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Table of Content:

Surfing the Fractal Wave at the End of History by Terence McKenna . 5

Dancing Into The Third Millennium by Terence McKenna ... 25
The Hermetic Corpus and Alchemy by Terence McKenna ... 57
Psilocybin and the Sands of Time by Terence McKenna .... 117
The Rites of Spring by Terence McKenna .. 131
In the Valley of Novelty by Terence McKenna ... 199

Surfing the Fractal Wave at the End of History by Terence McKenna

Its a pleasure to be in Manhattan. This is my spring money run to the mainland. Ive been in
Boston (where I noticed that their liberalism is actually rooted in Christian rectitude, not secular
liberalism as Id always thought) and Im on to Atlanta. So this is just a brief visit with my
favorite town. Its lovely to be here on an early spring evening. The city hasnt begun to stink
yet I really like that time of year!

This is called Flaking on the Edge of Fractal Uncertainty, or something like that. Anyway, its
just an excuse to catch up with you. I sort of feel like this is the home congregation or at least
the office of the Holy Roman Rota the congregation of the faith. This is probably the
audience where I feel most at home and have the least slack! Ive been traveling madly since I
was here last May. Mostly it seemed like a tour of the English-speaking world. I went to South
Africa, to Australia, to England, back and forth to Hawaii many times. I think traveling really
reinforces the impression that we are in the grip of the transcendental attractor and the end
of time. You know, its one thing to stay home and follow it on the Internet, but the sense of
the planet just exploding These Australian and South African cities and populations trying to
deal with political redefinition, technological onslaught, media onslaught its amazing,
amazing, very much like Neal Stephensons vision in Snow Crash.

I turned 50 since Ive been here last year. It feels weasel-wise, although those of you who are
ahead of me in time may find it nave.

What Id like to talk about I guess its sort of a riff, a soliloquy, a monologue on the
adumbrations of Heavens Gate, since that has a deep, humorous resonance with most peoples
value systems these days. Actually my son, who was with me in Mexico in January, whos 19,
pushed me to think about these issues before all that, because hes dealing with the culture in a
very different way than I am. I listen to his laments and complaints with great interest. So the
thing that I thought would be interesting to unpack a little this evening is what I call the
balkanization of epistemology or what he calls simply the curse of relativism. This is the
idea that you cant tell whats going on anyway, so no matter how squirrelly what you think, its
no squirrellier or no less squirrelly than what anybody else thinks. All ideas are somehow on
this even footing, including ideas that have taken hundreds of years and the talent of thousands

of people to put together, and something somebody just channeled in from Francis Bacon,
whos living under Catalina Island in a state of suspended animation with a troupe of Atlantean
engineers who are uploading human fetal tissue to who-knows-where.

This balkanization of epistemology: its sort of like, if you believed in economic theory, thinking
that it would be a good idea if everybody printed their own money. And then to the degree that
you had vigor for the use of your printing press, you could run off more and more copies of
whatever meme you had invested in, and I suppose these things would compete. In your
imagination they would compete but anybody whos studied economics for ten minutes can
tell you theres something called Greshams Law, which is that bad money drives out good
money. And I think its even more true with ideology. Squirrelly ideas drive out ideas of depth
and substance. Theres a kind of danger of being gently without quite noticing whats going
on ushered into a world of increasingly more cartoon like ontological and epistemological
fantasies about whats going on, or whats partially going on.

To my mind, conspiracy theory is a kind of flight from facing the fact that probably nobody is in
charge. You want a vertiginous vision thatll stand your hair on end? How about that? Its not
the Catholic Church, not the World Bank, not the Jews, not the Communist Party nobody is in
charge! I was in London in October, in the conference that these shaved, pierced and scarified
deconstructive contemporary artists were having near Buckingham Palace. They put me in a
hotel in Vincent Square, so I had to walk back through Whitehall late at night, which is where
the Ministry of Defense and all the back-channel, super-secret British ministries are. And the
lights are burning late in those buildings. I assume its because nobody has a grip, nobody has a
clue. They have to pay guys with pony tails and earrings to turn on the machines every day, and
then it sort of goes from there

The balkanization of epistemology its not a popular topic, because the simplest and most
fun way to discuss it is to launch attack by example. Alice Roosevelt Longworth used to say at
these White House dinners, If you have nothing good to say about anyone, sit by me. Ive had
the good fortune (or the fortune) to be on this circuit long enough to have collected horrifying
stories about almost anyone you may ever have considered respecting, and given certain
conditions I can trot this stuff out. It was a joke I used to have this thing I called the kiting
checks and stealing cars test, which was: examine a given guru or expert. Ask the question,
how much time has he done for kiting checks and stealing cars? It turns out a lot of people cant
pass this test! (My own past disgressions were considerably more noble and ideologically

motivated, but lets not linger there.) So I was reading TIME Magazine on United coming down,
and it turns out, yes, Marshall Applewhite there was a mug shot, and I thought, Oh, so
whatd he do? And then I saw: Oh, car theft, of course!

The reason I got onto this whole issue of witnessing and media and authenticity of experience,
and so forth and so on, was because I was getting a lot of people asking me for my take on alien
abductions. Apparently, some significant portion of our fellow citizens are under the impression
that pro bono proctologists from a nearby star system are making unscheduled housecalls at
night. Well, you and I know how difficult it is to get a medical professional to pay any attention
at all to you! So I think the likelihood of that occurring, based on that alone, needs to be
carefully examined. Now I think I know what to make of this thing. I think we need to become
much more subtle, first of all in our own thinking in other words, there are rules for sorting
out the feces versus shoe polish dilemmas that come along through life. I was recalling to one
of my audiences Occams Razor. (And of course nobody had heard of Occam; that wasnt a
good sign, and I wont put you to the test. Just nod yes when asked. William of Occam?
Yes.) He had a razor. He said that hypotheses should not be multiplied without necessity.
Seems reasonable. Ill condense it, or modernify it, for you: it basically means, Keep it simple,
stupid! In other words, the simplest explanation is to be preferred until it breaks down, and
then the next simplest explanation is to be preferred.

I didnt realize that this kind of thing was such a leap into deep thinking until one night I was on
the Internet and this site was announcing that an object twice the size of Earth was
accompanying Hale-Bopp, the comet, into the inner solar system. And theyd just put up the
ponied-up photograph that was supposed to support this idea. So I thought, Wow, great, what
are the worlds great astronomers and observatories saying? The web designer obviously
anticipated my thought. I looked down and it said, HEAR WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING So I
clicked on this button, thinking, Whatll it be, the Hubble Telescope update? The Arecibo
facility in Puerto Rico? The Atacama desert facility in Chile? The Keck in Hawaii? No, it was
something called The Farsight Institute, which brought the news that its remote viewers were
in agreement that the object sighted was under Gray control and had an Atlantean
architectonic and was on a peaceful mission, having already discharged its cargo of umbilical
and fetal tissue traded from the U.S. Military for advanced technology.

We can laugh about these things we do laugh, we should laugh. Its just too bad that some
people off themselves in the process of struggling to try and figure out whats going on. After

the Heavens Gate thing, they were interviewing people on NPR, and people were saying, Oh, I
just cant understand how these people could have worked themselves into believing such a
bizarre group of ideas! So then they buttoned that up and they said, Well, now whats
happening with the White House Easter Egg Hunt? Yes. It turns out, you know, a lot of people
are carrying a lot of peculiar intellectual baggage. I mean, I dont have any problem with people
having religious ideas, but I think they should be clearly labeled as IRRATIONAL, and those
people should voluntarily recuse themselves from debates about the nature of reality. The
spectrum of philosophical differentiation between the Resurrection, the Easter Bunny, and
Heavens Gate is only a matter of taste and aesthetics. Hey, its a hard truth, but something to

So thinking about things like this, Ive sort of come up with a rap, which Im going to try out on
you, which is the slim and meager fruits of my agonizingly slow maturation process. And I think
there were hints of this last year, but these things come slowly. Theres this phenomenon in
nature nature is always a good thing to go back to when trying to tease apart whats
happening to us culturally and individually theres this phenomenon in nature called
neoteny. (Perhaps I mispronounce it in my broad and charming Western drawl, but nobody
knows this word anyway; you can get away with murder!) Neoteny. What it means is the
retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood. By a species this is a strategy, it
happens in nature, and it happens in evolution. For example (an evolutionary example), we
human beings, of all the primates, are the most hairless. We have hair, and its all over our
bodies, but its very fine and allows you to see through to the skin. This is an infantile
characteristic of most primates, but we retain it into adulthood. Another similar example: our
head-to-torso ratio is a fetal ratio when compared to most primates. In other words, the fetus
of other primates looks more like a human being than the adult form.

Neoteny. There are much more spectacular examples of this which involve what appears to be
an ability to express sexuality in actually two morphogenetic forms. There are creatures which
live in swamps where, as long as the swamp ecosystems are at equilibrium, they basically
appear to be like polliwogs in other words, gilled creatures, fishlike creatures. And they
actually can have sex with similar creatures of the opposite sex, and give birth to polliwog-like
creatures, and this all appears to be species reproduction as we know it. The amazing thing is, if
the swamp is disrupted and goes dry, these things dig into the dirt, and six months later they
come out as gilled animals with flippers, able to breath oxygen and move around on the land.
And they then can have sex with creatures of the opposite sex and produce a second form. The
interpretation of this is that the first form is the neonatal but sexually mature form, that is

pinned in place by environmental factors, and then the second form is actually the true mature
form, which is only called forth under special conditions.

The reason I mention this is that Im thinking more and more about this issue of media
manipulation, the Internet, the evolution of culture, who shall control it, and what are its
effects. My doctor recently I had a physical and he said, You knew, in the Nineteenth
Century, most people your age were dead. And, yes, this is sobering to realize. Early death,
something which has been with us until virtually the last half of the Twentieth Century, was a
factor acting to reinforce a kind of cultural neoteny, within the cultural environment. Jung, I
think, was on to this in some way, because he felt that the great adventure of individuation
began in middle age.

Well, riffing off that, I think the idea that Im coming to is that culture, in all of its offerings and
splendor and artifactria, and especially in the form of ideologies, is not the friend of the lifeprolonged, postmodern individual. Culture is not your friend. This is the vaguely-smelling-ofpolitical-incorrectness message that continued drug use and philosophical abuse has brought to
me. Generally the way the intellectual life is presented is that there are good ideologies and
bad ideologies, and by a mixture of intuition, logic, education, master of the tools of the
culture, we make choices between good and bad ideologies. But you cant help but notice, at a
certain point of alienation, maturation, psychedelic boundary dissolution it doesnt matter
what the vocabulary is you use you cant help but notice that culture is some kind of con
game. Its a scam. Its a manipulation. Its for the nave. They can only work this limited set of
tricks upon you three times, four times, six times, before you get it. You figure it out, you know?
How many art openings, how many Next Great Novels by the geniuses among us, how many
filimic triumphs, Nobel Prizes, Booker fiction awards, and on and on and on, can we tolerate in
the illusion that we are moving into the truly new and exciting? It works for awhile, is the idea.

So then, what does it mean to get beyond cultural values? How does that look? I can only speak
for myself, obviously. (If you find this hideously unsettling and worrisome, just stifle it. After all,
its just one guy, right? One unlettered nut and his coterie of cultists. So you dont really make
the world a safer place by stamping out this voice.) It seemed to me in my peregrination
through American culture that there were traps. Its sort of like the Mahayana bardoes of the
dead: there were allurements to be avoided, and obvious pitholes that no one in their right
mind would drive into. The first one of these, I remember, was even before I contacted the
larger initiatory machinery of society. It was under my fathers tutelage that I learned to kill: elk

hunting was a right of passage where I grew up, and I dreaded this from the moment I was able
to cognize what it was going to be. And in time it ground toward me, manifested itself, and in
some kind of miraculous epiphany an animal actually sacrificed itself to my trembling hand, and
I moved on. Essentially my father never asked anything of me again in that context. But the
future was waiting with sharpened knives, red in tooth and claw. Not Nature red in tooth and
claw thats a misnomer but society. So the first thing to steer around was the military
involvement; I passed that intelligence test with flying colors. (It didnt hurt to be chickenshit
and have bad vision, either sort of the wind beneath my wings at that point.)

The next pitfall was corporatism, which never had a hold on me because I managed to choose
the wrong schools in the first place. It was wonderful, in Boston last week, to actually go to
Harvard for the first time. I totally liberated myself from ever wanting to have anything to do
with that whole scene not because it was so terrible, but because it was so ordinary, of
course. This is part of my revelation about undoing the hype that evolves around the
uninvestigated portions of reality. Youre impressed by Harvard? Youre impressed by crop
circles? Youre impressed by the Black Virgin of Czestochowa? Go there. Go there, have a drink
in the pub across the street, buy the T-shirt, listen to what the locals are saying, and itll all snap
into focus very nicely.

But continuing can you tell? the thought. Beyond military involvement, corporate
involvement, right universities, wrong universities, the one I think where middle-class values
rear their heads most fiercely is the issue of marriage. I speak as somebody who has been
ground finely on the anvil of this particular issue. Its almost as though, were sort of like
cuckoos in fact we are cuckoos, but were also like cuckoos in that were kicked out of the
nest too early. So just as youre about to cross that big golden bridge into adulthood, it says,
Last exit in the neonatal realm. Find somebody as clueless as yourself, get back to back, and
start a marriage. The process of being raised is essentially then self-generated. We then
continue the process of culturation, acculturation, the acquisition of cultural values, and stuff,
now bound in this romantic myth. One of the things I really had to come to terms with was how
much of my relationships in the past had been dominated by sentimentalism, and what a
craven thing that is, and how brutally it uses us. Because it basically cashes in on that youre a
nice person, and it screws you. Sentimentalism!

So then things happen. If youre smart, you succeed at whatever you chose advertising, film
making, fashion, modeling, playwriting. Theres this insidious process which goes on in the

culture, which is, just as you get your kids sent off to the Sorbonne, get your marriage
dissolved, and your shrink patting you on the back and all of this, then money comes. You
become successful, you get rich behind all this prostitution and self-mutilation that you did the
previous twenty years. Just at a moment when, if they didnt recognize you, you would turn on
them in fury and construct a real identity, they in fact come around. And you are inculcated,
and lifted further, and anesthetized, and now you become a mentor to people making their way
through the same blood-stained labyrinth, the footprints through which you seem to recognize

The idea here is that, obviously were coming to some kind of cultural crunch. The print-created
categories of the post-Renaissance are breaking down. We can explore this or deny it or create
a mix of exploration and denial that is uniquely expressive of our own hopes and fears. Culture
is some kind of a collective hallucination. Its infantile. Its an epistemological cartoon, and its
breaking down. What brings the news that its breaking down are the absurdities that nibble at
the fractal edge. The great absurd propositions that have been passed on and revered and
sentimentalized for millennia, like the Resurrection and monotheism and da-da-da-da all this
stuff, are now having their false premises illuminated by the cheap goods that are being sold in
competition that cheapen, essentially, the entire magic show. Its now exposed as a bargain
basement of trinket dealing and foolish goods. The wages of civilized existence are now found
to be hollow in some way. But I think that people dont want to culturally confront this because
theyve been told alienation is bad; this is alienation. Well, its alienation from insanity is the
basic thing.

The culture has become self-limiting, toxic. This is why its generating technological antidotes to
itself. Thats why its importing things like psychedelic plants and substances, or Eastern
techniques of meditation, in a kind of delirium or a kind of self-review at the end of its
existence. Its furiously exporting, into the lens of its own self-inspection, every text, every drug,
every ritual, every method, every cuisine, every language group, every folk dance every
anything in a frantic effort to find some kind of connecting metaphor. Well there isnt a
connecting metaphor of the ordinary and usual sort. What all these ideologies do all ideology
is provide closure of some sort, at the cost of realism. Whatever satisfaction you get from
quantum physics or Marxism or Hasidism or any closed system of thought, you need to
recognize that that satisfaction is purchased at the cost of realism. In Lit. Crit. theres this term
willful suspension of disbelief. Well thats all very fine in the confrontation with art, but in the
confrontation with that which claims to be real, its a precondition for being led down the
primrose path.

I think the last time we got together the theme was how there were two kinds of people: artists
and marks. The only way to relate to the engines of commodification of ideas and production of
consumer ephemerata is to produce. The only sane position is to produce, because if youre
consuming, you are in the victim part of this equation. And as more and more people realize
this, the level of artistic content and creativity asymptotically accelerates, as it knits itself
together across the interface of evolving fields of knowledge. We are whether you follow my
deeper metaphysical harangues about the presence of an actual mathematical dwell point in
the spatio-temporal domain, that is sucking us into a kind of black hole of novelty, connectivity
and boundary dissolution; or whether you just, as a rationalist, observe the speed of the
acceleration of computer technologies, media technologies, interactivity, data accessibility to
the normal person and so forth and so on its very clear from either perspective that social
business as usual has been taken off the menu, and that we have unleashed, as a collectivity,
something inside ourselves. Call it syntax, call it grammars appetition for virtual reality, call it
the Gaian mind it doesnt matter, whether you have a beansprout vision of it or an Extropian
vision of it whatever it is, what we have called human consciousness is moving into a
deeper relationship with prosthesis, at a faster rate than anything weve known in human
history. In a way it isnt new; since Ur weve been operating inside virtual realities of a sort. But
when the medium is fired clay or steel and concrete, the speed at which these things unfold
relative to a given human lifespan is such that a weird hallucination of equilibrium and
business-as-usual is maintained.

That illusion of business-as-usual is giving way for us to a kind of vertiginous sense that the
human unconscious, morphogenetic field whatever it is some kind of protean thing that
links us all in an active, not passive, mode is expressing itself through us. My dis of the alien
thing earlier is not from the point of view of scientific rationalism. Not that I dont think the
alien is among us, but rather I think the most foolish among us pushed forward against the
velvet rope with their chattering description of it, like sugar-crazed five year olds, and that
cooler heads have to come in and look at this. The alien is where? The alien is in our heads,
in some way. And then people say, Well, thats the psychic explanation, thats terribly
humdrum. No, no, I dont mean that, exactly. I mean that, whatever its essence is, I will know
it as I know your essence. You will know it as you know my essence, which is entirely as
information. So then people say, Well thats some kind of flattening of it. Youre making it a
literary conundrum, etc. No no no no no, not that. The new technologies VRML, enhanced
reality, all that stuff are showing us that the world is information.


You know, in every scenario of alien contact there is a prop. It has different ways of appearing,
but basically its the landing zone. You have to build a landing zone, and every flying saucer cult
worth its salt builds a landing zone. In a way, I think the new protean electronic Internet the
purpose of the Net is to catch the alien mind. The alien mind is within us. It will be coded by
human fingers, but it will be truly alien. Simply because it is downloaded through the human
neural network, do not think that the invoking of this thing which is an artificial intelligence,
a protean, non-human intelligence, a globally-distributed, self-learning, self-defining-teachingintegrating intelligence is not going to be alien. And yet it is going to come through us.

The cheerful scenarios of Hollywood myth-making are going to be thin comfort indeed when we
begin to see, indeed, just how alien we ourselves are, and how real we can make that for
ourselves. Because we are dissolving away from the print-created nexus of rationalism and
geometry that we call public space. It came into existence, you know, 500 years ago; its
dissolving over the next fifteen or twenty years. And what it will leave us all in is a domain of
Imagination, neither clearly public nor private, but clearly, intensely numinous, and realized in a
way that we at this stage can barely even begin to comprehend. We have been living in the
Imagination but our feet touch the earth because the laws of physics and the laws of materials
and architectonic constraints held the Imagination in place. But what will we become when we
unfold into the Dream? The answers going to depend on how clearly we think about it going in,
and how demanding we are, upon ourselves, in terms of the kind of beauty we create.

We can see from how capitalism manipulates the commodification of ideas, that what it tends
to do is flatten and trivialize, because it appeals to the mass mind. Is this simply a momentum
of the print technology, that will play itself out in the new media multiverse? Or is it a more
pernicious tendency that is going to try to actually survive the cultural transition? I certainly
fear the latter, and feel that the best antidote to the survival of that tendency is for people to
consciously celebrate diversity. Consciously insist on an expansion of language and an erasure
of categories, and a psychedelicization of the cultural enterprise in the service of beauty,
diversity, astonishment and mystery, the theme that I wanted to return and end with, which
is: ideology flattens reality because it denies the Mystery, because it has all the answers.
Whatever it is, it doesnt matter; the ideology, by providing a complete explanation,
automatically certifies its own falseness. In the interests of cultural maturity and living a
postmodern existence, and taking art as our the image comes to me, T. S. Eliot says in The
Wasteland, Come in under the shadow of this red rock. For him it was the churches. For us, I
think it has to be art freed from ideology, a celebration of beauty, culture with a direct
relationship to beauty through the felt presence of immediate experience. Thats what the

growing beyond ideology and certitude gives back to us, is actually the dynamic sense of being
alive in uncertainty. Civilization denies that, and in a sense cheats us of our birthright in

Anyway, thats what I wanted to download on you tonight. Thank you very much.


Q& A

This is one of those social situations where lack of brevity is proof of psychosis, and you WILL be

Q1 It's one question, but it's in two parts. The first thing is the idea of neoteny. It struck me that
there's a similarity between that idea of there being two forms of the same organism, with the
Heaven's Gate people's idea that they were in human form, and that if they were taken out of
one environment (which is the socio-cultural environment) and put into that special
environment which is the cult (which is sort of "digging underground"), then they would be
reborn into the next level.

TM Yeah, I advance these things as models. The Heavens Gate thing to me, all of this stuff is
an intelligence test. Those people failed it. But my point in my main lecture was that they are
not as bizarre as they are made out to be, in the sense that lots of people are running around
with extremely bizarre ideas, that we have simply gotten used to because they are socially
sanctioned. When Pliny the Younger first wrote his report to the Roman Emperor on
Christianity (I was recently reading a book called The Christians as the Romans Saw Them) he
said, This is a cult. Its a cult of Christ. Religions deal with the great issues of cosmic origins and
final endings. This doesnt deal with that; its a cult of Christ. So we have built a culture around
that cult, and yet the rantings of a Southern preacher suitably liquored up on Jim Beam and
syphilis was convincing, I think, that these are the rantings of a diseased mind. So what I think
people should do is learn to trust their intuition and develop their crap detectors to a little
higher state of subtlety. Because as we approach whatever this thing is the narrow neck
of happenstance that is constricting the end-of-the-century phenomena, there are going to be
more and more claims upon our attention and our imagination, wonder workers moving
among the people and on the networks. Do your mental calisthenics early, so that when they
come knocking on your door, you will have the strength to tell them to keep on moving.

I couldnt believe the way in which the media portrayed the Heavens Gate people as very
careful thinkers, very reasonable people I mean, I heard about this thing in 1975. Somebody
said, Hey, there are these two people who are running around who say that theyre off a
spacecraft. You wanna go see? NO! Yet decent people and most of us are decent

people just lack the imagination to imagine where you can get if you embrace pathological
lying as a professional strategy for advancement. Joseph Goebbels showed that this can really
take you places! Im sorry, you have a follow-up?

Q1 This is a question about culture in general, when you mentioned the Net being a landing
pad. It struck me that the reason we're all so addicted to culture is because it is the landing pad,
we're trying to trap something in it. What I see as the obstacle to 'honing your crap detector' is
not wanting to give up your claim on Beauty. If you've been trapped in your cultural net, if you
don't want to give up your neural connection to Beauty, and live without it -- like in spiritual
traditions you have this idea that you have to pass through this desert, where you have given
up your water...

TM I would differ with you. I preach reason, but when into a tight place, I think the appeal to
beauty is a deeper and more intuitive dimension in which to make the judgment. In other
words, Im like a thoroughgoing Platonist. I say, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful: these are
three aspects of something were trying to maximize. Truth; you can formally learn the rules by
which one approaches Truth. Its tricky. The Good, its even trickier. Beauty makes a direct
appeal to the senses. Somebody asked me, what did I think about the face on Mars? And I had
no problem dismissing that because it was tacky. In other words, thats all you have to know
about that, because the Mystery will not be tacky! It is not tacky!

Well thats awfully harsh. Its awfully harsh, but it brought us to the right position rather quickly
and with dispatch which was the point: why put these people through misery, if in fact
ultimately were going to have to say that their commodification of whatever intellectual
system theyre peddling is found wanting? So I think if we built a society based on Beauty,
strange Beauty, the True and the Good aspects of this three-pronged enterprise would fall
naturally into place. I have that faith.

Q1 I didn't mean give up Beauty, but give up our claim to Beauty

TM You can see more art in twenty minutes on high-dose psilocybin that you see in a long
afternoon wandering around Florence.

Q1 That's right, but most of us don't spend our time in the psychedelic state.

TM Well, no, but we should spend our time reflecting on it, I think.

Q2 This is not a culture question, it's a drug question. What do think is the evolutionary
advantage that led to addiction, and why does it still persist? What's the purpose of addiction? I
have my answers, but I'd like to hear from you.

TM This touches a big subject for me, and some of you are familiar with my position on this. I
think that psilocybin in the earlier human diet interfered with the ordinary primate tendency to
form gender-based hierarchies, and that we actually medicated male dominance out of our
behavioral repertoire during the period in which we were evolving language and culture and
humor and theater and that sort of thing. Then later, when the psilocybin came unstuck from
the human enterprise because of climatological change, this kind of abuse syndrome arose,
because there was a sense of having had a relationship that was interrupted. And this is why
human beings addict to countless substances, and behaviors, and each other, and political
ideologies. In a way ideologies are drug fixes, because they fix some certain kind of mental
disequilibrium. You just give yourself a shot of Marxism or Hegelian idealism and say, Oh, that
makes the pain go away!

But thats what it is: its disequilibrium brought on by being torn from the Gaian matrix, by
having an early pseudo-symbiotic relationship with mushrooms interrupted. How about that?

Q2 It seems to make it a totally pathological issue instead of an adaptation. I think there might
be more to it than that.

TM Well there might be more to it than that. Its pathological only when its exercised in the
presence of an inappropriate stimulus. In other words, its pathological to addict to morphine,
Marxism or monotheism; its not pathological to addict to self-reflection, punctuality and I
dont know, its just behavior. But thank you, its not easy to climb up and face the music.


Q3 I was wondering, with the 2012 date, and approaching more and more connectivity, things
are coming closer together and people are realizing that things are connected: it seems that
there is a technological side to that. But in a way, the whole technology is geared towards
military stuff, NASA's involved in this and that; it's going that direction. But hemp, for instance,
the earthly, natural type of thing -- the same people who are promoting technology and those
things are down on psilocybin -- laws against it, paranoia against it -- because it changes
people's minds. It ties them into a connectivity that's with the earth, with the earth grid, as
opposed to something else, something out there that people are going for...

TM I think youre right about the whole issue about drug suppression in this society. It has to do
with the fact that these things have unacceptable social consequences in the area of
deconditioning and dissolving boundaries, and that they actually are synergistic to forms of
local community and affinity-group building that establishments find very threatening. This all
has to do surely you can see how it all works with the idea that culture is some kind of
conditioning process, that you are not supposed to get behind or get in front of, or doubt. And
its complicated; youre given many choices. You know, you can teach at Wellesley, you can go
into banking, into brain surgery, and youre still within the game. The reason drugs are
inveighed against so furiously when you can demonstrate in terms of the normal criteria by
which social menaces are judged, that these dont even make it onto the radar obviously
there is some phobia or taboo or secret agenda about repressing these things. I think its simply
that we are very anxious in this society about other peoples states of mind. The idea that
people would take control of their states of mind by intoxicating themselves, or in any way
altering consciousness, is considered fundamentally disloyal.

Youre making this point very well, but I am not a pessimist, I am not into these conspiratorial
theories, because from my point of view it all seems to be being negotiated in a fairly sane
manner. In other words, the military-industrial complex has quietly taken its place as number 2
behind the entertainment and media industries. Governments are being told by
corporations, Keep the roads repaired and care for the sick! Well take over the manufacture
and distribution of commodified goods. And apparently, in the same way that the Church was
patted on the back and toddled off the stage at the end of the Thirty Years War, nation-states
are going through this. Their raison dtre for their existence, which was the whole Cold War
paranoia scenario, has pretty much been unplugged. Theres a lot of retro-inertia and people
moving at different speeds within the system, but I think were now living in the corporate,
post-informational, boundary-less collectivity, and it was built by guys with pony tails with rings
in their ears, who were druggies, basically.

I think theres a lot of bad things going on, but mostly just to make money. Very few scenarios
of control are going to bring those who generate them much happiness. Theres money to be
made, for sure, on the good side and the dark side of the cultural transition. But as far as the
drug thing is concerned, the very presence of the word drug in our culture, in the denumenized form in which it exists, makes it very hard to talk about the issue. I mean, everything
is defined as a drug by those who are looking at it from a marketing and commodification
position. Society, again, is not going to help you with this. Youre actually going to have to
someday face the fact that youre going to get as far as your intelligence can carry you.
Expecting the society to undergo some fundamental reform, and then for it to take over the
function of your transformation, is probably hopelessly naive. What this is, is not a free ride; its
some sort of opportunity in the midst of chaos. I think!

Q4 My question is in relation to Jewish mysticism, and specifically the Kabbalah. The Kabbalists
believe in tikkun, which is the restoration of matter and creation, when the divine Seed is
reconnected with the Godhead. My question is, do you believe that this is a metaphor for
cosmic consciousness, in that we, as Man, as the earth, has a collective soul or collective
consciousness, that somehow can be connected with the Other and brought forth to a new
dimension of time and space?

TM The persistent myth of the West is this thing about the going forth of the Word, and the
descent or the declension of the Word into matter. Kabbalistic mysticism has a lot to say about
the realization or coming into being of the Word. Reality from that kind of point of view is some
kind of literary construct. The difference between science and magic, fundamentally, is that
science believes the universe is made of something, like matter and energy, and magic believes
the universe is made of language.

Q4 What about the fusion of the two? What if language was sort of a lower evolutionary form
of communication, and the higher form of communication would be something like telepathy
or sensational connection?

TM If you have a powerful enough language, you can take control of reality. This is what
magical languages, like in the late Renaissance, were about. The only thing which comes close
to that today is code for computers. Essentially, these are languages which, when executed,

something happens. They are languages of efficacy. They carry, not meaning, but motivation to
activity. This Kabbalistic question is very interesting; someone showed me, recently, a
sculptural object, which, when illuminated from various angles by a source of light behind it
would cast, one after another, each of the Hebrew letters on a screen. In other words, this was
a higher-dimensional object which had the entire Hebrew alphabet somehow embedded in it.
When I mentioned this to Ralph Abraham, he said, Well, all you have to do is digitize and
quantify that object, and well be able to compute from that three-dimensional object to a 5-,
6-, 7-, 8-, or 9-dimensional object, which would cast all letters of all alphabets into matter. So
one way of thinking of the transcendental object at the end of time is as this kind of Ur-letter
or Ur-word in hyperspace, from which, as it sheds the radiance of its syntactical numenosity
into lower and lower dimensions, realities as literary functions of being constellate

Q4 So would you say it's sort of like the fusion of the unconscious with the conscious, in such a
way that we can experience the entire world in one moment, or the entire universe in one
moment, or the entire works of creation in one moment?

TM Yeah, I think one way of thinking of the Internet is as a hardwiring of the Human
Unconscious. In other words, all these databases, all these buried complexes and this data is
becoming accessible to the inspection of the conscious mind in a single moment. So its almost
as though, whatever the post-historical experience is, its something that cannot be achieved or
approached in the presence of baggage as anti-progressive as the unconscious mind. We are
discovering that we are, in a sense, simply protrusions on this larger protean form called the
human collectivity, the community, the unconscious. Our dear identity, so dearly won, is
simply a kind of convention of how we present ourselves in Newtonian space. But we are
collectivizing even as we discover the depth of our individuality. Its a paradox, but its not a
self-canceling paradox; its a truth.

Q4 Would you say that the Godhead is what we would consider perfection?

TM I think of it as connectivity and novelty. Perfection Ive never tended toward these neoPlatonic things where it gets more One-ish, more White-ish, or Light-ish. For me it gets
just weirder and weirder. You know, whether all these scenarios of transcendence and

transfiguration come to be in some real dimension (whatever that means), you may be sure
that, long before fifteen years have passed, every major and minor religion on this planet will
have a VRML simulacrum of its eschatology up and running for you to comparison shop with!

Q5 I've heard you several times, and I come because you use words so wonderfully. I have
something to say about the print culture versus the Internet. I'm a librarian at a city college, and
I see the Internet mostly being used by very ignorant people -- I'm afraid I see more the
pernicious effects of the Internet. And when I read about people like Negroponte, who speak of
bodies as "meat", to me that's the opposite of Beauty, because Beauty, as you said, is
connected to the senses. So I don't see a liberation in terms of virtual reality, necessarily. I think
it depends on who's doing it. At the moment -- you used the word 'commodification' a lot -- as
a post-Marxist I can say that everything is being commodified now, including the World Wide
Web -- although the kids with the rings in their ears didn't make as much money as Bill Gates,
who didn't have a ring in his ear. [TM: He had a ringing in his ear!] What I'm getting at is that
everything is still very much controlled by money, and as long as it's controlled by money, I
don't see how it's going to be liberating.

Just one more comment. You speak so well; I heard you talk about Aldous Huxley, and you were
the only one who talked about Aldous Huxley. (Everybody else talked about themselves.) What
I'm getting at is, you are absolutely grounded in the print culture. Much of what you say about
Beauty is what William Morris says as well. I guess I'm trying to make something of a defense
for the print culture, and something of a warning about seeing the WWW as necessarily

TM Youre right that Im definitely rooted in the print culture. I consider basically my entire
schtick as proving that you can turn a liberal education into a borscht-belt phenomenon. That
shows how short peoples memories are Oh, he quotes Homer! Amazing!

But I think the fear that the Internet was going to plunge us into a world of barbarian illiteracy
was a transition phase. Now Im meeting people whom, I think, you would consider largely
illiterate in that theyve never read a book but they are very fully in command of the tools
of the culture because they do all their reading on the Internet. Whats happening is simply a
celebration of diversity. Capitalism built the Internet, but it has not yet made a great deal of

money off it. McLuhan said that no technology in history has ever been implemented with even
a partial appreciation of what its real effects were going to be. The Internet is supposedly a
great place to do business, but what I see it doing is empowering previously marginalized
minorities and positions. It has certainly pulled the plug on the agenda of the nation-state.
Corporations do not use war as an instrument of national policy. They do not like starving
refugees; they like well-fed, true believing customer bases. And to this end they have exported
a lot of chaos to ghettos of the world and even there, theres a shrinking of the commitment
to the kind of chaos that typified the age of nationalism.

We make these different metaphors about whats happening; heres a sort of neo-Christian
metaphor, which follows McLuhan. We lived through the age of the patriarchal beehive or
anthill, we lived through the age of the glorification of the perfect Man, and now what were
seeing is the protean advent of the age of the Holy Ghost. Electricity in McLuhans pantheon
was the descent of the Holy Ghost. It clothes the planet in numenosity, it accelerates
information to the speed of light, and it creates a kind of collectivity of understanding. Were we
not so secular and so embedded within it, we would see its transcendental implications much
more clearly, I think. People like Teilhard de Chardin and McLuhan and various others have
seen that. But the rest of us are so focused on the commodification issue that it seems banal
and mundane. It is, in fact, not banal and mundane, and I think quickly this is going to become
more and more apparent to more and more people. Weve only been dealing with the Internet
for about three years, really, as a culture, and already it dominates all discussions of salvation,
destruction, chaos, redemption. Wait til you see whats coming!

Q6 With this new glut of information and ideology: is it simply a matter of there being so many
more, or is the choice between mystery and ideology any more difficult than it has ever been?

TM Well, I think so, because I really believe that you have to take seriously the hidden agenda
of every form of media that you embrace or reject. So its not simply about more, its that
print, the electric light, every form of media changes us in ways that we dont suspect or
understand until we move beyond it. Now were understanding things about print that
previously we couldnt even language to ourselves, because it was like the surface of our own
bodies. Now we see that the assumptions of interchangeability based on modern industrial
processes, or the assumptions about the quality of our voting (one person/one vote) this
kind of mechanistic thinking about society, which we were raised not to question, are in fact
notions that only make sense in the print constellated universe. Now that were moving into a

world with different sensory ratios, how we do science, how we do fashion, how we do art,
how we do relationships, how we define things as deeply ingrained and supposedly outside
social manipulation as gender identity, and things like that, are discovered to be completely

Q6 But haven't they always been fluid, even though the ideology may have said differently?
Wouldn't the fundamental decision between being fluid and remaining solid stay as equally
powerful (even in the context of the fluid network, etc.)?

TM I think so. But as you say, our attention has drifted away from that. This whole thing I was
trying to put across tonight, without just saying it flat out, was that we have become silly, we
have become infantile. We lack dimension. This is not an adult style of civilization, the way we
live. Now youre saying, well maybe in the past there have been adult styles. I dont know
maybe, maybe not. Id probably tend to resist it. But for sure, this society is silly, trivial, juvenile,
infantile, self-denying, self-flattening, uses a simplified vocabulary for emotion, for
relationships, and to chart its way forward. And so then the defining of social values and the
expression of social institutions is left to faceless collectivities these Theys were always
talking about the Corporations, the Media, the Government, the Somebody. Again, this is an
infantile myth of how reality works. Imagine if you were actually a free and responsible
individual! Play with this idea; it has implications for you, I think. And it may not have been true
in the past. As I look back to how I was raised and the people who raised me, everybody was
living inside a cartoon, a sitcom of some sort. Weve blown the whistle on that. That was what
the work of the deconstruction that modernism performed on the bourgeois sensibility was all
about, to tell you youre more complicated than that, deeper than that, more dynamic, more
self-surprising than that, more psychedelic than that. More sexy than that, smarter than that!
Im sorry, not to rant.

Q7 All I really want to know is -- you know, I had this great philosophical question, a psychedelic
question, I was all excited -- but all I really want to know is: how does Terence McKenna live?
How do these nights affect your life?

TM Im trying to walk the walk and talk the talk. What that means at the moment to me is:
three years ago I moved from northern California where Id been for 35 years in a kind of

sandal/beansprout/blurred-gender culture that spoke a rhetoric of rainforest action and so

forth and so on. I moved to Hawaii; I moved off the grid. I live within thirty seconds of climaxed
rainforest. I have an ISDN-speed (128k) connection straight onto the Internet (through the air,
wireless; I point at my provider). So Im trying to study the Internet in isolation from the rest of
the culture. I just want, basically, an archaic world of nature and natural values, and the fastest
most hi-tech machine I can get my hands on.

Somebody said, What, is your message still the same? My message is still the same, and it has
nothing to do with me. The message is, Dont follow me, eat a shroom! Unlock the cultural
box and check out whats going on. Your nervous system, your sexuality, and your vegetable
friends provide an antidote to cultural dystopia, alienation, and victimization. Dont be a victim.
Dont consume. Produce art. Keep your powder dry, one hand over your wallet, the other hand
over your asshole this the way to proceed with this society, I think. And then well all meet at
the end and make extremely high art. I see it coming.

Copyright 1997 Terence McKenna. All Rights Reserved. Recorded at The Lighthouse, NYC


Dancing Into The Third Millennium by Terence McKenna

Alright, can you hear in the back? Yeah, is the sound comfortable for everyone? Is the light
comfortable for everyone? And are you comfortable? Well, you shouldnt be, the planets going
to shit in a handbag. No, Im, Im That's just my John Lily imitation its not me at all.

Most of you were probably at the talk I gave yesterday, is that basically safe to assume? Yes. So
I thought today I would talk a little bit and then I think these things are much more interesting
for me if theyre interactive. And people bring all kinds of agendas to these things. And I dont
know whether people wanna talk philosophy or recipes. I dont know whether they wanna talk
politics or, you know, share experiences. So I want to, just in order to make sure we all
understand the domain were operating from here, I would like to talk a little about what its
like to be loaded because I think thats ground zero of what were talking about. Psychedelics
are like any other social phenomena there are a lot of wannabes. There are a lot of people
who are along for the ride. Im sure the pagan community is no stranger to this phenomenon
because there are certain residual spinoffs if you proclaim yourself pagan, but are hard to
obtain any other way. Similarly for being psychedelic. My notion of the psychedelic cosmogony
if you want to think of it that way is its like a bulls-eye. Its like a series of concentric circles.
And various substances place you in various quadrants of that mandala at various distances
from ground zero, which is at the absolute center.

And nature, in her bounty, has provided coordination points. I mean, theres cannabis
coordination point, the opiate coordination point, the tropanes that were so important in
European witchcraft, the solanaceous plants, hyoscyamine, those things. Thats a different
chemical family and a different group of plant families that these compounds occur in.

Ive been at this fairly steadily since 1964. And have tried to do everything with a certain level
of attention and reverence because I think that its all very fine to go armed with the knowledge
of pharmacology, dose response, LD50 and all that. But I think as pagans and magicians we
really understand that the mind can do anything and theres a horribly frightening little passage
in Jung somewhere, where he says, The unconscious has a thousand ways to terminate a life
that has become meaningless. Meaning, youll step in front of a streetcar, or something. So in
my lifetime of looking at these things, and being interested in many other things as well

heresies, obscure backwaters of art history and literature, peculiar philosophies that rose and
fell centuries ago in obscure parts of the world, my theory of lifes exploration is to run edges.
And Ive mellowed over the years but I use to say if a book isnt 100 years old you shouldnt
read it, if a person isnt dead you shouldnt worry about them; if they wrote in English you
shouldnt bother with them; so forth and so on. In the course of sorting out as many peculiar
and bizarre possibilities as life could offer me in many places my attitude was always critical.
My attitude was always a show me attitude. I dont believe in faith. I dont believe in belief.
My favorite gospel story is the story of the apostle Thomas, who was not present when Christ
came the first time after the resurrection to the upper room. And then later Thomas came to
the apostles and they said the master has been here, and he said you guys have been smoking
too much of that red leb. And then Christ came again, but in this conversation the apostle
Thomas said unless I put my hand into the wound, I will not believe it. And then time passed,
and then Christ came again to the upper room. And he said, Thomas, come forward, put your
hand into the wound. And he did and then he said Lord, I am not worthy so forth and so on.
My conclusion about this story is that alone among all humanity and all times and places, only
one person every touched the incorporeal body of God. Thomas the doubter touched because
he doubted. It was not necessary that the believers should be vouch safe to such a boon, but
the doubter was awarded the supreme enlightenment.

Ok, so much for that. So my thing has always been, whether you present me with a diet, a social
arrangement, a sexual conundrum, a work of art, my criteria is is it shit, or is it Shinola? Im
happy to give you the benefit of my personal lifes experience preceding along those lines. I
want to talk about what to my mind is the quintessential hallucinogen, and consequently the
quintessential spiritual and magical tool of this dimension. And that is DMT
dimethyltryptamine. A compound that occurs in the human nervous system, it occurs in many
many plants, it the commonest hallucinogen in all of nature. And I dont know how you got to
where you are this afternoon, but they way I got here is by testing and by hoping and by
pursuing a magical, if thats the word, a miraculous, transcendental ideal that over the course
of life experience strips from you. You know, you have to get a job, your first love is not your
last love, slowly this pristine shining belief in perfectibility is eroded by the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortune. You know, the dark oxen that turn the millstones of the world.

But Im here to tell you that it is real there is a doorway into another dimension. Aladdins
lamp is real. Fairyland is real. Magic is real in the most real sense! In the same sense that what
we call reality is real. And I learned this through this compound. And one of the great puzzles
about this compound is why more people dont know about it. No brotherhood initiated me.

No lineage reaching back to the fall of Atlantis brought me into its circle. Therefore, I feel
completely free to say anything I want. Nobody has ever come to me and said you are spilling
the beans, you are telling the secret. A long long time ago and you know, we all have
different opinions, this is mine, I hope it doesnt offend but a long long time ago I took an
oath to tell all secrets that came my way. Dont tell me a secret. I wont keep it. Im against
secrets, Im against hierarchies, lineages, all assumption of special knowledge on the part of
anyone in the presence of anyone else is abhorrent to me. I mean, I am a true anarchist first
and foremost.

So, DMT, like all things in this world, has a physical body a presence and a presentation. In this
case it looks rather like earwax. It is orange. It is crystalline. It smells vaguely of moth balls. And
for my money, it is the lapis, the quintessence, the universal panacea at the end of time has
sent a reflection back through the temporal labyrinth, and wherever this touches, where ever
this concresses, the mystery is fully present. So what is it, then? Well, its an experience, and I
maintain its the most intense experience you can have this side of the yawning grave, without
doubt. I mean, people say is it dangerous?. Well, the answer is only if you fear death by
astonishment!. Yes, thats a joke here. Its not a joke there because you find yourself literally
holding your heart to verify that you have not, in fact, had a coronary thrombosis induced by
wonder, terror, reverence, and astonishment.

So, here it is. The quintessence, the orange thing. Was it transponded in from Arcturus? Was it
handed down through some ancient Eldritch brotherhood that found this secret before the
pyramids were built? Who can say? Whatever it is, wherever it comes from, heres what
happens when you allow it to pass through the blood-brain barrier of your own alchemical
vessel which is your body.

The first thing that happens is that there is a sense as though all the air in the room had been
sucked out. All the colors brightened. This is that increase in visual acuity that I made so much
of yesterday. All edges become sharp. Distant things stand out in their clarity. This is at one
toke. At two tokes, you close your eyes, you feel a sense of anesthesia seeping through your
body. You close your eyes and you see a floral pattern rotating in space, usually yellow-orange.
People who do this occasionally and nobody does it a lot call it the chrysanthemum. Its a
floral pattern like a pattern in a Chinese brocade. This forms and stabilizes and then you either
break through it, or you require one more toke. And these are matters of physiology, shamanic
intent, so forth and so on. The leather lunged hash smokers among us have a leg up in this

department. This is a spiritual discipline where the ability not to cough makes the difference
between shunyata and, you know, try again, Sam.

So, you take, let us assume a third toke, long and slow through a glass pipe. You vaporize this
stuff. You dont mix it with weed or oregano or any of that which was done in the past. You
want the pure stuff. And you take it in and in and in and there is definitely somewhere in here a
threshold. A threshold which you must exceed. And when you do that, this membrane-like
thing, this chrysanthemum will actually part and there is a sound like the crumpling of a plastic
bread wrapper, or the crackling of flame. A friend of mine says this is the radio entelechy of
your soul exiting through the anterior fontanelle at the top of your head. Could be! In any case,
this crackling sound and a tone a tone a [hum changing from low to high pitch] and then
theres this impression of transition. And youre now 20 seconds deep into this experience.
Theres an impression of transition. Its as though there were a series of tunnels or chambers
that you are tumbling down, being propelled by some kind of muscle behind you that is pushing
you. I mean, yes, birth canal, yes yes of course. But anyway, a tunnel. And what Ive noticed
about this tunnel is the walls and ceiling flux and come down to meet each other and where
they touch, they pull apart with a *makes a sucking sound+. And then youre propelled into the
next space, and then the next, and then the next, and there is this [repeats the sucking sound]
right. And then you are there.

And this is what I want to talk to you about because of all communities, I hope perhaps
collectively, singly, someone can say something enlightening about this. Then you are there.
And where is there? Its underground. How you know this you cannot say but there is an
irreconcilable sense of enormous mass surrounding you. In other words, you are underground.
Youre at the center of a mountain or something. And youre in a room which aficionados call
the dome and people will ask each other did you see the dome? Were you there? Its softly
lit, indirectly lit, and the walls if such they be are crawling with geometric hallucinations:
very brightly colored, very iridescent with deep sheens and very high reflective surfaces.
Everything is machine-like and polished and throbbing with energy.

But that is not what immediately arrests my attention. What arrests my attention is the fact
that this space is inhabited that the immediate impression as you break into it, is there is a
cheer. The gnomes have learned a new way so say hoooooray! You break in to this space and
are immediately swarmed by squeaking, self-transforming elf-machines. These things which are
made of light, and grammar, and sound that come chirping, and squealing, and tumbling

toward you. And they say Hooray! Welcome! Youre here!, and in my case, you sent so many
and you come so rarely. And my immediate impression, no matter how many times I do this
and Ive done it maybe 30 or 40 times which isnt a lot in a lifetime of worshiping it my
immediate impression is that they are welcoming. There is something going on which I over the
years come to call LUV L, U, V. Not light utility vehicle, but LUV that is not like Eros or not
like sexual attraction, I dont know what its like exactly. Its almost like a physical thing. Its like
a glue that pours out into this space. And my immediate impression in there is, Im appalled.
Im appalled at how far Ive come. And one of the strange things about DMT is that it does not
affect your mind in an ordinary sense. In that, you know, drugs they make you giggly, they
frighten you, they stimulate you, they depress you. DMT does none of this. You go to that place
with all your groceries. Youre there, and youre there thinking Jesus H fucking Christ, what is
this? What is it? And youre thinking I must be dead, Ive done it this time. The psychedelic
mantra: Ive done it this time. I must be dead! And so you, you know, you think heart, heart?
Yes, hmm, heart, hmm, hmm. Pulse, pulse? Yes, yes.

And meanwhile these things are literally in your face. And what they do is they jump into your
chest and then they jump out again, and what theyre doing and this is the point I think
what theyre doing is they are singing, chanting, speaking, in some kind of language that is very
bizarre to hear. But what is far more important is that you can see it. They speak in a language
which you see. And this is completely confounding! Because syntax is not something you
ordinarily reach out and touch. And in this space thats what happening. And so like jeweled
self-dribbling basketballs, these things come running forward. And what they are doing with
this visible language that they create, is they are making gifts they are making gifts for you.
And they will say [language disassociated from meaning] which condenses as something that
looks like a cross between aSopwith Camel, a Havana cigar, a piece of abalone, an opal, and a
nookie, and they offer it to you! And youre looking at this thing, and as you look at it, it also
transforms, changes, speaks, sings, undergoes metastasis, undergoes metamorphosis. And
these things are just accumulating. And each elf-machine creature elbows others aside, says
look at this, look at this, take this, choose me. And as you direct your attention into these
things, you have the overwhelming conviction that if you could bring a single one of these
objects back to this world, that somehow you wouldnt have to say anything. You would just
walk up to people and say friend. And people would say Oh my god! You got a piece of the
action, the real action!

This state of ecstatic frenzy and its like a bugs bunny cartoon running backwards in
cyberspace or something this state of incredible frenzy goes on for about three minutes and

all the time the elves are saying Dont give way to wonder. Do not abandon yourself to
amazement. Pay attention, pay attention! Look at what were doing. Look at what were
doing, and then do it, do it! And its this thing where then everything stops and they wait and
you feel like a torch, a spark, lit in your belly that begins to move up your esophagus. And
eventually when it reaches your mouth, your mouth just flies open and this language-like stuff
comes out. Acoustically, its *language disassociated from meaning+ But what youre youre
not hearing it. The startled friends who sent you to this place are putting up with this what
youre experiencing is a visual modality where these tones are surfaces, shading, colors, insets,
jewels, you are making something. [language disassociated from meaning] You know, erase,
move forward, add cerulean, put in stippling its that sort of thing.

And they go mad with joy when you do this. And then, you know, this goes on for about 30
seconds and then there is like a ripple through the system and you realize these two continua
are being pulled apart. And I had one trip where the and often its very erotic, although Im
not sure thats the word. But its something, its almost like sex is the surface of something of
which this is the volume. And Im a great fan of sex. I dont mean to denigrate it. I mean to raise
DMT to a very high status. But its astonishing. In one trip as the pull-away maneuver began, all
the elves turned simultaneously and looked at me and said dj vu, dj vu.

So, this is an experience which in some form I mean it will be different for each one of you
but in some form at least what will be similar to my description is how dramatic it will be. It will
hit you as hard as it hit me if you do it right. This,to me, this experience is of a fundamentally
different order than any other experience this side of the yawning grave. And why religions
have not been built around it? Why empires have not risen and fallen around the control of its
sources? Why theology has not enshrined it as its central exhibit for the presence of the other
in the human world? I dont know. I can tell the secret. As you notice, nothing shuts me up. But
why this is not four-inch headlines on every newspaper on the planet I cannot understand
because I dont know what news you were waiting for, but this is the news that I was waiting
for. Its an incredible challenge to human understanding to try and make sense of this. And I
started out, you know, reading Jung, doing my Hindu, you know getting up to speed with all
that, studying Zen Buddhism, studying shamanism.

The thing that puzzles me about DMT is how little trace there is of it in the human world. I cant
point to a period in European art, or the art of some group of islanders somewhere, and say
that is very much like DMT. It isnt. And yet the DMT thing is, its like an avalanche of orgasmic

beauty, but a certain kind of beauty that only words that I can find for the kind of beauty that it
is, is bizarre, alien, outlandish, outr, freaky, and at the very edge of what the human mind
seems to be able to hold. Well, where is this coming from? And what is happening? And this is
what I like to discuss with people such as yourselves who have wide experience in the world
and in the realms of the unseen. This has to be taken seriously. In other words, its only a
hallucination thing that horse shit is just pass. I mean, reality is only a hallucination for
crying out loud, havent you heard? So that takes care of that its only a hallucination. What
weve got here, folks, is an intelligent entelechy of some sort that is frantic to communicate
with human beings for some reason. And the possibilities can be logically enumerated. What
weve got here is either this is an extraterrestrial, you know, evolved around a different star
possibly with a different biology, may not even be made of matter, came across an enormous
distance sometime maybe long ago, has some agenda which we may or may not be able to
conceive of, this is it the real thing as the little girl said in Poltergeist theyre here!. So thats
one possibility. Thats just one possibility.

I present these without judgement, because Im not sure. If an extraterrestrial wanted to

interact with a human society, and it had ethics that forbade it from landing trillion ton
beryllium ships on the United Nations plaza in other words if it were subtle I can see hiding
yourself inside a shamanic intoxication. You would say lets analyze these people, okay theyre
kinda hard-headed rationalists, except they have this phenomenon called getting loaded and
when they get loaded they accept whatever happens to them. So lets hide inside the load and
well talk to them from there and theyll never realize that were of a different status than pink
elephants. Okay, thats one possibility.

Now another possibility is that this is not about extraterrestrials, flight, and enormous
technologies and distant homelands and this is maybe closer to, friendlier to pagan notions
that there is a parallel continuum nearby, essentially right here. Call it fairy land, call it the
Western realm, whatever you like, but you dont go there in star-ships. You go there through
magical doorways which are opened via ritual and things like that. That is a possibility as well.
Certainly human folklore in all times and places, except Western Europe for the last 300 years,
has insisted that these parallel domains of intelligence and organization exist.

