Podcast 366 – “Terence McKenna’s Suggested Reading List”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna

Books367CollageCaptionPROGRAM NOTES:

[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“One of the things that people don’t do enough of when they do psychedelic work is spend time in the library.”

“What I always hoped for out of the psychedelic voyaging was to bring back something. I always felt, and still feel, that that is the attitude with which you should go into these things.”

“I really think that the psychedelic realm is the realm of ideas, and that ideas which change the world come first from that place.”

“Life, carefully examined, is actually a form of allegorical literature with a very tight constructural grid laid over it.”

“The future holds no terrors for a person who knows how process inevitably unfolds. They are always right and with it each moment.”


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

Terence’s List (1987)

Psychedelics Encyclopedia
Peter Stafford

Hallucinogens : Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Marlene Dobkin De Rios

Hallucinogens and Shamanism (Galaxy Books)
Michael J. Harner

The Hallucinogens
A. Hoffer; H. Osmond

Science and Romance of Selected Herbs Used in Medicine and Religious Ceremony
Anthony K. Andoh

Narcotic Plants
William A. Emboden

The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens (American Lecture Series)
Richard Evans Schultes

A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance
Rupert Sheldrake

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers
Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, Christian Rätsch

The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future
Riane Eisler

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

Codex Seraphinianus
Luigi Serafini

True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise
Terence McKenna

The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching
Terence McKenna, Dennis McKenna

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution
Terence McKenna

A few more suggestions from Lorenzo

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Citadel Underground)
Timothy Leary

Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman
Pablo Amaringo, Luis Luna

Be Here Now
Ram Dass

Entheogens and the Future of Religion
Edited by Robert Forte

Hallucinogens: A Reader (New Consciousness Reader)
Charles S. Grob

Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics
Charles S. Grob

LSD My Problem Child: Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism and Science
Albert Hofmann

One Foot in the Future
Nina Graboi

Persephone’s Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion
R. Gordon Wasson, Stella Kramrisch, Dr. Carl Ruck, Jonathan Ott

Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience
From Park Street Press

The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
Jeremy Narby

The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
Aldous Huxley

The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications
Christian Ratsch, Albert Hofmann

The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia
Paul Devereux

Posted in Ayahuasca, Books, Culture, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Hey Lorenzo, I would love to hear your thoughts about the Timewave some time soon. I think about it a lot, and I think most people will agree that where Terence went wrong is in predicting an ‘end date.’ It’s an incredibly tempting thing to do, and makes the whole story much more exciting but I think it represents a misunderstanding of the basic idea.
    I think there is something to the idea of interconnected fractal time but the problem is that a true fractal never actually reaches a singularity! If you zoom into a spiral in the classic Mandelbrot set fractal (something I have spent a lot of time doing!) the arms of the spiral never actually converge, they just collapse into smaller and smaller spirals, often branching off and opening up in many unexpected ways. And if you zoom far enough, you will often find that the Attractor at the center of the spiral is in fact the shape of the whole again. Check out this very trippy Mandelbrot zoom animation to see what I mean:

    So my interpretation is, if there is a “Transcendental Object at the End of Time” we will never reach it in this reality because fractals are endlessly self-repeating with infinite variations and don’t actually have an end point. If time and novelty are indeed fractal, it seems we will just endlessly approach the Attractor building up higher and higher frequencies and intensity, but never reach the Transcendental Object. Maybe to know the Unknowable means Game Over…

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I plan on saying a little something about my views on the Timewave in my next podcast (368). But I agree with you about the major error being the end date . . . and I would also do away with the Transcendental Object as well :-).]

  2. Thank you Lorenzo! I really enjoyed this nice “Leap” episode about time and psychedelic teachings. Be well my friend.

  3. More juicy unheard mckenna, thanks Lorenzo! Terence had an almost freakish ability to recall countless obscure quotes from an extensive library of literature in his talks. I think he has encouraged many people to explore important literature and ideas they would have not otherwise found. Some of other books terence found inspiration in that I really enjoyed are:

    Rio Tigre and Beyond, and Wizzard of the Upper Amazon, by F Bruce Lamb
    The fairy faith in Celtic countries, by w.y. Evans-Wentz
    The hashish eater, by Fitz Hugh Ludlow
    The Gnostic Religion, Hans Jonas

    They do not explicitly comment on the contemporary psychedelic experience, but nonetheless explore issues touching on the true nature of reality that psychedelics can reveal.

