Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sedona Sweat Lodge - Call to Unite

What's happening in Arizona these days? A new Arizona immigration law that empowers police to use racial profiling to combat illegal immigration is getting lots of media coverage, but another important story unlikely to find its way into the headlines involves a court hearing to be held in Yavapai County on May 11th that threatens government regulation of the Inipi ceremony, a sacred practice of Native American tribes for generations. Adam Yellowbird, the organizer of the Return of the Ancestors gathering held in Arizona last year, has been called to testify in the case. Hear what Adam has to say concerning this issue, and please lend him whatever support you can.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Return of the Ancestors

Happening this week in Arizona: The Return of the Ancestors.

Here's how the planets align for this event: The Astrology of the Ancestor's Gathering

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Channeling JFK

The possibility of a criminal investigation into the torture policies of the Bush administration is the hot topic in today's news. Pressure for full disclosure is growing, and people are runnning scared. All eyes are on Barack Huessin Obama. Will the miscreants of the prior Bush administration be brought to justice or not? Will there be true exposure or another political cover-up?

There may be no better guide than JFK's words for the difficult decisions Obama must make in the coming days:

Obama's symbolic ties to Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and JFK have been well-documented in the press and Obama has summoned these luminaries to his cause repeatedly over the course of his presidential campaign and during his first 100 days in office. The synchronicities are too pronounced to be ignored. And now this timely message from distant Camelot? An old legend speaks of Arthur's return. Has that day now arrived?

Keep your heart and mind (as well as your eyes and ears) open.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

DNA: Pirates of the Sacred Spiral

Dr. Leonard Horowitz presents information contained in his book.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2012: The Odyssey

I've been investigating the significance of December 21, 2012 for quite some time. One of the best explanations I've found is contained in the following film (divided into in 11 short video clips). Many of the foremost researchers into the Mayan calendar end date offer succinct explanations of their findings. The complete set of video clips can be found at And You And I.

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (1/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (2/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (3/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (4/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (5/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (6/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (7/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (8/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (9/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (10/11)

Gregg Braden - 2012 Shift of the Ages (11/11)

Monday, December 01, 2008

911: New Light on an Old Issue?

911 is a number that has become synonomous with the word "emergency" in the minds of most Americans. The terrorist attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York City created a climate of national emergency in America and empowered George W. Bush to declare a global war against terrorism and to engineer an invasion of Afganistan and Iraq in the name of national security.

So, what has been learned in the six years since 9/11? Have we become any better at distinguishing truth from falsehood? Have we become more aware of the methods used to manipulate belief and influence behavior? Have unfolding events deepened our understanding or merely heightened our confusion about what is going on?

Is it possible that out of this "emergency" will come the "emergence" of a transcendent redemptive truth that will lead to a transfiguration of the world in which we find ourselves, the one seemingly tottering on the edge of destruction?

The fact that Barack Obama is now president-elect suggests that we have learned a little something. Just what remains to be seen.

The truth about what really happened on 9/11 and during the days leading up to and following the attack remains open to question.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ayahuasca Visions (Third Ceremony)

The third ceremony was held outdoors under a full moon. Now that the tarp had been removed, everyone had an unobstructed view of the sky. The night could not have been more perfect. The same ritual pouring and drinking of the ayahuasca was followed. I had an extra measure of the brew poured for me. Once I had settled down in my spot and closed my eyes, the visions began. I could feel the effects five or ten minutes after drinking.I found myself on the cosmic subway again, but this time, when the doors slid open, I got off. The silver mirror was there, and I was able to pass through what appeared to be swinging doors into a space I call the Ayahuasca Cafe. There was a movie theatre with some presence lounging outside the door. The marquee outside read, "Who Really Killed JFK?" in small yellow lightbulbs. I thought, okay, this could be interesting. When I approached the theatre it became apparent that the film was not showing at this time, so I wandered around the building into an alley that led to a stairwell, trailing after a voice that said, "Come this way. Follow me. Wait here." The voice left me standing in the shadows of the stairwell. I considered climbing the steps to the second floor or taking an elevator if it appeared, but instead, I turned around and retraced my route.

I walked through a small gate into a bistro containing tables and chairs and found myself standing in the middle of a garden. Aphid like insects with round bodies and many tiny legs were crawling along the branches of the plants growing here. Little eyes attached to the tips of flexible stems peered at me. I definitely felt that I was in the plant world. I watched three white Stryrofoam balls wearing baseball caps go bouncing between the tables and out of sight. Above my head, there was netting strung across a ceiling that was open to the sky. There were shiny jewel-like objects strung from the netting like shells in some nautical design. I could see the silhouettes of pedestrians and vehicular traffic passing by on the street beyond a lattice screen that defined one boundary of the cafe.

I walked through into a gift shop area where there were jeweled bracelets arranged on a three-tiered serving platter. A voice told me that I could take whichever one I wanted. I actually reached out my hand, but couldn't physically touch what I was seeing. And then a type of metallic computer disk, like a small external hard drive appeared out of the darkness. A voice said that the program was mine. It seemed to click into some invisible socket I was unable to discern. I figured whatever info was being downloaded would become evident in the days to follow.

That's pretty much the entire vision. I got up at that point to visit the toilet. The diarrhea was much less intense on this occasion. The full moon did not have the halo effect it had during the first ceremony. The moon looked like it normally does, bright and full. Clouds seeped like watercolor paint across the moon's surface. Some participants reported seeing meteors streaking through the sky, but I didn't see comets. It was just a beautiful night sky and a peaceful jungle environment and a circle of united souls under the stars.

I watched Riccardo doing his thing. When he approached me, he took my hands, pressed my palms pressed together, and blew smoke over them. Then he held my head and blew smoke into my crown chakra. The expression on his face was intense, his eyes focused, his body squatting before me in the smoke under the moonlight. I lay back on my pad, closed my eyes, but didn't experience any strong visuals. I had tried looking at the clouds that moved across a grid superimposed on the sky, but it was hard to focus my eyes and the effort was making me a little dizzy. I turned on my stomach and stared at the wall of trees behind me and listened to the insects trilling, everything bathed in moonlight and faintly luminescent.

I was feeling quite good about my experience. I felt that I had many questions answered. I felt reassured about the path I was on and felt that I was moving in the right direction. The fact that so many of the people who were participating with me in this ceremony were open to collaboration exhilarated me. Here was both guidance and opportunity freely offered for me to make of it whatever I could. I am deeply grateful to have had such an enriching experience and thankful to those who made my initiation possible. The center of my forehead was sore to the touch after the last ceremony, which suggests to me that my pineal gland had been strongly stimulated.

Ayahuasca Visions (Second Ceremony)

The second ceremony was held inside the Maloca. Since space was tight, a small group was split off and relocated in a screened room that was being used to display artwork. Riccardo presided over this group. Don Guillermo, Sonya, and Maria, along with other apprentices, performed the ceremony with the larger group. Again, each member in the circle got up from his or her mat and knelt before Don Guillermo who poured the ayahuasca from his plastic bottle into the cup he raised in his hand for all to drink. We were given the option of asking for a larger or smaller portion of ayahuasca from the outset or we could come forward later for another cup during the ceremony.

The bodily sensations I experienced were not as strong as the first time, but I could feel my guts start to churn and I burped a few minutes after I drank my cup and returned to the mat beside Gabriel. We looked at one another, smiled, assumed meditative postures, and closed our eyes.

