The Terence McKenna Archives Crowdfund Campaign Has Launched! Please Help Spread It Widely!

“Kevin has put an incredible amount of time and effort into this exciting and important archival project. From his careful collection, preservation and transcription of the vast material that is my father’s work to his thoughtful and extensive interviews and biographical sleuthing, he has shown himself to be skilled, effective, respectful, meticulous and utterly devoted to the many facets that a project of this depth requires and for this I am most grateful. Not only is his dedication profound but he has also been a good friend to me and my family through this process and I place complete trust in his abilities and intentions. I am excited and honored that he has taken such care with this endeavor and I look forward to great things resulting from this including but not limited to future publishing projects and the necessary advancement and growth of Terence’s online presence. I urge anyone who appreciates Terence’s ideas to help us make this happen by contributing to this monumental project.”
-Finn McKenna

After a long time and a huge amount of effort pulling together incentives and material from artists, authors, photographers, filmmakers, and more, The Terence McKenna Archives crowdfund campaign is finally launched!

You can see the full 49-page crowdfund incentive menu here. This includes details about the project and supportive blurbs from a range of notable figures. This catalog has far more on offer than is available on the GoFundMe page, itself.

TMACIM

Or, you can skip straight to the GoFundMe page and make a donation or find out more about the project….and please do find ways to share it with appropriate others who also understand the value of preserving this important slice of countercultural history (word-of-mouth is the only way we will be successful): https://www.gofundme.com/terencemckennaarchives

Our first major goal-point or milestone is to reach the first $3,000 by March 4th (March forth!) in order to secure a rare art book that Terence collaborated on. To incentivize you to donate sooner than later, as soon as we reach the $3,000 goal, I will post a recording that I have of a rare radio debate where Terence debates a Young Republican.

The Terence McKenna Archives is a multi-pronged effort to collect, digitize, transcribe, store, and preserve the imprint of Terence McKenna’s presence from his birth in 1946 to his death in 2000 as well as the persistence of his influence into the present. The project aims to work closely with Terence’s family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and those who have been sufficiently influenced by his work in order to find and preserve traces of his life that might otherwise go missing or disappear and collect them in a single archive.

There are four major sub-projects at present, all under the banner of The Terence McKenna Archives:

1) A Collection Project: to find, collect, store, and preserve, either physical (or at least digital) copies of any material related to Terence McKenna. A full list of the physical & digital holdings are available at terencemckennaarchives.com.

2) A Transcription Project: to transcribe all of Terence McKenna’s 500+ hours of audio/video material that is freely available on the web into a searchable database. This crowdsourced, volunteer-based project is already ongoing and incredibly successful and can currently be found at terencemckenna.wikispaces.com. If you would like to help contribute by transcribing Terence’s talks, please join the effort there and on The Terence McKenna Transcription Project Facebook Page.

3) An Interview Project: to interview any family member, friend, colleague, acquaintances, workshop attendee, correspondent, interviewer, critic, collaborator, or any person suitably inspired or influenced by Terence McKenna.

4) TerenceMcKenna.com: Terence’s son owns this domain and it currently houses the Terence McKenna Bibliography, but we need resources and talent in order to build into the online McKenna hub that it can ideally be, eventually hosting the searchable transcription database, an online digital archive, and much more.

5) I should mention, as a fifth, long-term, goal, that there is a lot of potential for future publications, including a comprehensive biography based on the collected archives and extended research, a volume of interviews about Terence, unpublished or out-of-print writing and interviews, etc. But, these projects will require some further development and time.

Please feel free to contact the archivist with any questions at terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com

Thank you for your support and may the best story win!

