Ralph: The Yogic tradition is a little bit more separate from the physical world, but it works basically with the same kinda, it doesn’t work so much with animal or plant for example, plant substances, although some traditions, some aspects of Yoga do, for example the Tantric tradition in India does use plants and herbs and so forth as an adjunct to consciousness work. But more concentrating on the mental techniques, meditational techniques of Yoga, but the purpose being the same, being the contact with the inner world. And animals are used as symbols, of course you have animals and the chakras and that kinda thing. In Taoism it’s interesting because there the Yogic aspect of alchemy is much clearer, is much more clearly spell out. Alchemy is also a Yogic internal practice. See, I would see that Yoga and alchemy has being the Indian and Chinese equivalent of what in Europe has become the alchemical tradition. And which before in the preliterate, pretechnolological, early Neolithic and Paleolithic culture was shamanisms. Shamanism, animism. Animism meaning that nature is alive. One of the things I want to say about alchemy is that Jung said “well the alchemists were projecting the contents of their unconscious into matter”. So they were looking at the processes going on in the retorts and having visions of hallucinating from that. Really projecting their internal dynamics into that. And what I was, what I came to realized is that this is both true and not true in the sense that yes there is projection going on, you are projecting your own images that come out of your own ancestral inheritance into these processes that you’re seeing, is not however necessarily is not an unconscious projection because the images you are projecting are these mythic images that you’ve been taught, that you have learnt from your teachers and from the book that you read, the figures and stories of the Gods and the animals, and so the stories of the ancestors - which is what mythology is, it’s the story of our ancestors - are projected into these processes. It’s a conscious, not an unconscious projection. And it’s also again to remind you of this thing about the inner and the outer, it’s not only a projection. Yes there is a projection, but there is also perception. Projection and perception are the two poles of the processes of our intention, attention in relationship to the world. We constantly project images from within us, we project meaning from us. But we also can be and need to be and need to cultivate our receptivity, our ability to perceive or to apperceive as some people say, apperception is a sort of contextual perception where you get to get not only the thing there but the whole context in which that thing is and how it relates to you, and the feelings and associations that go along with it. That’s a receptive process. And in this there is an exquisite and poignant dance in the interplay between these projective and receptive/perceptive processes that engage with in all our lives. Because it’s extremely easy to get stuck in one or the other mode. And getting stuck in one or the other mode is equally detrimental. Many psychics for example get stuck in the receptive mode. They’re not able to make the discrimination between what’s their own projection and what their actually perceiving, and often they take on lots of physical illnesses, or psychic discontents and distress as a result of that. So, shamanism, alchemy, and Yoga as traditional technologies of consciousness transformation, which allow us to be in greater access and communication with the other worlds of consciousness which exist around us, and we might say, somebody might raise the question “well now, so what, who cares? Why is it important we have contact with these other worlds?”. Well the reason for the importance basically is if the model that these other worlds exist, that we live in a multidimensional reality is correct than we are in deep shit trouble if we don’t pay attention the other worlds. And since all of the traditions, you know, spiritual traditions, psychic, philosophical, religious traditions of all times, including shamanism are unanimous in asserting this claim that our ordinary attention and consciousness is limited to this pathetic of the possibly to be perceived. Like the Sufi say, you know, we’re like a man who lives on the ground floor of a 7-story mansion, have we forgotten completely that there is this other 6 floors exist above us, which are larger and more spacious and greater and more beautiful and more interesting than the one who he lives in. And if a lot of your essential knowledge comes to you through these other dimensions and you’ve lost contact with them you don’t even have the essential mechanisms for survival. See psychic perception, or extrasensory perception, or clairvoyance and all these things that the shamans and the Yogi and the alchemists talk about, their not luxuries, their not somethings we can indulge in when we’ve taken care of survival, they adapted, they evolved as adaptive evolutionary processes and we’ve lost them to a large extent to atrophy, they atrophied through misuse. It’s very clear from anthropological research that primitive, preliterate aboriginal cultures have abilities that we call telepathy, clairvoyance, and so forth. As a matter of course they take it for granted and they use it for survival. For example think of a hunter tribe that’s in Africa the bush in the bushmen of the Kalahari, this has been documented, that sends out a band of 6 hunters to track some animal, which they may be gone for 5 days, ok. And they have to chase this big animal such as a giraffe or a buffalo or whatever it may be and bring it back so, they had no telephone no telegraphic, they can’t send letters, how are they gonna stay in communication with the tribe. It’s been documented that they are in communication with, telepathic communication, with the tribe, where the tribe can know, it’s essential to their survival. They need to know when food is gonna come, whether the people are ok. The clairvoyance, which