The ceremony was being held inside because of intermittent rain that had fallen during the day and that had nearly dissipated by the time the ceremony began. I could hear drops falling on the thatched roof. It was a cozy space. I sat with my back pressed against the curved wood wall of the maloca. Jeremy Narby and Dennis McKenna, two of the presenters I had traveled to Peru to hear speak, sat directly across from me. I felt at peace. Serene.

The visuals were very subtle: snake-like tendrils swaying down, like willowy branches stirred by a breeze. The icaros began weaving threads in the darkness. The man who had heaved his guts two nights earlier began his second all-night-long vomiting session. In fact, while I was sitting on the toilet later that evening, he burst in on me ready to hurl, but he backed out and rushed into the next stall and heaved. A close call.

The night was overcast and hazy from the rain that had all but disappeared by now. I stumbled in from the john through a different door to the maloca than the one I exited and was blindly searching for the spot I thought my mat should be when I was politely asked what I thought I was doing and then gently guided to my spot on the opposite side of the room. No nausa. No impulse to hurl. Just a slightly queasy feeling in my gut. The icaros in the maloca this night were much lighter, which I attributed to the fact that Riccardo was in a different building.

More voices were added to the singing as the apprentices harmonized together. We were treated to beautiful symphonic chanting throughout the night, the female voices sprialing upwards, floating, nearly resolving, but then rising again in a slight variation in an undulating rhythm that was extremely pleasant.

I felt as if I had been left standing in front of a row of shop windows in some indistinct mall of some sort. I didn't feel like wandering a mall. Visiting the shopping center is not something that excites me. I wanted the crystal palace, the space ship, the journey to distant planets, contact with alien races. But here I was, dropped off at the mall. The voice in my head asked me if I wanted to see what was in a display case. I realized that here was a simple metaphor that I could easily understand, as well as a method for sharing information, so I replied, "Sure, let me see."

There appeared a rectangular doorway or mirror framed in silver jewels that I approached hoping to see in it the reflection of my face or to pass through it to whatever lay beyond, but as I got nearer it disappeared, and I was peeking in the glass of the display case when a hand appeared holding a carved wooden box with what looked like fuzz-covered seed pods packed like bonbons in an ornate candy box. The case was slightly tilted for me to see and then the carved box and the hand holding it withdrew below my line of sight.

Threads of light continued to spiral down from above, angling toward me in a third-dimensional way, sort of like a glass snowglobe effect, but instead of snowflakes, ribbonous snakes, like crepe paper streamers, floated down on the vibrations of the icaros. I feel asleep listening to the family chanting sweet music, the chorus in full-throated harmony, the high mosquito whine of Maria's voice darting like a hummingbird around my head.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ayahuasca Visions (First Ceremony)

The first ceremony was held outside under the stars. By 9:00 pm, all participants had assembled and taken their places on straw mats that were arranged under and around a large canvas tarp that provided shade during the day and protection for a bank of electronic equipment in case of rain. My shoulders and head extended beyond the edge of the tarp, so I had a clear view of the sky. The ayahuasqueros took up their positions in the open center of the rectangle formed by group. Don Guillermo and Riccardo sat with their backs to one another. They indicated with a nod of the head for each member of the group to approach and drink the ayahuasca they poured from a plastic bottle into a small cup. When it was my turn, I knelt in the white sand before Riccardo, took the cup he held out to me, and drank. The ayahuasca that had been boiling in a large black kettle all day did not taste as bad as some people reported. In fact, I found it went down smoothly. After swallowing my portion in one gulp, I returned to my mat and sat watching the others get up, drink their cup, and return to their spots. After everyone had drunk, I closed my eyes, cleared my mind of thought, and waited. I felt no anxiety. I was confident in Riccardo and Don Guillermo's ability to hold the space for such a large group.

I started to feel the effects approximately five to ten minutes later. My stomach began to rumble a little and I belched a few times. I sat with my eyes closed and felt the ayahuasca spreading through my system. By the time the ayahuasqueros began singing their icaros, the visions had begun. I could feel the snake energy coursing through my body as though I were traveling on a cosmic subway train through my intestinal tract. I felt as though I had entered a subterranean world of fibrous roots and rich loamy earth. The snakes felt thick and large as they squirmed through my bowels. Riccardo's icaros, sung in a much deeper register than Don Guillermo's, along with the body music my neighbors provided (burps, farts, and vomiting) proved the perfect accompaniment to the serpents' wriggling dance. It was snake music--gititupgititupgititupgititupgititup--and it seemed a strong invitation to puke your guts out, which is exactly what one poor guy did all night long. This is why ayahuasca is referred to as la purga--people were heaving into the plastic buckets we were all instructed to carry with us at all times. Welcome to the vomitorium. The thought made me smile.

There were fuzzy little micro-organisms scurrying down root filaments in my mind's eye. The subway train I was on would slow down when it approached a platform and I could see posters of mandalas hanging in a freize across the walls of the station. Glass sliding doors were stenciled Enter and Exit, but the train only slowed down and then picked up again. It didn't stop for me to disembark and explore the dimly lit spaces beyond the platform. I was growing impatient staring at the billboards and wanted to be shown something a bit more extraordinary--an alien saucer, a crystal palace, the galactic mother--something a little less pedestrian than advertisements, but I was stuck on the train, so I settled in for the ride.

I held healing intentions for the people I know whose bodies have been stricken with disease or whose minds have been afflicted by psychic trauma. I wanted these people healed, all people healed, my own body healed, the planet healed. And the plant obviously understood and shared my intentions. My cousin, the person who first excited my interest in psychedelics while I was just a kid in high school, told me he had been diagnosed with rectal cancer a week before I left for Peru. He had already started chemo and radiation treatments when I boarded the plane. The day I returned, he told me about a dream he had while I was in the jungle. It was more a vision than a dream, and it woke him up. His first thought was that it must be some type of telepathic message from me. I think he's right. He dreamt of a stallion and a mare copulating in a field filled with plants with spiky leaves, like cactus. The plants had eyes and mouths, and they were singing songs in a strange language. Unidentified onlookers were cheering in the scene, as the mare was mounted. Root chakra stuff. Perhaps that's the energy field through which I traveled while riding the underground subway. Anyway, I discovered during the conference that there are plants used to cure cancer, that can draw a tumor out of the body when applied as a poultice, and that the animal spirit associated with one of these plants (pinon blanco, I think) is the horse. An interesting connection.

My guts were really twisting at the peak of this experience. The explosive vomiting coming from all around was amplified. The icaros were weaving together in beautifully intricate, hypnotic, contrapuntal melodies. Don Guillermo's mother Maria added her icaros to the mix, her high pitched voice like the thin whine of a mosquito stitching the songs together. I didn't know how much longer I could last before soiling my pants, so I opened my eyes, grabbed my bucket, and headed down the moonlit path to the toilet. With eyes open, I was totally aware of my physical surroundings, aware of my identity, in control of my body. I felt no queasiness in my stomach, no urge to vomit. The discomfort I felt was centered in my intestinal tract. Since I've been taking medication to control Crohn's disease for more than twenty-five years, this type of discomfort came as no surprise to me. Ayahuasca is medicine. It went to work on what was ailing me, that's for certain. After a few gushes of diarrhea, I felt considerably better, even though my guts were still gurgling. A circle of bright light emanated from the moon in feathery shafts, forming a glowing halo. The moon, like an eye above cheeks of cloud, looked down at me as I looked up. I found my way back to the ceremonial space with no problem, without need of a flashlight. The white sand of the paths that led throughout the conference center was luminescent as though lit by a black light, recalling a few rock clubs I frequented back in the late 60's and early 70's. There were patterns in the trees that surrounded me. Some participants saw spirits in the trees, the shapes of animals. To me the trees seemed to be floating in separate planes, layered one in front of the other, like three nearly transparent sheets of paper: near, middle, and far--kind of like colorform stickers that children paste on a page to make a picture.

