Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #32 – Charles Hayes Interview in ‘Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures’

Today’s random item from the archives is a book that contains a long, excellent, and expansive interview with Terence from 1998. The interviewer was Charles Hayes, and the interview appears as “Part III” of his book Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures (2000). The Terence McKenna Archives collection has several physical copies of the paperback edition. There is also a hardcover edition, although I don’t believe there is any other difference between the two beyond the rigidity of the cover. There will be several signed copies available for auction in a crowfund campaign for the archives that will be launched later this month.

Among those to whom the book is dedicated, Hayes includes Terence:

for the spirit of the late Terence McKenna, a true Magellan of the imagination and Copernicus of the hyperreal, who braved the alien othernness of it all and sighted myriad new heavenly bodies in the cosmos of consciousness

Hayes’ interview with Terence (who he calls “one of history’s most compelling champions of psychedelic consciousness”) is, I’m happy to say, very long and, for that reason, covers a great range of topics. Tripping is definitely a book worth having on your shelves, and I consider the interview among the best that Terence gave. Here, I can only offer a paucity excerpts to whet your appetite and send you looking for a copy….or you can wait for the TM Archives crowdfund campaign to launch later this month and bid on your own copy signed by Charles Hayes to you.

These excerpts represent a very small portion of an interview that spans over 38 pages of text. Each of these subjects is treated at much greater length in the full interview:

The material presented…is the product of two extended conversations at McKenna’s home in South Kona, Big Island of Hawaii, on January 17 and 18, 1998, some sixteen months before he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforma, the most malignant of brain tumors, which eventually required him to move to the mainland for treatment.

When we met by arrangement on the highway the first morning, the elfin Celt immediately put me at ease with his contagious whinny of a laugh about the silliness of consumer culture, political developments, the foolishness of contemporary life. I felt right at home.

My very first acid trip took place in the summer of 1965…prior to my enrollment in Berkeley that fall… I’ve never had a trip like that since. It was very bizarre…

…from that revelation at the Masonic Temple I somehow made it back to ordinary reality, but I’ve never revisited the place in my psyche… The reason why I’ve never written about it is because I never reached a conclusion.

Maybe the reason that psychedelics are such a formative force in my life is that they worked for me as advertised.

It’s hard for most people to hallucinate on LSD.

The thing about profound experiences is that if they’re too profound, you can’t remember them…. you can’t really say much about it.

I’ve done MDMA a half-dozen times. It’s not very interesting to me.

I’ve done ketamine about five times, in fairly light doses… Ketamine is dubious.

Before I did Salvia divinorum for the first time…I had some trepidation… The hallucinations came on as…a parody of my fear. It was deliberately insulting me with hallucinations acceptable to a six-year-old. So I addressed it. I may be chickenshit, but I’m not this chickenshit. You can lift the veil slightly.

I did wonderful things with cannabis in the early days.

The best DMT I ever had was made in the laboratory, not from a plant.

The mushroom experience…is alien, because it has no context.

It’s a big question whether this is the only reality or not. That’s been a big issue for thousands of years.

EE kem wye STOK see kee pee PEEN. Vid nim gyo WOKS sid dee mahok a ben dee kee KEK det nen get bikeek teen. Ayus dee viji ZEN GWOT, kay MWON day kwa OK dikee tee teekt. EE vidimee NEEN nenk wah OK sot vay bon wa hagendekt…

Stoned on DMT, it’s an ecstasy to do this…

James Joyce and Marshall McLuhan were onto how people, according to their cultural programming, were cued to either sounds or images. There is much to explore in this area.

As we dematerialize, and that seems to be what’s happening–we’re getting ready to decamp from three-dimensional space and time into the imagination, which is as vast as the universe itself.

Psychedelics are good fuel for religion… But I think they should give more drug, less message.

CH: Have you had moments of mortal terror?

TM: How about intense alarm?… One that I don’t want to visit anytime soon occurred when I took half a dose of ayahuasca and half a dose of mushrooms together…”something’s wrong”… It graduated in intensity, because I was becoming alarmed… had I remained in that place, it was truly madness, truly unbearable. I don’t think you could get used to that.

People, you should behave as though you’re mortal, for God’s sake! Be happy if the evidence is to the contrary.

I think [psychedelics] should be regulated to some degree. We don’t let people drive cars just because they want to…

CH: How do you interface with the rave scene?

