Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle Acquisitions (2017)

For Terence McKenna’s birthday this past year (Nov. 16, 2017), the Terence McKenna Archives held a raffle for a set of photos of Terence. The first-prize winner, Graham St. John, won the full set of photos, and runner-up Jeff Lerue won a single photo of his choice. Everyone else who participated received an email thanking them for their contributions, which included a unique document compiled by the archivist with details about the locations of copies of a rare art book which Terence collaborated on.

I had also promised that I would make a blog post detailing which items I was able to add to the collection with the profits from the raffle. This is that blog post. Thanks, again, to everyone who contributed! You’ll be glad to know that we were able to make bargains with some of the sellers, which allowed us to save $70 on the total cost of the items.

Here is what you helped to add to the Terence McKenna Archives:

1. All 4 issues of ‘Towards 2012’ magazine (edited by Gyrus)

Towards 2012 was a magazine produced in the late 1990s that was partly inspired by the work of Terence McKenna. From 1995 to 1998, the series editor, Gyrus, created five well-produced, and now very difficult to find, issues (the final two issues were housed in a single magazine, making four volumes in all). Within the volumes there are several articles which refer to, comment on, or reconsider Terence’s ideas, a transcribed version of Terence’s Tryptamine Hallucinogens & Consciousness talk (his first-ever talk at the Esalen Institute), an interview with Sasha & Ann Shulgin where some differences with Terence come up, some interesting Terence-related art (I particularly like the ‘stoned ape’), and several ads for Terence-related material, including his website. Of particular note for the archive is an advertisement for a “hefty zine” called Heads and Tales, which lists “Terence McKenna” under the contents for Issue #1. If anyone reading this has any further information about this zine or if you have a copy that you would like to scan, send, or sell, please contact terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com. This is a publication that is not represented in our physical or digital archives.

This is a finite project, created to take a close look at the transmutational possibilities that lay before homo sapiens as we approach the millennium… At the heart of the project is the intuition that the human race is fast approaching a catastrophe cusp point – a phase transition period… 2012 CE is a date that may as well have been singled out arbitrarily for the title of this journal. As it happens, it is the date that ethnopharmacologist Terence McKenna points to as the precise location of the ‘catastrophe cusp’ in the temporal dimension; it is the date beyond which futurologist Robert Anton Wilson has stated that he is unable to project possible futures; and it is the end of a Great Cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar system. We are facing the end of the world as we know it, because it has outlived its viability.

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Now, perhaps, the ‘archaic revival’ proposed by Terence McKenna, and the term ‘modern primitives’ popularized by the Re/search body art manual, can be seen in an evolutionary context. The prime characteristics of rave culture – the use of psychedelics, the utilisation of percussive music for altering consciousness, its neo-tribal structure, the rise in nomadic lifestyles, the popularity of body-piercing and tattooing – may be seen as a cultural return to a more primitive model. From this point, having regressed back beyond the cultural and social blind alleys of recent human history, a “creative leap forward” may be made to escape WoMan’s over-specialization.” -Samuel Lawson

Sasha Shulgin: I was listening to Terence McKenna years ago at Esalen. He was talking about how if a drug comes from nature it’s okay, but if it comes from a lab it’s suspect. Suddenly he realized that I was sittin gin the audiences (laughter). In essence, I said, “Terence, I’m as natural as they come…”

It is interesting, then, that around Dionysus…we find so much debate about whether his worshippers’ sacrament was wine or mushrooms… Most scholars…conclude that Dionysus’ rites involved both intoxicants. Astoundingly, McKenna does not pick up on this symbolic psychoactive cross-over, but clearly recognizes the importances of Dionysus as a transitional one. -Gyrus

Psychedelic experiences and dreams are chemical cousins, they are only different in degree. -Terence McKenna

 

2. 5 issues of ‘TRP: The Resonance Project’ and 1 issue of TRIP magazines (edited by James Kent–it can’t be said that the editorial staff didn’t have a sense of humor), including relevant interviews with Terence McKenna, Dennis McKenna, Rick Strassman, and D.M. Turner, articles mentioning TM, reviews of books that have contributions by TM, and more.

