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Terence McKenna’s strange duplicity

Note: Please read this comment first as a caveat. See also Dennis’ clarification around 1:04 in this fascinating talk with Douglas Rushkoff.

Terence McKenna by turance

Now that we’re shot of the “2012 phenomenon”, it seems to be a ripe time for reassessing the legacy of Terence McKenna. Just as significant as the non-arrival of the eschaton seems to be the public revelation that at the end of the ’80s, Terence experienced a mushroom trip that terrified him with a vision of absolute meaninglessness. Apparently he never took mushrooms again—and only took ayahuasca and DMT from that point on infrequently and with extreme trepidation. This has emerged from his brother Dennis’ recent book The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss, and has gained wider attention via a podcast from the Psychedelic Salon.

In this podcast Bruce Damer takes the odd fact that Terence’s terminal brain tumour was in fact mushroom-shaped, and pairs it with his emotional opening-up as he approached death—his realization that all his cerebral shenanigans were as nothing next to the overwhelming importance of love. Damer sees Terence’s horrific final trip, and avoidance of his beloved plant teacher during his final decade, as symptoms of his inability to process a shift in his psychedelic voyages from tours of alien futurity to painful confrontations with the knots and voids in his emotional self. The tumour, and his death, thus become the teacher’s reluctantly bestowed “shock treatment”—a last resort to open the heart. I think that, like the Timewave predictions for 2012, this is a too-neat story that belies the messy mysteries of reality. But like the 2012 prophecies—which besides being wrong, were also a symptomatic truth about our intensely precarious global industrial culture—Damer’s perception contains something worth taking note of.

Of course, the fact that all through the ’90s—the peak of Terence’s career as an advocate of psychedelics, especially mushrooms, and especially “heroic doses” in silent darkness—he was living in fearful abstinence raises even more serious questions about his integrity than the complex debate around how much he really believed in his Timewave’s predictions. Dennis’ account seems to paint a quite tragic picture of his brother being increasingly trapped in the public persona he had created, splitting him between what the audience had come to expect and the realities of his own lived experience. It’s a phenomenon as old as public performance itself.

I myself never accepted Terence’s invitation to embark on the “heroic dose” path. I was fascinated with his claims that for him, LSD had quickly taught him all he needed to know about the humdrum Freudian byways of the personal unconscious, but that mushrooms and DMT had unveiled a kind of trans-therapeutic doorway into the shamanic otherworld of collective psychotopography. However, fears and neuroses always made the opening of this doorway seem to be a rash move for myself, and I remained engaged with lighter doses and therapeutic approaches. I still always wondered if the disdain with which McKenna, and some other bold psychonauts, regarded efforts to resolve personality conflicts was quite as simple a matter as they publicly claimed.

I certainly got caught up in “McKenna fever” in the ’90s, and while after a few years’ pondering the Timewave I became quite cynical about 2012, the passing of 2012 itself has felt like the shedding of a too-old skin. There is bemusement at my youthful naivety, and a freshness about facing a future without some ridiculous prophecy ahead. Still, I wonder how much my being forced to remain engaged with humdrum personal psychic issues contributed to me failing to wholly buy into McKenna’s rap. (My memory is that I lost interest in 2012 before 2000—my journal Towards 2012 was named partly as an attempt to see past as well as engage with pre-millennial fever. Nevertheless, a friend recalls me telling him in 2001 that I was still convinced something crazy was going to happen in 2012, which I don’t remember saying at all. But then, apparently this was late at night in a club. Maybe 9/11 paranoia was kicking in, too…)

In any case, over the years the awe with which I regarded people who brought back tales of this otherworld beyond the petty knots of neurosis has been tempered and seriously complexified. I have seen friends who have assaulted their psychic boundaries with staggering quantities of psychedelics achieve personal breakthroughs only through a reluctant embrace of conventional psychotherapy. I have observed that even after an adult life of dedicated psychedelic and magical practice, no one seems to escape serious ongoing struggles with personal complexes. Many people find a good-enough niche in life and remain untroubled by the thornier parts of the psyche—or at least, receive the mixed blessing of remaining untroubled-enough to be able to ignore them. I recall reading of the psychedelic pioneer Joe Vivian (a.k.a. D.M. Turner) who, after many years of plumbing hallucinogenic spaces undreamed of even by seasoned trippers, felt he only began opening his heart up after joining a Wicca coven—shortly before accidentally drowning in his bath on ketamine. All this has underlined the fact that while psychedelics are indeed astonishingly important tools, they are no magic bullet. Intent is crucial, and the startling nature of their effects can blind some people to the quieter lacunae in their souls.

