Podcast 267 – “Exploring the Abyss”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

Please Support Dennis McKenna’s Kickstarter Project: The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss!


This lecture was recorded in November 1982. A more complete version of this talk may be found in Podcast 317.]

[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“My assumption whenever I am confronted with opposites is to try to unify them, to create a coincidentia oppositorum as was done in alchemy, to not force the system to closure but to try and leave the system open enough so that the differences can resonate and become complimentary rather than antithetical.”

“Shamanism, on the other hand [as compared with science], is this world wide, since Paleolithic times, tradition which says that you must make your own experience the centerpiece of any model of the world that you build. No amount of readings from meters, whether they’re metering cyclotrons or any other kind of instrument, are going to satisfy you.”

“What psilocybin focuses as a problem that these other hallucinogens do not is that it allows a dialogue with the other that is full of give and take. In other words there are entities in the hallucinogenic world that psilocybin, and DMT, and a few other not well-known or widely distributed plants, hallucinogens, induce.”

“Our alienation from ourselves has caused us to set up a number of straw men that are keeping us from building actually a mature model of how the universe really works. The content of the dialogue with the Other is a content that indicates that man’s horizons are infinitely bright.”

“Alchemy is about the generation of a psychic construct, a wholeness, a thing which has many properties, which is paradoxical, which is both mind and matter, which can do anything.”

“[UFOs are], in other words, something which in order not to alarm us has disguised itself as an extraterrestrial being but is in fact the collectivity of the human psyche signaling a profound historical crisis.”

“A mature humanity could get into a place where we no longer required these metaphysical spankings from messiahs and flying saucers that come along every thousand years or so to mess up the mess that has been created and try and send people off on another tack.”

“Eternity does not have a temporal existence, even the kind of temporal existence where you say it always existed. It does not have temporal duration of any sort. It is eternity.”

“We are not primarily biology with mind emerging as a kind of iridescence, a kind of epiphenomenon at the higher levels of organization of biology. We are in fact hyperdimentional objects of some sort which cast a shadow into matter. And the shadow in matter is the body.”

“The whole purpose of shamanism, and of life correctly lived, is to strengthen the soul and strengthen the relationship to the soul, so that this passage [death] can be cleanly made.”

“Technology is the real skin of our species.”

“There is not the Newtonian universe deployed throughout the parsecs and kiliacosoms of physical space and the interior mental universe. They are the same thing.”

“An Aquarian science, or a science that places psychedelic experience at the center of its program of investigation, should move toward a practical realization of the goal of eliminating the barrier between the ego and the overself so that the ego can perceive itself as an expression of the overself.”

“This [psilocybin] is a source of gnosis, and the voice of gnosis has been silenced in the Western mind for at least a thousand years.”

“We can release this thing once again. The logos can be unleashed once again, and the voice that spoke to Plato and Parmenadies and Hericlitus, that voice can speak again in the minds of modern people. And when it does, the alienation will be ended because we will have become the alien.”

“But the main thing about psilocybin, and I stress it over all these other hallucinogens, is information, immense amounts of information.”

“Only through the medium of sight can the true modality of this logos be perceived.”

“This situation called ‘history’ is totally unique. It will only last for a moment. It began a moment ago. It will only last for a moment. But in that moment there is like this tremendous burst of static as the monkey goes to godhood.”

“We, and I, we are intellectuals trapped in a world of too much information. Innocence is gone for us. We cannot expect to cross the rainbow bridge through a good Act of Contrition. That won’t be sufficient. . . . Because to fear death is to not understand what’s going on. And to even see it as a big deal is to not understand what’s going on, although I don’t claim to have reached that exalted plane.”


