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The Terence McKenna Wiki
words and wit of the alchemical bard
Pages and Files
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
Add "All Pages"
aka Loose Ends Time
aka Loose Ends Time
Day May 1990
Location, City, State
What I thought we would do this morning, because these things are so brief, is, again, return to the form of going around in a circle. And this time, it’s your last chance to ask a question, make a statement, voice a complaint, whatever you want to do.But, just to try and -- in other words, it’s loose ends time. As rapidly as we can, to tie up loose ends, things people didn’t understand, things, uh, people feel they need to hear more about, that sort of thing. Why don’t we just start, as we did before, on this side and go around?
[Audience] - I’d like to hear a more satisfactory explanation of what archaic revival means. I haven’t got it straightened out. I suspect it means a return to a more stable state when there is too much chaos in the present. I’m sure that’s not what you mean.
Well, that’s partially what it is. It’s based on an idea that when societies get into trouble, an unconscious response seems to be - they search back through their own history to find a model that they can revivify or revitalize. The strongest example in our own history was when the medieval world broke apart and didn’t make any sense anymore. The new middle class went back to classicism, to the Greeks and the Romans, to Roman law, Greek philosophy and Greco-Roman architecture and mechanics and that sort of thing and created classicism. Classicism was invented in the 14th century. But, our problems are deeper than this. We can’t go back to ancient Rome or ancient Egypt or something like that, and expect to have real answers. Uh, we have to go back further to prehistory, to this archaic state and there, in partnership, in genderless, uh, self-organizing society, we begin to see the kinds of models that we have to somehow recreate in the modern world. Obviously, we can’t in the modern world become mushroom-eating nomadic pastoralists, but we can study that approach to reality to try and learn from it how you live in equilibrium. That’s the key thing that the archaic world knew that we don’t know. How do you live in equilibrium, uh, so that your children may live in equilibrium because, otherwise, you get a cycle started that’s going to shove somebody over the cliff and that somebody, in the present, case is either ourselves, our children or their children. It’s no further away in time than that.
So, the archaic revival is the idea that all of the -- and I see the whole of the 20th century, the discovery of the unconscious of Freud and Jung, the dissolving of the naturalistic image at the hands of the cubists, the probing of the dream state by the surrealists, the exploration of mass ritual by the fascists – I mean, it wasn’t all good, this stuff. But, what all these things had in common was they were, uh, a return, an appeal to the level of the mass psyche that had been ignored and denied for a long, long time. The LSD taking of the 60s was the same kind of thing and, you know, I'm very -- I come out very strongly for McLuhan in the idea that as the emphasis, uh, as the ratios of the mix of media in a society changes, the sensory ratios and values of the society change. And we’re living in a post-literate, post-linear, uh, kind of world now where a whole different set of assumptions make sense and they’re archaic assumptions. You know, the archaic world was a non-linear, preliterate, audial ‘all at once’ kind of world and the fact that our sensory ratios have shifted back in that direction makes us very sympathetic, very susceptible to this re-archaicization that wants to go on.
[Audience] Thank you.
[Audience] - The, uh, I guess the ultimate psilocybin question is: - can you envision ,Terence, in your wildest imagination that we as a society, instead of as individuals taking mushrooms and gaining some enlightenment that we’ll ever be able to do it in an organized mass way? Do you have that vision?
You mean that someday it will be legal?
[Audience] – Legal and encouraged. You know, a mass taking of?
Well, obviously, it would take a total revolution. Uh, the current thinking is that the big revolutions in the world have to do with the internal contradictions of Marxist-Leninism, but it may actually be that Marxist-Leninism was a kind of partner in a co-dependent relationship with consumer capitalism. And, maybe revolution is just going to become something that everybody is into. God knows - we could use a perestroika. I mean, we, too, are ruled by constipated lying bureaucrats. What are the statistics – 97% of all incumbents are reelected, that there is less turnover in the United States Congress than there was in the higher echelons of the Communist party of East Germany until the wall came down. I mean, we love to congratulate ourselves on the forward leaning, uh, liberal society that we live in and the truth is it’s a bunch of rattlesnake handling fundamentalists that are much closer to Stalin than they are to FDR or anybody else like that.