simply means being able to see some of these more subtle phenomena that are normally kind of just disappearing into invisibility or imperceptibility, is equally essential, and your survival could hinge on it. So, I see this, you know, we’re not exactly in a position to say that our attitude has contributed to our survival. I mean people do say that, people say even that nuclear deterrents has, you know the nuclear build up, has prevented nuclear war so far isn’t it? We should congratulate ourselves for the way we done. Nobody that can look at the situation we’re in can say that we are survivors, you know, we had to concentrate on the material world in order to survive and therefore we can’t indulge in luxuries such as these weird peoples of ancient cultures had the leisure to do apparently. It’s not the way it is. One interesting difference in the shamanic practice that’s now from the traditional [...] traditional cultures, some of which of course still exist, is that in the new, what you might call neo-shamanism is no longer the shamanism of the expert. So this is one of the things I appreciate so much about Michael Harner does. He’s taken certain aspects of core, he calls core shamanism, whether it’s that or not doesn’t matter, certain techniques shared by shamanic cultures all over the world and shown that westerners, aglo, white, westerners, middle class, with all the conditioning and brainwashing that the rationalistic, newtonian, mechanistic world model has succeeded in impinging and putting on all of us, and can within a very short time have shamanic experiences, can open up doorways to these other worlds establish ally-relationships, totanic relationships, they’re not really totanic because totanic means family, comes from the […] and these are not, these are new, these are individual new. So everyone has a potential for becoming a shaman, becoming a practitioner shamanism. It’s no longer you need to go to the expert, the one person in the tribe who played that role because now we’ve evolved all kinds of other approaches for, of course we still have experts, you know, it’s ok to use experts but on the other hand what much more important is that people, the actual you and me, all of us, anyone who cares about the world that we live in and would like to survive and would like to see those world pass onto our children or grandchildren and behoves us all to make use of every possible help, method, tool, technique, ally, spiritual, technological, as long as it helps us get there and accomplish this purpose, we’d be fools not to use it. I’ve recently come to understand also that there are different varieties of shamanic path and this may help some of you think about how you might relate to that kinda path, and we could talk further about this this afternoon too. Part of this came to me from a distinction that’s made in the Polinesian-Hawaian shamanic complex between, starting with the assumption that the shamanic path is one of the, obtaining this otherwise inaccessible knowledge, usually not accessible knowledge, they make a distinction between the path of the warrior and the path of the adventurer. And this is a very interesting distinction. The path of the warrior is the path that emphasises impeccability and intense observation and attention. And it has a worldview that says the world is a dangerous place filled with malevolent forces, both ordinary human and spirit, and it’s the task of the warrior to be able to defend himself, him or herself at all times, against these prevailing malevolent forces that are all around us. And therefore the path of the warrior emphasises this highly disciplined kinda practices and tends to emphasise ordeal, self infliction of pushing one’s own limits for endurance or pain tolerance in order to stand one’s limits of tolerance and steel oneself as it were for this ongoing combat. Basically it’s the impeccability to consists, you know, Castaneda’s books are good examples, good descriptions of this path and this attitude. Impeccability to me consists in this sense of balance between what I call the projective and the perceptive. Not just having the vision and so “Oh yeah a vision, groovy, wow!” you know, taking it in. Many people have that attitude toward psychedelics, just take it and “wow!”. Impeccability means you look back, you don’t just take it, you look and you try to discriminate between what are your own projections based on your own fears and fantasies and what is really going on there, and what really is going on there. You need to be able to observe, you need to be able to catch the details, you need to be able to see through the surface in order to be able to get to the meaning that’s being expressed by that surface of form. And that to me is impeccability. Impeccability means not just indulging and having the vision, it means observing the vision that you’re shown. In all states of consciousness. Now, the adventurer, the path of the adventurer is a little bit different. The adventurer actually needs to have the same impeccability and the same attention to observing, really attending to detail, however he doesn’t necessarily, and he agrees that the world is filled with malevolent forces, but that’s not all, the adventurer whom I actually prefer to call the explorer so you think of it as adventurer/explorer as a type of path, as an orientation says yes we need to be able to protect ourselves so we’ll learn the skills of the warrior but on the other hand reality is infinitely fluid, or not infinitely, it’s fluid and flexible within certain limits and these limits can be extended and expanded. And the adventurer then rather tries to generate or co-create a picture of reality in which the potential for unfolding and for creative expression of everyone participating is maximized. So it’s creating an environment, creating a setting, co-creating a space, a context, a reality, in which each and every one of us humans and the animals and the plants and nature herself can be recognized as a community of equals and can have the right to unfold their own destiny. This