T. McKenna – True Hallucinations

I’m still catching up on some classics of psychedelic literature. Here in New Zealand I finally finished reading Storming Heaven, a history of the psychedelic subculture in USA in the 1960ies (mostly). Then I continued with Cosmic Trigger II and III by Robert Anton WIlson and now I finally started reading McKenna more systematically. I started with Invisible Landscape but then turned to True Hallucinations which actually makes much more sense because it is a description of the events that led him to formulate his Timewave theory. I just finished reading it and it was a hell of a trip 😉

What happened to Terrence and Denis McKenna in 1971 reminded me a lot of what happened to Philip K. Dick in 1974 and Robert Anton Wilson in 1973. I will try to write an essay showing the similarities in their accounts and what that could mean from today’s perspective.

But first, let’s hear what happened to the McKennas in their mid-20s in the Amazonian jungle:

this career of mine is now the only and best evidence that something extraordinary, perhaps something of historical importance, may have happened at La Chorrera. For the loquacious mushrooms encountered there have spun a myth and issued a prophecy, in quite specific detail, of a planet-saving global shift of consciousness. They have promised all that has happened in my life over the last twenty years, and they have promised much more for the future.

We were refugees from a society that we thought was poisoned by its own self-hatred and inner contradictions. We had sorted through the ideological options, and we had decided to put all of our chips on the psychedelic experience as the shortest path to the millennium, which our politics had inflamed us to hope for.

Even at age twenty-four, I could look back on nearly ten years of involvement with matters most people might consider fringe in the extreme. My interest in drugs, magic, and the more obscure backwaters of natural history and theology gave me the interest profile of an eccentric Florentine prince rather than a kid growing up in the heartland of the United States in the late fifties. Dennis had shared all of these concerns, to the despair of our conventional and hardworking parents. For some reason we were odd from the start, chosen by fate for a destiny too strange to imagine.

We thought, therefore, that our phenomenological description of the hallucinogenic dimension should begin by locating a strong DMT-containing aboriginal hallucinogen and then exploring with an open mind the shamanic states that it made accessible.

the Witoto tribe of the Upper Amazon, who alone knew the secret of making it, used it to talk to “little men” and to gain knowledge from them.
These little people are one bridge between the motifs of alien contact and the more traditional strange doings of woodland elves and fairies. The worldwide tradition of little people is well studied in The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W. E. Evans-Wentz, a pioneering study of Celtic folkways that was influential on UFO researcher Jacques Vallee’s quest as well as our own. The mention of little men rang a bell, since during my own experiences smoking synthesized DMT in Berkeley, I had had the impression of bursting into a space inhabited by merry elfin, self-transforming, machine creatures. Dozens of these friendly fractal entities, looking like self-dribbling Faberge eggs on the rebound, had surrounded me and tried to teach me the lost language of true poetry. They seemed to be babbling in a visible and five-dimensional form of Ecstatic Nostratic, to judge from the emotional impact of this gnomish prattle. Mirror-surfaced tumbling rivers of melted meaning flowed gurgling around me. This happened on several occasions.
It was the transformation of language that made these experiences so memorable and peculiar. Under the influence of DMT, language was transmuted from a thing heard to a thing seen. Syntax became unambiguously visible.

The feeling that radiates from the DMT encounter is hair-raisingly bizarre. It is as much as one can stand without the categories of consciousness becoming permanently rewritten. I am occasionally asked if DMT is dangerous. The proper answer is that it is only dangerous if you feel threatened by the possibility of death by astonishment.

Based on Schultes’s paper [R. E. Schultes, “Virola as an Orally Administered Hallucinogen,” in the Botanical Leaflets of Harvard University, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 229-40 ], we decided to abandon our studies and careers and to pay our own way to the Amazon and the vicinity of La Chorrera in search of oo-koo-he.

Little did I imagine that soon after our arrival at La Chorrera the search for oo-koo-he would be all but forgotten. The Witoto hallucinogen became totally eclipsed by the discovery of psilocybin mushrooms growing abundantly there and by the strange power that seemed to swirl around the fog-bound emerald pastures in which they were found.

It was only after I returned from the Amazon that I learned that this was the same John Brown who had exposed the atrocities of the rubber barons along the Putumayo to British authorities. He first spoke to Roger Casement, then the British Consul in Rio de Janiero, who had gone to Peru in July 1910 to investigate the atrocity stories.* Few remember, so strewn with horror is the history of the twentieth century, that before Guernica and Auschwitz the Upper Amazon was used as a rehearsal stage for one of the episodes of mechanized dehumanization so typical of our age. British banks, in collusion with the Arana clan and other laissez-faire operators, financed wholesale use of terror, intimidation, and murder to force the Indians of the deep forest to harvest wild rubber. It was John Brown who returned to London with Casement to give evidence to the Royal High Commission investigation.+
[* For details, see W. E. Hardenburg, The Putumayo: The Devil’s Paradise (London, 1912). Extracts from Casement’s report are reprinted there as well. Also see Michael Taussig’s Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wildman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
+John Estacion Rivera, a Colombian historian, has told the story differently and implicates Brown in the murders, thus providing the basis for the san-guinero story.

Late in August of 1969 fate turned me from hash smuggler to fugitive when one of my Bombay-to-Aspen shipments fell into the hands of U. S. Customs. I went undergroud and wandered throughout Southeast Asia and Indonesia, viewing
ruins in the former and collecting butterflies in the latter. Then came my time in Japan. Whether this gave me an edge on the others in experience seemed unlikely. Yet even my new status as desperado did not deter my passion for the Amazon. I still dreamed of visiting the green places of the vine people.
Eventually, Vanessa, Dave, and I gathered in Victoria, British Columbia. We lived there three months in a clapboard house, which we rented from a family of Sikhs—we ransacked articles, wrote letters, and maintained a constant correspondence with Dennis, who was in Colorado. Building momentum, we amassed information on a near-mythical world that none of us had ever seen.
While I lived in Canada, my mother died after a long bout with cancer.

Five days descent of the Rio Putumayo will put us at the mouth of the Rio Cara-Parana. There is a mission there called San Raphael. We are looking for Dr. Alfredo Guzman, mentioned in one of our papers as the source of an authentic sample of the oo-koo-he we are looking for. Guzman is an anthropologist working with the Witoto upriver from San Raphael at a tiny village charmingly called San Jose del Encanto.

we passed a shallow depression in a clay bank on the Peruvian side of the river. There, thousands of parrots gathered around a salt source. The sonic shrill of their many-throated voice and their iridescent green bodies cleaving the air heightened the impression of moving in an aqueous Venusian world. We tied up opposite the lick and some of our crew went across the river to capture some parrots to add to the traders already large menagerie. With our own small monkey, the nonhuman population of this ark of fools numbers two dogs, three monkeys, a kitten, a danta, a cock, a pig, and a crate of pigeons.

That night we camped on the Peruvian side of the river. After dark, around the fire, the conversation anticipated a total eclipse of the moon said to be due. We wondered after the fate of the Apollo
14 crew which was returning that night from that same moon. These were the last bits of news we had received before our departure from Puerto Leguizamo.

Unknown to me in that moment was that the eclipse that had drawn me as a lone observer from my hammock to this eerie scene would in a few short hours trigger a groaning shift of billions of tons of impacted rock along the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. Chaos was about to break out in the hell-city of Los Angeles.

chapter 3

We talked for perhaps twenty minutes. At the end of that time, we learned that Guzman would help us find bearers and depart, but that this would take some days. We also learned that Guzman was an ardent Structuralist, Marxist, and male chauvinist, that his involvement with the Witoto approached the maniacal, and that he was regarded by his colleagues back in Bogota as bonkers. He gave us no encouragement that we would find the oo-koo-he, which he said was a secret of the men that was slowly dying out.

