Terence McKenna Interviewed in ‘Critique’ Magazine (1989)

Critique: A Journal Exposing Consensus Reality was a quarterly countercultural publication that often specialized in issues surrounding conspiracy culture but also dealt with broader issues, as is made more clear in its alternate title: Critique: A Journal of Conspiracies & Metaphysics. It’s self-described purpose was “to question, explore, and expose consensus reality to assist in the transformation from consumer idiots to critically thinking, aware and developing individuals. And to prepare the way for the new paradigms and the new species.”

Issue #31 (Summer 1989) contained a 3-page interview with Terence McKenna conducted by David Jay Brown & Rebecca McClen. This is a different edit from the same interview that also later appeared in High Times magazine in 1992, and which later appeared again (also with a different edit) in Brown & McClen (Novick)’s book Mavericks of the Mind in 1993. The interview also appears in Terence’s own book The Archaic Revival, identifying Critique as the original publication, although the interview is much longer in the book than in the magazine.

The theme of this particular special issue of Critique was ‘End of the World or End of an Illusion’, so Brown & McClen selected out the sections of their interview that were most relevant to that theme. You can view a photocopy of the entire interview (as published in Critique) on pages 2-4, here. But, I’ll include some choice quotes below.

A reference to Terence also appears elsewhere in the issue in Michael Grosso‘s article, ‘Endtime Anomalies’, where he says:

“The anomalous signs in the sky — which we call UFOs — seem designed to undermine confidence in our prevailing sense of reality. Terence McKenna compares these unidentified sky signs with the Resurrection of Jesus in the ancient world, something meant to counfound, paralyze, and suspend the intellectual cocksureness of the powers that be.”  -Michael Grosso


In the introduction to the interview in Mavericks of the Mind, Rebecca McClen Novick provides some further details about the context of the interview: “This was our first interview. It took place on November 30th, 1988 in the dramatic setting of Big Sur. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean we sat on the top floor of the Big House at the Esalen Institute, where Terence was giving a weekend seminar. He needed little provocation to enchant us with the pyrotechnic wordplay which is his trademark, spinning together the cognitive destinies of Gaia, machines, and language and offering a highly unorthodox description of our own evolution.”

TM: “What we can say concerning the singularity is this: it is the obviation of life in three dimensional space, everything that is familiar comes to an end, everything that can be described in Euclidean space is superseded by modes of being which require a more complicated description than is currently available.”

TM: “We shouldn’t assume time travel is impossible simply because it hasn’t been done. There’s plenty of latitude in the laws of quantum physics to allow for moving information through time in various ways. Apparently you can move information through time, as long as you don’t move it through time faster than light.

DJB: “Why is that?”

TM: “I haven’t the faintest idea. (laughter) What am I, Einstein? (laughter)

DJB: “I’m wondering what you think the ultimate goal of human evolution is?

TM: “Oh, a good party. (laughter)

TM: “It’s very interesting that in the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries, when they took the sacrament, what the god said was, “Procreate, procreate.” It is uncanny the way history is determined by who sleeps with whom, who gets born, what lines are drawn forward, what tendencies are accelerated. Most people experience what they call magic only in the dimension of mate-seeking, and this is where even the dullest people have astonishing coincidences, and unbelievable things go on; it’s almost as though hidden strings were being pulled…”

DJB: “Do you think that there’s any relationship between the self-transforming machine elves that you’ve encountered on your shamanic voyages and the solid state entities that John Lilly has contacted in his interdimensional travels?”

TM: “I don’t think there is much congruence. The solid state entities that he contacted seem to make him quite upset…”

TM: “Now let’s think about what machines are made of, in light of Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field theory. Machines are made of metal, glass, gold, silicon, and plastic; they are made of what the earth is made of. Now wouldn’t it be strange if biology were a way for earth to alchemically transform itself into a self-reflecting thing. In which case then, what we’re headed for inevitably, what we are in fact creating is a world run by machines… Actually the fear of being ruled by machines is the male ego’s fear of relinquishing control of the planet to the maternal matrix of Gaia. Ha. That’s it. Just a thought. (laughter).

TM: “Consciousness can’t evolve any faster than language. The rate at which language evolves determines how fast consciousness evolves, otherwise you’re just lost in what Wittgenstein calls ‘the unspeakable’. You can feel it, but you can’t speak of it, so it’s an entirely private reality.

…There have been periods in English when there were emotions which don’t exist anymore, because the words have been lost. This is getting very close to this business of how reality is made by language. Can we recover a lost emotion by creating a word for it? There are colors which don’t exist anymore because the words have been lost. I’m thinking of the word jacinth. This is a certain kind of orange. Once you know the word jacinth, you always can recognize it, but if you don’t have it, all you can say is it’s a little darker orange than something else. We’ve never tried to consciously evolve our language, we’ve just let it evolve, but now we have this level of awareness, and this level of cultural need where we really must plan where the new words should be generated. There are areas where words should be gotten rid of that empower politically wrong thinking… So planned evolution of language is the way to speed it toward expressing the frontier of consciousness.”