For those who prefer to donate more anonymously or who simply prefer to support The Terence McKenna Archives through cryptocurrency, we have the following cryptocurrency wallets available to you:

Bitcoin address: 1CvZ6AeoRDwwSYt94haPGEN9EffKUyTiDB

Bitcoin Cash address: qrzvpkx735tguwaxwfc7nu9y8vcd7us50c9s4c9lxa

Ethereum address: 0xb3cc6e13F36AB91008Fe636E255980CCe7017c76

Litecoin address: Lfk2u84QNHtteGVCL3WGja2R5NaSKT4QcP

 

Thank you very much for your support of this massive archival effort!

“This project offers a great service to Terence McKenna fans. Prized from my view is the development of a searchable transcription database of all TM’s talks. It’s an effort worthy of your support.”

-Graham St. John, author of ‘Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT’

“The work of Terence McKenna is both vital and unruly, excessive and fragmented across a myriad of media formats. Organizing this work into an archive requires a genuine scholar who is careful, tireless, and a bit mad. Luckily, Kevin Whitesides has taken up the enormous task. I have a great deal of respect for Kevin and his different archival projects, which will help ensure that minds not yet born are blown. I know Terence would be pleased as punch.”

-Erik Davis, author of ‘Techgnosis’ and host of The Expanding Mind podcast

“More than anyone, Terence would respect the archiving going into this work. As a Renaissance student of the classics, he mourned all the lost books & ideas going back to antiquity. And with the tragedies of the fires in his collection, it makes Kevin’s work all the more important. Supporting this work helps preserve everything we can from one of the great raconteurs of our age.

-Lex Pelger, Drug Writer

“Terence McKenna reignited the psychedelic renaissance during a time of great resistance and pioneered a much needed awareness of the true nature of ancient plant medicines and shamanic practices that were all but lost at the end of the twentieth century. His “non-traditional” philosophies and perspectives inspired a generation of psychonauts, writers, artists, musicians, and philosophers and continues to inspire and inform successive generations. If you have the resources and the desire to help preserve the storehouse of knowledge he has left behind for generations to come, please consider contributing what you can so that others can benefit from the hard earned wisdom that Terence left us as his legacy.”

-Matthew J. Pallamary, author of ‘Land Without Evil’ and ‘The Center of the Universe is Right Between Your Eyes But Home is Where the Heart Is’

“Terence McKenna’s (possibly ironic?) culture-hero status came of age back when the online world we all inhabit now was just a twinkle in the eyes of psychedelic bards and prophets. We owe the man a better tribute than just cutting samples of his talks to psytrance – and we owe the cephalopod-skinned post-humans we’ll call grandchildren a better record of the trickster wizard who infected their potential future with its weird reality.”

– Michael Garfield, meta-disciplinary artist & host of Future Fossils podcast

“As an archivist and budding biographer compiling and cataloging a considerably comprehensive collection of cool crap–myriad magical McKenna musings and memes, Kevin has wrangled a righteously relevant resource for radical researchers and savy psychonauts seeking suitably sustainable psychedelic solutions.

Detailing the cultural and historical relevance of featured archive items with a contagiously engaging enthusiasm [on the Archives blog], he is on a quest to create the largest and most complete archive available anywhere of material by or about Terence McKenna. The fact that Terence’s own archives were destroyed due to a fire (that broke out in a Quiznos and spread to the rental storage space containing Terence’s writings), makes this work all-the-more worthwhile.

Often illustrated with photographs, scans, or artwork, his blog entries are packed with interesting content featuring the sort of geeky minutia sure to please OCD entheophiles. At the same time, these descriptive texts are usually short enough to be a guilt-free diversion, that is, if you can
refrain from repeatedly thinking, “I’ll just read ONE more, and *then* I will get back to work.