There is a third possibility, which I leave it to you to decide whether this is the more
conservative position or the more radical position. And I reached this reluctantly and Im not
sure this is my position, but uh These things have a weird these tykes, as I call them, these

self-transforming machine elves, these syntactical homunculi have a very weird relationship
to human beings. First of all, they love us! They care for some reason. Whoever and whatever
they are, theyre far more aware of us than we are aware of them. Witness the fact that they
welcome me. So is it possible that at the end of the 20th century, at the end of 500 years of
materialism, reductionism, positivism, what were about to discover is probably the least likely
denouement any of us expected out of our dilemma. What were about to discover is that
death has no sting. That what you penetrate on DMT is an ecology of human souls in another
dimension of some sort. I mean, this is hair raising to me and Ive spent my whole adolescence
and early adulthood getting free from Catholicism and its assumptions and I never imagined
that a thorough exploration of lifes mysteries would lead to the conclusion that, in fact, this is
but a prelude. We are in a very tiny womb of some sort. Our lives are just stations, and this is
not where we are destined to unfold ourselves into what it means to be human. This is some
kind of metamorphic stage like the pupa of a butterfly. And so, this is deep water. Because, we
are fairly agitated over the fact that we fear the planet is dying and us with it. This stuff raises
the issue: you dont know what dying is. Therefore its very uncertain exactly what sort of an
attitude we should take to it. And as I say, Im not advocating a position. Mysteries are not
unsolved problems, they are mysteries. When you stand naked in the presence of the mystery,
it is still utterly and completely mysterious.

But I enjoy talking to people about this, because I think that the human body, the human mind,
these are tools for the soul to use in the effort to unlock its meaning and its destiny. And
millions of people, perhaps billions of people, have gone to the grave without knowing that this
is possible this experience that Ive just described to you. And its perfectly harmless. I mean, I
think that if science would back out of politics and do its work, we could establish that DMT is
the most harmless, the safest, of all hallucinogens. The fact that it occurs naturally in the
human brain is the first clue to the fact that its benign. The second clue is the fact that it only
lasts 8 to 12 minutes. What that means to a pharmacologist is the body perfectly understands
what to do with this compound you take a hit of DMT and your body says oh, I recognize this,
activate deamination cycle, activate demethylation cycle, activate it knows what to do. And
so within ten minutes your down. A drug that you take and 48 hours later youre lying around in
warm baths and refusing telephone calls is a drug you shouldnt have taken. Because its hitting
you too hard, its not clean, its not smooth. DMT the most powerful hallucinogen known to
man and science clears your system in 15 minutes! I mean, youre so down you cant, you
dont have a small headache or need to take a nap or anything! Youre ready to do phone calls.


So how can it be then that a compound which each of us carries right here right in the
pineal gland, right in the Ajna chakra. The philosophers stone is no further away than that.
How can this be secret from us? How can we be trapped in a dimension of such limitation and
such mundaneness when our own nervous systems, and the ecology around us, and our own
history over the past half million years argues that this is what we were born and bred for. This
is where we belong. This is what at play in the fields of the Goddess must mean. And
somehow history has made us dysfunctional, buried the mystery, made it, if at best, a piece of
secret knowledge jealously guarded by somebody. I mean, I dont know. There are lots of
mystery cults and secret societies in the world. I dont know if any of them are guarding DMT as
a secret. It may be so. No one told me to keep my mouth shut.

A very suggestive short story Im sure many of you know and love the Argentine surrealist
writer Jorge Luis Borges. Well, Borges has a book I believe its called Labyrinths and in
Labyrinths there is a short story called The Sect of the Phoenix and it says There is a
sacrament older than mankind. The sectarians have been the victims of every persecution in
human history, and the sectarians have been the purveyors of every persecution in history.
These sectarians are not identifiable by race or place or language or time. To the adept, the
mystery appears ridiculous, yet they do not speak of it. One child can initiate another. It is
orange. Ruins are propitious places. Do it in the moonlight in the thresholds of buildings. And
thats all it said its a page and a half. And it suggests and see, heres the thing Im not as
articulate on this subject as I wish I could be if this is not the secret that these lineages are
guarding, then theyre guarding an empty house. This is the secret! It is, it is! It cannot be
anything else. It is the neoplatonic One. It is the trans-substantiant object the panis
supersubstantialis of the alchemists. Im not saying that people have known about this for a
long time. DMT is in many plants as I said, but spread very thinly and we dont have historical
records of anyone ever concentrating it. Ive done the DMT plant preparations of the Amazon
the snuffs and the ayahuasca. And on ayahuasca, if it is heavily laced with the DMT-containing
plant, after hours of breath work and drumming, alone in the jungle, you can begin to open it
up to the place that DMT will carry you to in 45 seconds in an upper east-side apartment,
whether you like it or not.

So, some of you may have seen, years and years ago, this B movie about a guy who has a big
ranch in Mexico, and one of the campesinos comes rushing back from having encountered a
brontosaur in the forest, and he can only point inarticulately at the woods and say something,
something, something, something!! And thats what I am! Im a monkey. And Ive come back to
the troop, and Im telling you theres something over the next hill that is off the scale, off the

scale. And I have made it my business to, you know, delve, Im a delver, Im a noetic
archaeologist obscure heresies and strange rites and all of this stuff been there, done that.
Its all pale soup compared to this. And so, I hype it to you simply to try and inspire you to
explore it. We are, in the present state, in the position of explorers of a new world fifty years
after Columbus. We have notebook entries. We have partial maps. But we dont have a
complete map of what this thing is. Its another dimension. It is literally another dimension. I
took DMT to a lama of great accomplishment, not one of the grab-ass can of Budweiser welded
to the good right hand lamas but a real lama. This guy was over 90 when he smoked DMT and
since his wheel has turned. And he said to me its the lesser lights. He said you cant go
further into the Bardo and return. And so I think that we stand at the brink of an enormous
frontier call it incorporeality, call it non-material existence, or, you know, bite the bullet call it
death. But this is the frontier that we stand on the edge of. This is what history has been about.
History has been some kind of suicide plot for 15,000 years. Nota moment passed that the plot
was not advanced closer and closer and closer to completion. And now in the 20th century, you
know, we see that this thing this transcendental object at the end of time, this attractor has
been, that chose us out of the animal kingdom, and sculpted the neocortex, opposed the
thumb, stood us on our hind legs, gave us binocular vision this thing is calling us toward itself
across aeons of cosmic time. We are asked to mirror it and as we mirror it, we become more of
its essence. And as we become more of its essence, we leave behind the animal organization
that we were cast in, in the beginning. And what this is about? Who knows? Is this a drama of
cosmic redemption? Is it the transcendental other at the end of time? Is it a gnostic daemon, is
it [Inaudible] What is it? We do not know. But I really believe we are in the era when we will
come to know. And what the psychedelics are, are periscopes in the temporal dimension. If you
want to see a little bit into the future, elevate you psychedelic periscope outside of the three
dimensional continuum and peer around.

For thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years we have been pulled towards this omega
point. The earth is like an egg it has come to its moment of fructification. The dawn that has
been anticipated since we were herding our cattle across the plains of Africa is now upon us.
The East is streaked with the blush of rosy dawn. It is coming upon us, and I think that is will
redeem history that history is not a nightmare, it is a passage. It is an initiation. Think of the
fetus in the womb at the moment of transition. Surely it must despair. The walls are closing in.
Its being crushed and strangled. Gone are the endless amniotic oceans of a few months before:
the weightlessness, the effortless delivery of food through the umbilical cord. Suddenly, its just
boundaries and agony and crushing pressure thats where we are. And we are going to have
to shed history like a snake sheds its skin if we want to slip off into hyperspace, where I think all
of magical humanity is awaiting us and cheering us on, lending their weight. Theyre all out

there, you know, Proclus, and Plotinus, and Plato, and Hypatia, and Henry Cornelius Agrippa,
and John Dee, and Robert Fludd, and Eliaphas Levy they are all out there pulling for us. And
every shaman and shamanness, every magician practitioner as far back in time as you go was
part of the plan, the conjuration, the great work, the distillation of the quintessence. History is
a magical invocation, and at the end of that invocation if it is correctly done all boundaries
will dissolve into the stone, the lapis, a trans-dimensional vehicle that can move through space
and time. That is, the collectivity of all human souls free at last in what William Blake called the
Divine Imagination.

And you dont have to wait for the general dispensation. You can join up anytime by hyperspacializing your metaphors and your point of view through psychedelic symbiosis with the
plants that are pouring this hyper dimensional Gaian vision into the minds of anyone who will
detoxify themselves from history and linear thinking and but open themselves to the presence
of the trans-formative mystery that is going to leave this planet unrecognizable to us within our
lifetimes. So thats the basic spiel. And I think it raises a lot of questions and yours is first.


[Question: Are there any northern hemisphere, western herbs that inhabit DMT that we would
have access to?]

The answer is yes, yes. The question is Are there herbs in the temperate zone that contain
DMT? Yes. There are certain grasses Phalaris arundinacea, Phalaris tuberosa. These can be
ordered from plant dealers or gotten, ironically enough, from agricultural experiment stations
because these are pasturage grasses. A lot of people are doing wonderful work right now
learning how to make DMT preparations out of native plants. The mature Phalaris grass, its
very diffuse the DMT. So what people are doing is theyre getting the seeds and theyre
spouting them in a sprouter. And then theyre taking the sprouted seeds and air drying them.
Well, you can imagine how powdery sprouts become if you air dry them. Well then you can
powder up a handful of these sprouts and twist that into a bomber and come very very close to
the flash point. The other thing I mean, since Im talking to recipe-oriented magicians the
other thing you need to understand if you want to work in this area is that DMT can ordinarily
not be taken orally because there is an enzyme system in your intestines called the mono
amine oxidase system. And it will destroy the DMT. But the good news is there are certain
compounds called mono amine oxidase inhibitors didnt you know it. If you take a mono
amine oxidase inhibitor, and then you take DMT, the DMT will survive the gut and pass into the
blood stream, and pass the blood-brain barrier. So here is a very important piece of practical
information I am about to give you. If you want to inhibit your mono amine oxidase in order to
make DMT trips longer, or mushroom trips longer and more intense, or to activate DMT if you
only have a little bit of it, then what you should get are the seeds of Peganum harmala. You can
either order it under that name from seed dealers, or go to an Iranian market and buy what is
called Hurmal. This is simply Peganum harmala seeds. They use it as an incense to fumigate
rooms. But two grams dont take more two grams of this macerated in a mortar and pestle
with spring water taken from a spring at the new moon near a crossroads will inhibit your MAO.
It will inhibit your MAO.

Consequently, then when you smoke the bomber of Phalaris dust it will grab on. Or you can
even smoke mushrooms then, and they will grab on. So knowing how to inhibit MAO is one of
the key techniques in this kind of herbal shamanic magic.

Other plants that contain DMT, and heres one you should all be aware of because its probably
right around here is Desmanthus ilinoensis Illinois

Bundle Weed. Its a rank weed. Ive not seen it except in the dry form but people have grown
hundreds of pounds of this stuff in a few months. And the root bark has the highest
concentration of DMT ever measured in any plant. Its higher than the ayahuasca admixtures
used in the Amazon.


[Inaudible Question]

In the root bark, the root bark which you dry the root and the scrape the bark off and youll get
this reddish root bark. The red is actually the DMT. Virola trees in the Amazon shed DMT in
their sap, and its always a blood red sap. And to show you how strong it is, the indians in the
some of the tribes they roll their arrow points directly into that sap. And its a paralytic poison
in the bloodstream of monkeys and small animals.

So a great deal of work is being done right now and you should, if youre of an experimental
and herbal and alchemical and magical bent, people are creating what they call ayahuasca
analogs. This is where you use local plants to create a brew which is chemically equivalent to an
Amazonian hallucinogen. And of course, you have the satisfaction that its yours. Its your
magical recipe. No one on earth is doing quite what youve got and its very a lot of
interesting work is being done and youll hear more about this. In fact, Jonathan Ott just wrote
a book called Ayahuasca Analogs in which the state of the art is spelled out, and it would be
worth your while to check that out if youre an experimentalist.

[Inaudible Question]

The question is Is there a more is there a simple reagent test for the presence of DMT? The
answer is: sort of. You can do a paper chromatographic test and all you need is a little UV light
and some chromatography paper and some solvent dishes. I mean, its at the level of a 7th

grade science project. Yes, I dont know how much I should say on this subject. Im probably
about to say too much. But at one gathering I go to, one of the people whos a very regular part
of that particular posse, is a wheat breeder. So when he heard about the Phalaris, he was a
geneticist and a wheat breeder. And he has been working very quietly on his own to produce
super strains of Phalaris, and I think we will soon see super strains because the underground
community is incredibly creative in this area. The compound I talked about yesterday Salvia
divinorum thats all underground work. Bret Blosser, the anthropologist who discovered it is a
complete freak. The guy, the chemist who extracted it who would prefer I dont put out his
name is a complete freak. The people who then did the confirmation studies my brother and
his band of performing pharmacologists all freaks. So we actually, we do not take ourselves
seriously enough. I mean, we have our scientists, we have our philosophers, we have our
thinkers, our legal experts, we are a complete community. And its no longer, in my mind, even
necessary to publish in straight journals and to seek a pat on the head from, you know, the
American pharmacology community. They dont understand what these things are for anyway.

*Question: About yesterday. *Inaudible+ could you give that name of it?+
Yes, Ill repeat this and strengthen once again my case to the guy who owns the company that
he should pay me, for gods sakes. If you want a catalog of extremely rare and useful
psychoactive and magical plants, probably the most complete in the world the company is
called Of The Jungle PO Box 1801 Sebastopol, CA, 95472. Write and ask for a catalog. And tell
them George Bush sent you. No, Im teasing. Dont tell them that they wont send you the

[Inaudible Question]

Well, let me, I didnt mean to dis Castaneda as a metaphor maker. No, I think The Teachings of
Don Juan is a tremendous book. Im very suspicious of some of his later stuff. Its interesting
what you said because you know the famous crow transformation in The Teachings of Don Juan
has been traced and Im sure many of you know this book has been traced to George
MacDonalds book Through the Gates of the Silver Key. And George MacDonald was a friend
of Evans Wentz so I think what were getting here is a mining of late 19th century English
folklore by Castaneda. Nevertheless, the presence of these small entities has been a part of
folklore for a long long time. Elementals, tykes. What puzzled me about what puzzles me, I
guess is Ive spent a lot of time in this magical literature and art historical area, and the

descriptions dont quite match. I cant quite convince myself that the sprites, the efreets, the
pixies, the jinns, that these creatures of the woodland Fay, are the same thing. Or I dont know
whether I am contaminated by an early love of science fiction and...

[Inaudible Question]

Well, again, close but no banana. All these popular aliens that are running around you know,
the Whitley Strieboids and all these things are much more mundane than what I encountered.
I mean, what I encountered was terrifyingly not human. Terrifyingly alien. And I just do not
quite get and Madame Blavatsky was into it and theyre always saying, you know the I dont
know, theyre all very cut and dried about it. And when I encounter an extraterrestrial alien or a
creature from another dimension, the main thing thats happening for me is the implications
are blowing my mind! They seem totally immune to the implications.

[Inaudible Question]

Well, a sufficient amount of DMT is smoked west of the Pacific coast highway that it wouldnt
surprise me if the writers of Star Trek, I mean, were on to this. Yes, what is not much talked
about the part of the experience which is anomalous and maybe people who know more
about magical literature than I do can correct me but what the elves are really interested in, is
this stuff which I call visible language. Thats the whole point of the encounter, is to exhibit it
and to get you to do it. Well, now first of all, think for a minute about ordinary language its
really weird! Its the weirdest thing we do. I mean, if you were looking for the thumbprint of
God on creation, human language would be a good candidate because, look, were suppose to
be some kind of animal who just went a little further than the next guy. But to get out of that
Shakespeare and Milton is a pretty amazing accomplishment, hardly to speak of the
mathematical languages that we generate. So something happened some people think only
35,000 years ago. Imagine if thats true. I mean, I dont care, some people say 150,000 years
ago. But to speak, to take small mouth noises and to turn them into signifiers for symbols and
relationships in spite of some peoples enthusiasm for cetaceans and dolphins, I just am not
overwhelmed by the evidence. I mean, to me, you know, it is a miracle to be able to speak
poetry. It is a miracle. I mean, when Coleridge wrote and south, and south, and southward aye
we fled, and it grew wondrous cold, and ice mast-high went floating by as green as emerald I

mean, thats language! And its magic! We have a fascination then, we also paint. Then we
sculpt. Then we write. Then we create electronic databases. Then film, television. Clearly, what
we want to do is we want to communicate visually. And these things are saying theres way to
do it. Do it! And I dont understand, do we allhave to be loaded on DMT all the time? Can you
learn to do this?

The gentleman who asked about dreams: heres a piece of information that is critical in this
jigsaw puzzle. If you have smoked DMT at any time in the past, it is possible to have a dream in
which people are running around and youre checked into the Mars hotel and the luggage is
lost and this and that, and in the middle of all that someone drags out a little glass pipe and
hands it to you. It will happen. It will happen in the dream! Not a memory, not a simulacrum, it
will really happen. Well now to me thats an amazing piece of data because what its saying is
you can do it on the natch. You may have to be dead asleep, but still on the natch this can be
done. And the lucid dreamers, the biofeedback people, the people who claim these wonderful
things that you can do with sleep and dream and programming, I challenge them: teach people
to have DMT dreams in their sleep. And then lets figure out how to drag that puppy into the
light so that we can do it at will on the natch.
One thing that I have come to believe is that we remember no more than five percent of our
dreams, and its the most mundane five percent. I think and theres scientific evidence to
support this remember I said that DMT is in the human brain? Well, it concentrates in the
human cerebra-spinal fluid on a 24 hour cycle and it reaches its peak of concentration between
3 and 4 AM in most people. Thats when the deep REM sleep is happening. When you give
somebody DMT, they lay back, they close their eyes, and the way you the guide, the sitter, I
dont like the word guide you the sitter, the way you can tell that theyre getting off is their
eyes dart wildly behind their closed eyelids. It means theyre in REM, theyre in REM sleep,
theyve been immediately shoved into deep dreaming.

So I believe that what DMT is doing in normal human metabolism is it mediates the decent, the
spiral decent into dream and that every single night we are reunited with the boundary-less
oceanic mystery of being that we are so frantic about in waking life and so distant from. And
that if we could, in fact, just engineer a drug that would allow us to remain fully conscious as we
drift deeper into dream, we would need no other drug or substance that thats where we
want to go. And I think thats where history is headed. What the archaic revival is about, is a
revivification of the aboriginal dream time. We are going to live in the imagination. We are
preparing to decamp from three dimensional space. I mean yes, the earth is the cradle of the

human race, but you dont stay in the cradle forever, you know. And its something like going
into dream. Its something like taking the hyper technical virtual reality internet head of the
snake and inserting the shamanic, late paleolithic, ecstatic, orgiastic tail of the snake and then
you have the ouroboric completion. Then you have the quintessence and the work is complete
and history ends and we live then in the light of the stone made manifest.

[Inaudible Question]

Well, it definitely has something this mystery were talking about definitely has something
to do with sound and the magical role of sound. Ayahuasca is a sort of different way of
sectioning the DMT experience. Because ayahuasca is orally active, unfolds over hours, is not as
dramatic as DMT, but the people who use ayahuasca as a ritual on a weekly basis, what their
practice consists of is they take this stuff and then they sing they sing like crazy. And then
when they stop singing, and people light a cigarette and take a leak and so forth and youre
listening to these conversations, you hear people say stuff about the shaman like: I like the part
with the olive drab and the silver, but when it became magenta and moved toward orange I
thought we was over the top. And you think What kind of a criticism of a song is that? And the
answer is: sound has become a visually beheld medium.

[Inaudible Question]

Yes. So the reason I have, the reason Im interested in something as techno-nerdy as virtual
reality is because you could program a virtual reality so that when you went aaah [sings a high
pitched tone+, an iridescent blue line would be keyed to that to descend into the space. Im very
interested in environmental and electronic simulations of psychedelic states, but were not
going to do better than the psychedelics. If we can do as well it will be a miracle. I mean, you
see more beauty in a first wave of psilocybin than the human race has produced in the past five
thousand years and who are you? You know.

[Inaudible Question]


I hadnt considered that, but that sounds possible. I mean, were definitely coming to some
enormous cusp, and whether you think its the cusp of cusps, or just a big cusp, its hard to say.
Somebody faxed me I got a fax right before I came here I dont know who sent it to me, it
was just an anonymous fax, but in huge letters is said When you strip away the hype, its just
another concrescence.

*Q: Im curious to know what the universality of your experience that you describe is...
Its interesting and thats a good question. The answer is yes and no. Obviously, theres hardly
anything more personal than a psychedelic experience. It is a kind of summation of who you
are, and its viewed through the filters of your personality. Nevertheless, when you put a whole
bunch of DMT trips together, certain things seem to emerge. My notion, coming at it from a
sort of a Jungian attitude, is if we had to say what is the archetype of DMT, the archetype is the
circus. Its the circus, and let me say why. First of all, a circus is a place of wild exotic activity.
And clowns. You dont have a circus without clowns. Clowns are wonderful for children. A circus
is a wonderful place for a child. DMT there is something very very weirdly child-like about it in
a very un-childish way. Some of you may know the 52nd fragment of Heraclitus where he says
The aeon is a child at play with colored balls.The aeon is the child that you encounter in the elf
dome. But the circus has other connotations than simply the three rings and clowns. Eros is
present entwined with Thanatos in the form of the nearly naked lady in the tiny spangled
costume who is working without nets hanging by her teeth up near the top of the big tent. And
personally, my earliest experience of Eros was that lady in the tiny spangled costume. I was so
small I was wrapped up in something and being held and I was horny as hell. So theres that,
and then there is also radiating off from the central ring the freak show, the goat-faced boy,
the lady in the bottle, and, you know, the three-toed alligator kid, and all of that. Thats there.
The wiggy, weird, kinky, strange, alien stuff. And then, if you think about the archetype not so
much of the circus but of the carnival. The carnival represents a breakthrough from another
dimension, because you live in some jerk-water town in some I almost said Iowa but some
town. And its like normal. And then the carnival comes to town and children are told you cant
stay out and play, the carny people are in town. And what does it mean? Well, they may fuck
differently than we do, they may steal things, theyre not like us, they have more than one
marriage some of them. And then the carnival people are there, and the hoochie-coochie
dancers and the whole thing, and then they fold it up and they go away! Just like a DMT trip.
And every little boy and girl in the world worth their salt wants to join the circus. Of course!
And go away with the tattooed lady and the tigers and all that. So it is the archetype of the

So then, Ive seen many many people take DMT and some get what I get, which is, its sort of
gone beyond the circus its the circus as presented on Zenebelgenubi Prime or something like
that. But one woman, who was an anthropologist, who I think got a sub-threshold dose she
had a very interesting trip because it was a light trip. But with no prompting from me she said I
was at a carnival midway, but it was after hours and there was nobody there and there were
just those ice cream those square papers for holding ice cream blowing in the wind and
getting caught in chain link fences. It was like a sub-threshold dose. Well, then if shed done
more she would have arrived there 8 hours earlier when the thing was happening, and if shed
done yet another toke, it would have moved off into the zone of the truly weird. Thats why I
love the film of Federico Fellini, because here was a circus-man, for sure.


[Inaudible Question]
A way to get the DMT? Well, you could conceivably inhibit your MAO. I dont wanna tell you to
do it nasally because it might be a really stinging experience.

[Inaudible Question]

Oh then you could do it. Im working on something Ill describe it to you. Im having a glass
blower make a thing which has a chamber with a pipe stem coming off it. But it has another
stem 180 degrees around the chamber coming off it that breaks into two prongs. And what you
do is you heat the DMT, you insert the two prongs up your nose, and you have a friend blow on
the other outlet and it will force the entire contents of the vessel, the entire load of white
smoke but you know, dont try this at home folks.

[Inaudible Question]

Id go light the first time. You know, there are old pharmacologists and bold pharmacologists.
But there are no old bold pharmacologists.

[Inaudible Question]

There are anti-depressants that are MAO inhibitors, thats right. But I wouldnt use them for
this purpose because what you want is whats called a reversible MAO inhibitor. And harmine,
or harmaline, which is in the Syrian rue, is a reversible MAO inhibitor, reversible in four to six
hours. Some of these antidepressants inhibit every molecule of MAO in your body for up to
three weeks. And thats why, when they give you those anti-depressants, they tell you the long
list of don'ts no chocolate, no red wine, no soft cheese, no lentils, no this thats a list of
alkaloid-containing foods. And if you are on those mono amine oxidase inhibiting antidepressants and you eat a bunch of Camembert with your yuppie friends, youll probably have
to be roped down for a while before you straighten out.

*Question: How is a DMT experience comparative to those youve had on what might be
familiar such as like as psychedelic mushrooms and LSD.]

He said, How does DMT compare to more familiar psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD? Let
me say this about mushrooms. Mushrooms are my thing. They enlightened me, they
straightened me out, they love me. But the way to do mushrooms is, the very first move if
youre interested in mushrooms is, for Gods sake buy a scale, buy a scale. You wouldnt
think that this would be considered such an exotic suggestion to people who are going to put
their bodies and minds on the line. Because people dont take enough. They dont take enough
mushrooms. They take piss ant amounts and then they claim that theyre initiates. You must
take a measured 5 dried grams on an empty stomach, measured! And when you see what that
is, youll realize that, you know, you werent even camped in the atrium, you were camped in
the driveway. And mushrooms to my in some way, I mean, DMT is the most terrifying,
astonishing, thing in the universe. But its very hard to know what to do with it. Psilocybin is
your friend. It wants to teach. It will take you by the hand and forgive you and lead you and be
with you. And it speaks. This is the amazing thing. And youre hearing this from, you know,
somebody who graduated from Heidegger and S.H. [Inaudible]. It speaks. No other psychedelic
does that in my experience. Occasionally a phrase will pop into your [Inaudible] on another
substance that is like a gift in that surround.


But I mean, psilocybin raves. It raves. And it has positions, you may not like psilocybin as a
person. Because it is not the astonishing thing about psilocybin entity to my mind and I get
good confirmation on this is it is not very earthfully. I mean, it wants to show you machines
the size of Manhattan in orbit around alien stars. It wants to talk about the sweet [Inaudible]
which happened before the earth cooled and it, you know, has [Inaudible] the empires of the
*Inaudible+ out of the rim and all the rest of it. And its very puzzling the cosmic, galactarian
tome. It could send you still further to ayahuasca, because literally just a twist of the molecule,
just flailiant tweaking of the molecule and suddenly its about childbirth, rivers, the land, the
feminine, looking inside your body, curing diseases, feeling, telepathy, communication, it could
hardly be more different. And yet chemically these things are like two sides of the same coin.

So, just to sum this up and put a kind of a classifier on it: I am not very interested in drugs, per
se. Ive done a lot of them bad ones, good ones. And people do drugs for fun and for stupid
reasons. But there is this tiny chemical family the tryptamine hallucinogens psilocybin and
DMT and then some artificial [Inaudible]. And five methoxy is in there, too, which Im not that
fond of. But this is the doorway, its the umbilicus of this world.53 These are things which are
called drugs because thats the category we have for things which make the world
unrecognizable. But these are not drugs. They are magical doorways into staggeringly titanic
dimensions of gnosis, power, information, understanding, and dimensions filled with affection
for humanity. So people say Well you think drugs should be legalized? Yeah, but thats a
political opinion of Terence McKenna whos just a guy like you. But this stuff about the
tryptamines is a real discovery. And you can think what you like about me and my take on it in
fact, please do. But check it out, check it out. Because Ive checked out lots of stuff and this is
the only thing Im interested in telling you: check it out!

[Inaudible Question]

No, I dont understand that. The answer to that question: its magical. It is a secret which keeps
itself! I mean I here I am, there are two hundred people here, whatever, and I do this for all
the time! And I have not, so far as I can tell, been able to launch an avalanche of DMT. Im
trying! Do I have to put it any more plainly? Is there a chemist in the house who will go home
and make this stuff so that we can find our way there? Or grow the plants. Or go to South
America. Or get with lucid dreaming and behavioral modification. Or explore the outer edges of
orgasm, which I think has something to do with DMT and probably runs on it. Somehow, we
need to beech this whale.


[Inaudible Question]

Its not difficult to make. Compared to cocaine or LSD, its a walkover. It is a reasonable exam
question for a 2nd year student of organic chemistry to be told synthesize and chromatograph
5 grams of DMT and submit your sample with your chromatographic data to my office Monday

[Inaudible Question]
Yeah, and make a tincture of the, exactly. [Inaudible]

How can it be against the law if you have it in every brain walking around?

[Inaudible Question]

Well, we should certainly talk about casualties and danger. The ditch doesnt really stave you in
here in the ordinary sense like opiates and nicotine. The ditch, you know, cannabis is the most
addicting of these minor and near psychedelics and its only psychologically addictive. I mean, I
found it out because a couple of years ago I actually quit for ten months after not drawing an
unstoned breath for 25 years and all that happened was that I read more. And its not clear that
thats my problem. But danger we need to talk about. And that brings up the question, How
should one do these things? How can you do it and gain maximum benefit and minimum wear
and tear on your psyche and your body? The first thing is, inform yourself. Inform yourself. The
first stop on the psychedelic trip is the library. There are very, very deep books on these
subjects on the anthropology, the pharmacology, the psychology, the quantum mechanics of
drug activity, inform yourself. And then its not about taking every drug in the book. And you
have people wheel them off. Well, I did junk, I did this, I did that, its no point. You dont get
[Inaudible] for that. What you have to do is [Inaudible] recipes straight out of Castaneda. Get

up and [Inaudible] you Nagual. You have to find what works for you. And if you take a drug or
plant and you have a horrible experience you dont really need to go back in fact.

The other thing is, danger lies in the direction of combination. These are called synergies by
pharmacologists. And if you, if your idea of a big evening is, you know, to shoot 100 ml of
ketamine and then drop some MDMA and a little 2CB an hour later and then bring on some
acid of undetermined providence *Inaudible+, well then and I said, How was it? Hey, it was
*Inaudible+ But the point is, it can never be reproduced and these things are very dangerous.
They synergize in rather unexpected ways. I mean, my God, if psilocybin and DMT has never
been studied, do you think their relationship to [Inaudible] has been looked at very carefully? I
dont think so.
Then, how to take it? And I represent a faction on that. I believe that you should take it with a,
as how can I put it with as little company as you can stand, basically. A lot of people like
group work. I dont. But that I dont like groups generally. You know, Im basically a loner. And I,
if I take psychedelics with somebody I worry, I worry about them and it keeps me on the
surface. And I have many psychedelic experiences where in the middle of it has passed through
my mind Gee, Im sure glad nobody is here to see this because Im sure it would alarm them
and then wed have a crisis. So my style, I mean I take okay gimme, you know, low dose and
hang out if something interesting is going on. But the serious stuff goes on in darkness, in
silence, and that people go through the *Inaudible+ you dont even listen to music.

Thats right, in darkness, in silence, in a comfortable state, and that may mean in your
apartment in Manhatten, it may mean off the tree in Yosemite, whatever your thing is. And
then I always use cannabis. Cannabis is your navigation tool, your reality check, your
everything. I roll up the bomber and I lay them up in front of me and I have my mojo bag and a
few things like that. From the moment I take it Im in *Inaudible+ state. And this isnt even a rule
followed in the Amazon. I mean, it totally blew my mind, in some ayahuasca circles people
would sit talking and some, then everybody would take ayahuasca there would be a sacral
ceremonial moment, everybody would take the ayahuasca and then yak yak yak and
motorcycle parts and what are the missionaries up to and brewing to and yak yak yak and then
at 30 minutes on the clock the shaman would be [Inaudible], everybody would shut up and
within a minute wed be gone.


But the way I like to do it, and this a good catholic method, for those of you who are recovering
Catholics, I take it and then I sit in my states and I carry out what in catechism class we were
taught is called an examination of conscience. This is where you think about all the ways you
screwed up and all the people you screwed over and you basically anticipate a bad trip, is what
it is. You work said, What is the worst thing that happens to me on this trip based on my
current state of my psyche and my relationship with other people?

Well, by the time this stuff actually begins to work you [Inaudible]. And, you know, some people
say they take mushrooms And within 20 minutes we were tripping hard, tripping hard. I dont
understand what thats about. It takes an hour and twenty minutes on the clock, it ever has. I
dont expect it to ever come faster. And I get into a kind of a zone where its like its nibbling at
the edges, not quite manifest. And then Id smoke the first bomber. And usually that brings it in.
That brings it in.
And I also, I speak to it. I [Inaudible] you. I invoke it, I suppose. And in my own way I dont
know if it will pass [Inaudible] mustard I say to it, I say Show yourself, show yourself. And its
very, at that point its very erotic. Its like a veil thing, its what it is. It is a veil thing. The girlfriend in the other dimension, the mushroom, once I said to her, What should I call you? She
said, Call me Dorothy. So I invoke it and it comes, it comes. And then were off.

And sometimes its easy and loving and sometimes its different. I remember one very
peripatetic trip where I had tossed out a very big compost pile from growing mushrooms years
ago in another country there it is the past lives that Im now recalling but anyway I tossed
out this stuff and this thing grew this humongous mushroom. And I had taken mushrooms the
previous Saturday. I had taken a full dose, which is 5 dried grams. So I thought, I wanna take
mushrooms again this Saturday but I think I may have picked up a tolerance. So Ill just take 9
grams. And this is where the learning takes place. Mistakes treasure your mistakes.

So the thing is, like Im sitting there and suddenly I realize, oh my God, its coming at me, its
100 miles wide, its 10 miles high, and its just rolling toward me and I barely have time to lay
down, thats how fast it, and a voice said, you know Get prepared. The storm is about to hit.
And I lay down and it was like a tornado. And at one pint I opened my eyes and there was this
woman in a full bondage piercings and rubber panties and the whole bang and I was lying
there between her legs. She was standing upright and she put her face right down next to mine
and she said, Is it strong enough for you asshole? To which I replied, Yes! And then she said,

They say it helps to close your eyes, cowboy. Later, in thinking about that trip I realized the
reason the Goddess, the reason the mushroom addressed me as cowboy, is because thats
most people mushrooms have met have been cowboys and cowgirls, cause theyre the people
who follow the cows! And most people have encountered this thing in the pasture. You know
Maria Sabina the mushroom shamanist of Oaxaca claimed not to have been initiated. She
claimed that as a child left to watch the sheep and the cattle she had been hungry and had
gotten to eating mushrooms.

So, I havent lost my thread, this is the safety course, I havent forgotten that. Once you get
launched out in there then there are tricks for navigation. And two tricks that are indispensable,
number one I already told you. Have cannabis ready cause if you get into a place you dont like
you can jet out of there by just taking a toke or two. The other thing is if you get into a place
you dont like chant. Dont do what most honkys do. Which is, scrunch, assume that people
could have *Inaudible+, I can stand this. How many hours is this going? *Inaudible+ Sit up, take a
breath and *Inaudible+ it out. Drumming should. But I really think its important to oxygenate
your body, very important to move the breath through.

And there are hard places. If there werent hard places people wouldnt be so terrified of this
stuff. So when you get to a hard place first of all dont be an idiot. Dont abandon yourself to
fear just because somebody put something ugly in front of you. And if people put something
ugly in front of you every day and all you say is Yukk! So, it also works there. And there are
strange places and we each have our own private hell. I mean thats a place I go to nearly on
every ayahuasca trip, that I call the meat locker. And, you know what the last said about it?

[Inaudible Question]

I fast *Inaudible+ I just dont eat for six hours. Empty your stomach, and the other thing is your
stomach should be empty. *Inaudible+ The way I do it is I start usually about 8 at night, Im
alone always and I go till one and by one its over. And then what I do I eat a bowl of granola or
something like that. Dont sleep on an empty stomach. Cause then youll wake up the morning,
raw and rotty and its not that the mushroom did that, its that you slept with a protein debt. So
then eat your favorite food at the end of the trip.

[Inaudible Question]

MDMA is a psycho-*Inaudible+ amphetamine. Its a, what are called empathogen. Theyre drugs
which encourage change of feelings and that sort of thing under rare circumstances you can
squeeze a kind of wobbling hallucination out of it. But its not, its purpose *Inaudible+ is
different. Its for sorting out relationships, assisted psychotherapy, and having a good time. But
it would be crazy to take MDMA as a hallucinogen because its like entering a bicycle in a Ferrari
race, you know. They are just much superior and let me say about this, I mean, everything is my
personal bias here. A lot of people have said Youre a hallucination nut. Youre obsessed with
hallucinations. I freely admit it. The reason why I was underwhelmed by LSD, and I liked it and
its certainly engaging and, but I could never hallucinate the way I wanted to. Ive read Havelock
Ellis. I wanted to see, you know, the phosphorescent palace, the naked maidens, the silk
brocades, the alien worlds, vision! And LSD, deep thoughts about things, funny ideas, strange
[Inaudible], hard to get vision until you smoke black Bombay hash on top of the trip that

But I will defend my obsession with vision. I think the world wants to be seen. I think Blake was
right that the divine imagination is something beheld. And for me the visions are the proof that
this is not my mind. And the visions are the proof that this is not simply chemical chaos in the
nervous system. I mean, how could chemical chaos give you something as breathtakingly
beautiful and as ordered as the Sistine Chapel or the World Trade Center. The hallucinations are
extraordinarily ordered and beautiful. And I think that this is the proof that were reaching
beyond the confines of the human personality and even beyond the human species. That this
information dont ask me how is somehow holographically deployed throughout space and
you tune in and its a so I care about vision and if a drug doesnt cause vision I cant resist to
put it lower on my list. I smoke a lot of cannabis and I think thats why I do lot of cannabis I
can think on it. And I think several hours a day when Im able to, but the visual thing is for me to
be in the presence of the mystery, is to be in the presence of the hallucination. To me the word
hallucination has no connotation of illusion. It comes from a Greek root and what it means is to
wander in the mind. Thats what hallucination is, its a wandering in the mind.



[Inaudible Question]

No, I took all kinds of doses.

The question is, What dose of LSD did I take.

I should be clear what I mean. I mean, yes on LSD. Even with eyes open the little thinks that
look like open fans that are going like nikniknik, nikniknik on wallpaper, but I LSD never gave
me these architectural if it is whats meaning I couldnt dis*Inaudible+ the LSD
hallucination looked to me like being in the [Inaudible] non in the [Inaudible]. They were more
like ripples and centric circles, flashes of light. So what you see on psilocybin are cities, faces,
houses, machines, the stuff of cognitive processes at its most expressive.

Okay, yeah

[Question: Is it theoretically possible to develop your process to go to the point that you can go
there without the drug?]

I grant the possibility but in my heartest heart I dont think so. The question is, Can you get
there on the natch? I get lots of resistance because Im willing to say just flat out, No, no. And,
you know, people are shocked. Thats no good and flagellation, being touched by poverty and
whatever. I dont know, I tried it all. And the other thing is what Im talking about you couldnt
want that happen on the natch. These are states of serious discombobulation. These are not
mood shifts or attitudes were talking about. I mean, if I woke up and I could do it on the natch
my first phone call would be to my friend Ralph Metzner whos a shrink, and I said, Ralph, uhm,
Ive got problems here.

This is *Inaudible+ and again Im a *Inaudible+. I dont know even whos here or who Im
insulting. But let me unburden myself on this stuff. Van Morrison put it very, very well, No
guru, no master, no teacher, just you and me, and mother nature, in the darkness, in the

darken vested range. I think all religion is con-games, I think that all esoterica is a con-game, I
think that revealed secrets are self-protecting and that seeking is the way to find. And take
yourself serious. You are the vessel, the stage and the theater of your transformation. The
mushroom is very explicit on that point to me. Once, it said, I quote, One human being that is
seeking enlightenment from another is like a grain of sand on the beach seeking enlightenment
from another grain of sand. And my interpretation of that is that were all as good as the best
among us. There is no hierarchy among human beings, you know, if youve got the
chromosomes youre into the game. And the test then is to accentuate primary experience, the
here and now. Teaching Fujang from far away, unsubstantiated rumors that circulate among
the people. Magicians have always worked the marketplace. Its older than Ur. But this
[Inaudible] mystery is absolutely authentic and having once found it I stopped searching for
other authentic mysteries. So I dont know what lies behind the deeper levels of the Kalichakra
Tantra, I dont know what lies behind the *Inaudible+ prints of Hawaiian Kahuna, but I do know
that his one thing fulfills the bill. Its real and you only need one doorway to enter into the
palace of the [Inaudible]. So why obsess about numbering doorways? Thats a *Inaudible+.


[Inaudible Question]

I have actually never combined DMT and psilocybin. I have smoked DMT at the top of an LSD
trip. Thats a young mans game, believe me. If youre interested in that hurry up, its like
[Inaudible] the matter for it. What happened to me, well I did it several times but Ill tell you a
story thats for your edification maybe, but amusement perhaps. I once *Inaudible+ was a
landlord in Berkley many years ago. And, uh , thats sufficient. And everybody left one easter
vacation or thanksgiving vacation, so I decided I would do this acid trip, I did plan to smoke
DMT at the top of the trip, and so I did and I did and I had this very long involved DMT trip with
the elves and all of this was totally out of control.

And at the very height of this thing this woman who I rented to upstairs who I thought had
gone home to Minneapolis came back and arrived by cab and came pounding up the stairs with
these two suitcases [Inaudible] stomp into the house and ran around to my bedroom door and
beat on the door. And, you know, you dont know me that well, but if Im 500 miles up a jungle

river smoking a joint and a stick cracks 50 feet away the first thing I do is hide the joint Im a
very paranoid person being, you know, on 500 mics of acid smoking DMT and suddenly having
this woman and I, I literally, I kept my some kind of a [Inaudible], and I leaped off my bed and I
landed on my feet and, you know, if you want you may try this, something about this enormous
flash of adrenalin added into the DMT added in to this sudden incredible physical exertion it
was as though I ripped the membrane, I ripped the membrane, and I was now standing in my
room, but I have dragged this trip through with me and the room was full of elves, ricocheting
off the [Inaudible] and I had them, they were hanging on me like weasels [Inaudible] turning me
around in the room. And also simultaneously one of these machines had been dragged through
into my bedroom at the same time and this is like about the size, well, like this, and it had all
kinds of this faceted, and opalescent, and glassy, and strange, but what was important about it
had a kind of a faceted [Inaudible] on it that was clicking [Inaudible] and every time it would
click, it would launch a small plastic chip across the room that had an alien letter written on it.
And these little plastic chips were ricocheting off the wall and piling up, and I was standing
appalled, appalled looking at this situation, and then, Rosemary, what the hell is [Inaudible] I
stagger over to the door which was a sliding wooden door and I just threw it open and I looked
at her and said, *language disassociated from meaning+. Oh so youre doing that, all right. she
said and backed up and then I would slam the door back and I pushed my way across the room
and I crawled under the bed. And I closed my eyes and I said, Im gonna stay here til Im dead
or its over. And I did. But it was, it was, uh, I mean, what the fuck, you know, you are
supposed to learn something *Inaudible+ Its ridiculous.

[Inaudible question]

Well, this thing that I have done several times this afternoon in various [Inaudible], language
thing, thats glossolalia, called speaking in tongues, but the good news is the fundies dont have
any kind of monopoly on this. Speaking in tongues is as old as human beings, its shamanic, its
paleolithic, its done all over the world. And I think that, well, psilocybin will induce this
spontaneously. And I think, to add to my little scenario yesterday about hunting, fucking,
tripping, which I would also add in there and talking. Now, probably long before the
invention of what we call meaning people amused each other with funny noises. And people
would say, Whats that? Somebody else? So, being physiologically set up for a production of
small mouth noises, notice that language is a very primitive form of telepathy. Because here is
how it works: I have an idea. I look in my dictionary, I translate the idea into what we call
English. I then move my lips, throat muscles and aspirate in a certain way and I send an
acoustical pressure wave across space, which enters into the holes on the side of your head.

Your brain reconstructs this acoustical wave and tries to match the incoming pattern against an
interior dictionary which has been learned. Now, if your dictionary and my dictionary are
congruent, lo and behold, you can reconstruct my thought in your mind. Now if this thought is
something fairly straight forward like Please shut the door ambiguity doesnt enter. But notice
that one of the most uncool things we can do with each other is to say to somebody Would
you mind explain me what it was that you just said?, you know, or, Would you mind explaining
me what it was that I just said? And then he say: Oh shit, now the cover is blown, you know, I
am of the faintest [Inaudible] that you can meet.

So, language, spoken language, small mouth noises, is a very inefficient way of communicating.
This is why I think that the visual initiation in the DMT is they cough up language. This is not the
first initiation from the elves. The first initiation occurred 100,000 years ago. The second
initiation is occurring now. First they gave us language. Now theyre going to show us how to
make that language visible. And you see, if you and I both read the same piece of thin page of a
book we can then have an enormous argument about whats written there. But if you and I
both step into a place where a piece of sculpture is being visited we may argue about what the
piece of sculpture meaning is but we agree what it is. We see it. We see it. And when we can
[Inaudible] with each other and understand each other we instinctively reach for visual
metaphors. I see what you mean. Whats here fella? She painted a picture His words were
so beautiful. It means that we really associate meaning with seeing something.

And I believe that were on the brink of a transformation of how we communicate with each
other. And I dont know whether we are gonna require a prosthesis that is electronic or
something like that or whether we can invent drugs? This will allow us that the cerebral cortex
will switch its linguistic analysis from the audio channel to the visual channel. Its very
suggestive that these tryptamines are in different parts of the brain. And I think that we are on
the brink of transforming our abilities to [Inaudible].

[Inaudible Question]

What was said was that using LSD and having used DMT one can begin to trip into, you know, if
you like dimensions on LSD. This certainly seems reasonable to me. I havent have had that
specific experience. But there is something you can do with psilocybin. Heres another

technique if you dont like whats happening on a mushroom trip. Just say to it, Be MDMA, and
it will. No problem. You can say to it, Be LSD. And it will. It has no problem. I didnt try that.
You wanna be sure before you summon the genies.

Let me say one more thing about this language thing. Because I think nature is always our
model. No matter how deep into technology we go nature will provide nontoxic models. Well it
just so happens that in this area of communication nature has provided a wonderful nontoxic
model. And that is the way in which squids and octopi communicate. Squids and octopi as you
know from watching far too much TV can change color. May think that this is camouflage. Its
not camouflage. Octopi change color in order to communicate. Octopi dont generate language.
They are language. Think of an octopus, its soft body. It folds and unfolds itself like a dancer
and exposes various parts of its body very rapidly. It also can make your body tissue smooth
and [inaudible] or rugose and rough and it can undergo all these color changes. Blotches,
stripes, spreading pastels, so forth and so on. These behaviors of the octopus are under the
genetic control of of its linguistic intentionality. It doesnt make words it becomes words. And
when one octopus encounters an other by the mere act of beholding each other they say Aha!
You havent eaten recently. Youre having too much sex. Youve been traveling. And so forth
and so on.

The octopus becomes its thought. It wears language on its surface the way we wear our
clothing. And this system of communication is so important to the octopus that those species
that are devolved into the very deep part of the ocean so called abyssal octopi where no
light ever reaches have evolved phosphorescent organs all over bodies and eyelids like
membranes? all over their bodies so that in the absolute darkness of the abyssal ocean they
communicate by flashing grammar and syntax to each other across the abyssal depth. They are
free in the imagination. And this is where I think we are headed. Were going to make that
model of communication our model. Psychedelics, technology, and visionary magic, will show
how this can be done.

[Inaudible Question]

No youre right. The human faith is like this. Thats right. You see, no other higher animal has
faith. A faith is like a little piece of squid skin that were wearing where we can transmit all of

these one time I was in India and I was cornered and this guy - I was loaded actually on
mescaline and this guy swam aboard my houseboat. And normally I would just run these guys
[End of tape]


The Hermetic Corpus and Alchemy by Terence McKenna

Well, it is a small group and this was my intent by focusing on the Hermetic Corpus and
alchemy. I've just gotten tired of talking about psychedelic drugs and always saying the same
things over and over again, nevertheless it's a challenge to go outside my own ballywick. I mean
I've had an interest in hermeticism and alchemy since I was about 14 and read Jung's
psychology and (of) alchemy and it opened for me the fact of the existence of this vast
literature, a literature that is very little read or understood in the modern context. The Jungians
have made much of it, but to their own purposes and perhaps not always with complete fidelity
to the intent of the tradition. We'll talk a lot about the Jungian approach but there are other
approaches even within the 20th century. I believe, since I don't have the catalog I'm not
absolutely certain, but I believe the catalog urged you to read Giordano Bruno and the
Hermetic Tradition by Dame Frances Yates and this is, though Frances Yates scholarship is very
controversial, I think that to get an overview of the landscape her book is probably the best
single book between covers. It's not pleasing to some factions and we can talk about that, I
mean, we will probably discover within the group all strains of alchemical illusions and
delusions that have always driven this particular engine, but I thought to get one book that sort
of covered the territory that was a good one to start with. Well then I found out that it's very
hard to get this book. I didn't realize that because it's been sitting on my shelf for years. Richard
Bird found a reprint at the Bodhi Tree. I wasn't aware of this particular edition so, though
probably none of you brought it with you in heavily underlined form, if after this weekend you
want to try and get it, it is available and if you can't get that edition, why, a good book service
can probably come up with the first edition which is Routledge Kegan Paul.

I wouldn't hold a weekend like this simply to go over a body of ancient literature if I didn't think
it had some efficacy or import for the modern dilemma and some of you may know the song by
the Grateful Dead in which the refrain is "I need a miracle every day." I think any reasonable
person can conclude that the redemption of the world, if it's to be achieved, can only be
achieved through magic. It's too late for science. It's too late for hortatory politics.

Well, it's very interesting - every ancient literature has its apocalypses and in the hermetic
literature there is a prophecy, I think it's in book two but that really doesn't matter, and the
prophecy is that a day will come when men no longer care for the earth and at that day the
gods will depart and everything will be thrown into primal chaos and this prophecy was very

strongly in the minds of the strains of non-Christian thought that evolved at the close-at the
centuries of closure-of the Roman Empire. When you look back into historical time it's when
you reach the first and second centuries after Christ that you reach a world whose psychology
was very much like the psychology of our own time. It was a psychology of despair and
exhaustion. This is because Greek science which had evolved under the aegis of democratian
atomism and Platonic metaphysics had essentially come to a dead end in those centuries. We
can debate the reasons why this happened. An obvious suggestion would be that they failed to
develop an experimental method and so everything just dissolved into competing schools of
philosophical speculation and a profound pessimism spread through the Hellenistic world and
out of that pessimism and in the context of that kind of universal despair which attends the
dissolution of great empires a literature was created from the first to the fourth centuries after
Christ which we call the Hermetic Corpus or in some cases the Trismegistic Hymns. Now this
body of literature was misunderstood by later centuries, especially the Renaissance, because it
was taken at face value and assumed to be at least contemporary with Moses if not much
older. So the Renaissance view of Hermeticism was based on a tragic misunderstanding of the
true antiquity of this material and there are people, hopefully none in this room, who still
would have us believe that this literature antedates the Mosaic Law, that it is as old as Dynastic
Egypt. But this is an indefensible position from my point of view. In the early 16th century two
men, a father and son, Issac and Marik Casaubon, showed through the new science of
philology, that this material was in fact late Hellenistic. Now, I've always said that I am not a
Classicist in the Viconian sense, in the sense that there is a certain strain of thought that always
wants to believe that the oldest stuff is the best stuff. This is not the case to my mind. To my
mind what is amazing is how recent everything is. So I have no sympathy with the fans of lost
Atlantis or any of that kind of malarky because to me what is amazing is how it all is less than
10,000 years old. Anything older than 10,000 years puts us into the realm of an aceramic
society relying on chipped flint for it's primary technology.

What the Hermetic Corpus is is the most poetic and cleanly expressed outpouring of ancient
knowledge that we possess. But it was reworked in the hands of these late Hellenistic peoples
and it is essentially a religion of the redemption of the earth through magic. It has great debt to
a tradition called Sevillian which means to mean Mandeanism and Mandeanism was a kind of
proto-Hellenistic gnosis that laid great stress on the power of life, Zoa, Bios, and in that sense it
has a tremendously contemporary ring to it.

We also are living in the twilight of a great empire, and I don't particularly mean the American
empire, I mean the empire of European thinking created in the wake of the Protestant

Reformation and the rise of modern industrialism, the empire, in short of science. Science has
exhausted itself and become mere techni. It's still able to perform its magical tricks, but it has
no claim on a metaphysic with any meaning because the program of rational understanding
that was pursued by science has pushed so deeply into the phenomenon of nature that the
internal contradictions of the method are now exposed for all to see. In discussing alchemy
especially we will meet with the concept of the coincidencia opositorum, the union of
opposites. This is an idea that is completely alien to science. It's the idea that nothing can be
understood unless it is simultaneously viewed as both being what it is and what it is not and in
alchemical symbolism we will meet again and again symbolical expression of the coincidencia
opositorum. It may be in the form of a hermaphrodite, it may be in the form of the union of
soul and Luna, it may be in the form of the union of Mercury with lead, or with sulfur, in other
words alchemical thinking is thinking that is always antithetical, always holds the possibility of
by a mere shift of perspective its opposite premise will gain power and come into focus.

I think it was John, when we went around the circle, who mentioned his interest in shamanism.
There's a wonderful book called The Forge and the Crucible by Mircea Eliade in which he shows
that the shaman is the brother of the smith, the smith is the metallurgist, the worker in metals,
and this is where alchemy has its roots. In a sense, alchemy is older than the Trismegistus
Corpus and then it is also given a new lease on life by the philosophical underpinings which the
Corpus Hermeticum provides it. Alchemy, the word alchemy, can be traced back to mean Egypt
or a blackening and in its earliest strata it probably refers to techniques referring to dying,
meaning the coloring of cloth, and gilding of metals, and the forging and working of metal. I
mean, we who take this for granted have no idea how mysterious and powerful this seemed to
ancient people and in fact it would seem so to us if we had anything to do with it. I mean how
many of us are welders or casters of metal. It's a magical process to take for instance cinnibar, a
red, soft ore and by the mere act of heating it in a furnace it will sweat liquid Mercury onto its
surface. Well, we have unconsciously imbibed the ontology of science where we have mind
firmly separated out from the world. We take this for granted, it's effortless, because it's the
ambience of the civilization we've been born into but in an earlier age, and some writers would
say a more naive age, but I wonder about that, but in an earlier age mind and matter were seen
to be alloyed together throughout nature so that the sweating of mercury out of cinnibar is not
a material process, it's a process in which the mind and the observations of the metalworker
maintain an important role, and let's talk for a moment about mercury because the spirit
Mercurius is almost the patron deity of alchemy.