3. ‘Bookways’ magazine #8 (1993)

This journal which is dedicated to the art of bookmaking includes a review, by Barbara Tetenbaum, of the 1992 collaboration of Terence McKenna with artist and bookmaker Timothy Ely. The Terence McKenna Archives will be holding a major crowdfund campaign early in 2018, in part in order to acquire a copy of this book, called Synesthesia, from a private owner who is making a copy of this rare item for the archives if I can raise the funds by early March. Tetenbaum has kindly donated her review to the crowdfund effort for a document that I am creating to offer to donors. Here is just enough to give a hint…

 

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4. ‘boing boing’ magazine #10 (1994)

This is a volume that has long been on the list of items to acquire for the archive but has usually been unavailable. Fortunately, a reasonably-priced copy became available at the same time as the raffle. I knew that there was both an interview with Terence and a review of his Timewave Zero software, both of which made it a high-priority item. So, it was a pleasant surprise to also find references to Terence in two other places in the magazine: in Thomas Lyttle‘s interview with Peter Stafford and in D’Artemis Hart(wo)mann’s article reflecting on the role of prostitutes in religious history. There was also an unexpected review of the Experiment at Petaluma video project produced by Terence’s friends at Rose X Media and an ad (one I’ve never seen before) for a company, Fringeware, selling Terence’s Timewave software.

 

5. ‘High Times’ magazine #385 (July 2001)

This is another item that has been on the acquisitions list for some time. It is an issue of High Times magazine from July 2001 containing a letter from Dennis McKenna offering some words on Terence’s passing and making readers aware of the Journey Through the Spheres tribute album produced by The Novelty Project.

Terence was a complex person, blessed with a restless mind and curiosity that led him down many little-traveled pathways of thought and speculation. As his brother…I can testify from experience, it was a long, strange trip indeed. -Dennis McKenna (via Internet)

6. ‘Utne Reader’ magazine #53 (1992)

This issue of the Utne Reader from 1992 contains an excerpt from Terence’s book Food of the Gods, which had just been published by Bantam. The excerpt in the magazine appears under the heading ‘Just Say Yes: Rethinking our Relationship to Psychoactive Plants’.

The time has come to rethink our fascination with the use of psychoactive drugs and physioactive plants… [W]e cannot simply advocate “Just say no” any more than we can advocate “Try it, you’ll like it.” Nor can we support a view that wishes to divide society into users and non-users… The suppression of the natural human fascination with altered states of consciousness and the present perilous situation of all life are intimately and causally connected… As a consequence, the maladaptive social styles that encourage overpopulation, resource mismanagement, and environmental toxification develop and maintain themselves… We pursue a business-as-usual attitude in a surreal atmosphere of mounting crises and irreconcilable contradictions… The government not only restricts research on psychedelics that could conceivably yield valuable psychological and medical insights, it presumes to prevent religious and spiritual use of them as well… [E]ncounters with psychedelic plants throw into question the entire worldview of Western culture… We are killing the planet in order to keep intact wrongheaded assumptions.

It is time for change.

-Terence McKenna

7. The Shamen – Hystericool: The Best of the Alternative Mixes CD (2002)

Terence’s hit song with the British band the Shamen is remixed here by the geniuses of psychedelic electronica, Future Sound of London. Listen here.

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8. Psiconautas: Exploradores de la Conciencia (edited by Juanjo Pineiro) (2000)

This book contains Spanish-language interviews with an exciting swath of the psychedelic community, including a 20-page interview with Terence McKenna. Anyone who wants to volunteer to translate this interview into English, please contact terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

 

9. Bang Pudding by Steve Taylor (1995)

Terence read this book and, “at several points,” “burst into real laughter” at this work that is “steeped in the unutterably Other” and “alarms, even as it amuses.”

10. Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synaesthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge by Kevin T. Dann (1998)

In his analysis of the phenomenon of synesthesia, Kevin Tyler Dann, touches down on Terence’s ideas at several points.

 

11. Lucid Waking: Mindfulness and the Spiritual Potential of Humanity by Georg Feuerstein (1997)

George Feuerstein is notably disdainful of Terence and the ‘chemical path to ecstasy’.

12. The True Light of Darkness by James Jesso (2015)

Jesso’s autiobiographical account includes his encounters with the ideas of Terence McKenna.