TM: Somewhat uneasily…

I was at this scene…called Starwood, which bills itself as a pagan festival…On the final night, they piled up dead apple trees two hundred feet high and set them on fire, and six thousand people tore their clothes off and danced all night long around this thing, raising a cloud of red dust in the air a thousand feet high… I took one look and thought, No wonder the right wing is alarmed… These were pagans. I love them…

“Where can we get loaded?” I asked.

“How ’bout the Temple of Dionysus?”

“Great!”

CH: Are you a shaman?

TM: No no. I’m a shamanologist…

Shamans are meme traders.

TM: The Other could be any of these things…

CH: But you’re leaning toward the friendly-extraterrestrial theory…

TM: I’m torn between two possibilities. The extraterrestrial possibility…most people could probably come to terms with… The other possibility, applying Occam’s razor here, is that what we’re talking about is dead people… “Ancestor” is a pretty sanitized term. “Dead person” brings it home a little more cogently.

The problem is we have no shamans here. Those who claim to be shamans are the last people you’d want to put confidence in.

The most important question in the universe at the moment is Am I doing all right? And the answer is (usually) Yes, you’re doing fine.

It’s possible to be an optimist without being a cockeyed optimist.

I believe we’re in the garden party before the crunch, the long afternoon before the stormy night.

If God was complete, why is there the phenomenon of temporal enfoldment.

There is something we share this space/time continuum with that can, when it chooses, take on any form it wishes.

Bottom line, there is something very weird going on…

Culture is the transition along McLuhanesque lines from the 3-D animal mind to the 4-D posthuman domain.

My faith is with technology and with psychedelics. Politics aren’t going to take us much further.

The Internet has remade the world in six years, and most people take it for granted now. It’s disturbing that many are retreating from full participating in this new reality, because they can’t understand it.

People believe anything they want, and it no longer matters, because there is somewhere a core of cutting-edge thinkers who are still trying to integrate this stuff with fact.

One of the bad things about psychedelics is that they’ve left us with a legacy of intellectual relativism… I’m not supposed to criticize you because it’s all the same, right?… I hate this. It’s the death of thought, and that’s what the New Age rides on.

The guy at the workbench who works for a detergent company is not a scientist. That’s ridiculous. Those guys rarely study the philosophy of science, so they don’t understand what it is epistemologically.

Ultimately, something wants to be communicated through psychedelics. Somethings wants to be told, and it’s not something dizzy like “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Laughter) We know that. That’s not news.

People have two questions: Where did we come from? Where are we going? I think psychedelics provide answers to those two questions…

I want to trade memes with the Other.

I don’t want to leave this world before ordinary people can, by some means, access and walk through DMT hallucinations.

Psychedelics as an experience of boundary dissolution are half the equation. The other half is what the subject thinks about that.

Once boundaries are taken away, wholeness is accessible.

I think the real test of psychedelics is what to when them when you’re not on them…

Psychedelics persist in astonishing.

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #31 – The Irish Times Trips Out With Terence McKenna, the ‘Psychonaut of Inner Space’ in 1994

Today’s random item is among those items from the archive that are largely irrelevant. It offers no significant information about Terence McKenna (except a lead to another newspaper article) and no significant insight. However, what it does provide an example of (an admittedly very small datapoint at best), is a localized published response to the awareness of Terence McKenna’s existence. That is, it shows us one set of responses to psychedelic culture and the notion of a psychedelic philosopher. In this case, the response is to dismiss and minimize via humor.

The article, titled ‘Tripping Out With Terence, the Psychonaut of Inner Space”, appeared in The Irish Times on May 23, 1994, and, although the byline is attributed only to Brendan Glacken, it appears to be a dialogue of some sort (perhaps entirely invented by Glacken or, perhaps, with an unnamed interlocutor). The overall tone, as you’ll see, is disapproving and dismissive albeit in a semi-informational and light-hearted vein, but there are some delightful Irish colloquialisms that I’ll leave you to sort out for yourself. This, then, is one of the ways that an Irish audience might have been introduced to Terence McKenna in the mid-90s.

[If you’d like to see the original piece (you would!) from the May 18, 1994 edition of The Independent newspaper (London), Susan De Muth, who conducted the interview with Terence (at the home of Rupert Sheldrake) has posted it on her website.]