You all know what mercury looks like-at room temperature it's a silvery liquid that flows, it's
like a mirror. For the alchemists, and this is just a very short exercise in alchemical thinking, for
the alchemists mercury was mind itself, in a sense, and by tracing through the steps by which
they reached that conclusion you can have a taste of what alchemical thinking was about.
Mercury takes the form of its container. If I pour mercury into a cup, it takes the shape of the
cup, if I pour it into a test tube, it takes the shape of the test tube. This taking the shape of its
container is a quality of mind and yet here it is present in a flowing, silvery metal.
The other thing is, mercury is a reflecting surface. You never see mercury, what you see is the
world which surrounds it, which is perfectly reflected in its surface like a moving mirror, you
see. And then if you've ever, as a child, I mean I have no idea how toxic this process is, but I
spent a lot of time as a child hounding my grandfather for his hearing aid batteries which I
would then smash with a hammer and get the mercury out and collect it in little bottles and
carry it around with me. Well, the wonderful thing about mercury is when you pour it out on a
surface and it beads up, then each bead of mercury becomes a little microcosm of the world.
And yet the mercury flows back together into a unity. Well, as a child I had not yet imbibed the
assumptions and the ontology of science. I was functioning as an alchemist. For me, mercury
was this fascinating magical substance onto which I could project the contents of my mind. And
a child playing with mercury is an alchemist hard at work, no doubt about it.

Well, so then, this is a phenomenon in the physical world and then mind is a phenomenon in
the Cartesian distinction, which is between the Res Extensa and the Res Verins. This is the great
splitting of the world into two parts. I remember Al Wong once said to me, we were talking
about the yin yang symbol, and he said you know the interesting thing is not the yin or the
yang, the interesting thing is the s shaped surface that runs between them. And that s shaped
surface is a river of alchemical mercury. Now, where the alchemists saw this river of alchemical
mercury is in the boundary between waking and sleeping. There is a place, not quite sleeping,
not quite waking, and there there flows this river of alchemical mercury where you can project
the contents of the unconscious and you can read it back to yourself. This kind of thinking is
confounding to scientific thought where the effort is always to fix everything to a given identity
and a given set of behaviors.

Now, the other hermetic perception that is well illustrated by just thinking for a moment about
mercury is the notion, and this is central to all hermetic thinking, of the microcosm and the
macrocosm. That somehow the great world, the whole of the cosmos is reflected in the
mystery of man, meaning men and women, it's reflected in the mystery of the human

mind/body interface. So, for an alchemist, it makes perfect sense to extrapolate from this
internal, what we call internal psychological processes, to external processes in the world. That
distinction doesn't exist for the alchemist, and let me tell you, the longer I live the more I am
convinced that this is absolutely the truth.

The myth of our society is the existential myth that we are cast into matter, that we are lost in a
universe that has no meaning for us, that we must make our meaning. This is what Sartre,
Kierkegaard, all those people are saying, that we must make our meaning. It reaches its most
absurd expression in Sartre's statement that nature is mute. I mean, this is as far from
alchemical thinking as you can possibly get because for the alchemist nature was a great book,
an open book to be read by putting nature through processes that revealed not only its inner
mechanics, but the inner mechanics of the artifex, the person working upon the material, in
other words, the alchemist.

Well, in other contexts I've talked about the importance of language and how our world is
made of language and part of the problem in understanding alchemy is that the language is
slipping out of our reach. We are so completely imbued with the Cartesian categories of the Res
Verins, the world of thought, and the Res Extensia, the world of three dimensional space, and
causality, and the conservation of matter and energy, and so forth that in order to do more
than carry out a kind of scholarship of alchemy we have to create an alchemical language, or a
field in which alchemical language can take place. Some of you may have been with me a
couple of weeks ago in Malibu when Joan Halifax and I debated the roots of Buddhism and I
think Joan deserves great credit for saying that Buddhism would never have taken root in
America were it not for the psychedelic phenomenon. Not that Buddhism is psychedelic, it in
fact is fairly touchy about that, but Buddhism would have gotten nowhere in America had not
psychedelics created a context for Buddhist language to take root, And I wager that I would
never have gotten to first base with proposing a weekend on alchemy at Esalen were it not
understood that psychedelics have prepared people for the notion that mind and world can be
pureed together like mercury and sulphur, like the Sophic waters, to create a new kind of
understanding because otherwise modernity has fixed our minds in the category of Cartesian
rationalism and so I will not claim, and do not in fact think it's so, that there was anything
overtly psychedelic in the sense of pharmacologically based about alchemy. When we look back
through the alchemical literature there's very little evidence that it was pharmacologically
driven. Only when you get to the very last ademptions of the alchemical impulse in someone
like Paracelsus do you get the use of opium. But it is interesting that the great drugs of modern
society were accidentally discovered by alchemists in their researches; distilled alcohol is a

product of alchemical work and then, as I mentioned, opium was very heavily used by the
Peracelsian school. But what they possessed was an ability to liquify their mental categories
and then to project the contents of the mind onto these processes and read them back.

Now this is what made alchemy so fascinating to the Jungian school because the Jungians were
discovering the unconscious and they realized, before Jung's involvement with alchemy, that
the best material for psychotherapy to work upon was dreams and mythology and these were
the two poles of the data field that the discovery of the unconscious was working on. Well then
Jung had the prescience to realize that alchemy, which to that point, as the gentleman over
here said, had been dismissed as a naive effort to turn base metals into gold-this is the first
fiction that you have to absolutely purge from your mind, the only alchemists who ever tried to
turn base metals into gold were charlatans, the so-called puffers. They were called that not only
for their exaggerated speech but for their use of bellows to drive their fires. Alchemy has
always had a core of true adepts and then a surround of misguided souls and outright con
artists who were trying to change base metals into gold. Now, it's interesting that science, in its
naivety, in the 20th century has actually completed the program of pseudo-alchemy. You can, if
you have a sufficiently powerful nuclear reactor, change lead into gold. I mean, the cost is
staggering. It has no economic importance whatsoever but it can be done by bombarding gold
with a sufficient amount of heavy particles. Lead, you can change it into gold, but this is not
what the original intent was. In fact, when we look at the history of 20th century science we will
see that, in a way, it's a misunderstanding of what the alchemical goals were to be and, one by
one, it has done these things that were stated goals of the alchemists except that the
alchemists always spoke in similes and in a secret control language that was symbolic.

O.k., now, another point that was brought up in going around the circle was the externalization
of the soul and what we're trying to do in this weekend is study and talk about the idea of
redeeming the world through magic. And how is this to be done? Well, the philosopher's stone
is a complex of ideas that, no matter how you divide it, no matter how you slice it, it's very
difficult to hold the pith essence of this concept, but what it really comes down to is the idea
that spirit is somehow resident in matter in a very diffuse form. The goal of hermetic thinking
and later alchemy is the concentration and redemption of this spirit, a focusing of it, a bringing
of it together. This is an idea that was common in the Hellenistic world not only to hermetic
thinking but also to Gnosticism.


Gnosticism is the idea that somehow the pure, holy, real light of being was scattered through a
universe of darkness and of Saturnine power and that the goal is that by a process which we
can call yogic or alchemical or meditative or moral/ethical, the light must be gathered and
concentrated in the body and then somehow released and redeemed. All esoteric traditions,
East and West, talk about the creation of this body of light and we will not, in this weekend, talk
very much about alchemy, non-western alchemy, Taoist and Vedic alchemy, but in those
systems too the notion is about the creation of this vehicle of light. This is one metaphor for the
externalization of the soul.

The philosopher's stone is another and I will challenge you to try and imagine what the
achievement of the philosopher's stone would be like because it's in trying to think that way
that you begin to dissolve the categories of the Cartesian trap. So, image for a moment an
object, a material, which can literally do anything. It can move across categorical boundaries
with no difficulty whatsoever. So what do I mean? I mean that if you possess the philosopher's
stone and you were hungry, you could eat it. If you needed to go somewhere you could spread
it out and sit on it and it would take you there. If you needed a piece of information, it would
become the equivalent of a computer screen and it would tell you things. If you needed a
companion, it would talk to you. If you needed to take a shower you could hold it over your
head and water would pour out. Now, you see, this is an impossibility. That's right, it's a
coincidencia opositorum. It is something that behaves like imagination and matter without ever
doing damage to the ontological status of one or the other. This sounds like pure pathology in
the context of modern thinking because we expect things to stay still and be what they are and
undergo the growth and degradation that is inimical to them, but no, the redemption of spirit
and matter means the exteriorization of the human soul and the interiorization of the human
body so that it is an image freely commanded in the imagination.

Imagination. I think this is the first time I've used this word this evening. The imagination is
central to the alchemical opus because it is literally a process that goes on the realm of the
imagination taken to be a physical dimension. And I think that we cannot understand the
history that lies ahead of us unless we think in terms of a journey into the imagination. We have
exhausted the world of three dimensional space. We are polluting it. We are overpopulating it.
We are using it up. Somehow the redemption of the human enterprise lies in the dimension of
the imagination. And to do that we have to transcend the categories that we inherit from a
thousand years of science and Christianity and rationalism and we have to re-empower and reencounter the mind and we can do this psychedelically, we can do this yogically, or we can do it
alchemically and hermetically.

Now there is present in the world at the moment, or at least I like to think so, an impulse which
I have named the archaic revival. What happens is that whenever a society really gets in
trouble, and you can use this in your own life-when you really get in trouble-what you should
do is say "what did I believe in the last sane moments that I experienced" and then go back to
that moment and act from it even if you no longer believe it. Now in the Renaissance this
happened. The scholastic universe dissolved. New classes, new forms of wealth, new systems of
navigation, new scientific tools, made it impossible to maintain the fiction of the Medieval
cosmology and there was a sense that the world was dissolving. Good alchemical worddissolving. And in that moment the movers and shakers of that civilization reached backwards
in time to the last sane moment they had ever known and they discovered that it was Classical
Greece and they invented classicism. In the 15th and 16th century the texts which had lain in
monasteries in Syria and Asia Minor forgotten and untranslated for centuries were brought to
the Florentine council by people like Gimistos Placo(sp?) and others and translated and
classicism was born-its laws, its philosophy, its aesthetics. We are the inheritors of that
tradition but it is now, once again, exhausted and our cultural crisis is much greater. It is global.
It is total. It involves every man, woman and child on this planet, every bug, bird and tree is
caught up in the cultural crisis that we have engendered. Our ideas are exhausted-the ideas
that we inherit out of Christianity and its half-brother science, or its bastard child science. So,
what I'm suggesting is that an archaic revival needs to take place and it seems to be well in
hand in the revival of Goddess worship and shamanism and partnership but notice that these
things are old-10,000 years or more old-but there was an unbroken thread that, however thinly
drawn, persists right up to the present.

So the idea of this weekend is to show the way back to the high magic of the late Paleolithic, to
show that there were intellectual traditions, there were minority points of view that kept the
faith, that never allowed it to die. And, to my mind, this alchemical, hermetic, Gnostic, Egyptian,
Caldean thread is the thread and if we unravel it with sufficient care and attention then we can
build a bridge from the otherwise nearly incomprehensible high magic of the late Paleolithic.
We can get it as near to ourselves as John Dee, who died in 1604. We can discover that it's no
further away form us than the beginning of the 30 years war and, for my money, after that, it
gets pretty mucked up. I mean, after Ulias Levy, who's already waffling, I'm not very interested
in the occultism of the 17th, 18th and 19th century but it's not necessary because scholarship
gives us the Caldean oracles, the Trismegistic Hymns, the library at Nag Hammadi, and so forth
and so on. So my impulse is to, in the most austere sense, re-popularize, reintroduce this kind
of thinking so that people can live it out. Then, step, by step, we can evolve our language and
evolve our understanding to make our way back to the garden, back to Eden.


It's occurred to me recently, you know it's said that Christ opened the doors to paradise, yes,
but he closed the doors to Eden and paradise is a very airy place where everybody sits around
on clouds strumming their lyres. I think that what we want to do is make our way back to the
alchemical garden. That's where our roots are. That's where meaning is. Meaning lies in the
confrontation of contradiction-the coincidencia opositorum. That's what we really feel, not
these rational schemas that are constantly beating us over the head with the "thou shalts" and
"thou should." but rather a recovery of the real ambiguity of being and an ability to see
ourselves as at once powerful and weak, noble and ignoble, future-oriented, past-facing. We
each need to become Janus-based(?) and to incorporate into ourselves the banished
contradictions of being that so haunt the enterprise of science. We can leave that behind and
when we do we reclaim authentic being. And authentic being, make no mistake about it, is
what alchemical gold really is. That's what they're talking about-authentic being.

(question from the group): So right now we're lead?

That's right, we're Saturnine and we'll talk about Saturn and Pluto and all of that. Yes,
tomorrow we'll talk about the stages of the alchemical opus and though the stages are many
and multifarious, it all begins in what is called the negrado, the blackening, the depths of the
leaded, Saturnine, chaotic, fixed place. And that's where we have been left by science and
modernity and so forth and so on. That's where the alchemist loves to begin. That's where he or
she stokes the fire and begins the dissolucio et coagulatio that leads to the appearance of the

I'll show you some books and this is by no means exhaustive. The literature on hermeticism and
alchemy is vast and I could have brought 5 or 6 boxes of this size from my own library. This a
smattering. It doesn't mean that what I show you is the best. It simply tries to spread over a
large area. Oh, someone put this here. This is a new novel that's just been published by Lindsay
Clark called The Chemical Wedding and I see last week it was number 10 on the New York
Time's best sellers list which is astonishing for such an obscure subject. It's a retelling of a
famous incident in alchemy in the 19th century when a woman named Mary Alice Datwood,
who had a very, very close relationship to her father, Dr. South, and the two of them worked
together, she on a text, he on a long poem and to make a long story short, eventually they
decided to destroy both the poem and the book feeling that they had said too much and given
the secret away-at least that's one version. So this is fictionalized retelling of that incident
intercut with a modern cast of characters very clearly modelled on the poet Robert Graves. So if

you like to absorb your information in a fictionalized form, this is a wonderful book. John
Borman the movie director recently optioned this book-the guy who made "The Emereld
Forest" and "Excalibur" so we may have an alchemical movie downstream, a year or two.

A number of compendiums of alchemical texts have been published over the centuries and if
you wish to study alchemy you have to obtain these. If you're fortunate enough to read French
you should read Vespugiare and Berthelo. They collected alchemical texts into encyclopedicsized volumes but unfortunately these have never really come into English. One that did come
into English is the Museum Hermeticum Amplificarum et Theatrum, I think, which A.E. Waite,
who some of you may know for his role in the Golden Dawn, collected. There are about 40
alchemical texts and all the greats are in here: Lull, Vilanova, Michael Maier, Basil Valentine,
Kramer, Edward Kelly and so on and so forth.

The place to begin, I think, is obviously with the question "Who is Hermes Trismegistus?" What
are we talking about here? I mean, this sounds so incredibly exotic to people. The Renaissance
had the concept of what it called the Presqui Poaloque (sp?) and if my Latin and Greek irritates
you, you have to understand you're dealing with a boy from a coal mining town in Colorado, so
I do mangle these things. The Presqui Paoloque were Orpheus, Moses, and primarily Hermes
Trismegistus. Hermes Trismegistus was the primary source, from the point of view of the
Renaissance, of this whole mysterious tradition and, you recall from last night's lecture, this is
based on a misunderstanding. The Renaissance believed that Hermes Trismegistus was older
than Moses. We know now, thanks to Issac and Marik Casaubon, two philologists of the early
17th century, that definitely the Hermetic corpus was composed between the first and second
centuries after Christ. The method of the Casaubons was to examine the philosophical language
of the Corpus Hermeticum and show that there were words and phrases there that were postPlatonic and derivative of philosophers whose dates we have fully in hand.

Now, if you go to an occult bookstore you will find that, to this date, this error persists. There
are people who still want to claim that this stuff is older than dyanstic Egypt. There are even
books, I was in Shambala weeks ago, claiming to teach you how to change lead into gold. Well,
from my point of view this just evokes a small smile. The old errors persist. The Puffers are still
at it. But what Hermes Trismegistus is is a character who appears in many guises in these
hermetic dialogs. The hermetic hymns are usually couched in the form of dialogs between
Hermes and his son Thoth and Thoth takes the position of the uninitiated ingenue who is sitting
at the feet of the master. Thoth asks questions: what is the true nature of the world, what is the

true nature of man,and Hermes answers and the general form of these texts, with exceptions,
because there are 20 of them, is an intellectual dialog which builds to an ecstatic revelation and
then in the wake of the ecstatic revelation there is a hymn of praise to Hermes Trismegistus.
Trismegistus means thrice-blessed and is sometimes called Hermes Triplex to distinguish this
Hermes from all the other Hermes of early, middle and late Greek thinking. Hermes is of course
the messenger god, the god of scribes. The reason this Ibis-headed being holding a staff is
embossed on the cover of each of these books is because this is how Hermes Trismegistus,
Thoth Hermes was imagined. He was associated with the scribe god of the Egyptian pantheon.

The two distinguishing factors that stand out, at least for me, that I think you need to
incorporate into your thinking about hermeticism, two very important concepts. The first is the
divinity of human beings-an extraordinarily radical idea in the context of late Hellenistic
thinking. We all operate under the spell of the concept of the fall of man. Man is an inferior
being, errors were made in the Garden of Eden and that we are far, far from the nature of
divinity. All magic, and all magic in the West is derivative from this tradition, takes the position
that man is a divine being, men and women are divine beings. The Corpus Hermeticum actually
refers to man as God's brother and this is a double-edged perception. It gives tremendous
dignity to the human enterprise but it also raises the possibility of the error of pride and hubris.

In the Renaissance, Marcello Ficino boiled this notion down to the aphorism "man is the
measure of all things." And you may notice that this is the position of science, that man is the
measure of all things, that it is up to us, we can decide the course of the cosmos. All magic
stems from this position. This is why the church was so concerned to stamp out magic-because
it assigns man an importance that the church would rather reserve for deity.

So that's the first great division between Christian thinking and hermetic thinking. An entirely
different conception of what human beings are and when we get into the text, I'll read you
some of these passages.

Now, the second distinguishing factor, and notice that position on man empowers tremendous
freedom, man is the measure of all things, the second distinguishing factor in hermeticism is
the belief that we can control fate, that we can escape from cosmic fate. The late Hellenistic
mindset, and what you get in the Gnostics, is the belief that because of astrology, because of

the stars, we are subject to control from these exterior forces. In most Gnostic thinking the
whole concern is to somehow evade what is called the hemarmeny (sp?), cosmic fate. And in
the Gnostic systems, the only way it can be done is by ascending through the shells of cosmic,
ordering forces-the archons, the planets, the planetary demons, and so forth and so on, and
then beyond the hemarmeny, which is actually thought of as a place in space that you burst
through when you transcend fate. What the hermetic thought is is that these fates become
personified as the decans, as stellar demons, and then it is held that there is a magic, a magical
system, which is possible where you can call these archangels to your side and work with them
and not be subject to the inevitable working of the cosmic machinery and this burst like a
revelation over the late Hellenistic world because there was such philosophical and emotional
and political exhaustion that this comes, this is a counterpoint to the message of the New
Testament, which is a similar message, that you can be saved in the body, that you can escape
the inevitable dissolution and degradation laid upon us by time. So, these are the two
distinguishing factors: the divinity of man and the possibility of using magic to evade the
machinery of fate.

So, I want to read some of the Corpus Hermeticum to you to give you the flavor of it, but before
I do, I want to say something about the history of these texts. You're all familiar, more or less
I'm sure, with Apuleius' The Golden Ass, which is a novel of initiation which is late Roman.
Apuleius also put together what is called the Asclepius and the Asclepius is true hermetic
literature that was not lost. It was the only one that was available throughout the Dark and
Middle ages. All the rest was lying untranslated in Syrian Monasteries until Gemistus Plethon in
1490 brought these manuscripts to Florence, to the court of the Di Medicis and then the
translation project began. The only other hermetic material that was accessible throughout the
high Gothic period was a book of magic called the Picatrix. And the Picatrix was probably
written in the 1200's although this elicits screams of dissent from the burning-eyed faction. But
reason dictates that we consider Picatrix 12th century so only the Asclepius and the Picatrix
represented this strain of thought before the 1460's. And the importance of hermetic thinking
can be seen by the fact that Gimistis Platho brought Plato to the Florentine council as well as
Hermes Trismegistus. And when Marcello Ficino sat down to do this translation work Cosumo
Di Medici said "Plato can wait, I'm getting old. You do the Hermetic Corpus first. That's much
more important. We'll sort out this Plato business in a few years." And so it was done. It was
completed in 1493 and in 1494 Cosumo died so he never saw the translations of Plato but felt
that the Corpus Hermeticum was more important. I mention this to show you the importance
that was attached to this stuff.


Here is one of the key passages on man's nature. This is from Book one of the Corpus
Hermeticum: "But mind the father of all, he who is life and light gave birth to man, a being like
to himself and he took delight in man as being his own offspring for man was very goodly to
look on, bearing the likeness of his father. With good reason then did God take delight in man
for it was God's own form that God took delight in and God delivered over to man all things
that had been made." This is the basis of the Ficinian statement man is the measure of things.
"And man took station in the Maker's sphere and observed the things made by his brother who
was set over the region of fire. And having observed the Maker's creation in the region of fire
he willed to make things for his own part also. And his father gave permission having in himself
all the workings of the administrators." This is a reference to the angel heirarchary "And the
administrators took delight in him and each of them gave him a share of his own nature."

So man is the brother of God and a creature at home with the angels. This idea is echoed in the
Asclepius which you'll recall was available throughout the Middle Ages. "The range of man is
yet wider than that of the demons" meaning the angels - this term is transposable in its
hermetic thought "The individuals of the human kind are diverse and of many characters. They,
like the demons, come from above and, entering into fellowship with other individuals they
make for themselves many and intimate connections with all other kinds" and then the famous
passage "man is an honor then, Asclepius, honor and reverence to such a being. Man takes on
him the attributes of a god as though he were himself a god. And he is familiar with the
demonkind for he comes to know that he is sprung from the same source as they. And strong in
the assurance of that in him which is divine, he scorns the merely human part of his own
nature. How far more happily blended are the properties of man then those of other beings. He
is linked to the gods inasmuch as there is in him a divinity akin to theirs. He scorns that part of
his own being which makes him a thing of earth and all else with which he finds himself
connected to by heaven's ordering he binds to himself with the tie of his affection."

So this is an incredibly radical conception of what it means to be human. So radical that it is

unwelcome even in the present context. Notice the modern feeling of this stuff. This is not
biblical rhetoric. This is philosophical discourse as we know it and carry it out ourselves. This is a
passage on the adept and initiation. Let me see who's speaking here, Thoth speaks to
Pimondres, this is book one, "But tell me this too, said I, God said 'let the man who has mind in
him recognize himself' but have not all men mind?" And then Pimondres replies " Oh man, said
mind to me speak not so, I even mind come to those men who are holy and good and pure and
merciful and my coming is a succor to them and forthwith they recognize all things and win the
father's grace by loving worship and give thanks to him praising and hymning him with hearts

uplifted to him in filial affection." Again the reference to being God's brother in filial affection.
"And before they give up the body to death which is proper to it they loathe the bodily senses
knowing what manner of work the senses do." This introduces the theme of asceticism.

Like the Gnostics, there is in much of hermetic literature a kind of horror of the earth, a desire
to ascend and to get away from it. Scott makes the distinction between what he calls
pessimistic Gnosis and optimistic Gnosis. And within the 20 texts of the Corpus Hermeticum you
get vacillation on this point. In some cases the Mandaean, the Cebian(?) tendency is there and
the world soul is invoked and the whole of creation is seen as a living being involved in this
soteriological process, this process of salvational mechanics through magic. In other texts this
Gnostic horror of matter is strongly stressed. It's very clear that the Hellenistic mind was
ambivalent on this point. Even as we are ambivalent on this point. It's a real question, are we
here to be the caretakers of the earth or are we strangers in the universe and is our task to
return to a forgotten and hidden home no trace of which can be found in the Saturnine world
of matter. It's very hard to have it both ways. You're going to have to take a position on that
and these people were forced into the same dilemma. There's no middle ground between
those two positions and so that dichotomy, that conundrum, haunted a lot of hermetic

Here is the hermetic creation myth. This is book three, paragraphs one through a few, and
you'll see the comparison and similarities with the Christian creation myth but with
extraordinary differences. "There was darkness in the deep and water without form and there
was a subtle breath, intelligent, which permeated the things in chaos with divine power. Then,
when all was yet undistinguished and unwrought, there was shed forth holy light and the
elements came into being. All things were divided one from another and the lighter things were
parted off on high, the fire being suspended aloft so that it rose unto the air and the heavier
things sank down and sand was deposited beneath the watery substance and the dry land was
separated out from the watery substance and became solid. And the firey substance was
articulated with the gods therein and heaven appeared with its seven spheres and the gods,
visible in starry forms, with all their constellations and heaven revolved and began to run its
circling course riding upon the divine air. And each god by his several powers set forth that
which he was bidden to put forth. And there came forth four-footed beasts and creeping things
and fishes and winged birds and grass and every flowering herb, all having seed in them
according to their diverse natures for they generated within themselves the seed by which their
races should be renewed." And then it goes on to describe the birth of man.


This kind of thinking is what alchemy seized upon in it's ambitions. One way of thinking of what
alchemy came to attempt is, the thinking went like this - since man is God's brother, the
purpose of man is to intercede in time and it was believed that ores, precious metals and things
like this grew in the earth. It was a thorough going theory of evolution that reached right down
into the organic realm. It was thought that gold deposits in the earth would actually replenish
themselves over time. It's passages like this that give permission for that kind of thinking. In line
with that, we're now in book four and remember the tone changes slightly from book to book,
they were, after all, written over a 300 year period by various people.

"You must understand that God is pre-existent, ever existent, and that he alone made all things
and created by his will the things that are. And when the creator had made the ordered
universe, he willed to set and order the earth also and so he sent down man, a mortal creature
made in the image of an immortal being, to be an embellishment of the divine body for it is
man's function" - here it comes, the purpose of man according to book four - "for it is man's
function to contemplate the works of god and for this purpose he was made, that he might
view the universe with wondering awe and come to know its maker. Man has this advantage
over all other living beings, that he possess mind and speech. Now speech, my son, God
imparted to all men but mind he did not impart to all. Not that he grudged it to any, for the
grudging temper does not start from heaven above, but comes from being here below in the
souls of those men who are devoid of mind." This introduces the concept of an elect, or a
perfectee, a heirarchy of human accomplishment and understanding and this is also basic to
Gnosticism. It's not for everyone, they're saying, it's for the pure of heart and what pure of
heart means depends on the school you're looking at. For some, it was mathematical
accomplishment. For others, it was contact with the logos, for others it was the ability to resist
the temptations of the senses. But there was always the sense of the higher and lower
possibilities within the human experience. Questions?

I'm still back in the last lecture we shared on plant intelligence. So I'm listening to all this
divinity of man and wondering where the position of the plant realm or the planning(?) was.
There was one section where you read that, so... Yes. This is the opening of book 12 and this is
a heavy Mandaean sensitivity, this sensitivity to life. This whole cosmos, and notice how this
transcends even the Buddhist point of view because in Buddhism plants have no soul, this is a
tremendous failure in the Buddhist perception as far as I'm concerned, o.k., this is book 12 "Now this whole cosmos, which is a great god and an image of he who is greater and is united
with him and maintains its order in accordance with that will, is one mass of life and there is not
anything in the cosmos, nor has been through all time, from the first foundation of the

universe, neither in the whole, nor among the several things contained within it that is not
alive. There is not, and has never been, and never will be in the cosmos, anything that is dead.
For it was the father's will that the cosmos, as long as it exists, should be a living being and
therefore it must needs be a God also. How then, my son, could there be dead things in that
which is a God, in that which is an image of the father, in that which is one mass of life.
Deathness is corruption and corruption is destruction. How then can any part of that which is
incorruptible be corrupted or any part of that which is a God be destroyed." And there are
other passages. Ah, this is a good one. This is book 18, "For as the sun, who nurtures all
vegetation also gathers the first fruits of the produce with his rays as it were with mighty hands,
plucking the sweetest odors of the plants, even so we too, having received into our own souls,
which are plants of heavenly origin, the efflux of God's wisdom must in return use his service
for all which springs up in us."

Now, this conception that the human soul is a plant is a unique idea. I don't know of another
tradition, Those of us who were in Ojai heard Johanes Wilbur(sp?) talk about how, among the
Amazon Indians, the Guiral(sp?), men actually marry trees. They actually take trees as their
wives, a tree, and it is a man's job throughout his life to take care of this tree with the same
tenderness and affection which he lavishes on a living wife. This is a more radical conception
than that. This is the conception that the most important part of us is a plant. It reminds me of
the joke that I occasionally make in these groups, the notion that animals are something
invented by plants to carry them from place to place. Well, according to this, that's right on. So,
the sensitivity to the vegetative nature is so great that it raises the plant to be the pith essence,
the soul of man, the brother of God! So you see the valuation of the vegetative universe is of an
extremely radical type.

The upper echelon of humanity that was given the mind, was that predetermined at birth or
can someone develop a mind?

No, it is not predetermined. It is something that is acquired through cultivation of a relationship

to, in the hermetic language, nous, the higher mind, and in the Gnostic language logos, the
informing spirit. Nothing is predetermined in the hermetic system because through magic we
can overcome the energies of cosmic fate. This is the great good news of hermeticism, that we
are not subject to fate. We should probably talk a little about this logos concept. This is
something which seems very alien to modern people unless they are psychedelically
sophisticated. The logos was the sine qua non of Hellenistic religion and what it was was an

informing voice that spoke in your head or heart, wherever you want to put it, and it told you
the right way to live. You get this idea even in the later Old Testament where it's said that the
truth of the heart can be known. It's no great dilemma to know good from evil, you simply
inquire of your heart, "is it good or evil?" and you will discover a voice which will tell you and all
the great thinkers of this Greco-Hellenistic period sought and cultivated the logos. Plato had his
demon. Everyone sought the informing voice of the nous, that's what it's called in Neo
Platonism and then in hermeticism and then in Gnosticism, the logos.

For modern people, well no, for me, the only way I've ever had this experience is through the
presence of psychedelic substances and then it is just crystal clear, there's just no ambiguity
about it. Somehow, it's possible for an informing voice to come into cognition that knows more
than you do. It is a connection with the collective unconscious, I suppose, that is convivial,
conversational, that just talks to you about the nature of being in the world and the nature of
your being in the world. It's puzzling to us because it seems so remote, for us a voice in the
head or the heart is pathology and you may know the famous story of, in the first century,
some fishermen were off the shore of the island of Argos in the Mediterranean Sea and they
heard a great voice from the sky and the voice said, "great Pan is dead." Well, people like
Lactantius and Euseibus, these patristic fathers, the people who built Christianity, who took the
Gospels and turned them into a world religion, they took this annunciation from the sky of the
death of Pan as the annunciation of the change of the Aeon.

By the Aeon, I mean these roughly 2,000 year periods that are associated with the equinocial
procession. Do you all understand how this works? That over 26,000 years, the helical rising of
the solsticial sun slips slowly from one house to another and around AD100, there's argument
because these things are never precise, the age of Picses began and the previous Aeon ceased
and the cosmic machinery, the great gears of the largest scale of the cosmic machinery, clicked
past a certain point and into the age of Picses and this was then taken as very fortuitous for
Christianity because Christ was associated with the sign of the fish and it was seen as a Picsean
movement. I believe that it's entirely possible that the logos in that rough moment in time fell
silent and it has been silent for 2,000 years so what we have is the exegesis of text and Noetic
archeology of the sort we're carrying on here. Now, a phenomenon as trivial and hyped on as
channeling can be seen as the reawakening of the logos. The long night of Picsean silence is
ending and the spirit of nous is again moving in the world, speaking in the minds of the adepts
and the heirophants who have the techniques and the will to connect with this stuff. I don't
know how I got off on that. But obviously this kind of literature can be seen as the last message


from the fading logos. The last statements before the change of the Aeons rendered this
control language very difficult and non-intuitive and somewhat incomprehensible.

Reading...you broke off, and I had a puzzlement about the use of the word mind. What, in this
context, does this refer to?

It's Scott's translation of this word nous. It simply means this universal, permeating intelligence.
The statement there is that it is only available to an elite through... Through asceticism and
desire, intent. There are proscriptions, they lived a life of purity, although their definitions of
purity varied widely.

Man is brother of God and yet we have to earn it. This seems kind of a denial of that. That's
right. This persists right up to this moment. The quote I always love is from Thomas Hobbes'
Levaithan. Hobbes was the great theoritician of modern government and social systems and he
was basically a paranoid S.O.B. and he says in the Levaithan "man to man is likened to an errant
beast and man to man is likened to a god." It's absolutely true, you know, our noblest
aspirations and our most hideously dehumanizing activities take place in the context of our
relationship to other people. This is what the alchemists were trying to do - separate the gold
from the dross. They were trying to take the errant beast, and when we look at alchemical art
we will see dragons, dogs, pigs, we will see the errant beast and we will see the angelic beings
that are trying to be separated out of our nature. This is within each and every one of us. Man
to man is likened to a god and man to man is likened to an errant beast.

This question has to do with mind. According to my understanding of some of the Platonic
tradition and Neo-Platonic thought, this has to do with the divided line in Plato. You can divide
that line...into five stages of knowing. You start with the senses as being agency or avenue,
knowing something about something like contact - most external form of knowledge - the level
above the senses is designated as the instincts, it's an inactive knowing, in that sense a
biologically active knowing that we have. The third stage is described as sometimes estimation,
this is, an approximation, yes, this characterized mainly sort of logical activity and then the next
level of cognitive activity is reason and this reason is not the type of reason we normally engage
in, it's a very different, a very creative type of activity. Above the reason is what they call
intuition or intellect or nous and that's put in as the fifth.

And would that be revelation?

Reason is a creative activity and one can generate and think things through with creative ability.
One goes through activity and stages of the activity and things transpire over time and one
comes to complete understanding of the thing one is trying to grasp and sometimes that's
described as discursive activity although the logical activity is discursive. So you're moving
through a process...pieces, the nous or the intellect of the higher mind grasp things in totality. It
doesn't engage in... In rasiosination(sp?). You raise an important point which further
complicates the picture, but it's how it was, folks. The reference here is to Neo-Platonism which
is a kind of parallel tradition to what we're talking about.

Plato had at least a couple of phases in the evolution of his thinking. The young Plato is a
rational thinker but the later Plato, apparently after he fell under the influence of Pythagorean
schools, becomes a full-blown mystic and then in the late Roman empire, almost a thousand
years after Plato, we have to remember, in our minds these people get squeezed together like
they could all have dinner together, but Plotinus is as far from Plato as we are from King
Connaught so you have to bear in mind the scale of history. But, so 900 - 1,000 years after Plato
a Byzantine school of philosophy arouse around Porphery, Plotinus and Procelus as the major
exponents and they worked with the late Plato and elaborated a beautiful mystical cosmology.
This is what I did a workshop on here a year ago and many of those ideas and terms parallel
conceptually the stuff in the Corpus Hermeticum and if you're of a certain intellectual bent you
may find yourself more comfortable with the Neo-Platonists than this. This tends to be
emotional, evocative, poetic and while there's great poetry in Plotinus there's also very tight
thinking that goes along with it.

And there are other traditions, I'm making it simple for you, there was a whole tradition called
the Caldean oracles and this was a collection of 100 or more fragments all of which were the
great commentaries of Eusebius in 30 volumes. The Amblicus(?) is one of them. That's all lost,
we don't have that material and it is in a way the most mysterious of these traditions because it
just didn't survive and it may be that that, the Caldean Oracles is the missing link to push this
stuff several centuries back into time because the Caldean Oracles may actually be pre-Platonic.
There's considerable evidence of that. But these are very arcane matters. You have to give
yourself over to a lifetime of learning these languages and the philology of these languages to
penetrate this stuff.

Neo Platonism was Byzantine, basically Constantinople. The Hermetic Corpus was largely
Alexandrian. There were also Christian Platonists in Alexandria. There were certain centers:
Rome, Alexandria, Byzantium, Heliopolos in Egypt was a cult site that was maintained for a very
long time. If you're interested in this stuff but don't like to absorb it this way, Flaubert, of all
people, the Flaubert of Madame Bovary, wrote an incredible novel called The Temptation of St.
Anthony in which he describes second century Alexandria in a fictionalized form and gives you a
real flavor for the intellectual complexity of the Alexandrian world. Christianity had not yet
gelled, it was many things, so you not only have Gnostics of five or six schools: Simonists,
Valentinians, Baselideans and so forth, but you also have Christians, a numbers of cults calling
themselves Christians, who were in fierce competition. Docetists, Montanists, and later
Nestorians. There were Gymnosophists from India, people who were actually carrying yogic
doctrines into the Mediterranean world, plus you then have all the surviving cults of the older
Egyptian strata, the Cults of Isis, and Seville, and Dionysus, and Adonis, it just goes on and on.
The richness of this intellectual world is very, there's nothing comparable in our experience and
it shows the passion with which people were trying to understand the dilemma of a dying world
because this is what they were confronted with. The intellectuals of the empire could feel it all
slipping through their hands. Flaubert gives a wonderful picture of this. Flaubert has a very
romantic streak. It's like smoking hashish, reading this book - the attention to fabrics,
architecture, food and odor. And because the subject matter is the temptation of St. Anthony,
it's an excuse to describe these temptations in all their sensual richness and erotic kinkiness. It's
a wonderful way to absorb this material.

Somebody else raised the point of the elitism, of an elite group of people. And if one considers
a society like the one you had in Alexandria, or some of the other centers, the only people who
really had access to this were first of all people who had money and who were well educated
and could read so already you had an elite group.

Yes, definitely. What survives from a civilization is it's literatures and these literatures are
usually the production of an elite. We have to remember, don't have any illusions about the
Roman Empire. I always think of the wonderful description, I don't even know why it's there,
Boris Pasternac, in Doctor Zhivago, goes off on a riff about Rome and he describes it as a
bargain basement on three floors. This was an empire that lived by human cruelty. It was on the
backs of slaves that this airy, intellectual speculation was based. It was a tremendously
pluralistic society but that pluralism was maintained by standing armies of enormous size and
policies of occupation of enormous cruelty. Because of our relationship to the Christian
tradition we're aware of such things as the Zealot revolt of 69 and the reign of Herod Antiochus

in Jerusalem, but that was just one little corner of the empire and in Armenia, in Gaul, in Spain,
in North Africa, military governments were carrying out outrageous suppressions of native
populations, it was not a pretty time to be alive. And what comes down to us then is the
yearning to escape. No wonder these people saw the earth as a cesspool and a trap because
that's what it was for them. Our own age is very similar. We do not have slavery but we suffer
under propaganda -mass manipulation of ideas and the degradation of exploitation of the third
world on a scale the Roman Empire couldn't even dream of. So, there is a great affinity.

If any of you are interested in this kind of thing, I highly recommend a book by Hans Jonas
called The Phenomenon of Life. It's a book of philosophical essays but there's one essay called
"Gnosticism and the Modern Temper" in which he shows that once you take Gnosticism and
dump all the angels and all the star demons and all the colorful bricabrac of late Roman
thinking what you have is a thorough going existentialism completely compatible with Jean Paul
Sartre, Jean Genet, and the kind of intellectual despair that characterized the post WWII
generation in Europe. Heidegger is thorough goingly Gnostic in his intentionality, it's just that
the language is modern and stripped of this magical thinking and by being stripped of this
magical thinking in a way modern, the modern resention of that state of mind is even more
hopeless and dis-empowering.

Fortunately, I think we're moving out of the shadow of that, but I'm 44 years old, I grew up
reading those people and it made my adolescence much harder than it needed to be. I mean,
my god, there wasn't an iota of hope to be found anywhere. That's why, for me, psychedelics
broke over that intellectual world like a tidal wave of revelation. I quoted to you last night Jean
Paul Sartre's statement that nature is mute. Now I see this as an obscenity almost, an
intellectual crime against reason and intuition. It's the absolute antithesis of the logos and
much of our world is ruled by men, older than I am, who are fully connected into that without
any question and they just think that the rest of this is just namby pamby ecological soft
heartedness of some sort. There is no openness to the power of Bios, to the fact of a living
cosmos. This is what Rupert Sheldrake is always trying to say. The re-investiture of spirit into
matter, the rebirth of the world soul is a necessary concomitant to what we understand about
the real nature of the world. In a way, the theory of evolution, which was born in the 1850s,
was the beginning of the turning of the tide because even though the first 100 years of
evolutionary theory was fantastically concerned to eliminate teleology, eliminate purpose,
nevertheless nobody ever understood that except the hardcore evolutionists. To everyone else,
evolution meant ascent to higher form. I once heard someone say "if it doesn't have to do with
genes, it ain't evolution." Well, that's a tremendously limited view of what evolution is. The

inorganic world is evolving, the organic world is evolving and there the currency is genes but
also the social and intellectual world of human beings is evolving and there the currency is not
genes but means so that idea carries with it the implication of ascent to higher form and
correctly broadened and understood becomes permission to optimism and to the kind of hope
that these folks were trying to articulate.

The concept of mind as something that is attainable and not necessary is a separation and
therefore for me it's a lie and so I want ...I don't know, I assume there are many different
definitions of mind, I don't mean functions of mind, I mean definitions of mind, and I'm toying
now with the notion of meshing of the notion of mind and the notion of logos. For logos is, and
it seems to me that mind is, if it is available through trial then we're back in a separation...and
this is to me a false separation Yes, you're right, but it's a separation necessary for philosophical
discourse, that's why philosophical discourse is not the top of the mountain. Language itself is
the process of making distinctions that are false.

This is why all language is a lie. This is why the ultimate truth lies in something unspeakable but
the ascent to the philosophical is through this kind of philosophical analysis.

Language is only the vehicle. Well it's the vehicle but eventually there's no road and you have to
park the vehicle and get out and walk, and that's the journey. Plotinous, the great Neo Platonist
has this wonderful phrase. He calls the mystical experience "the flight of the alone to the
alone." I love this image. It's so uncompromising and it's about as true as something can be and
still move in the realm of language, because it's saying: finally words fall away and finally there
is only that which cannot be said. Many of you who've stuck with me know that I love to quote
this poem by this obscure poet who died in the trenches in France in the first World War,
Trumble Stickney, and he wrote a poem called "Meaning's Edge" and the punch line goes like
this "I look over meaning's edge and feel the dizziness of the things you have not said," and I
think that every one of these weekends, this is the effort to carry you to the edge of an abyss
and then push you over into the dizziness of the things unsaid and they will always be unsaid.

Wittgenstein, God bless him, had the concept of the unspeakable. He said "philosophy operates
in the realm of the unspeakable but eventually we must confront that which cannot be said."
The dizziness of things unsaid, and there's where real authenticity then flows back into the

world of community and speech but it comes from a place of utter silence and unsay-ability.
How could it be otherwise? What hubris would it be to expect that the small-mouthed noises of
English could encompass being. That's a primary error that all philosophy chooses to make at
the beginning of it's enterprise in order to set up shop at all. No, these are lower-dimensional
slices of a reality that is ultimately unitary, ineffable, unspeakable, and dazzling.

Philosophical discourse is verbal and mental masturbation?

Absolutely. Masturbation, because it's, there's a pun here, it's auto-poetic, it is completely out
of yourself, there is no union with the other and the other is what you're always trying to get
to. The other is a common term in these literatures. The other is that which cannot be fully
known. I always like to quote the British enzymologist JBS Haldane, who made a wonderful
statement. He said, "the universe is not only stranger than we suppose, it is stranger than we
can suppose." That's a dizzying perception. It's one thing to think it's very strange. It's another
thing to think it's stranger than you can suppose. You may suppose and suppose and suppose
and you'll fall so short of the mark that it's absurd. That's what it means to be in the presence of
a mystery.

The modern word mystery translates out to unsolved problem. That's not what a mystery is. A
mystery is not an unsolved problem. A mystery is a mystery and raciocination(sp?) can exhaust
itself and make no progress with it and that's what's at the core of our being and that was what
was at the core of this ancient perception. These were thoroughly modern people. They were
shoved up against the same things that tug at our hearts and our minds and our souls and
beyond that there's not a whole hell of a lot that you can say about it. I just wanted to add that
the idea of the earth as a living organism makes an appearance in psychology at the end of the
last century with Gustave Fechner who survives in footnotes of textbooks as the father of
experimental psychology. I read a book about the soul life of plants also and that whole part of
his work is utterly ignored influenced anybody but William Jameson.

This is an idea that will not die but it's practitioners end up in footnotes. They do not have a
happy fate. Certainly Henri Birkson, with his idea of the elan vitale, this is an effort to preserve
the idea of a world soul and yet the fate of Birkson, his influence on modern philosophy is
certainly minimal. Alfred North Whitehead is my great favorite. I think that he's the cat's

pajamas and he has this idea of the living cosmos - that life and vitality extend right down to the
electron yet in spite of his mathematical contributions, the fact that he wrote Principia
Mathematica with Bertrand Russell, Whitehead is not taught. I think there's one university in
this country where they take him seriously. Modern philosophy is a desert for my money. Who
cares about it? Nobody cares about it. Who's living their life according to the perceptions of
modern philosophy.Nobody, as far as I can see. But yes, vitalism was this impulse in biology that
persisted right up to the 1920s with embryologists like Dreche and his school and mechanical
biology has been at great pains to suppress that. That's why Rupert Sheldrake is such a breath
of fresh air, because he can be seen as a person carrying the vitalist message back into science.
His new book on the greening of science and nature is nothing more than a manifesto for the
re-recognition of the presence of the world soul.

What about the Native Americans, their philosophy?

Yes, well, Aboriginal people, not only the Native Americans but the tribes of the Amazon, if you
live next to nature this is such an overwhelming perception that it's never called into question.
But you see we, most of us, trace our civilization to desert dwellers who invented agriculture
which lead to surpluses so then we had to build walled enclosures to defend our surpluses from
starving neighbors and we're talking 6,000 BC at Jericho for this kind of stuff. So,we have been
cut off from the natural mind longer than any other group of people on earth. This is how we're
able to carry out the demonic, in the negative sense, reconstruction of the world that we have.
If there is a sin then we have sinned. Robert Oppenheimer said beyond all rational argument
the physicists have known sin and it's because they reached into the heart of matter without
reverence and their greatest trick was to call down the light that burns at the center of stars
and they call it down to the test centers of the deserts and onto the heads of our enemies, if
necessary. But this is a cosmic sin, it's an abomination. It's the story of Western Civilization.

The first great error was the urbanization, well, I don't know, the first great error, the invention
of agriculture was a pretty staggering bad turn, then urbanization and then a piece of bad luck
which we didn't need to befall us was the invention of the phonetic alphabet. And with the
invention of the phonetic alphabet we moved away from symbolism and lost even the symbolic
connection to the world and that happened with the evolution of Demotic Greek and even
earlier languages - linear A and B and that kind of stuff. McLuhan talks a lot about this. We live
in a universe so alienated that we can barely conceive of the way back but hopefully.
Archeology is a wonderful thing. We are actually digging into the stratigraphic layers of our past

and reconstructing these ancient intellectual machines and setting their gears going and seeing
how it works and hopefully when we recover, we're like amnesiacs, people who don't
remember who they are or where they came from, we just wander mumbling through the
streets of our cities foraging through garbage cans and frightening other people and yet if we
could wake up, and archeology and the rebirth of an awareness of the Goddess and the pushing
of science to the point where it's irrational foundations become clear - this is all part of an
awakening, an archaic revival which will then make us part of the living world and not a disease,
a parasitic force upon it. It struck me that one comment you read there talked about the
creation of the world. It said the elements were brought forth and at first I was thinking earth,
air, fire, and water but I was thinking in relationship to some other...of life that...being, life, and
intellect and being, life, and intellect are what that come into manifestation from the one who
pours forth the world and creates the world and those are the first elements that come into
existence - being, life, and intellect. Life itself is an element of the cosmos as it were. It's an
irreducible aspect of things and you're paying respect to the fact that life is an omnipresent
thing in the foundation of things. It's one of the elements. I think that in one of the other things
I read it said that everything that exists, that ever has been, that ever will be, is alive.
I'll read a bit more of this. This refers to the theme I touched on a little bit last night of the
importance of the imagination and how I think that our destiny lies in the imagination. "God is
ever existent and makes manifest all else. But he himself is hidden because he is ever existent.
He manifests all things but is not manifested. He is not himself brought into being in images
presented through our senses but he presents all things to us in such images. It is only things
which are brought into being that are presented through sense. Coming into being is nothing
else than presentation through sense." This is so thoroughly modern, it's staggering. For 1,500
years people couldn't say anything that clearly. "It is evident then that he who alone has not
come into being cannot be presented through sense and that being so he is hidden from our
sight. But he presents all things to us through our senses and thereby manifests himself through
all things and in all things and especially to those to whom he wills to manifest himself. For
though thought alone can see that which is hidden inasmuch as thought itself is hidden from
sight and if even the thought which is within you is hidden from your sight, how can he, being in
himself, be manifested to you through your bodily eyes. But if you have power to see with the
eyes of the mind then, my son, he will manifest himself to you, for the Lord manifests himself
un-grudgingly throughout all the universe and you can behold God's image with your eyes and
lay hold on it with your hands." To my mind, this is permission for the psychedelic experience.
We lay hold of the ineffable through the eyes. "If you wish to see him, think on the sun, think
on the course of the moon, think on the order of the stars. The sun is the greatest of the gods in
heaven. To him as to their king and overlord, all the gods in heaven yield place and yet this
mighty god, greater than earth and sea, submits to have smaller stars circling above him. Who
is it then, my son, that he obeys with reverence and awe. Each of these stars too is confined by

measured limits and has an appointed space to range in. Why do not all the stars in heaven run
like and equal courses? Who is it that has assigned to each its place and marked out each for
the extent of its course." And then it goes on and on. And then here is an amazing modern
anticipation of modernity. "Would that it were possible for you to grow wings and soar into the
air. Poised between earth and heaven you might see the solid earth and the fluid sea and the
streaming rivers, the wandering air, the penetrating fire, the courses of the stars and the
swiftness of the movement with which heaven encompasses all. What happiness were that, my
son, to see all these borne along with one impulse and to behold Him who is unmoved moving
all that moves and Him who is hidden made manifest through his works." This is an image of
the planets seen from space. It's absolutely the unified image of our planet. It is, I think, the
central image in this early hermetic thing. This is the unifying, this is as close to an image of
what godhead is that they were able to reach.

This is a shamanic flight that delivers a scientific description of the earth moving in space. This is
written AD150. This is book five. Nobody had that in sight until we reach Giordano Bruno and if
you read Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition you know that Bruno was burned at the
stake and the reason that he was burned at the stake is because he looked up at the sky and did
not see the stellar shells and the angelic hierarchies. Bruno had a mystical experience and when
it was over he said, "the universe is infinite. The stars go on forever." That single statement was
the intellectual dynamite that destroyed the whole Medieval, Hellenistic, the entire previous
cosmological vision was left behind with that single statement. It was such a powerful
statement that he had to go to the stake for that. And we have never recovered from that
perception. It was a fundamental perception and it occurred because he looked without
preconception into the night sky and did not see wheels and demons and angels and shells of
cosmic fate and necessity and he just said, that's bullshit, what is there is infinite space, infinite
time, the stars are hung like lamps onto the utmost regions of infinity. This, then, inaugurates
the beginning of modernity and it's a perception that arose on the foundation of all this earlier

Here's another passage on the imagination.



Is the implication that there's a meditation that one does where one tries to go inside and see
this universe on a cosmic scale. Is the implication that their practice was somehow... Well, the
practice, we know a lot less about that because there was much secrecy around this. What we
have is the philosophical discourses. When we talk about alchemy this afternoon you'll see that
there the technique becomes projection onto matter. That you enter into a kind of self
hypnosis wher, by having what we call naive ontological categories, in other words, not being
sure exactly how much of mind is in matter or how much matter is in mind, you can erase the
boundary between self and world and project the contents of the unconscious onto chemical
processes. What went on in the early stages we don't know. The Trismegistic Hymns are largely
as you see them here, philosophical discourses. There was stress on diet and purity. Asceticism
was typical of the hermetic approach. In Gnosticism it went one of several ways. There were
schools of Gnosticism which were vegetarian and puristic and then, because they felt that man
was no part of the universe, that man was somehow hermetically sealed, if you will,
hermetically sealed against contamination from the universe, some Gnostic schools said you
can do anything you want. You can have any kind of sexual arrangement you want, you can do
anything you want. Do not think that you are part of the universe. And so you had Gnostic
schools side by side, some orgiastic and quasi-tantric and some ascetic. There were Gnostic
sects that, you see because the idea was that light was trapped in matter by the act of
procreation, there were Gnostic sects that only practiced forms of sexual union that couldn't
lead to union. So there were presumably exclusively homosexual sects. There were sects that
only practiced anal intercourse. For them, that was the same as celibacy because the real
concern was not to trap any of the light. And I don't seriously advocate this but I think that in
our current situation of overpopulation a little dose of this kind of thinking wouldn't be a bad
thing. Too much light is trapped in the organic matrix.