13. Sacred Mushroom of Visions, Teonanacatl: A Sourcebook on the Psilocybin Mushroom by Ralph Metzner (2005)

Ralph Metzner’s sourcebook on psilocybin mushrooms includes several passing references to Terence, mostly showing his major linguistic influence on how people interpret their psychedelic experiences.

14. The Evolutionary Mind: Conversations on Science, Imagination, and Spirit by Ralph Abraham, Rupert Sheldrake, and Terence McKenna (2005)

An edition of this book that I’ve hoped to add to the archive for some time but has simply not taken priority up until now over other, harder-to-come-by, items. A very welcome addition, though. Eventually, we’d like to have copies of all editions (and translations) of Terence’s books represented.

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15. Heavenly Highs: Ayahuasca, Kava-Kava, DMT, and Other Plants of the Gods by Peter Stafford (

Peter Stafford’s book mentions and quotes Terence throughout, including a couple of brief comments by Susan Blackmore in her Afterword.

16. 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect: A Revolutionary Spiritual and Physical Survival Guide for 2012 – 2020 (Discovered by Bob Thiel, Ph.D.) (2009)

This one I actually just randomly found at a thrift shop and thought I’d include it here. The Timewave is invoked here (via Robert Bast) among a string of expectations for 2012. At some point, I have plans to make a whole extended blog post about the occurrence of Terence’s name and ideas in the rise of 2012 literature after his death. You’ll notice quite a few ‘2012’ books in the physical holdings of the TM Archives.

17. The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalists Misadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Experiments by Eliezer Sobel (2008) (Paperback)

….a few mentions of Terence here, too.

 

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #38 – The McKenna Brothers in Metascience Quarterly (1979)

Today’s random item took me a very long time to acquire a copy of, and, when it did become available, came from an interesting and unexpected source. A few years back, the library at Edgar Cayce‘s (in)famous Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, Florida, was selling off portions of their collection. Among other significant items that I acquired from their listings on eBay (including a near-complete set of ReVision journal with several contributions by Terence) was this copy of Metascience Quarterly: A New Age Journal of Parapscyhology. The copy that is now in the archives is the only copy that I’ve ever seen available online or anywhere else.

Metascience Quarterly was a research journal devoted to the study of the paranormal. I’m not sure if it lasted beyond the first three issues, which the A.R.E. had conveniently bound into a single, hard-cover, volume for their library, and which now exists as part of The Terence McKenna Archives. It is the very first issue of the journal that contains an article by “Terrence” (the extra “r” seems to be the most common misspelling) and Dennis McKenna, which is actually a chapter from The Invisible Landscape (1975), called ‘Towards a Holographic Theory of Mind’.

Items of note here are:

1) The early date – so far as I know, this would have been only the second published work of Terence (and Dennis) in their own name. The first was the full first edition of The Invisible Landscape (1975), a chapter of which is reproduced here in Metascience Quarterly Vol. 1 No. 1. Their 1976 book, Psilocybin Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide was published under the pseudonyms O. N. Eiric (Dennis) and O. T. Oss (Terence) [‘oneiric’ means having to do with dreams and ‘otiose’ means idle or impractical, serving no useful end–Terence occasionally confessed: “I am otiose (/O.T. Oss)”].

2) The fact that in his biographical description, Terence describes himself as “currently engaged in establishing a botanical farm in Colombia.” One wonders (and I probably have means of finding this out) how far the process of establishing a Colombian botanical preserve was carried through. It seems likely that the founding of Botanical Dimensions with Kat Harrison in 1985 was a further evolution of this goal. Kat still runs Botanical Dimensions–please give them your support!

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #37 – Phil Lesh w/ Lost at Last for Terence McKenna Tribute Concert

Today’s random item from the archives is from the San Francisco Examiner newspaper from December 14, 2000, eight months after Terence McKenna’s death. It is a listing in the ‘Daily Datebook’ section of the paper for an event the following evening (Dec. 15) with the band Lost at Last, with special guest Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, held in memory of Terence’s passing. In addition to the Examiner listing, this post includes details about the event, Lesh’s announcement of Terence’s death, an audio recording of the entire concert (including Phil Lesh reading Robert Hunter’s poem ‘Words for Terence’), videos of related performances with Lost at Last, and information about a follow-up event 11 years later.