When I got back to my mat, the heavy internal body sensations I was experiencing made me woozy. I sat cross-legged for a while, watching Riccardo and Don Guillermo make their rounds, squatting in front of people, blowing mapacho smoke into their crown chakras, and chanting. I lay back on my mat, my head on a small pillow, and covered myself with the small blue airline blanket Delta had kindly supplied. You could tell when one of the curanderos was approaching your position. The song deepened and intensified, as did the energy in that space. I found out later, that curanderos can see the energy patterns of a person's body. They are similar to the patterns found in Shipibo weavings, which are visual representations of the icaros the shamans receive directly from the plant and sing throughout the ceremony. A skilled shaman can redraw those patterns, like an artist with a brush transforming some visual element in a painting, by employing shamanic techniques such as chanting, blowing into the opening of a plactic bottle, as well as laying on of hands. Some of the healing going on is evident in the visions people report. One participant had his body unseamed in a surgical procedure and sewn up again after some vile black substance was removed by spirit hands. So the healing that's going on is happening on various levels--the physical, the psychic, the emotional. How strange to be consciously aware of these states and to be able to navigate through them.

I was told that Don Guillermo had circled the entire group at least four times during the night, blowing smoke and chanting beside each participant in the ceremony. I could see that Riccardo was doing the same, working his side of the street, holding the space, his voice a register lower than Don Guillermo's rich tenor, his pulsing bass rhythms a counterpoint to Maria's delicate, finely-pitched tremulo. I listened to their musical performance until I fell asleep. I was told that I was snoring. I figure my snores were just another added voice in the chorus. At least I wasn't shouting for help, as some of the others had done throughout the night. There was an occasional verbal outbusrst, someone cursing out his mother, another exorcising his own tormenting demon with his cries. Not everyone had a smooth or pleasant ride. A few people chose not to participate in the third ceremony because their experience had been too intense both physically and psychologically for them to continue.

My mindset at the start of the ceremony was to approach it in a sacred manner. It had been my intention to bring a pure heart, an open mind, and no expectations to these ceremonies and to be receptive to whatever happened, no matter how bizarre. I felt no fear or anxiety at all. This posture seemed to serve me well. I felt welcomed into the weirdly beautiful realm of the plants, insects, and snakes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Convergence 2008

The Vultures

I returned from Iquitos, Peru on Saturday after spending nine days at the Espiritu de Ananaconda, a small Shipibo village in the Amazon jungle, where I and approximately 70 other people took part in Convergence 2008. I had come to learn about Ayahuasca, a powerful plant teacher, and to experience for myself the plant's effects. I participated in three traditional Ayahuasca ceremonies during my stay. My introduction to Ayahuasca proved to be a remarkable experience that I will describe in subsequent posts as part of my integration process.

My trip, I came to discover, was being scripted by an unseen hand and powerful natural forces. I left Seaside Park, NJ on July 8th with my passport tucked in my pocket and visions of my three-week-old granddaughter flooding my mind's eye. Things got spooky when the flight from Lima to Iquitos was cancelled due to vultures circling in the sky above the dumps of the city, obstructing air traffic. Another more prosaic explanation for the aborted flight was that striking workers had strewn nails and glass on the runway in Iquitos. I would like to believe that the vultures temporarily blocked our path so that I could connect on a deep level with a few fellow travelers before the conference.

Soul Brothers

Once I had rechecked my luggage and rescheduled my flight for the next day, I hopped into a taxi with Gabriel and we headed off to a cliff top perch overlooking the Peruvian coastline. Gabriel and I spent the next nine hours downloading information to one another. I shared my poems with him and he shared his art with me. The strength, depth, and immediacy of our connection astonished us both. By the time we boarded the plane for Iquitos the following morning, Gabriel and I had become not only friends, but brothers.

When we arrived at Espirtu de Anaconda, we were fully primed for sacred ceremonial work. Gabriel set up his computer to play his collection of trance mixes in a tent that Don Guillermo dubbed the Ayahuasca Discotheque. It proved a nifty place to chill and to maintain our groove. After stowing my gear in a tambo situated in a secluded spot along a jungle trail, I spent the remainder of the day getting to know other members of the group that had assembled the previous day. I've got to give credit to the spirits orchestrating this journey for bringing together such a collection of incredibly talented and creative people. It was only natural that we formed a closely knit tribal community.


The forces of attraction waxed strong in the jungle. I became entwined in the fantastic tendrils of Robert Venosa and Martina Hoffman, two visionary artists who shared their wisdom and love with me. They, too, were stranded in Lima the previous day. Katiri Walker, a Native American actress and activist, is another person with whom I have become hopelessly entangled. We share a common vision and are traveling a similar path. She has promised to introduce me to her Hopi grandmother when I return to Arizona in the fall. I am at her service. Two other people I will look up when I get back to Phoenix are Sharon Stetter, a teacher of Integral Yoga and agent for Dennis Numkena, and Harry Farrar, a network engineer turned DJ. Conveniently enough, both Sharon and Harry live in close proximity to my home in South Mountain Village, which will make it easy for us to get together.

Easter Island

I've added many new friends to my address book since my return from the Amazon. I am excited and honored to be part of this network of creative, like-minded individuals. There is much work to be done in the years leading up to December 21, 2012. Gabriel and I are already making plans to meet on Easter Island to conduct a sacred ceremony during a full solar eclipse on July 11, 2010.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Edge Material

"Somewhere there's an alchemical text which says 'The highest mountains, the widest deserts, the oldest books, there you will find the stone', and what I would like to suggest to you is that of all the methods, tools, points of view, ideologies, and so forth that you will meet when you begin your catalogue of the edge material, the psychedelic dimension is the ne plus ultra of that dimension. Most spiritual seeking is done with the accelerator pressed to the floor. Once you encounter psychedelics you have found the answer. Now the name of the game changes. No longer the ever-eager ingenue hanging on the guru's latest iron whim. Now you have to face the answer. It's not a matter of blithely seeking, it's a matter of screwing your courage to the sticking point, because the tool has been placed into your hand that will work, that will deliver the goods. You know, people tend to complain there's no adventure left in the world, the world is devoid of challenge. I say to you: five grams in silent darkness in the confine of your own apartment on a rainy Sunday evening and you'll feel that Ferdinand Magellan should take a back seat."

The above quotation was taken from Terence McKenna's Camden Centre Talk, which he delivered on May 6th, 1992. I agree with Terence that the major issue is "screwing your courage to the sticking point" and facing the answer. One does not open the doors of perception without some trepidation.

