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The Terence McKenna Wiki
words and wit of the alchemical bard
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An Interview By James Kent
Before and Beyond History
Gaia, Eros, and the Archaic Revival
Gaia, Psychedelics, and the Archaic Revival
Having Archaic and Eating it Too
Leprechauns, Elves, or Dead Souls?
Making and Unmaking History and Language
Morphogenic Fields and Psychedelic Experiences
Mushrooms, Sex and Society
Psychedelics in the Age of Intelligent Machines
Terence McKenna's Trip
The grammar of ecstasy — The world within the word.
(aka This Counts, Somehow it Matters & A Higher Dimensional Section of Reality)
A Better World (Toward The End Of History)
A Conversation with Terence McKenna and Ram Dass
A Necessary Chaos
A report on crop circles with Abraham and Sheldrake
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Cauldron Chemistry Interview
Cauldron Chemistry Interview (w/ Elizabeth Gips)
Day Month 1985
Terence McKenna's Home, Sonoma County, California
Elizabeth Gips: ...kenna's House, uh, we being [??] and Elizabeth, me. And, uh, we're sitting in this incredible collection of books in a very beautiful home, and a wonderful, magical spot near, uh, is it Marin county?
TM: No it's Sonoma county.
EG: This is Sonoma county.
TM: Western Sonoma county. Far from Sonoma.
EG: Talking. So, I, I will tape the conversation and, uh, and if Terence has special information that he'd like you all, you aware people of the United States to have, he'll let us have it, and we will mention the fact that he has a new book which is on cassette and he'll talk some about that too, and where it can be ordered. That's all. That feel like a good introduction to everybody?
TM: Yeah, that sounds fine.
EG: Ok, here we go.
Q: Maybe I'll just, uh, start up asking a couple of questions that have been on my mind. A fascination with a combination of uh, DMT and harmine and things of this nature, and, um, what I'm interested in is, is those places or plants or animals or ways in which people can come, um, close to, or have historically come close to or had access to DMT, and I remember you briefly mentioned, um, a process whereby by combining rabbit lungs, say, and pig intestines you could actually in some way create or obtain DMT. And I was wondering if you could go into a little more detail on how, how that could be done.
TM: Well, I'm not, I don't, I'm not sure pig intestines is the second ingredient but what you need is a source of tryptophan which is a common amino acid, and then rabbit lung which, uh, is, uh, replete with an O-methylation enzyme. O-methyl transferase, and it will all methylate the tryptamine into a psychoactive, which is a just an example of uh, what's called cauldron chemistry, which is where you use animal enzymes to do chemical transformations. Another one that has been discussed in the literature is, uh, using, uh, the decarboxylation activity of enzymes in raw milk to decarboxylate the poison in Amanita muscaria which is muscarine to the hallucinogen which is muscamol, and in Wasson's book on soma he discusses the fact that the Soma, whatever it was, was whipped together with milk curd and allowed to stand, and this was one of the major, uh, arguments for identifying it as
because that would make it much more palatable and less toxic. But who knows how many of these things, uh, exist, you know, because we have lost the lore of special uses for animal organs and that sort of thing. And that really is shamanic lore that we've lost touch with.
Q: A- are you familiar with the um, ahm, the newt? The California newt? Or the importance of the tetrodotoxin and the fugu? Perhaps the, maybe go a little bit into the, the fish, um, if you want and of course the newt in that sense- the-
EG: Before we, before we get into that much of a technical thing, I wonder if it's possible to tell people why we think this is important. Can- can- can we just discuss after a minute [TM: You mean why is it...] Why- why
TM: Why is it important to track down these natural sources of the psychedelic experiences?
