Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data McKenna, Terence K. The archaic revival: speculations on psychedelic mushrooms, the Amazon, virtual re- . Cited by the L.A. Weekly as “the culture’s foremost spokesman for the psychedelic experience,” Terrence McKenna is an underground legend as a brilliant racon. One of the main themes running through McKenna’s work, and the title of was undergoing what he called an “archaic revival”.
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The result is a cyclone of unorthodox ideas revical of lifting almost any brain out of its cognitive Kansas. A radically innovative natural philosophy is offered here, one that inspires a new ecology of inner and outer space.
The Archaic Revival is terencf to the drybrush and deadwood of the intellect. In the twilight of human history, McKenna’s prescription for salvation is just so crazy it might work. Weekly as “the culture’s foremost spokesman for the psychedelic experience,” Terence McKenna is an underground legend as a mckrnna raconteur, adventurer, and expert on the experiential use of mind-altering plants. In these essays, interviews, and narrative adventures, McKenna takes us on a mesmerizing journey deep into the Amazon as well as into the hidden recesses of the human psyche and the outer limits of our culture, giving us startling visions of the past and the future.
Credits appear on page Printed in the United States of America. No part of this terencd may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews, for information address HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY The Archaic Archiac 2 1.
In Praise of Psychedelics 6 with Jay Levin 2. High Frontiers Interview 26 with Will Noffke 3. Tryptamine Hallucinogens 34 and Consciousness 4. Alien Love 72 7. New Maps of Hyperspace 90 8.
Terence McKenna, The Archaic Revival | Mind Bending Truth
Temporal Resonance 9. Among Ayahuasqueros Mushrooms and Evolution The Voynich Manuscript Wasson’s Literary Precursors Virtual Reality and Electronic Highs Less archiac, though more profound, is the sign in the dry cleaner’s window.
It reads simply, alter- ations, but it always reminds me of Terence McKenna — not merely be- cause Terence McKenna is a leading authority on the experiential aspects of mind-altering plants, or because his lectures and workshops have altered my own thinking, but because Terence, perhaps more than anyone else in our culture, has the ability to let out the waist on the trousers of perception and raise the hemline of reality.
Scholar, theoretician, explorer, dreamer, pioneer, fanatic, and spellbinder, as well as ontological tailor, McKenna combines an erudite, if somewhat original, overview of history with a genuinely visionary ap- proach to the millennium.
When Hurricane Terence sets one’s mind back down, however, one will find that it is on solid ground; for, far from Oz-built, the theories arxhaic specu- lations of McKenna are rooted in a time-tested pragmatism thousands of years old. Many of his notions astonish us not because they are so new, but because they have been so long forgotten.
As the title, The Archaic Revival, implies, McKenna has found a key to the future in the dung heap of the past. It is entirely terencd to note that psychoactive mushrooms often sprout from cow pies. In more than one place in this collection of essays and conversations, McKenna is urg- ing that we turn back — way, way back — to Paleolithic shamanism, to re- trieve techniques that not only could ensure our survival, but could teence us in mounting a fresh golden age: McKenna doesn’t consider himself a shaman, although he has studied with shamans and drunk their potent potions in Asia and the Amazon.
He says, however, that he is attempting “to explore reality with a shamanic spirit and by shamanic means. Here, let me squirt a few drops of Terence’s essence into the punch bowl, so that we might sample the flavor and chart the ripples: My vision of the final human future is an effort to exteriorize the soul and interiorize the body, so that the exterior soul will exist as a supercon- of us at a critical juncture at our psychedelic bar mitzvah.
O The purpose of life is to familiarize oneself with [the] after-death body so that the act of dying will not create confusion in the psyche. O I don’t believe that the world is made of quarks or electromagnetic waves, or stars, or planets, or any of these things. I believe the world is made of language.
O There is a hidden factor in the evolution of human beings which is neither a “missing link” nor a telos imparted from on high. O Right here and now, one quanta away, there is raging a universe of ac- tive intelligence that is transhuman, hyperdimensional, and extremely arxhaic.
What is driving religious feeling [today] is a wish for contact [with that] Other. But in the Amazon. These tiny sips from McKenna’s gourd, served out of context and stripped of his usual droll garnishes, are nevertheless intoxicating and, to my mind, nourishing. In larger gulps, his brew may even heal the ul- cers through which the modern world is bleeding.
Our problems today are more complex and more threatening than at any time in history. Sadly, we cannot even begin to solve those problems, because our reality orientations are lower than a snowman’s blood pressure. We squint at existence through thick veils of personal and societal ignorance, overlaid with still more opaque sheets of disin- formation, thoughtfully provided by the state, the church, and big busi- ness often one and the same.
The difference between us and Helen Keller is that she knew she was deaf and blind. Radical problems call for radical solutions. Conventional politi- cians are too softheaded to create radical solutions and too fainthearted to implement them if they could, whereas political revolutionaries, no matter how well meaning, ultimately offer only bloodshed followed by another round of repression.
To truly alter conditions, we must alter ourselves — philosophical- ly, psychologically, and, perhaps, biologically.