TM: “It was Ludwig von Bertallanfy, the inventor of general systems theory, who made the famous statement that “people are not machines, but in all situations where they are given the opportunity, they will act like machines,” so you have to keep disturbing them, ’cause they always settle down into a routine.”

TM: “I have named us [himself, Rupert Sheldrake, Ralph Abraham, and Frank Barr] Compressionists, or Psychedelic Compressionists. A Compressionism holds that the world is growing more and more complex, compressed, knitted together, and therefore holographically complete at every point, and that’s basically where the four of us stand, I think, but from different points of view.”


Don’t forget about our ongoing crowdfund. Please help support the expansion of the Terence McKenna Archives: https://www.gofundme.com/terencemckennaarchives

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.


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.


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 #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.)


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.


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:


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:


Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #15 – The Evolutionary Mind Reviewed by David Jay Brown

In 2005, a new edition of The Evolutionary Mind was published, consisting of transcribed selections from the trialogues between chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham, renegade biologist Rupert Sheldrake, and explorer of the “ontological foundations of shamanism and the ethnopharmacology of spiritual transformation” Terence McKenna, which took place at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. David Jay Brown, whose own interviews with Terence will come up in future blog posts, reviewed the new volume for Shift: At the Frontiers of Consciousness, the (former) quarterly magazine of The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS).

“The deep thinking and imaginative speculation in this book cover an incredible range of topics from the nature of time to the end of reality. Each participant takes a turn initiating a discussion, and then the other two join in, almost like circus jugglers adding layers of complexity to their performance. A rare alchemy is created when these three scholars and close friends begin exchanging ideas, provoking and challenging one another into new dimensions of thought…

What emerges from these conversations is a kind of collective intelligence that appears to transcend each thinker’s individual limitations. The combined perspectives form a single mind that is more imaginative and intellectually balanced than one might expect examining their ideas separately. It’s as though each holds a piece to the cosmic puzzle, and the pieces begin to fit when they explore the frontiers of thought creatively together.”


Weekly Terence McKenna Archival Haul (6/11/17)

Another mellow week at the Terence McKenna Archives. Here’s what we took in this time around:

  1. I received the other three issues of Psychedelic Monographs & Essays–I received and mentioned the first ordered issue last week only to note that there was not much to be found in its pages related to TM. Well, the same is largely true of the remaining volumes of PM&E, although there are a few mentions that I will note. In #2, there’s nothing. In #3, there is a citation for both The Invisible Landscape and the original audiobook of True Hallucinations (before a published book ever existed) as part of an article on Rupert Sheldrake and his ‘Hypothesis of Formative Causation’. The McKenna’s are cited among a group of observers who have noted “past life remembrance” with psychedelics. In #4 there are a few more citations: in an article on ‘Meditation and Resonance Effects’ by Philo Stone, the ‘Organismic Thought’ chapter of The Invisible Landscape is cited and in an article on ‘The Mushroom Entheogen’ Terence and Dennis are cited under their Oeric & Oss pseudonyms for their book, Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide. Terence also shows up in an advertisement for an event in honor of Albert Hofmann at which he would be a featured presenter to take place on October 2, 1988 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Los Angeles and is listed on the subsequent page as among the board members for the Albert Hofmann Foundation. Finally, there is an advertisement for Terence’s talks, via Kat Harrison’s Lux Natura catalog, which appears near the end of the volume located next to an advertisement for Botanical Dimensions.

2. Exposure magazine from October 1990 included a dual-article with pieces written by both Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna. This is a fairly rare and little-known (and quite large) item. I am only aware of one other copy currently available online going for about $60.

3. I received a hard copy of an issue of SPIN magazine from April 1991 that I featured a couple weeks back in the weekly haul as a set of digital images. One thing that I failed to mention last time that I will highlight now is a curious mention of a government document that is supposed to reference Terence as a way of pointing to the potential dangers of virtual reality. I would be GREATLY obliged to anyone who might be able to help me track down that document…

At the end of McKenna’s talk, Debbie Harlow rose with a concrete warning: she and Jaron [Lanier] had recently received a newsletter put out by the criminal justice department of the state of Hawaii that quoted McKenna and Mondo 2000 on virtual reality and alerted judges to the possible dangers of this new “drug.”

4. The April 1995 issue of Yoga Journal featured an interview with Ralph Abraham, which mentioned Terence in passing as a collaborator.