Still, I-I think that the culture crisis is going to become so intense and the world is going to become so weird as we saw on the graph last night, novelty is going to intensify and intensify and intensify and even last year when Eastern Europe was falling to pieces, very straight people were saying – "Gee it seems as though history itself is accelerating." Well, then there was a lull, so that talk was dropped but I think history is accelerating and the next time it accelerates, the talk that this is happening will come around again much louder. And pretty soon by the turn of the century, I think, it’s going to be hard to hide from anybody who’s paying attention, the fact that the entire social evolution of the planet seems to be caught in some kind of evolutionary meltdown that is imminent, you know. And in that environment, psilocybin has a chance.
The whole drug thing – leave alone psychedelics – the whole drug thing is properly understood as a civil rights issue. I mean, people should be able to take whatever drugs they damn well please in the same way that they should be able to express their sexual preferences, in the same way that women should be allowed to vote, uh, people of low incidence of light reflectivity should be treated like everybody else. I mean, all these things which are perfectly obvious. You cannot have a free society and regulate people’s drug use. Any society which sets out to call itself free and democratic with the footnote that certain states of mind are forbidden is headed down the slippery slopes of totalitarianism. There is no way that this can be avoided.
So, aside from our belief as a group in the wonderful healing, uh, and teaching potential of psychedelics, even if psychedelic drugs didn’t exist, I would favor the legalization of all drugs because I just think that you cannot treat people as though they were infantile. That’s called paternalism. That’s the old dominator game. We have to just admit, you know, that we’re all in this together and nobody has cornered the market on the truth for sure.
[Audience] - Would you talk a little bit more about, uh, seeing language?
Well, this is to my mind, you know, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of the psychedelic experience. These experiences get stronger and stronger and stronger and then language becomes visible and then if they become any stronger you fall asleep. That seems to be about the outer limit of what the internal processors can tolerate. Seeing language, you know - it’s a mystery, it’s a miracle. I don’t know what it is. It’s the thing that keeps going with all of this because it’s the idea that we’re just on the brink of some kind of transformation of how we communicate with each other that will change not only how we communicate, but who we are because see if you could see what I mean rather than hear me and run to your internal dictionary and look up all my words and then reconstruct my meaning – but if you could just see what I mean then you and I would be very much like the same person because we would be looking at the same thing. So, it's a tremendous -- obviously, language is what has knitted us together and made us social creatures. I mean creatures of our body weight and so forth have styles where, you know, the males and the females get together only for sex and once a year, like mountain lions or something like that. So -- but, obviously, the presence of language and our social history as primates set us up for living as we do. And, we have managed to create through language a monkey troop of five billion people. You know, a monkey troop of five billion individuals united through the glue of language. So, it’s an intensification and it’s something shamans do. And I think, you know, it’s the real social magic of shamanism, at least, in the Amazon is based around these visible communication.
[Audience] - I wanted to make a comment about the difference between seeing and hearing. And, it’s like the difference between a sculpture and music. Music and language take place, uh, in succession of elements through time. So, it requires a duration to understand. But sculpture and seeing things is all in a single moment, that the sculpture or object is beheld in a single moment. The aesthetics of the object or the sculpted object is the relationship of part-to-part or part to whole in a single moment. But, music is the succession of elements in time and somehow I think that relates to your… When you talk about seeing language, you’re talking about seeing little creatures, words being creatures and so, then you’re observing these creatures. Are they coming out like music in -- through time or can an idea, a sentence be seen all at once?
They’re coming out through time and a sentence can be seen all at once because in a way your analogy is not apt because sculpture is static. But, these visible statements are like sculpture made of some magical substance, which has an internalized program of change. The analogy I always make is to the eggs of Fabergé. These things are like machines, jewels, but you can also tell while your looking at them that they’re statements. They're like -- you know how people talk about beautifully crafted sentences? Well these are beautifully crafted sentences but they’re like exquisite interlocking mechanized things made out of ivory and glass and topaz and chrome. And just -- brrrrr, they’re carrying on at a furious rate. They have a life in time.
