Crowdfund Acquisitions #1 – Gnosis Magazine (First Issue, 1985), Review of ‘True Hallucinations’ Talking Book

This post will be the first in a series where I share the fruits of The Terence McKenna Archives crowdfund campaign.

I have just acquired the first of two major purchases with the money derived from our ongoing crowdfund. Over the weekend, on my way to a conference in Berkeley, I stopped in San Francisco, at the apartment of Jay Kinney, who was the editor of Gnosis magazine (1985-1999). Terence McKenna appeared on the pages of Gnosis numerous times over the course of its history and he and Kat were among its earliest subscribers and supporters (as you’ll see later in this post). Jay also tells me that Terence was instrumental in helping Gnosis to acquire its first, game-changing, high-end laser printer, for a substantial discount, via Terence’s Timewave programmer, Peter Meyer.

I purchased a full set of the entire run of Gnosis magazine from Jay and will be making posts on Terence McKenna-related material that appears within individual issues as I work my way through the collection.

I’ll start, here, with Gnosis #1 (Fall/Winter 1985)

Gnosis 01 001Gnosis 01 002

Terence and Kat were among the earliest ‘Helping Subscribers’ (donating $20 in addition to a $15 subscription), which helped allow The Lumen Foundation to publish 5,000 copies of this first issue.

Gnosis 01 003

By 1985, Terence had only previously published The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching, which wasn’t widely distributed and would have been out of print, and Psilocybin Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide, which did sell widely, was authored under a pseudonym, O. T. Oss (both books co-authored with his brother Dennis), and his public speaking career was relatively fresh. The True Hallucinations talking book had, however, just been produced and was positively reviewed, in this first issue of Gnosis, by Ted Schulz.

Gnosis 01 004

This is a book about the kind of revelatory mystical experience that is induced by psychedelic substances. It’s also a book about an exotic expedition undertaken by five friends bound together by a mutual inquisitiveness, especially about subjectively-experienced ethnopharmacology. And it isn’t a book at all, but an eight-cassette “talking book” with fine production quality and effective use of modest sound effects and music.

In 1971, Terence McKenna and his brother Dennis, along with three friends, all young American middle-class intellectuals, set off on a journey into Columbia’s Amazonian wilderness, seeking out the remote area inhabited by the Witoto Indians, a tribe noted for its use of certain psychoactive substances. There, according to plan, they entered the equally lush and far less understood jungle of psychedelic consciousness, as they experimented with ever larger and increasingly frequent doses of the locale’s plentiful psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Terence in particular had prepared for this inner journey, having devoted a number of years to the study of revelatory mystical experience and having pursued a variety of spiritual teachings in exotic locations around the globe. This preparation notwithstanding, he and his brother returned from their experiment changed men, to spend perhaps the rest of their lives constructing theories about that overwhelming experience, as they continue to ask “What happened?”

The McKenna brothers proposed their rigorously phrased answer to this question in their work, The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (1975, Seabury Press), a serious and carefully constructed cosmology that synthesized their Amazonian revelations. But it is in True Hallucinations that Terence has chosen to tell the human side of the story, in all the untidy detail of a sincere quest made by faltering and confused seekers-after-truth. Normally, the thought of spending nine-and-a-half hours listening to a psychedelic veteran recount his most memorable trips would leave me cold, but McKenna pulls off the feat of entertaining in the process. the backbone of his narrative is an account of the party’s voyage along the Putumayo River, of their difficult overland trek, and their surroundings at their destination, La Chorrera, and it is to this linear ground that he continually returns after flights into psychedelic theory and cosmic philosophy. The story has much of the appeal of an adventure travelogue, with the curious twist of an unusual cast of characters with an even more unusual purpose. Along the way, the intrepid band meets a number of eccentrics, including the leader of a cult of displaced Americans who divines with a Ouija board and is accompanied by a monkey that is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ; and a cocaine-crazed, paranoid, and megalomaniacal anthropologist who has fallen victim to the excessive habit of the tribe he meant to study.

In McKenna’s wry recounting, the dynamics between the five members of this amateur ethnopharmacological expedition are, in the lighter moments, diverting in the manner of a New Age soap opera. At other times they take on the aspect of allegory, reflecting the diametrical human reaction to the power of the psychedelic experience as the group ultimately splinters intro two factions. On the one hand, three people, Terence, his lover, Ev, and his brother, Dennis, continue to ingest copious quantities of the mushrooms, convinced that they are working toward a goal of ultimate importance — the creation of a literal, physical doorway to a higher dimension. On the other hand, the two remaining members of the group back off, alarmed at what they perceive as pre-psychotic behavior in the McKennas. It is, in fact, Dennis McKenna’s extremely crazed behavior that finally precipitates the group’s premature departure from their jungle base and their return to civilization, but it is also through his brother’s behavior that Terence McKenna is stimulated into some of his most meaningful breaks into higher reality.