The Terence McKenna Archives can benefit from your assistance…”

-Jon Hanna, Mindstates.org

TMA TShirtContributing artists, authors, and other helpers:

Ralph Abraham – http://www.ralph-abraham.org/
Ken Adams – https://vimeo.com/user26500981
Lucy Barritt – https://lucyhannahbarritt.com/
Peter Bergmann – https://www.facebook.com/wpahp/
Steven Clay – https://www.granarybooks.com/
R.S. Connett – http://www.grotesque.com/
Mike Crowley – https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Drugs-Buddhism-Mike-Crowley/dp/0692652817
Jeff Drew – http://jeffdrewpictures.com/
Timothy C. Ely – http://www.timothyely.com/
Robert Forte – https://ciis.academia.edu/RobertForte
Elysium Foundation – https://www.facebook.com/TheElysiumFoundation/
Michael Garfield – https://michaelgarfield.blogspot.com/
Adam Gorightly – http://www.adamgorightly.com/
Kat Harrison – http://botanicaldimensions.org/
Charles Hayes – https://www.amazon.com/Tripping-Anthology-True-Life-Psychedelic-Adventures/dp/0140195742
James W. Jesso – http://www.jameswjesso.com/
Jonathan Laliberte – https://www.asktmk.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/groups/terencemckenna/
Tao Lin – http://www.taolin.info/
MAPS: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – http://www.maps.org/
Chris Mays – http://www.terencemckenna.com/tmbib/
Finn McKenna – http://www.terencemckenna.com/
Mesloes – https://mesloes.nl/
Sheldon Norberg – http://www.healinghouses.com/
Matthew J. Pallamary – http://mattpallamary.com/
Lex Pelger – http://www.lexpelger.com/
Joanna Sasso – https://www.etsy.com/shop/SassoJoArt
Ben Sessa – http://www.drsessa.com/
Chip Simons – http://www.chipsimons.com/

The Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #40 – The Flight Into Egypt by Timothy C. Ely (Foreword by Terence McKenna)

Today’s item randomly selected from the collection is the book The Flight Into Egypt by Timothy C. Ely, which includes a Foreword by Terence McKenna. The two had met in New York and quickly came to collaborate on a rare and unique hand-made art book called Synesthesia [our upcoming crowdfund will be, in part, an effort to be able acquire one of these from a private owner who has accepted an reasonable offer so long as I can get the funds by mid-March–keep your eyes peeled in the next week or so for the crowdfund launch]. In the process of their interactions,

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Timothy C. Ely & Terence McKenna

Terence had a chance to see the original, unique, one-off The Flight Into Egypt book. Ely is an artist and bookmaker and has a history of making unique books…and by that I don’t mean books that standout as different as a result of their own distinctive style (although this is also true of his work), but rather that he only makes one of each…unique…they are not commercial items. The Flight Into Egypt was one such book, perhaps the only such book to eventually make it out in a commercial version–a sometimes bittersweet process that makes an artist’s work available in a way that it wouldn’t otherwise have been while simultaneously reducing a unique object of depth & texture and flattening it to a smooth, 2D rendering that can be endlessly reproduced as exact copies of each other. Yet, for those of us who might have never had the opportunity to see the original face-to-face, it is still an opportunity for us to enter into a visionary mind that we might not have otherwise had access to. For comparison, here are photos of both the original and the commercial reproduction:

Nonetheless, even given that the commercial reproduction can never match the embodied experience of the original, it is still more than a delight to interact with, and Terence’s 3-page Foreword is wonderfully imaginative and playful! It’s been a great pleasure of mine to get to know Tim by email correspondence over the last couple of years. He’s a very thoughtful individual, and I hope to share more of his story and thoughts with you over time.

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There will be several used copies of The Flight Into Egypt available in the imminently forthcoming Terence McKenna Archives crowdfund campaign (along with some other relevant material that I think you’ll enjoy). Here’s some of what Terence had to say about it:

It was with great pleasure and anticipation that I accepted [the] invitation to provide an introduction to this, the first printed edition of Timothy Ely’s masterpiece The Flight Into Egypt: Binding the Book. I was familiar with Tim’s bookmaking accomplishments, had even published in collaboration with him, but in spite of our association I had never experienced the actual presence of the original Flight Into Egypt until that moment, when alone, in good light and suitably activated by the lighter esters of delta six tetra-hydrocannabinol, I removed the brass screws from a heavily insured wooden packing crate, lifted away the top, and gazed upon the work. Reality outran apprehension at last, and the thing lay before me…

In the act of opening the book, my anticipation of otherness bordered on the Borgesian.