I would like to write a computer program that would be like a full paint-type program, but it would be for the purpose of generating these types of objects because I’ve seen them a fair bit and analyzed what’s going on. And here’s how it works: you have a dodecahedron or some other complex regular polygon, so that it’s made of surfaces and then, to each surface, you assign a set of color and frequency changes. And then each surface can run its program independently of all the other surfaces. So, you slowly build up a program on each surface but then you can also cut into this polygon and remove chunks of it to reveal another polygon inside it that can have different programs written for each of its surfaces. And then you set these things slowly rotating, one within another on several levels, and you’re beginning to approach a really shoddy example of what these things are like that you see in this space. Beats me, you know! Most of this stuff is reportage.
[Audience] - I’ve heard you speak often of these incredibly complex images that you received on psilocybin or DMT. I’m just wondering if you’ve ever had an experience of total emptiness or voidness. The most profound experience I’ve ever had on psilocybin was actually being void of any content at all, but not being like blanked out or something like that. Just being aware of emptiness.
Well, I think this may have something to do with philosophical bent and proclivity. I never got any of these ‘zenny’ states, the white light, the black light. It’s probably in my personality – I really stress visual hallucinations. And people have hassled me about this and said, you know psychedelics open your heart, they do this, they do that, and all you ever talk about is visions. It’s because to me the vision is the proof and I guess I’m still a skeptic after all these years. The vision is the proof that it’s not me because if I’ve never seen it before, hell I’m willing to grant it’s not me if I’ve never seen it before. How difficult a character do you have to be, you know? So, when there’s things I’ve never seen before that are absolutely amazing streaming past my closed eyelids, I have to grant that it isn’t coming from me and that thin thread can be the basis of a bridge to faith.
If it isn’t me then there’s something out there. God, the Devil, who knows? But at least somebody. Now we can begin to have a serious spiritual quest. There is a signal. We’re getting a signal from the other and it can be pursued. But, it’s the task of a lifetime.
[Audience] – Now I hear you mention faith and it seems like yesterday morning you said something along the lines of, ‘I’m not a believer in any sense of the word.’ But what I wanted to ask you is in the context of the chemicals in the brain and the pineal gland and so forth – what do you think of fasting as a way of altering consciousness?
Fasting I think is probably very effective. If you analyze this whole rap here about the early mushrooms and the primates and all that, really what’s being said is that diet is the key. That foods are very important and this is what they’re saying about ayahuasca in the Amazon. They say half of it is ayahuasca but the learning of the shamanism and the becoming of this superhuman type of personality is all in the diet. And shamans in the Amazon, when they’re trying to establish their credentials with each other, do it by saying how long they kept the diet. Somebody will say, well I did it for two years or something like that.
[Audience] – I just thought of something about the shamans in the Amazon. You know this magic phlegm that they bring up? What do they do with it? Do they spit it out finally or swallow it back down or what?
What do they ultimately do with it? It’s hard to find out stuff like this when you’re a guest. [audience laughs] I don’t know. I didn’t see where it went.
[Audience] – Have you seen it? Because if they use this to pull a disease out of somebody or a poison, or some kind of illness causing thing - if it’s like a magnet that pulls this out – if they just keep this inside of them it doesn’t seem like it would be very safe I wouldn’t think.
Well, talking about what it is and judging whether it’s safe or not. I mean, what is this phlegm in the first place? When you’re really there, really dealing with it – you’re pushed towards ideas like it’s a zone -- it's a zone of space-time, which repels English. What? You know, in other words, it’s a magical substance. It comes out of their body. Calling it "phlegm" is because we’re following some anthropologist in the 1920s who, you know, went back to his tent scratching his head and tried to figure out what the nearest analogy to this was. But, what they do – they also in some of these tribes, the story goes that they can force this stuff out onto the surface of their skin and I don’t know what this is about, but I have had ayahuasca visions where it’s like a black field and suddenly there’s a huge, huge black hand and I can see in the lines of this hand, jewels and it’s just there – this black hand.
[Audience] –It’s not your hand?
It’s not my hand. It’s a black hand.
[Audience] –Where does it come from? I mean is it on your hand?
No, it’s like in a vision and then I see in the lines that what I thought were jewels is some kind of sweat, which is seeping out. And you look deeper into this stuff and you see, you know, that wonderful line from 2001, "My ! There are stars in here!" [audience laughs] It’s completely disorienting.
