May 18, 1994 edition of The Independent newspaper (London), Susan De Muth, who conducted the interview with Terence (at the home of Rupert Sheldrake) has posted it on her website.]

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I was reading a British newspaper the other day about a Mr. Terence McKenna (47), described as an ethno-botanist and psychedelic philosopher.

A what?

An ethno-botanist and psychedelic philosopher.

We’d say young be thumping the pages of Education Living for mannies the long day before you’d see that come up under “Me and My Job.’

So what’s his game exactly?

Well, once every two months he gets into bed and takes what he describes as “a heroic dose” of psilocybin mushrooms.

…the author makes some bad jokes about culinary mushrooms…

…These mushrooms are hallucinogenic.

What? Drugs!

Correct. But Mr. McKenna explains: “My mind-brain system is a laboratory where I explore the great mystery of life. The boundaries that define the waking world are dissolved. I become a psychonaut of inner-space, entering complex experiences beyond language, bizarre yet beautiful landscapes never seen before.”

The Lord save us. What does he think about dreams?

That each night we are trying to rediscover something we find and lose every 24 hours; that when we dream we are plunged into some primordial pool of imagery.

some reminiscences by the author about his own fairly xenophobic dreams of a “big black fellow standing over us with a sharp spear”….

He’s out at wild sex and drug orgies every night of the week I suppose?

On the contrary, he claims to be very reclusive and unsociable.

Does he take ajar?… If a man doesn’t take ajar, and there’s no medical condition involved, it’s a good bet he’s done mad on drugs, that’s our opinion.

His idea of a great evening is, and I quote, a “200-year-old book and a snifter of brandy.”

Fair play to him. Brandy is an expensive poison, where exactly does all his money come from?

Books, lectures, records and CDs dealing with his dreams and hallucinations.

We’re in the wrong line of business is all we can say.

I am familiar with the feeling.

More interesting are the comments by Susan De Muth whose interview with Terence is the basis of The Irish Times piece:

He was the fastest-talking person I have ever met and – unlike Timothy Leary – did not appear to have suffered any mental degeneration as a result of his massive ingestion of drugs.

Later, I saw him guru-like on stage in a night club, surrounded by fans sitting cross-legged and listening intently to his psychedelic message.

He was very generous and gave me lots of collaborative CDs he’d made with various bands and individual musicians.

I wish he could report back from the after-life…

And some outtakes of Terence from De Muth’s interview:

On six very special nights a year I unplug the telephone, lock the front door, turn off the lights, get into bed and, alone in silent darkness, take a huge amount – an heroic dose – of psilocybin mushrooms.

For me this is not an hedonic activity.

After about four hours I get up, exhausted, and make myself something to eat. Then I fall into a deep sleep, way beyond normal dreaming, and wake with memories and data that will keep me inspired for weeks.

Normal dreams are not a disappointment to me. I’m fascinated by all kinds of mental activity, including those day- residue dreams where you’ve forgotten to buy the milk . . . and nightmares, too.

I often dream of places I haven’t been: a futuristic city I call Hong-Kong-Morocco-Tasmania. There are also hundreds of strangers in my dreams to whom I relate as if I know them. This is very much like my life: I meet so many people since I’ve become some kind of minor icon on the underground scene that I’m often in situations where I vaguely recognise someone but have no idea who they are.

I don’t have any trouble sleeping, which is a shame because I’m thrilled by the prospect of insomnia. I once went for nine days and nights without sleep in the Amazonian jungle and found it an ecstatic experience. At night I’d walk deep into the jungle or sit somewhere and just contemplate: I found I could follow four or five trains of thought simultaneously and never lose the thread.

When we were children my mother used to put us to bed and say, ‘now you’re going into the friendly darkness’

I don’t envisage giving up drugs at any point. The older I get, the more like a psychedelic waking dream everyday life appears to me.

Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle Winners

The Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle is over and the winners have been selected, contacted, and confirmed.

The first prize winner is: Graham St. John9781583947326

He wins the full set of 17 (5×5) Chip Simons photographs of Terence in front of his library from the Terence McKenna Archives crowdfund plus three bookmarks.

(FYI, Graham’s book, ‘Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT’ has some really nice research on Terence that you won’t find elsewhere, among many other virtues. As a nice synchronicity, I just so happened to receive the archive’s copy of Graham’s book yesterday on Terence’s birthday while the raffle was in full swing.)