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Lost at Last had performed several times with Terence raving alongside. At least two of those, one in San Francisco and one in Hawaii, were recorded and are worth viewing:

For his part, Phil Lesh had also been a long-time fan of Terence’s work, penning this blurb which appeared on Terence’s book True Hallucinations:

“How the Magellan of mentats put his mind and body on the line and discovered the source of consciousness, the end of history, and the factors that govern the ingress of novelty into our world. If you’ve been there, this book will take you back; if you haven’t, get ready.” –Phil Lesh, The Grateful Dead

Lesh’s website has a page sharing word of Terence’s death:

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Today we have lost our dear brother. A tremendous warrior. A voice that spoke the language of the universe. The language of the Overmind. Speaking all tongues and from the heart of the Eschaton, Terence will always be rembered and loved.Almost one short year ago, at Mountain Airre, Phil Lesh asked the crowd to take a moment of silence to reflect love and healing light unto those in need. A voice called out Terence’s name. My friends and I had not known that there was anything wrong with Terence until that moment.The full moon that night shown with a curious glow. An eerie feeling touched some of us, even pondering the possible lose of Terence.Now he has past. Before the great 2012 event or in preperation? He leaves us a wealth of enlightening information and awe-inspiring theories and insights into the great psychedelic Other that goes unparralled.What he did best was explore the realms of consciousness. Now his words and spirit will forever continue to shape humanity’s greater Mind. He plays in that band now, with Jerry, celebrating a life on earth that was as golden as all eternity’s love. We will miss you Terence.

Another page on Phil Lesh’s website offers a review of the event:

‘Countdown to 2012 – Celebrating the Life and Logos of Terence McKenna’. On December 15, 2000, in San Francisco, the tribe gathered for a memorial ceremony for Terence McKenna and to celebrate a new commitment to the evolving group mind, commUNITY, love and expression.The event featured 2 rooms of art, multimedia and music, including a performance by Lost at Last with a very special guest appearance by PHIL LESH, eulogy readings, invocation and decorations by many friends and loved ones of Terence’s, multimedia presentations by visual artists Robert Venosa and Martina Hoffman, mind expanding grooves of DJ FANOE and DJ JONAS, masterful visual ‘Gel-o-tronics’ by Vince D’Onofrio, and other blissful multimedia by Scott Davies, and the debute performance of Tinsel Tilde (joined by friends Daniel Paul and Diva Priyo of Lost at Last). Proceeds from the event went to help provide for expenses incurred during Terence’s illness.

Although Dennis McKenna (Terence’s brother) could not attend, he sent these words along and helped sum up what we were all feeling: “This gathering is an affirmation of HOPE, and a statement that however dark things may seem in these times, we have the faith and belief that the future will be more marvelous than we can even begin to imagine… Until that moment, we must somehow keep on keeping on…When the countdown finally gets down to the end and we make the COLLECTIVE crossing, in whatever form that takes, we will find Terence waiting for us there, bemused smile on his face as always, saying something like ‘Well, I told you it was gonna happen: what kept you?’…This gathering and celebration is a message to the world that we are up to the task ..Go forth, celebrate the future, life, ideas and hope: be as good as you can be to each other, and know that Terence is with us now, and will be with us at the ESCHATON, whenever and whatever that is…

There was a new sense of cummUNITY and magic felt by all present at the event. We were especially treated when Phil Lesh joined Lost at Last for a most appropriate version of Lost at Last’s jam ‘PEYOTE’, followed by OTHER ONE, DARK STAR, and FRANKLIN’s TOWER. To cap it off, Phil read Robert Hunter’s ‘Words for Terence’ written exclusively for the event.

Robert Hunter’s poem, ‘Words for Terence’, read as follows [if you can decipher any of the parts that I was unable to, please comment with suggestions]:

A wealthy soul hath he

A bellicose capacity for wonder

As braving the dread tactility of infinite ice

He astonishes angels in their (horizons?)

Consorts with actual imps in virginal dimensions holy and obscure

There is no tongue he does not speak,

Chemic, mathematic, philosophic rap, nor thunder rattle

Nor medusa hath he left uncourted where she sits beside elliptic windows contemplating Asia in the setting sun

Salutations, thou who was and is and is not.