No, the magic is real. I have no idea how far you can go. I mean, one of the paradoxes of what we’re doing here in this room is, you know. Here I sit, I have two children, a wife, a mortgage, book contracts, lawyer, all this – here you sit with whatever you brought to this and we’re talking about this stuff. Uh, if any one of us cared to, we could turn ourselves into something that none of the rest of us could relate to at all. We could become a sage. You could go up onto cold mountain and those of us left down in the valley would say, "Oh yes, I saw him three years ago up in the mist, naked as a Jay bird hauling firewood out of the woods". These places -- there’s no barrier between you and these places except, is that what you want? Do you want to become utterly incomprehensible to the community because you are so deep into the unspeakable? Maybe? And that’s what a shaman is.
A shaman is somebody who’s just on the edge. They just have one finger back in the world of the rest of us and then they’re in this stuff. Well, seeking that used to be called the spiritual quest, but as I said to you, you know, we’ve found the means to do that. We’ve found the answer; you know, you just go in the wilderness and take mushrooms and, you know, Cohen move over. But, what to do about that? I don’t know. I really don’t know because I’m attracted to it. I want to go as far as I can go. But, when you realize that you can go so far that nobody will even remember that you ever existed, the other can close over you so utterly.
[Audience] – The reason I ask is because a lot of times they say that, you know, gurus and different people take on the karma of the different people they work with or heal. You’ve probably heard this before. So, I wondered if when these shamans were healing if they -- if they magnetized out some kind of illness or something, where does that go?
Well, they have, yes. They’re very concerned about the power of this illness and they have techniques and many times after a big curing, a shaman will fall sick. And, you know, if you want to understand this, read Jung’s book called
Psychology of the Transference
. It’s the same in all cultures: you must be able to turn back the transference if you’re a healer otherwise you’ll be killed, ultimately. And, all psychiatrists, psychotherapists understand this or if they don’t, they’re at great peril.
[Audience] – Did anyone happen to see a film called "From Beyond?" The premise was that there was a machine that induced visions in the spiritual realm and stimulated the pineal gland and what happens is, a couple of people – the inventor and someone else – get hooked on the machine and the pineal gland starts growing out of their foreheads...
[Audience] – It was big on special effects. The one guy, his whole body was totally transformed. He was always on this machine and so forth. It reminded me of an electronic version of what you’re discussing.
Yeah, well this is also coming, you know. Artificial technologies. Where are we in this process? Yeah?
[Audience] – I’m quite satisfied with questions at the moment, but I’m commenting on that, with respect to the pineal gland and visions. You know, the pineal gland feeds directly from the ocular nerve with no interceding brain tissue. It’s just a direct connection, so the colors one takes in are directly responsible for the particular secretions of that gland, which is one of the reasons why television is described as being difficult on people. It causes hormonal problems, if you watch it enough because you’re dealing with a very restricted spectrum of colors and that sort of thing. Uh, the additional thought occurred to me, that everyone who is watching television at the same time, their nervous system is being pulsed at 30 times a second, even though they’re not conscious of it, but every TV set in the whole United States is exactly in sync with each other all at thirty times a second. It’s like this sub-audible dial tone that's going through everyone’s brains. It has kind of an ominous tone to it.
The one comment I wanted to make was, uh, having recently read a book by Gurdjieff, called Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, which is about the only book I’ve ever read which pertains to the sort of cosmic time scale that Terence talks about enough. And, one of the warnings in the book was that was, if you read this with enough attention that you’ll eventually lose the taste for your favorite dessert and the particularly attractive person across the street who you like to watch won’t seem nearly so interesting anymore so be forewarned, you may not want to read this stuff and to a certain extent, I feel that’s quite possible.
You think the cosmic view kills the trivial? The joy of trivial?
[Audience] – The curse of mysticism.
Well, I don’t know. Your thing about television and everybody being in sync, one of the most creative and eccentric explanations ever dreamed up for flying saucers, uh, rested on the fact that the guy said, "In the United States, on an average evening, 40 million people are all in sync watching TV and if there then is a storm on the sun, it acts as a kind of coherent energy beam which illuminates these millions of psyches that are all synchronized by watching television and it causes, uh, an image of an archetype to be projected into space on the other side of the planet." Not my theory [Terence laughs]
[Audience] – Well, computer image processing, when you want to draw out a very fuzzy sort of pattern, quite often what you do is interfere with that pattern with another pattern on top of it and see how these two patterns comingle. Sometimes you’ll get an accentuated thing as a result and this 30-hertz dial tone is definitely sort of illuminating this other aspect of the imagination it would seem. Maybe?