And then there it was, the open tome–part book, part journey, part secret doctrine, part jewel. The heavy pages must be turned carefully; the aura of magical craft is inescapable… There is text, but little is recognizable. Most is cryptoglossia, the rare written equivalent of spoken glossolalia… Automatic writing, cryptoglossia especially, carries us into the realm of intent toward signification without any culturally contrived meaning, toward the radiance of the Neoplatonic idea of the One…

…one cannot help but be immediately struck by the insectile glyphs so scrupulously and cryptically written everywhere. They are tracings made with a conscious alien intent… What is beheld, what is intended, literally cannot be spoken of. To understand it is to enter into a confraternity of silence, along with bookmakers, mystics, mathematicians, musicians, and assemblers of mosaics.

To gaze upon these images is to be swept on a pilgrim’s journey into a phantasmagoria of hashish and occult dreaming…

And what is it that is being charted, measured, graphed, and mathematically expressed as we make our way deeper into the analogical engine of the work? I believe it is the magma of posthistorical time, which moves beneath the carefully charted landforms of Ely’s mental Egypt. The rupture of planes is sure to occur when the transubstantiated object raises its protean form from beneath the desert sands, where it has been sleeping for uncounted aeons…

In Tim Ely’s world, we meet the book as artifact, as concrescence of cognitive process… The Flight Into Egypt…is intensely aware of itself as both object and enterprise…

Words, signs, maps, and the presence of hidden energies all combine into a course of visual epistemology. This is a grimoire for our times, a book of angelic conjuration… The Flight Into Egypt is ultimately accessional and alchemical. To experience it leads to a rarefaction and an internal integration that is the essence of art and life.

–Terence McKenna

Michael Harner (1929-2018)

I’m very sorry to have to post another notice of someone’s passing so soon after Dale Pendell’s.Michael-Harner

On February 3, Michael Harner, who was instrumental in the revivification of both the academic study of shamanism and its interest among the public, “passed peacefully out of this world.” Harner, who has been called “the world’s foremost authority on shamanism,” founded the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in 1979, and it will continue to carry on its mission in his absence.

The Foundation has produced a documentary on Harner’s legacy, which you can view on their website, or below:

As for connections between Terence McKenna and Michael Harner….it was a curious mis-citing of Harner’s work that, in a very direct way, launched Terence’s career. I think that’s the story I’ll choose to tell on this occasion, as it is both amusing and formative on the careers of both McKenna brothers as well as involving Harner’s early influence on the study of ‘psychedelic shamanism’.

The Search for the Violet Psychofluid

When Terence and Dennis McKenna (and some friends) arrived in the Colombian Amazon, they were not looking for the psilocybin mushrooms that came to be the focus of their attention and which, one might say with only minimal exaggeration, launched their careers. During their “experiments” at the tiny mission site of La Chorrera, combining the beta-carboline alkaloids deriving from the Banisteriopsis caapi (ayahuasca) vine with the psilocybin-containing mushrooms that they found plentifully in the surrounding pastures, it was Dennis who seems to have recalled an article by Harner, from which he recalled mention of a magical fluid that shamans produced from their mouths.