TM: Well, it's important because the psychedelic experience is important in and of itself, but it's important to involve ourselves with these biological materials because the things which come out of the laboratory, of which there's a potentially unlimited number, uh, are not receiving the kind of, uh, animal and human testing that they would if they were above-ground drugs. So, safety is really a concern of mine. What I've been telling people recently is, uh, that until there's animal and human data on a drug, it should probably be looked at very carefully. Uh, if you look at naturally occurring hallucinogens with a tradition of human use you don't have to worry about that because you- for instance, the mushrooms, we know that they were used in the mountains of Mexico for at least 2 millennia. Uh, ditto the morning glories in Mexico. So, uh, in the absence of good scientific data about the effects of artificial hallucinogens it's good to stick to the natural ones. And it also- and more interesting and kind of more, humm, philosophical case can be made if you accept the theory of Rupert Sheldrake of morphogenetic fields because you have to realize then that the morphogenetic field of a drug like psilocybin, which has been in living systems perhaps 120 million years, been used by human beings perhaps 20,000 years, what is its morphogenetic field going to be like contrasted to a drug made six weeks ago in the laboratory? It's the depth of these things, you see. The new drugs are empty. They haven't taken enough people yet to fill up, but what you see with something like, uh, psilocybin, or morning glory seeds, or something like that is the accumulation of the experience of all the people who ever took these things. I mean, that's why you're reaching back into a human family spread out over millennia and actually being those shaman. You are those shaman, or you are participating in the sh- the personality of the over-shaman, if you wish. So, that is, uh, [EG clears throat] the basis for an ontological distinction between artificial and naturally occurring drugs of all types, but especially hallucinogens which have this intellectual content.
EG: Gee, that's the best explanation of the, of uh, uh case for organic, um, psychedelics I've heard. Stephen said a long time ago when we were on the caravan, twelve years ago I guess, that we should stop using LSD because so many people used it in such paranoid circumstances that the vibrational rate was no longer such that you could know that you were gonna have an ecstatic trip anymore.
TM: Well that's is an intuitive understanding of exactly what Sheldrake was saying. The reason I've been thinking about this recently was because I s- was at a conference recently on psychedelics, a closed conference mostly for healthcare professionals, and there was a lot of talk about Adam, MDMA, and, uh, then someone asked the question "What is the LD-50 of it?" L- [EG: What's that?] LD-50 is, uh, a fairly unpleasant concept which is necessary to understand in pharmacology. The LD-50 is the dose at which half the mice die, or half the dogs die, and all drugs are tested this way, and what you want with a drug is a drug with- where the LD-50 is hundreds or thousands of times more than the effective dose. For instance, uh, the effective dose of psilocybin is about f- twenty milligrams. The LD-50 for psilocybin is, uh, 375 milligrams per kilogram. So we're talking 30, 000 milligrams for a 145 pound human being. The problem that emerged with Adam was that the LD-50 was very close to the effective dose and that no human trials have ever been done. The effective dose of Adam is considered to be somewhere between 75 and 150 milligrams. The LD-50 is considered to be 500 milligrams based on studies of dogs. Now, I'll- let me explain this, so it doesn't sound too alarmist. Dogs are not good creatures to extrapolate to human beings. Uh, practice has shown that mice are much better, that, that the LD-50 in mi- of mice will be more generally close to the LD-50 of primates including man than data on dogs or cats. Nevertheless, in the absence of any human data whatsoever about Adam, uh, it's very unnerving that the LD-50 is so close to the effective dose. So immediately the institution which was holding this conference which probably would prefer to be anonymous pledged a thousand dollars to study the problem. Someone at the conference pledged a thousand dollars, and, uh, tests will begin with sophisticated human volunteers who will, uh, clear their systems and then take it and then have massive, uh, blood work done. This is the short-term human, uh, data will come out of that. The long-term human data is beyond the financial capability of the underground. But you see, this is interesting so let me take a moment because it's important for people. Um, there's only one drug in the world which is safe, strangely enough. In other words, there's only one drug in the world that no one knows how much it takes to kill you, and that drug is LSD-25. And this is a very fortunate thing because people in the 1960s got into the habit, I remember Tim Leary said, "when in doubt, double the dose." Completely reasonable advice for LSD. The problem is that LSD is the only drug with such a benign profile, so that, uh, we can't carry the- the dose estimation habits that we formed on LSD into these new amphetamines like MDA, MDMA, Adam, ecstasy, because, uh, they are- it's well known among chemists that the, uh, the cyclicized amphetamines are toxic. Mescaline is the most toxic of all natural hallucinogens. MDMA is four times as toxic as mescaline.
