A little about Terence Mckenna

As a fledgling life/spiritual coach/consultant/mentor/teacher (put your favorite adjective here), I follow many spiritual prophets/gurus/scholars, philosophers, traditions, scientists (yep), sages and shamans, Terrence McKenna is one of my favorites, especially when we look at our modern world and what is happening to us at the moment. He was very on point describing modern Western Culture:

“Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet.”
― Terence McKenna

From Wikipedia:

Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000) was an American ethnobotanist, mystic, psychonaut, lecturer, author, and an advocate for the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic plants. He spoke and wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, philosophy, culture, technology, environmentalism, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness. He was called the “Timothy Leary of the ’90s”,[1][2] “one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism”,[3] and the “intellectual voice of rave culture“.[4]

I his formative years (60s and 70s), Terence traveled a lot to build his philosophy and wisdom, visiting Nepal, to view the use of Shamanic/Psychedelic plants in Buddhist traditions. He also spent time in Jerusalem in his Opium-Kaballah phase.

In the Early 70s, he traveled to the Columbian Amazon to find the plant reputed to contain DMT, or the Spirit Molecule, finding Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms instead and focusing on this mushroom for the rest of his stay. In 1972, McKenna returned to U.C. Berkeley to finish his studies and in 1975, he graduated with a degree in ecology, shamanism, and conservation of natural resources.

After his studies, he published a book of his experiences in the Amazon and growing the mushrooms called Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide.

Jun-25-17 P and Blog Cover pic

In the early 1980s, McKenna began to speak publicly on the topic of psychedelic drugs, becoming one of the pioneers of the psychedelic movement. He conducted lecture tours and workshop promoting natural psychedelics as a way to explore universal mysteries, stimulate the imagination, and re-establish a harmonious relationship with nature, something sorely lacking in the modern mythology where growth is everything and Nature is truly just a commodity to be transformed and resold.

Even though he was associated with the New Age movement, McKenna himself had little patience for New Age sensibilities. He repeatedly stressed the importance and primacy of the “felt presence of direct experience”, as opposed to dogma.

A prolific writer, his subjects included shamanism; metaphysics; alchemy; language; culture; self-empowerment; environmentalism, techno-paganism; artificial intelligence; evolution; extraterrestrials; science and scientism; the Web; virtual reality (which he saw as a way to artistically communicate the experience of psychedelics); and aesthetic theory, specifically about art/visual experience as information representing the significance of hallucinatory visions experienced under the influence of psychedelics.

Some of his important friends and collaborators were Rupert Sheldrake, Bill Hicks and Timothy Leary another big Psychedelic user with his studies and experiences with LSD.

But enough about the man, let’s dive into more of my favorite McKenna quotes and thoughts over here, and they always make you think!

Nov-22 Terence McKenna

“What is relativism?
Relativism is the idea that your ideas are as good as anybody else’s ideas, and all ideas are equal in worth because nobody can tell what’s going on anyway. It’s the “live and let live” laid-back approach to doing intellectual heavy lifting. I’m a nihilist, you’re a nazi, you’re a christian, you’re something else. Hey no big deal, let’s just hoist a beer and party on! Well, I have to defer. It’s a problem, especially in California where this thing has gone from being a pathology to the defining mode of normalcy. But it allows stuff like “Heavens Gate”, it allows Jones Town. Nobody ever said to those people “You’re full of shit! Don’t think like this, this will lead to catastrophe” Instead people said “Hey, cool!” “See you in the sky!” And people say “Now this sounds like you’re advocating acrimonious and emotionally painful judgment making that will leave some of us disenfranchised from our belief in the space-people or the presence of great Atlantis” or something else that’s very cherished. Yes. Yes, we have loosened our girding sufficiently folks. We are now open-minded enough, you don’t want to become so open-minded that the wind can whistle between your ears. If you are passive in the face of this, I think you’re intellectual arteries will just fill up with mental cholesterol and eventually you’ll have the equivalence of a coronary thrombosis at the intellectual level. It’s, very important to hone intuition and logical razors so that reasonable questions can be asked. And, it may break the mirrored surface of “We’re all in it together” the illusion of community maintained by nobody ever criticizing anybody else. But this nobody ever criticizing anybody else brings the intellectual enterprise and the refinement of human knowledge to a screeching halt. The way in which the intellectual enterprise moves forward is by being critiqued, analyzed, subjected to tests. Religion doesn’t work like this. In the religious domain you never admit you’re wrong, you further elaborate the story to save whatever preposterous notion has been exposed and you never deny, you never recant, you never go back. And, so then what you get is error, based on error, based on delusion, based on illusion, based on lie, based on half-truth, based on supposition”

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”

“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.”

“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

“The cost of sanity in this society, is a certain level of alienation”

“If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”


“You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness.”

“The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”

“You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.”

If you have gotten anything out of this post, maybe a bit of popular knowledge, some culture, perhaps a little wisdom, please comment on the blog, share it and follow me here and on my page!

Much appreciated.
Namaste to all!

2 thoughts on “A little about Terence Mckenna

  1. Sally G

    I think the most important right now is the quotation about the biggest fear of government being a million people in the streets—but not the one-off feel-good marches like the PCM or the Women’s March—they are important for morale, but if they do not lead to anything, then they do little good. Occupy’s persistence scared the government into coördinated repression, but the movement had come together too fast, did not have the personal trust in each other (simply because of coalescing so quickly) to work out a long-term response. Occupyers had seen the Tea Party absorbed into a Republican Party that did not really support its values, and thus was wary of the Democrats’ deep interest in coöpting the Occupy brand.
    So where do we go from here? What collectively, what individually?


    1. Hi Sally, government always and will always try to control any oppositions narrative, and after hundreds if not thousands of years experience in rulership (with all the kings, queens, emperors, and the likes), they have become experts at narrative, and story telling for their benefit! I think we need a revolution of consciousness on an individual level. Please follow my blog here and thanks for your comment! I invite you also to friend or follow me on Facebook, as that is where I do most of my sharing, for now, while I still can! http://www.facebook.com/stephanestp! Have a good one!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s