Podcast 492 – “The Dizziness of Things Unsaid”


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Guest speaker: Terence McKenna


[NOTE: All quotations are by Terence McKenna.]

Modern philosophy is a desert for my money, and who cares about it? Nobody cares about it. Who’s living their life according to the conceptions of modern philosophy, nobody as far as I can see.”

We live in a universe so alienated that we can barely conceive of the way back.”

We’re like people who don’t remember who we are or where we came from. And we just wander mumbling through the streets of our cities, foraging in garbage cans and frightening other people.”

[Quoting another] “Coming into being is nothing else than presentation through sense.”

Too much light is trapped in the organic matrix.”


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Posted in Alchemy, Books, Consciousness, Culture, Hermeticism, Psychedelics, Terence McKenna (mp3).


  1. As a Picatrix scholar, I lost my shit when Terence mentioned that old magical tome both in this talk, and the one just before it. I’ve been working on a translation from the Latin with my old graduate supervisor for years, and I had no idea Terence was familiar with the work at all (though I suppose Yates discussed it in quite some detail in the book Terence’s lectures were based on: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition – which is an excellent book). If anyone else is interested in this stuff (I know you said you weren’t all that into it Lorenzo), get in touch with me… it really is quite fascinating.

    I was most happy to hear him discuss the passage concerning the utopian city Adocentyn…

    Also, I know Terence said there was no direct evidence of psychedelic substance use in regards to Hermeticism, and he’s mostly right, but the Picatrix (which is not that late) is full of stuff: cannabis, opium, mandrake/other tropane-alkaloid based plants – I wrote a paper a few years ago on “suffumigation” (aka. hotboxing) and all these goodies I found in the Picatrix whilst translating.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: I probably didn’t make myself clear. I am VERY interested in alchemy, it was just the language in the old texts that I didn’t resonate with. Right now I’m about half way through “The Chymical Wedding” that Terence mentioned, and I’m really enthralled by it. In fact, some of the passages quoted in that novel sound to me like there may have been some psychedelic magic involved in alchemy as well. Also, I read Yates’s book about Bruno, which I agree is very much worth the time to read. . . . So I’m with you on this in spirit, but I just don’t have the academic mind that it takes to read these texts as written. . . . I applaud you for your work . . . Press On!]

    • I am currently reading the ,Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition´ by Frances Yates as mentioned by the Bard Terence McKenna and consider myself a serious alchemist… Hey there, thanks for the The Modern Hermeticist YT channel!

    • Hi Dan, is the Latin a faithful rendering of the Arabic, or is it better to go to Ritter and Plessner’s German translation?

      • Hey PJ,

        Our translation is of the Latin and is thus not really a 100% faithful rendering of the Arabic – to get to a European audience, the text went through medieval Spanish first, then Latin afterwards, so there were a number of corruptions/omissions along the way (especially in images, barbarous words, divine names, etc.).

        We’re interested in making a translation of the Latin version insofar as it had relevance to the European Hermetic Renaissance, not so much its relevance to the medieval Arab world. For that, as you say, the German translation is better. Our’s is more trying to capture the spirit of what your typical European renaissance magus would have read/understood.

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