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I was reading a British newspaper the other day about a Mr. Terence McKenna (47), described as an ethno-botanist and psychedelic philosopher.

A what?

An ethno-botanist and psychedelic philosopher.

We’d say young be thumping the pages of Education Living for mannies the long day before you’d see that come up under “Me and My Job.’

So what’s his game exactly?

Well, once every two months he gets into bed and takes what he describes as “a heroic dose” of psilocybin mushrooms.

…the author makes some bad jokes about culinary mushrooms…

…These mushrooms are hallucinogenic.

What? Drugs!

Correct. But Mr. McKenna explains: “My mind-brain system is a laboratory where I explore the great mystery of life. The boundaries that define the waking world are dissolved. I become a psychonaut of inner-space, entering complex experiences beyond language, bizarre yet beautiful landscapes never seen before.”

The Lord save us. What does he think about dreams?

That each night we are trying to rediscover something we find and lose every 24 hours; that when we dream we are plunged into some primordial pool of imagery.

some reminiscences by the author about his own fairly xenophobic dreams of a “big black fellow standing over us with a sharp spear”….

He’s out at wild sex and drug orgies every night of the week I suppose?

On the contrary, he claims to be very reclusive and unsociable.

Does he take ajar?… If a man doesn’t take ajar, and there’s no medical condition involved, it’s a good bet he’s done mad on drugs, that’s our opinion.

His idea of a great evening is, and I quote, a “200-year-old book and a snifter of brandy.”

Fair play to him. Brandy is an expensive poison, where exactly does all his money come from?

Books, lectures, records and CDs dealing with his dreams and hallucinations.

We’re in the wrong line of business is all we can say.

I am familiar with the feeling.

More interesting are the comments by Susan De Muth whose interview with Terence is the basis of The Irish Times piece:

He was the fastest-talking person I have ever met and – unlike Timothy Leary – did not appear to have suffered any mental degeneration as a result of his massive ingestion of drugs.

Later, I saw him guru-like on stage in a night club, surrounded by fans sitting cross-legged and listening intently to his psychedelic message.

He was very generous and gave me lots of collaborative CDs he’d made with various bands and individual musicians.

I wish he could report back from the after-life…

And some outtakes of Terence from De Muth’s interview:

On six very special nights a year I unplug the telephone, lock the front door, turn off the lights, get into bed and, alone in silent darkness, take a huge amount – an heroic dose – of psilocybin mushrooms.

For me this is not an hedonic activity.

After about four hours I get up, exhausted, and make myself something to eat. Then I fall into a deep sleep, way beyond normal dreaming, and wake with memories and data that will keep me inspired for weeks.

Normal dreams are not a disappointment to me. I’m fascinated by all kinds of mental activity, including those day- residue dreams where you’ve forgotten to buy the milk . . . and nightmares, too.

I often dream of places I haven’t been: a futuristic city I call Hong-Kong-Morocco-Tasmania. There are also hundreds of strangers in my dreams to whom I relate as if I know them. This is very much like my life: I meet so many people since I’ve become some kind of minor icon on the underground scene that I’m often in situations where I vaguely recognise someone but have no idea who they are.

I don’t have any trouble sleeping, which is a shame because I’m thrilled by the prospect of insomnia. I once went for nine days and nights without sleep in the Amazonian jungle and found it an ecstatic experience. At night I’d walk deep into the jungle or sit somewhere and just contemplate: I found I could follow four or five trains of thought simultaneously and never lose the thread.

When we were children my mother used to put us to bed and say, ‘now you’re going into the friendly darkness’

I don’t envisage giving up drugs at any point. The older I get, the more like a psychedelic waking dream everyday life appears to me.

Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle Winners

The Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle is over and the winners have been selected, contacted, and confirmed.

The first prize winner is: Graham St. John9781583947326

He wins the full set of 17 (5×5) Chip Simons photographs of Terence in front of his library from the Terence McKenna Archives crowdfund plus three bookmarks.

(FYI, Graham’s book, ‘Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT’ has some really nice research on Terence that you won’t find elsewhere, among many other virtues. As a nice synchronicity, I just so happened to receive the archive’s copy of Graham’s book yesterday on Terence’s birthday while the raffle was in full swing.)

The runner-up winner is: Jeff Lerue

He wins one 8×8 photo of his choice–he’s having a tough time deciding–plus one bookmark.