To learn that McKenna, too, failed to achieve the escape velocity that his wildest trips promised, and remained up to his final release caught in the unconscious eddies of the troubled human heart, comes in many ways as no surprise, then. Perhaps the news comes with a certain charge for me, given the symbolic value that—for all my protestations of cynicism—McKenna’s image has accrued in my mind. It is a little sad to think of him trapped in his public image during that time I was so inspired by his ideas. But in the end, it seems clear that he did himself and his “mission” a disservice by refusing to discuss his bad trip, and his abstention from mushrooms, in public. No doubt the experience was tangled together with unbearably painful, irreducibly private matters, and I would never criticize anyone for refraining from bearing this kind of material in public. But McKenna was, if nothing else, a supremely competent orator, and I find it hard to believe he could not have omitted what was intolerable—or inexpressible—while still contributing the bare bones of his experience to the public discourse that he so powerfully generated. To not realize that incorporating this kind of experience into the discourse would only have deepened and strengthened it seems to be a genuine failing.

But Terence has passed on, and we remain here, still bound to the unaccountable life of the mortal heart. Make no mistake, I still hold him as a truly important thinker. Even as the Timewave settles into its place as a historical curiosity, some of his other ideas—such as the importance of drugs in shaping cultural history, and the fractal nature of the historical process—are becoming potent currency in academia (see On Deep History and the Brain and Deep History respectively). As scientifically-tinged intellectual poetry, his talks will remain provocative classics. And despite his failings, and his cerebral biases, it must be noted that he repeatedly championed the importance of emotionally open relationships and simple appreciation of the love and wonder present in every moment.

His final lesson, though, seems to be a cautionary note: Never underestimate the blindness of which we are capable—especially in the face of the captivating weirdness of transpersonal voyages, and the image we project to others—when it comes to the mysteries of our own hearts.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this Gyrus. Perhaps the tension between the public and private man lends him a deeper humanity. I like what you say about being cautious about “too neat” interpretations that belie messy reality. I remember reading once that you teach what you most need to know. Perhaps what human beings represent to each other and even to themselves will always both suggest and fall short of the perfection that we wish for so much. Maybe can learn more from each other and ourselves from our imperfections and weaknesses, than our strengths.

    Toby - 7th February 2013 @ 21:33

  2. This is very interesting, sounds like a book to read.

    The real question is what makes life meaningless. The answer is someone to whom it appears so. Are we to believe that for the last decade of his life Terence McKenna was able to sustain such a consistent ego as to never see life as anything other than meaningless? I doubt that. Yet it is entirely conceivable that Dennis McKenna could maintain such a picture of his brother. Still, this is not to discount his view, merely to question the accuracy of painting a continuum of thoughts and emotions that are continually changing with any kind of fixed brush. Perhaps the thing of real interest is whether this impression of life as meaningless as the conclusion of a psychedelic explorer of great experience merits attention. What if it is meaningless? Does that matter?

    Joel - 8th February 2013 @ 6:52

  3. I’ve not read the book yet, just listened to the podcast. But yes, fair point! Obviously that particular experience of meaninglessness was, for McKenna, not something easily shrugged off. Equally obviously, his resistance to meaninglessness is of a piece with his commitment to eschatology, to this idea that everything’s building up to a final concrescence that justifies and redeems history with a terminal explosion of significance. I always thought it was odd that his Timewave model that “predicted” this omega point was (he thought) an extrapolation from the I Ching. I gather that the apocalyptic ideas that are there in Taoist tradition only arose as a reaction to the influx of Buddhism in the 2nd century – at least a thousand years after the origins of the oracle. And even a cursory take on Taoism would leave you puzzled at any supposed connection between it and this obviously Christian notion of apocalypse (de Chardin is a better reference point than anything from China).

    I don’t doubt Terence found many meanings to hang onto as he passed through time after that trip. Finding meanings was his forté in a way. But then, maybe that’s why the trip hit him so hard?

    Gyrus - 8th February 2013 @ 19:17

  4. After listening to the podcast, it seems that this information about Terence McKenna’s bad trip is secondhand anyway, in that it came via his ex-wife and was not something that he spoke directly to his brother Dennis about anyway. And according to some Amazon reviews, this contentious draft has been excised from the published version.