So, at this conference we- uh, a great deal of, of thought was put into- there were people there who were so enthusiastic about the um, effects of ADAM, the, the psychological effects, that they felt that this was the greatest chance the underground had ever had to actually obtain a quasi-legal or legal status for a hallucinogen. The problem is this, uh, this, uh, toxicological data makes it clear that it could never be legalized, and in fact if ADAM cured the common cold it would not be legalized if it has a, uh, LD-50 profile only four times the effective dose. So I had up until this time had not uh, formulated- I had had a preference for botanical drugs, but I had not formulated what is the real difference, you know, and when you would argue with people that synthetics and nat- organic drugs were different, they could eventually argue you to the point where you just could defend it because they seemed to be the same. But with Sheldrake, the notion of Sheldrake, that the morphogenetic field attends the compound and the absence mainly of human data. I mean, uh, we went through a ketamine phase with moderate amounts of human data although now I see in Science News last week there's fear that it depresses the immune system. In fact it does depress the immune system. Well, leaving aside its, uh, use in the underground, the worst thing an anesthetic can do is depress your immune system because you're going to have surgery and come out of surgery and be in a surgical recovery ward. You want your immune system to just be fully revved up. Now we have this problem apparently with Adam, and in fact there has been one reported death at a dose of 390 milligrams. Uh.
EG: Thanks for that information. It's really important to get out because there's so much enthusiasm about Adam..
Well I've spen- I've told Tom all these things and he was floored [EG: I'm sure he was] and we had a long talk about it, and it's- we have to take responsibility, you know, the underground, because we can't have- another drug scandal would finish psychedelic research above and underground for the rest of this century. So, uh, it's a problem with the people's, uh, courage. I mean, let's contrast two drugs for a minute. Here we have psilocybin. Effective at the 20 milligram dose, and, uh, you would have to take, as I said, probably close to two and a half dried pounds of the mushrooms that are on sale in the Bay Area to approach the fatal dose. Nevertheless, if you take 40 milligrams of psilocybin, you will swear that you are at death's door, you know, you will swear that you are looking at the path to the Bardo. And, uh, but with Adam it's totally- the feeling, the aura is that it's completely benign even as you approach a fantastically dangerous dose.
EG: It is amazing because Adam puts you in a state of love even for itself. That's what happens. And you know, I discussed this with Luke coming down. It seems to me that my experience with Adam is that I'm so much in love [clears throat] in a state of love that it's dangerous in other ways because I accept [TM: too much] I accept things that I shouldn't really accept, that aren't the best for me [TM: That's right] so it's, uh it's some- boy it's fascinating.
TM: See, now I've heard of people who, essentially to become courageous enough to get really stoned take Adam ahead of it. In other words, people say well I take Adam and then I take LSD an hour and a half later, or I take psilocybin an hour and a half later. Well, I think that these are, you know, in the absence of human data this is all very chancy stuff. We have to realize that LSD was a God-sent, special, miraculous case. I mean, it was amazing to pharmacologists that it was so non-toxic. The CIA gave an elephant six grams and, you know, it laid down for three days and then it got up and shook it's head and wandered off to look for something to eat. So [TM chuckles], but we must be more responsible, so I've actually formulated it down to a little test which is if you are interested in the spiritual path, utilizing hallucinogens, then the hallucinogen you use should be able to answer 'yes' to two of the following three questions: Does it have a history of shamanic usage? Does it occur in the tissue of a plant or animal? And then let me think.
EG: You can't think of it [laughter, TM laughs]
TM: Ah, does it bear a similarity to compounds that occur in our own brains?
EG: We're just discovering a lot of those compounds [TM: That's right] that we don't know them all yet.
TM: Well, but as I said, you have to be able to answer yes to two [EG: two of those..] of three. So then [EG: So LSD would actually pass two of those [TM: that's right] as far as the Eleusinian mysteries where it was utilized for thousands of years and [TM: And it's occurrence [and occurrences in m- in m-] in the brain. Well and also it occurs in morning glories [EG: In morning glory seeds.] and ergotized rye and uh.
TM: Yes, uh, and if we do that I don't think we'll get into trouble. And I also want to make this clear. We will not be denying ourselves any dimension of importance. In other words, I notice people have the attitude that you have to take all drugs to know what's going on, and what I find is that you find out far more about what's going on if you take a few drugs at progressively more and more heroic doses. Ah- also, and I invite experimenters to try this, at the moment there is so much attention directed toward Adam that the morphogenetic field of Adam is so strong that if you'll take psilocybin you can request it to masquerade as Adam and it will immediately turn over and be Adam for you. [mhm] so [Terence laughs] and I don't think Adam can do the same trick going the other way.
