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:


R.A.W. Day 2017 and the Art & Comics of Bobby Campbell

I had the pleasure, last month, of attending an event in Santa Cruz, California for R.A.W. Day. If you don’t yet know that R.A.W. stands for Robert Anton Wilson, you’re in luck, 20228226_10154605472820825_770752162685430355_nbecause you have a new, and truly peccable, author/thinker/comedian/entity to explore–one that I suspect you will find, in one way or another, of substantial interest. Here’s one place to start (there are others, and plenty of youtube videos). R.A.W. had an incredibly important influence on the contemporary countercultural milieu in a huge number of areas (from interpretations of quantum physics to conspiracy theory to the promotion of ‘invented religions’ to transhumanism and on and on), including many areas of overlap with Terence McKenna.

In fact, it was Wilson who seems to have been the first to notice and write publicly about The Invisible Landscape, the first edition of which was published in 1975. In R.A.W.’s 1977 classic Cosmic Trigger Vol. 1: The Final Secret of the Illuminati, he devotes several pages to a treatment of the McKenna Timewave alongside several other theories of cultural/temporal acceleration (such as those by Timothy Leary, Buckminster Fuller, and Alvin Toffler).

This, indeed, is the thesis of a remarkable book offering the final set of models and metaphors which we shall be discussing… The McKenna brothers, who between them have a background that includes anthropology, biology, chemistry, and botany, conducted a metaprogramming experiment in the Upper Amazon Basin, using the local “magic mushroom.”… The McKennas regard our universe as a hologram, every part contains the information of the whole… There are 64 time-scales in the hologram of our universe [derived from the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching]… The action of psychedelics, in the model, opens the quantum information system… Within the McKenna theory, all of the 64 time-scales peak together… There is a 4,300-year cycle from urbanization to the dawn of modern science; a 384-year cycle in which science has caused more upsurge of novelty than in that 4,300 year cycle; a 67-year cycle […] in which there will be more acceleration than there was between Galileo and Hiroshima; a 384 day cycle in 2011-2012 when there will be more transformations than in all previous cycles; a 6 day cycle […] and so on, down to a grand climax… That is, in the last two hours before Peak, we will achieve 18 extensions of consciousness and power, each one comparable to the passing from Earth to Space. And in the last .0075 seconds of the Great Cycle we will pass through 13 such transformation… As the McKenna’s say, it is hard to avoid hyperbole in trying to contemplate what this means.
Wilson also included entries on Terence and his book Food of the Gods in his own encyclopedic Everything is Under Control. Another review of Food of the Gods by R.A.W. can be found in the edited Chaos & Beyond: The Best of Trajectories  book (or in the original Trajectories newsletter #10–if you have a copy and would be willing to scan it and send me the files to add to the archives, that would be amazing!–if you have a physical copy that you’d like to send, that would be even more incredible!!). I’m also completely missing a discussion of Terence’s Timewave by R.A.W. that appears in Trajectories #7 (again if you have a copy, please do send scans).
Terence and R.A.W. appear side-by-side in many magazines, anthologies, and interview collections (like David Jay Brown’s Mavericks of the Mind). Both also traveled to Portugal to appear in Edgar Pera’s ‘LX94: Manual of Evasion’ film along with mathematician Rudy Rucker. Here’s Terence getting his makeup done:
And R.A.W. (with his iconic ring–and accent) making a phone call:
These photos and this outtake of Terence describing a monument to Portuguese navigators are from Rucker’s own home video of the experience. There’s some great intimate footage of both R.A.W. and Terence in Rucker’s video (including a shared joint), although it also seems evident that both grow a bit tired of the relentless behind-the-scenes recording, Wilson at one point exclaiming to the behind-the-camera Rucker, “Are you at it again?” before launching into a characteristically dirty limerick:
There was a young gaucho named Bruno
And he said about sex, “There is one thing I do know.
   Women are fine,
   And boys are divine,
But, iguanas are numero uno!”
Wilson and McKenna also both spoke at a significant psychedelic conference in 1991, called the Bridge Psychedelic Conference. Much more could be said about this conference, but it’s a bit of a tangent in this context, so I’ll just drop a link here to what I take to be one of Terence’s most significant, relevant, and rare topics of discussion from the conclusion to that event. He starts by mentioning a discussion the previous day between R.A.W. and Timothy Leary:
However, after all of that establishment of connections between Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna, let me get back to the R.A.W. Day event in Santa Cruz last month and the archival material that came out of it. There were quite a few friends and acquaintances of Terence in attendance and among the speakers, including Erik Davis, David Jay Brown, R. U. Sirius, Nick Herbert, Robert Forte, and others, including Daisy Eris Campbell, the producer of ‘The Cosmic Trigger Play’ in the UK (if you’d like to see the play come to the U.S. and have any space, resources, etc. to help make it happen, send me an email, and perhaps I can help in some way) as well as representatives of Hilaritas Press, who have taken over the re-publishing of R.A.W.’s books. It was a very tight group and a wonderful day of both reminiscence and forward thinking. I made a number of great connections, which will undoubtedly bear fruit for the archives down the line. And, although I’ve spent most of the blog post on a range of related tangents, it is one of those connections that I’d like to highlight here.
I did actually also acquire some relevant material for the Terence McKenna Archives at the event, from creator of comix, art, and zines, Bobby Campbell. Campbell’s work shows that he’s deeply steeped in the counterculture–he includes mash-ups of material from across the spectrum but does so in a way that remains firmly his own. He wanted to make sure, particularly, that a copy of his comic book, Agnosis, made its way into the TM Archives. While Agnosis is dedicated to and much more clearly influenced by and Robert Anton Wilson, Terence’s stamp is clearly evident throughout, as well, from the title of Book One: “#FINDTHEOTHERS” to parts of the eschatological framework (including a computer program called Timewave Aleph and discussion of “the transcendental object”), among other linguistic clues that will be obvious to those who have spent a lot of time listening to McKenna talks. So, thanks, Bobby, for making sure that copies of your work made into the archives. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what continues to pop out of your Weirdoverse!
You may also have seen Bobby’s Terence art pieces floating around the web, but if not, here you go. The Trialogues image comes from an interesting trialogue (available on disinfo) Campbell himself had by email with Ralph Abraham and Rupert Sheldrake.