Like the males of the Witoto group, Guzman was a coca enthusiast, and he had become quite paranoid from constantly chewing it. When we saw him in the morning, he always had coca staining his lower chin. Because the tribe is very hard on women, Annalise had been told by Alfredo that, in order to become integrated into this society, she had to take on the women’s role. This required pounding yucca root with stones and also making the coca, which the women are not allowed to chew at all. The men lie around in hammocks and listen to transistor radios. The women live with the dogs and the children under the houses, while the men lived in the houses. At five o’clock in the afternoon, the women are all sent to the sleeping place with the children and the dogs. The men retire into the long house for storytelling and coca chewing until four-thirty in the morning. The fart is their most highly appreciated form of humor. There are ten thousand variations on the fart and all are thought riotously funny.

Guzman had been ruling his wife with an iron hand. He lived in a nightmare world of delusions brought on by coca addiction. His wife had not had any Anglos to talk with since arriving in the jungle. Naturally she was wondering what was going on. She wasn’t allowed to chew coca and he was behaving more and more like a male Witoto of the tribe.
There were strange incidents that set everyone on edge. A bushmaster, most deadly of vipers, was killed near the village and brought back and shown around. Incidents? Say rather omens or ominous events. One morning an enormous tarantula, the largest I
had ever seen, made a dash through the village, or so it seemed, since it was suddenly discovered very much in the middle of things. Had someone released it?
Two nights before we were to leave the village, a tree burst into flames near our hut. This seemed unambiguously unfriendly and we accelerated our plans for departure.

During our journey downriver, before we got to El Encanto, we had been smoking weed all the time. Solo would just sit staring for hours and hours. I finally came to understand that he was probably going to kill me and was most likely completely deranged. That, strange as it may seem, would be my fate—I was going to be bumped off by somebody’s psychotic old boyfriend who had somehow managed to sneak onto this Amazon expedition.
I contemplated the irony of the situation. I recalled that mushroom maven Gordon Wasson and his wife had been accompanied by an undercover CIA agent during their second journey to the mushroom village of Huatla de Jimenez in the remote uplands of Mazatecan, Mexico. Psychedelic history would have been different if Wasson had detected that clumsy effort at co-option. Then the CIA’s absurd notion that psilocybin might forever remain what it termed an “in-house prerogative” could never have been entertained. It was only the speedy publication of the molecular structure of psilocybin by Swiss pharmacologist and LSD-inventor Albert Hofmann that had short-circuited that dark and grandiose fantasy.

We would get up at four-thirty in the morning, have coffee, and walk twenty-five kilometers until about three-thirty in the afternoon. It was an ass buster, absolutely. The trocha went up and down, up and down. We would arrive at a river to find no bridge and have to figure out how to cross. We had to be aware of the possibility that the bearers might steal something or desert us. In spite of the exertion, the days were an exquisite immersion in the truly immense and vibrant forest through which we were passing. All day long on the second day we pushed forward against our flagging energies. At last we reached a shelter similar to the one we had used the night before. It was set on the top of a small hill just beyond a crude bridge arching a small river. After dark, around the fire, we smoked and talked long into the night, anticipating the adventure soon to come that we could sense but not yet imagine. The Witoto bearers unfolded their leaf-wrapped packets of food and ate apart from us, friendly but distant.

We were led finally to the back porch of a more substantial wooden building that was obviously the priest’s house. A
huge man, bearded and bearish, emerged in his shirt sleeves. Peter Ustinov could have played him to perfection. A basically merry person, he nevertheless did not seem happy to see us. Why were these people always so withdrawn? Something about not liking anthropologists—but we were basically botanists: how could we put that across? Our reception was hospitable and correct. We asked no more, and as we hung our hammocks in the empty guest house to which we were shown, there was a sense of relief among us all at having reached our destination.

Chapter 4

Most of the Amazon Basin is made up of alluvial deposits from the Andes. La Chorrera is different. A river, the Rio Igara-Parana, narrows and flows into a crack. It becomes very rapid then drops over an edge—a lip—creating not exactly a waterfall but a narrow channel of water (chorro means “chute”), a flume whose violent outpouring has made a sizable lake.
La Chorrera is a paradisiacal place. You push very hard and suddenly you are there.

My journal entry for the next day spoke clearly:
February 23, 1971
Are we indeed now in some way camped on the edge of another dimension? Yesterday afternoon Dave discovered Stropharia cubensis in the damp pastures behind the house where we had hung our hammocks. He and I gathered thirty delicious psilocy-bin-saturated specimens in about a half an hour. We each ate about six and spent last night on an enormously rich and alive, yet gentle and elusive, trip. In between strange lights in the pasture and discussion of our project, 1 am leftwith the sense that by penetrating the local psychedelic flora this way we have taken a giant step toward deeper understanding. Multifaceted and benevolent, as complex as mescaline, as intense as LSD—the mushroom, as is said of peyote, teaches the right way to live. This particular mushroom species is unclaimed, so far as I know, by any aboriginal people anywhere and thus is neutral ground in the tryptamine dimension we are exploring.

This mushroom is a transdimensional doorway which sly fairies have left slightly ajar for anyone to enter into who can find the key and who wishes to use this power—the power of vision— to explore this peculiar and naturally occurring psychoactive complex.
We are closing distance with the most profound event
a planetary ecology can encounter.
The emergence of life
from the dark chrysalis of matter.

^^A younger, more naive, more poetic self is revealed—a more intuitive self, at ease with proclaiming wild unlikelihoods as hallucinogenically derived Gnostic Truth.
And yet these ideas have changed very little in twenty years; then I was eager to be convinced by demonstration, and demonstration was given. I was changed and was obviously eager to be changed. It was true of me then and is still true now, for since the coming of the mushroom all has been continuous transformation. Now, years later and with two decades of reflection on these things, I can still discern in that earliest experience many of the motifs that have persisted through the years and remained mysterious.

It had begun to dawn on me that the mushroom was in fact a kind of intelligent entity—not of earth—alien and able during the trance to communicate its personality as a presence in the inward-turned perceptions of its beholder.
In the days following that first mushroom experience, the lives of my brother and I underwent a tremendous and bizarre transformation. Not until Jacques Vallee had written The Invisible College (1975), noting that an absurd element is invariably a part of the situation in which contact with an alien occurs, did I find the courage to examine the events at La Chorrera and try to fit them into some general pattern

I had never had psilocybin before and was amazed at the contrast with LSD, which seemed more abrasively psychoanalytic and personal. In contrast, the mushrooms seemed so full of merry elfin energy that casting off into a visionary trance was all the more enticing. I sensed nothing of the magnitude of the forces that were gathering around our small expedition. I was thinking only that it was great these mushrooms were here. Even if we didn’t find oo-koo-he or ayahuasca, we would always have them to fall back on, and certainly they were interesting.
Our plan was to spend about three months slowly getting to know the botanical and social environment of the Witoto, who were living traditionally in a village about fourteen kilometers down a trail from the mission at La Chorrera on the Rio Igara-Parana. We knew oo-koo-he was taboo, so we were in no hurry.