The fact that the government virtually outlawed all research involving psychedelic substances raises troubling questions about who really controls consciousness. Despite draconian drug policies, research has continued outside the confines of the United States among indiginous peoples whose traditional use of sacramental psychedelic substances stretch back millennia. The shaman, according to Eliade, is the technicion of the sacred, the one who could communicate with the spirit world on behalf of the community in his role as healer and seer. It is this unfamiliar world of the shaman to which western researchers have been introduced that offers a challenge to the rationalistic assumptions we've lived by for centuries. There is a growing body of evidence compiled by anthropologists, physicists, neurologists, mystics, and theologians that argues for a radical shift in our understanding of reality.

Terence says: "It's almost as though what the psychedelics are attempting to do for sociology and psychology is what was achieved by quantum physics from matter in the 1920s and '30s. Matter, during that period, was re-analyzed and found to be not tiny hard billiard ball-like particles whizzing through space carrying spin and electric charge, but that there was another level, a lower layer, and that other level, that other description, revealed an interactive wave system where individual points of concrescence are merely statistical rather than real, everything dissolves into a kind of soup of multi-leveled, multi-dimensional connectedness, and this is what the psychedelic experience is."

According to Terence, "It's humbling, it's transformative, it's astonishing to realise that shamans all over the world for time uncountable have been accessing this appalling, complex, ontologically challenging, scientifically impossible, reality. This means that culturally we are living out some kind of schizophrenic delusion, because we live our lives totally ignorant of these possibilities, or perhaps only glimpsing them at the edge of anesthesia, or something like that, unless, of course, we have the courage to be counter-cultural heads. But even then many people confine themselves in the private world of their own reflection because social pressure and, indeed, social legislation make it very touchy to talk about these things. But I say to you, this is part of the human birthright. This is as much a part of the game as birth, sex and dying."

So what role does the shaman play in contemporary western society where the use of psychedelic substances is illegal and punishable by years of incarceration? I regard him as an archetype of transformation, a true medicine man. Shamanic studies have now become part of the curriculum and a focus of intellectual debate. At the very least, the shaman is now receiving more scholarly attention. His role in the west has been persona non grata.

A final thought by Terence: "We tend, you see, to always imagine the challenge rests with someone else. We have been made spectators to life by a disempowering view of ourselves carried to us by science and mass media. You know, you're supposed to identify with Madonna or Elvis or somebody, but the richness -- the inner richness --of one's own being, because it cannot be bought and sold, is deemed worthless by the culture. We actually live in a de-humanising culture and, as you know, the consequences of a couple of thousand years of this kind of alienation are that now we face the potential death of the planet. We have invented a sin for which there isn't even a word in English that I am aware of, it's the sin of stealing the future from your own children."

I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Thought Stream

McKenna's ideas about novelty and the timewave form the connective thread that has helped to alleviate my existential angst. Is there a credible future scenerio that does not end in planetary destruction or mass extinction events? Even though I take solace in Robinson Jeffers' poetry and share his vision of nature's enduring beauty and mankind's incomprehensible penchant for destruction, I'd sure like some assurance that things will turn out fine in the end, that humanity will somehow pass the ultimate survival test, find redemption, achieve illumination, and experience transcendence. That's the hope, no matter how unrealistic or improbable.

I'm sure what appeals to me about McKenna's ideas is his fundamental optimism. Maintaining a sense of humor also helps keep things in perspective, however bizarre things may seem to be. Once you begin to raise questions about the nature of consensus reality, you open up a philosophical can of worms, with all the attendent conundrums and paradoxes, and must deal with squirmy, elusive truths that are not easily grasped.

McKenna still offers the most lucid explanation of our human predicament that I've been able to find. Listen to “A Few Conclusions About Life” for Terence's take on where we're headed.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Shamans of the Amazon

Take a look at this 8 minute clip from a longer documentary by Dean Jefferys entitled Shamans of the Amazon. The clip contains footage of an ayahuasca ceremony, some wise words spoken by the shamans, and commentary by Terence McKenna.

The documentary is based on a personal account of Jefferys' experience in the jungle of Ecuador. The video describes DMT's traditional use amongst some Amazonian tribes. You won't find this documentary on Netflix, unfortunately.

Jefferys' films are an outgrowth and an expression of his political and environmental activism. By his own count, he has been arrested over 20 times for following his beliefs. In 1985, Jefferys dropped a 'paint bomb' from his ultra light aircraft onto the deck of the nuclear warship USS Buchanan as it made its way up Sydney Harbour. In 1991, he served as a human shield in the Gulf peace camp in Iraq during the Gulf War.


Mai ka lae o ke kumukahi Ha'ule iho mai nei, ka Wai Ola

(From the brow of the supreme source, droops/ falls/ descends, here to the core of all, the spiritual energy of life)

This was my first glimpse of Kamokila village. I was standing on the road across from 'Opaeka'a Falls on a Sunday afternoon, snapping pictures, on this, our last day on Kaua'i. My wife and I were taking a red-eye flight out of Lihue at 11:30 pm.

We had been exploring a string of heiaus, or temples, leading from the mouth of the Wailua to the river's source at the top of Wai'ale'ale'. We had taken the road as far as it would go to the site of a Hindu temple. On our way down, we decided to stop at the traditional Hawaiian village nestled in the valley below.

We had circumnavigated the entire island by that time. We had toured the Na Pali coastline, watched humpbacks rise from the sea, gone horseback riding up mountain trails in the rain, strolled windswept beaches strewn with driftwood. There was no lack of things to do or places to see. Take a look at Kauai: Mile by Mile, an excellent online guidebook, for a more detailed description of the island.

Now I was standing in this paradisal village, talking to Palani and his friend about the sacredness of this spot. Both of these young men are deep into Huna, an ancient shamanic practice, so our connection was immediate. Palani is a gifted storyteller intent on preserving his heritage and continuing the traditional practices of his people. His family has lived here for generations. He was explaining to me how some of the more powerful shamans are able to trap time by constructing rock structures in alignment with elemental forces. This spot, he said, was a portal. He refered to it as "the stronghold."

When I returned home, I discovered that an Ayahuasca Shamanism Conference, Retreat & Visionary Gathering is being held in the Amazonian rainforest this July. I was excited to find out that Dennis McKenna and Jeremy Narby are two of the facilitators attending this nine day gathering. I feel certain that this is the next step I must take, so after registering online, I'll need to procure a passport and book a flight to Lima, Peru. Expect a full account of the experience when I return.

Another shamanic connection is the work being done by Bill Donohue at the Hidden Meanings Conference Center in Forked River, NJ. He and I have discussed at some length the relation of DMT to the visionary experiences found in the Bible. Visit the Hidden Meanings web site for a wealth of mind-expanding information, including several videos of Bill's lectures.

Mai ka lae o ke kumukahi Ha'ule iho mai nei, ka Wai Ola.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Barack Obama (Size Does Matter)

I received the photo on the left, along with the following message, in my email box a few days ago:

Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.

Barack Hussein Obama's photo (that's his real name)......the article said he REFUSED TO NOT ONLY PUT HIS HAND ON HIS HEART DURING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, BUT REFUSED TO SAY THE in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief????

A quick Google search turned up this page.

What strikes me most about the photo is the body language and proportions of the people arranged on the stage, not the scurillous suspicions raised in the message about Obama's fidelity to the country, a point I'll return to later.

