Department of Mysteries

from Terence McKenna-Land
- appropriated excerpts from those 20th century pioneers of high weirdness E=mc=Th xrl Hrdms

Terence McKenna (1946 to 2000) had studied the ontological foundations of Shamanism and the Ethno-pharmacology of spiritual transformation for most of his adult life. An innovative theoretician and spellbinding orator, Terence emerged as a powerful voice for the psychedelic movement and the emergent societal tendency he calls The Archaic Revival. Poetically dispensing enlightened social criticism and new theories of the fractal dynamics of time, Terence de-obfuscated many aspects of the visionary lexicon, and then some. As Artist Alex Grey suggests...

"In the twilight of human history, McKenna's prescription for salvation
is just so crazy it might work."


The Gaian Mind
- A Literary cut-up from the works of Terence McKenna

The planet is some kind of organized intelligence. It's very different from us. It has had 5- or 6-billion years to create a slow moving mind which is made of oceans and rivers and rain forests and glaciers. It's becoming aware of us, as we are becoming aware of it, strangely enough. Two less likely members of a relationship can hardly be imagined - the technological apes and the dreaming planet. And yet, because the life of each depends on the other, there's a feeling towards this immense, strange, wise, old, neutral, weird thing, and it is trying to figure out why its dreams are so tormented and why everything is out of balance.

- from Spacetime Tsunami

The planet has a kind of intelligence... it can actually open a channel of communication with an individual human being. The message that nature sends is, transform your language through a synergy between electronic culture and the psychedelic imagination, a synergy between dance and idea, a synergy between understanding and intuition, and dissolve the boundaries that your culture has sanctioned between you, to become part of this Gaian supermind.

- from Re-Evolution

The psychedelic experience is far more than instant psychotherapy or instant regression to infantile traumatic situations, far more than simply a kind of super-aphrodisiac, far more than simply an aid in formulating ideas or coming up with artistic concepts. What the psychedelic experience really is, is opening the doorway into a lost continent of the human mind, a continent that we have almost lost all connection to, and the nature of this lost world of the human mind is that it is a Gaian entelechy. It turns out, if we can trust the evidence of the psychedelic experience, that we are not the only intelligent life forms on this planet, that we share this planet with some kind of conscious mind - call it Gaia, call it Zeta Reticulians who came here a million years ago, call it God Almighty, it doesn't matter what you call it, the fact of the matter is that the claims of religion that there is some kind of higher power can be experientially verified through psychedelics.

Now this is not, in Milton's wonderful phrase "The God who hung the stars like lamps in heaven" - it doesn't have to do with that, in my opinion - it isn't cosmic in scale, it's planetary in scale. There is some kind of disincarnate intelligence. It's in the water, it's in the ground, it's in the vegetation, it's in the atmosphere we breath, and our unhappiness, our discomfort, arises from the fact that we have fallen into history and history is a state of benighted ignorance concerning the real facts of how the world works.

"What the psychedelic experience really is, is opening the doorway into a lost continent of the human mind, a continent that we have almost lost all connection to, and the nature of this lost world of the human mind is that it is a Gaian entelechy."

- from the Camden Center presentation

Now, why it is that when we dose ourselves with a human neurotransmitter like DMT, why (do) we then encounter armies of elves teaching us a perfected form of communication, this is a very difficult question. When you go to traditional cultures, shamanistic cultures in the Amazon and put this question to them, they answer without hesitation when you ask about these small entities, they say "Oh, yes, those are the ancestors, those are the ancestor spirits with which we work all of our magic." This is worldwide and traditionally the answer that you would get from shamans if you were to ask them how they do their magic - it's through the intercession of the helping spirit who is a creature in another dimension.

Well, we may have imagined many different scenarios, a future technological and social innovation, but I think very few of us have imagined the possibility that the real programme of shamanism would have to be taken seriously, and that shamans are actually people who have learned to penetrate into another dimension, a dimension where, for want of a better word, we would have to say the souls of the ancestors are somehow present. It isn't, you see, as though we penetrate into the realm of the dead, it's more as though we discover that this world is the realm of the dead and that there is a kind of higher-dimensional world with greater degrees of freedom, with a greater sense of spontaneity and a lesser dependency on the entropic world of matter, and that that other universe is attempting to impinge into our own, perhaps to rescue us from our historical dilemma, we don't know - perhaps shamans have always had commerce with these magical invisible worlds and it's only the sad fate of Western human beings to have lost touch and awareness with this domain to the point where it comes to us as a kind of a revelation.

You see, I believe that the whole fall into history, the whole rise of male dominance and patriarchy really can be traced to a broken connection with the living world of the Gaian mind, and there's nothing airy-fairy about this notion; the living world of the Gaian mind is what shamans access through psychoactive plants, and without psychoactive plants that access comes as an unconfirmable rumour.

"The Gaian mind is what we're calling the psychedelic experience. It's an experience of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet - and without that experience we wander in a desert of bogus ideologies. But with that experience the compass of the self can be set."

- Alien Dreamtime - The Archaic Revival

I can imagine a world where people live in idyllic pastoral naturalism, naked with perfected ageless bodies, it looks like an aboriginal high Paleolithic existence, but when you transport yourself into these people's bodies and they close their eyes, what they see are menus hanging in mental space and these menus are generated by an object on the inside of their eyelid no larger than a contact lens and that object is a doorway for them into a virtual global culture that is electronically instantaneous, multi-levelled, multi-sensory, transformative, you know, the complete database of the species on call at a glance.