Ave atque vale

There is no death, only final preparation

To discover all numbers are multiples of one

You can listen to the entire concert at archive.org.

A subsequent, follow-up concert, also dubbed ‘Countdown to 2012’ was held 11 years later in December, 2011.

The event also once again payed tribute to Terence McKenna  – author, speaker, visionary, and overall psychonaut – who created the infamous Time Wave Zero Novelty Theory  which postulates that “the universe has a teleological attractor at the end of time that increases interconnectedness, eventually reaching a singularity of infinite complexity in 2012, at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur simultaneously.” Dennis McKenna participated by appearing via a special Skype video message. Sadly, Terence died in 2000 as result of the deadly brain tumor Glioblastoma. In memory of Terence and on behalf of Countdown to 2012 and 13:28 Productions, a portion of postproduction proceeds were donated to the National Brain Tumor Society  and information and literature was made available to help raise awareness of this deadly cancer.

The 2000 event is still listed on the top of the index for Terence’s website:

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #36 – R. U. Sirius Reviews ‘Alien Dreamtime’ for Wired Magazine

Today’s random item is a brief review of the Alien Dreamtime VHS video, produced by Ken Adams and Brit Welin as Rose-X Media House (not the audio CD, which was edited by Jonah Sharp, aka Spacetime Continuum for the Astralwerks label–there are some differences between the two aside from the fact that one includes video). This review, by none other than our friend R. U. Sirius (aka Ken Goffman, if you must), appeared in Wired Magazine for its issue of May 1994. [This item is from the digital archives, meaning that there is no physical copy of this magazine yet in the collection. We do have a copy of the Alien Dreamtime VHS, though.]

“Call him unscientific or intellectually lazy, but Terence McKenna’s brand of psychedelic blarney – always more fun to hear live than to read – is so beautifully phrased that it transcends the historic and anthropological bean counters who dis him.”

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Sleeping with the Aliens
The Alien Dreamtime video, produced by Rose-X Media House, is Terence McKenna’s “Greatest Hits,” spoken to the rhythm of the rave, live in San Francisco. Call him unscientific or intellectually lazy, but Terence McKenna’s brand of psychedelic blarney – always more fun to hear live than to read – is so beautifully phrased that it transcends the historic and anthropological bean counters who dis him. In this video, Terence gets off the basic themes outlined in his three books: True Hallucinations, Food of the Gods, and The Archaic Revival (updating McLuhan, McKenna claims that postindustrial cyberculture is leading us back into the future toward archaic prepatriarchal modes of living – witness the rise of Modern Primitivism), the oppressiveness of “mono” culture (“monopoly, monogamy, monotony”), and the place of tryptamine hallucinogens in human evolution (“the psilocybin mushroom is the catalyst of human evolution and language”).

Alien Dreamtime is the second video Rose-X has produced with ethnobotanist McKenna. (The first, Experiment at Petaluma, was a 30-minute rap on the possibilities of visual language.) Rose-X’s two-person team – Britt Welin and Ken Adams – cut their special effects teeth on visual effects for San Francisco’s Toon Town Raves. Alien Dreamtime stretches the duo’s psychedelic computer effects to new limits, and Stephen Kent’s didgeridoo adds a note of primitive intensity to the techno-rave soundtrack. The high point of the 60-minute Alien Dreamtime is the entrancing dance and sway of psychedelic love goddess Kim Kyle. The presence of the feminine form in all of its grandeur provides a humanizing touchstone amid the abstract imagery. (In fact, my only complaint about this video is that we should have seen more of her. But that’s a minor quibble.) Fans of a good psychedelic rant must run out and purchase this video right away!

–R. U. Sirius

Dale Pendell (1947-2018)

I’m very sad to hear, today, that one of the great poets of the psychedelic community, Dale Pendell, is no longer with us. I had the pleasure of seeing Dale read his poetry on several occasions, and he made an immediate impact–he’s not the kind of person you’re likely to forget. We’ve lost another irreplaceable wordsmith. Terence said of Dale’s original masterpiece, Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft:

“Dale Pendell reactivates the ancient connection between the bardic poet and the shaman. His Pharmako/Poeia is a litany to the secret plant allies that have always accompanied us along the alchemical trajectory that leads to a new and yet authentically archaic future.”
 