EG: Well, uh, do you mind if I talk- ge- uh I mean [Q: Go ahead, go ahead] Please do join the conversation. And I know you want to get more technical [No- I] but I want to save it a little bit [Q: Sure, but it's] Uh,
TM: Well that's all I wanna say about,
EG: Well no I've got some questions.
EG: Uh, uh, oh God. What did you just say about psilocybin? Oh, that it would turn over. I want- could you run down for people- If I understand you correctly, Terence, I understand that you believe, or i- it- the reality that the spore of psilocybin mushrooms are in- are alien intelligence, are intelligence from other areas of the galaxy or universe. Would you ex- tell us a little about that?
TM: Well, it's not a belief of mine, it's just a case, a case I make because I want to stretch the imaginations of evolutionary biologists and everybody else who's looking at the living kingdom. And it is certainly true that spores appear to be genetically engineered for space flight. They are a color, deep purple, I'm now talking about the spores of
. They're a deep purple color which absorbs UV. That's the color you would paint a spaceship. They, uh, uh, survive best in conditions most like those of space. In other words, high vacuum, low temperature. They, uh, are small enough that they could, through Brownian motion and then the formation of global electrical currents on their sur- forming on their surfaces high up on the atmosphere, actually percolate out into outer space much the way, for instance, the atmos- much of the atmosphere of Mars has drifted away over millions of years. And, uh, I think that the experien- well, that's basically a case for that they are a biological entity able to migrate between the stars by- through utilizing convective flow and light pressure and that sort of thing. A more radical proposition based on the experience of psilocybin is that that organism is intelligent, o- or that it is able to transfer information, that it is somehow a form of life which is able to communicate with us when it is, uh, locating in our nervous systems, that it comes to its fullest flower in the organism of a higher animal and that in that state it is- there's the potential for an I-Thou, uh, exchange. And phenomenologically there's no question about this, that there is this I-Thou exchange with psilocybin. But people can s- uh, you know, psychologists can say it's an autonomous psychic component that has slipped out of the control of the ego, and you're dialoguing with that, or whatever. But I think when you've had the experience, uh, the overwhelming impression is that you are having a conversation with a very strange, very old, very different kind of organism. And, uh, based on that, and as I say, these physical arguments about the survivability of the spore and its adaptability to the outer space environment, I want to suggest that space may be no barrier to the migration of forms of- many forms of life, not just forms of life possessing space ships, and that probably many times in the Earth's history spores have drifted down and become part of things.
And this is not a radical theory at all. Uh, Crick of Crick and Watson holds the same view and believes that probably the galaxy is a biome. The galaxy is a biological unit, and we are just coming to the level of scientific and cultural an- awareness to recognize these things. And of course I think this argument seems preposterous unless you have had the experience on fairly high doses of psilocybin of actually meeting this alien entity, which is an experience very different from the classical psychedelic experience established through the use of LSD and mescaline. Those seem to be largely explorations of human dimension, psychoanalytic and the collective unconscious of Jung, dimensions of historical resonance and, uh, and that sort of thing. But there was not the prevalence of the extraterrestrial theme that you get with the tryptamines, psilocybin and DMT especially. These seem to be ways of communicating with a nearby world of alien intelligence which may or may not be space-based. It may be hyperdimensional or it may be earth-based. These may be the elves and fairies of folklore.
The human experience is so bounded by language, we don't realize how our scientific and linear expectations of the world hide from us the real complexity of what's going on.
EG: Mhm. Well-
EG: Uh huh. Did you have something you would like to say or ask or comment on?
EG: How are we doing time-wise?
Q: No go ahead.
EG: Ok, uh.
TM: I didn't mean to stop the show...