The next day was spent relaxing, catching up on insect and plant collecting, washing clothes, and chatting with the priest and brother in residence, who were both part of an austere Franciscan order that did missionary work. Through them we put out the word that we were interested in people who knew things about medicinal plants.
That afternoon a young Witoto named Basilio came to the ca-sita and, having heard of our interest from the priest, offered to take us to see his father, a shaman with a local reputation. Basilio assumed we were interested in ayahuasca, the better-known hallucinogen in the area, which is generally available for the asking. The oo-koo-he was a much more sensitive subject. There had been a murder at La Chorrera a month or two before we arrived— actually several murders—and Guzman claimed they all had to do with oo-koo-he. Supposedly a shaman had murdered one of two shaman brothers by painting the top rung of a ladder with a DMT-containing resin. When the victim grabbed the rung, the resin had absorbed through his fingers and he had gotten vertigo and fallen, breaking his neck. The shaman whose brother had been killed struck back by causing an accident. The alleged murderer’s wife, daughter, and grandchild had been in a canoe above the chorro and, unaccountably unable to reach the shore, they had been swept over it. It was generally assumed that they were victims of magic. Only the wife had lived through it. It was not the time to be poking around asking about oo-koo-he.
Basilio insisted that the ayahuasca was a day upriver at his father’s malloca, or house. He had a small canoe, so only two of us could go with him. After consultation, it was decided that Ev and I should go. We left at once for the river and I took my film canister of snuff with us.

Chapter 5

As the evening wore on, our conversation drifted toward and around the possibility of violating normal physics, discussing it in terms of a psychological versus a naive/realist view of shamanic phenomena. We were especially interested in the obsidian liquids that ayahuasqueros are said to produce on the surface of their skins and use
to look into time.* [See Terence McKenna and Dennis McKenna, The Invisible Landscape (New York: The Seabury Press, 1975), chapter six. ] The idea of a kind of hologramatic alchemical fluid, a self-generated liquid crystal ball, seemed to me very strange and somehow compelling. The question of whether or not such things are possible is actually a more gut issue in disguise: Is what we moderns have remaining to learn about the nature of reality slight and will it require only light fine-tuning of our current way of looking at things; or do we understand very little, missing the point entirely about the nature of our situation in being? I found myself arguing that reality is made of language and that we somehow had to step outside the cultural prison of language to confront a reality behind appearances.

Three of us were ready to become alchemical children, ready to strip down and climb into the sophic fountain and take the measure of the thing from the inside. Call it Faustian or obsessed, that was our position. I considered it continuing the program of investigations that brought us to La Chorrera in the first place. For Vanessa and Dave, however, the reality of the dimension we were exploring, or rather our growing insistence that somehow it was a dimension with elements more than merely psychological, was seen as a threat. So there we were, a group of friends sharing a common set of symbols, completely isolated in the jungle, struggling with an epistemological problem upon whose eventual solution our sanity would seem to depend.

What happened next was nothing less than a turn of events that would propel us into another world. For with the fading of the radio Dennis gave forth, for a few seconds, a very machine-like, loud, dry buzz, during which his body became stiff. After a moment’s silence, he broke into a frightened series of excited questions. “What happened?” and, most memorably, “I don’t want to become a giant insect!”

Dennis said there was a tremendous energy in the sound and that he had felt it like a physical force of some kind. We discussed it for several minutes, then Dennis decided that he wished to attempt the effect again. This he did, but for a much shorter time, again reporting that he experienced a great amount of energy being
unleashed. He said he felt as if he might have left the ground if he had directed his voice downward. We wondered if one could make a sound capable of having a synergistic effect on metabolizing drugs, while Dennis suggested that chanting might make some drugs metabolize more rapidly. According to Dennis, from the inside it felt as if he had acquired a shamanic power of some sort.

Chapter 6

Two YEARS BEFORE, during the spring and summer of 1969, I had lived in Nepal and studied the Tibetan language. The wave of interest in Buddhist studies was just beginning, so those of us in Nepal with Tibetan interests were a tightly knit group. My purpose in studying Tibetan was different from that of most Westerners involved with the language in Nepal. They were nearly all interested in some aspect of Mahayana Buddhist thought, while I was interested in a religious tradition that antedated the seventh century and the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet.
This indigenous pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet was a kind of shamanism closely related to the motifs and cosmology of the classical shamanism of Siberia. Tibetan folk shamanism, called Bon, continues to be practiced today in the mountainous area of Nepal that borders Tibet. Its practitioners are generally despised by the Buddhist community, being thought of as heretics and as generally low types.

It seemed to me that the shamanic tradition that spawned such outlandish and fantastic images must at some time have had the knowledge of a hallucinogenic plant. Shamanic ecstasy in Siberia was known to be attained through the use of the mushroom Amanita muscaria, and Gordon Wasson has made a good case for the use of the same mushroom in Vedic India. Since Tibet is situated roughly between these two areas, it did not seem impossible that, before the coming of Buddhism, hallucinogens were part of the indigenous shamanic tradition.

As soon as I arrived in Asia, the enormity of the task and the effort that this project would require were seen more nearly in their correct proportions. My proposed plan was actually an outline for a life of scholarly research! Naturally, I found that nothing could be done at all until I was familiar with the Tibetan language, so I put aside all my research ideas and resolved to dedicate myself to learning as much Tibetan as I could in the few months that circumstances gave me in Nepal.

During this time the method I had evolved for probing the shamanic dimension was to smoke DMT at the peak point of an LSD experience. I would do this whenever I took LSD, which was quite occasionally. It would allow me to enter the tryptamine dimension for a slightly extended period of time. As the summer solstice of 1969 approached, I laid plans for another such experiment.
I was going to take LSD the night of the solstice and sit up all night on my roof, smoking hashish and star-gazing.

Chapter 7

we began to discuss people far away and how we might attempt to contact them fourth-dimensionally; since apparently magical connection at a distance is a concern of shamanism this was not such a strange rap for us. But it was definitely at some point in time near to that conversation that I first heard the sound, immeasurably distant and faint, in the region between the ears, not outside, but definitely, incredibly there, perfectly distinct on the absolute edge of audible perception. A sound almost like a signal or very, very faint transmissions of radio buzzing from somewhere, something like tingling chimes at first, but gradually becoming amplified into a snapping, popping, gurgling, cracking electrical sound. I tried to imitate these noises with my vocal chords, just experimenting with a kind of humming, buzzing vocal sound made deep in the throat. Suddenly, it was as if the sound and my voice locked onto each other and the sound was my voice—but coming out of me in such a way that no human voice could possibly distort itself the way mine was doing. The sound was suddenly much intensified in energy and was like the sound of a giant insect.

He was insistent in linking my experience in Nepal with a very strange phenomenon that occurred in Jivaro shamanism in Ecuador. The people take ayahuasca after which they, and anyone else who has taken ayahuasca, are able to see a substance that is described as violet or deep blue and that bubbles like a liquid. When you vomit from taking ayahuasca, this violet fluid comes out of your body; it also forms on the surface of the skin, like sweat. The Jivaro do much of their magic with this peculiar stuff. These matters are extremely secret. Informants insist that the shamans spread the stuff out on the ground in front of them, and that one can look at this material and see other times and other places. According to their reports, the nature of this fluid is completely outside of ordinary experience: it is made out of space/time or mind, or it is pure hallucination objectively expressed but always keeping itself within the confines of a liquid.

I recalled that there is an instance in The Teachings of Don Juan where the Peyote entity, Mescalito, holds up his hand, and in its palm Carlos Castaneda sees a past incident in his life.
If this phenomenon has any empirical validity, perhaps what happens is that a very thin film of this projection-sensitive transdi-mensional goo is present. And when you look at it, it is like perfect feedback. It is a mirror—not of your physical reflection but of who you are. All this lays in the realm of speculation, of course. Does this stuff exist? Or is it just hallucination? Who can believe in a thing like that?
Dennis felt strongly that it was connected with sound. One could either stabilize the stuff or cause it to appear by doing something with one’s voice. It was a strange, slippery idea because one could extrapolate it infinitely, since whatever it was, it was made of the very stuff of imagination itself. If one shaped this stuff in three dimensions, it could be anything, yet this violet ectoplasmic mental liquid must only exist in the fourth dimension.