And so these Gnostic sects that were, for instance, exclusively homosexual or exclusively
practiced anal intercourse, of course they were suicide sects. They disappeared very quickly
because they could only make converts by a missionary conversion. You didn't have children,
you couldn't hand it off. It shows how thorough going their rejection of the world was, how
contaminated they felt themselves to be by the material world. But you also had, as I
mentioned, optimistic schools that saw nature as something to be perfected and said, "man has
been set on the earth not to reject it but to perfect it" and utopianism, the belief that one can
create a perfect society, it goes back into these hermetic ideals. Because the idea was that a
perfect society could be the goal of the alchemical work. Let me read you a passage from
Giordano Bruno. This is a wonderful passage from the Picatrix. This was the book of 12th
century magical texts that began to introduce these hermetic ideas and this passage is the core
passage that inspired the Rosacrucians and numerous other utopian movements. Here is

Frances Yeats, "Hermes Trismegistus is often mentioned as the source for some talismanic
images and in other connections but there is in particular one very striking passage in the
fourth book of Picatrix in which Hermes is stated to have been the first to use magical images
and is credited with having founded a marvelous city in Egypt." And here is the passage from
the Picatrix, "There are among the Caldeans very perfect masters in this art and they affirm that
Hermes was the first to construct images by means of which he knew how to regulate the Nile
against the motion of the moon. This man also built a temple to the sun and he knew how to
hide himself from all so that no one could see him although he was within it." Those of you who
are scholars in Rosicrucianism know that one of the things that was always said of Rosicrucians
was that they were invisible. This was how Robert Fludd proved to people he wasn't a
Rosicrucian, he'd say "you're looking at me so how could I be one?" So, he's in the temple but
he could not be seen within it. "It was he, Hermes Trismegistus, too, who, in the East of Egypt
constructed a city, 12 miles long, within which he constructed a castle which had four gates
within each of its four parts. On the Eastern gate he placed the form of an eagle. On the
Western gate, the form of a bull, on the Southern gate, the form of a lion, and on the Northern
gate he constructed the form of a dog. Into these images he introduced spirits which spoke
with voices. Nor could anyone enter the gates of the city except by their permission. There he
planted trees in the midst of which was a great tree which bore the fruits of all generations. On
the summit of the castle he caused to be raised a tower 30 cubits high on the top of which he
ordered to be put a lighthouse the color of which changed every day until the seventh day,
after which it returned to the first color. And so the city was illuminated with these colors. Near
the city there was abundance of waters in which dwelt many kinds of fish. Around the
circumference of the city he placed engraved images and ordered them in such a manner that
by their virtue, the inhabitants were made virtuous and withdrawn from all wickedness and
harm. The name of the city was Adocetine(sp?)."

Now, what we're familiar with from the Platonic literature is a quasi-rational, largely rational
approach to utopian thinking that you get in the Republic. However, the students of the
Republic will recall that, is it the fifth or tenth book, contains the myth of Ur, which we went
over in detail in the section I did on Neo Platonism. The myth of Er is one of the most bizarre
and puzzling passages in the entire ancient literature. You remember Er was a soldier who died,
he was killed in battle but after eight days he returned to life and then he told a story that is the
absolute puzzlement of ancient scholars. It's highly mathematical, it has to with the spindle of
necessity and the description of some kind of cosmic machine and all the ratios of the gears of
this machine are given and nobody knows what is being talked about. But here we have a
different thrust. A magical utopianism and the idea of a perfected human society using magic
because these engraved images that he ordered in such a manner that by their virtue the

inhabitants were made virtuous, that means he was able to deflect the energies of cosmic fate.
The city was immune to astrological, malefic influence. It was protected and when we talk later
about the alchemical aspirations of the Rosicrucians and John Dee and Frederick the Elector
Palatine of Bohemia, we'll see that this impulse toward an alchemical kingdom returns again
and again. In a way, utopianism is, the four-gated city of utopian magical dreaming is one
version of the Philosopher's magical stone.

It's a kind of diffuse idea of the philosopher's stone, but it's a society in perfect harmony with
fully realized beings living within it practicing a cosmic religion that frees them from the
impulses of cosmic fate. The other thing that is going on in some of this alchemical imagery is a
kind of subtext of late alchemy, is what's called the Ars Memoria, the art of memory, and in
fact, Frances Yates has a book called The Art of Memory and this is a lost art, literally.

It begins with the Roman orator Cicero and was practiced up until the early 17th century and
what it consisted of was people, orators, it was considered very bad form to read your speech if
you were an orator and so you had to memorize your speech and there were tricks of memory.
The commonest mnemonic trick was to think of a building, it was called the memory palace, a
building that is familiar to you, I've done this myself with the University of California because
it's an area that I'm very familiar with because I was a student there, there are many buildings
and many hallways and many floors and what you do is when you make your speech in your
mind you are moving through the memory palace and at various points you construct what are
called emblemata and the idea of these emblemata is that they be as unusual, shocking, and
unexpected as possible in order to be memorable to you.

So, say you're giving a speech about the seven deadly sins. So then luxuria might be for you a
nun copulating with a dog and you'll set the nun and the dog in a little niche in the hallway of
the memory palace. When you reach that place in your imaginary journey all these associations
will spring to mind and you'll be able to give you speech flawlessly. To us, this sounds tortured
and particular but it works quite well. One of the practitioners of the Ars Memoria was
Giordano Bruno and he wrote a book called Spaccio Della Bestia Trionfante, the expulsion of
the triumphant beast, and my god, Max Ernst, eat your heart out, this is a surreal epic read as
straight plain text because that's not how it's supposed to be read. It's a conglomeration of
these mnemonic emblemata that led him on to probably give a fairly conventional disputation
on one subject or another but there are even old books of these emblemata that are before

surrealism. These were some of the wildest images that the Western mind would tolerate.

The one thing that we didn't get into this morning was talking about the astrological side of it.
The role of the Decans. The Decans are these demons, three to a sign, so there are 36 of them,
and this was thought to be an astrological conceit that went back to Egypt as opposed to the
ordinary zodiacal significators which go back to Huran in what is now modern Iraq. These
Decans were the demons that were summoned by these Renaissance Magi in an effort to
control and manipulate fate. You may, if you were paying attention this morning, have noticed
that in all the reading I did from the Corpus Hermeticum, there was really nothing explicitly
magical about it. It was philosophical. There was one mention, I think, of animating statues in
the description of the four-gated city. But it was those magical animation passages that really
captured the imagination of the Renaissance and they built on that and the idea, simply put, is
that these Decans and zodiacal signs are at the center of associative schemata which include
plants, minerals, odors, certain flowers, certain animals, everything had its decanic assignation
and so if you were involved with promoting an affair with a woman or something like that then
you would do an invocation to Venus and you would gather the associated minerals and stones
and animals and you would put them in a room and then certain tonal modes were also
associated with these things and so you would play the music, have the flowers present, the
minerals present, the invocations and what you were trying to do was create a microcosm of
the macrocosm to draw down this stellar energy. It wasn't about the classical Hollywood
appearance of demons in a circle, that's the stuff of Picatrix, the earlier somewhat less refined
style of magic.

I wanted to read you one passage from Frances Yates' Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic
Tradition because this describes this change of status of the magician that we're interested in.
And also what we didn't talk about this morning was the importance of the Kabbalah, which
came in quite late, that was then worked out in great detail. This was originally the idea, it was
the Jewish contribution to this kind of magic, it was, the idea was that since the world had been
made by Jehovah, by the speaking of words, In Prigipio et verbum et verbo corufactum est(?), in
other words the speaking of Hebrew was thought to be a primary linguistic tool for the
purposes of creation. The problem for these Italians was that very few of them spoke Hebrew
so it was sometimes practiced silently, the mere constructing of these Hebrew letters and the
setting out of messages in Hebrew was deemed efficacious as well. And then a further
declenched(?) for people who were even frustrated with that was to channel magical languages
which were pseudo-Hebraic in structure. This is a whole branch of research, much too arcane
for us to go into here. The only non-Hebraic magical language that I may mention here will be

Enochian and Enochian was an angelic language channeled by John Dee and used by him in his
magical evocations and later it was taken up by Aleister Crowley and the folks of the Golden
Dawn. But there were many, many of these magical languages. The Voynitch(sp?) manuscript is
written in one of them.

But I want to read you this passage about how the Renaissance changed the status of the
magician. "We begin to perceive here an extraordinary change in the status of the magician.
The necromancer concocting his filthy mixtures, the conjurer making his frightening invocations
were both outcasts from society, regarded as dangers to religion and forced into plying their
trades in secrecy. These old-fashioned characters are hardly recognizable in the philosophical
and pious magi of the Renaissance. There is a change in status almost comparable to the
change of status of the artist from the mere mechanic of the Middle Ages to the refined
companion of princes of the Renaissance. And the magics themselves are changed almost out
of recognition. Who could recognize the necromancer studying his Picatrix in secret in the
elegant Ficino, in his infinitely refined use of sympathies, his classical incantations, his
elaborately Neo Platonized talismans. Who could recognize the conjurer using the barbarous
techniques of some Clavis Solomonus in the mystical Pico lost in the religious ecstasies of
Kabbalah drawing archangels to his side. And yet there is a kind of continuity because the
techniques are at bottom based on the same principles. Ficino's magic is an infinitely refined
and reformed version of neumatic necromancy. Pico's practical Kabbalah is an intensely
religious and mystical version of conjuring."

So now we move in this realm, these were the companions of princes and there was in that 120
years, from about 1500 to the beginning of the 30 year's war, a constant effort in various parts
of Europe to try and turn parts of European society toward a kind of magical revolution. The
Europe of the 11th and 12th century was entirely ruled by scholastic rationalism. Witchcraft
was virtually unknown and very curious. It's the 15th and 16th centuries where you get this
tremendous proliferation of magical systems, magical ideas and social hysterias related to
witchcraft, alchemy, conjuring and magic. Those are the centuries when these things really
broke out into the open. And alchemy in that period is basically a story of personalities,
wonderful personalities, too many for us to really talk about in detail. We have Nicholas and
Pernelle Flamel who sought and found the philosopher's stone, according to legend and
according to legend are living to this day somewhere in central Asia in perfect happiness having
achieved not only the chemical wedding but the water stone of the wise. And then we have
Basil Valentine who refined red wine and distilled it in distillation apparati until he got
essentially pure alcohol and upon drinking this was so sure that he had found the philosopher's

stone that he announced the eminent approach of the end of the world based on his discovery
and he was not secretive at all. He propagated his recipes and in fact sampled the distillates of
some of his brother alchemists and popularized this very widely.

To this day the reason certain cognacs are in the hands of monastic orders and no one else can
make these things is because they were originally alchemical secrets and many of these early
alchemists were men of the cloth, quite a number of them.

So what I thought I would do is, in a highly chaotic fashion, read you some of this alchemical
literature. The big bring down about alchemical literature is that apparently the muse didn't
always smile on the alchemist and some of this poetry is pretty tormented stuff. Why this is,
who can say, but let's try one here and see if you can bear with it. Also, my Middle English is not
as good as it might be. This is a short one, and typical, and you will see why the alchemists were
charged with unbearable obscurity and prolex prose. This poem is called "A Description of the

Though Daphne fly from Phobeus

bright yet shall they both be one
And if you understand this rite
you have our hidden stone
For Daphne is fair and white
but volatile is she
Phobeus a fixed god of might
and red as blood is he
Daphne is a water nymph
and hath of moisture store
Which Phobeus doth confine and heat
and dries her very shore

They being dried into one

a crystal flood must drink
Till they be brought to a white stone
which washed with with virgin's milk
So long until they flow as wax
and no fume you can see
then have you all you need to ask.
Praise God and thankful be.

This is a recipe for the production of the philosopher's stone and the author, I'm sure, felt that
he'd spoken as clearly as he dare speak. And yet making something of this is no easy task. This
is from the Teatrium Chemicum Britannicum and the late phase of alchemy. Here's another

The world is a maze and what you why

For sooth of late a great man did die
And as he lay a-dying in his bed
These words in secret to his son he said
'My son' quoth he, 'tis good for thee
I die for thou shall much the better be
Thereby and when thou seest
that life hath me bereft
Take what thou findest
and where I have it left
Thou dost not know,


nor what my riches be

All which I will declare give ear to me
An earth I had all venom to expel
And that I cast into a mighty well
A water wick to cleanse what was amiss
I threw into the earth, and there it is
My silver all into the sea I cast
My gold into the air and, at the last
Into the fire, for fear it should be found
I threw a stone worth forty thousand pound
Which stone was given me by a mighty king
Who bade me wear it in a fourfold ring.'
Quoth he, ' this stone is by that ring found out
If wisely thou cans't turn this ring about
For every hope contrary is to other
Yet all agree and of the stone is mother
So now, my son, I will declare a wonder
That when I die this ring must break asunder
The king said so, but when he said with all
Although the ring be broke in pieces small
An easy fire shall soon it close again
Who this can do he need not work in vain
Till this my hidden treasure be found out
When I am dead, my spirit shall walk about

Make him to bring your fire from the grave

And stay with him till you my riches have.'
These words a worldly man did chance to hear
Who daily watched the spirit but nay though near
And yet it meets with him and everyone
Yet tells him not where is the hidden stone.

This stuff is obscure, it's deliberately obscure, it was obscure to its contemporaries and the
whole effort became one of collecting this kind of material and finding it out. And you have to
understand this was all circulating in manuscript, very little of this was printed. The Teatrium
Chemicum Britannicum was not printed until 1652 so this was a world without vehicular
transportation other than the horse and carriage and these people were paranoid of being
discovered and persecuted for wizardry and witchcraft by the church. So, each alchemist
working in secret, with a limited number of texts, with a local control language, created this
vast conceptual patchwork of ideas and this is in large measure responsible for the obscurity of
what is said.

Then another factor which impinges on this and further complicates the matter is that the
name of the game was projection of the contents of the imagination onto physical processes, so
taking red cinnibar and heating it in a furnace until it sweats mercury, for one alchemist this is
the incineration of the red salamander and the collection of aurmercurius in the great pelican.
They named their chemical apparati after animals and gods and so the pelican is a standard
distillation apparatus, basically a condenser on top of something which is boiled and then these
materials would be collected, ground, powdered, re-fired, mixed with other materials, re-fired
again and in the process these people were, we call it, and it's such a weak term, the projection
of the intellect into this dimension, they were living in a waking dream and many of the recipes
are designed to wipe out the boundaries between waking and sleeping.

Remember I talked about the river of mercury that runs between the yin and yang? Many of
the alchemical processes were of 40 days duration. Well you can imagine a hermit fearing
discovery by the church, trying to keep his fires not too hot, not too cold, working day after day,
night after night, eventually all boundaries dissolve and you're just living in a pure world of

intellectual projection and then in the swirling of the alembic, in the chemical processes going
on in the retort, you begin to be able to project your consciousness onto this. It's what we call
visualization but for us it's a kind of a weak term because we are never really able to accept in
the psychedelic state to transcend the belief in the inner world and the outer world being
somehow separate so for us it's always separate. But they were able to wipe out that boundary.
Well then, what they saw in their swirling retorts and alembics was not carbonization,
calcination, condensation of various molecular weights of liquids and oils out, but rather the
birth of the red lion, the coming of the eagle, the appearance of the [inaudible] stone. They had
hundreds and hundreds of these words. I didn't bring any with me, but much alchemical
literature is dictionaries. Martinus Rulando's Alchemical Dictionary is a huge book of words with
special meanings in the alchemical context.

So, why, why do this and what happens when you do it. Well, no matter what alchemist you're
reading, there's always an agreement that there are stages in the great work. Stages in the
opus, as they called it. You can't get any agreement on in what order these stages come, but
roughly it's something like this: most agree that it begins in the nigredo, the blackening,
Arcro(?), the Saturnine world of what we would call manic depression, despair, and that our
chaos, a chaotic near psychotic state of unbounded hopelessness and that is the precondition,
then, for the alchemical work though the stages of the opus never occur in order.

I had a dream last night that was, I think, triggered by an illustration in Fabricious(?) that I'll
show you tonight but it was a classical alchemical dream. It was that I was at a country fair and
its antiquity was indicated by the fact that it was happening in the school yard of my childhood
and as I moved among the participants of this country fair I began to notice that they were
freaky. There were people with withered arms and one side of their face slid down and so forth
and so on. The whole thing began to drift toward nightmare and Richard Hermes Bird appeared
in my dream as my alchemical compadre and at one point a black woman, perfect symbolism
for the nigredo, a black woman with three withered arms and six or seven breasts, slid herself
sideways in front of me and it was at that point that I went and found Richard and said, "I think
we'd better get out of here."

Now, an alchemist would greet a dream like this with great anticipation and joy and would
understand that this sets the stage now for the next movement forward. Well, then accounts
differ. Those of you who really want to get into this, I recommend you read Mysterium
Cunjunctiones by Jung, the Mysterious Conjunction. He discusses the nigredo in great detail.

Another symbol for the nigredo is the Senax(?), the old man, because the old man is just short
of death and that's the state that the nigredo makes you feel. Then you must take this raw,
chaotic, unformed material, often compared to feces, compared to corruption, compared to
the contents of an opened grave, and you must cook it in the alchemical fires of contemplation,
prayer, and ascetic self control and then you will move through a series of stages that are
associated with colors. There is the rubado, the reddening, there is the citronitas, the yellowing,
there is the veriditas, the greening, and the order in which this occurs differs according to who
you follow but then there is closure at the end of the process. Most alchemists, although
certainly not all, agreed that the higher state is the albedo, the whitening, the purificacio. At
each stage there are sub-stages of dissolution, dissulutio et coagulacio. There's one alchemical
aphorism that says "dissolutio et coagulacio, know this and this is all you need to know." And so
it's a melting and a recasting and a purifying of psychic content. So finally you reach the albedo,
the whitening, the highest stage, the stage of great purity.

But remember how I said last night that mercury was always the metaphor for mind in alchemy,
or one of the metaphors for mind in alchemy, and I talked about its mutability and its ability to
take the shape of its container and when you shatter it it then splits into many reflections. So,
once you move into the domain of the albedo, the whitening, then a whole new problem arises
for the alchemist. This is the problem of the fixing of the stone. Somehow the mutability of
mercury must be overcome and it must be crystallized, it must be fixed so that it doesn't get
away from you, so that it doesn't slip through your fingers. To achieve aurmercury is nothing
unless you have the secret of the coagulacio. So then, there is a huge amount of effort devoted
to this.

What is being described is what Jungians call the individuation process. A dissolving of the
boundaries of the ego, an allowing of the chaotic material of the unconscious to pour forth
where it can be inspected by consciousness, and we'll see tonight when we look at this art,
these images are full of ravening beasts, incestuous mother/son pairs, incestuous brother/sister
pairs, hermaphrodites, all taboos are broken, this stuff just boils up from the unconscious then
is sublimed through these processes and then is somehow fixed and this fixing is the
culmination of alchemy and if you can bring off this trick then you possess our stone, the
philosopher's stone, the lapis, the Sophic Hydrolith of the Wise, Aranius Philolithes(sp?) calls it.
There were hundreds of control words for naming the secret, difficult to attain, alchemical gold,
in short this is what we're after. If you possess it, nothing else is worth anything because it is
psychic completion, peace of mind, Jung called it the self. It's the self that we are trying to
recover and remember we talked about the Gnostic myth of the light trapped in matter. Well

this is the luminae de luminae, the light of light, the lux natura, the light drawn out of nature
and condensed into a fixed form which then becomes the universal panacea. And I'm using as
many of these alchemical terms as I can draw out of my memory to give you a feeling for it. This
is the universal medicine. It cures all ills, you know, it brings you riches, fame, wealth, selfrespect. It's the answer, it's what everyone is looking for and no one can find.

So this just became a consuming passion of the 15th and 16th century mind. They thought they
were on the brink of it. Along the way they were discovering stuff like distilled alcohol,
phosphorous, gun powder, all of these things were coming out of the alchemical laboratories
but that was not it. They kept driving themselves onward because they knew that this was not
the real thing and they were pursuing the real thing. Then for some people it became
reassociated with this notion of the utopia that I mentioned this morning in the passage that I
read about the city of Hermes Trismegistus, they began to see, it's almost like the crisis which
overcame Buddhism, it must be an archetypal, and notice how rarely we've used that word
here, it must be almost an archetypal stage in human thought. Theravadin Buddhism stressed
individual thought, and individual redemption through meditation on emptiness, and then with
the great reforms of Nagurdjuda(sp?), the idea of Bodhisattvic compassion was introduced and
there carries with it political freight. An obligation to society and mankind.

So, as the 15th and 16th century progressed there began to be this awareness that what was
wanted was not for an alchemist to break through, to his own personal salvation, but somehow
to create an alchemical world. You get then the notion of the multiplacio, the idea that the
stone, once created, will replicate itself and be able to change base matter into itself almost like
a virus spreading through the ontological structure of matter itself and the world will be reborn
and this idea then, what was happening was that these alchemists were getting bolder and
printing was invented in Meins, near Frankfurt, in 1540, the distribution of alchemical books
was changing the character of alchemy, it was no more the solitary hermit working away in his
cave or mountaintop, far away from the minions of the church. These alchemists began to
dream of banding together, of forming societies, of creating brotherhoods that were united in
the sharing of their knowledge and their purpose.

This brings us to the curious episode in history called the Rosicrucian enlightenment. Dame
Frances Yates, once again, got there first and she wrote a book called the Rosicrucian
Enlightenment which traces the history of these alchemical brotherhoods and reveals to us
what they were really about and what they were about was this dream of somehow taking the

philosopher's stone, and the power, the immortality, the insight that it would bring and making
it a general utility of mankind and in the, one way of looking at modernity, I have one friend
who claims that the summoning of the Holy Spirit into matter can be seen as the creation of the
modern world of electricity. That people like Helmholz(sp?) and Farraday were completing the
alchemical work. It's very hard for us to realize how mysterious the electromagnetic field
seemed to the 19th century. The 19th century had entirely imbued itself with the spirit of
democratian atomism translated through Newtonian physics and they believed that everything
was little balls of hard matter winging through space. When Helmholz and Farraday and these
people began to talk about action at a distance and generating the electromagnetic field and
trapping lightning and light in jars and running it through wires, what could this be but the
trapping of spiritus. What could it be but the literal descent of the Holy Ghost into history and,
you know, give it a moment's thought. For thousands of years, electricity was something that
you saw when you took an amber rod and a piece of cat fur and went into a darkened room and
stroked the cat fur and then when you would bring the amber rod close to the cat fur you
would see the crackle of static electricity through the cat fur. For thousands of years that's what
electricity was. Who would dream that you could light cities, that you could smelt metals, that
you could illuminate the earth with this energy and yet from the 1850s to the present, this was
done. It's almost the final literalizing of the alchemical dream.

But to go back now, I digress, I fear, let's go back to the climate of the 1580s and the central
culprit here, and to my mind a giant figure casting an enormous shadow over the landscape of
alchemy and of modern science, is the Englishman John Dee. John Dee united in himself the
complete spirit of the Medieval Magus and the complete spirit of the modern scientist. He
invented the navigational instruments that allowed the conquest of the round earth. When
Frances Drake sailed up the coast of California he had navigational instruments that were top
secret. The French, the Spanish, must be kept away from this stuff and these were navigational
instruments created by John Dee that allowed him to locate himself anywhere on the globe.
But John Dee was a man who, on a late summer evening in Mortlag, his house in Mortlag
outside of London, the angel Gabriel descended into his garden and gave him what he called
the shewstone, shew being show in Old English, and the shewstone exists to this day, you can
see it in the British Museum and what's amazing about it is it's a piece of polished absidion, it's
an Aztec mirror, is what it is. There was a ruler of the Aztecs called smoky mirror. How John Dee
got this thing, we cannot even imagine. He says he got it from an angel, nobody can really nay
say that, however I suspect that Cortez, on his first return to Spain from the new world, he
brought a number of objects with him that he had collected in Central Mexico and somehow
John Dee got his hands on this thing and it was for him a television screen into the logos and he
used it over a number of years to direct the foreign policy of England.

He was the confidante of Queen Elizabeth the First and he also was the most accomplished
astrologer in Europe and he used his ability to cast horoscopes as an entre into all the great
houses of Europe, the kings and nobles of Europe. He was functioning as an intelligence agent,
he was a spy for the British crown insinuating himself into these various courtly scenes and then
writing back to Elizabeth in cyphers, cyphers that had previously only been used for magical
purposes. He was sending back data on the strengths of military garrisons and the placement of
fortifications and this sort of thing. This is what he was doing in the 1580s, he kept the
shewstone for a number of years and he didn't seem to be able to make much progress with it.
He had other methods too, he had wax tables and sigils but finally into his life came a very
mysterious character named Edward Kelly and some accounts say that Edward Kelly had no
ears. That indicates that he had had his ears removed for being a charlatan and a montebank.
This was a common punishment in the provinces of England. So Edward Kelly was a very
dubious character, I think. One strong piece of evidence that he was a shady character was,
John Dee was married to a much younger woman named Ann Dee who by all accounts was
quite a beauty and after gaining Dee's confidence as a scryer, the person who could look into
the shewstone and lay out these scenarios that the angels and the entities coming and going in
the shewstone were putting forth, Kelly revealed to Dee that the angels had instructed him to
hit the hay with Ann. This was a great crisis in their relationship. However, according to Dee's
diary "and so it was done," we read. So, hanky panky didn't begin with the Golden Dawn,
believe me. In 1582 Ann Dee, John Dee, and Edward Kelly set out for Bohemia and Rudolph, the
mad king of Bohemia held sway at that time. This is another one of those bizarre figures in the
whole story of this...[Tape cuts out]
...a wonder cabinet, you see, before Linaius, before modern scientific classification these great
patrons of the arts and natural sciences, they would just collect weird stuff. And that was all
you could say about it. I mean, it was rhinoceros horns, fossil amenities, broken pieces of
statues from antiquity, giant insects from Southern India, seashells, all this stuff would just be
thrown together in these wundercabina, these wonder cabinets.

Rudolph was a great patron of the arts. Well, Kelly sent the word that he and Dee had perfected
the alchemical process and Rudolph immediately paid their way to Prague and patronized them
very lavishly over a number of months but then they didn't seem to be coming through and he
rented, he ordered a castle put to their disposal, in Bohemia and they still weren't able to come
through. The Voynitch manuscript figures in here too because Kelly's entre to Dee was that he
had a manuscript in an unknown language and I believe that this probably was the Voynitch
manuscript. The Voynitch manuscript turns up in the estate of Rudolph and the very month that
he paid 14,000 gold ducats for it to persons unknown, Dee, who was always writing back to the

Elizabethan court hounding them to send money, entered into his account book that they
received 14,000 ducats from an unknown source.

Dee was able to talk himself out of this alchemical imprisonment but not before he had written
a book called the Hieroglyphic Monad. You have to understand the importance of this. As late
as the 1920s in England in the better schools of England, like Eton, when you studied geometry,
you studied Euclid's works and Euclid's geometry was always preceded by Dee's preface to
Euclid. Until the 1920s every English school child studied this. He was a master mathematician
as well as these other things. This was how he was able to produce these navigation
instruments. So Dee, while imprisoned in Bohemia, wrote a book called the Hieroglyphic
Monad in which he proposed to prove, through a series of occult theorems, that a certain
diagram, unfortunately I didn't bring the hieroglyphic monad, but it's basically the symbol of,
you know the symbol for mercury which looks like the symbol for female but you put horns on
it and then there were some adumbrations to that. By a series of theorems he worked up this
hieroglyphic monad and he initiated a couple of young men named Johan Anreae and Michael
Maier into the mysteries of the hieroglyphic monad. Then he was able to get out of Bohemia
and he went back to England.

Kelly, who had made much more extravagant claims, Rudolph kept at work on the alchemical
opus and Kelly became more and more desperate to escape and one night in 1587 he crept out
on the parapet of this Bohemian castle and a roof tile slipped beneath his feet and he fell to his
death and became, as far as I can tell, alchemy's only true martyr. Dee returned to England, he
was now very old, he died at Mortlake in 1606. Elizabeth died in 1604, Shakespeare was
happening, Sir Philip Sidney was happening through this period. John Dee reputedly had over
6,000 books in his library. He had more books than any man in England. He had books, we have
a partial catalog of his library, he had books that do not exist now. He had Roger Bacon
manuscripts because when Henry the eighth kicked the Catholic Church out of England, the
Northumberian monasteries were looted by the Earl of Northumberland and basically Dee was
allowed to pick over the loot from these monasteries and there were Roger Bacon manuscripts
which perished when Dee's library was burned by an angry mob while he was on the continent
because he was suspected of being a wizard. He was the model for Faust in the later resingence
of Faust and whenever you see an old man with a white beard and a pointed cap, this image is a
referent to Dee.


Well, Elizabeth died in 1604, I believe, and James the first became king of England. James was a
peculiar character. The wags of the time liked to say "Elizabeth was king and now James is
queen!" Not only that, he hated occultism, he had no patience with the whole magical court
that Elizabeth had assembled around herself. Meanwhile, in 1606, a very mysterious document
began to circulate in Europe and in England called the Fama, this is the first word in a string of
Latin words, Fama, and two years later the confessio. What these were were announcements
that an alchemical brotherhood was seeking recruits. These are the primary documents of

Rosicrucianism was based on a fiction and a fictional person, Christian Rosencrentz, who was
imagined to have lived almost 200 years earlier, in the 1540s, and to have been a great
alchemist. It was claimed that his tomb had been recently opened and that there were books
inside it which set the stage for the alchemical revolution of the world. Notice how this occult
world always tries to reach back in time to give itself validity. Christian Rosencrentz was claimed
to be the author of a series of books, the chief of which is called The Chemical Wedding.

What this was all about, I believe, and the Rosacrucian enlightenment makes it fairly clear, was
that Dee, during the period that he had been in Bohemia, had set out to lay the groundwork for
an alchemical revolution in Central Europe and he had made Johan Andreae and Michael Maier
his agents in this plot. And it was a plot, a plot to meddle in European history and to turn the
Protestant reformation toward an alchemical completion. They felt that Luther and Has(sp?)
and these people had only gone so far and that the culmination of throwing off the yoke of the
church would be the establishment of an alchemical kingdom in central Europe.

The target, then, of the attention of Michael Maier and Johan Andreae and a number of these
alchemists became the young Frederick, he's called Frederick the Elector Palatine. He was a
prince of the Northern League in Germany, he ruled in Heidleberg, and Heidleberg, as you
know, is a thousand-year-old university city and I believe I mentioned that the alchemical press
of Theodore Debry(sp?) was operating out of Heidleberg. Heidleberg became a magnet for all
the occult thinking going on in Europe and all the Puffers and alchemists, the gold-makers, the
philosophers, the charlatans, they all converged on Heidleberg and Andreae and Maier were
advisors of the young Frederick and they steered him, by a series of political manipulations too
complex to tell, toward a marriage with the daughter of James the first of England, who was
named Elizabeth, interestingly enough. So, Frederick the Elector made Elizabeth, the daughter
of James of England, his wife. Frederick here made a serious miscalculation because he thought

that if James would give the hand of his daughter in marriage that this was his way of blessing
this alchemical conspiracy. Actually, what was on James' mind is that he was about to give his
son, in marriage, to a Spanish princess of the Hapsburg line, a Catholic. In other words he was
playing both sides against each other. He was not giving the green light to an alchemical
revolution at all. But, it was assumed so.

Then, in 1617, 1618, Rudolph, remember Rudolph, the emperor, he finally dies at a very ripe
old age. And at that time, the Protestant league, which was made up of these princes of these
small principalities scattered across Germany and Poland, they actually elected the emperor, it
was not by right of primogenitor, but by election by what was called the Northern League, this
league of princes. Frederick and his alchemical cohorts had done their alchemical groundwork
very skillfully and they were able to engineer the election of Frederick to emperor of the empire
and he became Frederick the Elector Palatine of Bohemia and this set the stage for an episode
called the episode of the Winter King and Queen.

One of the great, after Nicholas and Pernelle Flamel, this is one of the great romantic stories of
alchemy. They moved their court from Heidleberg to Prague and all the alchemists went with
and they assumed that English armies would support them if there was any squak from the
Hapsburgs and in the Winter of 1618 they ruled there and began to lay the groundwork for the
transformation of Northern Europe into an alchemical kingdom. The problem was, as I said, the
faithlessness and duplicity of James the first of England. He did not support them, in spite of the
fact that the fate of his daughter hung in the balance and by May of 1619 the local Bishop of
the Catholic church was fully aroused and word had been sent to Madrid and the Hapsburgs
raised an army and laid siege to Prague. In the late Summer, the Mid Summer of 1619, the
Winter King and Queen were driven from Prague, the city fell to Catholic forces, the alchemical
presses were smashed and Michael Maier, who was like the prime minister of this scene, was
murdered in an alley in Prague and the entire alchemical dream went down the drain. Frederick
was killed in the siege of the city and Elizabeth escaped to the Hague where she lived in exile
for many years.

Till recently, I thought that that was the end of the story but there is a coda that is very
amusing, if nothing else. In that Hapsburgian army, there was a young soldier of fortune, only
19 years old, still wet behind the ears, knowing nothing, happily soldiering and wenching his
way around Europe while he decided what to do with himself and his name was Rene
Descartes, a Frenchman. Descartes, in his later years, reminisced about his period as a soldier in

this army and I like to think that it was Descartes who actually murdered Maier. One of my
ambitions is to write a play or a novel in which these two confront each other in a back alley of
burning Prague and carry on a debate about the future of Europe before Michael Maier falls to
the sword of Descartes. That may be apocryphal, but what is not apocryphal is that this
Hapsburgian army, having laid siege and destroyed the alchemical kingdom, began to retreat
across Europe that Fall and by Mid-September was camped near the town of Uolm in Southern
Germany. By a strange coincidence, Uolm is the birthplace of Einstein some hundreds of years
later. But on the night of September 16th, Descartes had a dream and in this dream an angel
appeared to him, this is documented by his own hand, and the angel said to Descartes, "The
conquest of nature is to be achieved through measure and number." And that revelation lay the
basis for modern science. Rene Descartes is the founder of the distinction between the res
verins and the res extensia, the founder of modern science, the founder of the scientific
method that created the philosophical engines that created the modern world. How many
scientists, working at their workbenches, understand that an angel chartered modern science.
It's the alchemical angel which will not die. It returns again and again to guide the destinies of
nations and peoples toward an unimaginable conclusion.

That's not the last time that this angelic intervention in the history of science has occurred.
Some of you may know the story in the 19th century of Cuclai(sp?), the German chemist who
was struggling with the molecular structure of Benzene, couldn't get it straight, and then he had
a dream in which he saw the ouroboric snake take its tail in its mouth and he awoke from that
dream with the carbon ring burning in his mind. Well, the carbon ring, the six sided heptadle(?)
state of the form of the carbon ring is the basis of all organic chemistry. And I mentioned earlier
Farraday and Helmholtz and the rise of the electro magnetic field. The point I'm trying to make
is that, however rational we may assume ourselves to be, however rational we may assume
modern science to be, it is all really founded on angelic revelation, demonic intercession, and
an extremely mysterious relationship between the human mind and the world of what science
calls inert matter which, from this point of view, is revealed to be not inert at all but alive and
pregnant with purpose for mankind.

The alchemical kingdom of Frederick the Elector, and then there were a series of adumbrations,
of this kind of thinking, many of you may know about freemasonry and the many freemason
revolts in Bohemia and Bavaria throughout the 16th and 17th century. Adam Weishauft and the
illuminati is another effort to do this and even the royal society founded by Newton and Hook
and those people was still an effort to redeem science for the spirit. So, the alchemical spirit
lives on, it never really died, it's just that it has taken peculiar forms in our own day. I

mentioned, I believe, last night that when you enter into nuclear chemistry the most literal
dreams of the profane side of alchemy, the transformation of lead into gold, Has actually been
achieved. It has no economic significance because the instrumentality to do it costs tens of
millions of dollars but nevertheless, yes, in our time, lead had been changed into gold. So, that's
basically what I wanted to say about this. I hope that there are questions and stuff that we can
say about it.

To take you back to the Voynitch manuscript for a minute. There was something about it being
a liturgical manual of some sort, is that your opinion?

Yes. This is kind of a footnote on all of this. Remember I said that Kelly's entre to Dee was that
he had a mysterious book and you can tell from what I've said already, Dee was as big a sucker
for books as I am. So this book, Kelly's story was that he had gone to sleep in the ruins of a
Northumbrian monastery and slept in an open seplicar, a crypt of some sort, and when he
awoke he found beneath him two things, a vial of red powder which he said was the
transmissing powder, a necessary part of the alchemical process, and a book in an unknown
language which he called the Gospel of Saint Dunstable, possibly because this monastery had
been dedicated to Saint Dunstable. Now, Arthur Dee was John Dee's son and he said that, he
became an alchemist in his own right, and he said when he was growing up he remembers that
his father spent many hours puzzling over a book, as he put it, "all covered with hieroglyphics."
But Dee, who elaborated the angelologic language called Enochean, never actually wrote or
discussed the book that he had received from Kelly. It is definitely not written in Enochean.
Enochean, when grammatically analyzed by computers, has a curious relationship to 16th
century English. But when Dee and Kelly traveled to Europe they were talking up Roger Bacon,
who was a 14th century English monk who had dabbled in alchemy, and they claimed to have
Bacon manuscripts and Rudolph became very interested in this and wanted to obtain some of
these Baconian manuscripts. I suspect that what happened is that Dee, by this point, had given
up on deciphering the Gospel of Saint Dunstable and decided that he would palm it off on the
emperor as a Bacon manuscript because he didn't want to give up a real Bacon manuscript
because they were too valuable to him. So for 14,000 gold ducats this thing changed hands and
Kelly and Dee and Ann were able to pay their bills and Rudolph had immense resources because
of his position as emperor and he brought his cryptographers and decipherers on to work on
this Gospel of Saint Dunstable and got nowhere.


Then, when Rudolph died, a mysterious book was numbered among the artifacts of his estate
and I think we can assume that it's this book and one of the interesting things about this book is
it has pages and pages of plant drawings. Over a 150 watercolors of plants, each carefully
labeled, captioned in this unknown language. If you know anything about decipherment, this is
what a decipherer dreams of because if you have a picture of the thing and a caption it doesn't
take too much smarts to figure out what's going on. Nevertheless, this was completely
unhelpful. A third of the manuscript has pseudo astrological material, in other words what
looked like drawings of stars and stellar shells but when carefully analyzed dissolve into
meaninglessness, cannot be associated with anything, and then a third of the manuscript shows
little naked ladies in what can only be described as elaborate plumbing systems and it was
thought at one time that these must be drawings of the humors of the body in the liver, that
these little naked women represented spirits moving inside the human body and then
somebody else's guess was it must show an obscure form of German hydro therapy because,
you know, the Germans, if you've ever been to Baden Baden or Marianbad or these places
where people take the waters, well those places are old, old. And all this stuff is captioned and
there are even tables of contents which again you would think would yield to decipherment
and so when Rudolph died, because of the botanical material in this book, it passed to the court
botanist, a man named Marici and he got nowhere with it.

Then in the early 16th century a great alchemist and polymath, some of whose art we'll see this
evening, was Heinrich Kundrath(sp?), and Heinrich Kundrath was fascinated by artificial
languages and he heard about the Voynitch manuscript and we have a whole batch of letters
from Kundrath to the keepers of the estate of the emperor trying to obtain this manuscript,
which he finally did obtain and then at that point he makes no further mention of it in his
diaries the conclusion being that he, too, could get nowhere with this thing, it just defied
decipherment. Well, in 1619, at the outbreak of the 30 year's war, and this is what I forgot to
mention in my earlier discussion, this episode of the Winter King and Queen is one way of
debating the 30 year's war. It's usually considered to be the moment when a certain personage
was hurled from a third story window in Prague and then fighting broke out in the streets but
really the episode of the Winter King and Queen brought the thing to a head. Well, in 1619, to
avoid being caught up in the 30 year's war, Kundrath decided to take holy orders and become a
Jesuit and so he gave his library, which was compendious, to the monastery he joined which
was a monastery in Southern Italy and there this thing sat until 1906 when a New York rare
book dealer named Alfred Voynitch bought the entire contents of this monastic library and
when he got it all back to New York and cataloged it, it was all very predictable 16th century
theological and alchemical speculation except here was this book in an unknown language and


Voynitch kept it throughout his life and then when he died he gave it to Yale and it is to this day
at the Benikee rare book room at Yale.

In the 1960s the CIA became interested in it because the CIA is in the business of code making
and breaking, a huge amount of energy goes into this. If you know anything about the enigma
project in WWII you know that vast energies go into the making of unbreakable codes and so
they very systematically sought out all examples of encrypted material throughout history and
just lickety-split deciphered it, one after another. All occult and magical codes known to exist in
Europe can be traced back to one person, virtually to one person, to Trithemius, Bishop of
Spawnheim who was the great teacher of Henry Cornelius Agrippa.

All magical codes, if you know the Trithemian method, within a few hours you can get plain
text. The Voynitch manuscript did not yield at all to this method and the CIA formed a working
group that for over ten years would invite scholars in to have a look at this and if you're
interested in this, Marie D'Amperio, who was a great Renaissance scholar, wrote a book called
The Voynitch Manuscript, an Elegant Enigma in which she traces the efforts of the CIA to figure
this thing out and to figure out what it could be.

There the matter rested until about three years ago when, I think his name is Leo Levertov,
some kind of military historian, one of these peculiar people who live for this stuff, he got a
hold of it and he said, and [Inaudible] goes through all the decipherment and there were many
efforts at decipherment, there was ascholar at Yale in the twenties named Brumbra who was a
very respected man who ruined himself by claiming a complete decipherment of the Voynitch
manuscript and, the way the game is played is that you say what your rules for the
decipherment were, you give the rules to a colleague and you give your colleague a page of
text. If he can't translate it with your rules then you are viewed as a deluded and misguided
person and your career goes up in flames. Well, the Brumbraian method for deciphering the
manuscript had to do with confined pools of letters where, it would get you to a pool of five or
six letters but then you could freely choose which one you used and critics of Brumbra
demonstrated that you could make this thing say anything you wanted it to. Brumbra
supported Dee's claim, he claimed that it deciphered out into a Roger Bacon manuscript that
described a series of riots between the students and the black friars in 1385 at Oxford. But
nobody else could make it say that or make it say anything so Brumbra disgraced himself and
ruined his career.

Then there were other efforts at decipherment which I won't bore you with but along comes
Leo Levatov just four years ago and he wrote a book called The Voynitch Manuscript: A
Liturgical Manual for the Catherites and his great breakthrough, if you accept his translation,
and I do, I know people who don't but they don't seem to have read him as carefully as I have, I
think the dude pretty well has it nailed to the barn door. His great breakthrough was to realize
that it's not in code. It is not an encrypted manuscript at all. What it is is it's a synthetic
alphabet, yes, it's an alphabet that, and one of the things that baffled the CIA is was they looted
the libraries of Europe and they could never find another example of what is called Voynitch
script and this is just baffling. How could there be no other example of this script. It appears
that what happened was someone created a synthetic alphabet and then in a mixture of
Medieval, polyglot Flemish with a huge number of loan words from Old French, Middle High
German, and Swedish, wrote down a sacramental manual for the dying in the Catherite sect.

Now, what is the Catherite sect? You're probably familiar with something called the [Inaudible]
crusade. This was not a crusade carried on against the infidel for the recovery of Jerusalem but
rather a series of military actions carried out by the pope against communities in Southern
France in the early 1200s. These people were Catherites. As far as we can tell, and we can't tell
much because we only have descriptions of Catherites by people who were burning them at the
stake, in other words no original Catherite documents survive, we just have what they
screamed out on the rack as they were being put to death by the bishops of the church and this
was a horrific incident in European history. To give you the flavor of it, the second Albajensian
crusade was prosecuted by a general of the pope named Simone De Monforte and his
lieutenants came to him, at a point, and some of you might have visited the city of Carceson in
Southern France which is a walled Medieval city in Southern France, very beautiful, Simone De
Monforte's lieutenants came to him and they said "We have cornered the Catherites at
Carceson but the problem is is that there are 6,000 Catholics within the city walls." And he said
" kill everybody, God will recognize his own." So that was the spirit in which this thing went
forth, and they did, they did.

So, what we do know about the Catherites is that they had a sacrament, the holiest my...well,
first let me tell you a little bit more about them. At first it was thought that they were pretty
much heterodox Christians. They were into nudity and vegetarianism and they sound like early
hippies, as far as we can tell. They got together men and women, they took off their clothes,
they bathed, whether there were orgies or not we don't know, they were vegetarians, and the
one thing that we do know is that they had a sacrament called the consolamentum and the
consolamentum was ritualized vivisection, no, that's not the word, the term escapes me, but

anyway, when you were dying, a fellow Cather would cut your wrists and open your veins in a
warm bath of water and you would die in that state, you did not die a natural death. This was
called the consolamentum. What Leo Levatov is claiming is that the Voynitch manuscript is a
description, a manual, for the prefecti of the Catherite sect telling how to properly carry out the
consolamentum. I see no reason to challenge it. Even with my limited knowledge of German,
once you get the vowel and letter assignments right into this weird manuscript into this weird
language and change it into English alphabetic text you can see that there's enough German
there and then these lone words in Flemish and so forth, it looks to be true.

And what emerges from this, if we accept the Voynitch manuscript as the only primary
document on the Catherite faith, is that this was not a form of heterodox Christianity at all, it is
much more radical then that and this may explain the church's fury with this group of people. It
was a cult of Isis. It can be traced straight back into the mystery religions of [Inaudible] Isis in
Egypt and I have not seen any critical commentary on Levatov's book.

His book was published by this weird press in Rodondo Beach that specializes only in books on
military encryption. Their catalog is a revelation to see, it's amazing, and the book on the
Voynitch manuscript stands out like a sore thumb because most of it is like dictionaries of three
letter words in Swahili and their numerical transforms and stuff like that. So that's the history to
date of the Voynitch manuscript and it's not that askew of our subject because all of this
heterodoxy in Europe blends together.

The presence of Theodore DeBrie as an alchemical printer in Heidleberg may be a clue because
there were survivals of this Catherite faith in the form of a heresy called the brotherhood of the
free spirit. If any of you are familiar with the altarpiece called "The Garden of Earthly Delights"
by Hieronymus Bosch, it's thought that this was created by commission for a brotherhood, a
congregation of the brotherhood of the free spirit and the brotherhood of the free spirit was
always associated with some reason, we don't know why, with printers. Printers seem to be the
profession that the brotherhood favored and, like the Catherites, they practiced vegetarianism,
nudism and gathering together in a ritual bath. So, there is much still to be learned and to be
teased apart in the art history and the history of heterodox thinking in Europe of which alchemy
is seen to be one facet of a faceted gem that includes the brotherhood of the free spirit, early
Freemasonry, Catherites, survivals of Manicheism, Voagamils(sp?) in Yugoslavia, there are
Vogamils Vostrian(?) graves on the Southern coast of Thessolonica and just a whole zoo of
intellectual systems that have been forgotten and overlooked. This what I meant when I said

we will explore the statigraphy of lost thought systems. In some cases we possess quite
complete skeletons, in the case of alchemy, what we possess in the cases of the Vogamils and
the Catherites is almost a foot bone or a tooth or a footprint but someday, with luck, new
textual material will emerge and a new understanding of the role of heterodoxy in the
formation of modern thought will emerge.


The Borne and Clark book on Freemasonry that's just recently been published..I've just about
finished it and this person is a Medieval English historian from Kentucky and I think he's finally
solved...the Freemason history which is a very interesting history because the Masonic
historians themselves have been arguing for a couple hundred years so it's strange that this
Voynitch manuscript should be all of the sudden in the last couple of years resolved because it
seems that this Freemason thing is also resolved.

Yes, you make an interesting point. John Glavis brought me an article yesterday. We're all tied
up now in this Pluto return. I'm not an astrologer but John brought me an article that's talking
about how, I don't know if it's the last time or the time before last, that the Pluto return
occurred is precisely the 1490s, the period that we're talking about when the Corpus
Hermeticum was translated and we are now in a period that is astrologically exactly equivalent
to that period and the Voynitch manuscript appears to have been accepted, I mean I'm willing
to accept it, you mentioned this revelation about the true nature of Freemasonry, and of course
what is going on at the moment that is askew of our subject but tremendously exciting and
relevant to the idea of lost knowledge coming to light, is that this is the golden moment in
Mayan studies.

It is happening right now, day by day, minute by minute, the log jam has been broken. The
Mayan glyphs are being deciphered, no shit, and it has to do with an entirely new approach
that some Russian linguists have taken and if any of you are interested, it will never happen
again so far as I know, there are now, with the Mayan decipherment, no real undeciphered
languages left. The Harapan(sp?) was deciphered a few years ago but really it wasn't that
interesting because we only possess about 6,000 characters in Harapan. But the literature of
the Mayan, when you take not only the hieroglyphic, the stone texts, but when you add in the

ceramic texts, why we have a lot of Mayan material and it is being deciphered at a furious rate.
If you're interested in this, Linda Sheil has written a book called A Forest of Kings and how I do
envy this woman because what she is doing is writing the first history of the Maya in a
thousand years. We're not now dealing in the realm of gods and myths, we're dealing with stuff
like "on the 14th of May, 642, an army from El Charico met an army from Tikal and triumphed
and deposed three flint and placed on the throne..."it's this kind of stuff, real history. The
conceits of Mayan religion and Mayan courtly life are all coming into focus and it's very exciting.
All the people who have tried to make the Maya into some kind of Atlantean civilization should
be running for cover at this point, because the picture that emerges is not as pretty as we might
wish, but, hey, know the truth and the truth will set you free, I would choose truth over illusion
anytime, no matter how damaging it might be to somebody's conceptions of these things.

And if any of you are interested in these subjects, another area where this has occurred is,
some of you may know the book by Michael Chadwick called The Decipherment of Linear Be,
Linear Be is a proto-Minoan language and a linguist at Cambridge named Michael Ventris, a
genius, in the fifties took this language, there was no Rosetta Stone, this is the amazing thing.
You know what I mean by a Rosetta Stone? You see, in the 19th century the great mystery was
how to read the Egyptian hieroglyphs and before they were deciphered the Egyptians were
treated like the Maya and people thought that the secrets of the universe were chiseled on
those obelisks and tombs. Well then a scholar in the grand army of Napoleon Champion, a
soldier found a tablet which had a column of Demotic Greek, a column of another language, I
forget which one, and a column of Egyptian hieroglyphs and they were able to realize that it
was saying the same thing three times and that opened it up for them. But that's like a crib
sheet, it's easy if you have the same text in a known language. But in the case of the Maya and
in the case of Linear Be and in the case of Haropan, there was no Rosetta Stone, well then you
talk about an excruciatingly difficult problem to solve and I'll explain how it was done with the
Maya because it's so neat.

It turns out that Mayan is a rebus language, what does this mean? Do you remember when we
were kids and in comic books there would be these things where it would show a picture of an
eye and then it would show a picture of a saw going through a piece of wood and then it would
show a picture of an ant and then it would show a picture of a red rose. This is a sentence
which says "I saw aunt Rose." But now notice what's going on here. It all depends on puns that
depend on a knowledge of the spoken language. If you lose the sounds of the spoken language
how the hell could you ever tell that a picture of an eye, a saw, an insect and a rose says "I saw
my maternal relative on my mother's side." I mean, it just is impossible, it's absolutely

impossible in that situation to reconstruct meaning unless you have sounds. Well, how do you
recover the sounds of a language dead a thousand years. Well, these Soviet linguists had the
good sense to go and look at living Mayan languages, of which there are 15, living Mayan
languages in the Americas and they discovered one of these dialects where, when you set
Mayan hieroglyphs in front of these people and they named what they saw, meaning came out
of their mouths and that broke the log jam and then you just rev up your computers and use all
the standard tools of modern linguistics and philology and the stuff begins to just pour out,
clear as day, no problem.

So they asked the Mayans?

Yes, they had to go to a Mayan, you're right, good point, it had never occurred to them.
Because always before when showing it to Mayans they would say "what does it mean?"
instead of "what do you see here?" and then what they said what they saw there meaning
came out of their mouths. It was very, very neat. It shows once again the hubris of modern
scientific methods, we tend to dismiss the aboriginal and the primitive. To turn it toward my
own favorite subject, this was the state of modern medicine, nobody would ask the native in
the Amazon basin "what plants do you use for malaria, brain tumors, shrinkage and so on and
so forth, because they were just dismissed as superstitious primitives. It was thought that the
doctrine of signatures was operating. They didn't realize how subtle and how complete human
knowledge systems grow under the care of those to whom it really matters. Is there anything
that needs to be said about this?

The project of the redemption of spirit from matter turned into the project of redeeming the
general society of the time toward a utopian vision. This is working right up to the present.
Millenarianism is still with us, Marxism is the last great Millenarian faith, the belief in the
worker's state. It occupies the same relationship to these alchemical utopias as Heidegarrean
existentialism has to second century Gnosticism. The poetry has gone, the baroque imagery has
been stripped away, but the impulse is still toward a perfect society where each from his ability
according to his needs and means. It lives on. Democracy is also an effort, let us not forget, an
attempt to recapture the style of 5th century Athens and we forget that this was a citystate half
of whose inhabitants were slaves and yet we are so under the spell of the utopian dream that
we continue, and not without important reason, I think, to try to labor toward a just and decent
world where the lion lies down with the lamb and that was, and it remains, the alchemical

...flashbacks of my life...I majored in history in college and the first history teacher that I had
was a wonderful old man who really, now that I look back on it, taught the history of ideas. My
major was involved with politics and all of this kind of thing and it's such a wonderful
experience to suddenly get back to what turned me on to history, it gets me turned on and
opens my mind again, looking at some of these thoughts that I'd just forgotten or suppressed,
put down and said that's bullshit as a traditionally trained scientist and so on opened my eyes
to the fact that we can learn from what's gone on before, the ideas are out there, we just have
to grasp them...and apply them and I, too, am interested in how we make this more meaningful
for the future.

One thing that occurs to me to say, I once, in one of these revelatory dialogs with the logos,
asked the question, "why me, why are you telling me this?" because my, I mean, I was a poor
hippie, I was penniless, I was a traveler, and the answer was instantaneous and it was, "because
you don't believe in anything, because you don't believe in anything" and I think that that's a
very pure position to hold. We're not trying to ensnare you to abandon your Jewishness or your
Presbyterianism or belief, if you believe in something then you have procluded the possibility of
believing in its opposite and you have hence limited your freedom. Everything is to be judged
by its efficacy, by its effectiveness in the real world and I think that I have a horror in all belief
systems, I just don't like them. If somebody tells you he has the answer, flee from this person,
they are obviously some sort of low being who has not recognized the true size and dimension
of the cosmos that we're living in and if you can keep yourself free of encumbering beliefs then
your dialog with the logos can go forward unhindered.

