Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle Acquisitions (2017)

For Terence McKenna’s birthday this past year (Nov. 16, 2017), the Terence McKenna Archives held a raffle for a set of photos of Terence. The first-prize winner, Graham St. John, won the full set of photos, and runner-up Jeff Lerue won a single photo of his choice. Everyone else who participated received an email thanking them for their contributions, which included a unique document compiled by the archivist with details about the locations of copies of a rare art book which Terence collaborated on.

I had also promised that I would make a blog post detailing which items I was able to add to the collection with the profits from the raffle. This is that blog post. Thanks, again, to everyone who contributed! You’ll be glad to know that we were able to make bargains with some of the sellers, which allowed us to save $70 on the total cost of the items.

Here is what you helped to add to the Terence McKenna Archives:

1. All 4 issues of ‘Towards 2012’ magazine (edited by Gyrus)

Towards 2012 was a magazine produced in the late 1990s that was partly inspired by the work of Terence McKenna. From 1995 to 1998, the series editor, Gyrus, created five well-produced, and now very difficult to find, issues (the final two issues were housed in a single magazine, making four volumes in all). Within the volumes there are several articles which refer to, comment on, or reconsider Terence’s ideas, a transcribed version of Terence’s Tryptamine Hallucinogens & Consciousness talk (his first-ever talk at the Esalen Institute), an interview with Sasha & Ann Shulgin where some differences with Terence come up, some interesting Terence-related art (I particularly like the ‘stoned ape’), and several ads for Terence-related material, including his website. Of particular note for the archive is an advertisement for a “hefty zine” called Heads and Tales, which lists “Terence McKenna” under the contents for Issue #1. If anyone reading this has any further information about this zine or if you have a copy that you would like to scan, send, or sell, please contact terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com. This is a publication that is not represented in our physical or digital archives.

This is a finite project, created to take a close look at the transmutational possibilities that lay before homo sapiens as we approach the millennium… At the heart of the project is the intuition that the human race is fast approaching a catastrophe cusp point – a phase transition period… 2012 CE is a date that may as well have been singled out arbitrarily for the title of this journal. As it happens, it is the date that ethnopharmacologist Terence McKenna points to as the precise location of the ‘catastrophe cusp’ in the temporal dimension; it is the date beyond which futurologist Robert Anton Wilson has stated that he is unable to project possible futures; and it is the end of a Great Cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar system. We are facing the end of the world as we know it, because it has outlived its viability.

March Forth!

Now, perhaps, the ‘archaic revival’ proposed by Terence McKenna, and the term ‘modern primitives’ popularized by the Re/search body art manual, can be seen in an evolutionary context. The prime characteristics of rave culture – the use of psychedelics, the utilisation of percussive music for altering consciousness, its neo-tribal structure, the rise in nomadic lifestyles, the popularity of body-piercing and tattooing – may be seen as a cultural return to a more primitive model. From this point, having regressed back beyond the cultural and social blind alleys of recent human history, a “creative leap forward” may be made to escape WoMan’s over-specialization.” -Samuel Lawson

Sasha Shulgin: I was listening to Terence McKenna years ago at Esalen. He was talking about how if a drug comes from nature it’s okay, but if it comes from a lab it’s suspect. Suddenly he realized that I was sittin gin the audiences (laughter). In essence, I said, “Terence, I’m as natural as they come…”

It is interesting, then, that around Dionysus…we find so much debate about whether his worshippers’ sacrament was wine or mushrooms… Most scholars…conclude that Dionysus’ rites involved both intoxicants. Astoundingly, McKenna does not pick up on this symbolic psychoactive cross-over, but clearly recognizes the importances of Dionysus as a transitional one. -Gyrus

Psychedelic experiences and dreams are chemical cousins, they are only different in degree. -Terence McKenna

 

2. 5 issues of ‘TRP: The Resonance Project’ and 1 issue of TRIP magazines (edited by James Kent–it can’t be said that the editorial staff didn’t have a sense of humor), including relevant interviews with Terence McKenna, Dennis McKenna, Rick Strassman, and D.M. Turner, articles mentioning TM, reviews of books that have contributions by TM, and more.