In the following passage from True Hallucinations, Terence describes being at La Chorrera and reading Dennis’ personal journal:

…I suggested to Dennis that, rather than arguing with people about the nature of the experience, he should go off by himself and write down all that he thought about the strange sound that he had made. He accepted this advice and made his way back up the hill to the knoll house to be alone and to write:

February 28, 1971

“I approach these pages with a peculiar sense of urgency as a man might who had confronted an unexplainable phenomenon as some impossible creation of dreams or unaccountable natural principle…

Before going further, something tells me that I must consider who I am. Twenty-four hours ago, I thought I knew — now this has become the most perplexing question I have ever been confronted with… These may be the last characters of a crude language that I will ever apply to the description of anything…”

When I read this prologue later, it seemed to me both grandiose and alarming, but Dennis had an aura of calm certitude that seemed to command respect. I felt that the Logos was struggling with the vocabulary of its newest vessel. He seemed to be making more and more sense, to be on to something. I read on:

“Since any phenomenon is, to a point, describable in empirical terms, so too with this one. It has to do with controlling one’s body chemistry in such a way as to produce very specific vocal and audial phenomena: the state becomes possible when highly bio-dynamic vegetable alkaloids, specifically tryptamines and MAO-inhibitors, are introduced into the body under carefully regulated parameters. This phenomenon is apparently possible in the presence of tryptamines alone, though MAO inhibition definitely helps trigger it by facilitating tryptamine absorption. The phenomenon has now been triggered by two people within our group: Terence has been experimenting with vocal phenomena under the influence of DMT for some years now.

Until last night, when I triggered and experienced this sound wave for a few brief seconds under the influence of nineteen Stropharia mushrooms, Terence was the only person I knew who claimed ability to perform this sound…”

Terence goes on telling the story…

Later that afternoon, Dennis came back down to the edge of the river looking for me… There we sat and talked. It had been about sixteen hours since the previous evening’s episode with the strange sound. Dennis said that the writing exercise had been very useful.

[Terence:] “Great! And so what have  you come up with?”

[Dennis:] “I’m not sure. I’m very excited, but whatever it is that’s the cause of my excitement is also developing ideas in my mind nearly faster than I can write them down.”

[T:] “Ideas? What sort of ideas?”

[D:] “Funny ideas. Ideas about how we can use this effect, or this stuff, or whatever it is. My intuition is that it is related to the psychofluids that Michael Harner reported in the July 1969 issue of Natural History and to what happened to you in Boudanath. Remember how Harner implied that ayahuasqueros vomited a magical substance that was the basis of their ability to divine? This is like that, some sort of translinguistic stuff made with the voice.”

We talked at length by the river’s edge, ranging over the options and the possibilities. He was insistent in linking my experience in Nepal with a very strange phenomenon that occurred in Jivaro shamanism in Ecuador. The people take ayahuasca after which they, and anyone else who has taken ayahuasca, are able to see a substance that is described as violet or deep blue and that bubbles like a liquid. When you vomit from taking ayahuasca, this violet fluid comes out of your body; it also forms on the surface of the skin, like sweat. The Jivaro do much of their magic with this peculiar stuff. These matters are extremely secret. Informants insist that the shamans spread the stuff out on the ground in front of them, and that one can look at this material and see other times and other places. According to their reports, the nature of this fluid is completely outside of ordinary experience: it is made out of space/time or mind, or it is pure hallucination objectively expressed by always keeping itself within the confines of a liquid.

Harner’s work among the Jivaro did not stand alone. Since the beginnings of ethnographic reporting out of the Amazon there have been rumors and unconfirmed reports of magical excrement and magically empowered psychophysical objects generated out of the human body using hallucinogens and song. I recalled the alchemical observation that the secret is hidden in feces.

[T:] “Matter that is hyperdimensional and therefore translinguistic? Is that what you mean?” I asked Dennis.

[D:] “Yes. Whatever that means, but something like that, I suppose. Gad! Why not? I mean it’s pretty nuts, but it’s also the symbol system we brought with us running into the shamanic magic that we came here looking for. ‘This is what you shipped for, men, to chase the White Whale over all sides of  ocean and both sides of earth till he spout black blood and roll fin out.’ Isn’t that your rap?”

The resort to Melvillian rhetoric was unexpected and not like him. Where did he get this stuff? [T:] “Yes, I suppose.”

