Peregrine flight

Sunday, November 25, 2012


We can't go into this December without talking a little bit about the late Terence McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000.) McKenna was a writer and an explorer of inner space, a self termed "psychonaut." The one time hash smuggler and Berkeley grad did a lot of psychedelic experimenting in the sixties and seventies. Never touched the stuff myself but I did read the book several times.

Not the first guy to go off on a bender and then start to believe his own shtick. Or did he? McKenna laid out the i ching in a novel way, fed it into a computer and claimed that cataclysmic world events could be divined through the charted peaks and valleys.

Throw in a little mayan calendar and a bit of apocalyptic mishigoss and you get the December 21, 2012 end times scenario. My memory isn't that good but didn't we go through this with Kohoutek? Or Robert Anton Wilson's 23 conspiracy?

McKenna was a psychedelic fakir, much more reasoned than predecessor Leary, a bit of snake oil to be sure but also very intelligent and willing to test his vision on the holy alembic of the moment. How many grand visions can stand the test of a morning sunrise?

The Maya recorded time in a series of cycles, comprised of  400-year chunks called baktuns. On Dec. 21, 2012  a cycle of 13 baktuns will be complete. But there are four baktuns left in the larger cycle and many larger cycles left ahead. Then again who should a person believe, Terence McKenna or a bunch of old indians?

From Wikipedia:

In 1969, McKenna traveled to Nepal led by his "interest in Tibetan painting and hallucinogenic shamanism."[6] During his time there, he studied the Tibetan language and worked as a hashish smuggler, until "one of his Bombay-to-Aspen shipments fell into the hands of U. S. Customs." He was forced to move to avoid capture by Interpol.[6] He wandered through Southeast Asia viewing ruins, collected butterflies in Indonesia, and worked as an English teacher in Tokyo. He then went back to Berkeley to continue studying biology, which he called "his first love".[6]
After the partial completion of his studies, and his mother's death from cancer in 1971,[7] McKenna, his brother Dennis, and three friends traveled to the Colombian Amazon in search of oo-koo-hé, a plant preparation containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Instead of oo-koo-hé they found various forms of ayahuasca, or yagé, and gigantic Psilocybe cubensis which became the new focus of the expedition.[6] In La Chorrera, at the urging of his brother, he was the subject of a psychedelic experiment which he claimed put him in contact with "Logos": an informative, divine voice he believed was universal to visionary religious experience.[6] The voice's reputed revelations and his brother's simultaneous peculiar experience prompted him to explore the structure of an early form of the I Ching, which led to his "Novelty Theory".[6] During their stay in the Amazon, McKenna also became romantically involved with his interpreter, Ev.[6]
In 1972, McKenna returned to Berkeley to finish his studies.[4] There he decided to switch majors to a Bachelor of Science in ecology and conservation, in a then new experimental section of the same university called the Tussman Experimental College.[1] During his studies, he would also develop techniques for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms with Dennis.[6]

I was first introduced to him while reading his mushroom cultivation book, written under the pseudonym Oss and Oeric if I remember correctly. Later I read his other books and listened to his Lux Natura lectures. He was definitely brilliant and doomsday ramblings aside, worth checking out.

Jerry Garcia was a proponent of McKenna and his theories. I know this because Jerry told me himself, once, in a rather involved conversation in 1991. He also discussed McKenna in a Rolling Stone interview. I called him the apostle of dope and Jerry said that was why he liked the guy.

Anyway McKenna is the guy most responsible for this 2012 Mayan business. Have serious reservations about the veracity of information gleamed from DMT experiments or anybody who claims to have seen the grand intelligence behind the curtain. But hey, maybe he was on to something, we will have to wait and see. Religions have been started with less and McKenna was nothing if not intelligent. I think that he may have backed off on the exact date at some point. Throw the old sugar cube at the wall and see what sticks.

The Novelty theory is interesting. McKenna postulated that the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times. 'Novelty' proceeds in a periodic cycle, with a time period of 67.29 years.

He was certainly not the first or the only man forecasting a Mayan end time. I don't think he really believed it either, but that doesn't mean he isn't an interesting read if you feel like stretching your noggin. I personally think that we will awake on December 22 to a beautiful sunrise.

We'll see.

 6 billion people standing on each other's shoulders trying to kick each other's teeth in...

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