Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #42 – ‘The Archaic Revival’ Reviewed in Library Journal (1992)

Today’s random item from the archives is another in the line of Terence McKenna’s work reviewed in Library Journal. I’ve already covered the Library Journal reviews of The Invisible Landscape (in 1976) & Alien Dreamtime (in 1993) and will eventually get around to reviews of Food of the Gods (book), History Ends in Green (audio), True Hallucinations (book), and Global Perspectives and Psychedelic Poetics (audio) also from the same publication. These are primarily useful as focused instances of reception of Terence’s work as well as to see how he would have been portrayed to the audience of this widely-dispersed trade publication.

Here, in Vol. 117 No. 7 (April 15, 1992), Gail Wood, from Montgomery College Library in Maryland, briefly reviews (and recommends) Terence’s anthology of essays and interviews, The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History. The book is listed under the category ‘Parapsychology’, while Food of the Gods was reviewed as ‘Social Science’ and True Hallucinations as ‘Anthropology & Customs’.

McKenna has been exploring the “Wholly Other” for 25 years. In this spiritual journey, he ponders shamanism, buddhism, and ethnopharmacology. By the phrase “archaic revival,” McKenna refers to a return to shamanism, which he believes can be enhanced by current scientific Sc8z3a7a1pJop8e+3ThaWo4mD3ZvVgD4DZEmM1bjC7HOXrbytgWvzpshQMVgVdVGGG0GKU17+H4hazYJyLZFYWZeIJhnKV3FvKNBi1kl9Fo=practices. The next level of spiritual transformation, he explains, is achieved by the intelligent use of psychedelics and should be performed only by thoughtful explorers rather than experimenters, scientific or otherwise. The ideas presented in this collection of interviews, speeches, and articles are radical even now, and will challenge the reader. There are many insights on current spiritual movements such as goddess worship, deep ecology, space beings, and virtual reality. Recommended. —Gail Wood, Montgomery Coll. Lib., Germantown, Md.

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The Terence McKenna Archives has an on-going crowdfund campaign at: https://www.gofundme.com/terencemckennaarchives

The Invisible Landscape Reviewed in Library Journal in 1976

On May 1, 1976, Library Journal published a review of a book written by brothers Terence and Dennis McKenna. This is, so far as I know, the first-ever published review of the McKenna brothers’ first book, The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching, and is the only proper ‘review’ of the first edition (1975) of this book (as I mentioned in a recent post, Robert Anton Wilson also devoted several pages to a treatment of “the McKenna theory” in his 1977 book, Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati).

As I’ve also mentioned in a previous post, Library Journal was created in 1876 by Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal System, as a trade publication for librarians. All of Terence’s books and a few of his published talks have been reviewed in Library Journal over the years (and will eventually be featured here in the archival blog).

This 1976 review, by Nathan Schwartz of the New York Association for Analytical Psychology is among the more positive of the reviews of Terence’s work that appear in Library Journal and is notable particularly because of its early date when Terence (and Dennis) would not have had any other reputation. This is essentially their first public exposure, a positive public exposure, and in a well-established and highly-circulated publication. Finally, it is also worth noting that The Invisible Landscape is, here, reviewed under the heading of ‘Science/Psychology’ (also, the ‘experiments’ were with psilocybin mushrooms and banisteriopsis caapi, not ayahuasca as Schwartz states, as I’m sure you know–it’s very important in Terence’s life story that the experiment was with mushrooms). Here’s Schwartz’s review:

A unique work, difficult in subject matter yet well worth the reader’s effort. Using data from their experiment at a tiny mission settlement in the Upper Amazon Basin with the drug ayahuasca, the authors embark on a tour de force of quantum mechanics, biochemistry, psychiatry, holography, and then the I Ching, with the purpose of demonstrating that “‘thought’ or ‘consciousness’ has its physical basis in quantum mechanical phenomena.” It is a “free-wheeling series of speculations” indeed, but a process that is witness to the vast internal resources of the archetypes that the authors tapped through their drug-induced experiences. This new consciousness has its fruition in a novel understanding of the I Ching, and through this an approach to the mathematics of form. The book breaks new ground, and casts much that is known in a new form. Important for psychologists, chemists, and physicists.

–Nathan J. Schwartz, New York Assn. for Analytical Psychology

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #14 – Alien Dreamtime in Library Journal

The 60-minute VHS video tape of the 1993 Alien Dreamtime event in San Francisco, composed of “three raves [and] two interregnums [with] visions [by] Rose X, didgeridoo [by] Stephen Kent, and sound by Spacetime [Continuum], [with] words and ideas by Terence McKenna,” was reviewed in the April 1, 1995 issue of Library Journal (a trade magazine for librarians founded in 1876 by Melvil Dewey, of Dewey Decimal System fame). The reviewer, Carol Dratch-Kovler, a consultant with the Upper Hudson Library System gives a very positive review amidst a pretty random array of brief video reviews, including ‘The Papal Concert to Commemorate the Holocaust’ and ‘Color Printing with the Beseler 45A Color Head: A Workshop with Darryl Nicholas (2 vols.)’.

“Take a step outside your mind”. . . this video captures the psychedelic experience without drugs. It incorporates the hallucinatory visuals or Rose X Media House with the transcendent rap of author Terence McKenna. . . The mesmerizing visuals are enhanced by the musical musings of the Space Time Continuum and didgeridooiste Stephen Kent. Recorded live, this is much more than a media performance; it is a hypnotic journey that seduces the viewer into the mysterious realm of alternate reality. The performance is divided in to three movements, each cognizant of McKenna’s ethnobotanical theories: Archaic Revival, Alien Love, and Time Wave Zero. The radical ideas presented here proved that the “Sixties” are alive and well in the “Nineties,” at least in San Francisco. At $19.95, the price is right for “a long, strange trip.”