Podcast 404 – “A Survey of Shamanic Options”


Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


During the 1980’s, before the birth of the Web, Terence McKenna’s workshops were just about the only source of information about psychedelics that reached the streets. While there was some information about psychoactive plants available in professional journals and university libraries, it took Terence to pull out this information and repackage it for the rest of us. In this June 1989 workshop, he does what he did best back then, give us a detailed inventory, continent by continent, of the psychoactive plants native to each area, along with a brief history of how humans interacted with them in the distant past.

[The following quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

“We can’t sell short the spiritual power of cannabis, especially when eaten.”

“In a way, this is a definition of shamanism. A shaman is a person who by some means has gotten out of their own culture.”


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

Posted in Ayahuasca, Cannabis, Consciousness, Culture, DMT, Evolution, LSD, Mayan, MDMA, Myth, Psilocybin, Psychedelic Research, Psychedelics, Salvia divinorum, Shamanism, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. Really enjoyed this talk, thanks Lorenzo!

    Terence’s comments regarding mushrooms in Bali and elsewhere in SE Asia are very interesting, but perhaps betray an unreasonable preference for psilocybe cubensis on his behalf. Copelendia or panaeolus cyanescens can be very strong mushrooms, especially when fresh, and as far as I am aware have never been shown to contain anything that makes them any more or less emetic than psilocybe cubensis. I find all this quite ironic given that Terence spent time in Indonesia prior to his fated trip to the amazon where he encountered cubensis. Cubensis is certainly more amenable to cultivation and distribution in dried form, so in a way it is fortunate as perhaps the psychedelic renaissance via mushrooms would not have otherwise occurred.

    Terence seems to have been convinced of psilocybe cubensis’s role as the ur hallucinogen of human kind – and perhaps for good reason, as its relationship with cattle means it surely would been a partner of agricultural human societies over the past 10,000 years. But I wonder if this ignores the role of other psiloybe mushrooms in the development of humanity. I find it strange for example how little he talks about psilocybe mexicana and the other Central American psilocybes, as these are species of mushrooms that have definitive evidence of ancient human usage, in contrast to cubensis.

  2. Dear Lorenzo,
    You are doing a great service to humanity and I for one cannot thank you enough for this.
    I believe Terence is one of those entities who are tuned into a different dimension. his verbal acuity and the expanse of his knowledge is mind boggling and just listening to him is so exhilarating. it is totally incomprehensible to learn that a single individual can talk with such authority on subjects so varied in their scope.
    i am very much interested in knowing what Terence’s friends like Ralph and Rupert Sheldrake have to say now – as in 2014 – about Terenece’s take on the Dec 2012 solstice prediction.

  3. Were you ever able to interview Jacques from Çatal Hüyük about his experience with Terence after his death? I heard you mention this at the end of 034 In the Valley of Novelty and I would love to hear this story.

  4. This one is a real gem! He knew SO much history and botany, it boggles the mind. Unfortunate that the recording skips at 23:53 from the high dose iboga experience to haoma as soma. another great quotation:
    (about ordeal poisons)”But it is so agonizing, and you so completely wish for death in this experience, that when you finally realize you are going to live through it you have the equivalent of a psychedelic experience. Tears of joy well up, you embrace the earth, you give thanks to god, and you come clean. But this is a tougher way to do it than most of us might prefer. Sometimes you have psychedelic trips like that, where the fact that it is over is such cause for rejoicing that you hardly know who to thank.”

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