is what the deep ecology movement, how deep ecology connects into shamanisms. Cause deep ecology says every species of plant or animal and the environmental elements themselves have an equal right to live their right without having their integrity violated by one particular arrogant species. So, the adventurer/explorer and the warrior consciousness share the emphasis of impeccability of observation on detail, on discipline to a certain extent, but the adventurer emphasizes creativity more. The creative play to allow the unfolding of these created realities that maximise everyone’s potential. So, the drawback of the warrior consciousness is that it tends to become paranoid, cause this kind of suspiciousness, the world is full of malevolent forces, shades very easily into paranoia. And when you think of warrior consciousness not so much in the shamanic context, see the shamanic warrior consciousness is conscious, warrior attitude in relationship to the inner world than to the outer world. Warriors of course exist in the ordinary world and one way, one kind of summary statement of the kind of mess that we’re in right now is to say that the warrior consciousness has run amok. When you look at the governments of the world, both first, second and third world countries, 99% of them are military cliques, military elites. The military/industrial complex has been in charge, they basically have access to the largest amount of resources, they have access to all the science and technology, they have access to the largest amount of money, they control they dominate, they are parasitical on the economy. Because the military economy is not a life-sustaining economy, it’s a life destroying economy, which doesn’t produce anything of value that sustains and supports life. Therefore it’s parasitical on the rest of the economy, on people who grow food and live lives, and try and have, you know, have babies and continue the life on this world. The difference between parasitism and symbiosis is very crucial. Symbiosis means mutual cooperative support of each other’s evolutionary development. Parasitism is evolutionary development of one species or a group or a clan on another, at the expense of another. The colonial enterprise, the entire colonialism is a form of parasitism, that’s why we shouldn’t be surprised when, you know, in third world countries don’t think of America so much as the land of opportunity as much as the land of imperialist oppression and exploitation. The opportunity is not for them. So we are the ones that go in there and force them to change their agriculture over to doing monocultural things which leads to and enforces to grow crops that they can sell for cash to feed our, to make our hamburgers, to feed our cattle and therefore not being able to feed themselves and destroying the rainforest, they wouldn’t come up with that as a mechanism of survival, it’s a parasitism, it’s for us, we consume all that stuff, and they’re left with the waste matter. So, this is one difference in which the shamanic revival, the neo-shamanisms differs from the traditional role, is in its emphasis each individual has the ability and the necessity and the rights certainly to practice, desirability to practice by yourself, teach for yourself, find out for yourself, go for yourself, go and see, see what you can learn. And the other to me, very, well there’s not really a difference from before, but let me say something about why I think this is the significance of this and both Terence and John have already alluded to it. It’s because the pre-literate shamanic aboriginal primal cultures have preserved this sort of shamanistic, animistic, pagan worldview, is one of the reasons why it’s important for us to study these cultures and to study our own past because we had that, our own ancestors had that kind of relationship to nature which is completely different, they had a relationship to nature that was based on a sense of community with nature, this is one of the things Thomas Berry, the philosopher who’s just come out with this new book called dreaming the earth, emphasises, the notion of community needs to be extended between, from the one the we are usually used to, the human community, to a community of humans with animals, with plants, with the natural elements of the environment, the earth itself, and with the spirits that dwell in it. This interconnectedness, interwovenness, which we have lost, which is exemplified and emphasized in some scientific movements, particularly the Lovelock hypothesis, the Gaia hypothesis of Lovelock, which states that the world apparently on scientific evidence alone behaves like a living organism like a living, breathing giant organism, like a supercell. And the deep ecology movement which says that ecology is not just a matter of preserving our resources, it’s a matter of shifting out of an anthropocentric viewpoint, a human-centered viewpoint into a biocentric viewpoint in which life is at the centre and our task is to everything we can to preserve and sustain life and everything we can to avoid harming or try to minimize the harm, or the intrusion, or the invasion, or the destruction of anybody else’s habitat. That the whole thing is interwoven in a unity. Now the notion of Gaia, the world by itself, there’s certain limitations of the view too. For one thing, I mean the Gaia hypothesis, the scientific hypothesis I think it’s a major step forward in science, it’s not quite the view of animism. Cause animism says that not only is the earth alive and all the different parts of the earth are alive, but these are sacred intelligences. See if you say the earth is alive but you’re still talking from within a mechanistic worldview, that it’s alive in the way that other animals and plants are alive, which is basically like a machine, animals and plants according to mechanistic biology are just self-reproducing machines, self-regulating, self-reproducing machines, it’s still a mechanistic worldview. We don’t need to speculate about what Lovelock’s views might be personally, they might be quite