Sometimes when I'm in the trance of psilocybin I will say to the entity, "begin to show me
yourself as you are for yourself, don't give me the scaled down, humanized version, show me
your true nature" and after a few moments of this then I have to raise my hand and say
enough, I can't handle more than that. This goes back to the statement made yesterday or the
day before about that the universe is not only stranger than we suppose, it's stranger than we
can suppose. Therefore, we are given tremendous latitude in what we can think and what we
conceive but if you begin to believe in something then you are pulled down because everything
that you believe has consequences. A perfect example, as some of you may know, when
Mohammed ascended into heaven from the site of what was to become the Mosque of Omar,
from the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, he happened to be on horseback. Now if
you believe that Mohammed ascended to heaven, imagine the theological and hermenutic
problems posed by the horse he was riding. Because it went with him. This is a perfect example
of how intellectual baggage drags us down because belief always contains absurdity. The

ontological status of this horse has troubled Islamic theologians for centuries. If they would just
let go of the whole idea complex they would be liberated from this kind of minutia. Belief kills
the spirit, spirit transcends belief. I wanted to say that.

Then somebody mentioned Bruno and Dee. Since I suggested that you read Giordano Bruno
and the Hermetic Tradition it's ironic that so little time was spent on Bruno, on the other hand, I
recommended that you read the book so you should be well informed about Bruno. For me,
Bruno, we just didn't get into that particular historical episode because I wanted to tell you
about the Rosicrucian enlightenment, but the thing to remember about Bruno was his
discovery about the infinitude of the cosmos and that by an act of unencumbered observation, I
mean how many people had looked at the night sky before Bruno and they had not seen what
he saw, which was infinite space and suns hung like lamps unto the uttermost extremes of
infinity. By an act of pure cognition, he was able to destroy an entire cosmological vision that
had limited and confined the human soul for millennia. That's half of his story. The other half is
that he was burned at the stake for refusing to back down from this. It's a model for us all: trust
your perceptions trust your intuition and then accept the consequences because this is what
existential validity must be.

As far as the relationship between Dee and Bruno, the relationship is that they were both
derivative of the school of magic that can be traced back to Henry Cornelius Agrippa Von
Nettleshine who was another model for Faust. Agrippa wrote De Libro Quatro De Occulta
Philosophia, four books of occult philosophy, and that was the core work for European magic.
All European magic can be traced back to the Agrippan system and Agrippa was the direct
student of the Abbot Trithemius of Spawnheim that we mentioned yesterday as the source of
all the magical codes of the middle ages. If you're interested in a brilliant but fictional treatment
of John Dee and Giordano Bruno, I'd like to recommend a novel to you. It's called Aegypt, it's by
John Crowley, the same gentleman who wrote Little Big which is a wonderful novel about the
magical interface between two worlds. But his book Aegypt, fully half of the book is given over
to a wonderfully rich retelling of the relationship between Bruno and Dee.

Some people have wanted to say that Dee and Bruno actually crossed physical paths in London
but I've looked into it and they missed each other by about two weeks. Bruno was setting sail
for England as Dee was setting sail for France and the Rosacrucian enlightenment episode that I
talked about. Then someone asked about tantra and the contrast between the imaginative
internalized invocation of the anima or the animus, depending on your own sexuality, and that

contrasted with something that actually happens between two people. We didn't talk that
much about the concept of the alchemical wedding, or the chemical marriage is another way of
putting it, but this is the Western resonance to the Eastern idea of tantra and it is the idea that
sexual energy, being the rawest and most accessible energy to the organism, can be channeled
into a higher spirituality.

It's entirely so, the problem is that of all paths this is probably fraught with the greatest
difficulty because sexuality is such a debased coinage in the modern world. In other words, you
have to make your way with great care and great purity of intent into this. In Eastern tantra
that is actually practiced in this physical manner there is usually the admonition is that you
should have no attachment to your tantrica, that the relationship should be entirely given over
to the technical details of this union and of course it has to do with the forestalling of orgasm
and the raising of energy within the organism.

In the chemical marriage, in the alchemical marriage, due honor is given to the importance and
uniqueness of the other person, in other words it isn't the idea of the temple prostitute who
serves as the vessel for this process but there's actually an effort to keep individual indentities
and individual dignity, in some sense, together and this is, the higher up the mountain you go,
the steeper it becomes and when you begin to scale the heights of alchemical or tantric
sexuality the fall back into the nigredo can be shocking indeed so that's just an admonition, it's
not designed to scare you off, it's just to say that in an age as sexually obsessed as our own, you
have to do as the I Ching says, "inquire of the oracle once again if you have purity of intent."

Isn't there also a healing between the two?

Yes, it's a complete alchemical system and the energy is passed between. This is probably the
highest completion that is possible. The ideal of romantic love, and I don't want to digress too
much into this, but the ideal of romantic love was introduced into Europe in the 1400s and
earlier at the Anjovan(sp?) court of Eleanor of Aquatain by troubadours and this troubadour
tradition can, scholarship now reveals pretty convincingly that this is an esoteric Sufi system. It
also occurs in Indian teachers such as Chitania(sp?), who is the guy that the Hare Krishnas go
back to. The radical teaching of Chitania was that you could achieve ecstasy not by sitting in
yoga, but by dancing and singing on street corners. It's now pretty clearly shown that Sufi, the

penetration of Sufi ideas into Bengal was happening at the same time that these Sufi ideas were
coming across from North Africa and into Spain and Southern France. So, it's a tremendously
old and vital tradition but you have to be careful - the romantic impulse is a real double-edged
sword. It has been ever since the early 19th century because, you know, the rise of
romanticism, as that term is normally understood, meaning those movements in art and
literature of the early 19th century, the rise of romanticism was a response to the
dehumanization that was going on at that time. The rise of industrialism and the retreat into
cities more massive than any that had ever been built, did you want to say something?

I wanted to add, the question was about healing, and I think there's a tremendous difference
between Indian and Tibetan tantric systems. You ought to practice in Taoism in terms of single
copulation and dual copulation, in the Taoist system self-healing is of paramount importance
before you can even consider dual copulation. Dual copulation is then begun, then again other
considerations come in, but the Tibetan and Indian systems where Dakinis and various deities
are invoked in the process of their alchemical union, it's really quite different from the Taoist
system which is devoid of beliefs in gods.

That's a good point. You know, yesterday I talked about the alchemical stages. When you have
reached the albedo, the final whitening of these processes, that final whitening is, from a
higher prospective, a new nigredo and you must always build and build again. So you have to be
fairly confident that you have already realized a certain portion of yourself before you embark
upon these tantric double experiments. Because a lot of tantric text reads very vampiratical, I
mean, it's all about expelling the semen and then sucking it back in and it's like an energy war. It
turns into black magic. The losing partners in this deal are just left a withered husk and this is
not a higher completion to be sought for.

You're correct, there are supposedly, whether they're myths or documented stories, about a
Chinese Empress who caused the deaths of more than a thousand men because of her

And it was sexual in nature?


It was sexual in nature.

Just a couple of other points here. The gentleman here who had nothing to comment or
wanted to sit it out reminded me, since we were talking about the Valentinian system this
morning, my favorite archon, besides Sophia who's so interesting because of the little story
about how she made the universe, but the 12th archon in the Gnostic system is a unique entity,
I don't know of another religious system that has this notion. The 12th archon in the
Valentinian system is called The Watcher. That's all he does. He does not put into the system at
all but is the witness and somehow this creates a validating dimension that is very important. I
just want to affirm that the watcher is a very strong platform on which to stand. I mean, would
that I could learn to keep my mouth shut.

Would that we all could. So, the watcher is a good archon to keep active on your inner altar.

So, then, the future occurs three times on the list. We don't have a lot of time, but what I would
like to say about it this morning is, if you extrapolate all that has been said here then you
should see that, remember how I said that one view of alchemy is that the alchemist intervened
in natural process in the role of a catalyst. For those of you who aren't chemists, a catalyst is
something that causes a chemical reaction that is going on anyway to precede at a faster rate
but the catalyst is not consumed in this process, it simply accelerates it. And if we think of
nature as a great alchemical furnace that continuously reproduces and brings forth wonders,
then must it not be that humanity is the yeast of the gain alchemical rarefaction and that
human history is the process of catalyzing the alchemical condensation. If we look back into
nature, before the advent of speaking and writing human beings in the last 15,000 years, what
we see are very leisurely processes. The speciation of a single plant from another can occupy 50
or 60 thousand years, it never happens more quickly than that. And the grinding down of
glaciers from the poles, these are processes that take hundreds and thousands of years.

With the advent of human beings, an entirely new ontos of being, an entirely new category of
becoming is introduced into the entire cosmos, as far as we know, because we cannot verify
that there are other self-reflecting beings in the universe and this new ontos of becoming is
what I call epigenetic, as opposed to genetic. All other change in the living world, in the world
of bios, of zoa, occurs through genetic change, random modification of the genome which is

then subject to random selection. But with the advent of speech and writing, epigenetic, means
outside of genetics, epigenetic processes become possible and time accelerates. One way of
thinking about what is happening in this cosmos is that it is a gradual conquest of
dimensionality by becoming, or process, we hardly have a word inclusive enough.

The earliest forms of life were probably slimes on certain kinds of clays, self-replicating
molecular systems and then certain portions of this chemistry became light sensitive and then
there was the sense of the division of light and darkness which generated the notion of here
and there on some tremendously basic level within these early organisms. Once you have the
concept of here and there, motility, the ability to move, the cilia that dot the surface of
protozans and stuff like this are elaborated and a new dimension enters the picture, the
dimension of time, because notice that a journey from here to there is a journey from now to
then. And then, as more refined perceptual apparatus arose, and more refined systems of
moving animal bodies arose, a steady conquest of dimensionality occurred. The movement of
animals onto the land and so forth.

Well then, at the advent of memory, and memory must be mediated by language except at a
very crude, instinctual level, memory is a time binding function. It's a way of somehow taking
the past and calling up it's essential properties so that they are co-present with the given
moment of experience. It's one thing at the level of the song and dance of pre-literate peoples
but once you begin to chisel stone and write books then you're into the epigenetic domain in a
big way. And once you cross the threshold into the world of electronic media and that sort of
thing, once you achieve powered flight, once you can hurl instruments outside of the solar
system, these are time binding functions and the alchemical intent, recall, was to accelerate
nature's intent toward perfection and the alchemists all believed that nature was growing
toward a state of unity and perfection, that given millions and millions of years, everything
would turn to gold, everything would find its way toward the Platonian one.

So, now we live in a world that appears to be on the brink of its own death or extinction and the
reason we make that assumption is that our bridges are burning behind us. We see no way back
to the world of the hunting and gathering pastoralists of the high Paleolithic of the Saharan
grasslands. We see no way back to the Gothic piety of Europe with over 30 million people in it.
Our bridges are burning and our religions, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, the major Western
religions persistently insist that we are caught in a tightening spiral of ever increasing speed
that is carrying us toward an unimaginable confrontation with something which they call God,

the second coming, the messiah, you name it. As cool-headed a rationalist as Albert Toynbee,
when he sat down to write a study of history, he finally had to face the question, "what is
history for?" And the best he could come up with is "history must be about the entry of God
into the domain of three-dimensional space."

Well, we don't know what God is, let's not call it God, let's call it the philosopher's stone, let's
call it the Sophic Hydrolith, and I believe that the chaos of our world, the apocalyptic intuition
that informs our religions and our dreams is because ahead of us in time, and now not that far
ahead of us in time, is something, taking a page from the mathematical concern called
dynamics, we can call an attractor. The attractor lies ahead of us in time. The universal process
is not driven by a downward cascade of Cartesian causuistry that's the scientific notion and it
leads to a universe of entropy and heat death millions of years in the future but what we see
around us is a continuing and accelerating complexification as human beings, machines,
ecosystems, the solar system itself is beginning to knit itself into a tighter and tighter
organization. I believe that alchemy provides the best metaphors for understanding this. Nature
is the great alchemist par excellence and we, as its minions through history, are accelerating the
condensation of being toward the unimaginable so that in my system, my way of thinking,
there's ultimately a symmetry break with ordinary history and I call it all kinds of different
things, but here this morning, the transcendent other.

The transcendent other casts an enormous shadow across the lower dimensional landscape of
time. The stirring of the earliest life forms in the Devonian seas caught the call and every step
that has been taken since then has been ever quicker, ever quicker toward the transcendental
other, it beckons us and history is haunted by this thing. History is the shock wave of
eschatology. History is a process that lasts, let's be generous, 25,000 years, the wink of an eye
in geological time, and in that 25,000 years religious rise and fall, governmental systems,
teachers come and go and there is a sense of being caught in a whirlpool that is spinning us
toward fusion with the unimaginable. This is why the skies of Earth are haunted by flying
saucers, they aren't coming from other solar systems, they are scintillas, remember this
alchemical term - sparks - they are scintillas being thrown off the alchemical quintessence
which lies like a great attractor at the end of time and the purpose of science and techni and
electronic media and information transfer and all of this stuff is to knit us together, to dissolve
our boundaries and to bring us to a point of singularity where language fails, where we lean
over meanings' edge and feel the dizziness of things unsaid.


And this lies now, I believe, within our lifetimes, within the lifetimes of most of us, this is
actually going to break through. I'm like one of those people carrying a sign that says "repent
for the end is near." It's as nutty a position as you can possibly hold. That's why I suspect it has
a reasonable chance of being dead on. So, that is the point of talking about alchemy and this
melding, the production of the quintessent and all that. It is because we are a gnat's eyelash
away from a full confrontation with the transcendent other. Our dreams are haunted by it, our
reveries are filled with it. If we take a psychedelic drug, it's revealed before us in all its splendor.
This is the force that is pulling us inexorably toward completion.

I remember once in a psilocybin trance I expressed concern about the state of the world and
the nous spoke, the logos spoke, and it said "no big deal, this is what it's like when a species
prepares to depart for the stars."

This is the, we are in the birth canal of a planetary birthing. And as you know, if you come upon
a birth in progress, you would never dream that this is the culmination of a natural process. It
looks like a catastrophe of some sort. There is moaning and groaning and screaming and
thrashing and blood is being shed and there is a feeling that the walls are closing in and yet it is
inscripted into each of us as a microcosmic reflection of the completion of human history. And
not only human history, because we are simply the hands and eyes of all life, all process on this

The Gnostics believe that the Earth is like an egg and that a moment will come in which the egg
must be split asunder. I love to quote the Grateful Dead, "you can't go back and you can't stand
still. If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will." That is what we are being funnelled
toward, that is the message of alchemy. That is the quintessence of the human enterprise, the
biological enterprise. I like to recall the Irish toast "may you be alive at the end of the world."
And we have a real crack at it. It's not a pessimistic vision. It's the most optimistic vision that
one can suppose and I think that's where I'd like to leave it this morning.


Psilocybin and the Sands of Time by Terence McKenna

TM: ... conscious development of conscious alternatives. But it was not until the Amazon that I
saw that this was possible in a way that was accessible to me. So then I concentrated on those
people, those chemical families, and that then became the compass for all the work that I've
done since then. And I regard the degree more or less as a joke because it was self-directed
study. They don't really ... there is no degree is shamanism. But my interested was basically one
in the phenomenology of religious experience, religious traditions world-wide, and primitive
people against a background of tropical nature, and stumbled onto the mushroom in the
jungles of Columbia in 1971, and was not even particularly interested in mushrooms at the
time. We were looking for a less well-understood drug that is still not discussed much in the
literature that exists is a very circumscribed area among three indian tribes. And we went into
the jungle to stay at a mission that served these indians, and the priest at this mission had
cleared pasture and brought in white cows, and there were many many of these mushrooms.
And as soon as we started experimenting with them, I realized that what I'd been told about
psilocybin (which was that it was analogous to LSD, but simply required a larger amount for the
effect to be present) was a complete simplification of the issue, and actually then psilocybin
became the focus of my interest and by extrapolation the other tryptamine related
hallucinogens, and a great dream of mine and my brother's as well was that the mushroom be
made somehow accessible to people so that they may judge for themselves the difference. We
worked with this over a number of years. In 1975 we succeeded in growing it by a method that
had previously been used only in the laboratory in commercial grocery store mushrooms to
study their genetics, but it turned out to be perfectly adapted for growing this mushroom.
Within a matter of months we had written 'Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Growers Guide',
and the information was moving out into society. But more important from our point of view
was that the mushroom was again accessible to us so that we had psilocybin in a form that was
certified pure by mother nature. That initiated the 2nd phase of our work with these drugs,
which has carried us up to the present day. It's basically a project of taking the drugs, calling
attention to the differences, the uniqueness of the state, and trying to attract other people's
attention to it because I have, we have, a very deep intuition of its importance for the cultural
predicament for mankind generally. This is how we come to where we are today.

Q: You just mentioned that the mushroom is really important for our country right now. You
perceive yourself as an [...] to bring into our culture a new element [...] and easy way to reach
altered stated of consciousness. What can we learn from these experiences?

TM: Well, the first thing that we can learn is that they exist. In other words, that -- perhaps is a
truism in the 80's -- but at one point it was thought that there were two states of
consciousness: awake and asleep. Now there is a gamut of these states but I still don't believe
that the people who deal with consciousness realize how mutable consciousness really is. There
is a prejudice against the use of drugs because there is an inherent dualism built into western
thought were people value the experience if it is endogenously produced, produced through
ordeal or personality or dieting. But is undervalued if it comes from drugs. This has, in my
opinion, held back the western development of understanding consciousness because quite
simply these states, I do not believe, are accessible by any means other than drugs.

And this is heresy to a number of people, but the evidence that I lay in favor of that contention
is the history of human art and literature and music and painting, is surprisingly empty of the
motifs which exist in the tryptamine induced ecstasy. And always when I speak of hallucinogens
I'm speaking of this limited family of drugs -- not LSD or ketamine or mescaline -- but psilocybin
and DMT and combinational drugs which utilize strategies for making that effect noticeable. My
career is to point at this place in nature which I have stumbled upon and to say 'What is this?,
What do you make of this? What do you the physicist, you the psychologist, you the after-death
researcher, what do you make of this place?' Even the most sophisticated consciousness
researchers tend to hurry over drugs or to focus on one drug to the exclusion of others, and yet
psilocybin has not received this kind of attention and treatment. And why that is I'm not sure. I
think that the element of terror involved in doing it, the fact that it does not bathe your ego in a
cloud of certitude or assurance that everything is going to be fine. It is much more cut and dry
than that. It's a challenge, it is a .. when you are out in the "billows" as I call it -- because it
seems to come in in waves like sets of billows -- when you're out in the billows you are against
the power of mind -- up against the power of mind -- to such a degree that you know that the
entire enterprise hangs in the balance, but no matter how much you've told about dosage and
this kind of thing, that the mind actually holds the key to life and death, and that those parts of
your control board which are normally masked from you are suddenly unmasked and the
buttons are there for you to manipulate to the degree that you understand them. There is an
element of risk. I never tell people that there isn't. But I think the risk is worth it, because I think
these bizarre dimensions of beauty and information are actually ... it is an intimation of these
things that give human history its coherency. In other words, this is not a peripheral issue to the
general phenomenon of human becoming in time. It is actually because the evolution of the
human species is the evolution of the human mind, these consciousness expanding agents
actually anticipate an end state in the evolution of the human mind, and so they cast enormous
reflection back over the historical landscape. It is they that generate religions and physics and
messianic careers and outbreaks of great psychic accomplishment and disgrace. Until we

understand this, until we understand that there is a teleological object at the end of human
history, and that it can be known, we will continue to live the kind of limited intellectual
existence that has characterized that last 500 years or so of western development. Psilocybin
tryptamine, is in my opinion the means to eliminating the future by becoming cognizant of the
architecture of eternity, which is modulating time and causing history, essentially.

Q: How do you perceive in this context the future of mankind and the human mind?

TM: I've said many times, human history is a lunge across 15 or 20 thousand years of time from
the primitive stone chipping primate to that creature which will walk into a trans-dimensional
vehicle and leave the solar system and human history and the concerns of the human monkey
far behind. This may take a thousand generations of people that as biological fact, as an
emergent process of planetary significance, that is only a microcosm -- I mean a microsecond of
cosmic time. The immediate future of man lies in the imagination and it's seeking the
dimension where the imagination can be expressed. The present cultural crisis on the surface of
the planet is caused by the fact that this is not a fitting theater for the exercise of the
imagination. It wrecks the planet. The planet has its own epistemic dynamics, which are not the
dynamics of imagination. In space -- the physical space that surrounds the planet -- modalities
of imagination will be the limiting cases of what man can be done.

So I see man becoming an artist and an engineer. In other words, flowing into our ideas,
perhaps more even than we dare to suspect. In other words, a possible end state of that kind of
technical evolution would be the interiorization of the body -- of the human body, the
individual body -- and the exteriorization of the soul. And this seems to me to be what the
recovery from Adam's fall, allegorically, is getting at: that the soul must be made manifest and
eternal, and the body must be incorporealized so that it is a freely commanded object in the
imagination. What I mean by that is something like what William Butler Yeates is getting at in
his poem 'Sailing to Byzantium' where he speaks of the artifice of eternity, and talks about how
beyond death he would hope to be an enameled golden bird singing sweet songs to the lords
and ladies of Byzantium. In other words, it's the image of the human body become an
indestructible cybernetic object, and yet within that indestructible cybernetic object there is a
holographic transform of the body, and it is released into the dream. In other words, the after
death state is actually the compass of human history. That we are attempting to undergo a
complete death of the species, and as we struggle with this concrescence of amatos there are
problems like nuclear stockpiles and all these things arise because the message that we're

trying to read is the message we most fear to hear, which is that you must die to experience
eternal life essentially. What this death that we're talking about is, is an understanding that the
human, the docine, the being of human beings, desires to be released into the imagination. And
until we confront death with the attitude that it is the after death state that needs to enter
history there will be a great deal of anxiety. It's like a birth, you know, a birth is a death.
Everything you treasure and believe in and love and relate to is destroyed for you when you
leave the womb. You are launched into another modality, a modality that you would not
perhaps have chosen but that you cannot do anything about. So I think these drugs anticipate,
because I think that time is the moving image of eternity as Plato said, and these drugs place
you outside of time. Now the mechanism of how that's done you can evoke Bell's theorem or
just call it pure magic, but it does happen in the here and now -- it is accessible, it is not
something remote from us. But somehow the clammer of the modern world, and in search for
answers people have feared to place themselves on the line and to actually wrestle with life
and death out there in those strange bardo like dimensions, not realizing that there is no other
way to win true knowledge, I mean it cannot be so easily come by. There is no knowledge
without risk-taking, and I see the human future emerging along the lines that the mushroom
visions has insisted upon: the proliferation of electronic media, the desification of information,
the breaking down of consensus reality, the breakdown of a coherent dogma at the center of
physics. All these things indicate that it is slowly becoming understood that the modality of
being is the modality of mind. Once that realization is placed in the center of someone thinking
about the world, the importance of these drugs will seem to be paramount. Once a culture
places that understanding in the center of its model of the world, these drugs will then point
the way and we will be much closer to the end of history that I think we all desire consciously or
unconsciously. A cutting of the gordian knot, and a release of the human species and individual
into the dream, basically. Primitive people, meaning preliterate people, they just have
circumvented the entire process of history. They have leapfrogged over us. They are already in
the dream. They have accepted the drug on its own terms and assimilated it and live with it.
The problem with that, for them and for us, is that we are destroying their world. Our
intellectual equipment is such that we can never have that naive epistemological approach to
these phenomena because we know about techne, we know that energy can be manipulated to
achieve effects. So it isn't enough for us to try to recreate the shamanism of preliterate people.
We have to go into the shaman space with a priori categories of Kant, with the adedic reduction
of Lichtenstien, with the ideas of [???] and Whitehead -- all the intellectual equipment of our
culture must be carried with us into that space to attempt to map it in a way that will be
relevant for us and that will point the way toward a shortening of this period of shock, and the
accumulating shock wave, like the bow shock of ionized particles or energetic particles meeting
the magnetic field of a planet. That's what the chaos at the end of history is.


Q: Were you just talking about the Bell Theorem?

TM: No, I'm talking about a shock wave which precedes eschatology and is modern times,
basically. It's been increasing throughout history, but as we grow closer to this moment where
the human mind will evolve into hyperspace the confusion, the amount of contradiction, the
amount of queue it's called in engineering -- just the amount of vibration the system is
increasing to the point where it seems like the system is about to fly to pieces. This signals to
me that the onset of the primal crisis, that when we've gone through it we will then live in this
realm of altered understanding that psilocybin and these drugs anticipate. It isn't a coincidence
that they anticipate them. It is, in fact, what eschatological time is, is what they reveal. That's
why the cultures we find using them are eschatological and historical cultures.

Q: What is the Bell Theorem?

TM: The Bell Theorem is simply an interpretation of an experiment in quantum mechanics

which seems to suggest that information is non-local. In other words, that everything about
everywhere can be known here and now because somehow all information is cotangent to
every point in the matrix. I don't pretend to have the background to judge the Bell Theorem.
What I would say about it is if it isn't true, something like it must be true to account for the
informational content of these drug experiences. Just take a simple behaviorist model: what is
in your head, if behaviorists and reductionists and evolutionists are correct, what is in you head
should be very adapted to the hear and now. It should be efficacious information that bears on
your survival. Instead what we find when we take these drugs is a density of information, and
alieness of information, an inapplicability of information to the human condition that suggests
that information is available with no bearing on the life of the individual or the success of his
evolutionary strategy. I just cannot believe that these things are built into the human psyche. I
have, as I said I was involved in Jungian ideas and those archetypes and those archetypal
processes are not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the thing which, for want of a better
word, we call the alien or the extraterrestrial. The thing which comes out of the drug
experience that is un-englishable.Beautiful, but so bizarre that it seems to exceed human

Q: Some people talk about entities.


TM: Yes, it can present itself as an entity. It can present itself in a number of different ways. It is
the central mystery of our age. We are so alienated... let me restart that. The relationship of
intellectuals alive today who are familiar with the state of modern science and that sort of
thing, to a question like the existence of extraterrestrials is approximately in the same place or
degree of closure as the relationship of 15th and 16th century intellectuals to the real
properties of matter. In other words they only had a tenuous grip on the real properties of
matter. Consequently alchemy could exist, could project the hopes of human psychic
transformation onto inert matter because so little was known about the real nature of matter
that it seemed a reasonable place to expect these kinds of things to happen. The present state
of thought today is that it's highly likely that there are extraterrestrials somewhere out among
the stars. The state of our development of out chemistry, astrophysics, linguistics, etc, etc,
makes it reasonable for us as moderns to expect that. So then consequently we go into our
heads and there seems to be the extraterrestrial. It may be a true extraterrestrial, but it is odd
that it is hidden itself in the place where we expect it to find it. This causes me to assume that
actually it's far more profound than an extraterrestrial. It's something which to gain our
confidence is disguised as an extraterrestrial because it's real nature is so much more
devastating than that in which it insinuates itself into our lives so that we can dream of a
hegemony of organized intelligence out in the galaxy that we will relate to and be assimilated
into. What I think is going on is that actually the most intelligent live form on the planet is not
man and his institutions, it is the over-mind of the human species, which is a diffuse organism
of technical artifacts like computers and information transfer and retrieval systems, and human
beings. But human institutions are like myths woven by the individual human cells that make up
society. The real controlling modality on the planet is never visible, and it is this group mind. It
controls the release of ideas into history by designating certain people as geniuses. There's a
certain kind of imbalance, a certain kind of religion will arise to collapse that imbalance if
technical advancement is outstripping the evolution of ethics. A religion can step in to freeze
these developments so one can catch up with the other. The whole consciousness movement
that has evolved over the past 20 years is an attempt to map, to verify, and to open a dialog
with this thing which is the other, we call it The Other, we call it The Alien, but it is actually the
over-mind of the species. Yet it seeks this dialog. It has been waiting all these millennia for us to
essentially come to a point of intellectual maturity where we did not then require messiahs,
religions, and these various crude interventions into the human experience which keep us from
destroying ourselves.

Q: This is also what Jung called the collective unconscious.


TM: Right. But he painted it as a very passive kind of thing. More like a data bank, or a place
where all myths and all memories were. I think of it as a god, a kind of god, and I think it's active
in three dimensional space. It can be active in something as personalistic and circumscribed as a
string of coincidences which we experience which seem to be turning your life in a certain
direction that you may not have expected. Or it can be active in something like the world-wide
phenomenon of flying saucers. Flying saucers are nothing more than miracles. They occur
essentially to bedevil science, because science is a human institution that has arisen in the last
500 years that is the dreams of displacing the over-mind without ever realizing that it exists.
Science dreams of this place of preeminence. But science creates alienation, species survival
problems, all of these things. Now then the over-mind, which can be thought of as a cultural
thermostat, it clicks on when the clash of contradiction between the ethics of a society and
some other institution (in this case science) becomes too great. This governing device clicks on
and it begins producing those events most destructive to the institution that is seeking
preeminence -- in this case science. So the inexplicability of the flying saucer phenomenon is it's
central reason for being, and all the effort to reduce it to something -- metal ships from far
away or anything else -- is due to failure because its very reason for being is to undermine those
kind of ontological systems. Why we're talking about this is because psilocybin makes, inducts
you into the flying saucer experience. In other words, a metaphor for it would be to say that
psilocybin is a means of triggering the so-called abduction experience, or the close encounter of
the third kind. Once you realize that, once you've satisfied yourself that that's true, a number of
experimental avenues are opened up. A number of different approaches to what's going on are
suggested. Here we have alien entities eager to transmit information, eager to carry on a
gnoetic dialog, and we seem to be ignoring the opportunity because our categories mitigate
against us correctly appreciating it.

Q: Are these entities coming from outer space, or are they more part of us?

TM: It's impossible to tell. This is the game that you must play with them is through dialog
trying to figure out if this is the previously unseen human psyche, or whether it is actually a
thing coming from the outside. It is not an easy thing to decide because we are so alienated
from self that we don't really know what it would be.

Q: So it's not important to know the context, it's more important to know the content.


TM: The content is very interesting because even if we were somehow to verify that Bell's nonlocality theorem applied and that these were real entities around a real sun somewhere in the
universe, it would make them no more or less real. In other words, it's a hangup to demand
that they appear in three dimensional space. I always, I have this hangup so I don't put it down.
I always think of the apostle Thomas because you'll recall Thomas was not present when Christ
returned after... when he rose from the grave he appeared to the apostles in the upper room,
and Thomas was not present. Then later he was there, and the apostles said "listen, the master
was here and it was wonderful" and he said you people have been smoking too many little
brown cigarettes that's preposterous. And at that point Christ walked in, and he said, he said
"Thomas, come put your hand into the wound so that you'll believe." And so he did and so he
believed. Well, the moral of the story as I read it is Thomas was the doubter, consequently
Thomas was the only one who was allowed to touch the resurrection body. It was because he
doubted that he was [????] to this position of preeminence. I'm like that. I would like to touch
the incorporeal body. I would like to call the saucer down and observe all of its workings. But
this is a spiritual aspiration that cannot be advanced by any human technique or activity. This is
just something you pray for. In the meantime, the job is to map it and describe it and explore it
and try to direct the attention other people more intelligent than myself to this astonishing fact
really. I mean, I am troubled by the fact that so many strange claims are made today, so many
forms of aliens and channeling and voices in the head. When I began all of this ten years ago I
was afraid to speak because I sounded mad, even to myself, and I sounded like a voice in the
wilderness. Today the situation has changed to the point where I can barely make myself heard
amidst the clamor of people who have various entities from Atlantis, beyond the grave, and
Zeta Reticuli, and what have you clamoring to be heard. So I take it on faith and I ask you to
take it on faith that I am somewhat more objective, somewhat more interested in hard facts
than these other chanellers. I would like people to take a look at this phenomenon and then tell
me what they think. It involves risk: people fear to do it -- careers are placed on the line. It is
not easy to make a career out of taking psychedelic drugs. It is not a thing which mixes well
with the politics of any institution, a university or research institution. Perhaps this is why
shamans are the primary sources of information about it.

Q: [???], are you a shaman?

Q: Are you an exploring shaman?


TM: I am an exploring shaman. I wouldn't claim to be a shaman but I think that anyone who
takes these things and goes out and tries to navigate through and make maps and bring back
data is a shaman for sure.

Q: Do you want everyone to take this drug?

TM: No, I don't think so. I think it's very dangerous. I do not tell people that is it safe because I
don't have the faith that it's safe. I know what the pharmacological literature says, and it says
that it's safe. That at the doses where these effects occur there can't possibly be a problem. But
this seems to me to be the niavete of materialism. We shouldn't be in a hurry to believe them
even though it might make us more comfortable to do so. In other words, it's saying the drug
may not be toxic, but you may be self-toxic and you may discover this in the drug experience.
So you have to hone yourself and be clean and you never know you're clean enough until it's
too late because each journey into that dimension is a total existential commitment, and the
element of fear is always there. I mentioned this this morning: that the fear validates it. I'm not
... I think it's fine to take drugs for pleasure but it should be labeled as taking drugs for pleasure.
The high doses of psilocybin that are necessary to elicit entry into these places, it requires as it
said in Hamlet you must screw your courage to the sticking place.

Q: You mentioned earlier about mankind evolving towards a teleological goal. Would you
comment on that?

TM: Well, I don't think that there is a final goal at the end of history, but speaking relative to the
history of the past 4 or 5 thousand years, I think that the goal is, as I said, to invert the
relationship of body and soul. So that the body becomes an image in the imagination and the
soul becomes an exteriorized, solid-state piece of circuitry which maintains everything else in
stasis. I'm not sure if people even realize what I'm picturing in my mind when I say this, but I
think that the destiny of man and what man will make and be his destiny just because of how
we are, is released into the imagination. This is what all our after death scenarios say, whether
they are true or not, and they may be true. This is what poetry aspires to, art aspires to, it's
releasing the imagination. We are creatures of the dream, and once this is articulated with
sufficient clarity -- and it's happening now, but I think the work we do with these drugs, we are
the earliest pioneers in what over the next hundred years will lead to an understanding of

consciousness almost as a thing apart from the monkey body and brain. We are consciousness.
We may not always be monkeys. We fear the dehumanizing effect of so many computers and
emotions, euphoric emotions not related to sex and all these things. We fear them. We say
we're moving further and further from nature and deeper and deeper into our own psyche. But
this is a dualism: out psyche is nature and we cannot move away from nature by exploring
these places. So I believe that the technological re-creation of the after-death state is what
history pushes toward. That means a kind of eternal existence where there is an ocean of mind
into which one can dissolve and reform from, but there is also the self related to the body
image, but in the imagination. So that we each would become, in a sense, everyone. I would
live at Versailles and you might live at the Taj Mahal, and someone else might live at
Buckingham Palace. But what you would see, if there were an exterior observer, what you
would see is only that man had become a coral reef of circuitry in space and on the planetary
surface. This is a very extreme view of the history of man because it's essentially gnostic. It says
we are now what we yearn to be and are destined to be. We are not ... I don't see history as the
process of accepting and coming to terms with monkey-hood. I see that it will inevitably seek to
transform and transcend monkey-hood. This will be very frightening. Imagine even a 15th
century person were to be in this room with us and the value systems, the clash of assumptions
about what is important and what is unimportant, and this will be a much more intense change.
Whether it is good or bad rests on a question that I have no answer for, and the question is: is
man good? This, I maintain, is the central thing to dig at and we cannot know and there's
evidence pro and con. I have the faith that man is good, so I don't fear this future. But if
someone had a doubt, even a small doubt about that, then they would be repelled by this. I
take all these movements which want zero sum growth and reject technology, reject space
colonization, reject drug experimentation as artificial -- these people would be very alarmed by
this kind of a point of view. They do not seem to realize that the momentum toward this kind of
thing is now so great in terms of human culture and that sort of thing that there can be no
turning back. We are either going to change into this cybernetic hyper-dimensional
hallucinogenic angel, or we are going to destroy ourselves. The opportunity for us to be happy
hunters and gatherers integrated into the balance of nature -- that fell away 15,000 years ago
and cannot be recaptured. Gerard O'Neil made an answer to this very objection: he said that
the earth is the cradle of mankind, there is no question about that, but you do not remain in
the cradle forever. This is a birth crisis that we're going through. For the entirety of human
history has been the story the monkey becoming the flying saucer, and it is taking [snaps
fingers] just that long in geological time, but we for some strange reason, happen to be living
through the final moments of that process right now and it is a turbulent, chaotic,
multidimensional metamorphosis that is -- there's never been anything like it on this planet
before. It's absolutely astonishing information which was locked for [????] of time into the DNA
of plants and animals passed through the hand and articulate voice of man been able to

bootstrap itself out of the DNA and into these culturally validated, rapidly operating,
electromagnetic codes and languages, and this is allowing its development, its evolution, to
proceed at a rate so fast that the transformation is taking place essentially in our lifetime.
Psilocybin is central to this because psilocybin casts a spotlight into the darkness into which we
are moving and shows that this is what lies there. It is the human soul, essentially, the over-soul
of mankind calling history toward itself across the dimensions. It's taking only a moment, on the
other hand it's taking 20,000 years, and it is the great great adventure of becoming. We are
very very privileges to be in this final ticking out of the last seconds of the 3rd act.

Q: Do you mind telling us about the fact that DMT is located in the human brain?

TM: Well, I think that puts in some sense a strong piece of evidence for the argument that I've
been making. Not only is DMT endogenous in the brain but beta-Carbolines of the sort that
occur in Ayahuasca are endogenous in the brain as well. These things, as I mentioned this
morning, the shift of a single atom on the ring structure of one of these molecules can cause a
compound to go from inert to highly active. Well that means, then, that it's probably very
reasonable to say that we are close to shifting the level of endogenous hallucinogens in our
head, we are probably only a one gene mutation away from that happening. If you know how
biological evolution works, it isn't that a change -- a mutation -- occurs and the mutation is
found to be better adapted that the previous form, and hence the mutation dominates. That is
not the way evolution works. The way it works is you have the normal expression in a genome
type in a population, and then you have mutations being thrown up all the time. They are
usually quenched except in the situation where the environment shifts so that new selective
pressures are operating in the environment. When new selective pressures begin to operate, a
gene that was previously without consequence may suddenly have immense consequences. So
that every member of the population that you're looking at that has that gene suddenly is in a
much more advantageous position to advance their evolutionary strategy. I think that certainly
modern existence has changed the selective pressures on the human genome and now it is
people who are far out -- that's simply a gloss -- because the people who are far out who are
gaining advantage in the evolutionary jostling for efficacious strategies. You're right, Frank, this
is happening on the hardware level -- on the level of endogenous tryptamines and that sort of
thing. I think schizophrenia, is essentially in a way, a disease of modern times. It's always
existed, of course, but the incidence of it and the incidence of schizoid -- not schizophrenic -personalities and types is because the modalities of evolutionary selection are shifting. If you
think of a rainforest that has been above water 200 million years, all evolutionary niches have
become occupied -- everything is at steady state. There is not going to be any dramatic

radiation of a new species because everything has been worked out and the energy flows are so
tight, nothing can gain a leg up on that situation. But if you clear 1000 acres or forest and
reduce it to rubble, essentially open land, then what are called 'invader species' come in there
and they very quickly gain dominance where in the jungle at steady state you never see those
plant. You never see weedy annual heavily seeing plants in the jungle. The jungle strategy is for
enormous plants which produce small numbers of seeds. This is, again, an analogy to the
modern situation that modernity is a desert -- we are jungle monkeys. Some new evolutionary
selective pressures are coming to bear upon the human situation. New ideas are coming into
the fore. Psilocybin is a selective filter for this. The wish to go to space is a selective filter for
this. Just the wish to know your own mind is selective filter for this. This is part of the picture.
This is what's happening, it's inevitable. It's a very good thing, I think. If you have faith that
man's good, and I follow the renaissance Platonists on that. I think man MUST be the measure
of all things. What else could possibly serve with certainty? That's all I'd say about that.

Q: You stated earlier that psilocybin is coming from outer space or that there's a possibility that
the mushroom is.

TM: There's a possibility of that. Fred Hoyle and an associate of his have come to my aid on this
saying that spore-bearing lifeforms -- because spores have the capacity to survive in the
conditions of outer space -- that spore-bearing lifeforms may over truly large scales of time
percolate out through the galaxy and serve as a basis for the evolution of life on various
planets, or insert themselves into already existing planetary ecologies and insert themselves
there. I don't -- on these matters of specific facts, like is the mushroom an extraterrestrial and
that sort of thing, I haven't the faintest idea. The mushroom itself is such a mercurial, elusive,
zen sort of personality that I never believe a word it says. I simply entertain its notions and try
and sort through them. I've found that to be the most enriching approach to it. To know that
the option of believing that is there on hard evidence is very exhilarating. As to what is really
going on, the mushroom assures me that I haven't got even the faintest grip on what is really
going on. But something is going on.

Q: What do you think is evil? Can these mushrooms be misused?


TM: Well, I think anything can be misused. Most evil is trivial and if I could speak off the top of
my head: the only evil that associates itself with mushrooms is taking too little. In other words,
evil is ... there is a word I want -- it isn't 'twiddle' but something like that. Evil is when you play
at things, not in play in the Hindu cosmic sense but where you fiddle with things you muck with
things because you don't want to get your feet wet. You want to be able to say you've done
these things but you never want to really place your validity on the line. I am amazed at the
number of people who claim familiarity with psychedelic drugs who when you actually question
them closely it's very clear that they have a sub-threshold dose, even if they've taken 50 or 100
times. They have managed through low doses and strong defenses to always keep the daemon
at bay and they don't know what they're talking about. You must take a sufficiently large dose
so that you enter into these places. Not to knock anyone him personally because he's a very
nice man, but as an example: Roland Fisher, who's work you may know, I talked to him and he's
given psilocybin, he says, to 15,000 people at NIMH. Now he is retired to Mayorka. And I said to
him, I said 'Roland, what do you make of it?' He said, 'What do you make of what?'. And I said,
"Well, what do you make of specifically the hallucinations? You say you give to all these people,
you took it six times. What happened when you closed your eyes and looked at the
hallucinations?' He said, 'I never close my eyes'. I was highly agitated throughout. And I just
realized these things which seem to me as natural as breathing, just slide right past people. Of
course you do not eat a few hours before you do it, of course you lie down in darkness and
compose your mind and look at the darkness behind your eyelids, and of course you invoke it
through the wish to have it come to you. These are things as simple as they can be yet here was
a man with a lifelong professional involvement in it, published dozens of papers, has made
contributions in the mapping of consciousness, but he could never just stop fighting long
enough to see it. So that's my idea of that as evil. Evil is anything that trivializes a mystery
would be evil. Since this is a mystery, any dismissing of it or constantly taking it at low doses for
hedonic purposes -- I mean there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not the whole story and
nobody should think that that gives you a pedestal from which to speak about it. You really
have to do these heroic amounts and integrate them. This is something I haven't even talked
about in this interview. But these things are very state bounded, a term Jerome Fisher, in fact,
coined. That simply means that they are very hard to retain and remember. What exactly
happened at the peak of the flash, and you come down and you say 'well, it was very strange,
there was information, there were entities but I just can't get back to it.' The way to overcome
that is to be a psychedelic in your down life as possible. And by psychedelic I mean ideas,
cognitive activities, you should dance, you should read, you should think, you should paint, you
should sculpt, you should converse, you should constantly involve yourself in cognitive activities
because taking these drugs is one major cognitive activity. And then, if you have a grip on
human history -- where the human enterprise has been, where it's going --- if you have been
many places it's easier to map. I'm reminded of there's an alchemical aphorism, I think it's

attributed to [????] where he says, 'the oldest books, the farthest countries, the deepest
forests, the highest mountains, this is where you must seek the stone.' And what he means is
you simply acquire experience because it is only in the acquisition of acquired experiences that
you have a reservoir to draw on when you seek to make metaphors and analogies about the
alien thing, when you invoke the god then you can map back onto it and say well, it's like this
it's like that, knowing that it not that or this but the fund of analogies is there to give you a grip
on it. So there's an obligation to experience, deeply and richly and thoroughly and intellectually,
and then you can map back onto it. But it's a dialog between you and it where you are
discovering new things about yourself, and it, trying to resolve the question, 'are we the same
thing?' And I haven't resolved the question. My suspicions fall one way and then another way,
but I think it is without a doubt a living mystery existing in the present available to anyone
sincere enough to seek it and for me that was a life-transforming discovery and revelation
because I didn't believe there were any mysteries. I believe there may have been once, but to
discover one right in our midst, and it cannot be reduced, it cannot be pulled apart into its
constituent functions. It is truly a unitary mystery, and it's accessible in our lives right now
without kneeling at anybody's feet, without following any regiment of denial or the assimilation
of any belief system. This is very big news, I think. The mystery has always been there I'm sure,
but our society is so bizarre and has led us so far astray that we have to rediscover it and this
process is happening -- this is what the 20th century is all about and we are still tiptoeing at the
edge of it even though great men, great women, great mappers of consciousness have come
and gone, we're still at the very infancy of this thing. It calls out to us, it beckons. It says do
more, see more, know more, and be more apart of it.

Transcribed from a talk given at the Esalen Institute in California, December 1982.


The Rites of Spring by Terence McKenna

I couldnt really see all of you in the firelight last night so this is like seeing you for the first time.
Welcome, and I hope you feel free to interrupt what is going on at any time and ask questions
or if something needs clarification please dont hesitate.
My hope for these kinds of retreats is that it will quickly become so interesting to everyone that
the presentational form will transform itself into a dialogue among many people.
It seems to me thats when it happens best.
I dont think people would be here if they didnt have strong opinions and ideas about probably
everything which is said. Thats the way the group mind is generated, by everyone opening up
and expressing how they relate to these things that were going to discuss.
I guess the place to start is sort of with looking at the notion thatthe dawning paradigm of
post-modern consciousness seems to be the growing awareness that we dont know what is
happening at all.
That all of the models whose implications have been worked out over the past 500 years or so
have come to a place where they are now recursive and they no longer can be pushed forwards
as models of explanation.
In other words they are completed, and ontological analysis of how they work now shows us
the limitations of their application to reality. They just simply can not, there is not more blood
to be squeezed from the stone of science. There may be further discoveries, but further growth
and understanding along those lines now seems unlikely.
What with complementarity principle, Bells theorem, the primacy of language with the
formation of ontology.
All of these things show the relative power of science to account for reality, where before it was
assumed that science would ultimately give a good account of reality.
So post-modern living is living in the light of the fact that that faith has dissolved away. And that
were now living in some kind of intellectual free space, or fire-free zone where everything is up
for grabs.
The 20th centurys fascination with the archaic, with shamanism and breakdown of perception
through modern art, exploration of the unconscious through psychoanalysis, mass political

All of these things relate to this fascination with the archaic which is an effort on the part of the
culture to stabilize itself, because we really have, having seem the limitations of science, we
have discovered we are in a small row boat in a dark ocean and were being sweptwe know
not where.
So all past tradition is searched, magical traditions, chemical traditions, lost philosophical
traditions, pre-literate tribal traditions, everything is frantically searched for a key.
While there are consoling perceptions that arise out of this search through all this other
extended knowledge, there havent yet emerged certain answers about what is going on.
This is why several people last night referred to how weird the time is. How hopeful we are with
so little reason on the surface to be hopeful. Its because the gelling out of this historical
problem is happening right now, and its not clear what it will become.
Meetings like this are efforts to build an understanding of it.
It doesnt appear that its going to filter down through the transformation of institutions of
control. It appears more like its going to be some kind of proletarian upwelling of a shift of
Now the short-hand way of saying what I just said, is that we now know that we dont know
anything. Things like the psychedelic experience and the use of psychedelic plants throws open
doorways that science was able to successfully keep closed during its hay-day because they
were areas where the number of variables exceeded sciences power of description and they
said Well well just keep driving straight ahead, and well go up those rivers later.
But now that is all changed.
The exploration of the existential dimension of not knowingness which psychedelics makes
possible is what is forming modern people, I think.
I mean people who will be seen to have lead lives that were relevant 50 years from now, or 100
years from now, people who had actually figured out the context of the world they were living
in and tried to come to terms with it.
This morning I think we want to talk about plants and how they relate to the planet, but before
we do that I want to paint a picture for you of a mandala which then I will discuss later in other
meetings. My notion of what the post modern persons mandalic projection on to the world
should be in terms of a map of understanding is a quadrated circle in which psychedelics, and
feminism, and cybernetics, and space travel are the four parts of the circle. And in the center of
the circle looking backwards in time there is a category that I would call conservation. Which

means conservation of the planet, conservation of traditional and historical knowledge,

conservation of values, conservation in the sense of intelligence husbanding the planet.
When the mandala is flipped over and you look through it into the future, conservation has
been replaced by art. Art is the ultimate expression of this transformation of unorganized
matter into ideas, which human beings carry on.
And we carry it on out of a technical mode of necessity, but in the artistic mode, out of a kind of
upwelling of ecstatic self-expression about the universe.
So conservation is the way we relate to the past and human history is seen as an object of
collective artifice making in the future. Culminating in the notion of the flying-saucer.
To do this, we have to completely re-design our understanding of reality. Which in terms of
practical experience will mean that reality itself will appear to be redesigned.
I touched on this for a moment last night when I mentioned the plants and said how admiring I
was of them because they exist on sunlight, air, and earth, and that this is what we have to
learn to do in order to release spirit out of the ape matrix that were bound in.
Strangely enough the way this is to be done apparently is by a redefining of the nature of the
biological world in relationship to this other kingdom of being which we call plants.
Plants represent some kind of entire other dimension of existence of which we view the
topological manifestation of the form, but are completely occluded as to the network or energy
and information that this represents.
Like the zoological kingdom which has thousands of forms of expression and progressively more
complex forms which culminate in self reflecting primates. The vegetable kingdom seems to
have intelligent species and gradations of awareness in the world so that we are opening a
dialogue at the end of history with this other form in the biosphere which we are just beginning
to cognize about our own understanding, about what the world is really about falls into focus.
Certainly 100 years ago no one would have thought that this was in the direct line of historical
development of the high-tech civilizations, that they would have to explore the mind of the
vegetable plant goddess who was the only force contending with them for control of the
planet, thats what its come down to.
So with that kind of idea in mind, the idea of plant and planet, which is a phrase of Anthony
Huxleys which is wonderful. Kat maybe you would want to talk about this, this is a good...


Kat Mckenna: Yeah I was thinking last night and this morning about plants particularly, because
of our talks that I anticipated and back at the tent a little while ago I had a gnawing feeling that
I was ignoring the animals too much and then I arrived here and they all began to gnaw on me I
got about 14 ant bites just sitting, you see the scratching on it, so I feel grounded again
(laughter) I dont know about having a dialogue with the end of history through plants, I dont
know about that, I do think they are this obviously great and ever-present mystery that we
ingest all day long without thinking of those as plants, without thinking of them as sacred
plants, the way we do the sacred ones. Their chemistry, their input is influencing us all the time.
Whether we eat meat or not we eat plenty of plants, we breathe from them, and we soothe our
nerves by seeing them and being near them and we go out into places like this and see kinds
that weve never seen before and marvel at how they can survive. Real models of graceful
survival I think.
The jungle where we spent a fair bit of time, the competition it seems is for light and for protein
I guess for organic matter, the animals competing. Here its obviously for water, they have a
kind of ideal if you look around under the bushes you see wonderful wildflowers right now, the
rains have just held on, the moisture has held on and the short life cycle plants are going
through their intense short life cycle and they often need to shade to do it.
We found something that we were sure was an African violet bush yesterday, you can see
wonderful things if you look carefully and dont bother anybody else that might be under there.
The question Ive been asking of my self recently, and of a few other people, now I have many
of you to ask it I hope I get some answers, is how can a plant be a teacher?
I asked this of someone the other day who deeply involved in neuro-linguistic programming
(NLP) and he got way off on a tangent about What does this question mean? you know
(laughter) just throws down every part and phrase and it was wonderful, we never got to
anything like what he thought about the answer but it does assume all sorts of thing. You have
to have an image of what you think of as a plant, and although we have sort of a language
verified easy answer it doesnt really touch on the reality and then of course you have to think
what you mean by teacher.
Well I know theres at least one serious biologist in the group here so Im hesitant to define a
plant. I guess from my point of view as an observer Ive done botanical illustration and I really
value the opportunity I had to really look and then when you think you really looked, look
closer. You can just keep on learning from them just visually, that way
They are organisms like that that draw in all the elements, fire in the form of sunlight, and
water and air and earth and go through this transformation of energy into something else, in
the same way that we do.

This moment right now is when they are doing that most energetically for the year. They are
taking that moisture in theirlook at each one, the leaf tips are new, and the tissue is soft, and
the colors are bright as well as the blossoming and all that.
They are also laying out the structure as I understand it for that growth to become more
permanent, or woody, the perennials anyways, so during the year they will fill that out, and
next year they will come from that place doing this envisioning the future, what theyll have to
deal with, how theyll move to make their interface with it, and how to reproduce. And their
little messages are going into the seeds coming from the pollination of other plants.
So its always like with us, you choose a mate for how youd like the future to be right? My
genes, your genes, here it goes. Stay on the line.
Really all I have about this is questions so if you dont mind Im just going to throw them out, if
anyone wants to say anything, please do.
One thing I wonder is, we regard ourselves as such individuals, we dont think of ourselves a
species very much, Terence talks about that a fair bit in our daily life we really identify ourselves
as individuals, as some of us having more power, more clarity, more energy, more talent,
whatever we divide that way.
With plants we tend to think of each plant on a species basis you know. I wonder how much
thats true, plants that were familiar with like ayahuasca, banisteriopsis capii in the south
American jungle, if you want to make this visionary drink you go and find a member of that
species but different members have different potencies and different takes on the same kind of
message. This gets to the teacher part.
A friend of ours Eduardo Luna interviewed a number of shamans in the jungle, they use this
term plant teacher in Spanish as weve come to use it too and he asked them, do you think
that all plants have a plant teacher in them, or do you think that some do?
And they were divided on this question, some people think that only the sacred plants do, other
shamans said no all plants do, just some of the spirits (they call them the mothers, the
mother of the plant, or the spirit or the teacher) some are stronger
So that implies that anytime we eat any plant were taking in that teacher. They mix these
plants with ayahuasca which already provides the vision then they take a new plant that they
dont know so well, or that they want some particular aspect of and they mix it in with that and
take it and feel that they are radiating, what is that plant?
What is the personality? Whatever you want to call it, of that plant. And that they take on the
qualities of that plant.

I think the Indians in this area did that too with their plants, they wanted to take on the quality
of thepeyote is a good one, you know. It lasts a very long time in a very subtle way doing who
knows what all that time when its not being eaten by something which is metabolizing the
teacher in it.
Is the teacher in it, when its sitting there all that time? Is it experiencing the visions that come
into the animal organism that ingests it? I dont know
I guess on the species and individual thing I wonder as an edge onto that, anyone who gardens
you know when you grow your own plants and vegetables how they taste different than the
ones you get at the store whom are probably grown, certainly with the same kind of physical
care, but certainly not the same kind of attention.