[Audience] – Have you ever read "A Wrinkle in Time"? Have you read that? It’s supposed to be a children’s story but it sounds exactly like what you just said. It’s by Madeleine L'Engle.
[Audience] - I've read the whole trilogy. It's great.
[Audience] - It's almost exactly what you said.
[Audience] – I’m interested in what you feel your relationship is with these, whatever you call them, these beings that come to you. Are you, are we, their offspring somehow or, you know?
Well, I don’t know. I mean, this has puzzled me for a long, long time. When it first happened, I just thought that they were straight out extra-terrestrials and that this was some kind of weird technology where this was a contact between a species that evolved off planet, and then -- but, they’re like, uh, inter-dimensional dwellers of some sort. And I -- so then I thought, maybe they’re just hyper-spatial creatures of some sort in some other dimension but I can’t even imagine. And then I thought, maybe they’re actually from the future. It’s like maybe this is a future state of humanity that we’re actually going to look like this in ten million years and they’re doing some kind of weird experiment with time and I’m the Neanderthal that they’re checking out. And then the other possibility which I mentioned here which is really unsettling, but, in a lot of ways, fills the bill better than any of these which is – they’re souls of some sort. They’re human beings and when you try that on for size, it’s pretty hair-raising because it feels right and yet your mind boggles. I mean, I am not ready to believe that you can smoke a drug and cross over the great divide and return ten minutes later. That really strains my credulity; nevertheless if you ask shamans, this is what they would say.
I -- after having many DMT trips, I came to realize that this place that you break into where the gnomes greet you with this huge hooray and all this linguistic machinery is happening and so forth, that alien as that place is, it’s somebody’s idea of a reassuring environment for human beings. It’s somebody’s idea of the equivalent of a playpen. And these colored machine linguistic object things are the equivalent of colored rattles and things strung on a string and you’re just sitting there, you know, gaping and they’re saying don’t freak out, pay attention, uh, learn to do this. I don’t know. Maybe, I mean -- first of all, nothing is impossible. No possible speculation is verboten, right? So, maybe it is that we’ve gone too far and maybe it is that this planet is doomed. And maybe it is that somehow that, too, is part of the plan.
Borgia had this idea. He said that he believed in what he called "the soul of the species." And he said that the soul of species is not released to the higher dimensions until the last individual member of the species dies. As long as there is a single member of the species alive, the soul of the species is somehow in some kind of transient zone. But, when the last member of a species died, then it goes off. Well, if you look at the fossil record, 95% of all the species that have ever lived on the Earth are extinct. From that point of view, it looks as though biology is a, uh, process for producing extinction. Well then what is it? Is it that in the world of three-dimensional space and time and matter and energy, the DNA rears a form which inhabits a region of time and space called the body and then at a certain point, this form withdraws into something and what the matter that it had previously organized just falls to pieces. I don’t know, but the entities in the DMT place are a real challenge. They either are the dead, extra-terrestrials or inter-dimensional dwellers. Any one of these is a headline in the supermarket checkout line, I assure you. [audience laughs]
[Audience] – I’m not quite sure what I want to ask you but I recently had a dream that we’re all linked together. It seemed like you’ve had the same experience on mushrooms, feeling that? Do you have anything that you could say about that in relationship to affecting others?
Well, I think that, you know, the link that we cannot evolve, we can’t change the world any faster than we can change the language we use to talk about it. And changing language is a collective activity. You empower memes, we talked about this. You create a concept and then you empower it by spreading it and by communicating it clearly enough that in the act of spreading it, it doesn’t get badly copied and get all mushed up, you know, so that after it’s been copied it ten times you can’t recognize it. I sometimes have this experience – people quote me to myself and I’m just amazed, you know. Sometimes it turns out it’s verbatim and I’m still amazed. But the linking together is through the evolution of language and we’ve never, ever attempted to engineer language. We’ve always let it just grow like topsy, not realizing that certain language habits are very toxic. Certain language patterns give permission for very detrimental ways of thinking. I mean, for instance, the subject/object relationship in English or the, uh, assignment of gender to things which goes on in a lot languages. These are habits of language that then become tremendous, uh, social problems for their inheritors.