Foreword to ‘Maya Cosmogenesis 2012’ – John Major Jenkins Interview Item #1

As I listened through the interview that I conducted with John Major Jenkins at his home in April 2016, I realized that there are a lot of very specific references layered into the interview, each of which would make a good post on its own. So, what I’ll do is go through the JMJ interview and create a series of annotations as individual blog posts, creating a link for each at the bottom of the original interview page, so that there is one page with the interview and links to each of the annotations.

The first reference, only 35 seconds into the interview is perhaps the most salient for people who know the connection between John Major Jenkins and Terence McKenna, namely that Terence wrote the Foreword to JMJ’s book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: the True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date (1998). Jenkins tells the A1nNahe94HLstory of how this came to be elsewhere in the interview. The short version is that the two had been corresponding since the early ’90s about material related to the Mayan calendar, as well as the I Ching (both had been members of an I Ching mailing list). Terence was giving a talk in Colorado in 1996, and JMJ went to the venue and ran into Terence who gave him a pass to the talk and the two ended up at lunch where JMJ asked about publishers for his book, and Bear & Company came up (with some reservations) as they had published the Trialogues at the Edge of the West book that contained transcripts of some of Terence’s conversations with Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham at the Esalen Institute. As JMJ entered negotiations with Bear & Company, he suggested the possibility of having Terence write a Foreword, and the idea was met with enthusiasm. Although Terence and JMJ both wrote about 2012 and mutually influenced each other, there ideas were fairly different (particularly in that Terence placed the fulfillment of the eschaton in a single dramatic moment at the end of the Timewave, where Jenkins offered a 36-year window, “Era-2012,” that would be a slow passage and an cosmic opportunity for transformation and renewal). Nonetheless, because of Terence’s contribution to JMJ’s book, their views have often been conflated, to the point that Terence had to publish a written response distinguishing their views. Nonetheless, it was, in part, Terence and Dennis’ suggestions in The Invisible Landscape that led to Jenkins’ interests and it was also, in part, Jenkins’ research in the mid-to-late ’90s that strengthened Terence’s convictions that he was onto something significant. So, despite the differences in idea, they were important collaborators and co-contributors to the spread of the idea that there was something significant about the year 2012 that was somehow built into the clockwork of the cosmos.

Here’s Terence’s Foreword to John Major Jenkins’ Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, written in January 1998 (screenshots from Google Books):

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.”