Terence: Its the question for me, or what always astonishes me about it is where does the
information come from?
I mean, the peyote plant or the ayahuasca vine, or the mushroom growing there on the jungle
or in the desert, how did it manage to tap in and become filled with a universe of alien Platonic
Why is that there? All the rules of orthodox evolutionary theory conserve only what is
necessary. So its very hard to understand why a plant needs a library card at the intergalactic
library. Because its just sitting there in the desert of some planet alive and living.

Kat Mckenna: But each plant is different too, their library cards dont take them to the same
libraries even you know, which one of these visionary plants provides something distinct? And
sometimes you can see how its a cousin of that one and sometimes you cant see that they are
related at all.

Terence: Well isnt it that mind is, somehow at the reflexive level chemical? That when you
change the chemistry of the engine which is giving the pictures, the pictures change.
Sometimes it seems almost like a biological radio that you tune into very strongly broadcasting
stations, some of which are alien high-tech insectoid science-fiction type places, others are
jungle worlds or things that you cant even English.


Kat: Giant human teachers, I met one who was 40 feet tall and he took me by the finger like a
little child and let me through, what was that doing in the plant?

Terence: Yeah what is it for?

Question asked (inaudible)

When you take a longer slice, you realize that the individual existence is like an illusion and that
really the planet is involved in some kind of chemical process which is like a gene swarming, and
its been going on for a billion years with more and moreand animals and plants, as species
and as individuals, are just aggregates of genes of varying degrees of permanence.
The individual is a very impermanent aggregate of genes, the species has a slightly longer
duration. Whats really happening is these information transferring molecules are just
swarming on the surface of the planet and controlling, as you mentioned, the weather, the
chemistry of the soils, the rate of heat transfer, theyve discovered now that plankton control
weather in the oceans by controlling the surface reflectivity thatthe question I think is the
peculiar dualism in the world of information.
Why does it seem that reality is not reality? Why are there co-present actually 2 worlds are copresent in our experience.
This is the taboo subject that were here to talk about, the weird fact that there are two worlds,
one of which our culture doesnt acknowledge but we all experience, thats a very
schizophrenic situation to be in.
We all exist in both of these worlds, but our language, our culture, our institutions tell us No
theres only one world
We have gotten into this lethal cul-de-sac by not acknowledging the 2nd world we have veered
off on a tangent which threatens our extinction now, this obsession with control of world one,
matter, energy, and the complete ignoring of the world of consciousness which stood in front
of it and manipulated it, but just taking that as a given has created this fantastically imbalanced


(1st commenter) I think that gets back to the plants as teachers because since we do, as in your
words, play with fire as human beings, perhaps the question you were asking as to the plants
being teachers, my feeling at the time wasthey are in communication with us as we are in
communication with them, were all transparent beings, and youre talking of gene swarming
on the planet, theres no safe in which we lock our own human knowledge, were transparent
to all around us and if you get into intelligent plants which is what we were talking about
earlier, perhaps, I mean if you follow that logically out, why not have teachers as chemicals?
They can manifest within this particular body and do the library cards as you said.

(2nd commenter) They realize that we are doers and shakers.

(1st commenter) Well I think there is only one life on the planet though, and to say that were
separate from the plants or from this or from the air is a fallacy.
So thats a great image, the growing transparency, thats a good idea for what the end of
history is, its that everything becomes clearer, and clearer, and clearer, and as it becomes
clearer boundaries disintegrate and everything is seen to be of the same stuff.

Kat: I think for much of the world, and still for instance in the Amazon and other cultures who
are tuned into nature, it was transparent for very, very long. Progress was the loosing of that
transparency and the you know forging ahead of certain parts of it almost the point of either
just eliminating to extinction or to the extinction memory: the lessons.
One day, I think it was during book keeping or something very much mundane, the little voice
that interrupts every once in a while said that A plant teacher is a teacher who has taken the
form of a plant and that raised all these questions for me you know, does that mean there are
teachers floating around looking for places to land, right?
And ways to interface with the other species? You know Ive always thought of rocks, big rocks,
many places in the world you can just sit on them and you can hear them you know and feel
them, really.

Terence: Im sure you know Rupert Sheldrakes theory, well its basically the idea of like kind
resonate together, when I thought about this problem before, about LSD and where does it fit
in to all of this.

LSD is in the morning glories of central Mexico and the far-pacific.

What makes a plant teacher complex is how many people its taken. A plant that has been used
100,00 years is filled with all of the contents of the minds of the people who took it over that
I want to introduce the notion that life, the plants, and the animals are intrusions into 3dimensional space of some kind of topological manifold of a higher order.
You see the way in which a chair differs from a giraffe is that if you slice through the chair and
then come back and examine it 12 hours later it will be the same, but the giraffe will have
changed radically.
This is because by cutting into the giraffe you will have intruded into the temporal dimension of
its existence. It is more like a musical note than an object.
It must be born, grow, mature, and die, and that process, growth maturity and death, is how 3dimensional beings like ourselves describe the intrusion of these hyper-dimensional vortices
into our world. Thats the mystery of life, it cannot be encompassed in 3 dimensions.
Life is a hyper-dimensional object, all hyper-dimensional objects are organisms whether they be
societies or animals. So the question of What is the plant you know when you ask yourself
What am I? What you immediately focus on is what philosophers call your internal horizon of
transcendence, you look into yourself to understand yourself.
When we try to describe a planet, we inevitably give a topological mapping of it, how it appears
to us, its uptake of minerals, its surface reflectivity, its weight.
But the plant obviously experiences itself very differently.
All life has an internal horizon of transcendence to which it aims.
Whitehead called it appetition its inclusion of sensory data out of which it maps being.
But what the nature of this higher dimension is, that these vortices are intruding into our
dimension from, is absolutely anybodys guess. I mean you can call it a mathematical
conundrum or a religious mystery, but its whats making the world happen.
Its how the mystery of our being will eventually be shed one more level of veil to let us
understand it.
You see and organism is a chemical system which does not run down.


The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that the whole universe tends towards the dissipation of
structure and the release of energy in heat and then everything, all structure and all energy is
Life has achieved the miracle of by being an open system and taking material into it, and
extracting energy from it, and getting rid of waste, life has been able to leave the main stream
of thermo-dynamic degradation and establish itself at an equilibrium point off that graph and
maintain itself there for at least, on this planet alone for billions of years.
Now the average life of a star in this galaxy is on the order of 2.5 billion years, some last longer.
But that means that biology is no epiphenomenon, no iridescence off the surface of matter as
the 19th century physicalists wanted to describe it.
It means that life is indicative of higher dimensions which intrudes into this otherwise
thermodynamically degrading system which we call the physical universe.
Information, there seems to be an informational ghost of this universe which is somehow copresent at all points within the matrix, perhaps ala Bells Theorem, or something like that.
And thats what the psychedelic experience shows you, it shows you a hologramatic space of
information where by sitting still in your room and ascending the mind you can cross the
universe in an instant you know and return.
And the question of Is this real? is in bad taste. (laughter)
It violates the 2 ontological categories you see.
It just isnt done.
But the plants seem to be the things which shake us out of these cultural conventions.
We have this very bad habit of when we encounter a new experience we describe it, and as we
describe it we erase its reality, and replace it with a map.
And forever after when we encounter that input, we access the map and overlay over the
things and say Aha I know what this is and so by the time a child is 5 years old they have
completely entered into a symbolic construct which hides the real world from them.
Fortunately these plant teachers seem to have the unique ability of showing you the relativity
of language which for us is the relativity of being.
And then you were freed because you have seen something incontrovertible, theres no going

That is the great first gateway on the path, to realize the relativity of language and the
malleability of the world.
For instance, coming out in to the desert is a typical of people seeking visions, the first thing
you have to do is leave the (pollus?).
Culture is this effort to hold back the mystery and replace it with a mythology, which is then in
the control of those who recite that mythology whether they be shamans or priests.
This holding back of reality is what Christian theologians call The Fall, our strange alienation
from nature that causes us to crowd into cities and mint money, and put a price on everything.
This is why its so important to go back to the Amazon, and Eastern Indonesia, to these places
and try and understand what spark it was that those people kept over the millennia while we
became the prodigal sun and wandered into matter and horde on the cities and the plain.
We have now come full circle and returned at the end of history with the dilemma that we have
made such a mess of things that theres nothing we can do now but lay
Each stage is a greater distancing from the wellspring of being, and its brought us you know to
the valley of dry bones, to the valley of the apocalypse.
Now the fat is in the fire, now well find out what stuff man is made of as the chickens come
home to roost.
No, Im very optimistic! Is it my metaphors or the pessimism? Oh the horrible metaphors... Yes
well the rhetorical hyperbole, and the unbridled

Question: Asking about the multiple worlds It interests me greatly, do you think there are two
world, or do you think theres many, many worlds?
Yes well I think youre right, there are different orders of different worlds. I guess it was the
physicist Weiler who thought that every time there was a choice, the universe took both paths,
and had always done this, so that the number and kinds of universes was staggering.
I find that cumbersome, but there certainly seem to be a number of universes and there seems
to be different kinds of universes, for instance you can tune from channel to channel but some
of them you cant make heads nor tails out of them you know.


Its just too far away from your conceptual schema to beso its sort of like watching
ideological mandalas or something, you cant say much about it afterwords, it certainly was
compelling while it was
One of the weird things about growth, or trying to make your ideas always become new is that
you always assume youre going to know what the next step is, that even though youre going
to become more and more enlightened, there wont be any surprises.
A few weeks ago I was meditating in my usual fashion and I began to get this new idea which
was so weird that I immediately shifted into Aha this is not the truth, this is not a transmission
about the nature of reality, this is a plot for a science fiction novel that I should write and try
to hold that as the defense, that was my shield against the onslaught of this thing.
Ive never been one for Atlantis, or Lemuria, and all these invisible pre-historic lands and places
that people enjoy so much, but I was told a very funny thing which I will share with you, its a
funny idea.
It has 2 versions, one of which speaks a scientific language, the other speaks a mythological
Ok so the scientific language goes like this: Theres something in the universe called a fractal
soliton of improbability. This means its a unicative event, it only happens once in the lifetime of
a universe, you can think of it as a wavelength with one wave. Thats why its called a soliton.
These things move not in ordinary 3-dimensional space but in some kind of much higher spatial
manifold, and when they collide with the planet, or when one collides with a planet in the
universe the timestream of that planet is divided and two copies of the entire planet spring into
existence without either having any knowledge of it, it just is something which happens.
This voice was telling me that this had happened to the earth, and that this was the secret that
we were all striving to understand.
Was that an event in the past had actually divided our time-stream, and that a twin of this
planet had come into being in another dimension.
Ok so thats the scientific explanation of it.
So the mythological explanation was that the universe is the creation of a demiurge, not the
highest expression of divinity, but a kind of demon, a fallen creature, and that this demiurge
was able to coax itself into being, and actually incarnate into history as a human being.
When this happened, this was then the mythological expression of the fractal soliton of

When it happened the time stream split.

Kat: The universe was the creation of the demiurge, and the demiurge impelled itself in as the
form of an individual?

Terence: So the time splitting event had to do with the career of Christ who was an
extraordinary manifestation of energy in the historical time stream, not to be confused with a
Buddha, or a Mohammed, or a Zoroaster, who were great saints.
It was something else. It was in some sense what it claimed to be, but in some sense. Ok, so
now at the moment of, and you can choose either the immaculate conception of the
resurrection depending on which side of the bed you got up on today.
At that moment the time stream split and this other place came into being without having any
awareness, and they were identical at that moment, these two worlds.
Now Christ had no children, what I forgot to say was that the event, the fractal soliton of
improbability has this quantum mechanical half-charge so that in one of the universes it
happens, in the other universe it doesnt happen.
Everything about these two worlds was the same, except that in one of them the immaculate
conception had not taken place, the resurrection had not taken place.
Now because Christ had no children, the world in which he was absent, it was not a genetic line
which was missing, it was an ideological line which never received expression.
Consequently as time passed, first decades, then centuries, the absence of this particular
intellectual influence on the world changed the world radically in the following way:
Greek science did not suffer the suppression that occurred with the conversion of Constantine.
The academies were not closed, the hermetic knowledge was not repressed.
Conversly the empire was stronger and was able to repel the barbarian invasions of the 2nd to
the 5th century, and mathematics which had halted in our world at Diaphantis proceeded
through his disciple Hepacia to develop a calculus by AD 370 so that the millennium of Christian
stasis that occurred in our world did not occur in that world.


As time passed and engineering advances occurred by around 850 AD they had ships which
were able to cross the Atlantic ocean and they encountered the Mayan civilization reaching its
fullest flower in Guatemala and the Yucatan peninsula.
And in fact in this vision I saw the Roman Emperor Cosmodorus the 5th make a pilgrimage to
Tikhal in 920 to be present at the coronation of a king at the end of that baktun.
Anyway, this Greco-Roman imperial culture immediately recognized the genius of the Mayans
in mathematics and astronomy and Europe was transformed into an amalgamation, a GrecoMayan civilization with(laughter)
So let me see, and this civilization continued to develop. Now one of the influences around the
year 950 was their extremely sophisticated psycho-pharmacopia and shamanism.
This mated with Neo-Platanism and Hermeticism, so rather than science developing as it
developed in our world, a kind of magical, psycho-pharmacolitic technology of thought and
understanding was what was developed over the centuries.
Then in later centuries, centuries before our world they contacted the orient and the Sung, the
dynastic influence of the Sung poured itself into the creation of the global civilization such that
by around 1200 AD they were able to land on the moon and create a cybernetic global
civilization similar to the kind that we have now.
They continued evolving with all this psycho-tronic and shamanic derived, and now by this time
you can imagine it was an unbelievably exotic and alien civilization compared to our own.
The fruits of their psychedelic and psychoanalytic investigations into higher space was the
discovery of our world.
They found out what had happened, they figured it out by studying dreams and making deep
journeys into the psychedelic space they were able to discover our sleeping unconscious with
its repository of the legacy of the Christian centuries under the reign of this demiurgic ideology.
They conceived of the notion of saving us.
It has to do with this whole thing of the UFOs, and influencing dreams, and astral traveling, and
the other side, is actually the manifestation of this bizarre Greco-Mayan post-modern star
faring civilization trying to reach across the dimensions to save us from the momentum of our
history by making us aware of, first of all their existence, and then also their technology which
is evolving towards a point where around the Mayan millennium, around 2012 the time island,
we will float past the time island and the 2 time streams will be re-joined.


We will make peace with the civilization which is now 1,000 years more advanced than us with
this totally different cultural history and this completely different take on reality.
So this came to me in the space of about 15 seconds (laughter) and more details have flowed
in, I use it mostly as a meditational device because its so interesting to be asked to be told
about how this other civilization developed.
Its amazing exoticism, its Neo-Platonism, its Daoism, its Mayan influences melded into a
completely different kind of civilization than the one weve inherited, Ive always thought that
Christianity, without making any judgement about Christ himself
That Christianity is the single most reactionary force in all of human history, and where would
we be had that 1,200 years not been given over to this peculiar meditation, you know. All the
pieces were in place for the kind of civilization that Ive outlined, it was just a coincidence.
Kat does not endorse this idea, or even encourage it...

Kat: He only told it to me a couple of days ago at an Apache junction at a truck stop and he
didnt tell me its the plot for a science fiction novel he said its the truth! and I said lets get
back to a good science fiction novel.

(Commentary) Well the thing is that on our level it would explain perhaps the questions you
were asking earlier, why would plants?
Another thing I was curious when you were talking, the physics nowadays you can have an
electron on one side of the universe and split it into two and separate them on two sides of the
universe and they are still in communication with each other so is that why, logically, you can
bring the time island back together again?

Terence: Yes this would be a quantum mechanical super macro-physical Bells Theorem event, a
kind of hyper dimensional vacuum fluctuation where the two worlds spring apart, sail along for
a period then parody is conserved and then rejoined.

(Commentary again from same person) This is interesting Ive had dreams that are parallel,
and its very interesting that you bring this up, Ive not heard of it before, another thing I was

curious is that this takes place, this would be on a human experience level, what youre
speaking of. The plant kingdom, would they remain in connection between the species?
Asks another question about us not having a large number of species of animals that the other
planet would have and how this difference would affect the parody between the two.
Terence: The part of the myth which I didnt tell you which I will now tell you was that naturally,
they were developing and exploring technical options hundreds of years ago and they
discovered the theoretics for nuclear fusion and fission until they used it, until a few hundred
years later one of their great theoreticians, this is after they had discovered our time stream,
made the prediction that the physics of atomic explosions were such that they would cross the
time stream and so they performed an experiment by detonating an atomic device which is by
our year 1907 and this the Tungusca event.
Then by monitoring the dreams of Siberian shamans they had in clear focus, they say aha, this
explosion that we actually set off did occur in both time streams and at that point they became
very interested in monitoring our time stream because they were picking up the dreams of a
Swiss telegraph worker who seemed to be pushing toward an unimaginable conclusion.
So now there is a certain amount of urgency because if we explode our atomic stock piles it will
wreck the place they call Home world
Not self-preservation because they have star flight and encompass many systems but
preservation of Home World which on the other side is a vast botanical and ecological preserve
from pole to pole, I mean its a sacred site of pilgrimage, its the home of the species, its the
Suddenly the great notion that parts of it will be blown apart by leakage from hyperspace of
one of our atomic wars is impelling them now to attempt to open the doorway and rejoin the
time streams and will be allowed a few years inside the botanical park to acclimate and then
most people will ship off for the stars I imagine.
The British science fiction writer Ian Watson has a wonderful book called Chekovs Journey in
which he talks about the Tungusca event, and his theory is that it was a catastrophic failure of a
Soviet time travel experiment conducted shortly after the turn of the next century.
Well I mean Im not sure, Ive thought of that before, its the claim of Christian theologians that
Christ comes in the center of history, they speak this same language. Before Christ no souls
were entering Heaven, he freed the valve and now its possible to enter into heaven, before his
intercession that was impossible.


Before I had this idea, I had another which Ill tell you (laughter) which was a completely
different kind of idea and its the idea that there is an overmind, this doesnt involve other
There is an over-mind co-present on this planet and when technology, when the development
of technology exceeds the development of ethics then this overmind can work miracles.
Because the over-mind is plugged into each of the individual minds that compose it, this
miracle always has this unbelievably creepy quality of being exactly the thing which can
convince you to change your mind.
In other words it like it reads you so perfectly that its able to present the one situation which
you can not refuse, so in the case of Rome, you know Rome was a pig-sty, Pasterna called it a
bargain basement that ran on two floors it ran on slavery and it ran on brutality and captive
populations and outrageous garrisoning of military power in foreign lands.
People like Diophantus, this mathematician I mentioned and hero of Alexandria, these people
were on the brink of the calculus and the steam engine. So the over-mind is seeing that and
seeing their appalling ethical state sent their miraculous personage of Christ who in a world
where information could not move faster than a horses gallop, this religion within 60 years was
beating at the gates of Rome itself, it was like a fire you know just burned through the empire,
and changed everything, and halted technical advance.
Everything stopped, now I created this idea in an effort to explain the UFOs because the new
theory of UFOs or the new school of UFOs says weve been wrong to ask what are they, that
has not been fruitful, what we should be doing is asking what are they doing?
What are they doing?
And we can analyze what are they doing in the same way that we can analyze what anybody is
doing through sociological polling of human populations we can find out what the flying saucers
are doing.
So they polled human populations and what they discovered is that what the flying saucers are
doing is that they are sowing disbelief in science.
They cause people to not believe in scientists, because scientists come off so lame when asked
to explain flying saucers.
Its like, the flying saucer is a confounding of science in the same way that the resurrection was
the complete confounding of Greek stoicism, and democraty, and materialism in the Roman
world. Its conceivable that the flying saucer, the statistics are now something like 12 or 11


percent of the American population have seen a flying saucers 52 percent believe flying saucers
And so forth. It is a faith which is percolating up from the lower levels, its people who live in
trailer courts and read Fate magazine who are the believers in this thing.
What it may be is an intercession on the part of the overmind, which it can do anything, it can
do ANYTHING from our point of view.
In the most extreme version of this idea I said What if enormous space-crafts were to fall into
orbit around this planet? and What if television images of this craft were to be beamed into
every home on the planet?
Then a teaching revealed some completely mind boggling thing which you could have thought
of it yourself but you never did, which is always how these things are.
Then suddenly, then after 30 days of melting the nuclear arsenals and causing all cancers to
disappear and curing all infectious diseases and delivering this message the enormous
spacecraft disappears, 30 days
Then everybody says My god, we have been abandoned, we have abandoned again into time.
And you knowhistory would halt, everybody would do nothing but study the teachings of the
saucer and try to figure out how we can get right with them, how we can figure out how to get
them to come back. Dogmatism, theories of communication, priestcraft, the whole thing.
Though I am fascinated with the flying saucer, and what it says about the malleability of mind
and matter, I think mature civilizations should not be haunted by Messiahs or Flying Saucers.
That these things are like metaphysical spankings imposed from on high that are saying its a
boot in the tail, wake up! Stop repressing.

Kat: Lets take your two ideas, because neither one of them is that old, what does the over-mind
have to do with, or think of the double time stream?

Terence: Now thats a question I never would have asked. You mean if thats true? I sort of
think of these as mutually exclusive. I think the demiurge is a negative expression of the
overmind. I think of the overmind as the logos, you know, its the understanding and selfexistence which permeates everything and the demiurge is the force of matter and time and
cosmic destiny which is always trying to lock in the logos and condition it and make it subject to

the rules of the physical universe of space and time. The logos is like something from like, this is
all Gnostic theology by the way this is just straight from the book. The logos is trying to struggle
through the labyrinth of the material universe to escape, to rejoin the real source of itself which
is outside of matter. Matter is viewed as an entrapment.
If any of you have read the late works of Phillip K Dick, he was probing in these areas, he was a
genius, his book Veilus is pure exo-Jesus of internal, unravelment of what was going on.
His take on it was that he believed from AD 69 until 1948, no time had actually passed and that
we were living in apostolic time, and that the crucifixion lay only 75 years in the past, and that
the demiurge had inserted a false history, and the Nag Hammadi manuscripts, he believed,
were actually the logos as printed letters and when the Nag Hammadi manuscripts were
deciphered it was like this information creature would come alive and again be present on the
Like the logos in 1948 was beginning to infuse everything and that shortly it would dissolve the
illusion of the intervening 1,860 years or whatever it was and then we would realize that the
prophecy would be fulfilled and that the last days were upon us.

He didnt get around to the anti-Christ, to his credit probably.

You have to distinguish between Christ the person, the teacher, and this thing called the
Christos, which is the archetype of such power and force that immediately people of ill-intent
could get lined up behind it and impose their will. Yeah sell love, and sell forgiveness, what a
The Christos is the thing history is ruled by the archetypes which the people can generate, I
mean most people are very ordinary, I mean your McJaggers and your Henry Kissingers are very
ordinary people but they are able to project an archetype and that is the thing which sets them
And when that reaches the kind of super intense focus that you get in a Mohammed or a Christ,
then you know history is just putty in the hands of the force, not the person, the person is
usually martyred in some horrible way. But the archetype draws energy to itself, and we dont
understand how this process works.
If there ever is developed by benevolent or malevolent forces a science of social control, it will
be a science of knowing how to project archetypes.


Different archetypes apparently are suitable to different times, I mean you can almost pause at
an astrological theory of archetypes, but its something about howwhats appropriate for the
1st century AD is not appropriate for the 15th.
When the archetype is appropriate, nothing can stop it.
The modern term for archetypes is paradigm.
We expect it not to be a person, not a messiah, but an idea which will save us all which will then
give us certain affinities with Mystical Judaism where the Messiah was expected in the form of
an idea, and this is sort of our faith. We are Messianic ideologues or something like that.

(brief commentary, inaudible)

Oh I agree with you I think dualisms have to be dissolved in the notion that there is one thing,
you know thats the Platonic faith. The problem is all these secondary and tertiary operational
levels and you know were actually trying to operate in a universe of scarcity and a body which
requires energy and all these things. This is really the central problem in Western thinking, I
The tension between dualism and unity and matter and spirit, and how do you do it?
I think we are spiritualizing matter, this is what technology is. The spiritualizing of matter is the
highest expression of our technological output and that this will become more and more of
what this is about, so that in the next century the difference between mind and brain and cell
and machine will all have been subsumed under a new vocabulary.
Because we are hard wiring our minds and we are making the artifacts of our culture intelligent,
and we are breaking down the barriers between ourselves and larger databases, and this kind
of thing so that the old I am an ego inside a skin definition gives way to a much more
malleable and plastic thing.

(Commentary) In astrology, something I like is that the symbol for Pisces is a symbol with 2
lines and a line going through it, its the definition of relationship quality by opposition, its
polarity, its right and wrong, good-bad, male-female, Russians-Americans.


The Aquarian one which is 2 lines of waves over each other is one of resonance, its one of
dolphins jumping in the water together, its one of people coming together and realizing how I
resonate with you and what I have to give you and what you have to give me, but youll have
something to give me that other people cant and so on, and we need to swim together.
That breaks down all the of the dualistic bonds, and I think were right at the crux right at the
moment, the place between Pisces and Aquarius where were kind of 2 worlds again, flipping
from one side of opposition, being torn from life and death and seeing, as the Christ I feel was
that prototype, that template, of light and spirit and matter coming together and saying I can
dance in this, I can leave it, and I can come back into it, I have this power its my conscious
compassionate love that is just so unbounded that it give me the opportunity to play in clay, if I
so choose
Much of what I say is Alfred North Whitehead, his philosophy and believe me if youre looking
around for a serious ontological foundation you dont have to read Sanskrit, ANW will serve
very admirably, science in the modern world, process and reality. He was and remains the great
psychedelic philosopher of the 20th century and the heir of Burgson. You had another
Yeah Im going to be 84 in the year 2012 and Im wondering how to manage my life so Ill be
ready for the concrescence.
Well I dont know, I think that the canyons of the creode down which we as individuals are
moving, those walls are getting higher and higher too.
A lot of times when I had this intense contacts with the teaching entity I would have an anxiety
about What should I do? What is it for me to do?
And it always said Nothing, relax
Your function is to justyoull be present where youre necessary, and this isnt a fatalism, this
is a kind of recognition of the dynamics of time that the thing is trying to teach you see.
Its trying to say that, if you understand how process works you will always understand where
you are in any given process, and then you wont have anxiety about not occupying some other
point in that process, you know.
When I began having these ideas, the only way I could previously relate to the notion of the end
of the world was that I had a head full of cartoons of bearded men in sandals carrying signs on
street corners saying Repent! Repent! and here was I, former Marxist, former this former that
espousing these unimaginable things.


Its always good to do your homework, and I discovered theres this wonderful book called
Pursuit of the Millennium by Norman Comb in which he details the history of Milinarianism,
thats what this phenomenon is, belief by a person or a group of people that the end of the
world is about to occur.
It existed among the Jews in the Exilic period, its part of the phenomenon, or part of the social
expectation that gave Christ his entre.
The early Patristic Christians lived in the imminent expectation of the end of the world, and
then during the Medieval period the most utopian prophetistic Millenarian movement before
Marxism was Floraism, or the people who followed the teachings of Wakiin of Flora who was a
wandering monk who predicted the end of the world, I think for 1244 and he died in 1222, but
his followed carried on and the Pope had to send out armies to quell uprisings as people
wanted to distribute the wealth because they felt the end of the world was upon them and why
should anybody go to work you know this sort of thing.
Similarly in the year 1,000 there was great expectation of Christs imminent return.
This is the thing which the human mind, at least in its Western expression seems to seek to do.
Islam too has its apocalypses, 1967 isnt bad, I thought it was happening, I thought we were
months away from a new secular order for the ages.
My theory of history views these things not as evidence against such a thing occurring, but as
evidence that it will occur.
That these uprisings, that these outbreaks of irrational expectations of the millennium are in
fact temporal reflections, they are catching the light on the temporal prisons from the object at
the end of history contains the apocalyptic scenario.
Its very important to manage the apocalypse in the millennium.
Its very important that people not confuse the cleansing flames of transcendence against the
ability to use thermonuclear weapons against your ideological enemies.
Its a very delicate matter because our mythologies and our fears run so deeply, but I think that
its an awareness of this potential of the existence of this law of temporal compression.
And of course institutions dont promote Millenarianism because institutions want people to
invest their money at low interest and long term, and have the expectation that everything will
carry on pretty much as it has.
An examination of the last 500 or 1,000 years of human history would lead anyone I think to the
conclusion that everything is going to be swept away, and that everything that replaces it is

going to be swept away, and we are just moving into an era of change that might as well be
called apocalyptic and it must be made Millenarian, otherwise it will just end in some kind of
Goterdamuron and the worst Bogey men will emerge and destroy it.

(Commentary) I know how the wave accelerates and comes towards this transition point, I
never call it the end because then the beginning of a new series of many (muddled?) waves is
there I guess I believe in flux so the whole process is one wave and at that moment we begin
another process. At that point we discuss being the end of the universe as you did a little while
ago and sometimes I feel like when everything is accelerated like it seems to have recently and
when youre close to a moment of transformation of some sort as it seems to be you see great
strives forward being made and great slips backward being made all at the same time right. It
seems possible that the transformation will be so fantastically physical as the end of the
universe or turning inside out of the, whatever this is. But actually as we sweep through world
wide peace of mind, what if that occurred?
Thats large enough to qualify, it seems to me for the change-over in the wave.
Terence: Yeah I think the hardest thing to know is the nature of what this ultimate compression
is. What it means. Like one way I imagine it, and thats why I love to quote Joyce about Man
becomes dirigible I imagine it as The day when your mind becomes your home and all over
the world people just realize that their mind is their home.

(Question) But do you feel free to describe that as the end of history or the end of the

Not the end of the universe, the end of history because I think history is some kind of
involvement with matter, its a wrestling with the angel of matter and the end of history is
when you pin the angel of matter to the mat. Then you stand up and you say I am the ademic
human being made of light and you leave the realm of matter and you return to some
previously hidden dimension.
Whitehead called these things epochs, these long periods of time. He called transition from one
to the other a shift of epochs well weve only been dong things like measuring the speed of
light since 1910, all the so-called constants of our physics are based on miniscule periods of
actually monitoring these things to see if they are constants.


So I can imagine it as a shift in the laws of the universe that somehow cause consciousness to
perceive itself more as it must truly be. I am always trying to find physical models for these
transcendental hallucinations, the one which fits this is a few years ago this Scandinavian
astronomer called Hans Altden wrote a book called Worlds and Anti-worlds and in it he talked
about whats called a vacuum fluctuation.
A vacuum fluctuation is where suddenly out of nothingness there emerge a stream of particles
and they are equally particles and anti-particles. And they sail along for a period of time and
then they collide again and each particle is destroyed by its anti-particle.
What is called parity is conserved, meaning that when you add up all the charges positive and
negative you get zero. So its ok that this matter came from nothing, and returned to nothing, it
violates no laws as long as parity is conserved.
The interesting thing about this phenomenon called a vacuum fluctuation there seems in
quantum mechanics no rule which would limit the size of such a phenomenon as this.
Its conceivable that our entire universe is an enormous vacuum fluctuation and its just you
know 10^72 particles that emerged from nothingness and are hurdling through space and in
another parallel dimension the anti-dimension which is the twin of this universe is also hurdling
through space and at some point in future time, completely unpredictable from the state given
within each universe, the two will collide and parody will be conserved, and all particles and
anti-particles will be conserved. However the interesting thing is that photons, which is what
light is composed of, do not have anti-particles.
They are this one weird exception. So that when the universe collided with its anti-matter twin
what would be left would be a universe made only of photons, and those photons would be in
the configuration they were in in the moment when the cosmic collapse of the state vector
Well we have no idea what the physics of a photonic universe would be about, a limiting case or
a good try would be that it is just nothing, no life, no self reflection, but why posit that?
There is such a persistence in the perennial philosophy of the notion that spiritual development
is somehow related to light, and to the cultivation of inner light, and to the creation of light
bodies, and to the stabilizing of light.
Its possible to suggest that the world of the imagination is simply the world of internal light,
that its a world where light is manipulated by thought in the way that in this world physical
organism manipulates matter. You live in the radiant castles of the imagination after a shift of
epochs in which the photonic mode predominated. Thats just one way of imagining it.

Its one of the richest meditations there is, to try to imagine the millennium, again its this
thing, what would you have if you could have anything? Sometimes I imagine it, Heronomous
Bosches great trip to the garden of earthly delights where men and women of all races mingle
among giant rends and strawberries and feed each other pomegranates under autumnal sun in
an endless rolling park-like world of exotic vegetables and sexual excess hard stuff to (base?)
You can really take a readout on yourself by seeing how would you like things to be. I have
sometimes my fantasy is I would like to be alone on a star ship 10,000 light years from home
with all the books in the universe and I would dress like captain Ahab and I would stride around
the catwalks inside this echoing star ship and faithful robot slaves would bring me crumbling
volumes of ancient lore which I would say no this is a little too Vincent Price.
If any of you are into science-fiction the science-fiction of Cordwainer Smith is really wonderful,
and one of his stories The Starship is really George Washingtons estate Mount Vernon in New
York. And its all exactly like Mount Vernon in Washingtons time except that in the library of
the big plantation house there is one room from which the thing is controlled and its actually a
starship in mid-flight.

(Question) Yes I had a question, you mentioned how the now is flooded with future perception
and I have, its really part of the Tibetan practices, its always something which captures my
imagination, how come its now, now?
The fact that these future perceptions are so tremendously tangible to us, especially while
sitting in meditation, while taking a meal even or something, and how come its not yet today?
And how come its not tomorrow? How come I am here now when I just have to flick my mind
and Im in yesterday, and equally easy in tomorrow. I wonder if you have anything to say on
Well I think that life precedes through time, its an effort by organism to map something onedimension larger than itself, so it takes a whole life to do it, a life is an effort to map a
something, and the now is the moving edge of the mapping process. You cannot map it
instantly, or you would be it.
So what being in time is, is experiencing the incremental mapping of this higher order object,
and thats why hopefully a long life would give wisdom, because a person would begin to get
the whole picture.
What did Plato say? The present is the moving image of eternity. Thats pure good Platonism.


You can think of the now as a kind of laser which is moving over a larger surface and
illuminating it, you know scanning it. Its scanning something and it takes it a while to scan it,
and in the end all the data is in place and you say Oh yes I see now what the object of
cognition was and our faith is, and theres no reason to doubt it, that this is a great
transcendent experience.
This is the peace that paseth all understanding as you sink into death.
Its just that we like to think that the psychedelic experience gives us preview, no one escapes
the final realization, its just that some people do postpone it to their last act,
But theres no reason for that
Because it is the mystery, the culmination, it is the depalm and the wellspring.

(Commentary) Id like toIm always interested in pursuing things from the Mayan days and Id
like to ask about how this theory of time relates to the individual, somewhat related to BJs
question, theres some sense I have that in their techniques and certainly youve experienced
this, and other people have experienced this with the mushroom at high doses of traveling
through time and actually seeing the future or seeing the past. I was wondering if you could say
more about that, and some framework for understanding how that is possible.
Yes will I think psilocybin seems to be the great teacher of history and part of its teaching isit
views a person without a history as a person with amnesia, a person with a diminished capacity
because your history gives you your power of convictions.
The way I use the wave, or the way Ive been using it recently is Ive been trying to study the
time immediately ahead of us so we dont misjudge what is going on, and you know its a
mathematical process, theres no indeterminacy about it, if we anchor the whole wave system
on 2012 and what I see from that anchorage point is in the 67 year cycle from 1945 to 2012 we
have reached that point which resonates with the larger 4,306 year cycle at that point which
corresponds to the collapse of the Roman empire around 475 AD, in other words, we have been
through a period of Imperialist expansionism which has lasted for a number of years, certainly
since the beginning of the 80s, but I see a re-treanchment of that and a recidivus tendency, a
tendency towards religious fundamentalism, rigid social structures and in short the sorts of
things which could be seen as valid resonance patterns to the early Medieval phase of
European civilization.
The period from AD 474, lets for shorthand call it 500 AD, the period from 500 AD to 1500 AD,
in other words till the discovery of the new world by Columbus, that 1,000 year period is the

resonance that we are going to experience from now to the late 90s, from now until 1998 we
will reach the beginning of the Renassaince and the discovery of the new world, but we are
going to have to endure a period not entirely to our liking, we represent the pagan Helenistic
spirit which has held full sway within the empire for the past 25 years. We may feel constricted
now but I think that our ideas and our position in society has further constriction to undergo
before it reflowers downstream a bit.
When I first realized that I felt very pessimistic, then I asked myself What aspects of Medieval
life could I groove? What aspects of that Medival eschatology were solitary to my needs and
wishes? then I discovered it was an age of great mystical faith and illumination, it was an age
of communities of like-minded peoples seeking transformation far from the turbulence of the
collapse of the empire.
My theory leads me away from those people in the New Age who think were about to be
catapulted into the corridors of power, I think thats preposterous, and the evidence for it: Zero
I think better we should tend our gardens and form brotherhoods and sisterhoods of affinity
and realize that the task of transformation is one of a lifetime, our lifetimes you know.
Every time someone like Dick Price or Tony Lilly moves from the wheel I always wonder How
did it feel to know it wasnt finished? To go with it undone?
I have no doubt that when the saucer comes that Tony or Dick will be in control, one of them.
What is it Bob Dylan says in his song? Ezra Pound and T.S Eliot fighting in the captains tower?
But yes so I dont know if that answered your question but I wanted to get it in because the real
meat for most people for this idea about time is not the mathematics of it and the symmetry of
it, thats only pleasing to a certain mentality. But really what does it tell us about the years
immediately ahead?
What it says is consolidation, illumination, community, and self-discipline

(Commentary) I can always say thanks a thousand times we dont have to go through it for
1,000 years, and only for like 15 years, this acceleration seems to be very, very convenient.
Imagine if we were born in 500 AD and we had to look forward to that
Yes well thats why I say you know, imagine the people who lived in times when the temporal
river was stagnant, or even when counter currents swept it backwards. This is the anguish of
the ancestors, this is the sacred trust that must not be betrayed, the pagrons and the invasions,
and the atrocities conducted across history can only be somehow redeemed if we, who are the

living way front of this genetic experience do not fumble the ball. All our ancestors are watching
to see how we will do.

Kat: It seems like you were asking on a more mechanicalhow did this happen,

Commentator Well yeah how can it be that the Mayans or we on psychedelics can travel
through time and see these things

Kat: My image for it that explains that phenomenon to me and Ive had the same experience,
past and future, is Terence just referring to the temporal river. Its a river which flows two ways,
from the past to the future and from the future to the past
And if you put yourself out in the middle of it, let go of control, let go of fear and maybe you
want to choose your orientation, or maybe you dont
You can just find out where you float and sort of face the past or face the future and just float
there. I mean this is not a physicists explanation of how this happens but it seems to work that
way you know and we think perhaps far too much of the past creating the future and that we
should think more, and perhaps other people have of how its flowing the other way.
And this is how some so-called primitive people have managed to conserve the very simple
effective beauty of their lifestyle, and that REAL strong feeling that every moment is
nowbecause theyre thinking of it simultaneously
(commentator) I think about it and that also sets my mind off, you know thats kind of like the
river is flowing both ways, and if you take a step to the side somehow that youll catch the
current from the future. Thats appealing, but I am always playing with these metaphors and
maybe Im literalizing too much. Is it possible to step out of that stream in some way and then
looking above sort of choose where you are going to descend into and then another image that
came to mind wasare there somehow holes in the fabric of time that you can shoot through,
sort of like in 2001 the Stargate opening up and theres this hole in between and where you
emerge is not the other side of it but some place completely different

Terence: If you take the wave seriously and apply it on these short scales of time, you know you
can find your way into unique configurations of the moment, its like astrology in that way.

Often the content of a psychedelic experience can be later seen to be because of the situation
of historical resonance that you werent perhaps even aware of at the time.

Kat: Or if there are parallel worlds, one or many, which ones happen to be adjacent in that
moment as the cosmic weather comes, you know sometimes Ive taken the mushroom just to
say like a weather person would say I just want to see whats happening out there right now
not with a will, you know you can find that its about knitting in your rocking chair you can find
that you are just in some landscape that you couldnt have conceived of before.

Terence: The essence of Tao is the correct apperception of process. Thats what Taoism is, is to
understand processes to be Taoist. I think that this is almost a formal rendering of the notion of
Tao, almost an effort to create a mathematics, an algebra of the Tao.
And as long as its true to the notions of what Taosim conserves, which is flow, and
determinacy, and indeterminacy, it serves. This is what understanding time is to understand
process, but to understand it so well that its like a sense for you, its like seeing. This is the kind
of seeing that is very important, to see into time.
Its what history and culture have experimented with.
Its what we now, by identifying that as what is going on, can accelerate much faster.

(Commentary) I was picking up a conversation earlier this morning, maybe you could talk more
about The Other.
Oh, the otherwell Im not sure exactly what he meant by talking about the other, I mean the
other is just a way of thinking about all of these things that we name spirit, God, demon, void
its that there just necessarily is a place off our map, whenever you have a map it implies the
part that is not on the map.
The other, the truly other, it lays outside the domain of language, its like the unspeakable, all
you can do is point at it, you know.
The Gnostic idea of God was that it was totally other, that there was nothing in this universe
that gave any clue whatsoever as to the nature of God. That that was its essence, to be
completely other.


The other trickles through and reverberates in our lives in all kinds of dimensions, the first other
that you meet is the world, and a later point in your development, your attachment to another
human being can become a confrontation with the other. Its just a way of shorthand,
signifying, right?
The dimension that carries you beyond yourself into the things that you previously couldnt
expect or imagine.
Or Vitchkinsteins Unspeakable or, you know, Im always fond of quoting this poem by Trumble
Stigny where he says I lean over your meanings edge and feel the dizziness of the things you
have not said Thats the other, its the dizziness of the things unsaid, the things that lay beyond
the edge of meaning.

(Commentary) Part of the question to do specifically in the mushroom experience in high doses,
this sense of alien intelligence or other, I think that like you said I think that its some of our
conceptions of God, many psychedelic experiences, at least with LSD or other light doses are
that I am connected to that, I am part of that thing, but somehow the tryptamine said its this
alien intelligence, I mean what do you make of that?
Well I dont know what quite to make of that, LSD is self-reflective and integrative I think. These
tryptamines seem to be informational, and largely unconcerned with the impact that the
information they carry has on the perceiver.
I dont know I think it just must have to do with the fact that the universe is not all smoothed
out and filled in, and that this is really an area of personal exploration where you can penetrate
into an area, a terra-incognito, a place where nobody knows exactly what is going on.
Were not used to that experience. We expect to have maps of everything we look at and
everywhere we go. And it is strange that in this one area we dont, that apparently our taboo at
looking at the unconscious or delving into the mind has made us content to just fence off this
Well then if you climb over the fence and start wandering around out there, you dont know
what youre going to find because the culture has carefully engineered itself to go around all of
this stuff.
Even I think shamanism is largely concerned with gaining power to protect yourself from the
onslaught of the other.


I mean, you know theyre very concernedto hold stuff back, they dont really have this Lets
hurl ourselves into it attitude that we have.
We found in the Amazon, we were looking for this one plant which had DMT in it, and the
ayahuascera that we were working with, I kept leading the questioning back to the matter of
this one plant, first he said that it was comida del perro food for dogs, which seemed like
maybe a putdown of some sort.
Then he went back over it again and he said Whoa its mallen bizarre, its too strange! So this
was a man who his whole life was about taking ayahuasca and triggering hallucination, but he
felt to go into that plant it was too weird. You often have the feeling with those people that
they involve themselves in the psychedelic effect like a dancer, almost as little as possible to get
the job done.
Kat: Refers to the history of that particular man and his opinions on psychedelics including
mushrooms, and do different things on different nights and he would try new plants and new
combinations, he was pretty intrepid, he did have boundaries.
Terence: In 1983 or whenever it was that I was down there last we were dealing with a
different group of shamans on the upper Apeyaku and it was to get this orally DMT thing made
from tree resin, and we had pure chemical DMT as a trade item, or we werent sure why but
just in case we needed it.
Then talking to the shaman that could make the verolla paste stuff we said this and he said oh
you have the essencia, you have the essence! and we said so what is that like? You dont
take it orally, you dont take it by mouth, you smoke it.
He said Oh what happens? So we described it a typical DMT trip to him and said would you
like to try it? and he said No thank you (laughter)
So theyre not thrill crazy by any means

(Commentary) I read the Castenada books he goes into what he calls the old seers and the new
seers, and the old seers, maybe youre more aligned with them, but they were more willing to
explore any territory, they made a division between the known and the unknown. It was the
new seers that came up with the third category of the unknowable, in other words theres this
reality which is the known, then theres the other realities you go to which are the unknown,
which maybe the ayahuascero takes you to the unknown, but then theres this other realm
where they dont go, they would probably call the unknowable because the impact it has on
you to go there would be dangerous,

(2nd commentator) From the place of the unknown they could glimpse very briefly the
unknowable, which is usually a pretty shattering experience.
Well thats interesting, it makes me think of you know I mention Vitkensteins Unspeakable I
think the unspeakable and the unspoken, and all these esoteric and initiatory religious numbers
are trading in the unspoken, you know you come to them and they will whisper in your ear the
previously unspoken teaching, they will give you an oral empowerment but beyond that lies the
unspeakable which no teacher can orally impart, or impart any other way because it lays
outside the bounds of transmissibility by its nature and to some degree I would think so, and
thats the thing which you validate, you can only validate it for itself, in itself for itself.
It is the private object of being, it is not something which I can tell you about or you can tell me
about, its the private mystery that is ontologically private because its unspeakable.

Kat: I dont think what we call the unspeakable is the same as the unknowable, I think that all of
us who have pursued these dimensions have many experiences that its very hard to talk about,
or that when you talk about them its very silly compared to what you experienced, right?
Its on of the challenges of having this kind of group discussion or these kinds of workshops, to
try to talk about that. But there is, I think a big area that just doesnt language, the ineffable is
all I can think of

Terence: Well you can sort of chip away at it, the whole progress of human development is
maybe slowly eroding the unspeakable and turning it into the spoken.

(Commentary) That is the process of everything from the very beginning to the very end, we as
human beings on the planet are just somewhere in the middle of this process of the
unknowable becoming the known. Tying back to your whole thing with time yesterday, you say
that the physicists are interested in the first second, or parts there or and what youre
interested in are the final or coming up moments as things speed up, what the physicists are
looking at is basically the form, but youre looking at it as the ideas which are coming into being
more and more, time is more and more recognition so its really like spirit, or mind, or knowing,
so its like the opposite end, and one is the latter coming into form in the beginning, and the
former is the knowing of all of this just coming to a point. An ant, or whatever lower level of
consciousness, or say a cell, or an amoeba, they have their thing, and theres the unknowable
which is what we are acting in. What about the blood cells inside our body can they know about

our world of communication and symbols, such as we are on this unknowable is really a greater
universe, a higher level of just known by a higher way of being, so its like each end, the matter
here and the mind coming into it, this point comes shortly, this 2012 is significant in that it is
possibly the opposite end of knowing becoming complete, like life becoming completely aware
of all life in and of itself. But is that the end of everything?
It seems that its just a point, like a mid swing of the pendulum.
Yes well then some other process having to do with the career of spirit instead of matter is
Yes well thats the end of everything, its a complete end of one way of being, of us a species as
a life development, its not just humans, its all life, if that life entity goes through a great
metamorphosis another way of saying what happens to the rest of the universe is that the
universe is a concept in our minds. Right well thats the metaphysicality of it.
But to say whats never been said, to do whats never been done, to paint whats never been
painted, to dance whats never been danced, this is somehow you are acting for everybody
when you do that.
Its an amazing thing to do whats never been done, it means once youve done it, its been
-Refers to something like a big fence that is becoming larger and more extensive and the great
minds fence off a particular area where all of humanity can run around and you know its a
whole process of
Its what aeronautical engineers call stretching the envelope when you fly a figher plane you
have the predicted engineering performance characteristics, but once you validate that it can
do that, then its up to the pilot to find out, to stretch the envelope, to find out what it can really
dohow fast it can turn, how fast it can climb.
Thats what we as creative artists can do for the human enterprise.
The lacking ingredient is courage, I think.
Often I have the feeling that its no longer at least in my own life about seeking the answer, its
about facing it.
It isnt about Is it yoga? Is it Toaism? Is it this is it that? I think now I know, at least for me
what it is, but that the answer is so appalling and requires such courage to execute it and carry
it through that I dont know what to do.

I have no doubt that we could all become the Taoist hermit on cold mountain, and be that
person of whom people in the valley say Oh him! We see him sometimes when it snows very
deeply, because he comes further down for wood He comes and goes in the mist and never
talks to anybody, we could all become that person.
There are no barriers to ultimate spiritual attainment, but what about your mortgage? And
your lover?And your devotion to French chocolate?And all of these things.
Thats tricky. Thats very, very tricky.
For instance like the matter of the flying saucer, I have no doubt that if you took 10 people
selected from this group and trecked days east of Death Valley and stayed up all night and
everybody took 8 dried grams of mushrooms and hoped and hollered and waited that
something would happen that would be so appalling and so destructive to our preconceptions
of whats possible in this universe that you just come out of it pointing into the desert saying
Im careful, I dont doubt that appalling, appalling, appalling things can happen and reality can
be completely pulled to pieces, I dont know what that means but I really want to deal with that
on my terms. Thats a kind of fear you know, its a kind of holding back. Thats why, I know
people who seem to me superhumanly reckless, I mean they tell me the thing they do and I just
shake my head, you know because of the power, of the vistas of the energies that they must
have laid their hands on. Its too much for me, I am a simple scholar and bookish collector type.
I am like Brother John here.
We like our home and hearth. But thats the challenge you see, thats the weird things of
psychedelics. Its a path, but in a sense its the end of the path, and then what do you do? Now
its up to you, its no more about the guru says In 5 years youll make progress, or if you just
keep eating this spiralina, or fiddling with your crystals or something, but no, youve arrived,
now what do you do with it?
Do you really want to be a wandering figure at the edge of civilization glimpses occasionally
with your tattered clothes and your wild ravings

Kat: Nick and I were talking this morning about envisioning something and how these plants
help you to generate a vision of something real that you want to create or organize in the world
and then they help you to have the discipline and dedication to carry it out.
In the real day-to-day telephone call, how do I get the money for it? Kind of way.


That I think is a real strength for it that all of us have, its one of the responsibilities of being
granted the visions is to make the visions then as real as you can.
We do have our bodies here on earth for some time to come, we do have pleasure of course
which we should all indulge in, but we also have responsibility to make it as much as like, even
if its a small step, as much like as that fantastic thing we can see in our visions and I think that
it gives you the object then it helps you move towards it, and we need to do that work and keep
refreshing our vision if it starts to get weak or we start to give up on it. If we need to shift
directions slightly.

(Commentary) Let me go back to astrology, with Saturn being on a ring around a vision and
then Saturn stairway, envisioning the steps that it takes to get there, and how you cant jump
40 steps up without losing part of the foundation, as an artist myself Im finally getting to a
place of patience that the slower it goes, the better it gets, and my statement goes If I only had
more time, Id use less words to write, I would start using things carefully, and allowing the
process, for years I was just like I gotta get this out! but not anymore, Im just taking the slow,
patient steps to create a foundation strong enough to someday, even if its not in this lifetime to
manifest that dream.

Kat: If you use the quality of your daily life as your currency for how youre proceeding towards
something. If you know the quality of your daily life is good, deep, and satisfying and you have a
goal, youre probably on the right path.
But if youre saying God its just going to be hell for 3 years until I can get this project
together you maybe should think about it again.
I could reflect all this on a greater scale to the evolution of life itself, and that if life were to very
quickly achieve the knowing pure spirituality, then what good is it? And thats like (through
humanism?) and through history and through all of our time, and even this coming moment
2012, that might just be this reflection of another even ultimate, and it most likely is, its just
that reflection, and its really endlessly drawn out patient process is just taking its time as long
as possible so that every aspect can work into place.
This quality of daily life thing is an interesting point, because I think it was yesterday or two
days ago we meditated or thought What would you do if you could do anything? How you
imagineor if the genie were to tell you you had not 3 wishes but thousands, and you begin to
dabble in fulfillment and of course all the trivial and superficial things I mentioned, palaces and

Ferraris and all this, but then things that you could move anywhere instantly, how would you
choose to travel instantly if you could move anywhere instantly?
At La Chorrera, these possibilities were to real to us that we actually grappled with it sufficiently
to see how it would develop. How it develops is that if you discover that you can do anything,
the only values which have any meaning, if you can do anything and have anything, are
aesthetic values. If you could travel anywhere instantly, how would you travel? You would
walkobviously. You know, because its so tasteful, its so completing, its such a complete
reverence for space and time in your body and the correctness of the situation. Time and time
at La Chorrera, someone would be doing something some way, and someone else would be
saying Well youre omniscient, why dont you just make it be done? and the answer is that is
crass to do that.
The way to do things, if you can do anything, is to do them right.
-Cooking is like that.
I guess, but that realization of the total richness and correctness of the moment is thats the
correct interpretation of the attainment of these cities. The things that would go on at La
Chorrera, as an example of how the Tao works, I would walk out into the jungle and there
would be butterflies circling.
I would hold out my hand and speak to the butterflies with my mind and invite them to come
down and land on my hand and display themselves. And the butterflies would do this, they
would come and land in my open hand and turn, and strut, and show me all facets of
themselves, and this would go on for 2 or 3 minutes where I would experience gratitude,
reverence, delight, and then this other emotion: the need to show somebody else what I could
Then I would walk back to the camp and smiling with a bizarre inward smile I would select one
of my camp mates and ask them to walk out into the jungle with me. Then to their horror, I
would stand underneath this tree and gesture, and ask for the butterflies to come down from
the trees and land in my hand, and people would just turn away in a mixture of horror and
embarrassment that anyone could be such a jackass first of all, and that anyone could be so
mentally deranged as to operate like that. Of course the butterflies would have nothing to do
with me, I would be left just sputtering and it happened many times.
It was not only the butterflies, it was that as long as I had no ego I could work magic, but it was
magic that was the necessary magic.