EG: That's alright, I ha- I ha- it was a great l- uh, little. I- I have question then, uh. In the experience of ac- actual extraterrestrial intelligence embodied in form which I've read and heard you describe before, uh [clears throat], is there a, is there a place that you go- I'm asking a question, in the psychedelic experience with psilocybin at any rate DMT forms where you go into the molecular form, uh, like, and then out another side that forms itself into forms that we're not familiar with here in our 3-D land. You actually go through the mandala? Is that wha---
TM: The molecular mandala. Well, I never cognized it that way, but hat's an interesting way to think of it. It's as though the molecule turned the mind through another dimension and you see something which is co-present with reality, as it were, but between the spaces sort of, and suddenly the phase shift occurs. I remember when I was a child I had this toy which was, uh, a flat piece of paper with a, uh, circus cage printed on it, and when you moved the bars one way there was a zebra in the cage. When you slid the bars the other way and covered all the parts of the zebra, a tiger was revealed, and this is, uh, something about the nature of reality, that there seems to be at least one other continuum co-present, and this is why our folklore is, uh, haunted by elves, genies, djinns, afrites, demons, uh, all these curious creatures of folklore which, you know, wouldn't be there if there was not some experiential basis for them. It's just that we have crowded into cities and then crowded into condominiums, and we don't experience what goes on with the single person in vast wilderness in a life lived based on experience of the present at hand rather than vast abstract systems of explanation dictated by science and government and that sort of thing.
EG: Would you, would you like to comment at all on, uh, uh, what you think the psychedelic experience is with your knowledge of the chemistry of the plants and, uh, so forth and of the physiology of the body and the kind of experiences you've had? Do you have any idea what it is? What, what is it?
TM: Well, I'll tell you what I think it is but it's not really based on physiology or pharmacology. It's based on carefully looking at the experience. Plato said "time is the moving image of eternity", and I think that what these psychedelics do is they actually do connect you to the whole circle. You stand outside of the moment from which you embarked on your psychedelic experience and you see eternity like a vast landscape deployed in front of you. So what I think psychedelics are is they're about time and they somehow make all time co-present and how this is possible and why it's possible I don't know, but I think perhaps this is what the myth of the fall is about, that what man's fall is is really the fall into time, the time of a fading past, an unknown future and a, uh, very intense but very small area where things are going on called the present. There is some way in which that can be stepped out of and it's not- it's not, uh, an either-or situation. We are all, to some degree, in time, and we are all to some degree in eternity. And to the degree that we are in eternity we behave correctly and have right activity and right perception, and these psychedelics enhance this involvement with the totality of everything. That's why it is not naive to suggest that issues like the nuclear gridlock and all these, uh, other terminal problems that we have could be overcome if people would, by any means, try to come into attunement with the notion of unity in time and space of the species and the planet and the solar system and, and I think that this is the, the evolving, core idea which will either save us, or the absence of its evolution will be our ruin. The idea of unity and interrelatedness.
EG: I would like to suggest if it's possible that both things are happening, that there is a universe where it's unraveling and one where [coughs] we've already was, and I mean wasn't it I- I mean- wasn't it you or I know Robert Anton Wilson, I know, has talked about it some, uh suggested the future is already, is pulling us towards it. I l- and I like that [TM: Right.] , and you talked about 12-12 as a step over point. I've told every-
EG: 2012, yeah [TM: right], and I've told everybody that. And a few days ago somebody told me that the Mayan, uh, fifth wheel which we're on now ends in twe- in 2011 which I didn't know unti-
TM: It actually ends in 2012, it ends on the 21st of December 2012, just thirty days after the date that I picked from all the work we did with the I Ching. Yes, somehow-
EG: -What did you, how did you do that? Would you mind running at that really- I can't understand your book, I just can't understand it.
TM: But yeah, the apocalypse is the millenium and the psychedelics move you into the future. We are all occupying different places in historical time. I mean some of us are completely uncivilized neanderthals, I mean, and some of us are very uptight 18th century sort of people interested in the social contract and the obligations of class and party and, and some of us are, uh, future people. And this is the whole- you don't have to wait for society to move into the future. You can just make it happen around you, and if everyone did that we could leap a thousand years into the future.
EG: I try to tell people- that's one of the things that I say when people come on "well are we going to make it through the nuclear thing" and stuff. And I say listen man, I've visited the future, I know there's a future. I don't know whether there's one for you but I'm sure there's one for me 'cause I've seen myself in it, right? And I keep coming back and you keep coming back, we all keep coming back. I-is, uh, because we got ahold of this great thing we want everybody to share it. But we have a few little things we can work out ourselves on the way.