For those of you who didn’t win, thank you so much for participating, and please know that your donations will allow the Terence McKenna Archives to grow. Before the end of the year, I’ll write a blog post detailing what was added to the collection using the proceeds from the raffle.

The photos, along with buttons, magnets, and bookmarks can still be purchased from the Etsy shop on their own even though the raffle is over. As always, all proceeds go to further the development of the archival project.

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

Thanks everyone for supporting The Terence McKenna Archives!

Terence McKenna Birthday Raffle

In honor of Terence’s birthday (Nov. 16), The Terence McKenna Archives is holding a raffle for a full set of 17 photos (5×5 inches) and three bookmarks from the photo shoot Terence did with photographer Chip Simons in the early 1990s in front of his home library in California (value = $130). Each raffle ticket costs $1 and the winner will be chosen at noon (PST) on November 17. A second raffle winner will win one 8×8 inch photo of their choice (from the set of 17) plus one bookmark.

Obviously, the more tickets you purchase, the better your chances. Any profits from the raffle go directly back into the development of the Terence McKenna Archives. $1 = 1 Ticket, $5 = 6 Tickets, $10 = 13 Tickets, $20 = 30 Tickets. Winning tickets include free shipping within the U.S. and free shipping internationally. After the raffle, we’ll make a post to show what we were able to add to the collection using any proceeds gained.

Please SHARE wherever appropriate!

You can purchase raffle tickets here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/572572761/terence-mckenna-birthday-raffle?ref=shop_home_active_2

Thanks for your support and good luck!

Otherwise, here’s a favorite essay by Terence where he describes his 25th birthday in 1971…

And, here’s a selection of the photos that are being raffled:

Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #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.)

DSCF8485

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.

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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:

dscf8481-e1510789623980.jpg

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:

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Terence McKenna Music

 

Terence McKenna is among the most-sampled voices in the world of psychedelic electronic music. I actually suspect he is the single most-sampled individual, but am willing to admit that my position on this may be skewed by my own availability heuristic as his archivist. I would actually be quite interested to hear from any of you reading this if you think that there might be other contenders (for instance, it seems to me that Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, and Timothy Leary are significantly less-sampled, comparatively). Since I’ve been tracking this phenomenon to the best of my ability for many years now, I thought it only appropriate to share some of the fruits of that effort with the audience of the Terence McKenna Archival Blog.

Here, then, are a series of YouTube Playlists, in which I have segregated a few different styles of music into which Terence McKenna has been sampled. I would be greatly obliged to anyone who can help me fill in these playlists with music that I didn’t know about. If you are an artist or label who has an album containing relevant samples and would like to donate a physical copy to be housed in the archives, please email terencemckennaarchives@gmail.com.

Please support these artists by purchasing their work and going to their events!

The first and most extensive (and my personal favorite) is the “Downtempo” Playlist, which consists predominantly of psychedelic downtempo/chillout music. This is a great playlist to just leave running in the background if you want a chill environment with occasional bits of Terence woven in:

The next playlist also consists of psychedelic electronic music but of the more fast and driving, high BPM, 4/4 beat, “Psytrance” genre. This playlist is less complete than the downtempo playlist; expect it to fill up more over time:

Finally, I have a playlist that includes “Everything Else”:

Enjoy12764703_259324984399663_2745639255830619150_o!

Here are some of my favorite individual songs from among these playlists (mostly from the downtempo):

Some Terence Hip-Hop:

Some Clubby Terence:

Whatever you’d call this light-hearted tribute:

And, probably the most high-profile artist who mentions (but doesn’t sample) Terence McKenna is Sheryl Crow in her song ‘Chances are’ from her ‘Wildflower’ album, which has the verse:

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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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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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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:
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And R.A.W. (with his iconic ring–and accent) making a phone call:
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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.

Terence McKenna in Werner Weicke’s ‘Apocalypse: Revelations for the New Millennium’

I’ll keep this one short. In 1998, Mystic Fire Video released a 5-video set called Apocalypse: Revelations for the New Millennium created by director Werner Weicke. Terence McKenna made a brief appearance in part one of the series, titled A Vision of the End. Although the videos were released in 1998, it’s possible that the recording of McKenna took place earlier as he sets the year of the eschaton, 2012, “20 years” into the future, which would suggest a recording date somewhere around 1992. Either way, I don’t believe that this short clip has been shared online before. So, here you go. Enjoy!