Podcast 317 – “New and Old Maps of Hyperspace”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


This is Tape Number 001 of the Paul Herbert Collection.
Some of the topics covered in this talk:
Two types of shamanism, narcotic and non-narcotic
UFOs and aliens
The end of history – the eschaton
The psychedelic experience
Psilocybin allows dialogue with the Other
Death and afterlife

[NOTE: All quotations below are by Terence McKenna.]

“The central point about the psychedelic experience is the content of the experience. And this has been occluded or obfuscated by the behavioral and statistical and scientific methods that have been brought to bear to study hallucinogenic experience.”

“Experientially there is only one religion, and it is shamanism and shamanic ecstasy.”

“Shamanism, on the other hand, is this world wide, since Paleolithic-times, tradition which says that you must make your own experience the center piece of any model of the world that you build.”

“The content of the dialogue with ‘the Other’ is a content that indicates that man’s horizons are infinitely bright, that death is in fact, well, as Thomas Vaughn put it, ‘the body is the placenta of the soul’”

“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.”

“Psychedelic drugs, especially psilocybin, allow a searchlight to be thrown on these deeper levels of the psyche, as Jung correctly stated. But it is not a museum of archetypes or psychic constructs, as he seemed to assume. It is a frontier of wholeness into which any person, so motivated and so courageous as to wish to do it, can go and leave the mundane plane far behind.”

[Regarding UFO’s] “A history-stopping archetype is being released into the skies of this planet, and if we are not careful it will halt all intellectual inquiry in the same way that the Christos archetype halted intellectual inquiry in the Hellenistic Age.”

“But 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. And the way to do this is to look at the abysses that confront man as species and individuals and try to unify them. And I think that psilocybin offers a way out because it allows a dialogue with the overmind. You won’t read about it in “Scientific American” or anywhere else. You will carry it out.”

“Escape into the dream. Escape, a key thing charged against these drugs, that they are for escapists. I think the people who make this charge hardly dare dream to what degree they are escapist.”

“All information is everywhere. Information that is not here is nowhere.”

“We are, in fact, hyperdimentional objects of some sort which cast a shadow into matter, and the shadow in matter is the body. And at death, what happens basically, is that the shadow withdraws, or the thing which cast the shadow withdraws, and metabolism ceases, and matter which had been organized into a dissipative structure in a very localized area, sustaining itself against entropy by cycling material in and degrading it and expelling it, that whole phenomenon ceases, but the thing which ordered it is not affected by that.” [From the point of view of the shamanic tradition.]

“In shamanism and certain yogas, Daoist yoga, claim very clearly that the purpose is to familiarize yourself with this after-death body, in life, and then the act of dying will not create confusion in the psyche. You will recognize what is happening. You will know what to do. And you will make the clean break.”

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

“The tryptamine molecule has this unique property of releasing the structured self into the overself.”

“I’m not an abuser. It takes me a long time to assimilate each experience. And I never have lost my respect for it. I mean I really feel dread. It is one of the emotions I always feel as I approach it, because I have no faith that my sails won’t be ripped this time.”

“Now your question about the dialogue. I mean this very literally. It speaks to you. You speak to it. It says things.”


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

More quotes from this talk may be found in Podcast 267.

Women’s Visionary Congress

Consciousness, Healing, and Social Justice

July 27 – 29, 2012
IONS Retreat Center, Petaluma, California

Posted in Culture, Death, Eschaton, Evolution, Future, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Pingback: Podcast 267 – “Exploring the Abyss” | Psychedelic Salon Podcasts

  2. Hi Lorenzo, Would appreciate clarification on Schwann’s Comment 99 in Podcast 316 which states that Terence “broke the rules” and took mushrooms after ’88 ’89.

  3. Sorry I missed two things there.
    1. The 1st time I used the word ‘time’ I’m not sure about it and I can’t understand it anymore.
    2. I’m sorry if you are really just having to take that much information. Eh, I just can’t realise that you had to keep from learning anything or that you already learnt what it is to learn knowledge for 30 years.

  4. I wouldn’t want to have your 30 years of learning. you seem a bit sloppy there. Even if I’d get it in a matter of months, I still don’t know. How can you make a statement like that? That you’re gaining it all just like that?

    I’ve been listening from nr. 150 forward for some reason. Reading the comments was a surprise. Because I read the Dutch guy and I remembered a dream about Holland in which I was myself somehow involved. So I thought, if it wasn’t a dream of my early listening and already forgotten visit here at psy-salon, then it could be a different reality of my life in which other decisions were made and this time would have resulted somehow mystically into a short piece of remembering another life or seeing it somehow.

    Maybe in that way 30 years of knowledge could be attained in a period of months. If I could leave these circumstances and choose another point in time to travel to and make a different decision, which I’d know to have a base to let me live for 30 years in study and actually make tge decision to come back to from where I left. Idea from The Butterfly Effect starring and co-produced by Ashton Kutcher.