It absolutely had no use other than to make my life a more perfect work of art, as an example
we had a pot in which we could de-vein (?) every morning it was our magic pot, and the
scrubbing out of this pot was a major pain in the neck and was consequently a rotating camp
duty. So at the height of this it was my turn to scrub this pot and I went down to the little spring
where the sand was, and I squatted down by the water and I picked up the sand and I rubbed it
on to the pot to get ready to scrub it.
Then I looked and the black stuff was just flaking off, it was like easy off or something, and I just
took the pot holding it by its 2 little protrusions and immersed it in the spring like this and
looked and all the black stuff was just flaking off and crudding off and I was just amazed. The
magical scouring agent.
So then I went back to the camp and got my most severe critic and again, smiling with inward
benign-ness I lead them down to the river and said Im going to teach you how to wash a pot,
the Zen master you see. So we squat across from each other by the spring and I pick up the
sand I put it on and she says So Im supposed to know that sand can wash a pot? I say no,
look. And again it failed me.
By then I was getting the message, and I stoppedand there was one other instance which was
actually very puzzling because I saw another person go into it too. It had to do with this
prophecy which my brother had made.
One of the motifs which circled in his mind space during this period was what he called The
good shit and this was, he had claimed, imagined that sometime in the past he had got a
sample of Afghani hash that had had cow manure, very, very carefully worked into it and the
hash had been infected with psilocybin mycelium and all of the cow manure had been
converted into psilocybin, so he had this psilocybinated hash, and he had this notion that he
would invent a musical instrument like an electric guitar, which when you played it, it would
cause this stuff to come out of the air and reign down on great crowds of people.
So anyway there was this thing about the good shit, and one night he announced that the good
shit would appear at a certain time. So then I went back to my hammock in this hut in the
jungle and the woman who was with me came as well and we had no watches, but he had said
that at 11 PM the good shit was going to get here. I was settling down to roll my evening joint,
and it was this Colombian weed that we had brought in with us.
As I lit the joint, this little thing fell out of the end of it on the floor burning, and I picked it up
and I smelled it and it was unbelievable hashish, I mean hashish to die for. I put it in the pipe
and I smoked it and I said to this women, and I said Smoke this and she agreed that it was

I looked and opened this baggy with this stuff and started smoking it, it didnt change its
appearance, but the odor and everything was just the most finest hash Ive ever smoked. I
thought the millennium had come.
At the crack of dawn the next morning I went tearing down to my harshest critic and knelt
beside her hammock and woke her up and said Youve got to smoke this! and of course
garbage was back (laughs) I dont know why I got off into this, I guess it was the life is art thing
and what would you do if you could do anything.
Im not sure how this relates to it, but Ill tell it. In the study of Messianic movements, in fact
you can read about this in Sylvia Phrupts book Milleniam Dreams in Action where she talks
about a number of millennial religious groups, there was a movement around 1910 in Java
called the calloupan movement and it was some guy was sitting on his porch on day in a hut off
in the jungle, and he was playing his flute and collecting Kopal in the forest there to sell to
As he was playing his flute, he noticed that this bar of rolled out Kopal multiplied to twice its
size right in front of him. Not only did this happen but the same moment it happened his mind
was flooded with the sudden realization of the meaning of the event that all human lives were
now going to be twice as long as they had previously been before.
He started, he told people in his village and he had the proof this bar of Kopal which was twice
as long as anybody had ever rolled them in the village. It spread from village to village and
before long people from all over Java were vectoring in on this place, eventually the army had
to be sent to put road blocks and turn people back, it all had to do with this piece of resin which
had doubled in length while this guy played his flute.
The ayahuascero that Kat mentioned she liked so much and worked with in Peru, Don Fidel, he
lived off this road we knew and a few miles down this trail, and we went down there often and
we would walk with him back and forth between his house and where we could catch these
little Jimmy busses into town.
And he said one day as we were walking along the Amazon jungle aperpoe of nothing he said
This is the path that Christ walked when he lived on earth and it became so. You saw that
somehow this was not a logical statement, this was a statement about the transposition of time
and dimensionality, and that he was living in the light of Christ, that he was living in the
presence of the master through being enveloped in a cognitive hallucination, and I think our
entire culture is headed for being enveloped in a cognitive hallucination where our real wishes
will be fulfilled and thats why its so important to find out what our real wishes are.


One of the most powerful forms of yoga, one of the highest forms of yoga is what is called
Yanutatara-Yoga-tantra and it involves a series of visualizations and they say Imagine your
home as a splendid palace, and imagine the common utensils of your everyday life as golden
vessels, vessels of beaten gold encrusted with jewels. Imagine your rainment made of the finest
silk, and imagine yourself as a God centered in the midst of all of this splendor. This is like trying
to induce what is called in Western psychotherapy A delusion of grandeur
A delusion of grandeur is when you are a hell of a lot happier other people think you should be.
Say What do YOU have to be so happy about?!
Its all about infusing the quality of life with greater purity.
We were saying around the fire last night, to greatest way to relate to the millennium is to
make it happen as soon as possible in your life so that you become a spectator to it as a
historical phenomenon.
The way to make it happen in your life is to not transcend desire but to transmute it so that
what you really want is what you actually have, you know.

Kat: I found that, particularly on mushrooms, that to will, to choose, to become the archetype
that I of course both have to be able to identify as an archetype, but one that I can relate to or
wish to be, and become as large, a hundred, a thousand times larger than we are, and as
smooth, as light, you can practice being in the Tao so deeply in those states, and that
everything you do no matter how miniscule it is youre doing it most gracefully, and everything
you say youre saying most eloquently.
Ive used the mending-sock thing, because sometimes I think thats what Im doing, that level of
work, but that Im doing it perfectly, and thats a great feeling.
If you indulge in the feeling of being a Goddess, or a God or Goddess, or one of whatever you
identify with, you get to choose whatever, then you get to carry it back into your daily life, and
learn to practice it either in moments when youre waddling and you suddenly need to grow
into the situation, or in moments of ecstasy.
To the archetypes making love is
Well thats the technique of tantric practice, imagining these Gods and their sexual console in


(Commentary) I think youre dancing around it really well, I think we know something, a lot
perhaps, if words are that important, and do have those meanings, one of it is what were
saying is true, or the sound of our voice that is true, something is true right here.
People are beginning to say the unsayable.
What a feeling it is!
We feel the dizziness of the things not said, we feel it, were dizzy from it, its here.

(Commentary) Talks more about the unsayable and how it is reflected in our society. Its about
trust and that leap of faith to the other side to what you can understand, to trust it, as you trust
your lover, as you trust a friend, it doesnt always work out, but trust is the only way. Otherwise
theres only fear, fear of ourselves, fear of others, fear of ideas. I think this community is part of
that building trust of people who have different ideas.

(2nd commentary) You can use a lot of verbiage to explain to people what that search is about,
but in the end communication is(inaudible) I just want to express my appreciation to those
involved in the work, for the sacrament, I just am very deeply wishing the best, its something I
missed for a long time, since the days in the 60s was the last time I was around people who
knew about that work and done in great reverence that I see here.
The great thing about the psychedelics is that they speak for themselves, so that they need no
priest, no interpreter, they can deliver their message all by themselves.
Well its wonderful that you feel so comfortable with people that you dont have to rattle on
Why dont you lead us Kat in a meditation.
Kat: Hold hands. Weve seen many eggs in the last few days and had the pleasure of holding
them and swallowing them. Ive talked about luminous eggs and feeling very eggy today,
resurrection and all that. So I was thinking that our luminous eggs should meet each other in
maybe a less verbal way. Ok close our eyes, and find your center, the light.
Let it swell out into
(Kat does egg meditation)
Thank you.


(commentary) I dont know how to phrase this best, you were suggesting that this kind of visual
language, somehow our future lies there, I know Wayes talkes about the future being light and
sound in probably the same way youre talking about it. I guess my interest in formulating this
question has to do with things like the Mayan hieroglyphic language system and also Egyptian
hieroglyphs, basically a kind of visual language that maps Northwest Indian kinds were theres
very particular design patterns. Another piece of this question is the interface between the past
use of that and the future use of that somehow. My sense of these hieroglyphic languages used
in the past, they would literally see these things that are being drawn, or these things would
speak to them and provide information as you are talking about.
Somehow as we evolve weve lost that ability somehow, or buried it, or shunted it off to one
side. My question has to do with some sense of the re-emergence, or in the Joyce sense here
comes everybody, the democratization of that ability in future cultures.
Yes well I think so, I think that the way that these hieroglyphic languages especially Mayan and
Egyptian differ from alphabetic languages is that etymology remains on the surface in a
hieroglyphic language so that thousands of meanings are immediately visibly present. Its more
like an ideogram rather than like a word with a dictionary meaning.
I doubt that a Mayan could conceive of a dictionary of Mayan glyphs because they infinitely
shade off one into another. That kind of sensitivity to the depth of language and to the
presence of the past in the present, in a word, in what Joyce is trying to do in Finnigans Wake.
Thats why if you read it carefully, you feel many historical layers of meaning in the same
passage because he wrote it with almost a pictographic consciousness of the meaning of the
words rather than a literary sense of it.
Yes in that sense, its like that. How this will be achieved in the future in our culture Im not
The control of the macintosh through an internationally understood set of control glyphs is very
weird and if any of you have worked with a macintosh you immediately see Ah this idea
which seems very odd, I could actually learn this very quickly and anyone could do it, kind of
thing, may be pre-sages a world of illiterate computer users who communicate with computer
through symbols, because literacy has been lost.
Its very interesting.

(Commentary) So the computer plays a role in the visual component, I heard you talk about
actually when you asked your question Will computers become intelligent?

Ive heard you talk about it more, and that the technology of computers will become available
to us as almost a biological exception from the?
Yes thats what I think will happen. I mean my vision of a perfect world is where the earth is
restored to its pre-historic, endemic perfection but technology has not been eliminated, its
merely been micro-miniaturized to the point where the computers which maintain the history
of the race and the governance of the planet have all been secreted on a certain pebble which
lies on a certain beach somewhere on the planet and we walk around in perfect harmony with
nature and perfect and complete touch with an imaginary holographic world that is our selfexpression as a city is our self-expression.
To then be simultaneously in the world of techny and in the world of nature, with neither
violating the other, and I think thats reasonable. I think perhaps in a sense this is what so-called
pre-literate cultures in the Amazon have achieved, thats what it looks to them from the inside.
They have an extremely rich inner life, it isnt maintained by vast computer networks and
projected into holographic space and taped on to magnetic tape and all of that.
Its still in feeling, its the notion that the richest world is within.
That you promote a balance with the exterior world, but the purpose of the leisure created
when you have achieved balance is not then to accumulate things but to explore the interior
horizon of transcendence through the recitation of myth, ec-stasis, and this sort of thing.

(Commentary) Terence, in conjunction with Roberts question could you further elaborate this
idea of the material externalization of the soul, and the internalization of the body as a
definitive thing in evolution.
I think imagination is where we want to go, that this has become the arrow of our epigenetic
development because everybody says In the future, youll have everything you want! Well if
we believe this then we have to think seriously about what everything you want is.
You want plenty of food, plenty of clothes, plenty of money, plenty of friends, but then if you
get all that and they say You still havent even dented your credit account and you say So I
want to live in Versailles, surrounded by brilliant robots and I want great writers and artists to
have lunch with me every day, the Hope diamond, and Rembrandts.
Eventually this becomes very silly and instead there is an ascent towards truly grandiose
aspirations. Truly bhoddisatvic calling.
I think the imagination is the real frontier, this is why the poets and the artists are so important.

This is why, I think, one of the aspects of the space thing that is never mentioned by the Al-5
society or any of these engineering types who are so into it, is the interesting thing about outer
space, we are not going to go through space to other worlds, that will be very incidental to
going into space.
Going into space will be going into space, that space itself is a medium with unique properties
for a species such as ourselves, and one of those unique properties is that engineering, which
on the surface of the planet always has to be cognissant of stress, and bearing loads, and
limitation of materials, engineering is just going to become like balet.
Objects miles in extent can be created that are obedient only to the laws of the imagination, of
course the funding available to create these things, in other words the constraints of nature will
be lifted.
Outer space will be very much like what you see when you close your eyes in a dark room.
Its a vast unfilled void into which anything whatsoever can be projected, the hallucination of
the individual are the cultural artifacts of the species 500 years from now.
All these visions and dreams that we have will been realized, in ways that we can not imagine,
but realized never the less. This has been consistently what has been going on, the alchemical
dreams of the 16th century are fully realized in the 20th century you know.
Of course it has facets that they never imagine.
Going into space and going into the imagination is the same thing, in the same way that the
new world presented a tremendously tight genetic filter to immigrants so that only the soldiers
of fortune, the religious fanatics, and exiles came to this place and that created a unique gene
Space is going to be a much tighter genetic filter, I mean most people who go are going to be
very smart and very healthy, and very quickly I think a space-type will arise but I dont think you
can create a space-based civilization without recourse to psychedelic plants and the psychedelic
experience, because its too much the same thing.
If you dont integrate psychedelics into the leap to space and realize that what is happening is
more and more we perfect the aspiration to vertical ascent.
In the myth of Icarus and Dedilus you get this, in the brother Mongofie and their gas-filled
balloon, and then the Wright brothers, and then the Apollo project, all of these things are this
aspiration to ascension.


Apparently it is a biological drive, some people have suggested it is a nostalgia for the canopies
of the rainforest that no longer exist, but whatever it is, its going to take us outwards to the
stars and inwards to the stars
The real question mark which hangs over all this is the nature of mind, we do not know what
mind is, and yet everything goes on upon the stage that is conditioned by and assumes mind as
a given.
Every society has assumed that it had the answers, that just 15 years more of fine tuning of the
current ideology would do it. No society has ever been right about that, so why should we be
We are hurdling towards an unimaginable future in the same way that our present would have
been unimaginable to people 200, or 500 years ago.
It is the imagination because it is consciousness that is growing and expanding and
strengthening itself.
If we take the notion that these psychedelic plants are consciousness expanding agents, this is
what they were originally called consciousness expanding drugs if you take that seriously for
a moment, how can you not center it in your life?
I mean obviously consciousness is what must be expanded, as fast as possible at all costs in all
times and places because it is a lack of consciousness that will be toxic to our species and the
Consciousness is the saving grace, it has to be cultivated by any means available.
-You were saying that this urge to ascend is related to this biological urge and that it may be
related to the rainforest. What I want to make is that, when we think of going to space were so
human centered, yes us as humans can exist in space, but what I think is really important about
going away from this planets surface is that its not just a human centered thing but its a totally
biological thing and we are just implements of it, we are the thinking conscious creative toolmakers that will be able to implement getting off this gravity trap, this gravity well its not
just for humans its for all life, it will be a complete synthesis of all biological life off of the
Yes if we go to space we will take everybody with us.
-Just like in a rainforest, its not just..its everything.


Thats right we are the species that is deputized to use energy to do the thing for all life on the
planet. Thats why Im not pessimistic about history and I dont see history as unnatural, or
somehow opposed to nature.
What history is, is the process by which the monkeys attain an understanding of physical
processes to build the habitats in to which all life on the planet can then migrate. Thats what I
was talking about this morning when I said I think the planet senses the finiteness of its
existence and that biology is a wild scheme for getting out to the stars for dispersal of life and
youre right, we have great hubris and believe we are doing this and man will go to the stars.
Its more like man is the pecking beak of the cosmic chick in the egg of life on earth, and the
entire bird will emerge and fly but it was man with his atomic weapons and radar and all this
who can break the shell and then the whole of the biosphere will flow outward into space and
escape the cycle of energy degradation which will eventually turn this solar system into a group
of cold cinders rotating around a red giant or something.

(Commentary) deleted from audio

Yes well were trying to compare our maps, everybody has seen different pieces of a geography
whose total size we dont know. So we dont know, maybe none of our maps overlap, or some
do and some dont. Maps which dont overlap are not invalidated, it just means nobody has
been there but you.
I often have the feeling that I am seeing things that nobody has ever seen before, often.
Leon asked me to talk about time, Leon is off on alone time so hell miss this. The thing that
really interests me or draws me back to the psychedelic experience again and again is the
notion that theres something you can learn that would somehow have an impact on society at
large that when you have the psychedelic experience, its like youre a sailor on some kind of a
vast ocean where you let down your net into the deeps and the hope is that you will snare an
idea of some sort and of some size.
It may be that you come up with the equivalent of tuna, which is many small idea, or perhaps
you bring up your nets and see that they have just been shredded by something so large you
scarcely care to imagine it.
The hope is to land an idea of intermediate size that you can then explore and understand.
When you go into that ocean as a swimmer you see these things passing in review, things of
such beauty and intricacy and complexity that you are literally speechless, and even speechless
in terms of an interior dialogue of what youre seeing.

It just blows your mind and washes past you in such profusion that the notion of catching
seems to be like a child emptying the ocean with a cup. If you have a net, and Im not sure what
a net is exactly, its a way of somehow capturing these psychedelic ideas and bringing them
back for examination.
I think part of it rests on a technique of cyclical recitation to yourself of what youve seen so
that you carry a vision to a level of reflection as you pull away from it and then 10 minutes later
you tell yourself again what has just happened, then 20 minutes again so you get a series of
telescoping images which are granted a compression of the original event, but nevertheless
they bear the stamp of what the thing was.
So the thing of this class that has happened to me is a very peculiar idea about time which was
developed fairly suddenly as I would imagine ideas develop, in me in the early and mid 1970s
and then it was pretty much formulated in my head but it took the invention of small
computers to make it possible to write software so that I could actually talk to other people
about this idea.
Since we have no computers and not even a blackboard this will be a kind of feeling toned
excursion into talking about this theory of time.
It has an abstract foundation and a practical foundation.
Its abstract foundation is the notion that time is different than we have come to conceive of it
as the legacy of Western science.
The legacy of Western science is that time is duration, that time is a dimension necessary for
process, and its usually thought of as a flat plane against which some other fluctuating variable
can be plotted. This is called linear time
Newtons physics took the same view of space, the Newtonian view of space was that it was
essentially emptiness, it was something which you had to have if you wanted to put something
somewhere, so it was a kind of abstract plenum, but Einstein showed that space is actually
some kind of thing, it had properties of thingdom, it is distorted in the presence of a large
magnetic field and so it rose out of the realm of abstraction and was cognized as an
objectifiable entity, a topological manifold that was real.

This is, I think, the same step that has to be taken for time, time is not simply the dimension or
duration required for the successive occurrence of occasions, it is rather some kind of
conditioned topological manifold.
We can think of it as a fluid medium flowing across a surface.

A river in other words. In some places the river is very broad and shallow and meanders
because the pitch of the incline over which its moving is so slight that it can barely discern
which way to move, you see this often in the Amazon.
In other situations the incline creases and the speed of the flow increases, and the depth of the
channel increases, and the distance between the banks decreases so time runs slowly and it
runs quickly. It has a kind of modulated speed.
Its been a commonplace of Western cosmology since Darwin, although its never been
elevated to the status of a law or even a principle that steady complexification has occurred in
the universe since its very beginning. That this is something that we see in the very first
moments of physics and preceding right before our own day.
In other words, in the era before physics, that period of time so short that its less than the
amount of time for the photon to cross the radius of the nucleus of the atom, there was
absolutely chaos and a complete absence of physics. Then what sprang into being was a physics
of pure electrons, of pure energy. It was not for many seconds that temperatures fell to a point
such that other factors could come into play such that free electrons could fall into atomic
orbitals and this sort of thing.
At each successive level of cooling new forms of order became possible, at first everything was
just this plasma of particles and energy, then atomic systems sprang into being. Then at still
lower temperatures these atomic systems were able to form molecular systems, the energy
level in the general medium dropped below the level at which it would disrupt the molecular
bond, so then molecules came into being. Then at that point there was the aggregation of stars
and the cooking out of heavier elements into the process of cooking out of the heavier
elements through the process of cooking hydrogen so that iron and carbon and these things
then arose. By this time the universe is much cooler than it was at the beginning, then finally
you get temperature regimes and environmental situations where very large molecular
colloidal species can come into being, large prelimerised molecules and this sets the stage for
DNA and once it emergesand the thing to notice at each of these stages of complexification is
that it requires a shorter time than the processes preceding it.
If the universe is, lets take the long view and say 20 billion (20,000,000,000) years old, then the
first 10 billion years not very much happened that was interesting in the realm of complexity.
There was star formation and the percolation of heavy chemistry but not life but its doubtful
that life occurred in the early universe so what we see then is the emergence of more and more
animal forms at a greater and greater speed.
Then finally the emergence of self-reflection in the primates, then epigenetic methods of
encoding information in other words writing, and story telling, and language.

At each point what is happening is theres a progressive time binding of energy and a
progressive intensification and speed up of certain parts of the universe. Right now the most
complex part of the universe that we know is the human brain-mind situated in its network of
computers and cultural conventions and social obligations and expectations and hopes and
fears and historical aspirations, etc.
This is the realm of the densely packed that the Buddhas are talking about. It seems to me that
this should be seen as an operation of a general law and we are not outside of this, we are in
fact the cutting edge of this.
Somehow, of all the animal species on the earth the human beings are carriers of this temporal
speeding up process which is now engulfing the entire planet.
Thats the general law, or the general perception upon which this idea I elaborated was based.
The notion that complexification is being conserved through time and built up as some quality
that the universe is very interested in maintaining.
Then I looked at the I-Ching which I hope is familiar to most of you, Im sure it probably is. Its a
very ancient Chinese oracle system that uses what are called hexagrams which are 6-leveled
ideograms of broken or unbroken lines, and the possible subset of these things is 64.
Which is an interesting number because its the number which DNA operates on because it uses
64 codons, in fact I came to see that as no coincidence, that actually life was organized around
this number and the I-Ching as well because both were subject a set of rules which was
surfacing in the phenomenon of biological organization and the organization of a Chinese
oracular theory for understanding past and future time.
I looked at what is called The Sequence which is the way that you move from one hexagram
to the next, and I sought order there and found order that I think had been lost since pre-Han
perhaps pre-Jo times.
I came to see the I-Ching as we possess it today as an archelogical artifact, a piece of broken
machinery. Its like the turbine of a jet plane, you puzzle over it and you see that it can be used
for various things and you do use it for something and you see that its very effective but its
really a piece of broken machinery from a very ancient technology which ceased to exist before
the rise of the Han dynasty. What it was, was like a Taoist technology of understanding time,
that by the practice of certain techniques whose historical echoes that I think you get in the
stilling-of-the-heart techniques of Vadrianna Buddhism, these people were able to see into the
quantum mechanical foundations of thought and consciousness.


They noticed there flux which they called The Tao and it was a thing which came and went, the
Tao Te Ching says The way that can be told of is not an unvarying way and they stilled their
body functions and they looked inward with a cataloging, analytical mentality, they noticed that
while this flux was variable it seemed to be not infinite in its contributing factors but that in fact
it seemed to have a pattern and they discerned the pattern as revolving around the number 64.
In other words they discerned through this process of meditation temporal elements that had a
kind of ontological validity that the material elements of the periodic table have for matter.
There is not one kind of time or two kinds of time but actually 64 facets of the possible
temporal jewel.
They saw that any moment in time was a combination and the overlay this wave-system which
they called Tao and it was a harmonic wave system, it had periods of self-expression which
were very short in duration, on the order of seconds or hours or microseconds, it had levels of
expression which were cognizable in the human world which were years and decades and
centuries, and it had vast resonant periods which were as large as history then larger many
Periods of temporal resonance which could only be referenced to the life of the planet, this is, I
think, part of the Chinese notion of the Tao of heaven, earth, and man.
These are different speeds at which these temporal waves of conditioning of the world of
phenomenal appearance are moving.
If you take an idea like this seriously, even as a personal discipline of thought to picture it and
visualize it in a Vadryana spirit then you see that whats really being offered is a map of time.
Its saying that the condition of knowing a fading past and facing an unanticipatible future is not
an ontologically given necessity of existence, that it is possible to imagine an existence in which
one saw into time the way we as animals see into the space in front of us so that we are able to
run, and leap, and dance among the rocks. Its because we can see into space.
A culture that could see into time could anticipate where the river of time would flow quickly,
where it would broaden out and move slowly with a rich sense of conservation of
accomplishments achieved. Where it would cascade and break-up its previous patterns and
produce great cataracts of novelty.
A civilization which knew these things, or a person which knew these things about their own life
would claim a new dimension of existential freedom for being.


I was having this whispering entity, this daemon, this logos show me these things and it was
expressed on a very, very practical level. I mapped what is called The first order of difference
in the sequence of the I-Ching
That means how many lines change as you go from one hexagram to another. I discovered that
it looked like a random wave, it looked like a stochastic slice. Except that in the beginning and
the end there were tongue-in-groove points that fit if you rotated the thing 180 degrees and
brought it down against itself.
So that the thing achieved closure at the beginning and the end. This satisfied me that I was
dealing an artifact, thatI was dealing with an organized structure either of nature or created
by intelligence.
Then using the principle of hierarchical resonance and stacking of molecules into hierarchies
which is really the principles by which all Chinese metaphysics has operated from the very
beginning, I created a cosmic calendar where each level was a resonance of the level below it,
but either collapsed or multiplied by a factor of 64.
I discovered a verywell recall that because the I-Ching is 64 hexagrams which 6 lines in each
hexagram, its composed basically of 384 yao or lines. I discovered that this number 384 has a
very interested property, the cycle of the moon is 29.5 days so that if you take 29.5 times 13 its
something like 383.93 seemed to me then immediately obvious that part of what the
machinery of the I-Ching was describing in the humanly cognizable phenomenal world was the
cycle of the moon using a 384 day lunar calendar which precessed 19 days a year against the
solar calendar. When you take that 384 day unit and multiply it by 64 you get 67 years and
some months and days.
This is exactly 6 11-year sunspot cycles, and China is the first place where we have the first
historical records of sunspots.
So thats one spot cycle for each line in the 6-line hexagram, and also sunspots cycles have a
greater peak every 3rd cycle so thats one large sunspot cycle for each hexagram in that
trigram. I saw then that there were these resonances. When you take that number again 67
times 64 you get 4306 years.
That works out to 2150 years for each zodiacal sign, each zodiacal sign is slotted to one trigram. Notice that all of these things that this resonance calendar is predicting are things that
are visible to the naked eye. Were talking about movements of constellations, sunspots, and
the moon.


I saw then that this was a tremendously powerful natural calendar that was a technology
developed by proto-Taoist central Asian shamanism.
So it became a question of what is the best fit of this undulating wave of novelty.
I used the word novelty out of Alfred North Whiteheads philosophy because he had this notion
that novelty was the concrescing of a force which knits things together.
I like that, thats what I felt it was, that the Tao is making itself and that this compression of
novelty through the speeding up of time will eventually reach a place where everything is
connected to everything else.
This is the universes self-birthing of itself.
Well you must be aware of all these very straight studies which say If we keep increasing how
fast we go by the year 2020 well go 10 times the speed of light, if we keep increasing the
amount of energy we release by so-and-so we will release the energy of the sun.
The propagation of all these curves of development become asymptotic and then nobody
knows how to interpret what they mean, it just seems to me that the whole culture is just going
to go kazowey, you know.
This is sort of what this theory implies, it implies that far from the universe being a steady state
entity, uninfluenced by the human mind, which is going to go on and exist for billions of years
until stars burn out and the 2nd law of thermodynamics is going to reduce everything to heat
That thats all wrong, 100% wrong and that actually the universe is made by mind within and
without organism, and that mind is capable of boot-strap leaps in its organizational selfexpression and that we are privileged to be the witnesses of the final act of life going through
some kind of immense transformative unfolding from itself in a kind of vortex which has been
building on this planet for billions of years which has been accelerating to such excruciating
intensities over the last 25,000 years that it is called forth self-reflective intelligence from the
monkeys, and the inventions of quantum physics, and spaceflight, and shamanism, it is novelty
upon novelty.
Novelty so intensified that the genetic machinery can no longer carry it and it bubbles out into
the epigenetic into art, and language, and poetry, and religion, and religious mania and
romanticism and all of these things. It is a progressive knitting together an expression of the
universes will to become that causes me to think that we may be in the shorter gires as
William Butler called them, the shortening spirals, of this vortex of novelty and compression.


You see a curious quality about this kind of cosmology that Im describing, a cosmology in which
each epoch is preceded by an epoch which is 64 times greater in duration, the curious thing
about that is that they only need about 20 instances of multiplication before you go from a
period of time smaller than the duration of planks constant, which is 1.55 x 10^-23, which is a
very short period of time.
Then by 20 multiplications of 64 you reach a period of time in excess of the required time for
the age of the universe, a period of time on the order of 72 billion years.
Well if each time the spiral goes into a state of collapse at the end of one of its cycles, in the last
384 days of the existence of a universe like that it would transit through half of its epochs of
transition, do you see what I mean?
Its like a screaming mimi, it really winds up.
The visions which physics gives us, is that the really rapid transitions of phase and state
occurred at the beginning of the universe, whole professional lives are given to discussing the
first ten pico-seconds of the physics of the universe.
I dont care about that, I think that the really interesting stuff will happen in a big hurry at the
end of the universe. The picture which the 2nd law of thermodynamics gives us of just(grunts)
tumescence, maximum detumescence is what its picturing is all wrong, and that actually this
strange hyper-dimensional force in the universe called Life and information transfer is in the
process of working itself up into a real tizzy and wrapping all space and time around itself.
What was startling and what made me think that maybe I was losing my marbles was that when
you look at that time that way and push these novelty graphs against the historical continuum, I
reached the conclusion that we entered the last 67 period before the collapse of the state
vector at 8:30 in the morning on August the 6th, 1945 when the atomic bomb went off over
Hiroshima, it was a temporal reflection of the birth of the universe.
You could call it an event which was the reincarnation of the big-bang, because each cycle
begins with a bang, and that cycle, the fact that human beings had used atomic weapons on
other human beings meant that we had entered a new era, a new epoch of moral danger, and
the stakes had been raised by a power of 64 to a new level.
Using the mathematics inherent in the cycle, if you propagate forward from that date, 67 years,
102.5 days you reach late November of 2012 AD.
I concluded based on all factors, personal, historical, and so forth that that was the fit. That if
Hiroshima was day 1, then the place where it all came together was this date in 2012.


I worked with that for several years before some kind soul, Henry Mahn I think, pointed out to
me that the Mayan calendar which is a cycle, the long-count calendar Im now talking about, is
a cycle of 13 time periods which are called bactuns, and the bactun is 396 years in duration.
After 13 bactuns the world ends completely, and the 13th bactun of the classical Mayan longcount calendar is the winter solstice of AD 2012.
Within 30 days of the date that I had fastened in on, using a completely different path of
So this raised all kinds of questions, one of which is, is it simply that individuals and civilizations
who take mushrooms becomeI want to say privy/engulfed by a certain mathematical secret
about the cosmic machinery?
What is so important about this date in 2012? You know the meso-American cultures have the
most uncanny history of successful prophecy in the world. I mean the Aztecs anticipated the
coming of the Spanish, the day, the book of Chilan-Belam, gives the day when the Spaniards
would weigh anchor off the coast of Mexico.
And of course, the fact that it happened exactly as prophesized was a major undoing of that
I put this out, this was a very confusing experience for me to channel or transmit this idea
because I was interested in the I-Ching, I had carried it with me in India, I used to throw it at
each full moon, but I was not mathematically inclined and went(audio cuts out)
Reading the philosophy of science, like Paul Firob and Emire Lacahtosh, and reading the history
of science, Thomas Kunn, and all of those people, trying to understand you know What is a
true idea? what is true and what is false?
When you have an idea which makes claims as sweeping as these, then you want to try to
understand just what the limits of knowability are, and I discovered that all you can require of
any idea is that it be self-consistent. That it not generate any contradictions within its own set
of rules, you see.
Thats why astrology is beyond criticism, because astrology is a mathematical theory with an
interpretive exo-Jesus attached to it, who can quivel with a mathematical theory?
Then the interpretational exo-Jesus has to do with the sensitivity and subtlety of the
Well isnt this true of mathematical data in science the same way?

So I discovered that what I had created was a self-consistent idea that appears to be sealed
beyond refutation in some weird and uncanny way which makes it seem very non-human
because you cant really find your way into telling whether it can be answerable to the notion
of objective truth.
So what Ive decided about it is, that its a teaching, or its a kind of exemplary model of how all
process goes on and its a way of learning how things happen.
To see time as a modulated flux of elements, to see it as a series of waves moving at different
speeds through which you are taking a vertical slice and then stacking that slice and that gives
rise to the multiplistic ever-changing flux called the now.
It is actually made up of reflections and adumbrations of the past, its made up of anticipatory
shock waves and intimations of the future.
The past and future are co-present in the now, they are in fact whats making it happen.
You can almost think of it as a hologram, or a standing wave, where you two wave systems
one from the past, one from the future where they cross an interference pattern forms which
has a curious stability as a system in, and of itself. Yet its almost a ghost created by these other
two realities and that is the moving present.
Mathematically this notion of time that I evolved delivers the map of novelty, a two-variable
flux, a wandering line graph thats very pleasing for arguing with formulists.
But what lurks behind it and what is so rich for the romantic, and the shaman, and the poet,
this wandering line graph is the composite of the overlay of certain historical time periods
which are in a state of flux at various speeds so that they give rise to an endless kaleidoscopic
unfolding in what we call three-dimensional space and of what we call reality.
This is why I often mention Finnigans Wake in my lectures because Joyce understood this, he
understood that every moment is caused by everything that happened in the past, and
everything that happened in the future, and I like to give the trivial example thatyou find
yourself in Hadrians hamburger joint, this is because the emperor Hadrian invaded England in a
certain year and conducted a campaign.
We are ghosts of past and future events. What the chaos at the end of history that we are now
living through is, is that for thousands and thousands of years people have felt a vague thing
calling across time to humans, calling us to be a certain way, to practice certain rituals, to
observe the stars, to observe the plants, to observe birth, to observe death, a calling and that
thing which some people have called God whatever it is, is throwing a gigantic shadow over
history now, because now the creode of development that leads to our merging with this thing

the walls are very steep, the water is moving very swiftly, and its almost as though the future
event is throwing off great sparks that are themselves faceted contradictory epitomizations of
this mystery.
This is what Mohammed, and Christ, and Buddha are. Human personalities that were situated
in time in such a way that they became macrocosmic reflections of the super-ordinate edemic
humanity that is going to be generated at the end of history.
We are close, we are close, it isall of history can be seen as the shockwave of this
eschatological event. This is what the prophets were anticipating, the culmination of mans
God-making effort in time will be the perfection and the release of the human soul.
Its not that we are doing it, you see, its that a natural law that we were previously unaware of
is inexorably unfolding.
That is what all this cross-connectedness of man into matter, plant into animal, earth into
space, all of this flowing and interconnectedness, this reaches right down into the rocks of the
This is not simply a phenomenon of biology this is the unfolding of a general law of which
biology is only the cutting edge of a wedge of becomingness which includes all being and
reaches right down into the nutrinos.
It is, you knowto be a being in time is to share in the immense flood of pre-cognitive
anticipation that fills the universe in anticipation of this event, and thats what being is and
thats why its so rich and complete within itself, and yet always somehow pointing beyond itself
because the richness of the matrix through which we are moving is incomparable and beautiful.
This is the basis of my extreme optimism, I think everything is under control, we are in the grip
of a force so powerful that the notion that we could jeopardize or overthrow it is completely
preposterous because we are acting accordance with a resonance that was set going millions
and millions of years ago.
Of course being is fraught with danger, but the stakes are to be at play in the fields of the Lord,
to be at rest in the mansions of the Goddess, its soon I think.
At least the historical mimicking of it is clearly soon because the thrust toward the millennium
of this society will not be turned aside, if it is not a law of the universe then it will become a
myth of human beings and will be created anyway.
Since we are human beings I see us as the central actors of that mandala, this is the task of the
next 100, or 500 years to realize the alchemical nature of humanity and being.

And have everything fused into a super-numinous concrescence that is time.

Joyce said All space in a nutshell, all time bound into a lenticular vehicle that is both
everyones and mine alone, and yours alone, and yours alone
What I want to talk about this morning is an idea, Ive talked about it in a couple of places,
some of you may have heard it before.
I think it bears repeating, its a much more serious idea than what I put out yesterday which had
a note of whimsy in its genesis.
This idea is importantwhatever that means, because it would change not only the area of its
concern but our view of the world generally.
Easter is an appropriate time to discuss this because it concerns the genesis of man, of
consciousness and self-reflection which is what the Easter mythologian is also an expression of.
So what I wanted to talk about this morning is a new notion of how human evolution occurred,
what the critical factors were in it and how to draw a picture for us that shows how our
intellectual complexity and symbol manipulating facilities could have emerged naturally from a
background of animal existence and over a fairly rapid period of time.
Over the last 3 to 5 million years actually the African continent has been growing more dry and
has experienced fluctuations of aridity. Nevertheless as recently as 2,000 years ago the Roman
historian Plineah called North Africa The breadbasket of Rome because wheat was being
grown over thousands and thousands of acres.
Its in this same area of Northern Africa, the great rift zone of the Serengeti plain where
physical anthropologists place the origin of human beings and it has to do with the following
sequence of events.
Arboreal primates living in an unbroken continental rainforest ecology achieve a close
adaptation to existence in the canopy and this is stabilized for millions of years, they are
insectivores they have the opposable thumbs and binocular, or rudimentary binocular vision.
The drying up of the African continent caused the breakdown of this continental breakdown of
the configuration of patches of forest with the grassland in between.
In this grassland ecology herds of mammals evolved, proto-cattle, proto-bison, exotic mammals
like giraffes and gazelles of all time.
At the same time the primate adaptation to this increasing aridity was to begin to descend from
the trees and begin to hunt in packs and to begin to shift from a diet of canopy fruits and
berries, and roots dug from the ground to an omnivorous diet that could include meat.

So in this situation these tribal monkeys developed a complicated repertoire of signals to aid in
pack hunting in the same way wolves are known to do.
Their habit was nomadic and to follow behind these great herds either killing the animals that
were less well and could be killed by the crude means of their disposal, or living off the kills of
other carnivores and this is still the habit of baboons.
Into this situation comes a mushroom which grows in the manure of the ungulate animals that
have evolved on this plane.
In this protein intensive environment where there is pressure on the availability of protein,
these foraging primates are testing every object in the environment for its food value.
Rolland Fischer who was a researcher into the effect of psychedelic drugs and the structure of
consciousness showed that small doses of psilocybin, sub-threshold doses of psilocybin actually
increase visual acuity and he had a very elegant experiment where 2 parallel lines could be
formed by turning a dial, and you would put graduate students in front of this stoned, and
unstoned, and asked to press a buzzer when the lines no longer appeared to them to be
He showed that consistently a small amount of psilocybin allowed you to detect this change
sooner than an ordinary subject was able to.
He said to me that This proves that drugs give you a clearer picture of reality than their
What it means is that these primates who were inculcating the mushroom into their diet were
gaining the subtle adaptive advantage over their fellows who were avoiding the mushroom,
because they were gaining in visual acuity which is one of the critical parameters that a pack
hunting carnivore would be subject to in that kind of an environment.
Without any teleology being involved, without any invocation of extraterrestrial intelligence we
see that a feedback loop was established in the food chain of these primates very early on.
Those who ate the mushroom tended to survive and outbreed those who did not, at the same
time the relationship between these animals and these herd ungulate mammals was switching
from a hunting situation to a situation of domestication.
Which was bringing the mushroom ever more into the fore, if you look back at the
archeological evidence in North Africa, especially the paintings, the late Neolithic paintings on
the Facile Plateau in Southern Nigeria you see there magnificently portrayed herds of cattle,
beautifully painted.

More sensitively portrayed cattle than you find at Alta-mera and Lascoh, and you see also
shamans dancing with mushrooms sprouting out of their body and mushrooms clutched in their
hands, groups of them running holding on high with geometric matrices of connected dots all
around them.
Now of course in that area its very similar to this, its an area of sculpted sand stone, and crosscut arroyos with undercuts cliffs. Its very dry, but in some places the Neolithic detritus is
several meters deep.
The people who lived in the Facile Plateau when the aridity of the Sahara further increased are
the people who migrated east to the Nile and established the proto-Egyptian civilization 6 to 10
thousand years ago.
The important point I want to make about this later phase of the human involvement with the
mushroom was that it was always intimately connected with cattle.
And that the Goddess religions of Ancient North Africa and the Middle East are religions of
cattle Goddesses, and this connection between the cow and the mother Goddess and the
mushroom is some kind of key to understanding the evolution of religious sensitivity in early
man and that part of the middle east.
It carries forward into historical time with the mysteries at Eluisis where there is a clear
indication that a psychedelic substance is being used. Either an ergotized rye or a mushroom of
some sort.
This notion it was the presence of the mushroom on the African veldt at a critical bifurcation of
primate evolution that created the feedback loop which eventually developed into selfreflecting consciousness.
You see at lower doses the psilocybin is giving increased visual acuity and it seems like
increased symbol processing ability, its strange effect on the language centers.
But of course inevitably they would have discovered its higher dose effects which would be to
convey then into an inner tremendum which became then the cultural guiding image.
In other words it was perceived as a God, as a Goddess, as the Goddess and became then the
arrow for cultural dynamics and evolution.
The reason I think this is important is because the spin off implications of the acceptance of an
idea like this would bring us into much greater harmony with our environment.
We sort of have the anxiety of an orphan about our origins because our best people in physical
anthropology dont give very good accounts.

Cant seem to make sense of how we could have been forced out and emerged out of primate
So theres been much talk in the 20th century for the search for the missing link which has
always been conceived of a physical skeleton of a certain kind of intermediate homonoid form,
it isnt a missing link I think, its a missing factor.
And the factor which forwarded the evolution of the brain size of this particular primate line
was the inclusion of psychedelic plants in the diet, which then fed the tendency towards symbol
formation and self-reflection.
If this idea gained wide acceptance, some of our laws and some of our ways of relating to
nature and to medicine plants in particular would have to be altered and brought into line.
This is the source of our humanness.
Apparently the psychoactive compounds being elaborated by plants throughout nature are
regulators of various forms of evolution in animals, and food chains and all this which appear
very trivial on the surface are actually the message bearing medium of the hand of God which is
forming and sculpting nature along these various creodes of development.
The thing to understand about this, or why this has impact in the future is because its a
continuous process which we can foster and husband and help develop in healthy ways if we
recognize that its going on.
I mentioned Eluisis as this kind of thing going on in historical time, also Soma, the sacrament of
the Vedic civilization appears to have been a mushroom, was certainly a psychedelic plant. It
wasnt only psychedelic plants but all plants which affect and shift consciousness.
I mean a history of the human race can be written analyzing it not it terms of class struggle of
the impact of great personalities but as a shifting set of interactions between sugar, tobacco,
opium, caffeine, alcohol, and psychedelics so that we need to understand that these foods and
drugs and spices, we have subtly overlooked them and taken them for granted.
They have regulated human history, and individual self-expression, how much you know, how
you look, how pure your transmission of your genetic heritage to the next generation, all of
these things are being regulated and controlled by these plants in this way.
Now if we could create a civilization or even a clique within a civilization that understood this
and that had its fingers on a vertical monopoly of research from the jungle to the clinical
hospital, great things could be understood.


This is the way to do it, to systematically explore these relationships and see that Gaea
apparently works through the intercession of catalytic compounds that convey revelation, and
revelation is then the factor which has historical impact.
The people, the messiahs, and the teachers are merely the pipeline for ideas and the metabolic
release of these ideas in the macro-environment is being controlled by the plant-animal
So it will be on into the foreseeable future, and by understanding this a kind of new science
looms into view. A kind of integrated dynamical understanding of the flux of energy mediated
by chemistry in the environment so that the guiding image of culture can be revitalized and
realized in a much shorter period of time.
This whole shortening period of time thing has also been going on for a while.
You see it isnt astonishing I think that self-reflection could emerge given basic primate
organization, but what is astonishing about it is the speed with which it happened.
I mean in the last 30 to 50 thousand years the human brain has changed more than it has in the
previous 3 to 5 million years.
A factor has entered, a catalyst is in the mix and it must be something in the food chain, or
something in the environment, or the hand of almighty God, or the extraterrestrials, or elf
invasion from hyperspace
But something is causing this accelerated development. What I said this morning could be
criticized as being reductionist, I try to give a very sober account of it, I havent said why the
mushroom appeared in the manure or discussed whether it has awareness or a stake in the
catalyzing of this process of primate evolution.
I just introduce it as a chemical factor, and thats how it would be written if it were presented
to a straight audience.
The fact of the matter is that it raises all kinds of questions, I mean why is this process being
catalyzed in the primates? Is it just by happenstance?
Where has the mushroom been? What is its relationship to the evolution of other forms of life
on this planet? Did it drift in from the stars? If so, long ago or recently?
And with intent?Or by chance?
You know just a host of questions. The thing that puts us in such an existential situation,
individually and culturally, is this puzzlement over our origins.

We are not strictly speaking religious in the 19th century way so that we can not really, I think,
accept that you know God sculpted us out of clay and set us down here on a world he created,
and yet if you were to look for the thumbprint of God on this planet.
You would certainly have to focus in on the human beings and their activity as a special case of
natural phenomenon. Perhaps so special a case that it had to be corded a separate ontological
We are different and why, and for what?
I think that probably we are the agent of change that Gaia has unleashed upon herself, that the
planet itself is awareness of the finiteness of planetary existence.
Its sort of like the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
You can have a planetary consciousness which says Well I look forward to 3 to 5 billion years of
sentient existence then I am willing to be extinguished with the death of my star or you can
have a planet with an ant-like mentality that says I can sense winter coming 3 to 5 billion years
down the line and Im going to organize some wild strategy to break through the tyranny of the
energy cycle of one star and Im going to organize biological existence so that greater and
greater amounts of energy can be brought under control so that eventually a kind of liberation
can occur where life can burst out of the planetary cradle and disperse itself through the
There are apparently several strategies for this, one is evolving intelligence and build starships,
another is become a mushroom and produce 3 to 5 million spores per minute during
sporulation, they are particles small enough to percolate by Brownian movement away from
the atmosphere of the given planet and by sheer numbers, and the slow gradiant and drift by
light pressure and that sort of thing, emanate through the universe, and establish yourself in
any planetary regime that is suitable.
The obvious next great revelation in biology, and its strange that we can state it because once
its stated by Carl Sagan it would be headlines everywhere, but its obvious that space is no
barrier to life.
Its a barrier, in the same way that the Pacific Ocean was a barrier to lifes colonization of the
Hawaiian islands, but thats all.
Its just a tight filter, but spores and starships, and shamans probably get through to other
closed topologies in orbit around other stars. There must be a dimension somewhere where all
surfaces in the universe are contigous, and if you could move into that dimension you could just
walk to Zeta-Reticulae.

So the means by which life will penetrate these larger dimensions that free it from its
dependency on the energy cycles of the material universe are not by any means clear.
It may be that its about organizing the mind and building an inner vehicle and moves off into
the imagination. The imagination may be, in fact, a 3-dimensional slice of a higher dimensional
universe that is holding all this in being and causing it to happen.
The imagination, its hard to account for it in evolutionary terms if it is not somehow mapping a
field of data that is important for development.
So thats that notion, the notion of the importance of psychedelics in the formation of this
species and a continuing formation of the cultural design.
I think what the psychedelics do is they de-condition from cultural programming and allow
models to be replaced at a much greater rate of speed so that the culture that uses
psychedelics can trim itself to every historical current. This is really the challenge of the future,
we are moving as a culture faster and faster through the temporal medium, through the
historical space, and this is creating a compression of events.
Its almost like an airfoil approaching the speed of sound.
There is a wave of concussive shock building in front of our culture and we have to almost redesign ourselves in mid-flight in order to push through that barrier into the different order, the
different set of laws that will prevail once we have gotten through that.
But this whole sense of everything accelerating, of all historical input being intensified and all
previous times being somehow co-present this is the phenomenon of the winding down of a
universe, or the building up of an eschatological shockwave in front of a vehicle that is trying to
transit out of history and into some kind of millenarian space that is not subject to the anxiety
that history involves.
Thats what the whole crisis around the millennium and the whole 20th century is really about
is this effort to create a complete summation that can also be used as the force to propel us
beyond everything we have been or thought before, because theres obviously no other escape
from the culture crisis.
That kind of situation is called a forward escape, it means the only thing you can do is move
forward into the crisis at ever greater speed, because the only solution is to pass through it and
move beyond it.
As we move toward the millennium and as the intelligence of our machines, the size of our
databases, the desperation of our politicians, the intensity of the visions of our visionaries, all of

this will build to a crazy concatenations climax, it cant be any other way because Christian
civilization has wired us up for these things at the end of every 1,000 year period.
I mean in the year 1000 everything just went haywire, people stood in the street for months
just gaping at the sky, no work got done, you know there was such an eminent expectation of
the onslaught of the millennium.
Nevertheless this archetype of renewal is seeking in thousands and thousands of ways to be
born, and I think that the rediscovery of psychedelics, LSD, everything that Wasson did, all of
these things are critical factors in this cultural mix that is going to gel towards the recognition of
the things that we hold as clichs.
That the inside and outside are the same thing, that the universe can be crossed by thought in
an instant, all information is somehow co-present, and so on.
Are there any questions about any of this?
Yes, I said that what we take for granted, that the inside and the outside are the same thing
these things will be assimilated by the larger culture. Things like human machine interface and
the ego identification with the body, I think all these things are going to be obviated.
You see we dont know what man is and we have a strong association that humanness is
related to the monkey body, but yet our whole historical career has been of projecting ideas
into technical accretions, and now that we have computers and things that mimic intelligence
we are beginning to explore you know What is humanness ontologically? thats what people
are really talking about when they say can machines think? Will machines think?
They mean is what we have focused in on as the defining factor of our being that sets us apart
from all other things something which we could manufacture?
And the answer is probably to some degree yes. Because much of what is intelligence, or
appears superficially to be intelligence is simply data and retrieval so that more and more of the
culture is being hard wired into an electronic coral reef that is simply the outermost of each of
our own exoskeletons.
We all have telephones in our homes, many of us have computer terminals, these things
introduce us to a global skin of information but as the hardware grows more and more
unobtrusive we will more and more come to identify these things with our ego.
We wont even realize that were being charged for thinking about certain questions because
were actually accessing a database somewhere which is feeding us data.


So that the commonality of mind, is I think going to be somehow like the triumph of socialism
would be the commonality of mind in a capitalist context.
That there really will be an ocean of thought that you will swim in and that will be composed of
deeper and deeper levels of integrated information. Perhaps this is all that hyperspace is, is the
entirely expressed information ghost of this physical universe.
And that its in the information reconstruction of the physical universe that the mind will
eventually come to swim like a fish, and will come and go from various constellations of
aggregation and integration.
You see, whats going to happen is that the rules of the imagination are going to replace physics
so that we are going to be able to do and be whatever we can imagine. None of us have ever
probably put in much thought to what would I be if I could be anything I could imagine?
Just 20 minutes of that meditation will lead you into pretty strange places? What would it be
like if the culture evolved in 1,000 years in that way? If you could be anything.
I guess the first step everyone takes is they imagine themselves as the flying saucer, the
lenticular mind-object made of light that can move at any speed and become any object and
answer any question. Well its an archetype of wholeness in Jung in his flying saucer book.
Talked about this thing in alchemy called the rotundum which is the thing which spins you
know. Its also in alchemy called the scintillia, the spark, and simply because its round and
spins its a symbol of wholeness, but its like the exteriorization of the human soul.
The realization that expressing what is within us may culturally eventually mean actually
exteriorizing the human soul and interiorizing the human body so that this world is traded in for
the imagination.
This is sort of what art has always been trying to do, but were talking about a breakthrough of
ways and means on such a scale that you can just march off into this art.

(Question) Terence, do you find it reasonable to anticipate that eventually human technology
will succeed in producing computers that are just as conscious as we are, and can be able to do
anything that we can do?
Oh yes well Kat and I did that without even a flashlight battery, just by having children.
I mean theres a genetic component and an epigenetic component, but what Im saying is the
difference between these things may become dim indeed, in other words the way a person is

made is the way a DNA message is read by RNA, and its a group of codons of nucleotide bases
which are then templated and a ribosome reads it and assembles little pieces correctly and a
protein is created.
Well theres no reason why anything should be made any other way. All machines should be
produces by the transcription of molecular templates, so all our machines will become
strangely quasi-biological.
Your Chevrolets will not be manufactured, they will be grown in yeasty vats and they talk to
you, the question becomes very moot as to whether this is a pet, a friend, a colleague, or uh
You see nature works with very low energies, DNA can make anything and theres no smelting,
no huge release of toxic byproducts and the amazing thing about these proteins is that the
ribosome stamps them out and they come out in like a line.
They have forces, electrostatic, and other kinds of forces scripted into them so that they fold in
very, very complicated ways, and they always fold the same way,
And their memory of how to fold, where this comes from is one of the great mysteries of
molecular biology, its not at all understood.
Imagine if we could make machines which just emerged as a strange form of spaghetti which
then folded itself into jet planes, refrigerators, automobiles, television sets, lipstick cases, and
what have you.
This has to do with my notion that really the next evolutionary leap is, well I shouldnt call it an
evolutionary leap, its a leap in epigenetic development, but is what I call the genesis of visible
language. That there is an ability just under the surface of human organization waiting to be
coaxed out either through yoga, or slight genetic engineering
It is something that was anticipated by the Alexandrian philosopher Phylo-Judeas. He talked
about the logos, which is this teaching voice, this informing thing which is heard, and he was
interested in what is called The more perfect logos.
And he said What is the more perfect logos? and then he answered his own question and said
it would be a logos which went from being heard to being beheld without ever crossing over a
border of transition.
In other words a synasthesia.
Using ayahuasca and DMT and compounds like this which are very closely related to our
ordinary brain chemistry, and practice and dedication, you can begin to explore places where a
vocal synasthesia becomes a colored topological manifold.