Robert Forte remembers:

“Dale’s trilogy, Pharmako/Poeia, Pharmako/Dynamis and Pharmako/Gnosis are among the very best… There is no better writing or writer on plants and consciousness. We have lost a wise man and I another beloved Friend. My greatest literary achievement is an acknowledgement in his first book for reading the manuscript and telling him: ‘Don’t change a word’.”

Every plant is a teacher
But as in every crowd
There are always
A few loudmouths

–Dale Pendell

The Rime Sparse

So many are grabbing for the money, so many
Want a free lunch, or are cynical and settle
For entertainment, that the world has adopted
Shallowness as its habit, and what was once

Our birthright is now considered deviation.
So squandered is our natural wisdom, that he
Who seeks the source of the flowing itself,
—the Muse’s spring—is thought a fool:

Who really desires laurel, or myrtle either?
“Goddess-lover, go, in the rags you deserve!”
Is what they’ll say, themselves pursuing

More material gains. You’ll find few comrades
On your chosen path; but for that reason I pray
All the more that you will not falter.

Petrarch
–translation by Dale Pendell

He mentions Terence, here, in his discussion of building up to taking DMT:

“I wasn’t anxious to meet Terence’s elves.” -Dale Pendell

The writer, and editor of Towards 2012 and Dreamflesh, who goes by the name Gyrus, in reviewing Pendell’s work made an interesting comparison with Terence:

“Like Terence McKenna’s Food of the Gods, Pendell’s trilogy promises to unravel your preconceptions about the role of plants in human life. Unlike McKenna’s brilliant but inevitably flawed work, which re-visions our image of history around our interactions with plant chemistry to create a bold new emphasis that is bound to falter in its details, Pendell works in a more carefully particular, less declamatory mode. He has the open-hearted suspicion of the modern world that marks all good poets, but his occasional attempts to sketch coherent images of history, seen through the lens of our alliance with plants, are most often pithy asides, wry quips. That plants are significant powers is drawn out clearly; but there’s little presumption to grasp the total shape of their projects. McKenna walked a tightrope between humanist exuberance in the power of our species and animist deference to the larger system of nature. Pendell—while being very, very far from lacking exuberance or concern with power—sides with the animists, it seems. For a book on plants, this is a greater boon than anything else.”

Here’s Dale doing a reading from just a few months ago. The first poem, about dust, seems particularly poignant:

“There is only one truth: this dust comes home to us.”

Dale Pendell’s website has much to explore. Here is a post from this past November (2017): Those Who Still Have Bones.

1976 Review of ‘The Invisible Landscape’ in Marilyn Ferguson’s Brain/Mind Bulletin

Today’s post is a nice example of some of the different kinds of work that I do as archivist for the Terence McKenna’s Archives. If you’d like to skip straight to the 1976 review, you can skip to Step #6:

Step #1: A Lead to a New Source Appears

Following the publication of the 1st edition of The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens and the I Ching in late December of 1975, in a bid to convince the book’s editor at Seabury Press/Continuum that more resources should be poured into advertising and public relations for the book, Terence McKenna mailed a copy of a review of TIL that appeared in the Brain/Mind Bulletin newsletter, which he hoped would help to demonstrate sufficient public interest in, and enthusiasm for, the book if it were brought to the attention of the appropriate audience.

Brain/Mind Bulletin (1975-1996) was a newsletter founded and edited by Marilyn Ferguson, who is often seen as a formative influence in the development of the’Human Potential’ and ‘New Age’ milieus, her most well-known contribution being her 1980 book The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s. Ferguson’s newsletter was devoted to what it called the “frontiers of research, theory and practice,” which certainly converges with how Terence conceived of the material described in The Invisible Landscape.

Step #2: The Search

So, from Terence’s letter to his editor, I know that there is a very early review of The Invisible Landscape in an issue of Brain/Mind Bulletin from when it was first released and the McKenna brothers were an unknown, a review that I hadn’t known about until now. The next step was, of course, to find that review and to add it to the archival collection as, at least, a digital scan if not a physical copy of the publication.