[D:] But here is the thing; if there is something weird going on, then we should observe it and see what it is and try to reduce it to some coherent framework. Granted we don’t know what it is that we are dealing with, but on the other hand, we know that we came here to investigate shamanic magic generally, so now we have to go to work on this effect, or whatever it is, and just hope that we know what we are doing and have enough data to crack it. We are too isolated to do anything else, and to ignore it might be to squander a golden opportunity.”

Okay, so the above is the setup for the story. Terence and Dennis…in the Amazon….twenty-something….eager to uncover the secrets of psychedelic shamanism……and armed with past experience and a lot of literature on the brain.

The mention of Terence’s experience in Boudanath, Nepal, which Dennis considered comparable to Harner’s description of the shamanic psychofluid is in reference to what has come to be know as the ‘Kathmandu Interlude’ (due to its place and function in True Hallucinations, which involves a sexual encounter between Terence (on LSD) and a woman (on datura) who both smoke DMT and……well, you’d better just listen/read (p. 55) yourself! …Needless to say, there is a psychedelically-derived psychofluid involved…

Oh, what the hell! Here’s part of it:

Then we made love. Or rather we had an experience that vaguely related to making love but was a thing unto itself…

Reality was shattered. This kind of fucking occurs at the very limit of what is possible. Everything had been transformed into orgasm and visible, chattering oceans of elf language. Then I saw that where our bodies were glued together there was flowing, out of her, over me, over the floor of the roof, flowing everywhere, some sort of obsidian liquid, something dark and glittering, with color and lights within it. After the DMT flash, after seizures of orgasms, after all that, this new thing shocked me to the core. What was this fluid and what was going on? I looked at it. I looked right into it, and it was the surface of my own mind reflected in front of me. Was it translinguistic matter, the living opalescent excrescence of the alchemical abyss of hyperspace, something generated by the sex act performed under such crazy conditions? I looked into it again and now saw in it the lama who taught me Tibetan, who would have been asleep a mile away. In the fluid, I saw him, in the company of a monk I had never seen; they were looking into a mirrored plate. Then I realized they were watching me! I could not understand it. I looked away from the fluid and my companion, so intense was her aura of strangeness.

The article of Harner’s that Dennis had recalled on that day in La Chorrera actually appeared in the July 1968 (not 1969) issue of Natural History and was titled “The Sound of Rushing Water,” now considered among Harner’s iconic contributions…and, you can find it cited in the first edition of The Invisible Landscape (1975), the messy nature of the real-time referencing in the Amazon cleaned up for publication, as the sole reference to the ethnographic literature on shamanically-produced psychofluids.

From Chapter 6: An Experiment at La Chorrera:

During the course of our investigation of the shamanic dimension, our attention was drawn to a report of ayahuasca usage among the Jivaro (Harner 1968); the shamans, under the influence of potent monamine oxidase-inhibiting, harmine- and tryptamine-containing Banisteriopsis infusions, are said to produce a fluorescent violet substance by means of which they accomplish their magic. Though invisible to ordinary perception, this fluid is said to be visible to anyone who has ingested the infusion. Ayahuasca is frequently associated with violet auras and deep blue hallucinations; this suggests that ayahuasca may enable one to see at ultraviolet wavelengths, and that this substance may be visible only in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. We also had occasion to ingest synthetic tryptamines and had observed as a regular feature of the tryptamine intoxication a peculiar audile phenomenon…Individual reports of the subjectively perceived phenomenon exhibit a high degree of similarity.

Our desire to pursue the investigation of this audile phenomenon at greater depth, combined with the curiosity and incredulity which Harner’s report had aroused, led us to travel, in March of 1971, to the tiny mission settlement of La Chorrera, 43 minutes south, 73 degrees west, on the banks of the Rio Igara-parana in Comisaria Amazonas, Colombia. We felt that here we could carry out firsthand observations into the phenomenology of the tryptamine dimension.