The runner-up winner is: Jeff Lerue

He wins one 8×8 photo of his choice–he’s having a tough time deciding–plus one bookmark.

For those of you who didn’t win, thank you so much for participating, and please know that your donations will allow the Terence McKenna Archives to grow. Before the end of the year, I’ll write a blog post detailing what was added to the collection using the proceeds from the raffle.

The photos, along with buttons, magnets, and bookmarks can still be purchased from the Etsy shop on their own even though the raffle is over. As always, all proceeds go to further the development of the archival project.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TerenceMcKennaArkive

Thanks everyone for supporting The Terence McKenna Archives!

Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle

In honor of Terence’s birthday (Nov. 16), The Terence McKenna Archives is holding a raffle for a full set of 17 photos (5×5 inches) and three bookmarks from the photo shoot Terence did with photographer Chip Simons in the early 1990s in front of his home library in California (value = $130). Each raffle ticket costs $1 and the winner will be chosen at noon (PST) on November 17. A second raffle winner will win one 8×8 inch photo of their choice (from the set of 17) plus one bookmark.

Obviously, the more tickets you purchase, the better your chances. Any profits from the raffle go directly back into the development of the Terence McKenna Archives. $1 = 1 Ticket, $5 = 6 Tickets, $10 = 13 Tickets, $20 = 30 Tickets. Winning tickets include free shipping within the U.S. and free shipping internationally. After the raffle, we’ll make a post to show what we were able to add to the collection using any proceeds gained.

Please SHARE wherever appropriate!

You can purchase raffle tickets here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/572572761/terence-mckenna-birthday-raffle?ref=shop_home_active_2

Thanks for your support and good luck!

Otherwise, here’s a favorite essay by Terence where he describes his 25th birthday in 1971…

And, here’s a selection of the photos that are being raffled:

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #30 – Bruce Eisner’s Dedication to Terence McKenna

Today’s random item from the archives comes from an issue of the magazine (no longer in production) Psychedelic Island Views, which was edited by “long-time and notorious member of the psychedelic community,” Bruce Eisner. The issue itself has a bit of an identity crisis: the cover lists it as “Volume 3, Issue 1,” while the footer at the bottom of DSCF8479each page inside the magazine says “Volume 2, Issue 2.” To compound the schizophrenia even further, in Eisner’s own dedication to the volume (and to Terence), he refers to it as “this second issue of Psychedelic Island Views.” How a “second issue” could be either “Volume 3, Issue 1” or “Volume 2, Issue2” is still a bit beyond me.

Indeed, as Walt Whitman sings of himself (and each of us by extension):

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

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The relevant part of this multitudinous magazine that I am sharing with you today is Eisner’s Dedication to Terence McKenna, which opens this 1997 issue…..whichever issue it happens to be.

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There is actually a lot in this dense ode, including some interesting data points for those who are paying particularly close attention to Terence’s timeline. As an example, Eisner mentions having met Terence in July, 1982 at a party that was affiliated with the Colloquium II: The Future of Consciousness conference. He doesn’t make clear whether or not Terence was a speaker at the conference or not, but if he was, this would have been one of his very earliest public talks. If Terence didn’t talk at the conference, it’s still an important meeting point between him and other major figures in the psychedelic community. If anyone attended this conference and has photos, recordings, or memories of the event, please do contact me and let me know what you recall.

Here’s a photo of Eisner’s dedication to Terence, followed by a transcription of the text:

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This second issue of Psychedelic Island Views carries on our tradition of honoring individuals who have contributed to psychedelic cultural experiment, proposed first by Aldous Huxley. We dedicate this issue to Terence McKenna, the bard and philosopher who has during the past decade been responsible for a resurgence of interest in the psychedelics and the experiences they engender by men and women around the globe.

I first met Terence McKenna during a party surrounding a conference, Colloquium II: The Future of Consciousness, in July 1982 at U.C. Santa Cruz. The conference featured a wide assortment of speakers including Stanislav Grof, Stanley Krippner, Timothy Leary, Frank Baron, Ralph Metzner, Elizabeth Rauscher and many others. The event was a follow-up, 3 years after we had presented Albert Hofmann in the same venue at a mega-meeting called LSD–A Generation Later, the first and only psychedelic conference of the ‘Seventies.

