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

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.

Sharkey001

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…

Sharkey002

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.

dmt003

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.

Sharkey003

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?”

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #33 – High Times Report on the 1991 Bridge Conference on Psychedelics

In 1991, there was a major conference held on the campus of Stanford University on the past, present, and future of psychedelics. Presenters included Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Bruce Eisner, Rick Doblin, Dennis McKenna, Charles Grob, R. U. Sirius, Stephen Gaskin, Debby Harlow, Peter Stafford, Ralph Metzner, John Lilly, and, of course, Terence McKenna. Some of the appearances by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson can be viewed online. A noteworthy segment of Terence McKenna’s provocative “plain talk” conclusion to the conference can be heard here (and is well worth a listen).

Dan Joy reported on the conference for High Times magazine for their issue of June 1991 (HT #190).

HTJ91-001

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #32 – Charles Hayes Interview in ‘Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures’

Today’s random item from the archives is a book that contains a long, excellent, and expansive interview with Terence from 1998. The interviewer was Charles Hayes, and the interview appears as “Part III” of his book Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures (2000). The Terence McKenna Archives collection has several physical copies of the paperback edition. There is also a hardcover edition, although I don’t believe there is any other difference between the two beyond the rigidity of the cover. There will be several signed copies available for auction in a crowfund campaign for the archives that will be launched later this month.

Among those to whom the book is dedicated, Hayes includes Terence:

for the spirit of the late Terence McKenna, a true Magellan of the imagination and Copernicus of the hyperreal, who braved the alien othernness of it all and sighted myriad new heavenly bodies in the cosmos of consciousness

Hayes’ interview with Terence (who he calls “one of history’s most compelling champions of psychedelic consciousness”) is, I’m happy to say, very long and, for that reason, covers a great range of topics. Tripping is definitely a book worth having on your shelves, and I consider the interview among the best that Terence gave. Here, I can only offer a paucity excerpts to whet your appetite and send you looking for a copy….or you can wait for the TM Archives crowdfund campaign to launch later this month and bid on your own copy signed by Charles Hayes to you.

These excerpts represent a very small portion of an interview that spans over 38 pages of text. Each of these subjects is treated at much greater length in the full interview:

The material presented…is the product of two extended conversations at McKenna’s home in South Kona, Big Island of Hawaii, on January 17 and 18, 1998, some sixteen months before he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforma, the most malignant of brain tumors, which eventually required him to move to the mainland for treatment.

When we met by arrangement on the highway the first morning, the elfin Celt immediately put me at ease with his contagious whinny of a laugh about the silliness of consumer culture, political developments, the foolishness of contemporary life. I felt right at home.

My very first acid trip took place in the summer of 1965…prior to my enrollment in Berkeley that fall… I’ve never had a trip like that since. It was very bizarre…

…from that revelation at the Masonic Temple I somehow made it back to ordinary reality, but I’ve never revisited the place in my psyche… The reason why I’ve never written about it is because I never reached a conclusion.

Maybe the reason that psychedelics are such a formative force in my life is that they worked for me as advertised.

It’s hard for most people to hallucinate on LSD.

The thing about profound experiences is that if they’re too profound, you can’t remember them…. you can’t really say much about it.

I’ve done MDMA a half-dozen times. It’s not very interesting to me.

I’ve done ketamine about five times, in fairly light doses… Ketamine is dubious.

Before I did Salvia divinorum for the first time…I had some trepidation… The hallucinations came on as…a parody of my fear. It was deliberately insulting me with hallucinations acceptable to a six-year-old. So I addressed it. I may be chickenshit, but I’m not this chickenshit. You can lift the veil slightly.

I did wonderful things with cannabis in the early days.

The best DMT I ever had was made in the laboratory, not from a plant.

The mushroom experience…is alien, because it has no context.

It’s a big question whether this is the only reality or not. That’s been a big issue for thousands of years.

EE kem wye STOK see kee pee PEEN. Vid nim gyo WOKS sid dee mahok a ben dee kee KEK det nen get bikeek teen. Ayus dee viji ZEN GWOT, kay MWON day kwa OK dikee tee teekt. EE vidimee NEEN nenk wah OK sot vay bon wa hagendekt…

Stoned on DMT, it’s an ecstasy to do this…

James Joyce and Marshall McLuhan were onto how people, according to their cultural programming, were cued to either sounds or images. There is much to explore in this area.