3. ‘Bookways’ magazine #8 (1993)

This journal which is dedicated to the art of bookmaking includes a review, by Barbara Tetenbaum, of the 1992 collaboration of Terence McKenna with artist and bookmaker Timothy Ely. The Terence McKenna Archives will be holding a major crowdfund campaign early in 2018, in part in order to acquire a copy of this book, called Synesthesia, from a private owner who is making a copy of this rare item for the archives if I can raise the funds by early March. Tetenbaum has kindly donated her review to the crowdfund effort for a document that I am creating to offer to donors. Here is just enough to give a hint…

 

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4. ‘boing boing’ magazine #10 (1994)

This is a volume that has long been on the list of items to acquire for the archive but has usually been unavailable. Fortunately, a reasonably-priced copy became available at the same time as the raffle. I knew that there was both an interview with Terence and a review of his Timewave Zero software, both of which made it a high-priority item. So, it was a pleasant surprise to also find references to Terence in two other places in the magazine: in Thomas Lyttle‘s interview with Peter Stafford and in D’Artemis Hart(wo)mann’s article reflecting on the role of prostitutes in religious history. There was also an unexpected review of the Experiment at Petaluma video project produced by Terence’s friends at Rose X Media and an ad (one I’ve never seen before) for a company, Fringeware, selling Terence’s Timewave software.

 

5. ‘High Times’ magazine #385 (July 2001)

This is another item that has been on the acquisitions list for some time. It is an issue of High Times magazine from July 2001 containing a letter from Dennis McKenna offering some words on Terence’s passing and making readers aware of the Journey Through the Spheres tribute album produced by The Novelty Project.

Terence was a complex person, blessed with a restless mind and curiosity that led him down many little-traveled pathways of thought and speculation. As his brother…I can testify from experience, it was a long, strange trip indeed. -Dennis McKenna (via Internet)

6. ‘Utne Reader’ magazine #53 (1992)

This issue of the Utne Reader from 1992 contains an excerpt from Terence’s book Food of the Gods, which had just been published by Bantam. The excerpt in the magazine appears under the heading ‘Just Say Yes: Rethinking our Relationship to Psychoactive Plants’.

The time has come to rethink our fascination with the use of psychoactive drugs and physioactive plants… [W]e cannot simply advocate “Just say no” any more than we can advocate “Try it, you’ll like it.” Nor can we support a view that wishes to divide society into users and non-users… The suppression of the natural human fascination with altered states of consciousness and the present perilous situation of all life are intimately and causally connected… As a consequence, the maladaptive social styles that encourage overpopulation, resource mismanagement, and environmental toxification develop and maintain themselves… We pursue a business-as-usual attitude in a surreal atmosphere of mounting crises and irreconcilable contradictions… The government not only restricts research on psychedelics that could conceivably yield valuable psychological and medical insights, it presumes to prevent religious and spiritual use of them as well… [E]ncounters with psychedelic plants throw into question the entire worldview of Western culture… We are killing the planet in order to keep intact wrongheaded assumptions.

It is time for change.

-Terence McKenna

7. The Shamen – Hystericool: The Best of the Alternative Mixes CD (2002)

Terence’s hit song with the British band the Shamen is remixed here by the geniuses of psychedelic electronica, Future Sound of London. Listen here.

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8. Psiconautas: Exploradores de la Conciencia (edited by Juanjo Pineiro) (2000)

This book contains Spanish-language interviews with an exciting swath of the psychedelic community, including a 20-page interview with Terence McKenna. Anyone who wants to volunteer to translate this interview into English, please contact terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

 

9. Bang Pudding by Steve Taylor (1995)

Terence read this book and, “at several points,” “burst into real laughter” at this work that is “steeped in the unutterably Other” and “alarms, even as it amuses.”

10. Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synaesthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge by Kevin T. Dann (1998)

In his analysis of the phenomenon of synesthesia, Kevin Tyler Dann, touches down on Terence’s ideas at several points.

 

11. Lucid Waking: Mindfulness and the Spiritual Potential of Humanity by Georg Feuerstein (1997)

George Feuerstein is notably disdainful of Terence and the ‘chemical path to ecstasy’.

12. The True Light of Darkness by James Jesso (2015)

Jesso’s autiobiographical account includes his encounters with the ideas of Terence McKenna.

13. Sacred Mushroom of Visions, Teonanacatl: A Sourcebook on the Psilocybin Mushroom by Ralph Metzner (2005)

Ralph Metzner’s sourcebook on psilocybin mushrooms includes several passing references to Terence, mostly showing his major linguistic influence on how people interpret their psychedelic experiences.