Nothing directly useful on Google (no dedicated website or online archive for Brain/Mind Bulletin).

For a moment, I think “Interlibrary Loan” could be useful here, but quickly realize that I don’t know which issue of the 24 issues, from the entire year of 1976, contains the review I’m looking for, and that it would be a bit rich to put in a request that would require a library employee at some distant location to scan through a year’s worth of newsletters to, hopefully, find and scan one book review.

WorldCat has been a life saver, time and again, for locating rare items for the archive. Among its many virtues, it provides information about which major libraries hold (practically) any item of interest. In this case, I was delighted to see that my own university’s library held a collection of Brain/Mind Bulletin from v. 1, no. 1 in 1975 up through v. 16, no. 7 (Apr. 1991). I requested to have the materials collected and held for me at Special Collections, and, the following week, I was sitting in their reading room with my camera phone ready to snap the photo of the review, only to find that several of the issues from 1976 were missing from the collection including, of course, the one that I was looking for. At this point, it seemed like I might have to just wait until I was on the road visiting another library listed on WorldCat and hope that their collection wouldn’t also be incomplete in just the wrong way.

Now, armed with a better idea of what I was and wasn’t looking for, I found a seller on eBay with a listing for a “Lot of 1970’s BRAIN MIND Mailer Bulletins” but with no details about how many issues or which issues…something the seller also didn’t know upon contact. I decided to make the gamble, knowing that, either way, $20 was a very reasonable price for a lot that would provide a window onto a rich slice of counterculture history even if the issue with The Invisible Landscape review was missing.

So, I took the gamble and made the order…

Step #3: Acquisition

Today, I received the box containing my issues of Brain/Mind Bulletin and was pleased to find a nearly complete set of the first several years of the publication, including Vol. 1 No. 12 (May 3, 1976) with the The Invisible Landscape reviewed by Marjorie Schuman. I will very happily, and admittedly unexpectedly, now, add a physical copy of this very early review to the Terence McKenna Archives collection. This, then, so far as I know, would be the second published review of the book, appearing only two days after one in Library Journal.

Step #4: Scanning into Digital Archives

Step #5: Preservation

Vol. 1 No. 12 of Brain/Mind Bulletin will get slid into a plastic sleeve and stored with other periodicals and loose-paper items in the collection. Following our first major crowdfund campaign (starting in February 2018), all storage for this kind of item will be upgraded to high-quality archival storage boxes.

Step #6: Sharing with the Community

This step, along with the thrill of the hunt and the acquisition of new information, is a big part of what makes the effort worthwhile. Enjoy!

…the McKennas ‘tested’ their complicated hypothesis by ingesting a mixture of ayahuasca and psilocybin-containing mushrooms.

For almost a month, they experienced a “sudden and immediate migration (toward) schizophrenia or classic shamanic trance”–a “shared shamanic journey of return from the ends of space and time.”…

According to this model, “all phenomena are at root constellated by a wave form which is the hierarchical summation of its constituent parts, morphogenetic patterns related to DNA.”

The reader who perseveres…will be impressed by their thorough researching…

Their ultimate hypothesis…is farfetched to say the least. Still, we may remind ourselves humbly that truth has often seemed bizarre. ‘The Invisible Landscape’ is worth reading for those who, like the McKennas, are fascinated by psychedelics, interested in science and receptive to far-out theories.

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #35 – Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness (1992)

Today’s randomly-selected item is a 1992, German-produced, anthology that Terence contributed to called the Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness, or in its German title: Jahrbuch für Ethnomedizin und Bewußtseinsforschung.

This first volume in the series, edited by anthropologist Christian Rätsch, is the only one that is sold-out and otherwise apparently unavailable online. I have a scan of Terence’s chapter, but the archives does not currently hold a physical copy of the volume. If you have a copy that you would like to donate to be housed in the archives, please email terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

Terence’s contribution is a transcription of the first talk he ever gave at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California…a location where he would become a staple presenter over the next nearly two decades. The talk, titled ‘Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness’ was presented as part of the [John] Lilly/[Amit] Goswami Conference on Consciousness and Quantum Physics, and there is a bit of historiographical confusion about whether this conference took place in December of 1982 or 1983–different sources make different claims, none apparently definitive. You can see a further commentary and some other links related to this confusion on our post about the same talk as it appears in The Book of Lies. Again, anyone who was at the event or who has an Esalen catalog or some other definitive evidence, please let us know.