PCs – Right click, select option
Macs – Ctrl-Click, select option

Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide: A Handbook for Psilocybin Enthusiasts
By O. T. Oss, O. N. Oeric

Recommended Podcasts

The C-Realm Podcast with KMO and Dennis McKenna

Lefty’s Lounge

Scoobysnakks’ Smoking Session

The Joe Rogan Experience

Posted in Alchemy, Ayahuasca, Consciousness, Culture, Death, Dennis McKenna, DMT, Eschaton, Extraterrestial, Future, Imagination, Psychedelic Research, Psychedelics, Religion, Shamanism, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Plays :40 secs
    Pauses :10sec

    This cycle repeats.
    ? Is this a problem related to my android phone…or
    An unfortunate result of.digitization of the original audio?
    Thanks much Lorenzo

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: It played fine for me. So I downloaded it and examined the file, and there were no gaps. It must be a problem with your phone.]

  2. Thank your this legendary effort, Dennis McKenna, and likewise to Lorenzo for his brilliant podcast effort:) Hopefully we’ll get to know the entire story of Terence’s experimentations with the Amanita Muscaria mushroom, which is not related anywhere else that I have found so far. Maybe we’ll even get to know how often the two brothers extracted DMT from plant material, or what pioneering lab this it stuff came from. I am really looking forward to the result. Good Luck!

    Happy Days!

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I’m just about to begin my next podcast, which is an interview that Dennis McKenna gave to Peter Gorman in 1993. I think you’ll like it. It should be posted by the end of the week.]

  3. Pingback: Early Terence Lecture Released | Terence McKenna Forum

  4. from a note to myself today that i wish to share here
    Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, by …alice somebody?
    it was on XXXXX’s bookshelf. saw it while delivering lunch to her today.
    she wasn’t around to ask about it. really intriguing title.
    (she seems to have many books circumscribing cognitive liberty…)
    googling it up just now:
    Amazon.com: Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child (
    9780374525439): Alice Miller, Hildegarde Hannum, Hunter Hannum, Lloyd deMause:
    prologue excerpt:
    …hmmmm. an interesting take on the tree of knowledge…
    -i wanna share this with lorenzo.

  5. Lozo, thanks for supporting Dennis. I can’t wait for the book – fully funded now.

  6. He’s a very well-spoken psychedelic politician. His ideas have earned their own real estate which, since he’s be deceased, I think have made progress in manifesting the minds of many contemporary field workers in different areas of science and psychology. My hope is that his legacy will continue to percolate the globe and with the help of all of us, make some impact on saving this planet.

  7. “All that is required to wreck science is a miracle visible worldwide.” Terence about 30 min in.

  8. Thank you for the post.
    Well, Terence is after all a Platonist. But he’s too speculative I think to be considered an anti-materialist. His idea or feeling was that somehow nature conserves something as novel and complex as we are. What Terence said never sounded like simple spirit leaving the body idea to me. But yes, Terence did suggest that we all consume less.

  9. Jabuhrer, if you look deeper into Terence’s body of work I think you’ll discover that he was very much “in love with the ten thousand things” and he positively celebrated the cascades of wonder that the physical body represents. I think you may have misunderstood him. He was definitely NOT anti-materialistic! (Anti-consumeristic, yes.)

  10. Great talk, thanks Lorenzo! I hate to be a downer, but ya know, I’m really starting to tire of some of Terence’s anti-materialism. I think that it is possible to be a spiritual person and a beneficiary of the gnostic tradition without holding disdain for the physical world and the body, as it sometimes seems Terence does. I’m not a strict materialist – I think that there is much more to the universe than what we can see and experience with our primary senses. But, I also believe that my body is part of who I am, and that the time I have here on earth is probably all that I have. “Me” without my body is not “me,” it is something else. I am not trapped in my body, I am my body. When I hear people talk about being a spirit that is trapped in a body, it makes me sad and reminds me of John Lennon’s song Imagine. In other words, it would be nice if we could get to the point as a species where we actually try to work together to make our real lives here on earth better while we’re here, rather than looking to be liberated by some god or savoir (or freed from a material body). I rejoice in being a mortal physical being that has a limited time here on earth.

  11. Thank the Goddess, more McKenna! I’m rubbing my hands in delight! Just in time too. Thanks again, Lorenzo!

  12. Great way to kick off the weekend, Lorenzo! Downloading now, and though I shouldn’t, I know it’ll be listened to by this evening.


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