14. The Evolutionary Mind: Conversations on Science, Imagination, and Spirit by Ralph Abraham, Rupert Sheldrake, and Terence McKenna (2005)

An edition of this book that I’ve hoped to add to the archive for some time but has simply not taken priority up until now over other, harder-to-come-by, items. A very welcome addition, though. Eventually, we’d like to have copies of all editions (and translations) of Terence’s books represented.

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15. Heavenly Highs: Ayahuasca, Kava-Kava, DMT, and Other Plants of the Gods by Peter Stafford (

Peter Stafford’s book mentions and quotes Terence throughout, including a couple of brief comments by Susan Blackmore in her Afterword.

16. 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect: A Revolutionary Spiritual and Physical Survival Guide for 2012 – 2020 (Discovered by Bob Thiel, Ph.D.) (2009)

This one I actually just randomly found at a thrift shop and thought I’d include it here. The Timewave is invoked here (via Robert Bast) among a string of expectations for 2012. At some point, I have plans to make a whole extended blog post about the occurrence of Terence’s name and ideas in the rise of 2012 literature after his death. You’ll notice quite a few ‘2012’ books in the physical holdings of the TM Archives.

17. The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalists Misadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Experiments by Eliezer Sobel (2008) (Paperback)

….a few mentions of Terence here, too.

 

The Hallucinogeneration Game – Terence McKenna & The Shamen in New Musical Express

Welcome back to the Terence McKenna Archival Blog. It’s been a very busy summer, and I apologize for not having posted more regularly over the past months. I am hoping to get back into a more regular pattern of posting. Even though the blog has been quiet, the effort to archive the world of Terence McKenna has continued in full force. For the first post back after the summer lull, I thought, as a treat, I’d include an item that I received recently that includes some “new” photos of Terence. People always love that!

You have probably heard the musical collaboration between Terence McKenna and the British band, The Shamen, called ‘Re-Evolution’. If not, you should hear it — it’s a classic! It begins with Terence’s rephrasing of William Blake: “If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.” I’ll leave it to you to consider whether you think this is the case or whether you think, as Terence said in a later talk, that he tries to “think of a good story, because I think the best story will win,” and that, perhaps, the truth can be told so as to be understood and a good story might still be believed in its stead. Either way, if you haven’t heard it, or just haven’t listened in a while, it’s worth a (re-)listen. I also am particularly fond of the remix by Future Sound of London, called ‘Re-Iteration’.

The Shamen had previously topped the British music charts with their song ‘Ebeneezer Goode’, which gained both fame and infamy for its apparently subversive MDMA-promoting lyrics: “He’s Ebeneezer Goode….eezer Goode, eezer Goode” (i.e. “E’s are good”; Good-E). So, when they produced ‘Re-Evolution’ with Terence McKenna, people were paying attention, and it drew a lot of popular attention to Terence that he had never received in that way before. The Terence McKenna Archives currently holds two copies of the ‘Re-Evolution’ LP (though I can’t currently locate the posters that came along with them which display a full transcription of Terence’s monologue).

Another related favorite item (this time from the digital archives) is a short article that appeared in the London newspaper, The Daily Mirror, on March 10, 1993.

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I always find it particularly amusing that the author of this article actually contacted “a spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry” to get an official comment on Terence’s suggestion that the working man’s coffee breaks be replaced with cannabis breaks. Cannabis is, of course, still illegal in the UK, 24 years later.

The main item from the archive, though, that I’d like to profile today on the blog is a recently acquired issue of a British music magazine called New Musical Express from February 27, 1993. This issue of NME features The Shamen on the cover and includes a two-page spread article featuring commentary on the band and its recent endeavors and controversies, focusing particularly on their collaboration with McKenna, and includes excerpts of discussions with Terence and co-founder of The Shamen, Colin Angus. Photos are by Steve Double (who I have contacted to inquire about other photos from the shoot). I’ll include some excerpts from the article below the images.

…the bloated, festering music industry has shown itself to be moribund by the debacle of this year’s Brits Awards…

…What kind of decidedly crazy people only give awards on sales merits when their vested interests are involved and refuse to even acknowledge true rags-to-riches tales like that of The Shamen? Why, the committee of money-driven, power-hungry major label movers and shakers of course…

…But Colin Angus and his verbal sparring partner Terence McKenna aren’t fazed today — Colin just feels snubbed by the industry…

…Terence McKenna’s creased face breaks into a huge grin — he’d love to have performed ‘Re-evolution’ with The Shamen at the awards ceremonies and disturbed the peace.