It was Harner’s article, then, that provided a significant portion of both the impetus for, and the interpretation of, the experiences that the McKenna brothers were experimenting with and trying to explain…

The irony of all of this is…….Harner’s article contains no mention of this phenomenon whatsoever!! Go ahead, read it yourself….(Harner does mention magical darts but nothing resembling the sort of fluid described by Dennis or Terence for which they specifically cite Harner’s 1968 article on multiple occasions).

I have uncovered a partial recording (previously not available online) in which Terence, in the presence of learned colleagues, discusses this in more detail and admits the flub:

Persistent is the idea that these ayahuasqueros vomit or produce out of their bodies some kind of substance, a magical substance, that is the basis of their witchcraft. And, you know, your attitude toward this can be that it’s sleight of hand or that it’s lying or that it’s absolutely true…

Uh, Dennis, in 1970, came across a reference to this in some piece of literature. I confess that I have occasionally cited it as Michael Harner’s article ‘The Sound of Rushing Water’, which appeared in Natural History magazine in 1967 [it’s 1968]. Just to confirm Marlene [Dobkin de Rios]’s opinion, if you actually read that article, you will discover there is no reference to this in there. Uh, I couldn’t find a reference in the literature until years after our investigation of the phenomenon was pretty much wrapped up. I was amazed to discover that our supposition that such a thing existed actually is supported in the literature. Luis Eduardo Luna…has talked about this in numerous of his more scholarly publications. What is claimed is that there are, among very unacculturated people, a habit, when intoxicated on ayahuasca, of vomiting a material, and then, what’s said of it is that it’s blue, that the shamans use it to accomplish all of their magic, and that when you spread it out on the bottom of a flat bowl that you can see the future in it or the past in it.

So, there you have it……Michael Harner’s non-existent contribution to the careers of the brothers McKenna.

Thanks, Michael, for making the world a more interesting place, as a result of both your real and imagined contributions!

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #39 – Tripping But Not Falling (New York Times Profile, 1993)

Today’s random item from the archives is a profile of Terence McKenna, called ‘Tripping, but Not Falling’, that appeared in The New York Times in its issue of May 2, 1993 and was written by Trip Gabriel who had spent some time talking with Terence near his home in Occidental, California. The full, long article can be read on the Times’ website, here. Some highlights are included below…

tbnf001

Nibbling his “Cranberry Gobbler” sandwich in a sunny cafe, Terence McKenna explained his theory of how psychedelic mushrooms are the missing link in the story of human evolution…

“For sure the mushroom would have been sampled,” Mr. McKenna said. “Then our proto-hominid forebears, like legions of hippies millennia hence, discovered that the usual activities comprising the whirl of their days — hunting and gathering, primarily — were out of the question.

“You are just simply nailed to the ground and you experience the bewildering phenomenon that we call the hallucinogenic experience, which even post-Husserl, post-Merleau-Ponty, post-everything, we don’t know what to make of,” he said. “It laid the basis, I think for religion and for language.”

This was some earful to hear over lunch in the pleasant, slow-moving town of Occidental… A local bulletin board advertises “Environmentally Conscious Tree Care” and “Christie’s Not-So-Toxic Housekeeping Service.”

Magic mushrooms as the missing link is only one of many seemingly preposterous notions he promotes with beguiling logic, albeit with a definite lack of hard evidence.

After wandering for years in the cultural outback of the New Age — a movement he deplores for its guru worship and abandonment of rationalism — Mr. McKenna is beginning to be more widely heard… His charismatic lecture style…pulls in audiences…seemingly [that are] equal mixes of psychonauts, cyberpunks and slightly befuddled mycologists.

Mr. McKenna has a significant following in the youthful rave culture, where dancers pulsating to a dreamy techno beat often choose to chemically alter their consciousness. His latest book…was launched in February not with a book signing but with an all-night rave in San Francisco…

“This under-25 group is a little different from the wannabe yuppie generation of the 80’s,” Mr. McKenna said.