[Audience] – The use of the word it. It’s raining. It’s funny. What is funny?
Or the " I." There are languages where there is no first person pronoun. The only way you can refer to yourself is by the extremely clumsy form, this person. This person thinks…yak yak Yeah?
[Audience] – I was curious, you mentioned DMT and visions of, I think, you said dodecahedrons, and then you mentioned, um, that they’re saying to kind of stay with it, hang in there. I’m kind of curious about this dialogue on DMT and the logos in psilocybin. I mean, do they sound the same? How do you know it’s not your own Howard Cosell commenting in the back of your mind?
How do you know it isn’t your own mind?
[Audience] – Yeah, and is there a way to break through there to begin a dialogue or does it just start going like a tape loop?
No, it doesn’t start going, you have to invoke it. This is an interesting thing if you’re practically inclined. You can't -- it won’t speak to you; you have to speak to it. You come into a certain place on the mushroom, which I now, based on having done it a number of times, recognize the territory and say, "A"h ha, it’s now possible to communicate with the thing." And then I, -- well, you must know the old
I Love Lucy
episode where they do the thing about, "Come in little green men. Come in little green men." Ethel and Lucy are into this. Well, I tried that and, you know, you hear this thing which sounds like the tinkling of bells, the distant tinkling of bells and what it is, is it’s literally -- it's the elf troop marching band and chowder society [audience laughs], and you can hear them getting nearer and nearer. It's like... [Terence hums a few bars of a symphony]
And it gets louder and louder and at a certain point, you begin not to hear it, but to see it. It gets brighter and brighter and clearer and clearer and finally they’re all around you and jumping up and down and saying, you know, "How do you like it McKinney?" And all this other stuff that they say. They’re gnomes. You couldn’t miss it.And, I’m still me of course, I’m still just as I would be sitting here. It’s so hard to assimilate. That’s why I say; you know, sitting here in a room talking about this stuff is nothing as to being out there signing treaties with the folks.
[Audience] – That to me is following in the question. When you say logos, is this the machine elves?
No, the logos is something a little subtler that is a -- actually it stuck with me since La Chorrera. It’s just a quality of thinking which I recognize to be clearer and deeper than my own. And, it usually takes the form of: ‘why don’t you try this’ with regard to some problem. Why don’t you try this? And, I know immediately that it will work, it’s got the tone that’s the real thing. I just go and do it and it always works. And, it’s these, you know, evolved ideas.
[Audience] – OK, so I can understand that’s your subjective experience and some people don’t get the machine elves and things like that when I talk to them but you mentioned the mark of this was terror, so I can already realize that being in that domain is enough of a terror in itself, but you said the mark or the proof of this was – some of these trips were terrorizing. I’m trying to understand. Something else must be going on which makes you feel terror?
It’s the implications are what’s terrifying because you know that amazing moment in
where she’s in the dream and then she sits up and says, "My God! This is really happening." Well, that happens to you in the DMT thing. You realize that the center of it: this is not a drug, that’s preposterous. A drug, are you kidding me? Drugs make you feel good or bad or fall down or disgrace yourself. This is not a drug. It’s something masquerading as a drug. I mean, it’s as appalling as if they were about to give you the umbilical examination that Whitley Strieber specializes in. You’re inside a flying saucer. You’re with things that in a moment before, you would have laughed at the possibility that they even existed and now you’re there. And you feel completely normal. You don’t feel drugged or dulled or distanced or high or low. You just feel stoned, amazed at what has happened to reality and how it’s all been replaced by this thing that not only did you never expect its existence but nobody ever expected its existence. You talk about a well-kept secret that’s only two tokes away. How did they keep the lid on this? [audience laughs] That’s the miracle to me. How did they keep the lid on this? Well they have.
[Audience] – Well I’m not sure what my question is, but in the experience last night with the computer time program, now, that was real exciting to me. It kind of made me almost have the experience of traveling through time and having that awareness of history and wondering now – now that you’ve brought that out and we have the awareness, what do we really use it for? What is your vision for how it can truly be used?