His eyes are twinkling, limpid pools of light. They seem suffused with a thousand years of knowledge. His demeanour betrays  a near-lifetime of psychedelic drug ingestion. His voice is a deep, rich, cracked volcano and, in his presence, you feel other-worldly, as if you’re making contact with previously undiscovered alien beings who understand you but whom you can’t understand.

This is Terence McKenna, author, shaman, voyager into the unknown…and not your average acid casualty. A thorn in the side of polite society, a crusader for change, and the spoken-word star of the new single by The Shamen, he’s spooning his chicken curry in London’s East End and offering pearls of wisdom.

Terence: “My approach to this stuff is political and I see this stuff as a vehicle for propaganda. And this youth culture is very astute on how bankrupt the values of the middle-class are. What are they going to have handed on to them? The whole planet has been looted right in front of them. So, getting this kind of message out is empowering an underclass that is going to inherit the world.”

Who is this mild-mannered man who never raises his voice, this American with a 14-year-old son who gets him to listen to grunge and house music when they’re not going out to see Ice-T films together? And what is he doing with one of our highest-profile pop groups, The Shamen, who strive to question the unquestionable when they’re not perfecting bite-sized snippets of electronic gospel…

Terence McKenna…is much more open to music and experience. He doesn’t see Western people with painted faces dancing around a fire as shamen, but people who hold great sway over other people through the healing power of music. And he tries to make mincemeat of my arguments against psychedelic drugs. The reason why most people don’t take these drugs, I proffer, is because they fear for the effects; not necessarily the short-term effects, but the long-term effects, which are largely unknown.

“I think people don’t take them because the establishment has misinformed them, he counters… This is the recovery of the way religion was done for the first million years after it was invented. And it’s just been in the last 500 years of European civilisation that people have become so phobic of the unconscious, of their own minds, that they’ve tried to legislate everything but a waking sleep out of existence.”

Terence: “Society picks and chooses the drugs it exalts, usually to serve a social system that is not our friend, but the friend of the people who are profiting off the social system.”

We have an interesting discussion on the class system — during which Colin and Terence relish abolition of the monarchy — and a heated debate on Christianity.

Colin: “The apocalypse is going to start happening in the beginning of the next century, the next millennium. At least the start of it, anyway. And it’s basically going to be the collapse of the global capitalist economic system, competition for dwindling resources and basically the results of there being too many people on the planet.”

Don’t you have any optimism for the future?

“I do believe that those of use, the people that do survive, that it will be a new beginning for us, a positive transformation.”

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This Week’s Terence McKenna Archival Haul (6/25/17)

It’s been another slow week of intake at the Terence McKenna Archives. Only one item came through this week. Check out our crowdfund if you’d like to see more weekly acquisitions coming in.

  1. Jim de Rogatis’ book Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock contains a quote by and a paragraph mentioning Terence Mckenna.

    “The power of sound is almost an archetypal conceit of all theories of magic anywhere in the world. For us, magic means stagecraft and illusion, but for many people, it simply means another way of doing business with reality. Rave culture, to some degree, can be seen as a nostalgia for archaic and so-called primitive lifestyles….Music has to be percussive to address human physiology. I mean, you wouldn’t want to listen to too much Schoenberg on acid.” -Terence McKenna

    “Another hugely influential English act was the Shamen, who shifted gears in 1989 from post-punk psychedelic rock to more dance-oriented sounds while breaching the mainstream with the acid house hit, “Move Any Mountain.” In 1993, the group started a trend by recording Boss Drum with Terence McKenna, the American ethnobotanist who no less an authority than Timothy Leary called “the Timothy Leary of the ’90s.” The author of poetic pro-psychedelic tracts such as True Hallucinations, The Archaic Revival, and Food of the Gods, McKenna was the closest thing rave culture had to a guru. Although ravers failed to adopt all of his theories, he showed a keen understanding of the rock ‘n’ roll mindset with his central tenet that going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience is long going to the grave without ever having sex. Samples of such pronouncements delivered in McKenna’s lovably nasal voice would soon show up on tracks by Psychic TV, Coil, Youth, and the Orb, among other techno artists. One of the most lucid and enlightened authorities on the subject of drugs in the ’90s, he sadly died from brain cancer in April 2000.” -Jim de Rogatis

If you appreciate what the Terence McKenna Archives does and want to ensure that the acquisitions keep coming, please do consider donating or purchasing some items from our crowdfund. All proceeds go to support the further acquistion, preservation, storage, and sharing of Terence McKenna’s Legacy.

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/

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