    This whole question of meaninglessness is inherently dualistic, in that the concept of something being ‘meaningless’ relies on the notion of ‘meaning’, in that it is a lack of that. Both are conceptual. I presume that Terence discovered that the world is not real but that he saw this as a lack of meaning because he didn’t go the whole hog and realise that he too was unreal, that nothing is. Yet one would think he would have discovered this much earlier in his experiments with hallucinogens. But perhaps he never did, perhaps it was all at the level of the phenomenon and he had never actually ‘crossed the Abyss’ before. Hard to believe, but it has to be said that his DMT reports are overly taken up with ‘machine elves’ rather than fundamental existential questions. His trip reports are full of objects, which implies there was no dissolution of the illusion of separation. To see meaninglessness is to remain separate. Actually the whole idea of meaning becomes irrelevant. What does it mean? There is no meaning, but what was meaning anyhow? It’s lost its meaning. To accentuate lack of meaning is to straddle the Abyss, really meaning *has* to be lost, but so too the one who needs there to be meaning.

    On the other hand, maybe the whole thing has been blown out of proportion, and the reason that Terence never really addressed it in public was because it wasn’t such a big deal, it was just that that particular trip exposed him to the delusory nature of some of his cherished ideas but he couldn’t make the leap to see that what he regarded as ‘meaninglessness’ was ‘immanentizing the eschaton’ by another light. But really, we are supposing a lot on the basis of what appears to be little more than hearsay. And he said himself to judge him on his work and not on his life, because his life was a mess.

    Joel - 8th February 2013 @ 21:15

  5. Yeah, there was a bit of a fuss about this coming out. Obviously because Dennis and Kat were worried about people like us reading stuff into it. I think the trip itself is best left alone in the end – we don’t know anything. I think his not having taken mushrooms after that seems pretty certain from what we’ve heard, and that’s an issue in terms of his legacy.

    Someone made a similar point to yours about the elves a few years ago. It’s overblown and riddled with evidence of that author’s own ego, but given this, perhaps a fair argument.

    Agreed on the hearsay thing – again, I don’t want to make too much of what this was for McKenna. For me, there’s just enough there to make something of it for myself, my image of McKenna, and my preconceptions about what copious experience of psychedelics implies.

    And yes, he always stressed that it was up to you to work it out, and that he was no enlightened guru by any stretch. I certainly don’t want to magnify his not talking about doing mushrooms anymore into some kind of debunking of an “enlightened McKenna” figure, because that was never how I saw him.

    Gyrus - 8th February 2013 @ 22:15

  6. I don’t think it’s possible to say what copious amounts of psychedelics implies save in the most simplistic terms. I’ve often found common ground with others in descriptions of phenomenal aspects of psychedelic experience, but when it comes to the noumenal it is almost as if we have taken completely different substances. The psychedelic experience led me to drop everything and search for reality, whereas others just went back to work. From that simple observation one can deduce some sort of qualitative distinction between experiences that are both ostensibly psychedelic. As for DMT experience, there is no guarantee that when McKenna talks about machine elves that he isn’t referring to something experientially very profound, nor when someone else talks about mystical union with God that it isn’t just a superficial glimpse.

    Joel - 9th February 2013 @ 0:44

  7. There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding those claims of his mushroom abstinence. Dennis didn’t hear it from the horses mouth apparently -it came from someone who didn’t spend a lot of time with him in that last decade of his life. It seems to me that we still cannot say this is all 100 percent true, therefore we should be careful about saying that Terence was a living contradiction in the last years of his life.

    Jonesy - 9th February 2013 @ 1:15

  8. Thanks for the input. It seems odd that information painting a truer picture, to clear things up, hasn’t come out from people who did spend a lot of time with him. But, until then, you’re right that we should be cautious about what we say about Terence. For me (and most of the above is about me really), his near-death realization that love was more important than his intellectual mission certainly stands out, and that’s a matter of record. I’ll have to bracket the rest of it with question marks for now.

    Gyrus - 9th February 2013 @ 11:16

  9. For me, it seems that psychedelics have a ‘time limit’, in that they are material substances and subject to time. They can give you a glimpse, or even many glimpses, of Reality – but no more than that because the immaterial can never be arrived at via the material in any lasting (i.e. timeless) way.