"Like the octopus, our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts. This is the essence of a more perfect Logos, a Logos not heard but beheld. VR can help here..",

- The Archaic Revival, p 232.


In-house destinations to Terrence McKenna-Land

  Aliens & Archetypes
Terrence McKenna interview transcript with Dr Jeffrey Mishlove on "Thinking Allowed" PBS series...
.McKenna's Tykes
Partial transcript from May 26th & 27th, 1990 - New Mexico...
Terence McKenna's Postmodern Pleroma
Cyber-Gnosticism and the Alien Good
- by David M. Larsen...
Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness
Transcript from a talk given at Esalen, 1983..
  The Muchroom Speaks
And our opinions rest upon what it tells eloquently of itself in the cool night of the mind...


Abraham, Ralph, McKenna, Terence & Sheldrake, Rupert, Trialogues at the Edge of the West,
(Santa Fe, Bear & Company, 1992)
Eisenman, Stephen F., Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History, (London, Thames & Hudson, 1994)
Harvey, David, The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1989)
Heelas, Paul, Lash, Scott & Morris, Paul, Detraditionalisation, (Massachusetts, Blackwell, 1996)
Heelas, Paul, The New Age Movement, (Massachusetts, Black-well, 1996)
"The New Age in Cultural Context: The Premodern, the Modern and the Postmodern",
Religion 23, 2 (1993) 103 - 116
Jonas, Hans, Philosophical Essays, (New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1974)
The Gnostic Religion, 2nd Ed., (Boston, Beacon Press, 1963)
Krell, David Farrell & Wood, David [eds], Exceedingly Nietzsche, (New York, Routledge, 1988)
Lasch, Christopher, The Culture of Narcissism, (New York, W.W.Norton, 1978)
Lyon, David, "A Bit of a Circus: Notes on Postmodernity and the New Age", Religion 23, 2 (1993) 117 - 126
McKenna, Terence, "The Camden Centre Talk 15/6/92", Terence McKenna Land @ http://www.deoxy.org/mckenna.htm
The Archaic Revival, (New York, HarperSanFrancisco, 1991)
Morrison, Grant, Jimenez, Phil & Lark, Michael, "The Girl Most Likely To", The Invisibles, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1997, (New York, DC Comics)
Smith, David, "The Premodern and the Postmodern: Some Parallels, with Special Reference to Hinduism", Religion 23, 2 (1993) 157 - 165
Taylor, Charles, Sources of the Self, (Massachusetts, Harvard U.P, 1989)
The Ethics of Authenticity, (Massachusetts, Harvard U.P, 1991)

Terence McKenna, The Archaic Revival, (New York, HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), p xiii
Quoted in Hans Jonas, Philosophical Essays, (New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1974), p 271
Abraham, Ralph, McKenna, Terence & Sheldrake, Rupert, Trialogues at the Edge of the West, (Santa Fe, Bear & Company, 1992), p 174
Paul Heelas, "Introduction: Detraditionalization and its Rivals", in Heelas, Paul, Lash, Scott & Morris, Paul [eds], Detraditionalisation, (Massachusetts, Blackwell, 1996), p 2
Ibid, p 3
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self, (Massachusetts, Harvard U.P, 1991), p 314
Ibid, p 325 - 7
Quoted in Ibid, p 327
Ibid, p 328
Terence McKenna, "The Camden Centre Talk, 15/6/92", Terence McKenna Land @ http://www.deoxy.org/mckenna.htm, p 2
Ibid, p 8
Ibid, p 1
Quoted in Paul Heelas, The New Age Movement, (Cambridge. Mass, Blackwell, 1996), p 153
McKenna, Camden, p 18
Quoted in Taylor, Sources, p 357
Quoted in Ibid, p 358
Ibid, p 359 - 60
Ibid, p 359
McKenna, Camden, p 12
Ibid, p 1
Ibid, p 15
McKenna, Archaic, p 94
Quoted in Alan D. Schrift, "Foucault and Derrida on Nietzsche and the End(s) of "Man", in David Farrell Krell and David Wood [eds], Exceedingly Nietzsche, (New York, Routledge, 1988) p 131.
McKenna, Archaic, p 241
Ibid, p 249
See Taylor on "Inwardness", in Sources, pp 111 - 207
Paul Morris, "Community Beyond Tradition", in Heelas, Lash & Morris [eds], Detraditionalization, p 227
McKenna, Camden, p 21
McKenna, Archaic, p 167
McKenna, Camden, p 7
Ibid, p 26
Ibid, p 13
Hans Jonas, Philosophical Essays, p 273
Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity, (Massachusetts, Harvard U.P, 1991), pp 1 -12
See, for example, Abraham & McKenna in Trialogues, p 47 - 53
Jonas, Essays, p 272
Ibid, p 273
See William Bloom's summary of New Age axioms, quoted in Paul Heelas, "The New Age in Cultural Context: The Premodern, the Modern and the Postmodern", Religion 23, 2 (1993) p 104

David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1989), p 284
Ibid, p 284 - 5
Quoted in Heelas, Cultural Context, p 110
Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth Century Art, A Critical History, (London, Thames & Hudson, 1994),
p 247.
McKenna, Camden, p 6
Harvey, Postmodernity, p 293
Harvey, Postmodernity, p 291
McKenna, Camden, p 19    Douglas Kellner, quoted in Heelas, Cultural Context, p 111