  5. {{{Lorenzo}}} what a beautiful gift to give the world, digitizing and archiving these profound talks. I dropped out of the pychedelic scene in the late 1970’s to embrace the religion of Western culture and now, freed from these limiting dogmas, am playing catch-up to my own history. I obviously didn’t realize who Terrence was nor the depth of his mind and his encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy, history, science, etc. I’ve listened to many of his talks but for some reason, this one surpassed anything I’ve heard before, and explained the reasons he has such a following today. So much information, so succinctly laid out, his speech and timing impeccable… he clearly shows skill as a master teacher.

    His identifying mankind as a creature who extrudes technology/ man-made products all over the earth like a sea animal extruding a shell… That our thoughts and ideas are the ‘glands’ of extrusion… amazing!! I must listen again and grab that quote.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for all you’ve done with the Salon. I am perpetually enthralled and enlightened at the topics you choose and the people you feature. You’ve led me into areas that have enriched my life, you’ve introduced me to people I’ve never heard of, and helped me gain 30 years of knowledge in a matter of months. Well done.

  6. Like many things, how one feels about the fact that Terence rarely took heavy doses of any psychedelic drugs from 1989 on really only lies in one’s own projected expectations of others.

    My very first encounter with anything regarding Terence was a description of an interview John Horgan did with Terence for Horgan’s book “Rational Mysticism” (1999). In that interview Terence admits that he has mostly stopped taking heavy doses for quite a long time. He also states that, no, he doesn’t really think the apocalypse will arrive in 2012.

    Hogan describes Terence’s talk (which he had just attended” as a type of “intellectual performance act”. Responding to this, Terence says “My function is largely pedagogical, trying to teach people, first of all, that the world is a weird, weird, place. And then, so what do you do about it?”

    My point is, I love listening to Terence. He was a brilliant orator, and his ideas will challenge you intellectually. But, for myself, I always assumed that during the years of his speaking career that he was not not taking many psychedelics anymore. More, that he was someone, giving it a little space, that was reflecting back upon the ideas he first formulated during his younger years.

    I don’t think it or changes the meaning of anything Terence said about mushrooms, whether he had last dosed hard on them in 1999, 1989, or 1979. It’s irrelevant. He had good experiences, bizarre experiences, at least one horrifying experience…. he is reflecting back on it all.

  7. Well after a little online research at dmt-nexus I found a thread titled “Terence McKenna’s last mushroom trip was in 1988!”
    I found that there is, in fact, reason to believe that this is true, that Terence never used shrooms after 1988. The person who started the thread actually mentioned the previous podcast here at The Psychedelic Salon (#316) and how this fact reaffirmed his/her thought in a sychronistic way.
    I am still a bit shocked by this as I think I heard lectures of Terence in the mid and late 90’s in which Terence said that he feels he’s hitting it hard if he does it two or three times a year, but never said he had stopped, maybe this was a hiatis of sorts.
    BTW someone in the above mentioned thread stated:
    “Dennis Mckenna siad that when Terrence was dying he went to stay with him to finish the experiment they started at La Chorerra..so he def did trip again.”
    and someone else commented…
    “Terence’s last trip was NOT in ’88 and Dennis’s book will reflect that”

    So I guess Dennis is working on a new book which mentions this? Well can’t wait to read whatever Dennis is working on.
    Thanks Lorenzo, for all the podcasts. The psychedelic salon has had a major impact on my life, most of which was because of listening to Terence. Whether or not this is true doesn’t change my opinion of him or devalue his ideas. He has had a greater impact on my thinking than probably anybody, and I didn’t even know who he was until the age of 36 or so, just 4 years ago. Most of the lectures I have heard and have really resonated with me were given sometime in the 90’s, so I’m glad he kept the message going, even if he was on hiatus.
    Thanks Terence!

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: While the statement was made that Terence didn’t ingest “mushrooms” after that ’88 or ’89 date, that is not true about synthetic psilocybin, which I personally heard him say that he used in the last year of his life. So thanks for helping us all to clarify this point.]

  8. Lorenzo,
    Either I picked up on a mistake in the opening words of this podcast, or that you know something that I don’t. You stated around at about 4:43,
    “…and considering the fact that we now know that after 1988 or 1989 Terence never again had a mushroom experience…”
    That doesn’t make sense with the timeline I have of Terence.
    Maybe you meant 1998 or 1999?
    Or maybe you meant something else altogether.
    Just curious. Awesome podcast, btw, it’s great to hear early Terence.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: No, that wasn’t a mistake. However, unless you have a copy of podcast #316 already, that part of the story will have to remain cloudy for a while . . . sorry for the mystery, but legal reasons prevent me from saying more.]

  9. Would, again, this be from NICK HERBERT’s collection, rather than Paul’s ?!


    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: No, these are definitely from Paul Herbert. Nick is a friend of mine and he has spoken to me about Paul on several occasions. But it’s easy to see how two “resident Herbert’s” at Esalen could confuse things.]

  10. LOVE THIS TALK. Now we can hear Psychedelic Salon podcast # 267 from an audience member’s perspective as opposed to the house sound-system PA. More giggles.

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