Terence has experimented with these sounds far more than anyone else (and I am the only other that I know of), and he has discovered some interesting things.
Things such as that the normally invisible syntactical web that holds both language and the world together can condense or change its ontological status and become visible. Indeed there seems to be a parallel mental dimension in which everything is made of the stuff of visible language, a kind of universe next door inhabited by elves that sing themselves into existence and invite those who encounter them to do the same.

It is a more perfect archetypal Logos. We are convinced that through experimentation with these vocal phenomena, with and without the aid of drugs, it will be possible to understand and use trans linguistic matter to accomplish any reality, for to say anything in this voice is to cause that thing to happen!

By this time the fog was impenetrable, and we all retired for the night, but not before Ev related that in the silence before the appearance of the fog she had a hallucination. With her eyes closed, she saw a strange, elf-like creature rolling a complicated polyhedron along the ground. Each facet of this polyhedron seemed, she said, like a window onto another place in time or another world.
“It’s the stone!” I breathed. I could almost see her vision of the lapis philosophorum—the glittering goal of centuries of alchemical and Hermetic speculation glimpsed in the Amazonian night, now seeming a great multi-dimensional jewel, the philosopher’s stone, in the keeping of a telluric gnome.

Chapter 8

In the middle of the afternoon he returned, very excited. He had completed writing out the preliminary notes for what became “the experiment at La Chorrera.” It is the only written record of his ideas that was actually made at the time, and as such, it is the only piece of written, primary evidence that we have about how we viewed what we were doing as we were doing it.
These notes do not of course represent the final form of our theorizing about these matters and are not at all to be taken at face value. Refinement of these ideas has been constant since their creation.* (The scientific basis of our work is elaborately described in The Invisible Landscape. That work represented our considered, composite opinion as of 1975. Since then these ideas have been much revised as the myths and fallacies spun into the fabric of their first conception have been separated out.)

One must take enough psilocybin to allow the sound to be audible. This sound we understand to be the Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) of the psilocybin alkaloids within the mushroom. The presence of rapidly metabolizing high-energy tryptamines within the ayahuasca acts as an antenna that sensitizes the neural matrix to the spin resonance energy of the Stropharia psilocybin. It is this principle that allows the signal to be made audible. It must then be amplified via the tryptamine admixture antenna to what is felt to be its fullest amplitude. Then, via vocal sound, this energy is placed into the harmine complex within the body and within the mushroom which has been, in some small part, cooled to absolute zero—the temperature at which molecular vibration ceases, through absorption of the psilocybin ESR pulses.
Once this ESR wave has been detected, it will be possible to amplify it within the neural circuits by channeling it through the harmine complex: i.e., by imitating the psilocybin ESR with the voice, causing the amplified sound to strike a harmonic tone with the harmine metabolizing in the brain and thereby exciting the harmine ESR. Since harmine complexes are merely further down the same bio-synthetic pathway that converts tryptophane into psilocybin, it is possible to consider the ESR tone of psilocybin as a harmonic overtone of harmine and vice versa.
Using harmonic overtones, it is possible to sound a tone which will cancel one or more of its octaves reflected in the harmonic scales above and below it.

The opus can now be briefly summarized:
• The mushroom must be taken and heard.
• The ayahuasca must be taken and charged with overtonal ESR of the psilocybin via voice-imparted, amplified sound.
• The ESR resonance of the psilocybin in the mushrooms will be canceled and will drop into a superconducting state; a small portion of the physical matter of the mushroom will be obliterated.
• The superconductively charged psilocybin will pick up the ESR harmonic of the ayahuasca complex; this energy will be instantly and completely absorbed by the higher-dimensional tryp-tamine template. It will be transferred to the mushroom as vocal sound and condensed onto the psilocybin as a bonded complex of superconductive harmine-psilocybin-DNA.
• The result will be a molecular aggregate of hyperdimen-sional, superconducting matter that receives and sends messages transmitted by thought, that stores and retrieves information in a holographic fashion in neural DNA, and that depends on superconductive harmine as a transducer energy source and superconductive RNA as a temporal matrix. This aggregate will be a living and functioning part of the brain of the molecular “singer” who creates it. It will be composed of higher dimensional matter, i.e., matter that has been turned through the higher dimension via the process of canceling its electrical charge with a harmonic vibration, transmitting that vibration across space (from superconductive transmitter to superconductive receiver), and then recondensing that vibration onto a superconductive template (the charged psilocybin in the mushroom), until the harmine-psilocybin-DNA complex condenses into a superconducting molecule. A molecule that is higher dimensional matter would, by
this theory, be stable as long as it remains in a superconducting configuration, probably forever, since it is powered by its own ESR energy. It will then be responsive to command via endogenous tryptamine ESR (thoughts), it will be keyed into our collective DNA, and it will contain harmine as a superconductive transceiver and power source.
Talk about a steep learning curve! I had never heard my little brother carry on so. To the extent that I grasped what Dennis was saying, he thought, and it seemed a magnificent thought to me, that the body is like an undiscovered musical and scientific instrument whose potential lies all around and within us, but of which we are unaware. He said that the mind, through an act of will, could use the singing voice to interact with the brain as though it were a color organ and holographic library all wrapped up into one.

It became possible for a moment to dream that the powers of shamanism, derived from a millennium-old knowledge of microphysics and bioelectronics, was far in advance of our own.

Chapter 9

“You know what we could do?” Then he laid down the rap that is now enshrined as the central doctrine of the opus. He called it hyper-carbolation. According to his theory, you could use the singing voice and superconductivity (or the complete disappearance of electrical resistance, usually only possible with temperatures at absolute zero) to drive the molecules
of psychedelic compounds into states of permanent association—or bonding—with living human DNA.

Dennis’s idea was that when ayahuasca is metabolizing through one’s neural matrix in the brain, a sound is heard.

Neural DNA is known to be non-metabolizing. It does not go away. The meat on your body comes and goes every few years. Your skeleton is not the same one you had five years ago, but neural DNA is an exception. It is there for all time. You come into the world with it. It records and it is an antenna for memory. Not only our personal memory, but any entity or organism which has DNA in it; there is a way to find a connection to it. This is how we open a passage to the Divine Imagination, this is how William Blake understood Redemption. This is now within reach.

Perhaps life is a strategy for amplifying quantum mechanical indeterminacy to a level where a macrophysical chemical system, in effect human beings, can experience and understand it? If one of us could pharmacologically redesign our neurocellular chemistry, there might indeed be strange new realms of perception and understanding to be explored, brave new worlds of the imagination based on new ratios of neurotransmitters in the still-evolving brains of human beings.

We talked for more than an hour about these ideas and what finally emerged was the need for a test, or at least Dennis maintained that a partial test of the idea could be undertaken to convince me and our companions. He thought that as the superconducting state became stabilized there should be a marked lowering of temperature in the immediate area.

After a couple of preliminary low, mechanical buzzes, Dennis made a sound very similar to the one he
had unleashed in the knoll house three days before. This sound had an extremely peculiar quality and, as it rose in intensity, I looked down at the hair on my arms and saw it rise as goose-flesh formed and a wave of intense shivering swept over me. I yelled at Dennis to stop. He did instantly and seemed much drained by the effort. I was quite disoriented. I frankly could not tell whether a real wave of very cold air had swept over me or whether that particular sound had somehow made my body react as though it was being exposed to cold air. It was not lost on me that if the effect had truly generated a blast of cold air, then it had violated the known laws of physics. But I did not care to experiment further—the whole thing had an eerie aura about it and if the effect was real, who knew what could come of pushing it too far?

He was really in touch with this bubbling obsidian fourth dimensional fluid that we were going to stabilize into a usable tool. And end history. And go to the stars.

The psychologically minded will recognize this as a description of messianic ego inflation. Such it is, but we felt these things as anyone would feel them if they truly believed they were at such a point in history. We wondered, “Why? Why us?”
To such questions the mushroom spoke in my mind without hesitation: “Because you have diligently sought the good and because you trusted no human being more than yourself.”