You can show someone your thoughts by singing in a way as to condense visible objects into
the air in front of them. These objects are hyper words, they are words which you dont hear
but which you see.
Like objects they have sides, and facets, and can be examined and rotated from all sides.
Well now the biases in our language that cause us to say things like I see what you mean
when we mean I understand you fully shows that we really place a greater emphasis on
seeing the truth than on hearing the truth.
The truth seen is somehow more valid than the truth heard. And ayahuasca is a perfect
example of a plant which communicates with a visible language.
The mushroom you often hear it, and often the hearing evolves into a visible synasthesia field
of photonic input.
The ayahuasca always communicates visually, and its like the Mayan glyphs or something, its
this fantastically complicated surface which is conveying alien meaning.
After an ayahuasca trip you just feel like your eyes are sticking out of your head because youve
just been looking, as one looks as the page of a book, for hours and hours as this strange alien
3-dimensional language flows through your mind.
I believe this is a human ability just under the surface, and that in psychedelic states of mind
this happens to people.
This is why all the fiddling with glosslylalia, its the hope of reaching that concordance of
chemistry and that the moment will allow this to happen because its for some reason very
satisfying, its like an utterly harmless siddy, it is true magic and the person doing it is utterly
transported by their ability to project visible beauty.
But it appears to have no use other than entertainment of ones self and others, but eventually
when it is integrated as a cultural mode, it is what telepathy will be.
Telepathy will not be hearing other peoples thoughts in your head. Telepathy will be when you
switch into the language which lets people see what you mean.
It will be the See what I mean language.
I think that the psilocybin from the very beginning was catalyzing the language centers, and in
fact the kind of language that Im speaking to you right now is a proto-typic type of this
eventual development in human organization.


This is the thing that makes humans unique, the ability to make small mouth noises which are
arbitrarily coded with conventionally agreed upon meaning, which allow us then a vast control
of a previously invisible linguistic space.
Its in that linguistic space that we have erected our cathedrals and conducted our pogroms,
and gone about all our forms of business.
And becoming aware of this, of language as a thing to journey into, and language as a thing to
avoid the pitfalls of, the Buddha say awareness of awareness maybe its easier if one thinks of
awareness of language.

(commentary) This thing about the visual language, they will have their mouth open and there
will literally be these beautiful things coming out of their mouth with flowers and they interpret
this flowery speech, but perhaps they were in fact doing what youre talking about.
They dont interpret that as flowery speech they call it that, that yes I think thats what it must
have been. This is all very puzzling to me, if anybody knows, if anybody is an acoustic person or
I dont know whats going on exactly, but the question of what is voice? and what can you
do with self-generated sound?
How neutral is it in your own organism? In other words, any of you who read The Invisible
Landscape, the theory in there is that you take a certain drug, a certain plant, and you hear and
interiorized tone which is not a psychological phenomenon, but rather it is actually the
electron-spin resonance of this highly dynamic biomolecule by the millions entering into the
synaptic cleft and competing with the endogenous transmitter there for uptake.
That this mmmmMmmMMmmMm is molecularely real and hence can be treated as a
variable to be manipulated with the input of other kinds of sounds such as the sound which
cancels it or sound which reinforces it to then manipulate these molecules into ones body.
This is really I think the frontier of shamanism world-wide, that everybody is trying to figure out
how far you can go with sound, and what you can do with it and also how dangerous is this?
How permanent can some of these brain changes be?
What is the mechanism? Is the electron spin resonance thing pretty close to it or is that just a
myth, and an entirely different set of coupling mechanisms are making that happen?
All ayahuasca shamans are great hummers, and great controllers of their voice, they do operate
on your body with light and sound, and there are sounds which can slice into your body.

It seems to me this is where experiential and experimental work with these things should
concentrate to just try and understand how much of humanness can we take control of?
How bound in are we?
What do these special abilities mean?
What tradition, if any, have anticipated them?
The end? I HAVE NO IDEA!!!


In the Valley of Novelty by Terence McKenna

Part 1:
The original prediction was that there would be a deep plunge into novelty in 1996. There
would be the deepest plunge in the 1990s. But that was based on my mathematics before John
Sheliak corrected it. Once his corrections were factored in, it showed that there was a deep
plunge into novelty where I said it was, in 1996, but that it wasnt the deepest; it was the
second deepest. The deepest was, I believe, in 1993, in Fall of 1993, which was right when the
Internet was going public and the worldwide web was coming into being, and all that was
happening. The plunge that I predicted in 1996 I felt pretty good about, because right near the
place where I predicted the maximum amount of novelty we got within 10 days of each other:
the announcement of the Martian meterorite with fossils in it, which has since been hassled
over royally Im aware of that but still, I think it was a watershed moment that the President
of the United States felt the need to address the nation on the subject of extraterrestrial life,
was a rare moment! [laughs]
And then within 8 days of that announcement was the announcement of Dolly, the cloning of
the sheep in England which again, if certain scenarios come to pass, that will be a moment
you know, the point the human race passed from which there was no going back, then, because
basically if you can clone a sheep you can clone a human being; and these technologies are all
rushing upon us. I mean, the body is being dissolved as much by advanced medical technology
as it is by cyberspace and the Internet. I read this story, this amazing story, recently, set slightly
in the future, and this guy has been in this very bad accident and virtually nothing has survived
but his brain; but they have a medical technology that they can take a fragment of flesh and
clone him, and then with hormones rapidly age the infant so that in 2 years there will be a
brand-new adult body for his brain to be transplanted in. And these people have this fantastic
medical policy that the fine print says that the brain can be kept alive, must be kept alive, by a
medically approved method, that the insurance company reserves the right to choose the
cheapest method, and the cheapest method is implant into the body wall of the cosignatory of
the insurance policy. So this woman carries her husbands brain for 2 years inside her body
cavity, while his body is being grown to manhood for the transplant. Its a dilemma we all may
face some day!
Question from audience: I wanted to ask you about novelty and psychedelics, and the
language that changes through the use of them. I remember reading Maria Sabina
saying that the mushrooms spoke a different language to her after people like Wasson

came down and began to use them they went from Spanish to English, from Catholic
mushrooms to I dont know, Harvard mushrooms or something I dont know; and
having spoken with people who have taken DNA I mean DMT, sorry! yet the 1960s,
very much, the people I talked to that did, they said it was so overwhelming they could
not even understand the language. I havent read about this, anyway. Maybe you can
enlighten me.
Well, one place there arent many places you can read about it one place you can read
about it is, there is a book edited by Michael Harner, called Hallucinogens and Shamanism,
Oxford University Press, and theres an essay in there by Henry Munn called The Mushrooms
of Language, which is one of the most eloquent and beautiful essays ever written on psilocybin
its wonderful. Henry Munn. Then, harder to get but equally interesting, is a doctoral study
that a guy named Horace Beach did at CIIS, and its called something like The Perception of
Audio Phenomena Under the Influence of Psilocybin. And he interviewed Bay Area psilocybinheads about their experiences with language, and its very interesting. This is a very interesting
area of discussion.
On DMT, and on psilocybin and they are closely related, psilocybin being 4-phosphoryloxyN,N-dimethyltryptamine, the phosphorylated form of DMT, though they do not degrade into
one pathway in the body its a parallel pathway: DMT is N,N-dimethyltryptamine. These
psychedelics particularly seem to impact the language-forming portion of the brain, and this
produces truly bizarre states of mind, because its the language-forming part of your brain that
is explaining to you moment to moment what is going on. You know: Now I am eating. Now I
am having sex. Now I am flashing on DMT and when that part of the brain gets foobarred,
then you really do have a puzzlement on your hands, because the machinery of description
itself has been caught up in the process.
On DMT, these entities these machine-like, diminutive, shape-shifting, faceted machine elf
type creatures that come bounding out of the state they come bounding out of my stereo
speakers, if I have my eyes open they are like, you know, they are elfin embodiments of
syntactical intent. Somehow syntax, which is normally the invisible architecture behind
language, has moved into the foreground. And you can see it! I mean, its doing callisthenics
and acrobatics in front of you! Its crawling all over you! And whats happened is that your
categories have been scrambled, or something; and this thing which is normally supposed to be
invisible and in the background and an abstraction has come forward and is doing handsprings
right in front of you. And the thing makes linguistic objects; it sheds syntactical objectification.
So that it comes towards you they come toward you they divide, they merge, theyre
bounding, theyre screaming, theyre squeaking and they hold out objects, which they sing
into existence, or which they pull out of some other place. And these things are, you know, like

jewels and lights, but also like consomm and old farts and yesterday and high speed; in other
words, they are made of juxtapositions of qualities that are impossible in three-dimensional
What theyre like is and in fact, this is probably what they are what theyre like is, theyre
like three- and four- and five-dimensional puns. And you know how the pleasure of a pun lies in
the fact that it is its not that the meaning flickers from A to B; its that its simultaneously A
and B, and when the pun is really funny its an A,B,C,D pun; and its simultaneously all these
things well, that quality, which in our experience can only occur to an acoustical output or a
glyph which stands for an acoustical output in other words, a printed pun in the DMT world,
objects can do this. Objects can simultaneously manifest more than one nature at once. And,
something like a pun, the result is always funny. Its amusing! You cannot help but be delighted
by this thing doing this thing.
Well, so these syntactical animals, or these linguistic elves, are pulling this stuff out and
gesturing with it; pushing it in your face, saying Look at this! Look at this! And you are
fascinated, you know pulled into it. Because each one is [gasps] What? you know, How can
this be happening? Were not in the world any more. No artist, no matter how gifted, could
make one of these objects. Because they have qualities extremely difficult to language, qualities
that no object in this world has! And so youre trying to wrap your mind, and say, My God, you
know, what is it? Because in spite of the fact that its just a little thing, you can tell by looking at
it that its implications are earth-shaking. In other words, that if I could suddenly pull one of
these things out of hyperspace, and we would all look at it, we would all realise that that was
the ball game, right there. That somehow this proved it, was it, did it, ended it, started it, made
it clear. How can this be? Well, I dont know you had to be there, sort of.
And then what lies behind this, or as you try to analyse the situation, you realise that these
objects that these things are making are made by the utterances; that sound is how this trick is
done. And meanwhile these things are saying, or beaming at you the general vibe is, strangely
enough, Do not give way to astonishment! Do not abandon yourself to wonder! Get a grip! Try
to get a grip, and notice what were doing! Pay attention! this is the mantra: Pay attention!
Pay attention!
Question from audience
Well somebody once asked me, you know, Is it dangerous? And the answer is, only if you fear
death by astonishment. But death by astonishment is entirely possible! Im not kidding! I mean,
you are so fucking astonished that youve never felt your astonishment circuits get a workout
like that before! I mean, what is astonishment in this world? Its like, Oh! *politely surprised

laugh, as though appraising something new]. This is a different form of astonishment, this is:
[deep gasp of almost horrified amazement+. So. And then the whole notion thats being pushed
here is: Do this thing. Do this activity. Do as we do.
And you can sort of feel your intentionality, your inner something-or-other, reorganising; and
theres this, like, heat. Its quite akin to heartburn I wont metaphysicize it but heat in your
stomach; and it just moves up, and then your mouth flies open, and you do this stuff comes
out, which is a very highly articulated, syntactically controlled, non-English, non-European,
language behaviour of some sort. Not, strictly speaking, though I call it glossolalia, it strictly
speaking is not glossolalia: glossolalia has been carefully studied, and its a trance-like state. On
the floors of these Pentecostal churches in Guatemala, they measured pools of saliva 16 inches
across from people who were in ecstatic glossolalia. This is much more conscious, much more
controlled. Its almost like a kind of spontaneous singing. But your mind steps aside, and this
linguistic stuff comes out.
And you can see it thats the amazing thing. It is not to be heard, even though it is carried as
an acoustical signal; its meaning resides in what happens to it when the acoustical signal is
processed by the visual cortex. Thats the important thing. It is a new kind of language. Its a
visible, three-dimensional language. Its not something I ever heard about, or any mystical
tradition I ever heard about, anticipated. But its as though the process, or the project, of
language which according to academic linguists began no more than 50,000 years ago the
process of doing language, in us, is not yet finished; and this thing we do with small mouth
noises, and each of us consulting our own learned dictionary and quickly decoding each others
intent, this is a stumblebum, cobbled together, half-assed, way to do language; and what were
on the brink of, or what these psychedelic states seem to hold out, is a much more seamless
kind of fusion of minds by generating topological manifolds that we look at rather than that we
you know, localise into designated meaning.
And I didnt mention ayahuasca in this rap, but ayahuasca, being along with the mushrooms
a natural and shamanically used for many millennia doorway into these places, and what you
find in ayahuasca groups in up-river tribal situation is people the whole way the ayahuascataking is set up is to facilitate singing. The shamans get loaded; then they sing; then they go
outside and take a leak, and smoke, and talk. And in those intervals, you hear people say things
like, you know, I liked the violet and yellow part, but I thought the olive drab with the silver
spattering was way over the top, and you think, you know, what kind of a critique of a song is
that?! Well, its the critique of a song that is designed to be looked at. Nobody talks about the
sound; everybody talks about the visual impression left by the sound, and it was these groups
these ayahuasca-taking groups that, when the German ethnographers got into the Amazon in
the early part of the 20th century, they called this chemical telepathine. They recognised, you

know and the reputation of ayahuasca is group states of mind. Well, if youre nave, then you
think youre going to hear everybody thinking. No: youre going to see everyone thinking. You
know, youre going to see what people mean.
And its not that surprising, when you think of it, because obviously the world arrives at the
surface of our skin as a seamless body of electromagnetic and acoustical and pheromonal data.
Its just that our eyes, our nostrils, our ears, our skin, we break up this incoming flow of data.
And now were close to McLuhan country here: I think what this hints at is that print skewed
our perceptual apparatus, our style of parsing perceptual data, toward the acoustic space. So
that for us, thought became a voice you know? And very early in the Western tradition, this is
so. Jehovah is a voice in the Old Testament; the Logos is a voice. In Hellenistic philosophy, we
are the People of the Voice. But apparently, you know, there is a passage in Philo Judaeus
where he talks about the etymology of the word Israel, and he says Israel means He who sees
God he who sees God. And then he poses the question to himself: What is the more perfect
Logos? And then he says, The more perfect Logos is that Logos which goes from being heard
to being seen, without ever passing over a moment of noticeable transition.
Well, Ive actually seen this happen in psychedelic states, where you will be lying in silent
darkness; you hear distant music; and as the music gets closer, its like a band with lights and
drums coming over a hill. As the music gets louder, it seems to physically approach and a
confusion of light turns into, you know, oom-pah-pah, brass band, dancing elves, cavorting
harlequins, and less easily described denizens of the imagination and then it all goes
thumping and marching past, and disappears; but its a perfect example of light and sound
arriving together in the hallucinogenic space. The fact that weve talked here, or mentioned,
that we have DMT in our pineal glands, in our brains what we havent said is that we also
have compounds in that same organ very much like whats in ayahuasca. Occurring in the
human pineal gland is a compound called adenaroglumerotropine [??], but when you give it its
physical chemical nomenclature, it turns out its 6-methoxy tetrahydroharmine; its a very near
relative of harmine and harmaline. So Im, you know, it doesnt strain me to believe that
perhaps in looking at this phenomenon we have actually put our finger on the place, the cutting
edge, of the evolution of consciousness, right now, at the biochemical level: whats happening
is, there is a shifting, or an acceleration of the concentration, of harmine-like alkaloids and DMT
in the human pineal, and its affecting our ability to process language, and its pushing and
exacerbating a bias toward visual understanding.
And I see this, then, also reinforced and accelerated by the evolution of media, you know? In
the last 150 years, we go from photography to colour photography, to moving coloured
photography, with sound, with stereophonic sound, and you know pointing toward virtual
reality, with more and more money to be made at each step of the way; and clearly, with

amounts of money now, were outspending defence for entertainment, we will produced
simulacrums of imaginary worlds; and engineering bench tests will be to make it as much like
Hawaii as possible, or as much like Tibet as possible but what people will really want to do
with these things is make worlds as strange as we can stand, that are in these virtual places. So
whether it comes through a natural evolution of the human nervous system, or the evolution of
an advanced interface with prostheses that create virtual realities I think the transformation
of how we do language is part of this acceleration into singularity.
I believe you made a reference in one of your books to Julian Hainess book, The Origin of
Consciousness, [] and the way we evolved in the [] was like an auditory hallucination
before, I guess, our consciousness really developed; and we were thinking human
Yeah, Julian Haines, it didnt win him too many friends, but he wrote a big book and had this
theory that this thing which we call the ego is so recent in human beings that it actually didnt
exist at the time of Homer. And he goes into Homer, and he shows that the god always breaks
through in situations of crisis and danger; and he felt that before Homeric times, people were
essentially like ants or something; that their behaviour was largely instinctual, and that the only
time they encountered this phenemenon of free will, the interrupting of the instinctual pattern,
was in situations of great crisis and impending danger and then this thing would literally
almost come out of the sky and say, Get your ass out of there! Save your self! Well, then, over
time, this ability to access this higher informational thing was like, again, the metaphor of
encysted, closed over with the membrane of the self, and made part of the machinery of the
self and that this is what the ego is. The ego is a Greek god that you have frozen like an ice
cube behind your eyes, and that you think you are this thing and this is just a cultural myth, a
necessary weird idea, no more a true statement about the nature of the mind of the hominid
than anything else.
One of the conclusions that novelty theory leads to, in terms of its feedback into social hereand-now stuff, is the idea that culture is not your friend. That culture is an impediment to
understanding whats going on. Thats why, to my mind, the word cult and the word culture
have a direct relationship to each other. Culture is a cult! And if you feel revulsion at the
thought of somebody, you know, offering to the Great Carrot, or tithing to some squirly notion,
just notice that your own culture is an extremely repressive cult that leads to all kinds of
humiliation and degradation and automatic and unquestioned and unthinking behaviour. There
is a tendency to want to celebrate culture, springing both from the French deconstructionists
and their fascination with culture, and then the effort to build pride through ethnicity, thing
well, thats all very fine, but I think the cultures we should all revere are our ancestral cultures;
the cultures most of us have our roots in, the actual culture we came from, was probably fairly

squirly. I mean, the American family is what keeps American psychotherapy alive and well! This
is a cauldron for the production of neurosis, and in some cases little else.
So, you know, part of what psychedelics do is they decondition you from cultural values. This is
what makes it such a political hot potato. You know, if there is anything since all culture is a
kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is candy which causes people to
start questioning the rules of the game. So you can have a Stalinist state, a parliamentary
democracy, and a theocratic state, and they all can agree on one thing: that psychedelics are
just terrible, because then citizens start asking all kinds of hard questions and the devotion to
the values of the Fatherland become mired in pseudointellectual discourse, and the next thing
you know somebody has to be shipped off to the camps in order to right the situation.
Audience comment: Well, even our own structures are dissolving in the []
Oh yeah no. It definitely works in the personal life. Like, you know, Ive been building a house
in Hawaii, and while Ive been building it Ive definitely cut back on my intake of psychedelics,
because I dont want the answer to the question, Is this a good idea? until its too late to do
anything about it! *laughs+ Its like St Augustines prayer, God grant me chastity and continence,
but not yet!
Question from audience: One of the big ideas that seems to be in the notion of the
Archaic Revival is that the whole big thing is really conscious and alive the universe, the
galaxy, the larger entities and thats interesting, because its a traditional belief thats
held by non-modern, non-scientific, cultures. And if in fact our belief systems are taking
us in that direction, such that that makes sense to us, its really interesting but it also
sort of upsets the current description of evolution within, say, the Darwinian dogma.
Because that seems to be, you know, based on the idea that its all very random and its
just all material and life is a big accident, thats moving forward. So I think that one of
the ideas youre talking about today is teleology, that whether or not we really want to
talk about evolution and how evolution as a theory is going to get self-involved and
absorb this idea, comes down to whether or not these larger things have in fact some
kind of direction behind it, which is I think what your work and observations imply. And
so I thought one day about how to understand that, and I have a question, which is
whether or not you can talk about creativity as having a fractal nature? since selfsimilarity shows you at various levels similar principles, and since on our level as human
beings anything that we make we first think about it begins as thought, and then it
becomes matter. And so if creativity can be seen as having a fractal dimension, it would
be a way to talk about all kinds of creation by simply understanding it at the level at
which we see it. And it would suggest that, to modify the Big Bang theory, that before

there was a Big Bang there would have to be a Big Thought; and you kind of move along
with that idea so I want to ask you to comment on that, but also in relation to the idea
that was also contained in evolution about the origin of language, because some of the
things youre speaking about from your DMT experiences have a funny resonance with
Creation stories, like Adam and Eve naming the animals. I mean, Ive never really been
all that comfortable with the idea that language would evolve out of grunts and groans
when guys like Chomsky say its all [??], its a big system in language and all kinds of
languages can be very different, but inside they always have these structures. And
nature, and ecosystems, and languages, always tend to pop out fully formed and
integrated. So is there any possible way that you could think that language, rather than
evolving from grunts and groans, evolved in the opposite direction? That the first time
language was used, it was used with the power that you ascribe to the machine elves?
That is was something that was done carefully and precisely because it could manifest
form? Or something like that? In terms of how new species come into being. The only
idea that we ever get to allow into the theory of evolution is that its an accident, that
there will be a mutation and a new species similar to another species will be born, and it
will survive, and that will lead to a new species. But I have a logical problem with that, in
that any female creature which gives birth to a new species is going to perceive that
species as a birth defect, and this is a baby theyre not going to want to survive. And
then theres only one. And so that Barbara Klar [??] book I read talked about nine
dimensions, and said the sixth dimension was the morphogenetic field from which all
species and organisms evolve. So I was kind of thinking, maybe along the lines of the
metaphor of a computer, theres a software program through which new species are
developed and designed, and the whole way in which they integrate themselves into
existing ecosystems, etc, somehow or other it all gets worked out, and theres a mystery
then, we dont see and dont understand, by which these new forms come into being.
Maybe they all come into being at once, with a thousand or a million creatures, instead
of just one thats having to struggle.
Well, all this raises a lot of stuff, most of which I cant remember because of my devotion to
cannabis. But lets go back to the thing about language, and yeah, the origins of language,
lets talk about that for a minute. I think that Ive been thinking about this, because Ive been
writing about it, and heres what Ive come up with. Part of what makes it difficult for us to
think about language clearly in English is that this word, language, is used by us to mean spoken
language; and it also means the general class of linguistic activity, as in computer language,
body language, so forth and so on. And to think clearly about language, we need to have a clear
distinction between spoken language and the general syntactical organisation of reality.


Language.Because that is old. Honeybees do it, dolphins do it, termites do it, they all do it
different ways octopi do it. There is much of language in nature; in fact, you could argue that
all of nature is a linguistic enterprise, because the DNA essentially is a symbolic system. Those
codons which code for protein are arbitrarily assigned assigned, in other words, by
convention. There is no chemical relationship between the codons and the proteins they code
for, any more than there is a relationship between an English word and the thing it intends.
Those are just conventionalised by probability over time. So language is deep in nature.
What is not deep in nature is speech. Speech is as artificial as the water wheel, the bicycle
pump, the Tessler coil and the space shuttle. Somebody figured this out somewhere. Well, so
then people say, But this is hard to understand. Its hard to picture how it could happen. Well,
heres how I think it happened. My little example about the songs earlier was a stab at this, but
heres more. Its that all kinds all non-genetic behaviours (which are called, reasonably
enough, epigenetic behaviours) are nevertheless theyre not simply expressions of free will;
they are under the control of a looser system of rules than the genetic rules, which are chemical
and absolute. The epigenetic behaviours are under the control of syntactical constraints. In
other words, we need to expand the concept of syntax from the rules which govern the
grammar of a spoken language to the rules which govern the behaviour of any complex system.
So, for example, before speech among human beings, I think it was probably very touchy-feely.
If you watch monkeys, you see this: they touch each other. They stroke, they grunt, they
groom, they goose, they push, they do all of these things. The repertoire of this kind of
behaviour, if youre good at it, may be on the order of having four or five thousand words in
your vocabulary. Well, when we watch primates do this kind of behaviour, we dont think of it
as a language. But in fact it is; its a gestural language. A couple of years ago, some research was
done where these people took preverbal infants, and they taught them standard American sign
language, before they could speak. So these little tiny children could sign Pick me up, Please
change me, Where is Daddy?, Im hungry, I want to watch TV, der-der-da-da, before
they could ever utter a word. Well, now what were always told about spoken language is, its
this miracle, and that were genetically hard-wired for it. Well, these experiments seem to imply
were even more genetically hard-wired for standard American sign language, which is
something very few of us will ever learn to use.
What does this mean? Well, it means that the gestural capacity is deeper than the ability to
verbalise, and hence probably older. So I think there was a gestural language as complex as
standard English, probably, in place before anyone ever uttered a word. Now, what the
psychedelics seem to suggest is that you can get so hyped up on tryptamines that your body
goes into some kind of almost convulsive shock, and the normally acoustically modulated
processing of language flows over into the voicebox and you begin to literally articulate syntax.

You begin to make a noise which is a tracking noise for this ongoing syntactical stuff thats
organising gestural intent. And its like going from carving in stone to colour TV: your listener
immediately transfers loyalty to this much more spectacular form of behaviour. And so its like
literally that the word burst forth full-blown, based on a platform of gestural syntax that had
been maybe millions of years in its formation. It was just this ability to redirect the energy of
syntactical intent through the body, so that instead of coming out of the end of the fingers, it
came out of the end of the tongue, flapping in the airstream, and this thing happened.
Its amazing to me that the straight linguist, you know, if you go to an academic university and
study linguistics, will teach you that language is no more than 35-40,000 years old. I mean,
thats like yesterday! I mean, we fire is half a million years; chipped flint, a million and a half
years; language, 35,000 years old language is everything we are, everything we do; you cant
think without it, you cant do anything without it. And yet, if its that new, then what it
represents is simply a technology, a form of media, thats squeezed out other forms of media.
And its not hard to see why: after all, it works in the dark, thats good; it allows politics, you can
make speeches to large groups of people; and its well, its just very portable. Its the cleanest
technology ever put in place. When you think about it, its one of the weirdest abilities human
beings exhibit. And when you go forward to reading, you realise this is an animal in some kind
of an informational tizzy. I mean, the idea that you would make marks in clay which signify
tongue noises which signify designated objects, so that these pieces of clay can be lugged
hundreds of miles so that other people can reconstruct your thought by looking at these pieces
of clay, this is bizarre! For animal behaviour, this is absolutely its how they managed to do
And of course, the picture-writing, we understand; but similar to the breakthrough to speech, is
the breakthrough to a phonetic alphabet, where you see: Ah! We dont have to portray the
thing we intend; all we have to portray is the sound of the word that signifies the thing we
intend! And then, you know, youre just roaring forward; and from there to the printing press,
what is it, a couple of thousand years or something and then theres no going back. So thats
the part about language. Now, what was the second part after that?
Just whether you could think about creativity as a principle that could have a fractal
dimension, and that would be a way to think about design, or a larger universal order,
having some consciousness [??]
Well, if you think of the universe as an engine which produces and conserves novelty, and you
think of it as a fractal thing, a fractal hierarchy, built up and build downward of subsets of itself,
then in a sense every creative act is the paradigmatic act of the Big Bang. I mean, it always
struck me, you know, that the end of the novelty wave, which is: Up, Down, Oscillate, Zero, its

like its a general map of all process. We could be describing the life of the energy output of a
star, or the firing of a single neuron, or the birth and death of an economy; in a sense, you get
down to a fractal level where you can say all processes are the same: they have a beginning, a
middle, and an end and if you know where you are in this concatenation of process, you can
sort of locate yourself in the cosmic domain.
The thing that I tried to talk about this morning, that we need to map into our maps of reality, is
the acceleration. I think its a really weird idea to talk about a thousand years in the future; I
mean, good grief! A thousand years in the future, what do you imagine will be left standing that
you call home? What cast your mind back a thousand years: King Canute was taking charge of
things across Northumbria, and the Anglo Saxons were making forays along the coast of
Norway, and, you know, very few of the concerns of the day have survived to this moment; and
that was the slow-moving part of the process! Were going to move, you know, in the next 10
years, further than weve moved since the time of King Canute to this morning. So it seems to
me the most unlikely future scenario is one which assumes things will stay more or less the
same. Because weve put in place all these processes designed to make sure that does not
happen. You know rapacious capitalism, technological innovation, bourgeois social aspirations
in the hearts of every man, woman and child on the planet, urbanisation, connectivity all of
these processes are designed to erase reality as we know it.
Im wondering what you think of the kind of Vedic paradigm involving the states of
consciousness, the waking state, the dreaming state and the sleeping state, and the
transcendental force state, and they used that on an individual basis, but also with
regards to [??] genesis. And that criticism of the West, that the West has taken the
waking state as standard, and evolved its philosophical views without accounting for
these other states of consciousness?
Well, certainly the West has built its house on a narrow foundation, denying these other
possibilities. On the other hand, if well, you get into all kinds of difficulties here. How do you
judge whether or not a civilisation has assimilated or explored the domains its named its own?
One way is by looking at the technological applications that its created. And for all this talking
about these other states of mind, they seem actually as mysterious to the East as they are to
the West. I dont get the feeling theyre really navigating through what theyre talking about. In
the past, there may have been levels of understanding. It may be, see, that psychology
though its a mystery to us it may be that its an easier nut to crack than the nut of matter;
and so I dont have any trouble believing that Vedic India of 3500 BC may have known all kinds
of things about how the mind works and how to navigate through these imaginal spaces that
weve lost; but the spirituality of modern India is thoroughly contaminated by a thousand years


of commerce with Islam and the West. It isnt that different, really. I mean, Vedic theology and
German idealism are strikingly similar cousins.
a number of things of conflict, when you talk about the archaic revival and then the
current cultural and technological revolution. It seems to me that a lot of the stimulus for
novelty that was generated by the psychedelic experience now may be generated
without that experience, such as through virtual reality, technological advancements,
and perhaps would maybe make the psychedelic experience less necessary in order to
[] observe and [??]
Well, definitely, what youre getting at is that technology itself is a kind of psychedelic drug;
that, you know, by chance or design, the proponents of psychedelica have figured out that its
totally acceptable to this culture if you disguise it as electronic entertainment and put it out
that way. So the web is incredibly subversive! Simply the fact that all that information is there
and available, in a world where control of access to information has always been the game. So,
yeah the way I see it is that the psychedelic people need to use the new information
technologies to build art of a type more powerful and more compelling than the world has ever
seen. Call it virtual reality, call it multimedia, call it whatever you want, but its basically walkinto, walk-around, art and then the boundaries will fall for ordinary people, because you see
when you build a virtual reality, in a sense what that technology is allowing you to do is its
allowing you to show people the inside of your own head! We have never had a technology that
would do that.
We think the inside of our heads are all the same, but you know when I say to you that when I
smoke DMT it unleashes a Niagara of alien beauty, if I had spent the last 30 years building that
Niagara of alien beauty so that you could just strap on the goggles and go, then we would have
a very different kind of dialogue and relationship going. And so I really see art as the great
searchlight that illuminates the historical landscape just ahead, and I think that art is about to
get teeth for the first time in human history. I mean, its all very fine, scratching on cave walls,
and film, and video, and all that, but its always artifice, you know you never are convinced, or
only for seconds, that youre in the presence of reality when youre in the presence of art. But
we will build art that will literally stand your hair on end. And the amount of creativity in a
single human mind, as I said, more than fills all the museums on this planet. So what we need is
to figure out how to get a spigot into that, and get this stuff out! And then, as James Joyce said,
man will be dirigible!


Part 2:
Well, we said, I think, that when you take psychedelics you go up a dimension. And so this
world of transience and flux becomes an eternal world. So in that sense, its the same thing.
Whether meditation and psychedelics are the same thing, I think depends on your meditation
and your psychedelics! Different meditations strive for different things. Much meditation is
about emptying the mind of phenomena. This certainly would not be a description of the
psychedelic state!
Question from audience comparing LSD insights with meditational experience
Well, in the interest of keeping the number of singularities to a minimum, the most elegant
thing to do is to wrap the theory around and say that the starting-point and the ending-point
are the same place. Yeah, its the place where all is co-tangent. How we could get the universe
back into the primal dot in 12 years, I dont know, but there are some schemes to do that.
Theres always schemes to do it. You know, if the universe were some kind of vacuum
fluctuation, and it had an anti-matter twin in a higher superspace, then there would be the
potential, at least, for them to collide across all points simultaneously, and you would actually
get the universe of matter disappearing instantly, and you would then be left with a universe
made only of photons, because they dont have an anti-particle. What a universe purely made
of light what its physics would be like, is hard to say; but it sounds peculiarly like certain
Gnostic theophanies [??] about gathering the light and returning the light. Ultimately, the
meditation path and the psychedelic path must somehow lead to the same kinds of data, if the
claims of both are to be respected, which is that they give deeper knowledge about reality. Yes.
Question from audience about expression of information using new technologies that
may replicate the psychedelic state
Im all for it; I just havent seen anything that convinced me that anybody had achieved it to any
degree of significance. Yeah, you know, imagine a drug that did nothing more than allow you to
remember your dreams! I mean, thats not exactly shooting for the moon, pharmacologically,
these days. And yet a drug which allowed you full recovery of your dreams might unleash God
knows what, because we dont know what we dream! The chemistry of DMT suggests that in
deep REM sleep, its possible every single night you have a DMT flash. But it does not transcript
into short-term memory. Or imagine a drug which allowed you to enhance long-term memory,
so that you could slip into reveries of a summer day 30 years ago and play it back moment by
moment by moment again, this is not shooting for the moon pharmacologically. Were not
talking immortality here, were just talking simple neurochemistry. But all of these possibilities
would change life beyond recognition. And I think these things should be pursued by any means

necessary, you know its a false dichotomy, the idea that somehow you should be able to
achieve these things on the natch, and theyre not authentic if you achieve them through
psychedelics. This is just a con to keep lineages in business, I think, because they dont want you
going off the ranch and charting your own course. But where shamanism becomes priestcraft,
its already well on its way to senescence.
Audience question re collective perception on mushrooms (nonverbal sharing of ideas)
A couple of situations, Ive had telepathic things. Ive had, in group situations, very quasitelepathic social interactions. What I mean by that is, Im recalling an evening many years ago
taking ayahuasca with these people and they had a weird scene going. The shaman was a good
guy, and a good shaman, but he had a nephew who was a jerk and was sort a pimp, and kind of
a hustler. And the shaman was singing with his three friends, these ancient ancient songs, and
this guy was drunk on aguardiente, and he would sing against them! He would sing against
them and this was in Peru, and if you know the style of rural Peruvians, people are so polite
and so not-upfront, that no social problem is ever dealt with directly: people will tolerate
incredible bad behaviour without turning on a person and saying Listen, youre completely out
of line knock it off. So, 30 people 30 Peruvian campesinos were witnessing this singagainst, and the woman I was with at the time very much didnt like what was going on, and at
the end of this, this nephew, this sobrino, at the end of his song of raucous interruption, I
looked up just as he ended the room was almost in complete darkness I looked up just as he
ended. I saw her look up and look at him with a look of utter disgust, and when these red dart
things got to him, it knocked him off his feet! And I heard the old shaman was sitting right to
my left, and I heard him turn to his friend, and he said: Ah! The gringa sends the
bazudalacathnda *laughter+ and so it was like, Wow!. But then, ordinary reality
immediately reasserts itself and moves forward, and theres no time to say Wait a minute,
folks! something paranormal just happened here, I want to interview everybody, get your
impression its never, you know, when its real, its always caught up in the on-moving flow
of events.
Question from audience
Well, if youve taken what you dont want to do is take heres this is reasonable advice,
too, I think. Where the problem area lies, people think it lies in taking too much. It lies in taking
too little. Because if you take too little, you can resist it. You can struggle with it, and then it can
turn into a real mess, because youre afraid of it and you actually have the power, to some
degree, to resist it. What you want to do is take sufficiently enough that theres no escape, and
that the transition from ordinary reality to fully loaded is as quick as possible. Because the going
up is somewhat terrifying.

For example, lets use psilocybin as the model. Heres how it works for me this is not tea, this
is eating raw mushrooms: it comes on more slowly. So after an hour or so, you know, and the
way I do it is I sit as soon as the mushroom enters my body, I sit and meditate. I noticed in
South America they dont do it like this: they dose the ayahuasca, and then everybody just goes
on, talking about their motorcycles and the jobs at the saw mill, and whos conning who its
like, totally theres a brief moment, they pour, they toss it down, then they all go back to
raving at each other about mundane life; and then 30 minutes later, on the dot, the shaman
blows his whistle, or shakes his chakupa [??], his dry leaf bouquet, and everybody settles down
its like it comes on within two minutes: as soon as the guy starts singing, he just invokes it.
But the way I do it is, I take the mushroom (or the ayahuasca), and then I sit and I roll bombers,
so Ill have them ready if I need them, and I just sit as Im going to sit during the trip, and Ive
unplugged the telephone, and Ive gotten everything squared away, and it begins to come on at
about the 40-minute or the 60-minute mark; and theres sometimes some nausea as it comes
on. And then I smoke a bomber, or half a bomber. And then it catapaults it into the full
deployment of the thing, where you just hang on theres about a 25-minute period where
your only job is to hang on. It builds. Its like watching an atomic explosion on the other side of
50 feet of absolutely clear crystal glass. I mean, you cant believe this is happening in my
mind. You have the feeling that everyone from Seattle to San Diego has just crawled under
their desk as this thing tore past; but its in your mind.
And then there is the interaction with it, which moment to moment, you are pretty coherent;
but you lose it a lot of it doesnt transcribe into short-term memory. And then after about an
hour or 40 minutes of that, it becomes more manageable, more memorable. The most mindboggling parts of it are just not possible to bring out of it, because language fails; because
English there are no words. There are no words even close. I mean, sometimes youll bring
out an image or a metaphor, but out of five hours of tripping, you bring out half a notebook
page of metaphors and yet you were entirely engaged during that time now, this question
about fear, which is a real question, because when everything begins to slide, if you are not
its more than most people who havent done it expect. They have heard it, theyve read the
books, but they think its a metaphor. They dont understand: its really going to happen, and
its really going to happen to you. And theres a tendency to clutch, or to try and resist it.
The thing to do in those situations, I think and its counterintuitive to how Western people
think but the thing to do is to sing. To sit up, not to assume the foetal position see, what you
might tend to do is assume the foetal position and tell yourself, My God, this is the most
appalling thing thats ever happened to me if I can just live through it, itll be all right. Ive
taken this drug: if I can just wait through how long did they say it would be? seven hours, I
see. It started two minutes ago. If I can just No, the thing to do is to sit up and to sing!

Why? Well, being practical people, to oxygenate your brain. To move the entire this thing
thats happened to you, though it may have one claw in heaven, its roots are in your
neurophysiology and in the chemistry of the drug. You want to move your physiology around.
So oxygenating your brain cant fail to do this. So you sing. And this almost always is
accompanied by a sense of power, control, equilibrium, and so forth and so on.
Not always. I mean, lets face it: youre a product of a nutty society and there are unexamined
crevices and uncleaned-out drain traps in all of us, and youre going to encounter that stuff. The
good news is, the earlier psychedelic trips tend to deal with that. You will quickly discover,
taking psychedelics, that either you can work through your personal issues and become a
psychedelic explorer, or this is just stronger medicine than you are up for, and you would be far
better to go back to psychoanalysis or whatever works for you. Some people just cant take it.
Why is that? Well, because what it does is it dissolves boundaries, and most of us are overboundary-defined. But some of us are having an uphill battle getting some boundaries in place,
and realising we are not the telephone or the tree or the person we live with; and so for those
people, who are having trouble establishing and moving boundaries, this is the last thing on
Earth they should get involved with.
Question from audience about the bombers
Cannabis.Cannabis. Cannabis! [laughs]
Question from audience about experience the loss of ego is it possible that your
physical self could cease?
Well, people often yes, wondered. Often people wonder. You get into a place where its so
unfamiliar that the question comes up: Have I done it this time? You know, Am I dying?orAm I in
danger? The answer is, the odds are incredible against you being seriously in danger. People
dont die from psychedelics unless they have heart conditions or some incredibly rare medical
condition. The problem is that the ego feels threatened by the boundary dissolution, and its ace
is your self-identification with it. And it can actually say to you, You are dying, and heres the
evidence; and you have to say,. Its unlikely. and sing your way through it. But this is really
tough. I mean, the Buddhists talk about slaying the ego this is slaying the ego for real. You
must slay it, otherwise it will spread panic into your whole psychological system, will give way
to panic and hysteria. So unless there is some real reason to think youre dying and you
should have done your homework: you should know what to expect for example, if you take
LSD and begin intense bouts of vomiting, this is not a proper reaction to LSD. Something is
wrong, either with the LSD or with your relationship to it. You should know what a typical a


typical trip will put you through changes, but is not dangerous. But if you suddenly begin
exhibiting some symptoms heart fibrillation, or something like that then you want to have
This is why, then, there is always the issue of the buddy system: should there be somebody else
there, and what about all that? My position is, if you are anxious, then you should have a sitter.
If youre going to do it alone, you should certainly tell someone so that they will check on you
after a while. I dont like doing it in groups or with sitters because inevitably I get spun into
them. What I want to do is go as deep as possible, and even if Im alone with one other person,
culture is the third guest at the table, you know? I mean, if you start Ive often found myself in
the middle of psychedelic trips thinking, Im sure glad theres nobody else here to see this,
because Im sure it would alarm an observer! because I have my leg thrown back over my
neck, and Im screaming in Urdu, or something. But its OK, after a few minutes its OK; but if
there were an observer, they would feel the need to do something, you know and often, like
Ive seen people smoking DMT; and people moan, and they say No! No! NO!!!! and they
moan. So then, you know, you get them back together, and constituted, and you say, How was
it?, and they say, It was fantastic! So you realise that how they present is not reliable.
Well, setting has a great deal to do with it; and setting is a very complicated issue. Setting
means everything, from the astrological situation at the time that you do it to the physical
surrounding that youre in; and its also a roll of the dice you never know exactly what youre
going to get. As far as the question about Buddhism and all that, my own, you know when I
started taking LSD I thought I saw, in Tibetan Tonka painting and mandalas, the echoes of this
same world, and pursued it: went to Nepal, studied Tibetan, collected the art and it is similar.
I dont know I dont know to what degree the Buddhists, the Mahayanists, realise those states
without psychedelics. I do know that with psychedelics, those meditations, those techniques,
those insights, are supercharged. And I would suspect that Tibetan Buddhism, as it has its roots
in Vedic Hinduism, there may be psychoactive plants in its past; but its far in the past.
Buddhism was brought to Tibet in 741 by Padnasambhava. There was an autophanous
shamanism already present throughout the Himalayas, the Punpo. And it was largely based on
cannabis intoxication at that point in history, not so much in the present.
But I think that this is a fruitful area I just cant believe that Mahayana Buddhism could have
gotten as far as it did without some reliance on psychedelics; and of course, cannabis we in
the West, our style is to smoke it; and thats a very mild way of dealing with it. I mean, if you
eat if you have unlimited amounts of high-grade cannabis, and you eat grams and grams of it,
you will have experiences as extreme as anything that psilocybin or ayahuasca can deliver to
you. You only have to read the descriptions of nineteenth-century writers on cannabis Fitz
Hugh Ludlow, S. Weir Mitchell, these people their descriptions of their trips are as psychedelic
and as out of control as any acid reportage or psilocybin reportage.

So the relationship of Indian and Buddhist spirituality to cannabis and other psychedelics is not
understood. We do know that the whole Rg Veda is a hymn to a drug, soma, but we dont know
what soma is. Well, the fact that it could have invited such attention to this Vedic civilisation
the 95th mandala of the Rg Veda says, Soma is greater than Brahman, greater than Indra.
Well, what is being talked about? How could such a great thing be forgotten and lost? What
was it? And then, you know, almost as puzzling as What was it?is, How could you lost such a
thing?! I mean, its like us forgetting how to make automobiles or something! It was something
so basic to the culture that how could you possible forget something so central? Yet apparently
they did, and today there are scholarly fights. Was it Amanita muscaria? Was it psilocybin? Was
it Peganum harmala? Or was it something else? Why is this so hard to figure out? The only
thing I can imagine is that it must have been eventually restricted to a priestly class of initiates,
and then there must have been a social revolt from the bottom, and all those people were put
to death; and then, nobody knew what it was.
Yes, I think you have to push the psychedelics to reach these unitary states. What always
fascinated me was hallucination. Because it was, to me, the proof that I was dealing with
something outside myself.
Question from audience
Well, and here was stuff that amazed me, that I couldnt make up on my own, that would you
know, a single image would have taken me hours to draw and figure out, and here I was getting
28 frames a second of this unpredictable stuff!
Question from audience
Well, one of the nice things about the tryptamines, I think, is they leave the sense of self pretty
much intact. In other words, it doesnt distort who you are; it does something to your sensory
input. DMT is very, very surprisingly, like that. You smoke DMT: you are immediately plunged
into an alien universe. But if you can keep your wits about you, and actually notice how you
feel, you dont feel any different! Youre not smarter, stupider; youre not more excited, or
once you get the initial panic under control, you realise My God, it didnt lay a finger on me!
Im me, Im entirely intact! What has happened is that the world has been completely replaced
by something completely unrecognisable and alien that I have no words for, thats blowing my
mind, thats ripping apart my philosophical machinery as I gaze upon it; but when I bring my
attention back into my body, I discover Im fine! Im OK! It didnt change my mind, you could
almost say, it changes 100% the reality around you.


Thats powerful, because it appears objective. I mean, the impression you have when you
smoke DMT is, This isnt a drug, thats ridiculous.Drugs, you know, make you smarter, make you
stupider, make you fall down, make you stay awake we know what drugs are; this is no drug,
this is something else hiding under the label drug. This is a doorway into another modality
that exists all the time, independent of my thoughts or feelings about it. Is that true? Well, I
dont know! But it certainly doesnt seem to be a place constructed to fit human expectations.
Like, one of the things that always troubled me about DMT being somewhat of a Jungian event
was the question, How come theres no hint of this in any mythology or religious tradition or
alchemical text or fairytale or dream, or anything else?... I mean, if this is so important a part of
what it is to be a human being, how can it be so deeply buried, so secret, so unknown, and yet
just one toke away?!
It still, that, confounds me. Because you can read all the Hindu scripture or Sufi mysticism, or all
the stuff you want occasionally, sure, youll find a phrase or two that could be mapped onto a
DMT state, but nobody has trumpeted it. Nobody has said, This is what it is. And yet, as I say,
its spread throughout Nature; its been known since aboriginal times. We used to, years and
years ago, call it the Secret. And in a way, it really is the secret. Jorge Luis Borges has a story
called The Cult of the Phoenix, and he talks about a secret that seems profound and yet
preposterous to the initiates. One child may initiate another, and ruins are good places to do
this it just goes on like this for a page and a half, and you realise hes he must be talking
about DMT.
Question from audience re the ego as a fairly recent phenomenon
Yeah, the great cultural accomplishment of Western civilisation is this thing called the free
individual. But now that were on the brink of, you know, the electronic dispensation, exactly
what were going to do with the free individual, and how thats going to look, in an era where
consciousness flows through a thousand portals, its not at all clear. Its not clear whether we
can somehow now carry the idea of the free individual to an even higher level, where each of
us will become a kind of god lord over our own creation, as vast in time and space, but virtual,
as the cosmos in which we find ourselves embedded; or whether the free individual is going to
turn out to be the problem all along, and were going to abandon it and become some kind of
socialist gas, or some collectivist swarm, a hive mind, a world where intelligence flows where
needed and identity is provisional and fleeting, and unanchored to place or body; I mean, much
of this goes on on the Internet, you know. You can be an 11-year-old girl, you can be whatever
you want. You can build your avatar and present yourself in many guises. Its much more like a
shifting fantasy-land than it is like the good old world of positivist rocknroll.
Question from the audience re shamanic singing as the catalyst for visual experience

Well, yeah, I think that, you know, we see shamanism from the outside with the values of
Western civilisation unconsciously applied. In cultures that are taking psychedelics, this thing
which we call singing is a very complicated activity indeed; and if youve ever sung on
psychedelics, you know that you know, its an ecstatic and complicated and synaesthesic
experience. I mean, to make of your body a vibrator for sound, to you know, move out into
the Pythagorean octaves with the human voice, and its extraordinary, actually, how capable
of sound human beings are. No other animal has the range and control of voice. They say that
this is because were adapted for spoken language, but I think we had a lot of this range and
control before. So things words that we use very knowledgeably, like song, ancestor spirit,
power place were not getting 90% of the nuance of these meanings, because they go so
gracelessly into English. When a shaman talks about spirit, hes using a term as technically
complicated in his mind as when a physicist uses the term beauty to describe a quark. You
know, its very technically defined. And we tend to simplify, and then suppose that we
Part of the thing I found with hanging with shamans in various places and times is that once you
get past the language barrier, what shamans are are simply curious people. Intellectuals of a
certain type. In Australian aboriginal slang, a shaman is called a clever fellow. If someone says
Im a clever fellow, they mean, you know, Im a shaman. Well, thats all it is its somebody
who pays attention to how things actually work, and sort of transcends the culture by that
means. Its a weird paradox. Its that the shamans, who are the keepers of the cultural values,
are also necessarily the keepers of the secrets of the theatrics of the cultural values, and so
they live their lives in the light of the knowledge that it all rests on showbiz. You know,
everybody else is a true believer, but these are the image-makers, the people who actually pull
the strings and control the evolution of the mythologies. And in a way, its a situation of
Mircea Eliade talks a lot about this in Shamanism: The Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy and in
History: The Eternal Return. He talks about how the shaman is socially marginal, politically
marginal, lives at the edge of the village, and so forth and so on, and is feared by the people,
because dealings with the shaman are always dealings about life and death. But then the
shaman comes forward in this critical role, as go-between, as mediator, between the cultural
mind and the real world, which is this potent set of forces and planetary cycles and
meteorological events and diseases and, you know, fate; and the shaman mediates. In many
languages, the word for shaman means go-between. So the cost of this, or the price of this,
for the shaman himself, or herself, is a kind of alienation from the cultural values, and a kind of
understanding that its a game thats kept in play.


And this is true in our culture as well: you dont think the people who market all this crap and
produce all this bad art, and so forth and so on, love it?! or watch it, or consume it?! they
market it. Its basic purpose is to delude and distract the masses. So psychedelics, what they
bring into that shamanic situation, is sort of rocket fuel for the project of cultural detoxification,
or Gnostic rocket fuel into a realm of cultural alienation. And then, from that point of view,
then these other dimensions of reality come into being and deeper understanding comes into
being. I mean, one of the things I think, after spending a while with all this, is, it really helps to
be educated. It really helps to cram a lot of information and experience into your head, because
the Logos the alien AI, the high ??hidden god that is trying to reach down to you and deliver
the message, is a collagist. It cant really compose the message except out of bits and pieces of
what you already possess.
And so, you know, this came home to me very forcefully when I developed the timewave out of
the I Ching and its sequence; because at the times when I was most inflated in my thinking, or
most grandiose in my thinking, one of the issues for me personally was, Why me? You know,
Why are you downloading this millenarian visionary revelation on me? And the answer from
the mushroom was fairly humbling. It was, You are the first person who has ever walked
through this pasture who had these 64 hexagrams in your head. And thats all we needed: we
were just waiting for somebody who could bring that much to the party, and then we could
arrange the details and the mapping, and the arrange but they had to arrive with that much,
and youre the first person. So it was like, nothing about, you know, my fine genes or cosmic
destiny, but just, I was the first termite to happen by carrying the right scrap of information in
their head, that this thing could then manipulate.
Question from audience
Well, most DMT in the underground has been synthesised from indole. Its a fairly simple
process, like third-year organic chemistry. DMT does occur in Nature, in many plants. But
usually there is little of it, so you have to process a lot; or it occurs complexed with other
tryptamines that have various psycho and physiological activities that you dont want, and
thats very difficult to separate them. So most DMT in the underground is made by
underground chemists and if any of them are listening, you might consider making a bit more!
because its hideously hard to come by.
Question from audience
Ah, if you had an IND if you had a licence to give it to human subjects. But so people have
such paper that the practical answer is No. So its like that.


Question about True Hallucinations at what level have you experienced the shamanic
ability to manifest miracles?
Well, aside from the story mentioned no, no, a truthful answer is always complicated,
although the truth itself is always simple. If youre asking me to tell a story of a miracle that I
still cherish as authentic, I dont think its told in True Hallucinations the book, because well,
youll soon see why but heres an incident that happened at La Chorrera that didnt make it
into The Invisible Landscape, I dont believe. Dennis had this notion of what he called the good
shit. This developed in the days after the ideas about hypercarbolation. And he claimed it
was like a fantasy, it was like a joke, it wasnt clear exactly what it was, but it was this idea
that there was this hash somewhere that had been rolled into cow dung, with cow dung, and
then infected with psilocybin mycelium, so that the mycelium had completely replaced the cow
shit in this bowl of hash, or this hypothesised kilos of hash, somewhere in the world. And so
there was this psilocybinated, the good shit. And at one point, he envisioned us actually
forming a rocknroll band which would play instruments that would condense this stuff out of
the air over large audiences, and you know, we would go on tour, and at the end of the tour
history would be the whole thing would be in a shambles, because Uncle Johns band really
did come out of the woodwork!
So at one point he predicted one night, after he had been moved to the river and the sort of
semi-incarceration he predicted that the good shit would come that night. And by this time,
he was very suspect I was highly suspect everybody in the expedition was polarised against
everybody else, and it was a pretty uptight scene. And so I left with my girlfriend of the time,
and it may have even been the same night as the silver key incident and it was pouring rain,
and we made our way like a quarter mile, half a mile, back into the jungle to this other place
where we were staying, where the original experiment had been done. And so then we get to
the hut, and its pouring rain, and I had scored this kilo of Santa Marta gold for the expedition,
and we had smoked nothing of this for Colombia, relatively rare weed, for weeks. So I got it
out to roll the evenings joint, and I was fumbling with it, and I got this thing lit, and this little
crumb, this little burning thing, fell on the floor, and I lifted it up, and smelled it, and [laughs]
the transubstantiation had occurred! It was, you know, like Mazari Sharif triple-A, red lion,
hashish, of some sort; and I know hashish!
And here we were, in the centre of the Amazon, in this hut, in the pouring rain, and I could tell
that it was the good, it was the good shit, actually manifest. And I showed the woman who was
with me who was easily led one way or another but anyway, she didnt say it wasnt, and I
stayed up late that night smoking this incredible hash and waiting for the rain to stop so that at
the first grey light of dawn I could go down to the river and confound my critics with, you know,
the stone itself! The alchemical quintessence, the concrescence, the excretum bono, the good

shit! Here it was! And so as dawn broke and the fog lifted, I made my way across this rainy
pasture, and sat down by the hammock of the sleeping form of my most vociferous critic, and
sort of elbowed her awake, and you know, there were other instances where this was the
principle at work... It didnt work: everything had returned to normal. It was the Cinderella
screw-up, you know. It was just that I was a char-girl who washed pots, and there was no
prince, and there was no coach, and there was no and, plus, I was once again humiliated in
the presence of my critics, who had further reason to think that you know, a check-in to the
local mental healthcare delivery system might not be a bad idea. These things happen.