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #34 – Saturday Night: From Mike’s Flat to a Parallel Universe (DMT)

Today’s randomly-selected item from the archives is Alix Sharkey’s profile of DMT that appeared in London’s The Independent newspaper on November 27, 1993.

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The article, Saturday Night: From Mike’s Flat to a Parallel Universe, can be accessed in full at The Independent‘s website. Sharkey only mentions Terence McKenna in passing, noting his description of DMT as a “megatonnage hallucinogen,” but is noteworthy as a focused public treatment of a substance that tended to get very little public PR.

As I lit the pipe and took a deep draw, I heard a rushing sound. Before I could exhale, Mike and the room leapt forward, saturated with colour… DMT had fired me into a parallel universe. I found myself inside a multi-coloured holograph of Mike’s flat posing as a scene from the Arabian Nights being art-directed by Walt Disney, the Dalai Lama and Hieronymus Bosch – continuously and simultaneously…

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Earlier in the same year (July 9), The Independent had published another of Sharkey’s “Saturday Night” pieces, titled Saturday Night: A Psychedelic Trip Up the Ladder of Evolution. This earlier article had been a profile and commentary on a lecture that Terence had given to about 40 people at a private home in London (apparently owned by a fellow named “Danny, who runs an audio-visual company called Project Love). If anyone was at or has any more information about this event, please do let me know.

I THINK we should deal only with the facts when we talk of Terence McKenna, don’t you?

Mr McKenna contends…that this humble mushroom is now ready and waiting for us to complete our ontological correspondence course, if we would only tear ourselves away from smack, crack, coke, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, sugar, cocoa, uppers, downers and all the other bad substances we are addicted to.

His theory states: ‘No perception without hallucination.’

We are in a small house in west London. There are 40 people sitting on cushions around the room, which is large and airy, full of plants and dominated by a huge skylight. We all face Mr McKenna, who sits cross-legged on a black leather armchair, wearing a pair of baggy no-brand jeans and a T-shirt that says ‘DMT’… His Birkenstock sandals are placed neatly nearby, and he wears black woollen socks.

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A bearded academic type, Mr McKenna does not need fashion to prop up his arguments. His learning and powers of language slowly unwind and coil around us, until eventually we are mesmerised, our token resistance crushed by the irresistible force of his rationale.

This is the McKenna ‘rap’, the reason why people have paid 30 pounds a head to be here.

‘We have to recognise that the world is not something sculpted and finished, which we as perceivers walk through like patrons in a museum; the world is something we make through the act of perception.’ He talks like a man reading out his own thoughts in essay form: at one point he actually says ‘paragraph break’. Only he has no notes, no prompts.

When he answers questions his words are vivid and his thinking clear and unhurried… I’m damned if you are not getting a glimpse behind the dusty old drapes of ‘meaning’ and ‘reality’ even as he speaks.

As we break for food and drink, I realise how fast his argument has proceeded and how far we have climbed… And he has taken us all this way with not so much as a cigarette paper in sight. Forty people, soaring on one man’s imagination, logic and humour.

‘But the point is not to listen to Terence McKenna,’ he says. ‘The point is to go home and get loaded.’

What bothers me is that, as a tax-paying professional, with Significant Other and five- year-old daughter, great friends, a good home and neighbours, I certainly do not think of myself as a radical. So I was worried because nearly everything he said made sense to me.

Somehow I knew he would dare me to act on my beliefs, and he did. Commitment, that is what he wanted. ‘When are we going to come out of the closet?’ he asked.

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Finally, to round out Alix Sharkey’s Terence McKenna-related pieces for The Independent, after Terence died in 2000, Sharkey penned a long obituary for the newspaper, which you can find the text of if you search (or scroll) on this forum page.

A charming, playful and exceptionally erudite raconteur

From the outset he was open about his condition, his website
featuring typically offhand updates: “This is a mad and wild adventure at
the fractal edge of life and death and space and time,” he wrote last
summer. “Just where we love to be, right, shipmates?”