If you understand history, you will see it in the present. It’s an amazing tool for enriching your own experience. If you, when you go to get a hamburger at Hadrian’s Hamburger Joint, know that this is happening because you’re caught in a resonance related to the expeditions of the Roman emperor Hadrian to Scotland. I mean you’re totally schizophrenic, of course, to entertain thoughts like this but it makes life a lot more interesting. You -- instead of seeing a linear thing with a fading past and an unpredictable future, you live in a super rich kind of baklava style of time, where time is folded and folded and folded and the layers are very thing and the stuff between is very sweet.
[Audience] – How have you used that personally in your life?
Well, the other way you use it is, of course, it predicts the future. We saw the line going off into the future. Well, I’ve had it in my possession since 1972, so after you’ve watched it correctly predict the future for a while, months or years, however long it takes, you gain confidence in it. And as you gain confidence in it, you discover that it gives you permission to let go of anxiety about the future. You’ve got a map of the future. You know that August 1991 is going to be a pain in the ass. You know that great triumph will come to you in January of 1993, so why worry about it? You just then go and live your life and as you watch the wave unfold, confidence grows and grows and grows. And, what’s happening you see, without any fanfare or, you know, alien symbiosis, you’re becoming a hyper spatial person. You’re adding a dimension to your view of the world. The future is changing from a question mark into a map that you’re quite confident is working for you and anxiety about the future is a major thing twisting people around. So, if you could get agreement on this. It’s the Tao, you know – live in the perception of the Tao. Its just people didn’t ever think that would mean that you'd go and look at a printed outlook from a computer, but the exhortation is the same. Live according to the constraints of the Tao.
[Audience] – I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend. Uh, it has given me much food for thought. I’m very interested in how you -- what the best setup is for taking the mushrooms? Um, the amount, time of day, condition, whatever? I think there must be in your experience, I’m sure you’ve tried all of them – there must be one way that lends itself better to the mushroom than others?
Yes. Well, yes, I haven’t said it this weekend but it’s practically a battle cry of mine. It’s five grams in silent darkness on an empty stomach and I’ll explain. Five grams. Now, you must weigh it. A lot of people take mushrooms and when you show them what five grams is, they pale visibly.[audience laughs] Yeah, five dried grams. It’s several mouthfuls. I’m speaking for a hundred and forty five pound person. Obviously, if you weight 90 pounds, back it up a little and if you weigh 230 pounds, you might go a little up, but five dried grams on an empty stomach. All that means is don’t eat for six hours. Silent darkness. Silent. And a lot of people disagree with me about this and they want to listen to the Moody Blues and they want Bach and they want this. Forget it! Nobody is going to listen to you if you come out of this experience saying Johann Sebastian Bach is God, we know that! [audience laughs] It’s very confusing because the music becomes everything if you listen to it. I mean, you cannot separate it from the trip and people will not believe that the trip without music will be just as rich as the trip with music because they’ve already decided they’re inadequate. That out of their own depths, they couldn’t possibly produce a psychedelic experience so let’s have the B- minor mass thrown in just to help it along a little here.
So, silence, silent darkness and then darkness. Why darkness? Because the hallucinations actually need darkness in order to form. They form behind closed eyelids and so, what I do is - and I clear the decks and I try to pick a point in my life when I don’t feel to anxious and oppressed by trivia. I unplug all the phones. I get rid of every obligation. I roll up three or four bombers and I then wait on an empty stomach, and about 9 o’clock at night, I take it. And I just sit as I’m sitting now waiting for it to come on. Once I’ve taken it, I am completely in the sacrospace even though I don’t feel anything for an hour and twenty minutes. Some people do the ironing and, you know, chop up some stock or something, but I just sit and then it begins to come on. Usually -- some people say it comes on very quickly but for me it usually doesn’t really come on until the hour and twenty-minute mark. There may be a surge of nausea at forty minutes or a need to take a leak or something like that, but then I get back and resettle. And at an hour and twenty minutes, it comes and it comes as a wave. It’s almost like a very sheer silk scarf just drops over me, just settles over me and I think, oh my god here it comes.Here it comes. And then it comes and it’s a wave of hallucination and if I, well, I gauge it, but at that point I smoke and something about the cannabis synergy meeting the psilocybin, I mean, it is spectacular. I mean, you think that everybody from Vancouver to Tijuana must have just thrown themselves on the ground as this thing -- I mean, it feels like the sun exploded. It feels like you’re watching through eleven feet of quartz crystal a hydrogen furnace on the other side. You cannot believe the release of energy. It’s like a siren comes on, a siren, which you hear and feel. A siren, which shakes your body and the building that you’re in and then it just, you know, pushes you out into who knows? Long periods of time where not a word of it will ever be reported to any other human being. I mean, you see things that nobody has ever seen or will ever see again. You’re into it, you know, and it’s an infinite matrix in all directions and it means something. It doesn’t just look pretty, you know. It’s playing on the harp of your soul with the emotional overtones. Yeah?