I also spent a few hours in the Image Resource Center on campus scanning photos from Chip Simons’ early 1990s shoot at the house in Occidental. I will be able to offer these very high-quality photos as part of the forthcoming crowdfunding campaign and am excited to eventually show them.

And, finally, once again, I will also include a final section with books that came in this week that don’t mention Terence (or weren’t represented in his library) but that nonetheless might be of interest:

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #7 – Terence’s Published Books

Today’s item comes along with something of an apparent synchronicity that seems, intuitively, to be statistically unlikely: the item that was selected by the random number generator was an item that I had only just pulled out of the mailbox not fifteen minutes previously. [If you’re interested in a reflection on why this apparent synchronicity is, perhaps, less unlikely than it at first seems, I’ll say a bit more about that at the end of the post]

The item in question today is the first edition (1998) of The Evolutionary Mind: Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable by Trialogue Press, a book made up of a selection of transcripts from the series of ‘trialogue’ workshops at the Esalen Institute, which featured more-or-less freeform discussions among the triad of Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham, and Rupert Sheldrake. You can get access to all of the recordings through Rupert’s website (and the Evolutionary Mind recordings are on Ralph’s website, too, just so as not to appear to be lopsided in my hyperlinking). However, I figured, rather than posting Terence’s books, one at a time, as they come up in the random number generator, it would be better to just post a photo of all of the books for which Terence is either an author or a co-author that are currently held in the TM Archives. I’ll follow that with a written list of those books as well as a list of those (editions of) Terence’s books that are not yet represented in the archive. Here’s what is in the archive at present:


The following are the books shown in the photo above (those that exist in the archive):

  • (1975) – The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (Seabury Press) (1st edition, hardcover)
  • (1976) – Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide (And/Or Press) (1st edition, paperback)
  • (1991) – Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide (Quick American Publishing) (4th edition, paperback)
  • (1991) – The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, The Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, The Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (HarperSanFrancisco) (1st edition, paperback)
  • (1992) – Trialogues at the Edge of the West: Chaos, Creativity, and the Resacralization of the World (Bear & Company) (1st edition, paperback)
  • (1992) – Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Bantam Books) (1st edition, paperback)
  • (1993) – True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (HarperSanFrancisco) (1st edition, hardcover)
  • (1993) – The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (HarperSanFrancisco) (2nd edition, paperback)
  • (1998) – The Evolutionary Mind: Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable (Trialogue Press) (1st edition, paperback)
  • (1998) – True Hallucinations & The Archaic Revival (2-books-in-1) (Fine Communications) (1st edition, hardcover)
  • (1999) – Illuminatus (Art by Robert Venosa, Text by Terence McKenna) (Craftsman House) (1st edition, hardcover)
  • (2001) – Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness (Park Street Press) (Revised edition of Trialogues at the Edge of the West, paperback)

The following are other editions of Terence’s books that the TM Archives does not currently own hard copies of…if you would like to donate to help the acquisition process, you can use the “Donate” button at the top of the Terence McKenna Transcription Project website, or if you would like to send a copy of any the following books (or any foreign language translations of TM’s books) for us to add to the archive’s holdings, please send an email to terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

  • (1983) – Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide (And/Or Press) (2nd edition, paperback)
  • (1986) – Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide (Lux Natura) (3rd edition, paperback)
  • (1992) – Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Bantam) (1st edition, hardcover)
  • (1993) – Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Random Century–British edition) (paperback)
  • (1994) – True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (HarperOne) (1st edition, paperback)
  • (1994) – True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (Rider–British edition) (hardcover)
  • (1997) – The Evolutionary Mind: Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable (Dakota Books)
  • (1998) – The Evolutionary Mind: Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable (Aerial Press, Inc.)
  • (1999) – Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Rider–British edition)
  • (2005) – The Evolutionary Mind: Conversations on Science, Imagination, and Spirit (Monkfish Book Publishing) (Revised edition of The Evolutionary Mind, paperback)

If there is anything that you think I’m missing on either list, let me know.

[And, here’s that final note on apparent statistical unlikelihood, for those who were waiting in eager anticipation for me to finally stop talking about Terence McKenna and get on to a cognitive readings of our (typical) intuitive statistical naivete–Why does it seem so uncanny that I opened a package containing a book, added the book to the archive’s catalog, and immediately derived a number from a random number generator which corresponded to that very book which I had just received? There’s no doubt that, in gambling terms, it’s a somewhat unlikely happening. The odds of any single item being selected by the random number generator are (to use a round number) 1 in 600. Those odds, of course, don’t change just because the item is new to the archive. The new item has a 1 in 600 chance, just like every other item in the archive. In fact, narrowing it down by date makes it potentially even more likely that a particular item will be called. In other words, I actually received three items for the archive in the mail that day–that means that the odds that one of the items that I had received in the mail that day would be selected by the random number generator was actual 3 in 600 (or 1 in 200). So, the odds suggest that it was actually much more likely that one of the items I received in the mail that day would be selected as compared with the odds for any other single item in the archive being selected. Don’t get me wrong — hitting a 1 in 200 chance is nothing to scoff at, and, perhaps more importantly, the psychological effect is certainly still potent. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to consider that the potency of the psychological effect doesn’t necessarily always match the statistical significance of the event itself–or, at least, that’s one way to tell the story.]

