Terence McKenna


Terence McKenna (1946-2000) was a widely admired counter-cultural writer, philosopher, ethnobotanist and psychedelic spokesman. Best known for presenting his ideas and experiences in a series of erudite and wildly speculative public talks, McKenna challenges our conventional notions about the nature of reality and perception. He encourages an openly engaged understanding of life's complexity rooted in direct personal experience, rather than in conditioned assumptions and established belief systems. McKenna advocates the responsible use of psychedelic substances as one powerful means to achieve this, and often talks of his own experiences as an example of the human mind's capacity for astonishment. If nothing else, McKenna's radical theories about history and time serve as engaging thought experiments, expanding our conceptions of order and chaos, progress and possibility. "It just shows," as McKenna liked to quote, "that the world is stranger than you can suppose."

"What psychedelic means is getting your mind out in front of you —by whatever means necessary— so that you can relate to it as an thing in the world, and then work upon it."
—Terence McKenna

McKenna: "There is a sort of fair play"  |  McKenna: "A psychedelic way of being"

Art by Damon Soule © 2005 by Damon Soule

Unfolding the Stone

In this illuminating talk, given on June 01, 1991 in Los Angeles, McKenna explains the ancient alchemical process as an insightful metaphor for spiritual transformation at both individual and cultural levels. The talk begins with an introduction by Timothy Leary and a brief explanation of McKenna's work with Kat Harrison and Botanical Dimensions.

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Terence McKenna, 1999

Dreaming Awake at the End of Time

In this expansive talk, given at Fort Mason, San Francisco, on December 13, 1998, McKenna spins the spiritual analogies of dreaming and awakening into a wide-ranging discussion of consciousness, virtual reality, the primacy of language, the plasticity of time, culture as an operating system and the responsibility of working for cultural change.

Download the complete talk:


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"The Truth doesn't need your cooperation to exist. All forms of cult, all forms of hype, all forms of delusion do require your participation in order to exist. I've looked into marginal areas of human experience —historical and otherwise— with a rational mind, and what I've found is that doorways into the miraculous are far fewer than the publicists of the New Age would have us believe. On the other hand, they are not as rare as the proponents of radical reductionism and materialism would have us believe. There are doorways out of the mundane..."
—Terence McKenna


Terence McKenna Media Archive  |  Terence McKenna Audio Archive
Erowid's Terence McKenna Vault  |  Wikipedia: Terence McKenna
Wired Magazine: Terence McKenna's Last Trip

Art by Damon Soule © 2006 by Damon Soule

The Experience of Impermanence  |  "On Buddhism & Buddha's Teachings"  |  Buddha's summation of Meditation
An Excerpt from Who Dies?  |  The Mirror: Advice on the Presence of Awareness  |  Austin Pick: A Wider Rotation

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