    Ironically this reminds me of something Terence said in a lecture, to the effect of ‘you think everything in your life is going well, and then suddenly there’s a knock at the door…’ – and that moment heralds an unfolding crisis which is the beginning of your true consciousness awakening.

    He may or may not have had it in his mind that this ‘knock on the door’ could even come as a mushroom trip…

    Guy - 9th February 2013 @ 14:14

  10. Is the material actually material? If the immaterial could not be arrived at via the material then not even a glimpse would be possible. What we call immaterial and material, or formlessness and form, are the same. It is not that timelessness and time are separate, timelessness or eternity is everpresent and time is a conceptual overlay upon it. If we appear to have a ‘glimpse’, it is because of a momentary suspension of the conceptual, revealing reality. Reality does not need to be sustained. That it can appear to be something of limited duration on psychedelics is because what appears to block its recognition is lifted for only the timespan of effect of the chemical. But such a glimpse can contain within it the insight that reality is not hidden, meaning that the psychedelic was merely a catalyst to realisation, rather than the cause of it. Those who see this may eventually transcend their glimpse or glimpses, such that psychedelics do not then offer any new reality in terms of the noumenal but rather an extension of the phenomenal capacity of consciousness.

    Joel - 9th February 2013 @ 17:48

  11. Did Dec 21st 2012 really pass without incident ? I am not certain that it did. Somthing wonderful may indeed have started.

    Dr/Greg

    Greg Asley - 9th February 2013 @ 23:46

  12. @Greg: Something wonderful is always starting. 21/12/12 wasn’t special.

    Gyrus - 10th February 2013 @ 21:58

  13. @Joel – I totally agree with you – reality is always here and is merely ‘uncovered’ by the chemical. But my intuition (and it is only that) is that the chemical itself is subject to ‘time’ and so its efficacy appears to have a limited duration.

    Emptiness is form and vice versa… but if you feel hungry in your ‘form’ body, you’d better eat some ‘form’ food, because the ‘empty’ food won’t do the job. ;)

    Guy - 11th February 2013 @ 8:22

  14. I won’t comment on the issue of whether Terence did mushrooms a lot in the 1990s except to say that he almost certainly did before then, so knew what he was talking about.

    As for the non-arrival of the Eschaton on December 21, 2012, this does not imply that Terence’s statements about it can now be dismissed. The most likely conclusion that one can draw is simply that he was incorrect in his estimate of the date of its arrival. See “The Zero Date Reconsidered” at
    http://www.fractal-timewave.com/articles/zerodate_reconsidered.html

    Peter Meyer - 5th March 2013 @ 6:59

  15. December 11, 2012 was right around when the historic votes for marijuana legalization passed. I’d say that’s significant.

    I watched a youtube interview with Terence a month before he died- it was billed as his last interview- in which the interviewer asked him much often he tripped in the later years of his life. Terence said four or five times a year. He also said “never enough.” So I’m calling BS on this.

    AdamH - 5th March 2013 @ 10:03

  16. Peter, thanks for your comment. I never suggested Terence didn’t know what he’s talking about with regard to mushrooms. I just think that if he did stop doing them in the late ’80s (and I appreciate that’s still an “if”), he would have strengthened rather than weakened his discourse by embracing all aspects of the psychedelic experience – including the point where “enough is enough”.

    As for 2012: (1) The habit of shifting “end-dates” as each successive date fails to materialize the promised heaven or hell is too well documented to mention. Obviously apocalypses can’t be ruled out any more than they can be prophesied accurately, but the likelihood of this being more of the same post-hoc prophecy shuffling seems to be just as great as anything else. (2) I think the issue of a date has long since become irrelevant. We’re living through the apocalypse, it’s just being outsourced to less fortunate parts of the world, and/or ignored. The action needed on the environment, resource use, casino capitalism, etc. is relatively clear, just difficult. And there’s nothing like an apocalypse prediction to make something difficult seem pointless. I don’t really care about whether there will be an eschaton or not, what matters is what we do now. Terence was always (OK, not always!) clear that for him his 2012 prediction was a tool to goad ourselves into action. It failed, and I suspect that further predictions will be counter-productive to the real goal: action to compassionately mitigate our unfolding disaster.