First, let's deconstruct the elements that make up the photograph and see what we can discover.

Obama certainly appears to be the most relaxed of the four: shirt sleeves rolled below his elbows, fingers hooked together in front of his crotch, body centered, shoulders square, gaze focused. He is the tallest figure in the photo and stands in front of and just outside the frame of the American flag. He is firmly positioned at the forefront of the group.

Richardson, to me, looks like a deer caught in the glare of the headlights. His body is positioned in full frontal view of the camera, his head and torso surrounded by white stars against a blue background. From the camera's perspective, he appears half a head shorter than Obama. He's wearing blue jeans, cowboy boots, and an off-the-rack sports jacket. Despite the causual attire, he appears a bit uncomfortable to me. His mismatched clothing sends a discordant message, in contrast to Obama's better assembled, more collected look. Clothes may not make the man, but they can certainly help to define him.

Hillary is a shrunken figure, compared to the two male candidates, due to the camera angle. Her head is well below the level of Richardson's shoulder. The outward positioning of her body is similar to Richardson's, but her head is turned to the right. Unlike Richardson, the fingers of the hand placed over her heart are closed and her left arm is flat against the side of her body. Her outfit is fairly nondescript. She stands with her nose pressed against the blue square of stars that seems to rest on her right shoulder. She's the incongruous element at the center the composition, emphasizing the gross distortions in body size of each person in the shot.

Ruth Harkin is the least consequential person in the photo, and the most ill-at-ease. Her neck is bent, throwing her head out of alignment with her body. The flesh of her arms is exposed and her pants are too short to cover her bare ankles. The acute angle of her arm brings her right hand closer to her neck than her heart. She is clutching a paper in her left hand. She is the most isolated figure in the picture, analogous to the white chair on the far right--separate from the group and greatly diminished in size.

The photograph definitely casts Obama as a larger-than-life figure, standing a full half-head taller than Richardson. The flag, used as backdrop, proves to be an interesting measuring device that symbolically reveals the stature of the candidates.

The following video clip of the event offers an entirely different perspective from that of the photograph.

As far as the email comment goes, I think that anyone who can resist falling into the conventional postures most people automatically assume when in the public arena, would make an excellent commander-in-chief. I hope the next American president will be able to rise above national and partison interests and adopt a truly global perspective on world events. I think Obama has shown the greatest capacity to move in that direction.

Is there anyone in the field brave enough (or foolish enough, depending on your perspective) not to pledge allegience to God or to country? Such a gesture would be the kiss of death to any candidate. Obama is much too savvy for that.

Here is another email about Obama currently in circulation. Dirty politics, as usual.
The candidate who follows the dictates of his own conscience, who resists political posturing and pandering, wins my vote.

I'm intrigued by the symbolic content underlying the campaigns. I'm paying attention, trying to decode the deeper message, carried away on the powerful currents of this time cycle. It's all a matter of perspective:

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

The Oversoul as Saucer

(An excerpt from the talking book True Hallucinations by Terence McKenna.)

Read the complete text of chapters 20 and 21.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

UFO Spotted Over Stephenville, Texas

UFO Sighting
Stephenville, Texas
Jan. 15, 2008

Steve Allen reported seeing an object that was a mile long and half a mile wide: "People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times. It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts."

View the full CBS News report.

CNN's coverage of the Stephenville, Texas U.F.O. sighting.

Additional eyewitness accounts.

Fox News -- Stephenville, Texas UFO Report - AP Footage

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Shift

Are you ready for an evolutionary leap? Can this be the moment? Watch the video and join the movement. Find out more about The Shift of the Ages.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Moral Courage

In the midst of the 2008 political campaign, Dennis Kucinich offers a path forward that merits widespread public attention. A Kucinich supporter explains what we are up against in America this election cycle, why Kucinich's message needs to be heard, and the reason she finds his example of moral courage so inspiring. She makes the point that "if we don't wake up and realize what's going on, the corporate media will decide who the next president will be." Listen to what else she has to say in this video.

In the following video, Dennis Kucinich draws a correlation between domestic violence and world peace based on his own life experience. If we recognize the cultural dynamics of war, we can do something to change the type of thinking that produces war.

Kucinich challenges us to not only imagine, but to create, a new world based on principles of peace and nonviolence by integrating these principles into our everyday lives.

Take a look at the latest weekly update (1/21/08) from the Kucinich campaign.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I experimented with a new search engine named FileDonkey the other day, to see if I could unearth any new information posted online about McKenna.

TIMEWAVEZERO2012 is a Yahoo! group founded on March, 18, 2001 that consists of 1453 members. Read messages 253-256 to understand the reason for the club's formation and join the discussion.

TerranceMcKennaLand is perhaps the best resource if you're looking for total immersion. This site contains a large and well organized collection of video and audio files.

Watch the video clip Reality Hacking for McKenna's take on the primacy of language (encoded information) as the determinant of our reality.

Next week I will be traveling to Kauai for a week of exploration. I will try to keep in mind McKenna's sage advice: to push the weird edges of the phenomenal world.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

I just finished a three-day EAGALA training program held in Phoenix, Arizona on January 11-13. Attendees learned how to conduct an equine assisted psychotherapy session by participating in a variety of hands-on activities involving horses.

The therapy team is made up of three members: a horse, an equine specialist, and a mental health professional. The team assists a client or clients in addressing their emotional and behavioral issues by designing an activity that requires the clients to interact with one or more horses. The main job of the licensed therapist and the equine specialist is to carefully observe what happens during the session. The horse plays a pivitol role as a member of the therapy team by simply being a horse allowed to interact freely with the clients. Whatever surfaces during the session can be attributed to the physical presence of the horses as part of the group. The horse is the guide.

The photo shows the result of a role-playing activity called Extended Appendages. The participants, playing the roles of dysfunctional family members, attempt to harness one of two horses loose in a round pen. One of the fictional clients, a mother having difficulty communicating with her two teenage daughters, was chosen to be the "brain" who instructed the "two arms" (her estranged daughters) what to do.

Following the session, the clients "check in" with the therapists to process what went on, noting the ways in which the horses reacted to them. Using non-directive questioning techniques, the therapists state what they saw the horses doing and create metaphorical connections to the dynamic occuring within the family. In this way, the clients are confronted with their "issues" and challenged to discover their own solutions to the problems they are experiencing at home. As you might imagine, lots of personal "stuff" comes out during the session.

I will be blogging more about the shamanic connections to this type of work in subsequent posts.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Psychedelic Society

Forty years ago, flower power blossomed in San Francisco and spread its seed across America. The mantra of sex, drugs, rock and roll became a popular chant and the dream of peace, love, and community took root in the land. The dream did not die. It's part of a generation's collective experience. The fractal energy of that idealistic moment in time resonates in me this summer. I'm wearing a set of headphones, plugged into my laptap, listening to "Darkness Darkness" by the Youngbloods, and I'm happy these sweet tones of light can spread so magically through the darkness that seems to shroud our world today. I'm reminded of what Jimi Hendrix said during that summer of love: "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." Just how to call that peaceful world into being remains an unanswered question. The fractal resonance I'm sensing this afternoon is no doubt part of the Timewave that washes over us moment by moment, carrying us into an unknown but somehow familiar space where peace is not only possible but finally actualized.