  4. I’m just wondering if anybody has advanced the timewave theory, or if there are newer of I Ching time or repeating time archetypes? Any guidance would be helpful. Thanks.

  5. I really enjoyed ‘DMT: The spirit molecule’ by Rick Strassman. And for more of a modern classic I would suggest ‘Breaking Open The Head’ by Daniel Pinchbeck. Just a couple of books that really changed my views on psychedelics.

  6. Lorenzo, and all other Saloners interested in understanding the timewave/novelty theory on a deeper level, I would highly suggest a book which proves quite illuminating on the subject: Carl Gustav Jung’s Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity by Robert Asiz.

    In this work Asiz more fully fleshes out Jung’s Synchronicity theory, which he felt Jung had not been able to fully complete, or at least had been unable to share with the public in it’s completed form. In this volume, Asiz puts forward the idea that the archetype of the self should not be thought of simply as a construct in the unconscious, but a psycho-physical archetype that extends into time as a flow/pattern in nature generally, but was ultimately not bound by the laws of space and time.

    The evidence put forward for this is based upon Jung and his analysand’s experiences of synchronistic events, prophetic dreams, etc. I would say that further evidence for this view is provided by the psychedelic experiences of psychonauts everywhere today, but that is not gone into specifically in the book.

    What is gone into, however, is how to follow the pattern put forth by the archetype of the self (out of which the “totality symbols” that Terence mentions are supposed to spring). This is done by observing synchronistic happenings in one’s life, down to the smallest event. Noting these happenings and responding properly is not supposed to result simply in the “loss of anxiety” Terence mentions, but a corresponding action/turn of events on the part of this flow from the archetype/Tao. Incidentally, his musings on this topic sound quite similar-sounding to what I’ve read about Kabbalistic theurgic magic.

    Provided in the text is the following (paraphrased) example:


    A city in China was in the midst of a great drought. Having tried many methods to end this drought with no success and feeling as if there was nothing left to do, the city sent for the Rainmaker. The Rainmaker, upon entering the city, seemed to act as if there were a bad air about the place, and retired to a personal hut on the side of the village where he stayed for three days. On the morning of the 4th day, it rained.

    When pressed for explanation, the Rainmaker said he had accomplished the feat by staying in his hut for those 3 days and “getting in to Tao”, for he had fallen out of it when he entered the city, whose citizens, he claimed, were not in Tao. Upon getting himself into Tao, the environment also returned to Tao, and rain was able to be produced.


    On top of all the interesting ideas and compelling examples the book contains, it also takes sometime to specifically talk about the I Ching, Jung’s relationship to it, and how it works on the synchronistic principle.

    And, on that note, I’m out of here, leaving with the hope that I’ve inspired the curiosity of some here, rather than their confusion.

    – Jarod Q

  7. For those that are interested, scanned copies of the Codex Seraphinianus can be easily found online by searching for “Codex Seraphinianus pdf.”

  8. Lorenzo god bless you for putting out more unheard Terence Mckenna audio, and so frequently! Always great to see a new podcast in the salon.


  9. Will these tapes be digitally and publicly preserved in their entirety, including the parts that you edit out?

    Those technical details about the construction of the Timewave may contain hints to the associative subtleties in the thinking and revelatory process that created what Terence considered his major, archetypal original psychedelic edifice, the food for the tribe that emerged in the fishing net.

    It was the seminal psychedelic revelation for Terence, so it would be nice to preserve as much about it as possible for later analysis and explication. It is a deep impression of a great mind.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Yes. All of the tapes and complete digital copies will be preserved in several palces. I won’t be keeping them myself. However if you want a little more of the details about the Timewave, if you go to Youtube and search for: “Terence McKenna” timewave . . . you will get over 14,000 videos to watch or listen to about that topic. Also, if you check the Catagory links to the right there is also a Timewave catagory. And I think that you will find the older podcasts with more details as well.]

  10. Fascinating books, hopefully people will be able to find most of these on the Internet (I just quickly googled Codex Seraphinianus and found it) for free. I haven’t even got the chance to read The Screaming Abyss (can’t afford to order it right now), but I really appreciate you adding other titles to my list as well. I wish I could donate or something, but it’s the same deal as with buying those books…
    I don’t like when you cut out anything at all from the talks, though – especially Terence’s stuff about the I Ching! I have been surprised many times at how amazing this system really works – for personal insight especially and I have never heard of this one – can we still listen to the missing part? Where do I find it?
    Take care!

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