“They have the same kind of alienation that immediately preceded the hippie outbreak of the 60’s. It’s a feeling of being marginalized by the system. Apparently, if a generation can’t find inclusion in the culture, then it becomes narcissistic, with all the positive and negative connotations that brings.”

With piercing deep-set eyes and a scraggly beard, Mr. McKenna has a cheerfully demonic look. His countenance bears weary witness to the utter strangeness of what he claims to have discovered in 25 years of imbibing “heroic doses” of hallucinogens. Now 46, he first tried psychedelics in the mid-60’s in Berkeley, Calif. But unlike most of his generation, who buried their acid trips in a file marked Unidentified Youthful Indulgences, Mr. Mckenna doggedly followed through.

For more than two decades he has hitchhiked around the galaxy on the back of the magic mushroom.

Whatever else he is, Mr. McKenna is a sure sign that Reagan-Bushism is dead and in the ground, and that a wilder social moment may be upon us.

His speaking style is a perfect synthesis of message and medium, an aural reconstruction of psychedelic experience…

Free-associating his way through intellectual history, he caroms between reference to Finnegans Wake, Heraclitus, a scene with the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz and the writings of the neo-Platonist Philo Judaeus.

The cosmic giggle ripple through Mr. McKenna’s spiels as if to make palatable the sheer weirdness of what he has to say.

The crowd was mostly hirsute forty-somethings, like the characters in a Koren cartoon. They wore layers of loose natural-fiber clothing, like Mr. McKenna himself, who was dressed in a baggy chenille sweater.

…the most forceful advocate for psychedelics since Timothy Leary.

“He’s an eloquent and imaginative poet of the psychedelic experience,” said Mr. Leary, and unabashed admirer… “He combines ancient wisdom with Irish wit.”

…Mr McKenna’s claims for hallucinogens go way beyond Leary, Aldous Huxley or any of his predecessors.

In a nutshell, this is Mr. McKenna’s update of the psychedelic revolution: tune in, turn on, save the ozone layer. To many, he appeals simply because he is such a hoot. “Our dilemma,” Mr. McKenna said with pranksterish wit, “is that halfway on the way to becoming angels we stopped taking our medication.”

He was seated on the floor of his Occidental apartment, a tea tray at his feet… The big room was empty of furniture except for a reading chair. Thousands of books lined three walls from floor to ceiling. Mr. McKenna sat near the Greek philosophy and Hellenistic religion shelves. He had Plato, the gnostics, the cabala, Appolonias of Cayenna and a seven-volume “Legends of the Jews.”

“I don’t understand why drugs are not used as tools of research,” he said. “You want to know how the atom works? Smash it and look at the pieces. You want to know how the mind works? Get it smashed and then see what the pieces are.”

Mr. McKenna is a lovely psychedelic sophist. His reasoning has a seductive and seemingly learned coherence, even though it doesn’t quite hold up. One wonders if he’d advocate conducting other scientific inquiries — atom-smashing, say — while the observer is hallucinating. The polysyllabic sentences he lards with intellectual references are an attempt to lend credibility to the otherwise debunked subject of drugs.

On occasion Mr. McKenna seems to swerve perilously into what psychologists might call delusions of grandeur. “If I’m right, you know,” he said in an eerily serious voice, “you’re sitting across from Newton.”

“People say marijuana is the entry drug,” he said. “Science fiction is really the entry drug,” he said. “Science fiction is really the entry drug. Because the subtext of science fiction is release your imagination, anything can happen.”

What saves Mr. McKenna’s fantastic yarn from being instantly dismissible is that he himself recognizes the absurdity of what he’s saying and, yet, feels compelled to say it anyway.

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.

March Forth!

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.

1976 - Brain-Mind Bulletin - The Invisible Landscape Reviewed by Marilyn Ferguson 011976 - Brain-Mind Bulletin - The Invisible Landscape Reviewed by Marilyn Ferguson