Watch the video in which McKenna talks about a psychedelic society.

Terence McKenna speaks about what is taking place today in an interview conducted by Jay Levin in May 1988 entitled In Praise of Psychedelics. I'm including an exchange that offers interesting insights into the times in which we're living and the direction in which we're headed.

JL: You think you've gotten from your visions some sense of the nature of where we are going, but is there, in fact, a "choice point," a moment when the individual--or the species collectively--has to make a choice about this direction rather than that? Or is it simply that there is a direction of history in which we are naturally going?

TM: The thing is, reality itself is not static. This is one of the things that the psychedelic is trying to put across, that the reality we're embedded in is itself some kind of an organism and is evolving toward a conclusion. Twentieth-century history is not simply a fluke or an anomaly--it is the culmination of a process that has been in motion for as long as the planet has been in existence. We are not alienated and outside of nature; we are somehow the cutting edge of it. And this vast output of buildings and highways and all the things that characterize the modern world is actually a feature of the natural world. Similarly, the evolution of technical intelligence on the surface of the planet, while new, is not unnatural.

Human beings are therefore the natural agents for a compression that is building up in the temporal world toward transition into some higher dimension of existance. History is going to end. This iss the astonishing conclusion that I draw out of the psychedelic experience. And all the scenarios of history's ending that haunt human thinking on the matter, ranging from the Apocalypse of john down to the latest prophecies of the flying saucer cults, are attempts to grasp or come to grips with an intuition of transcendental departure from business as usual.

Looking at present cultural trends and extrapolating them, it's reasonable to suggest that by the end of the Mayan calendar--which is in 2012 A.D.--we will be unrecognizable to ourselves, that what we take to be our creations, computers and technology, asre actually another level of ourselves. And that when we have worked out this peregrination through the profane labyrinth of history, we will recover what we knew in the beginning: the archaic union with nature that was seamless, unmediated by language, unmediated by notions of self and other, of life and death, of civilization and nature. These are all dualisms that are temporary and provisional within the labyrinth of history. This Archaic Revival means that all our religions were pale imitations of the Mystery itself. then people will say, "Now I understand! Now I understand why the pyramids, why the fall of Rome, why Auschwitz, why the H-bomb." All these things are signposts on the way to the transcendental object. And once we reach it, meaning will flood the entire human experience.

JL: But to see people so transformed, so back in tune with nature on a mass level, would mean we were collectively prepared to put such low-consciousness matters as planetary pollution or the Arab-Israeli struggle behind us virtually overnight. For that to happen, wouldn't there have to be some kind of transcendent event? A visit from a flying saucer? Nuclear warfare? I don't know, I'm trying to remain a rationalist.

TM: It seems highly improbable that such a thing would occur. However, look at something like the phenomenon of language in our species. How probable was that before it existed? It represents some kind of intersection of the monkey species with a transcendental force of some sort. And yet, once it came into existence, it is seen to be inherent in our biological organization.

JL: Nothing in your drug experiences has shown you what that single shamanic event might be?

TM: I think it could be something like this: The transcendental object, which has been well described since the sixteenth century, is the union of spirit and matter. The transcendental object is matter that behaves like thought, and it is a doorway into the imagination. This is so important, because it anticipates a life lived entirely in the imagination.

Now you ask, "How could such a thing be?" Well, as just one hypothesis: Suppose a way were found to integrate human and machine intelligence to create a culture in which humans and machines were psychologically indistinguishable. This would allow us to influence the dimensions of that interaction. If we're creating another dimension, it might as well be paradise. So what today we contemplate as a transcendental object may be a salable technology by 2012.

JL: In other words, you're saying that the transcendent event might conceivabley be the creation by 2012 of a computer program that we would interact with to bring us to a heightened state of existence? Maybe one created by a genius computer programmer and metaphyysician will tripping on psilocybin?

TM: Yes, a computer program. The two concepts, drugs and computers, are migrating toward each other. If you add in the concept of "person" and say these three concepts--drugs, computer, and person--are migrating toward each other, then you realize that the monkey body is still holding a lot of our linguistic structure in place. But if the monkey body were to be dissolved, then we would be much more likely to define ourselves as pure information. I think this is what is happening--that beyond 2012 everybody becomes everything. All possibilities are realized, even possibilities that are mutually exclusive. Because the resolution and the realization of these possibilities occurs in a different kind of space--"nanotechnological" or psychological space, or a true hyperdimension. It's very hard to imagine what it will be like, because we simply do not have the metaphors and the experience to cognize what we are moving toward.

JL: Can you conceptualize--or visualize--the nature of a computer program that would facilitate this higher-consciousness process?

TM: Well, I have actually developed a piece of software that I call Timewave Zero. It's a fractal wave, a mechanical description of time that shows that all times are actually interference patterns created by other times interacting with each other and that all of these times originate from a single end state. Advanced versions of this kind of program could be created in the twenty-four years we have left until 2012.

This isn't something human beings have to decide to do--this is something that is happening! The trick is to figure out what's going to happen that allows you to relate. The psychedelics help to do this because they anticipate the transcendental object. All religions anticipate the transcendental object. All great spiritual personalities, somehow, anticipate and embody the transcendental object. This is no longer centuries or millennia away. It is right here, right now. It is what explains the precipitous drop into novelty that the twentieth century represents. The twentieth century does not make any sense whatsoever unless it ends in a complete transformation of the species. And the nuclear death and the life-affirming factors are so inextricably intertwined tthat it will remain a horse race right up until the last moment.

In one of my lectures, I asked, "What mushroom is it that blooms at the end of human history? Is it the mushroom of Teller and Fermi and Oppenheimer, or is it the mushroom of Albert Hoffman and Gordon Wasson and Richard Evans Shultes and Timothy Leary?" I believe that it will be very hard for people who are not insiders to figure out where to place their bets. But the very fact that you and I can have this conversation is proof of the nearness of this event. People couldn't say these things even thirty years ago--no one would understand. You know, in testing high-performance aircraft there's an expression "stretching the envelop," meaning pushing the performance capabilities to the absolute outer limits. This is what the twentieth century is doing to the planet and the human organism. We are stretching the envelop as we approach, not the sound barrier but it the "mind barrier," the "social barrier." We will not disintegrate when we reach it and fall out of the sky. Instead, if we have designed our social spacecraft correctly, we will slip right on through into an infinite realm of potential human becoming.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Daniel Pinchbeck

Daniel Pinchbeck will be conducting a three day workshop (6/1/07-6/3/07) entitled Prophecy and Transformation: 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

The following links will give you some sense of Pinchbeck's ideas:

Speaking Shamanic with Daniel Pinchbeck

Post Modern Prophecy: Urgent Myths for Urgent Times (A dialog between Daniel Pinchbeck and Douglas Rushkoff)
(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Evolver: An Interview With Daniel Pinchbeck (Part 1 and Part 2)

Daniel Pinchbeck and the New Psychedelic Elite (Rolling Stone interview)

Video clips of Steven Colbert's interview (Part 1 and Part 2) with Daniel Pinchbeck

Here is a quotation from Pinchbeck's book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, that I find intriguing:

In the book of Job written several centuries before the New Testament, Yaweh subject his “faithful servant,” Job, to a harrowing series of tests, after excepting a wager from Satan that Job’s faith can be broken. “Job is no more the outward occasion for an inward process of dialectic in God,” wrote Jung. Like a scientist performing some cruel experiment on bacilli in a test tube, Yaweh kills Job’s family, removes his land, riddles him with disease, and inflicts every imaginable form of ruin upon him. Job, however, remains steadfast. At the same time, he is determined to understand the reason for his plight. According to Jung, Job is the first man to comprehend the split inside Yaweh – that the God-image is an antimony, comprising both the dark god of cruelty and the benevolent deity of love and justice; “in light of this realization his knowledge attains a divine numinosity.” Confronted by archetypal injustice, Job insists on equalizing compassion, and eventually receives it, as his status in the world is restored.