TM: Yes well, by-
EG: Here and there.
TM: everybody by example. I think that the whole thing, the crux of the whole psychedelic issue is that it, uh, it accentuates personal responsibility by making people take their own experiences seriously. People completely undervalue themselves. They think that they are spectators to life. They think that the great scientific breakthroughs, the great works of art, the great political upheavals will all be brought to them on the tube and explained by Newsweek. They don't realize that all of that is illusion, and that what is central is the immediacy of personal experience, and that if you work with that you can just leave history and move off sideways from it and become your own Magellan. This is what people are doing in their living rooms taking psilocybin in darkness late at night. They are the Columbuses of the New World of the human- of the human spirit. And, uh, by taking responsibility, by abandoning the myth of, um, that science, government, the military and the churches are the forces which make culture, and just realizing culture is what we're doing at this very moment, the evolution of historical thought is what we're doing at this very moment.
EG: Maybe, uh, before- I have one more thing and then I think that you all get a little technical before you have to go but uh, I, I always like to ask people if there's something I haven't asked that they feel people ought to hear right now at this as, you know, this place in the infinity sign.
TM: No, I'm very tricky. I unburdened myself early on [EG: That's what I thought] of what I wanted to say, what I thought should be gotten.
EG: Let's talk about just a few minutes about your book, your cassette book [TM: Oh right.] and that and where people can order, what's in it, what's it about.
TM: Ok, well it's a book called- I wrote a book called true hallucinations which was the story Behind the Invisible Landscape, the story of an amazing expedition to the Amazon in the early 80's in which we met the saucers, or at least I never want to meet them more closely than that, and discovered the mushroom which we brought back, which we wrote our book about. And basically it's just the wildest experience I've ever had or ever heard of, uh, read on to eight cassettes as a nine and a half hour talking book with wonderful, uh, special effects and musical backgrounding and that sort of thing.
EG: Well that, that gave us a concise thing here before they started making too much noise [TM: before they started pounding], which was pretty great, so Lou, I know, has a lot of questions so before we break up I'd love to hear you all I-I can take or not take. I think you'd probably like to-
TM: Well let me thank you first of all Liz, I think people like you are really the shock troops of the new order because the whole thing that we're all doing is information, and the radio is, uh, very, very important.
EG: I know, that's why we've got to get it together to package this program and send it out around to- I want to send it to the, um, to those spots in the United States that have enough aware population to enjoy it. Uh, I think there are probably 30 to 50 of them anyway.
TM: Well you make it better but you're just fine the way you are.
EG: Oh yeah well  I know it's a no-win situation [laughter] So, um, I- you want to go back to where you were talking about- because that led us into "why organic stuff." We were talking about..
TM: Oh, we were talking about cauldron chemistry...
EG: ..and alchemy. Yeah
TM: Well, there are many, uh, an interesting thing to think about in regard to shamanism and all that is that there may be many situations where natural products can be combined to make a powerful hallucinogen, where the components themselves are not the most obvious known example of that as ayahuasca in the Amazon, where DMT in
is potentiated by taking MAO-inhibiting harmine from
. But there may be many potentials for these kinds of things, for instance, uh, why were the druids so interested in mistletoe? Let's look at the chemistry of mistletoe and try to imagine ways in which mistletoe might be brought in that direction. The Arundo Donax case is the other one, The Chinese, many of the mushrooms in the Chinese pharmacopoeia could be looked at as well. Uh, Ayurvedic medicine, there are traces of combinatory hallucinogens. So this is actually an area where not a lot of work has been done, and in fact generally synergies have not been studied. Synergies are a situation where two compounds are put together to get an effect, and even, uh, even pharmaceutically and medically the synergies which occur with various drugs have not been well studied.
Q: The- um, there were are a few areas that, um, I've spent some time thinking about. One of them is the, uh, what I call lower life form biochemical conversion processes or, um, ways in which things are transmitted perhaps from termites through tumetomyces?? through, through uh, tool-making behavior in, uh chimpanzees through that this transfer of information occurs and continues to occur and so that each, uh, organism perhaps in its combination, the flies which are stupefied by muscaria as it decays, are eaten by the frogs whose legs, in turn, are ???. Processing that goes on in that way as one form. The other is a chromopuncture, an area selectively- that the body is selectively sensitive to certain, um, colors, to certain chemicals in certain areas, and that this is another area that isn't really understood or hasn't been looked into.