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #1 – Alexandria: The Journal of the Western Cosmological Traditions Vol. 3

I thought I’d start another new feature here at the Terence McKenna Archival Blog. In addition to the ‘Weekly Haul‘ and other featured items that I select from the archives, I decided that one way to get through some of the archives is to do a more regular ‘Random Item’. I’ve given each item in the archive a number (well, most of them, anyway) and will use a random number generator to choose which from among them to include in the blog feature.

The first item from the archives, randomly selected for your viewing pleasure, is from the third published volume (1995) of Alexandria: The Journal of the Western Cosmological Tradition, edited by David Fideler, published by Phanes Press (which Fideler sold to Red Wheel/Weiser in 2004), and funded by the members of the Alexandria Society. The theme of this volume is ‘Education’ with an aim, as Fideler notes in his introduction, “to reconsider and revision the role of education in contemporary society” as “a truly philosophical enterprise in a time when true philosophy, when true discussion, is only rarely to be found within the halls of Academe.” It is in this context that they reprinted a section of a trialogue at Esalen, originally published in Trialogues at the Edge of the West, by Ralph Abraham, Terence McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake, titled ‘Education in the New World Order’. Terence recommends that archaeology replace physics as the paradigm of the educational system in order to “release us from the post-industrial notion of history as a kind of trendless fluctuation or class struggle or some other very dreary model of the human journey through time.” Echoing his Whitehead-inspired Novelty Theory, Terence suggests that “[i]n reformed education, people must be taught that history is a system of interlocking resonances in which we are all imbedded [sic].” He continues, “Without some knowledge of history from the birth of the universe down to yesterday’s headlines, we’re not in a position to act in our own best interest. I define education broadly as the inculcation of attitudes that cause us to act generally in the interest of all.”


ReVISIONing the Archaic Revival (1987-1989)

Terence made three contributions to a publication called ReVISION: The Journal of Consciousness and Change in the mid-80s. During the time that his pieces appeared, the executive editors of the journal were Stanislav Grof, Ralph Metzner, and Huston Smith, each among the pioneers of American psychedelia. Terence’s appearances in ReVISION would have been an important outlet for his work to certain important segments of the counterculture at this formative stage in his career. In Vol. 10 No. 1 (Summer 1987), an essay called ‘Temporal Resonance’, written by our own TM, appeared next to other articles by Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham (his co-conspirators for a popular series of trialogues that took place as workshops at the Esalen institute, some of which were later edited and published as books), Ralph Metzner, and physicist Nick Herbert.

In Vol. 10 No. 4 (Spring 1988), in an issue whose cover bears Kat Harrison’s now iconic drawing of the ‘bee-faced mushroom shaman’ from Tassili-n-Ajjer, another essay by our protagonist appeared with the title ‘Hallucinogenic Mushrooms and Evolution’ alongside other essays by Albert Hofmann, Robert Forte, and, again, Ralph Metzner. At the end of the issue, there is also an advertisement for the 1988 International Transpersonal Conference, whose theme for the year was ‘The Transpersonal Vision: Past, Present, and Future’, which lists “Terrence McKenna” [sic] as a speaker.

Finally, in Vol. 11 No. 3, (Winter 1989), in a discussion (roughly) on the subject of UFOs, Terence talks with an unnamed interlocutor in an interviewed dubbed ‘A Conversation over Saucers’. And, following up on the previous advertisement, a new ad for the recordings from the 1988 International Transpersonal Conference appeared in this issue, including Terence’s talk called ‘Non-Ordinary States Through Vision Plants’.

All three of these ReVISION pieces were eventually republished under the same names in Terence’s book The Archaic Revival (except the word ‘Hallucinogenic’ was removed from the title of the second piece to render: ‘Mushrooms and History’). Here, the previously unnamed interviewer was finally identified as Will Noffke, radio host and owner of the Shared Visions bookstore in San Francisco which had a history of hosting Terence for talks and book signings.

(Note of interest: my own bound set of ReVision volumes came to me from the library of the Association for Research & Enlightenment, or A.R.E., in Virginia Beach, which was founded by Edgar Cayce to support his research and whose legacy is carried on there by his family. They were selling off some of the items from their library, so I purchased their set of bound ReVISION volumes).