Chapter 10

There recently had been much discussion of fire and the role it must have played in forming the mental world of archaic human beings. Once, as we sat staring into the camp fire, Dennis had remarked to me that, “People have been looking into fires like this for thousands and thousands of years. The squeal of these coals is the release of ionized plasma and in the flickering waves of free electrons thus created, one can see into the past and the future. The fire is the place where the ideas come from.”

As this monumentally inscrutable statement intimates, Dennis was in the process of turning some sort of corner. Under the influence of his ideas and images, our lives had become pure science fiction. This entire transformation had been achieved through the opening of our collective imagination. But what had really changed? Were we about to take the tiller of history into our hands, or was this one more sadly misguided reach for the power of an archetype that must always slide though one’s fingers?

It is interesting that among Maza-tecans and other tribal groups of the Central Mexican highlands the idea of Christ is linked to the mushrooms—is this syncretism or prophecy?

In which the experiment is attempted and the brothers McKenna are driven mad by its unexpected aftermath.

Chapter thirteen

I noticed with interest that while he seemed disoriented and his ideation was structurally as wild and woolly as ever, in content there had been a definite sort of improvement. On the day before, he had seemed to be spread over so vast an amount of time and space that there was little to be identified out of the cosmic churning that he was undergoing. On that day, to find even our own galaxy in his mind had been impossible. On the second day, he awoke within the galaxy and his visions and fantasies remained within it. Had that been the only instance of his telescoping back into himself, it would not have been worth noting, but the fact was that each step of his return to a normal state of mind was accomplished this way. The day after he reached the confines of the galaxy, he entered the solar system, condensing through its planets over several days until he identified only with Earth. Coalescing and condensing through the ecology of his home world, he came to think of himself as all humanity and was able to vividly relive all of its history. Later still, he became the embodiment of all the members of our vast and peculiar Irish family stretching back till before Judges had given us Numbers or Leviticus committed Deuteronomy, as James Joyce put it. They were of all kinds and he played them all: hard-rock miners, a seventeenth-century cleric sweating beneath a burden of lust, bombastic patriarchs and thin-faced women one generation, and women with shoulders like field hands and tongues like hedgeclippers the next. After a good bit of lolling around in those environs he was finally resolved down into our immediate family and progressed from there to confront and resolve the question of whether he was Dennis or Terence. Finally and thankfully, he came to rest with the realization
that he was Dennis, returned from the edge of the universe of mind, restored and reborn, a shaman in the fullest sense of the word.
But that reintegration and recovery was still twenty days in the future as we walked to the pasture the morning of March 7

“Be amazed at nothing; you are to receive the kingship of the father,” spoke the quiet voice from hyperspace. “The Mystery of the wellspring and the datepalm will unfold.”
I watched my own understanding of the connections between what we were doing and classical alchemy move by vast intuitive
leaps to implicate Gerhard Dorn, Robert Fludd, and Count Michael Maier, names associated with the finest literary flowering of the alchemical mind. And equally associated with a view of man and nature that had perished with the rise of modern chemistry.

I was both in the world of the developing situation at La Chorrera and also in the world into which my brother had become psycho-topologically enmeshed—a dimensional vortex beyond which seemed to be eternity, the land of the dead, all human history, and the UFOs. It was a world whose unseen, cybernetic chroniclers spoke to us telepathically in our minds and revealed that we and all humanity were in the act of once again becoming able to go between these alien dimensions and our own to re-establish the es-chatological shamanism lost scores of millennia ago.
At one point I picked up a stick and in the sandy soil of our living area I scratched the shorthand symbol for “and.” I called it “the ampersand.” I found its binding fold in one corner of a quaternary
structure to be very satisfying. I began to imagine this symbol as the symbol of the condensation of the alchemical lapis. To me it appeared to be the natural symbol for a four-dimensional universe somehow bound into a 3-D matrix. I spoke of it as the ampersand for several days, then I called it “the eschaton.” This I imagined as a basic unit of time; the combination and resonance among the set of eschatons in the universe determined which of the possible worlds allowed by physics would actually undergo the formality of occurring. “The formality of actually occurring” was a phrase from Whitehead that kept echoing through my thoughts like the refrain of a half-forgotten song. I imagined that at the end of time all the eschatons would resonate together as a unity and thereby create an ontological transformation of reality—the end of time as a kind of garden of earthly delights.* (These were the first faint stirrings of thoughts that were to lead eventually to the development of my own theory of time described in The Invisible Landscape. These early intuitions bore no resemblance to the final theory; and it is just as well that they did not, for at that time I would have been completely unable to understand the theory that I was finally to develop. It took years of reading and self-education to keep track of the things that the internal voice was saying. Its presence and persistence over the years since La Chorrera has been amazing. That day at La Chorrera, the voice had a holistic and systems-oriented approach to things that did seem to be slightly of another order—not enough to be alarming, but enough to repeatedly remind me that the ideas I was producing were coming fully organized from somewhere else, and I was nothing more than a message decipherer, hard-pressed to keep up with a difficult, incoming code.)

Dennis announced a new teaching. He said that one could see any point in time by closing one’s eyes, visualizing an eight, turning it on its side so that it approximated the sign for infinity, and then mentally sliding the two closed rings over each other to form a circle, shrinking the circle to a dot, and thinking the word “please” and the target point in space-time.

chapter fourteen

May 12,1971
I have almost two months’ perspective on the events surrounding our experience at La Chorrera, and I can clearly recognize that both my brother and I evinced the classic symptoms of the two generally distinguished categories of process schizophrenia. He appeared to manifest the withdrawn characteristics of essential schizophrenia while my behavior was of a more outward and paranoid sort. Nevertheless, I am unable to make the assumption that our experiment was therefore “nothing but” two simultaneously occurring cases of schizophrenia. With the full knowledge that such a position argues that I may still be experiencing residual
symptoms of the illness, I maintain that we were in fact dealing with an objective phenomenon that, though of a highly peculiar nature inexorably bound up with psychic processes, does have its basis in the molecular ideas we were in the process of investigating. As empirical evidence of this viewpoint, I mention the following points, which seem to me to set our experience outside the realm of mental illness:
The suddenness with which the symptoms developed following our actual experiment: Within a few minutes after we completed our pre-planned experimental procedures, my brother began to disengage himself from the continuum of shared perceptions and at this same time I underwent a willing suspension of disbelief and began to experience the cybernetic unit that we had predicted would be a part of the effect we would cause if we were successful in our attempt to generate a superconducting genetic matrix and harmine bond.
The integrated or dovetail aspect of our shared disassocia-tion: meaning that though both of us were exhibiting the symptoms of types of schizophrenia, the fantasy, the ideas, and the understanding which we were experiencing was shared. While my brother thought of me as the shaman messiah in all manifestations, I perceived him as the condensed mind-lens making a return journey across the universe that might have been one logical outcome of our experiment. Each of us alone would have given the clear appearance of being deluded; however, each of us seemed to offer elusive proof of the correctness of the other’s position. I might add that though no one else could understand my brothers
peculiar mental processes, I believed I could discern depth and an integrated understanding which seemed to be behind them—but at the same time I understood that his apparent lack of integration was due to the fact that his thinking was moving backward in some fundamental way. In the same way that a film running in reverse seems to present a spectacle of wild and irrational confusion, yet manages in the end to have things in their proper places, my brothers ideas and physical movement seemed to me to be simply the exact reverse of logical expectations.