[Audience] – Have you ever taken it outside?
Yes, and I don’t do that very much because I really try to control, uh, the setting because the freakiest things happen. I mean, if you in any way lift your foot off the pedal of controlling the parameters of the setting, the damndest things will happen. I mean, grizzly bears will break into your house [audience laughs]; motorcycle gangs will arrive [audience laughs] and saucers will attack. It’s weird to go outside.
[Audience] – Do you eat the mushrooms or just drink the tea?
No I eat the mushrooms.
Audience] – Do you have eye shades on did you say?
No I just sit in darkness but I rarely pursue total darkness.
[Audience] – What specific species of mushroom?
There are many species but the only one you’ll ever encounter unless you’re a specialist is Stropharia Cubensis. That’s the one that people grow and is an item of underground commerce and it’s the one that grows in the dung of the white cows. It’s the one that I’m implicating in the evolution of human beings. Over here.
[Audience] – Back to language for a minute. It’s not really a question but I wanted to reiterate a couple of things that I said yesterday. I’m trying to break into my own computer and stop habitual behavior of long ago. Starting with language, just picking the phrases or words that you use the most when you are lazy; it could be profanity, outrageous, amazing, very interesting, awesome, it’s a long, long list. Those are all cop-outs and if you can stop yourself at that moment and say wait a minute, you know, that’s not really expressing an articulate thought. I think it sends a message. It does break into the computer and says things are changing, you know.
Yeah, paying attention. I think we said in here at some point that the key to everything is paying attention. Uh, awareness of awareness the Buddhists call it. But your point is very good. If you're truly awareness of awareness, the best place to manifest that it is in, I guess the Buddhists call it, right speech. Yes? So that it’s always appropriate and sufficient and so forth. There’s a book that some of you may know and you might be interested if you don’t know it – it’s called
Hallucinogens and Shamanism
. It’s edited by Michael Harner. But, it has articles by a number of people and it has really one of the most wonderful articles ever written about the mushrooms by Henry Munn called,
e Mushrooms of Language
. He talks about how they are an inspiration to articulation, how even in these Mazatec villages when people are not taking mushrooms, the way you can tell a shaman is by a speech style. And I saw this in the Amazon with the ayahuasqueros. They have a diction, a psychedelic diction that is careful, appropriate, and always sensitive to the context of the listener and so forth and so on. In other words, they are great teachers; educators, communicators and I think it’s the residual effect of this empowerment of speech.
[Audience] – What was the name of the book?
Hallucinogens and Shamanism
by Michael Harner. It’s in paperback from Oxford University Press. It’s an excellent anthology. It has articles about ayahuasca, about ibogaine, uh, San Pedro; it’s a good world survey of folk usage of hallucinogenic plants and extensive bibliographies, which will lead you on if you’re interested in some particular area.
[Audience] – How long does a five gram trip last?
If I take it around 8:30 at night, by midnight I’m ready to call it an evening. I always eat before I sleep 'cause otherwise you’ll wake up in the morning feeling really wasted and sort of hollow. But if you eat something fairly substantial right before you sleep at 1 in the morning, then you wake up the next morning, you feel great.
- Any difficulty getting to sleep?
Well, your mind is just roiling with thoughts but on the other hand, you’ve come so far down from where you were an hour, an hour and a half before, that’s when you smoke the third bomber and that shoves you into unconsciousness. [Terence laughs]
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