    Gyrus - 5th March 2013 @ 11:12

  17. I agree, Gyrus, that a specific date is less important than the fact that we seem to be going through some major social transformation (though whether for better or worse is another question). I agree also that Terence’s 2012 prediction was a device to arouse interest in, and possible participation in, that transformation, and his TWZ theory, being somewhat bizarre, certainly got a lot of people interested not only in the theory itself but all the important and valuable non-TWZ matters on which Terence spoke so eloquently — in particular his pointing out that there is another reality accessible by smoking DMT, a radical assertion which is still not accepted by the majority among those who have heard of it, and which, when it is finally accepted will overturn the current orthodox scientific materialism (the cause of so much of our present trouble).

    And, yes, it could seem that revising the TWZ zero date is just another instance of setting a new prophetic date after the first has failed to deliver. The difference in this case is that in the article I cited I show why (within the assumptions of TWZ) Terence’s estimate was seriously flawed, and that (again within the assumptions of TWZ) there’s a good reason to believe that July 8, 2018, is a far more reasonable (within the assumptions of TWZ) estimate than December 21, 2012. Those who bother to read the article will be able to see that this is so.

    Of course, one should give the new zero date as much or as little credence as one gave the old one.

    Peter Meyer - 10th March 2013 @ 9:44

  18. Hard to believe some are still arguing for a better date from Timewave Zero. Doubtless if you arbitrarily shifted the arbitrary ‘wave’ you could land it on April 13, 2029, and set up another round of doom and disaster for the close approach of 99942 Apophis. Apparently that’s Friday the 13th too, double whammy. And Apophis on January 9 2013 was supersized by 20%, so there’s plenty of wiggle room for the astrophysicists to have got it wrong when they say it is unlikely to hit.

    Despite the pseudo-mathematical nonsense, has anyone explained with any clarity yet just why the King Wen Sequence of hexagrams should be supposed to have anything to do with a rather subjective mapping of apparent historical events in terms of their ‘novelty’? Among those convinced that this off-the-wall idea has any relevance, why do they show little interest in applying, say, the Fuxi Sequence of hexagrams, or the Jing Fang Eight Palaces Sequence, in similar endeavours? Do they even know what the King Wen Sequence actually is? What is regarded as so special about the King Wen Sequence that it should be regarded as a predictor of ‘novelty’?

    A case of too little knowledge and too great a faith.

    Joel - 10th March 2013 @ 16:14

  19. Joel said: “Hard to believe some are still arguing for a better date from Timewave Zero. Doubtless if you arbitrarily shifted the arbitrary ‘wave’ you could land it on April 13, 2029, and set up another round of doom and disaster for the close approach of 99942 Apophis.”

    Joel has apparently not bothered to read the article cited:
    “The Zero Date Reconsidered”
    http://www.fractal-timewave.com/articles/zerodate_reconsidered.html

    The new zero date has not been arrived at by the simple-minded method of picking some ‘interesting’ date such as a close encounter with an asteroid. There’s nothing interesting about July 8, 2018, except that it emerges as a reasonable estimate of the zero date based on the assumptions of TWZ theory and from the fact that the use of atomic bombs to destroy the Twin Towers (with all its consequences) was the most novel event in living memory. (If you deny the latter then I suggest you look at the evidence presented in an article linked to in that article.)

    Note that I am not saying that TWZ theory is true, valid, etc., that is, I am not attempting to defend Terence’s theory or its application. If you simply reject the theory then there’s nothing more to discuss. I simply say that — within the framework of the theory — there are good reasons to believe that Terence’s estimate of the date of the zero point was mistaken and that July 8, 2018, is a far more plausible choice for the zero date. In order to evaluate the reasons given for that date you have to suspend any blanket rejection of the theory that you may have. If you don’t wish to do that, then that’s OK by me.

    Peter Meyer - 12th March 2013 @ 7:36

  20. Peter, why don’t you just answer my question: What has the King Wen Sequence of hexagrams got to do with historical ‘novelty’ mapping? Theories usually have a basis, don’t they? Well what is the basis for using this sequence in this way?

    Joel - 14th March 2013 @ 0:19

  21. Generally speaking, the basis of a scientific theory is often a model, supposed to be analogous to the phenomenon being studied. Then, assuming this is true, the model is studied to give explanations/predictions which are then compared to observations (which either confirm or refute the theory). I don’t regard TWZ as a scientific theory due to the difficulty of testing it. You might say it embodies a model of time as a fractal, an interesting idea, but not (yet) fully worked out.