McKenna describes instances of telepathy, clairvoyance, materialization of lost objects; glimpses of alien beings and higher dimensions; of disembodied voices speaking portents. he describes UFO/flying saucer symbolism and visions, culminating in his climactic and life-changing encounter with an alien craft.  Did these things have an objective reality outside the drug experience? McKenna treats this issue with intelligence and bemusement, and this is what elevates his account from mere psychedelic theory-mongering into a genuine, candid inquiry into the nature of the psychedelic experience and of the solutions to the existential questions the experience intimates. I’m left with an impression of McKenna honestly and humbly seeking the truth through psychedelics, and receiving for his answer an outpouring of mysterious symbology.

Now, some fourteen years later, McKenna is in a position to tell this retrospective tale, and to distill the wealth of enthusiasms and revelations in a way that only the leveling of power of such a span of time can provide. This is an important and enjoyable contribution to the lamentably small body of literature of psychedelic understanding.

–Ted Schulz

Gnosis 01 005

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/

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 #13 – Terence McKenna’s Rave New World (Alternative Press, March 1994)

Ok, the random item of the day is back after a busy period. Today’s random item eluded me for quite a while. Terence McKenna was featured in the music magazine Alternative Press in 1994 for an article/interview by Eric Gladstone focusing on rave culture and Terence’s influence on the philosophical outlooks of many in that scene. Gladstone praises Terence’s Alien Dreamtime collaboration with visual artists Rose X (aka Ken Adams & Britt Welin), electronic musician Spacetime Continuum (aka Jonah Sharp), and didgeridooist extraordinaire Stephen Kent as “one of the most meaningful projects to come out of the culture so far.” For me, it’s always great to hear Terence explain things in words I’ve never heard from him before, even if it’s a familiar concept he has explained elsewhere time and time again. To my way of interacting with T’s output, it is precisely these alternate tellings of the same or similar concepts which really allow one to unpack his ideas. This is one of the reasons that I have focused the archives on print material as it is a whole (prolific) realm of Terence’s output and wordplay that doesn’t exist in the ubiquitous and readily-available online audio/video corpus. It is the print material that is most in danger of becoming lost and forgotten. I’ll continue to search and share for these things, and we value any support that you might be able to offer.

Gladstone interviewed Terence at his home in Occidental. One of my favorite bits comes in the concluding paragraph:

Sounding alternately pessimist and optimist, lighthearted and passionately serious, McKenna’s arguments, both in interview and in performance, show a rare level of contemplation. But not, he insists, much planning. “No, no, none of these things are rehearsed. It’s all ad-lib. We’ve been doing it right here. We can send this to the Shamen and release it! No, it’s called ‘not being stupid!’ Amazing! Miraculous! Line up at the door, folks, a liberal college education displayed for your astonishment! Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

And, here’s Terence’s advice on appropriate drug use in the rave scene:

“Raves are a good place to do pot and take smart drugs, and dance, but I think a psychedelic dose that is effective is too high a dose to be 1) out in public, and 2) trying to negotiate transportation.”

Terence also describes, in this interview, how he ended up collaborating with The Shamen on ‘Re-Evolution’:

“They came to one of my old-style, pitcher-of-water-and-chair onstage lectures in London and said they wanted to sample me. And, we got together in the studio the next day and basically just talked for a couple of hours.” Straight to DAT, the result appeared on the album Boss Drum and single “Re-Evolution,” hits which brought McKenna to the attention of Spacetime Continuum. Collaborations with Zuvuya (a.k.a Jason Grey, a.k.a. Juju Midget) on the U.K. Flow Sound label and another with Coil are due soon.

The only version I’ve been able to locate is the super low-res digital scan that appears below, but I also just (after years of searching) found a copy that was finally posted on ebay and have ordered it. So, I should be able to add a physical copy of the magazine into the archives very soon.

 

If you’d like to donate to help support the acquisition, preservation, storage and sharing of Terence legacy, you can donate here: https://terencemckenna.wikispaces.com/

There is also an ongoing crowdfund effort at present, so please do check out our Etsy storefront. The photo-items on offer are really spectacular!

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

TSquare010