In fact, I still believe that our only error throughout this entire experiment and the events following it has been our inability to correctly predict the duration of the process. I believe that our understanding of the mechanics of the process, aside from its duration, has been correct, though still incomplete. Time is still, in other words, the crux of this matter.

the model we have created out of the careful observation of the things that happened to us. No one can deny that the theory of the hyperspatial nature of hallucinogenic drug states, and the experiment my brother devised to test that theory, yielded spectacular results. But I have taken the fruits of the visionary revelation and carried them further, deconstructing them to discover a very elegant wave/particle theory of the nature of time. Quite unexpect- • edly, what I now propose, based on those initial experiences, is a revision of the mathematical description of time used in physics. According to this theory, the old notion of time as pure duration, visualized as a smooth plane or straight line, is to be replaced by the idea that time is a very complex fractal phenomenon with many ups and downs of many sizes over which the probabilistic universe
of becoming must flow like water over a boulder-strewn riverbed. I had discovered the fractal dimension of time itself, a mathematical constant that replaces probability theory with a complex, but elegant—indeed an almost magical—set of constraints on the expression of novelty.

We could feel the overwhelming presence of some unseen, intelligent entity that seemed to be observing and sometimes exerting influence to keep us moving gently toward a breakthrough. Because of the bizarre nature of the DMT flash, with its seeming stress upon themes alien, insec-tile, and interstellar, we were led to speculate that this teacher was somehow a diplomat-anthropologist, come to give us the keys to galactarian citizenship. We discussed this entity in terms of a giant insect and through the insect trill of the Amazon jungle at midday we seemed to be able to discern a deeper harmonic buzz that was the signal keying us to the entity in hyperspace.
This sense of the presence of an alien third party was sometimes very intense, especially from March fifth to the tenth, after which it faded off gradually. The image of the insect teacher gave rise to numerous entomological speculations:
We thought at the time that the process we were involved with was akin to giving birth to a child, but also much like the metamorphosis that occurs in the life cycle of insects, especially beetles, moths, and butterflies. We “knew” that tryptamine was somehow a major part of the solution to the enzyme mysteries surrounding metamorphosis. We recalled certain unconfirmed reports of the grub of a beetle eaten by Indians in Eastern Brazil for its hallucinatory effect.
The diffraction of light that occurs in natural phenomena such as rainbows, peacock feathers, certain insects, and the colors that appear on the surfaces of some metals during heating are persistent motifs within a particular stage of the alchemical opus.

Through it all, even after the move, he and I were still after the lens-shaped object. What the teacher told me in the first few days after the experiment was, “You almost got it; you didn’t quite get it.” Or rather it used the metaphor of condensation: “It is condensing.”
It was like a perfect alchemical metaphor. The stone is everywhere. It is here.

These ideas were absurd but delightful, and they led me eventually to reread Joyce and to accept him as one of the true pioneers in the mapping of hyperspace.

H.P. Lovecraft, Through the Gates of the Silver Key

I immersed myself in millions of images of humankind in all times and places, understanding and yet struggling with the insoluble enigmas of being and human destiny. It was during those velvet, star-strewn, jungle nights that I felt closest to understanding the tripartite mystery of the philosopher’s stone, the Alien Other, and the human soul. There is something human that transcends the individual and that transcends life and death as well. It has will, motive, and enormous power. And it is with us now.
I have come to believe that under certain conditions the manipulative power of consciousness moves beyond the body and into the world. The world then obeys the will of consciousness to the degree that the inertia of pre-existing physical laws can be overcome. This inertia is overcome by consciousness determining the outcome of the normally random, micro-physical events. Over time the deflection of micro-events from randomness is cumulative so that eventually the effects of such deflections is to shift the course of events in larger physical systems as well. Apparently, when want-ing wishes to come true, patience is everything.
Is this just a fantasy, a grown man trying to explain to himself how wishes can come true? I don’t think so. I have lived it and
know that the greater the amount of time that consciousness has in which to make its effects felt, the greater the possibility becomes that the desired event will come to pass.

Language is thereby seen to be a kind of parapsychological ability since it involves action at a distance and telekinesis, albeit
voice-transduced. Perhaps under the influence of psilocybin an immense energizing of will could be vocally transduced into the world where it might do more than imprint a signal onto the random motion of air molecules. Perhaps instead a word, visibly beheld, might be transduced and appear through appropriate shifts of refraction in those same nearby air molecules.

Chapter fifteen

it had become my belief that the contact with an intelligent and utterly alien species was beginning
for humanity. It seemed that out of the long night of cosmic time the novelty of novelties, the moment of contact between minds on utterly different planes, was beginning.
We were among the first to achieve contact with this Other species. It was the real thing.

It was, if you ask me—and there is no one else really that one can ask—either a holographic mirage of a technical perfection impossible on earth today or it was the manifestation of something which in that instance chose to begin as mist and end as machine, but which could have appeared in any form, a manifestation of a humorous something’s omniscient control over the world of form and matter. It was not a mirage of the conventional sort. Years later it occurs to me that perhaps it was a kind of mirage still unknown to us—a temporal mirage.

What makes the ordinary and temporal mirages members of the same class is that both types of mirages require the intercession of the human mind in order to exist. Certain areas of the world have local conditions which make them mirage prone; might the same be true of temporal mirages? Or perhaps the temporal mirage is a natural phenomenon, and the UFO is an artifact resulting from the temporal mirage being used or experimented with by some future technology?
I believe that this latter comes close to the mark. The UFO is a reflection of a future event that promises humanity’s eventual mastery over time, space, and matter.

At La Chorrera I had only the isolated personal conviction that our approach would be vindicated; now, as our ideas are finding a small community that share these intuitions, I am yet more sure that the answer to all of the mysteries that disequilibrate our view of the world are to be understood by looking within ourselves. When we look within ourselves with psilocybin, we discover that we do not have to look outward toward the futile promise of life that circles distant stars in order to still our cosmic loneliness. We should look within; the paths of the heart lead to nearby universes full of life and affection for humanity.
The UFO encounter marked for me the culmination of our work at La Chorrera. My contact with the saucer took place at dawn on the fourteenth of March. The following morning at eleven, March 15, the airplane arrived, unannounced but not unexpected. Vanessa had been anticipating it for three days. It was a matter of a
few moments to clamber aboard after saying farewell to the priests and the police, all of whom had been most patient with our colorful party and its unusual preoccupations.

By the time we reached Bogota, Dennis had almost completely returned to normal, lending weight to the idea that some form of temporary chemical imbalance had been responsible for his reaction rather than the emergence of a chronically unbalanced personality structure. He was very shaky and very bummed by any mention of fourth-dimensional superconducting bonds, ayahuasca, or shamanism. He said, “Look, I have had it.” He had, too.
He was nearly normal, but I was just at the beginning of a years-long period of unusual ideation—the state of suspended disbelief that gave birth to the ideas concerning time set out in The Invisible Landscape.

This journal entry makes clear that while Dennis was recovering from his submergence in the titanic struggle I was quite in the grip of a struggle of my own. I was caught up in an obsessive immersion, almost an enforced meditation, on the nature of time. The ordinary concerns of ordinary life ceased to matter to me. My attention was entirely claimed by my efforts to build a new model of what time really is. Resonances, recurrences, and the idea that events were interference patterns caused by other events temporally and causally distant claimed my attention. In those early speculations I imagined a mythic cycle needing forty days to be brought to completion. It was only later, when I began to be impressed with the DNA-related and calendrical nature of the temporal cycles, that I turned my attention to cycles of sixty-four days duration. This speculation eventually led me to turn to the / Ching. In those early notions of a forty-day cycle of alchemical redemption there is only the slightest hint of the eventual theory in its operational details; yet the intent is clearly the same. Resonances, interference patterns, and fractal regresses of times within times—these were the materials that I began to build with. Eventually, after some years of work, the result would have a certain elegance.

Dr. Gunther Stent, The Coming of the Golden Age,
ZB Allg 1638…
I came to realize that the internal logic of the timewaves strongly implied a termination of normal time and an end to ordinary history.