TM: No, you really make a good point.
Q: The olfactory intoxicants that they- there's a critical, um, um, timing and involvement that has to go on in order to optimize an experience and I think that the olfactory component is one that needs to be considered.
TM: Pheromones are aromatic compounds which are message-bearing chemicals that, uh, insects give off but plants also give up pheromones and in fact the more it's looked into the more it appears that everything is giving off pheromones. And, and the planar nature of hallucinogens suggest that they may be in some sense natural hallucinogens. Super-pheromones. They are actually bearing- message-bearing compounds whose purpose is to communicate between one species and another or within a species. For instance, the language of insects is not a language of sound but a language of chemical excretion, and how complex this language is we don't know because we can't pierce into it. But I studied for a while under doctor Ralph Oddie who was a great geographer and medical epidemiologist and he suggested that hallucinogens should be looked upon as a subset of pheromones and I know when you're in the Amazon you just breathe this air which is laden with thousands of chemical messengers of all sorts that are setting the ambiance of the whole biosphere and, uh, thi- this has not been looked at. It's not well understood.
There was an amazing article written a few years ago by a man named Harry Weiner who wrote an article called external chemical messengers, ECM, he called them, and ,uh, in the New York Journal of Medicine. And he outlined a whole theory about how this regulated species and interspecies relations. He talked about how when you walk into a room full of people you get an immediate gestalt impression which he felt was olfactory. That you were sensing the psychic conditions of everyone by taking a lung-full of the message-laden chemicals that everybody was exuding. He talked about psychiatrists who would diagnose schizophrenia by smell. They would just walk over to the person and take a hit of their body odor and felt, you know, that- and, and he even suggested what perhaps some forms of schizophrenia are is miscuing socially because your pheromone system is haywire so you're giving off what can only be described as a weird vibe and so people relate to you weirdly and that makes you weirder and it makes them weirder and you get this feedback lock, and it's essentially because your invisible chemical messenger computer is broken down.
Q: Um. Um, what I was thinking was that if we could get back a little bit to the combination of the, uh, let's say the tryptamine, the DMT and the, um, harmine or those combinations, and also to get to the fugu. I know very little about it and it would be nice if, if you have some thoughts on, uh, on the chemistry of the fugu and the---newt.
EG: What is fugu?
Q: It's, um, a fish that's eaten in Japan.
TM: Yes, I don't know actually anything about that particular fish. I know that there are fish eaten off Norfolk island which is an island off the west coast of Australia. In fact there's an amazing description of a trip in Hoffer and Osmond's book Hallucinogens, uh, this person- this happened in the early 60's. They s- they saw a monument to the first landing on the moon and had all these super science-fiction visions of the future that they had not expected to get high. It was an accidental- they had caught this fish, roasted it on the beach and ate it. Uh, and in Hawaii there are similar fish, and about six species are implicated. And I think in all cases DMT is the compound. But not a lot of animal tissue contains utilizable amounts of hallucinogens. For instance, I don't think it's ever- no hallucinogenic insect has ever been confirmed although there are persistent reports of a grub, a palm grub, an immature beetle form in Brazil which is hallucinogenic and uh occasionally butterflies are mentioned as hallucinogenic but it's never been confirmed. So this is an area where research needs to be done.
Q: When uh, [clears throat], if one were able to make DMT from let's say rabbit lungs or were able to obtain the harmine from the Russian thistle and other plants, uh, how would one proceed in terms of combining these, um, in the most effective way?
TM: Well, you want a l- a, you want MAO inhibition. So you have to take an effective dose of the MAO inhibitor. And then, uh, the DMT is usually potentiated at a dose lower than the effective dose without the MAO inhibitor, and probably since these things are degraded substantially in the gut the most effective way of doing it would be to smoke it or sublingual absorption is also a direct route that avoids the degradation in the digestive system.
[recording may have been cut off here]
Original Transcription by: Eva Petakovic
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