The first step in those al- terations will consist mainly of cutting away the veils in order that we might see ourselves for that transgalactic Other that we really are and al- ways have been. Terence the Tailor has got the sharpest shears in town. And he’s open Sundays and holidays. Once the veils are severed, we, each of us, can finally start to attend to our self-directed mutagenesis.
The flying saucer is warming up its linguistic engines. The mush- room is shoving its broadcasting transmitter through the forest door. Time for the monkeys to move into hyperspace! It’s going to be a weird, wild trip, but, guided by the archaic, Gaia-given gyroscope, we can com- mence the journey in a state of excitement and hope. With his uniquely secular brand of eschatological euphoria, Terence McKenna is inviting us to a Doomsday we can live with.
Be there or be square.
Tom Robbins Seattle, Washington Acknowledgments I WANT to thank the many people and organizations that have invit- ed me to express my opinions in various forums over the years. Weekly, MondoCritique, Whole Earth Review, Magical Blend, and the Australian journal Nature and Health all cooperated in the reprinting of essays or interviews that original- ly appeared in their pages.
Thanks to the fine journalists who con- ducted these interviews: And special thanks to Diane and Roy Tuckman of Los Angeles; the hundreds of hours of Southern California airtime that they have given to my ideas has been invaluable in helping me reach a larger audience. The ideas expressed here were formed and often recast in the en- vironment of Esalen Institute, where I have done some of my best think- ing; to the management, staff, and seminarians of Esalen I offer deep appreciation.
Friends in the many dozens helped form these ideas. First among these is my partner Kat Harrison McKenna, whose enthusiasm for the joys of the imagination equals my own.
Full text of “McKenna, Terence – The Archaic (PDFy mirror)”
Thanks to Peter Meyer, who wrote the computer software that supports the Timewave. Thanks to my brother Dennis and to Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham, all of whom helped me clarify my ideas. And to Tom Robbins for his generous foreword.
Better friends than these no man could ask for. And finally I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my editor, Dan Levy, who believed passionately in these ideas and whose friendship and humor made working on this book a sheer delight.
Hallucinogenic plants and other psychedelic substances may be harmful to health, revuval in many jurisdictions in the United States and throughout the world, it is illegal to possess and use such substances. Readers are advised that they use such substances entirely at their own risk. The author and the publisher of this book disclaim liability for any adverse effects resulting from the use of any hallucinogenic plant or other psychedelic substance that is gevival herein.
Twenty-five years ago I began to grapple with the realization that exploring the “Wholly Other” was related to shamanism. Pursuing devival insight led me to use plant hallucinogens as a means of probing the mysterious dimension this oldest of humanity’s religions has reviva, claimed to be able to access.
Of all the techniques used by the shaman to in- duce ecstasy and visionary voyaging — fasting, prolonged drumming, breath control, and stressful ordeals — I now feel confident that the use of hallucinogenic plants is the most effective, dependable, and powerful. I believe that rational exploration of the enigma of the Other is possible and that the shamanic approach to hallucinogenic plants, especially those containing psilocybin and dimethyltryptamine DMTwill be ab- solutely central to achieving that end.
These essays, conversations, and interviews, while they make for- ays far afield, always return to the theme of the Other and its mysterious interpenetration of our lives.
It is this that I am concerned to communi- cate: Mckennna hope is that these pieces convey a sense of fun and excitement, of discovery, and of the true depth of the dark waters of mystery upon which the cheerful world of the everyday is no trence than a cork bobbing in an uncharted ocean.
The Archaic Revival By Terence McKenna
I am acutely aware, as many of my readers will be, of the surreal, prophetistic, and even grandiose aspects of many of these ideas. Those experiences occurred at the edge of sanctioned reali- y, and in the absence of those experiences there would be no basis for my heretical opinions. But I have found the universe of psychedelic sm to be a corpus delecti for those seeking evidence that all is not with the sunny world of materialism and scientific rationalism.
In addition to choosing to repress the strange abilities of the shaman and the psychic potential of contact with the Other, Western tra- dition has a built-in bias against self-experimentation with hallucino- gens. One of the consequences of this is that not enough has been written about the phenomenology of personal experiences with the vi- sionary hallucinogens. The exceptions are noteworthy and entertaining. Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Aldous Huxley come to mind, and both seem to exemplify two rules operating in such situations: These early descriptions of the effects of hallucinogens are like the exaggerated and romantic accounts that European explorers carried home with them from the New World.
The realms of adventurous fanta- sy only gradually gave way to the mapped and explored continents we know. The Archaic Revival is my explorer’s notebook, my journey of trav- el through time and ideological space. It stretches from the prehistoric veldt of Africa to the unimaginable world beyond the transcendental ob- ject at the end of history.
The Archaic Revival is also a roadshow of new strains of thought: The Arcfmic Revival offers tonics for language and new health for our best old memes. Lift up the tent edge and scoot inside where there is light and action. Strike up the band. The elfclowns of hyperspace are al- ready juggling in the center ring. McKenna was one of the loveliest speakers I’d ever heard, with a lush Irish gift of gab and an extraordi- nary ability to turn difficult intellectual concepts into verbal poetry.