Despite his overpowering might, the creator fears the judgment of his creature. “Yaweh projects onto Job a skeptic’s face which is hateful to him because it is his own, and which gazes at him with an uncanny and critical eye,” Jung noted. From the perspective of the God-image, Job had attained a higher state of knowledge than Yaweh through his trvails, and this required a compensatory sacrifice, enacted, a few hundred years later, through the incarnation of Christ.

Jung realized that God intended to fully incarnate in the collective body of humanity, and that this time was quickly approaching. From his psychoanalytic and personal work and theoretical musings, he proposed that the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost was unfolding into a “quaternity,” adding a fourth element that had been suppressed from the Western psyche. “The enigma of squaring the circle” was one representation of this quaternity, “an age-old and presumably pre-historic symbol, always associated with the idea of a world-creating deity.” This aspect of divinity, now returning and requiring assimilation into consciousness, was the Devil, who had been dissociated from the Western psyche at the beginning of the Judeo-Christian aeon. Along with the Devil, the fourth element also represented natural wisdom, personified by the Gnostic deity Sophia, long exiled and excised from the canonical texts.

Since the creator is an antimony, a totality of inner opposites, his creatures reflect this schism. To descend into humanity, God must choose “the creaturely man filled with darkness – the natural man who is tainted with original sin,” Jung wrote. “The guilty man is eminently suitable and is therefore chosen to become the vessel for the continuing incarnation, not the guiltless one who holds aloof from the world, and refuses to pay his tribute to life, for in him the dark God would find no room.” The uniting of opposites, the reconciliation of dark and light contained in the God-image, can only take place within the consciously realized “guilty man,” not the sanctimonious, ascetic, or self-righteous one – anyone who denies their shadow will only project it in some new form.

*Other quotations from Pinchbeck's work.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Course in Miracles

Food for thought. Come to your own conclusions. As a teacher who now plies his craft outside the confines of classroom walls, these words make sense to me:

A Course in Miracles
Manual for Teachers


The role of teaching and learning is actually reversed in the thinking of the world. The reversal is characteristic. It seems as if the teacher and the learner are separated, the teacher giving something to the learner rather than to himself. Further, the act of teaching is regarded as a special activity, in which one engages only a relatively small proportion of one's time. The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well.

To teach is to demonstrate. There are only two thought systems, and you demonstrate that you believe one or the other is true all the time. From your demonstration others learn, and so do you. The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. You cannot give to someone else, but only to yourself, and this you learn through teaching. Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. It is a method of conversion. This is not done by words alone. Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less.

The curriculum you set up is therefore determined exclusively by what you think you are, and what you believe the relationship of others is to you. In the formal teaching situation, these questions may be totally unrelated to what you think you are teaching. Yet it is impossible not to use the content of any situation on behalf of what you really teach, and therefore really learn. To this the verbal content of your teaching is quite irrelevant. It may coincide with it, or it may not. It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self-doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach.

This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. How could it be otherwise? Everyone who follows the world's curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein is the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.

Except for God's teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for the teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. And then they are seen no more, although their thoughts remain a source of strength and truth forever. Who are they? How are they chosen? What do they do? How can they work out their own salvation and the salvation of the world? This manual attempts to answer these questions.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Terence McKenna--Live from The Fez


McKenna’s talk was recorded at The Fez in New York City on June 20, 1993 and broadcast live on The Music Faucet, WFMU-FM, East Orange, NJ.

McKenna opens his talk by declaring “that history has failed, and Western civilization has failed, and dominator-primate politics has failed, object-fetish consumerism has failed, the national security government has failed.” McKenna’s solution for dealing with our cultural predicament is to “fall back upon ourselves, stop waiting for the revelation to come from CNN or Time Magazine, and start ignoring the idiotic laws that would dictate to us the kind of states of mind that we can entertain.” His recommendation is to “go to the rainforests, the aborigines, and check up--check in--on what we have always dismissed, which is the world of natural magic and wisdom obtained through intoxication.”

Given his theory that “history is ending” and that “as history accelerates, the rate of the ingression of novelty into three-dimensional space is asymptotically increasing,” McKenna speculates that “we're approaching the kind of symmetry break that occurred when life pulled its slimy bottom out of the sea and crawled onto the land. We are approaching the symmetry break where we shed the monkey, we shed the hardwired negative animal impulses that keep us chained to the Earth and deny us our dreams of completion.”

McKenna contends that “history is a kind of indicator of the nearby presence of a transcendental object” and that “as we approach the transcendental object, history will become more and more hallucinatory, more and more dreamlike, more and more surreal. Because we are so close now to this transcendental object, that is the inspiration for religion and vision and revelation, all you have to do to connect up to it is close your eyes, smoke a bomber, take five grams of mushrooms in silent darkness, and the veil will be lifted, and you see, then, the plan. You see what all these historical vectors have been pointing towards. You see the transcendental object at the end of time--a cross between your own soul and the flying saucer of cheap science fiction. I mean--the city of Revelations, hanging at the end of the Twentieth Century like a beacon.”

According to McKenna, if we are “to recover an authentic experience of the transcendental and a fusion with Nature,” we should consider psychedelics as one way to do this since they appear to “dissolve boundaries and open the way to the Gaian mind.”

McKenna spends the remainder of the evening fielding questions from the audience. Asked about the distinction he makes between organic psychedelics and synthetic drugs, such as LSD, McKenna points out that “psilocybin and the tryptamines are much more reliable visionary activators.” He addresses a question concerning ritual and style of drug taking” by describing how he does psilocybin, a method he recommends to anyone interested in achieving “the psychedelic breakthrough.” Many more issues are addressed before the conversation concludes.

McKenna clearly regards “psychedelics as the only way to react fast enough to have an impact on the runaway momentum of historical error.” He rallies his audience at the end with a call to “Legalize the dream! Reclaim the human mind! Let's make dreams legal, let's make plants legal, let's legalize the imagination, empower hope, and begin to build the kind of world that we would feel alright about handing on to our children.”

Friday, August 04, 2006

High Times Interviews Terence McKenna


High Times Magazine, April 1992

In this interview, conducted by David Jay Brown and Rebecca McClen, McKenna responds to questions concerning his interest in shamanism and the exploration of consciousness, the social role that he sees himself playing, and the ways in which New Age philosophy differ from his notion of an archaic revival. He is asked to comment on “Francis Crick's theory of directed panspermia, the hypothesis that all life on this planet and its directed evolution has been seeded, or perhaps fertilized, by spores designed by a higher intelligence” and about “the role that psilocybin mushrooms play in the process of human evolution.”