Chapter sixteen

During this second residency at La Chorrera, the theme of oo-koo-he recurred. We made the acquaintance of several of the Witoto people who regularly walked the path near our own hut, which was a few hundred yards down the same trail where the original experiment had taken place. Among those Witoto who stopped to exchange a word or watch me collecting insects was a sturdy older man named Demetrius. He was a cloudy-eyed old weasel who positively exuded the stench of the cosmic gatekeeper. In my excited
state of mind, the letters D, M, T seemed to stand out in his name like a beacon. As soon as I could get him alone I haltingly put the question to him.
“Oo-koo-he!” He was barely able to believe his ears. It must have been incredible to him that this strange, weak creature, like something from another world, should directly inquire after a secret tradition of his people. I have no idea how many cultural conventions were overlooked, but after a bit more conversation, or what passes for conversation between people who share no common language, I was sure that he would try to help me. Days later, on my twenty-fifth birthday, I was brought a tarry goo wrapped into little leaf packets. I was never able to obtain a hallucinogenic experience from this material, but later analysis by the chemists of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm confirmed the presence of di-methyltryptamine. Demetrius had been as good as his name.

This new model of time enables one to have as much of a certain kind of knowledge about the future as it is possible to have. The future is not absolutely determined; there is not, in other words, a future to “see” in which every event has already been determined. That isn’t how the universe is put together. The future is not yet completed, but it is conditioned. Mysteriously, out of the set of all possible events, certain events are selected, in Whitehead’s phrase, to undergo the formality of actually occurring. The Logos was concerned to reveal the mechanics of this process and did reveal it as the idea of the timewave.

The timewave seemed to be an image from the collective unconscious that sought to prove, at least in its own terms, that the culmination of all the processes in the universe would occur within our lifetimes. For each of us this is obviously true: our own lives do seem to us, embedded as we are in our bodies and our historical milieus, to be somehow the expression of the final purpose of things.
The timewave predicted its own end within our lifetimes; actually only a decade after the turn of the century, a time of such novelty that beyond it there could be nothing less than the end of time itself. This was the most puzzling of all, more puzzling than its personal, idiosyncratic side, this implicit “end of time”: a period when a transition of regimes would take place that would completely transform the modalities of reality.

It is possible, in a certain sense, that all states of liberation are nothing more than perfect knowledge of the contents of eternity.

I would be the first to admit that it has not been possible to find a bridge between this theory and normal physics. Such a bridge may be neither possible nor necessary. We may find that normal science indicates what is possible, while the time theory I propose offers an explanation for what is. It is a theory that seems to explain how, of the class of all things possible, some events and things undergo the formality of actually occurring. It is clear to me that the theory cannot be disproven from without; it can only be disproven by being found inconsistent within itself. Anyone is welcome to dismantle it if they are able; this is what I have attempted to do and failed.

I felt that the idea of a hidden structure of time was correct but that this could not be argued for until the correct alignment between that structure and human history had been found and confirmed. I began looking for a date with special features related to the wave, a date that would be a good candidate for the emergence of a special event.
Here is a part of my story that I found most puzzling: After the seeming disconfirmation of the cycles by my birthday, I looked at other future dates on which the three-hundred-and-eighty-four day cycles would end if I continued to assume that the sixteenth of November, 1971, was the end of one such cycle. That meant that the next ending date of the three hundred and eighty-four day cycle would be the fourth of December, 1972. I consulted several astronomical tables, but the date seemed unpromising. The closing date of the next three hundred and eighty-four cycle was immediately more interesting, as it fell on the twenty-second day of December, 1973.
I noticed this was the winter solstice. Here was a clue. The winter solstice is traditionally the time of the rebirth of the savior messiah. It is a time of pause when there is a shifting of the cosmic machinery. It is also the time of the transition of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn. I put no particular stock in astrology, but I noted that Dennis is a Sagittarius and Ev a Capricorn. I consulted my star
maps and added another coincidence: where the ecliptic crosses the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn, at 23 degrees Sagittarius, is the very spot to within one or two degrees where the galactic center is presently located. Over twenty-six thousand years the galactic center, like all points on the ecliptic, slowly moves through the signs, but now it was on the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn on the winter solstice day.
This seemed an unusual number of coincidences and so I pressed my search. Consultation with the almanac of the Naval Observatory brought a real surprise. On the very day that I was researching, December 22, 1973, a total, annular eclipse of the sun would occur and the path of totality would sweep directly across La Chorrera and the Amazon Basin. I was dumbfounded.

Finally, in the early spring of 1973, an event occurred that offered perfect proof that something larger than my unconscious, seemingly larger even than the total collective consciousness of the human race, was at work. This was the discovery of the comet Ko-hotek, heralded as the largest comet in human history, dwarfing even Halley’s Comet.

Chapter seventeen

I swallowed hard. He didn’t look like the sort of person who would appreciate my stories of fighting the police at the Berkeley barricades shoulder-to-shoulder with affinity groups like the Persian Fuckers and the Acid Anarchists. Nor did my participation in the Human Be-In or the rolling orgies of the Summer of Love in
the Haight-Ashbury seem appropriate to mention. And my recent stint as a hashish smuggler in India and my subsequent move undercover to avoid capture by Interpol also seemed out of place in this particular interview.

He performed his experiment and it seemed as though I got a kind of informational feedback off my DNA, or some other molecular storage site of information. This happened precisely because the psychedelic molecules bound themselves to the DNA and then behaved in the way that we had expected; they did broadcast a totality symbol whose deep structure reflects the organizational principles of the molecules of life itself. This totality entered linear time disguised, in the presence of ordinary consciousness, as a dialogue with the Logos. The Logos provided a narrative voice able to frame and give coherency to the flood of new insights that otherwise would have overwhelmed me. My task became to unearth and replicate the symbolic structure behind the voice and to discover if it had any significance beyond myself and my own small circle of acquaintances. I felt as if I was creating a file system for a newly revealed world of infinite variety. The timewave is a kind of mathematical mandala describing the organization of time and space. It is a picture of the patterns of energy and intent within DNA. The DNA unfolds those mysteries over time like a record or a song. This song is one’s life, and it is all life. But without a conceptual overview one cannot understand the melody as it plays. The timewave theory is like the score of the bio-cosmic symphony.
I am interested in disproving this theory.

Natural laws are easier to understand if we assume that they are
not universal constants, but rather slowly evolving flux phenomena. After all, the speed of light, which is taken as a universal constant, has only been measured in the last hundred years. It is pure inductive thinking to extrapolate the principle of the invariance of the speed of light to all times and places. Any good scientist knows that induction is a leap of faith. Nevertheless, science is founded on the principle of induction. That principle is what the timewave theory challenges. Induction assumes that the fact that one did A, and B resulted, means that whenever one does A, B will always result. The fact is that in the real world no A or B occurs in a vacuum.

in space will be bent because the space through which it travels is bent. In other words, space is a thing, not a place where you put
What I propose, in a nutshell, is that time, which was also previously considered a necessary abstraction, is also a thing. Time not only changes, there are different kinds of time.

The person who has laid the most firm foundation for understanding this sort of notion philosophically is Alfred North Whitehead. Nothing we have suggested is beyond the power of his method to anticipate.

The most promising development in this area has been the emergence of the new evolutionary paradigm of Ilya Prigogine and Erich Jantsch. Their work has achieved nothing less than a new ordering principle in nature—the discovery and mathematical description of dissipative self-organization as a creative principle underlying the dynamics of an open and multi-leveled reality. Dissipative structures work their miracle of generating and preserving
order through fluctuations—fluctuations whose ultimate ground is in quantum mechanical indeterminacy.