    As regards the relation between the King Wen Sequence and novelty in history, Terence, of course, often attempted to explain this, but his explanations were less than clear, as you can see in his article “Derivation of the Timewave from
    the King Wen Sequence of Hexagrams” (which is just the first part of the construction of the timewave, the second part being the generation of the fractal wave from the set of 384 numbers) and then in his attempts to show that the timewave (with a zero date of December 21, 2012) was positively correlated with novelty in empirical/historical time.

    The King Wen Sequence is the basis of all this because on his psychedelic excursions in the 1970s Terence was (he says) instructed/taught/guided in how the timewave could be constructed from it. You might say that the idea was completely mad, but he was convinced that it was valid. As you probably know, some psychedelic experiences have “the ring of truth”. And some “mad” ideas turn out to be true. Terence then had the task of convincing the world that his TWZ theory was indeed true (and provided us with information or something else of value). Not everyone is sure that he managed to do this.

    Peter Meyer - 15th March 2013 @ 7:04

  22. That’s the impression I got from reading ‘Invisible Landscape’ some years ago, but I was wondering whether there was more to it than that. I don’t mind mad theories, so long as I know they’re mad to begin with. Often when a theory gains accretions it starts to look less mad, and it’s origins are forgotten, so I like to go back to the beginning to see if there is actually a basis for something. The fact that there is not, and it was simply something told to one in a vision, is okay. As you say, some ‘mad’ ideas turn out to have substance. I don’t feel this one has, and that it detracts from McKenna’s better work.

    Joel - 15th March 2013 @ 20:01

  23. You may be correct, although Terence’s TWZ theory did lead many people to become acquainted with his “better work”, who otherwise might never have done so.

    I forgot to mention that the construction from the King Wen Sequence was not “revealed” to Terence in one or two psychedelic excursions, but over a period of time (in the early 1970s), and he kept a record of his studies of this. His notes were in a book, maybe a kind of journal. He brought this out to show me when I was visiting him at Occidental sometime in the mid-1980s, but I didn’t ask to look at it. I suppose it was destroyed in the fire at Monterey in 2007 along with his library — unless perhaps it was not stored with his books but kept separately by Dennis.

    Peter Meyer - 16th March 2013 @ 6:02

  24. This is a fascinating article Gyrus, and a great discussion too. Terrence certainly was a character lol. I did a blog once calling him –along with Leary, and Wilson–a psychedelic Transhumanist. I found his message confusing. On one hand he was seemingly with Goddess mythology, and yet on the other saying stuff like ‘downloading consciousness onto a central computer’ and ‘returning to galactic centre’—which to me contradicts an authentic understanding of the Goddess religion OF THE EARTH.

    I also did not buy the 2012 thing, but yet found myself utterly depressed through January 2013 into February lol I guess there just may have been some glimmer of hope that some Thing somewhere *would* sort this fucked up world out. WHERE WERE THE UFOS ALREADY??! lol

    But I did a blog just preceding the turn of the year where I talk about McKenna and his ideas about UFOs etc, and I say how I think rather than some ‘End’ –however you think of that–that it is more of a springboard date. And I sense this. I sense that many of us feel eg ‘whoah, its post 2012. Its 2013! We better get our shit together. I sense a realizing that no magic thang is gonna come–no saviour as such (though according to Robert Hastings in his book UFOs and Nukes, we have been getting intervention), but it is WE/US who have to radically change things via whatever we we can contribute. And a big part of this is speaking out our truth.

    Talking about using magic mushrooms etc in a self-healing way. I am very interested in this guy. I love what he is about because I am extremely aware that despite the so-called ‘psychedelic psychotherapeutic resurgence studies’ going on, that what remains is a war against consciousness and nature, which obviously includes our natures, the people, and our OWN empowerment to heal ourselves and support others who choose to do so. This continues from/through the Inquisition of the past when ‘common peoples, especially women’ were savagely attacked and stopped from administering to themselves and community sacred healing and religious rituals using various psychoactive fungi, plants and so on, and that this suppression did not just come from traditional religion, but from those powers trying to establish Capitalism (Caliban and the Witch, by Silvia Federici). On the back of this savage assault on folk medicine and sacred medicine the male-dominated medical establishment was built. This is a great article:
    Psychiatric Power and Taboo in Modern Psychedelia

    Here is the guy I was talking about: A Framework for Magic Mushrooms – Conscious Living Radio Interview with James W. Jesso – March 2013

    Julian - 26th March 2013 @ 12:21