As we dematerialize, and that seems to be what’s happening–we’re getting ready to decamp from three-dimensional space and time into the imagination, which is as vast as the universe itself.

Psychedelics are good fuel for religion… But I think they should give more drug, less message.

CH: Have you had moments of mortal terror?

TM: How about intense alarm?… One that I don’t want to visit anytime soon occurred when I took half a dose of ayahuasca and half a dose of mushrooms together…”something’s wrong”… It graduated in intensity, because I was becoming alarmed… had I remained in that place, it was truly madness, truly unbearable. I don’t think you could get used to that.

People, you should behave as though you’re mortal, for God’s sake! Be happy if the evidence is to the contrary.

I think [psychedelics] should be regulated to some degree. We don’t let people drive cars just because they want to…

CH: How do you interface with the rave scene?

TM: Somewhat uneasily…

I was at this scene…called Starwood, which bills itself as a pagan festival…On the final night, they piled up dead apple trees two hundred feet high and set them on fire, and six thousand people tore their clothes off and danced all night long around this thing, raising a cloud of red dust in the air a thousand feet high… I took one look and thought, No wonder the right wing is alarmed… These were pagans. I love them…

“Where can we get loaded?” I asked.

“How ’bout the Temple of Dionysus?”

“Great!”

CH: Are you a shaman?

TM: No no. I’m a shamanologist…

Shamans are meme traders.

TM: The Other could be any of these things…

CH: But you’re leaning toward the friendly-extraterrestrial theory…

TM: I’m torn between two possibilities. The extraterrestrial possibility…most people could probably come to terms with… The other possibility, applying Occam’s razor here, is that what we’re talking about is dead people… “Ancestor” is a pretty sanitized term. “Dead person” brings it home a little more cogently.

The problem is we have no shamans here. Those who claim to be shamans are the last people you’d want to put confidence in.

The most important question in the universe at the moment is Am I doing all right? And the answer is (usually) Yes, you’re doing fine.

It’s possible to be an optimist without being a cockeyed optimist.

I believe we’re in the garden party before the crunch, the long afternoon before the stormy night.

If God was complete, why is there the phenomenon of temporal enfoldment.

There is something we share this space/time continuum with that can, when it chooses, take on any form it wishes.

Bottom line, there is something very weird going on…

Culture is the transition along McLuhanesque lines from the 3-D animal mind to the 4-D posthuman domain.

My faith is with technology and with psychedelics. Politics aren’t going to take us much further.

The Internet has remade the world in six years, and most people take it for granted now. It’s disturbing that many are retreating from full participating in this new reality, because they can’t understand it.

People believe anything they want, and it no longer matters, because there is somewhere a core of cutting-edge thinkers who are still trying to integrate this stuff with fact.

One of the bad things about psychedelics is that they’ve left us with a legacy of intellectual relativism… I’m not supposed to criticize you because it’s all the same, right?… I hate this. It’s the death of thought, and that’s what the New Age rides on.

The guy at the workbench who works for a detergent company is not a scientist. That’s ridiculous. Those guys rarely study the philosophy of science, so they don’t understand what it is epistemologically.

Ultimately, something wants to be communicated through psychedelics. Somethings wants to be told, and it’s not something dizzy like “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Laughter) We know that. That’s not news.

People have two questions: Where did we come from? Where are we going? I think psychedelics provide answers to those two questions…

I want to trade memes with the Other.

I don’t want to leave this world before ordinary people can, by some means, access and walk through DMT hallucinations.

Psychedelics as an experience of boundary dissolution are half the equation. The other half is what the subject thinks about that.

Once boundaries are taken away, wholeness is accessible.

I think the real test of psychedelics is what to when them when you’re not on them…

Psychedelics persist in astonishing.

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

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

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

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

fgsd

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

A what?

An ethno-botanist and psychedelic philosopher.

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

So what’s his game exactly?

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

…the author makes some bad jokes about culinary mushrooms…

…These mushrooms are hallucinogenic.

What? Drugs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am familiar with the feeling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For me this is not an hedonic activity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle Winners

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

The first prize winner is: Graham St. John9781583947326

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

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

The runner-up winner is: Jeff Lerue

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

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

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

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

Thanks everyone for supporting The Terence McKenna Archives!

Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle

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

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

Please SHARE wherever appropriate!

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

Thanks for your support and good luck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruce Eisner

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

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