Western religion has its own singularity in the form of the apocalypse, an event placed not at the beginning of the universe but at its end. This seems a more logical position than that of science. If singularities exist at all it seems easier to suppose that they might arise out of an ancient and highly complexified cosmos, such as our own, than out of a featureless and dimensionless mega-void.

Most puzzling are the predictions the timewave theory makes of near term shifts of epochs made necessary by the congruence of the timewave and the historical record. The timewave seems to give a best fit configuration with the historical data when the assumption is made that the maximum ingression of novelty, or the end of the wave, will occur on December 22, 2012. Strangely enough this is the end date that the Mayans assigned to their calendar system as well.

Human culture is a curve of expanding potentiality. In our own tormented century it has reached vertical gain. Human beings threaten every species on the planet. We have stockpiled radioactive materials everywhere, and every species on earth can feel this. The planet when viewed as a sentient entity can react to this kind of pressure. It is three billion years old, and it has many options.
Dualistic talk about humanity not being part of the natural order is foolish. We could not have arisen unless we served a purpose that fit into the planetary ecology. It is not clear what our purpose is, but it seems to have to do with our enormous research instruments.

The UFO holds out the possibility of mind become object, a ship that can cross the universe in the time it takes to think about it. Because that is what the universe is—a thought. And when thought becomes mobile and objectified, then humanity—novices in the mastery of thought— will begin to set out.
Of course we may discover that we are not to set out; the future may reveal instead that there is something out there calling us home.

All these themes are woven around DMT, possibly because DMT creates a microcosm of this very shift of epochs in the experience of a single individual. It seems to lift the perceiving mind out of the confines of ordinary space and time and give a glimpse of the largest frame of being possible. When Plato remarked that “Time is the moving image of
Eternity,” he made a statement every voyage into the DMT space reinforces. Like the shift of epoch called the apocalypse and anticipated by religious hysterics, DMT seems to illuminate the regions beyond death. And what is the dimension beyond life as illuminated by DMT? If we can trust our own perceptions, then it is a place in which thrives an ecology of souls whose stuff of being is more syntactical than material. It seems to be a nearby realm inhabited by eternal elfin entelechies made entirely of information and joyous self-expression. The afterlife is more Celtic fairyland than existential nonentity; at least that is the evidence of the DMT experience.

Chapter nineteen

My brother and I concluded that the truly novel element, the candidate for being the causal agent at La Chorrera, was the mushrooms. It was Stropharia cubensis that stood behind all of the effects we had experienced.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1975, I took the mushroom at doses of five grams dried, or fifty grams fresh, as often as I felt was prudent, which worked out to about once every two weeks.
Each of these experiences was a lesson—a chilling, exhilarating plunge into an ocean of noetic images. I discovered my own mind like a topological manifold, lying before me, inviting me to rove and scan the reflective knot of past and future time that is each of us. Alien presences and translinguistic elves bent near to me in those trances. The mushroom stressed its age, its vast knowledge of the ebb and flow of historical forces in many civilizations through the millennia. Images of the past and future abounded.

The mushroom always returned to the theme that it was wise in the ways of evolution and sympathetic therefore to a symbiotic union with what it referred to as “the human beings.” It was eager to share its own sense of the howness of things, a sense that had been developed over millions of years of conscious experience as an intelligent organism radiating through the galaxy. From its point of view, the mushroom is an elder life form, and as such it offers its tempering experience to a vibrant but naive child-race standing for the first time on the brink of flight to the stars.

The mushroom speaks, and our opinions rest upon what it tells eloquently of itself in the cool night of the mind:
“I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages, I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered through the shining disk of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing. My true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections than the number in a human brain. My mycelial network is nearly immortal—only the sudden toxification of a planet or the explosion of its parent star can wipe me out. By means impossible to explain because of certain misconceptions in your model of reality, all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyperlight communication across space and time. The mycelial body is as fragile as a spider’s web, but the collective hypermind and memory is a huge historical archive of the career of evolving intelligence on many worlds in our spiral star swarm. Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardy life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment. Few such species are minded, only myself and my recently
evolved near relatives have achieved the hypercommuni-cation mode and memory capacity that makes us leading members in the community of galactic intelligence. How the hypercommunication mode operates is a secret which will not be lightly given to man. But the means should be obvious: It is the occurrence of psilocybin and psilocin in
the biosynthetic pathways of my living body that opens for me and my symbiots the vision screens to many worlds. You as an individual and humanity as a species are on the brink of the formation of a symbiotic relationship with my genetic material that will eventually carry humanity and earth into the galactic mainstream of the higher civilizations.
“Since it is not easy for you to recognize other varieties of intelligence around you, your most advanced theories of politics and society have advanced only as far as the notion of collectivism. But beyond the cohesion of the members of a species into a single social organism there lie richer and even more baroque evolutionary possibilities. Symbiosis is one of these. Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development. These relationships have been mutually useful; within my memory is the knowledge of hyperlight-drive ships and how to build them. I will trade this knowledge for a free ticket to new worlds around suns less forsaken and nearer galaxy center. To secure an eternal existence down the long river of cosmic time, I again and again offer this agreement to higher beings and thereby have spread throughout the galaxy over the long millennia. A mycelial network has no organs to move the world, no hands; but higher animals with manipulative abilities can become partners with the star knowledge within me and if they act in good faith can return both themselves and their humble mushroom teacher to the million worlds all citizens of our star swarm are heir to.” current thinking concludes that the peak of the emergence of intelligence in the galaxy was achieved ten to one hundred million years ago, that most races in the galaxy are very old and sophisticated. We cannot expect such races to appear with a trumpet-blast over every city on earth. Such an entry into history is tantamount to crashing into someone’s house completely unannounced—hardly the sort of thing that one would expect from a subtle and ancient galactic civilization. Perhaps they have always been here, or rather their presence has always been here in the hallucinogens—when we understand this on our own, we will be signaling to them that we are now ready for the contact.
We can send that signal only by following the instructions contained in the seeded genes and building the necessary apparatus, social system, or vehicle. When that is done, somewhere in the galaxy lights will flash the message that yet another of the millions upon millions of seeded planets in the galaxy has achieved the threshold of galactic citizenship. Current estimates are that even in a galaxy teeming with intelligence, such a threshold is passed by an intelligent species only once every hundred or thousand years. It is a joyous moment, even for galactarians.

In 1977, Julian Jaynes of Princeton University published a most provocative book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Jaynes uses four hundred and forty-five pages to lay out his ideas concerning the role that hallucinations, especially audio hallucinations, have played in the structuring of mind. Jaynes believes that until the time of roughly the Iliad, around 1400 B.C., nothing at all like modern ego-centered and individuated consciousness existed. Instead he argues that people behaved like automata or social insects, unconsciously going about the tasks of the hive. Only in moments of great stress and personal danger was this regimen broken. In such moments an impersonal mind, outside the usual experience of the world, became manifest as a voice. According to Jaynes’s theory, such voices were the guiding lights of human society, perhaps for millennia

Chapter twenty


The only person who was part of the original team to whom I feel I can still rave at full bore with concerning the experiment at La Chorrera is Dennis. He obtained his degrees in botany, molecular biology, and neurochemistry years ago. He is now the scientist that at La Chorrera he could only aspire to be. He is married, has a precocious child, and works as a research pharmacologist for a Silicon Valley outfit called Shaman Pharmaceuticals. He tolerates my raving but is careful never to encourage me. I think that his attitude is still much as it was only a few months after the experiment, that whatever happened the toll on him was too great. He likes to rest with the facile argument that what happened was only a folie a deux, a delusion of two brothers grieving for their recently deceased mother and obsessed with conquering hyperspace. When I marshal my case against this and argue the evidence that something much more was going on, he reluctantly agrees, then shakes his head and turns away. To this day he remembers very little of what actually went on between the fourth and the twentieth of March 1971, and he prefers to keep it that way.

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