I had read Invisible Landscape in its hardbound form and was fascinated by Terence and his brother Dennis’ account of their Ayahuasca experience in the South American jungle, which Terence later exfoliated in his first spoken book and later written book, True Hallucinations. When I met Terence, he was a quiet figure in the background, doing a kind of Carlos Castaneda and quietly publishing books about the psychedelics that he held sacred. A second book authored by his brother and Terence under the pseudonym Oss and Oeric called the Psilocybin Mushroom Grower’s Guide had done a great deal to make available to the public important psychotropic fungi which previously had only been read about by most of our community.

Terence and I had an instant “connection.” What I didn’t know when I first met him, aside from the lively conversation we had at the party that night, was that along with Timothy Leary, this was another Irishman who had kissed the Blarney Stone. Since that night, Terence has lectured around the globe, holding audiences mesmerized by his talks on a variety of unusual topics.

One lecture I was invited to, that was sponsored by Mondo 2000, concerned a theme which has remained constant with Terence, his theory that there is a fractal harmonic based on the I Ching, which when combined with predictions found in the Mayan Calendar points to the ending of history as we know it in the year 2012. He even has developed a software program which allows us to explore rises and falls in “novelty” of events as we approach the “rotating object, which hovers at the end of time.”

The latest predictions are incorporated into his beautiful World Wide Web site Hyperborea (http: http://www.levity.com/eschaton/hyperborea.html), which begins, “You have entered an Alchemical Garden at the Edge of Time. There is haze upon the distant hills; spreading Acacias bend low over reflecting pools. The air is filled with an all-pervasive hum; these are the reveries of the Proustian bees. Your guide will be gardener/curator, Terence McKenna.”

Master Web Artist Dmitri Novus has also created a rich Terence McKenna space as part of his The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension (http://www.deoxy.org).

Another lecture I attended was about Terence’s theory that the magic mushroom was a much-used part of our tribal past. This view is expressed in his book Food of the Gods, McKenna believes that our past several thousand years have been a fall from our Dionysian, tribal, psychedelic past and that we are headed for an Archaic Revival, the subject of a series of essays and interviews in a book by the same name.

McKenna is also a close friend with Chaos Theorist Ralph Abraham, a professor of mathematics at my alma mater, U.C. Santa Cruz, and has conducted wide-ranging discussion with him and English biologist Rupert Sheldrake that was published in another recent book, Trialogues.

As you can see, Terence has indeed filled our ears and eyes with many words in the 15 years since we first met. Not content to rest on his laurels, he has published a number of recent articles about the link between the Internet and the psychedelic experience and is currently working on a new book about the future. At the same time a poet and a scholar. We are proud to dedicate this issue to one of the most significant spokesmen of a new generation of leaders of Island’s community of like-minded folk in search of a new culture.

Bruce Eisner

And a few advertisements that I found throughout the rest of the issue:

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Terence McKenna Music

 

Terence McKenna is among the most-sampled voices in the world of psychedelic electronic music. I actually suspect he is the single most-sampled individual, but am willing to admit that my position on this may be skewed by my own availability heuristic as his archivist. I would actually be quite interested to hear from any of you reading this if you think that there might be other contenders (for instance, it seems to me that Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, and Timothy Leary are significantly less-sampled, comparatively). Since I’ve been tracking this phenomenon to the best of my ability for many years now, I thought it only appropriate to share some of the fruits of that effort with the audience of the Terence McKenna Archival Blog.

Here, then, are a series of YouTube Playlists, in which I have segregated a few different styles of music into which Terence McKenna has been sampled. I would be greatly obliged to anyone who can help me fill in these playlists with music that I didn’t know about. If you are an artist or label who has an album containing relevant samples and would like to donate a physical copy to be housed in the archives, please email terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

Please support these artists by purchasing their work and going to their events!

The first and most extensive (and my personal favorite) is the “Downtempo” Playlist, which consists predominantly of psychedelic downtempo/chillout music. This is a great playlist to just leave running in the background if you want a chill environment with occasional bits of Terence woven in:

The next playlist also consists of psychedelic electronic music but of the more fast and driving, high BPM, 4/4 beat, “Psytrance” genre. This playlist is less complete than the downtempo playlist; expect it to fill up more over time:

Finally, I have a playlist that includes “Everything Else”:

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Here are some of my favorite individual songs from among these playlists (mostly from the downtempo):

Some Terence Hip-Hop:

Some Clubby Terence:

Whatever you’d call this light-hearted tribute:

And, probably the most high-profile artist who mentions (but doesn’t sample) Terence McKenna is Sheryl Crow in her song ‘Chances are’ from her ‘Wildflower’ album, which has the verse:

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