When asked to comment about his assertion “that in certain states of consciousness you're able to create a kind of visual resonance and manipulate a 'topological manifold' using sound vibrations,” he indicates that it is his belief “that we're on the cusp of some kind of evolutionary transition in the language-forming area, going from a language that is heard, to a language that is seen, through a shift in interior processing. The language will still be made of sound, but it will be processed as the carrier of the visual impression.” He points out that the shamans in the Amazon have been engaged in this use of language for a long time through the songs they sing.

Asked to speculate on a future in which humanity has mastered space technology and time travel, McKenna suggests that “things like fractal mathematics, superconductivity, and nanotechnology offer new and novel approaches to the realization of these old dreams.”

On the topic of lucid dreaming, McKenna reports that he has had dreams in which he smokes DMT, and is transported into an altered state. He believes that “the psychedelics, the near death experience, the lucid dreaming, the meditational reveries ... all of these things are pieces of a puzzle about how to create a new cultural dimension that we can all live in a little more sanely than we're living in these dimensions.”

Responding to questions about Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of the morphogenetic field and whether “morphic resonance could be regarded as a possible explanation for the phenomena of spirits and other metaphysical entities,” McKenna states that not only are such ideas plausible, but also that “some kind of theory like that is clearly becoming necessary” in order to explain “how out of the class of possible things, some things actually happen.” Asked to comment on the new class of designer psychedelics and the fact that there are no morphogenetic fields associated with these drugs, McKenna contrasts his “spooked-out” ketamine experience to that of the mushroom. He says, “If you take mushrooms, you know, you're climbing on board a starship manned by every shaman who ever did it in front of you, and this is quite a crew, and they've really pulled some stunts over the millennia, and it's all there, the tapes, to be played, but the designer things should be very cautiously dealt with.”

Several more intriguing questions offer McKenna an opportunity to elucidate his views about the human imagination, super computers, cycles of history, future predictions, the mathematical rules that stand behind visual appearances, the symbiotic relationship between humans and plants, and the meshing of his ideas with fellow “Psychedelic Compressionists” Rupert Sheldrake, Ralph Abraham, and Frank Barr.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Understanding and the Imagination in the Light of Nature


Los Angeles, California, October 17, 1987

McKenna’s talk is given to benefit Botanical Dimensions, a 20-acre botanical garden in Hawaii, which is dedicated to preserving tropical plants that are in danger of extinction, as well as the knowledge of their medicinal or herbal or shamanic usage. He begins by addressing “one of the centerpiece themes of aboriginal shamanism: the felt presence of some kind of alien intelligence.”

McKenna’s initial confrontation with “the felt presence of the other” occurred in the fall of 1967 after smoking DMT for the first time and came to him as “an astonishing personal surprise.” He likens the experience to “being struck by noetic lightning.” Afterwards, he set himself the goal of understanding this bizarre experience for which “there is no place in our world,” but that feels “overwhelmingly, existentially real.”

McKenna identifies “the psychedelic experience as it emerges out of nature” as the blind spot in Western culture. He theorizes that “as human societies interact with the psychedelic experience in nature, they inevitably secrete the institution of shamanism. Like a pearl around a sand grain, a nexus point, a loci of inter-dimensional data-flow, which is really what it is. Under certain conditions, which have to do with molecules that have evolved in these species which have a weirdly quasi-symbiotic relationship to our species, you strike through the veil. Melville said, ‘if you would strike, strike through the mask.’ And that's what's done, you strike through the mask of the coordinates of apparent reality. And then, something is there which to me is a miracle.”

He goes on to describe how his attempts to understand this experience led him to Nepal and later to Tibet to study pre-Buddhist shamanism. He eventually winds up living in the remote jungles of Indonesia, collecting butterflies, totally immersed in “the real fact of the rain forest; the real fact of organic nature.” It was in this jungle that he came to understand how “nature is communication and how nature ultimately resolves itself into a self-reflecting, syntactical metasystem, right down to the DNA.”

According to McKenna, “the answer to self-empowerment lies in the psychedelic experience” and that “people who do not confront the presence of the hallucinogenic possibility, are turning their back on their birthright.” He believes that psychedelics can unify us, introduce us to the trans-linguistic intention.”

McKenna concludes his talk by reasserting his contention that “Nature is the great teacher” and by positing an emerging paradigm of the spirit whose components include “an empowering of direct experience, a return to the feminine, and a legitimizing of the presence of the vaster regions of the unconscious.” Psychedelic plants can help prepare us for the great adventure ahead.

Following his talk, McKenna answers questions from the audience about his theory of the timewave and provides a reading of our current situation in the historical process.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Revisiting Alan Watts

I remember the day I bought two books by Alan Watts--The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are and This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience--and one by Ram Dass entitled Be Here Now. It was on a spring afternoon in 1970 during my freshman year at Rutgers University. I dropped the books onto the grass and sat down beneath a tree to examine their contents. In those early days of college I was interested in exploring ultimate philosophical, psychological and theological questions. You know the ones--What is the nature of reality? Does God exist? Who am I? What is the purpose of existence? I'm sure there were others. I was also intrigued by what I'd read about LSD and heard from friends who had dropped acid.

As I sat with my back propped against that tree in the middle of the green commons during a break between classes--my mind steeped in the ideas of Plato and the ancient Greek philosophers, in the discoveries of Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell, in Spinoza's ontological argument--the world appeared brimming with beauty, mystery and wonder. I recall flipping through the pages of Ram Dass's odd, square-shaped book, the mandala on the cover radiating the message REMEMBER BE HERE NOW. Both Ram Dass and Alan Watts promised a distinctively Western slant on the Eastern metaphysical philosophies I was studying at the time. Moreover, they promised to make the ancient Vedic scriptures more comprehensible to a mind shaped, and at times numbed, by a seventeen year sojourn in the New Brunswick public school system. The authors also offered their own personal take on the psychedelic experience and its mystical implications. I had already read The Tibetan Book of the Dead and was familiar with the work of Timothy Leary. I shared a small off campus bungalow with two friends. I was ripe for experimentation, a vessel ready to be filled with a divine Gnosis.

More than 36 years have passed, a more or less orderly procession of days, from that spring afternoon under the blue sky of of my boyhood home, and the memory of that period in my life is strong still, and resurfaces in my reflections. As I sit in front of my laptop on the porch of a house built on a narrow spit of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnagat Bay, observing people pass by on their way to and from the beach and listening to the sounds of summer traffic, I know that the airwaves are filled with a stream of continuosly updated war reports transmitted via satellite feeds and broadcast day and night on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX. The news reminds me of the same televised madness of the Vietnam war beamed into our homes some 36 years ago. Tonight I'll walk to the beach, sit upon the sand, gaze off into the night, listen to the waves break against the shore, and REMEMBER BE HERE NOW.

For more on Alan Watts and Ram Dass, visit the following links:

Alan Watts: Lectures and Essays

The New Alchemy (An essay from This is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience, by Alan Watts. This essay was written in 1960.)

A Psychedelic Experience - Fact or Fantasy? (This essay by Alan Watts appeared in LSD, The Consciousness-Expanding Drug, edited by David Solomon, 1964.)

Breaking On Through Again (Ram Dass wraps his expanded mind around the last of the truly taboo subjects--death and dying)

Ram Dass Interviewed