different from this scientific hypothesis, so it’s ok to have the hypothesis but I think the next step that still needs to be taken, that involves an integration of science and spirituality which have also become separated is to recognize that there is not only, nature is not only alive, the earth is not only alive, but it’s intelligent, we can communicate with it, and through direct means, and it’s a sacred world, which is in fact interlinked with the existence and the viability of the earth itself. And when you think about it and look at the spiritual artistic expressions, the literature, the sacred text, the symbols, the architecture, the sculptures, the paintings, and so forth, when you really see it the role of nature, animals, plants, in all cultures, even, I mean the religious traditions that are most separated from nature are of course the three western monoteistic, patriarchal, monoteistic religions of islam, judaism, and christianity. They have the worst record as far as a negative relationship to nature and earth, even although there are exceptions within traditions, particularly individual mystics, but the overall orthodox view of the system itself tends to be in all three of those religions rejecting of nature, fearful of nature and see spirituality as transcending nature. In Islam you have this knowledge of the [naast?] the animals, the ego, the ego is symbolized by animals. And they are simultaneously our enemies that we have to get beyond. See this is a very different view than you would gain from the animistic religion which said the animals are not our enemies, neither the animals inside us nor the animals around us, the animals are our brothers and sisters, our relations, all our relations. Both in the spirit form and in the real form. So we can cultivate this relationship with the spirit, the soul of the animal, as well as with animals that we might actually know in flesh and blood and fur and four legs and wings. And the worldview that’s emerging, this will be my last point now before we break, what I wanna emphasize here is the recent realization that this animistic, shamanistic, pagan worldview that we are rediscovering, reconnecting with, and appreciating anew its value and its significance for our time, this significance becomes even more acute when you realize that in shamanism, you know they talk a lot about the importance of connecting with your ancestors, and in work that I’ve done individually and with groups this is more and more becoming apparent, that connection with the ancestors, connection with the animal spirits, guide animals, and connection with ancestors guardians, is an essential part of the process. And this is where the [...] comes from psychology, psychotherapy, into shamanisms. Psychotherapy will do a lot of work with your parents, to clear up your relationship with your parents. Any negative [...]. It needs to happen before you connect with your ancestors. The parents are your first ancestors, if you’re not clear with them you cannot go any further back. And the connection with the animal is actually a part of it, because the animals are our ancestors, we are animals, we are descended from animals. So the primates, the mammals, the reptiles, the amphibians, and the fish, that’s our animal ancestry, as order of life, as kingdoms of life. But our human ancestry were hunter gatherers for 100,000 years before they started farming and building cities with walls around them. Couple of hundred thousands years of hunter gatherers, of wandering, of tribal existence, with shamanic worldview, with a view of necessity of total sensory communication, maximal sensory communication, fluidity, discrimination, with the natural world. These were our ancestors. And then getting into this realm of pre-history, Terence referred to the work of Riane Eisler which in turn is based on the work of the archeologist Marija Gimbutas who’s made a discovery over the last 20 years has been to unearth, to uncover the goddess religion of old-Europe as she calls it. Europe before the invasions of the indo-europeans, the indo-aryans who came from central Asia and invaded India from the north, the Mediterranean Basin and western Europe in wave after wave after wave of invasion. These were nomadic horse people. They had domesticated the horse and they had domesticated, they had discovered how to make bronze weapons and they started invading around 5000BC and wave after wave after wave pushing and invading and preying on, really functioning as predators on the neolithic cultures, farming cultures, which had already existed in those areas in old-Europe and around the whole Baltic region, the Mediterranean including Crete, all the way up to northern central Germany, southern eastern, southern western Russia, that whole area, there were hundreds and hundreds of different cultures and language groups in which the two chief features that are of significance are that these were goddess cultures that apparently had, did not have any kind of have superior, inferior, subordination relationship between the sexes, it was not a matriarchy, as Marija Gimbutas emphasizes, not a matriarchy, which means the mothers dominate, the mothers control rather than the fathers. It was as Riane Eisler suggested a partnership society in which man and women had equal value, had very distinct roles, and the chief divinity was female, and it was not a mother goddess. This is also important. The mother concept has been overemphasized I think. Again it’s something we can talk about more later. It’s the life giving and death giving goddess. Because we are given life by nature but we’re also killed by nature. So this is not a mother. A mother doesn’t kill you. Nature, as an intelligence, as a spirit, is what gives us life and what kills, what takes life. So, there are images of this goddess figure in total unitive relationship with animals, snake and the bird, and various animals, toads, frogs, boulchers, insects, bees, bears, bulls, sheep, goats, all the various animals. And no hierarchy within the society. Other than possibly, I mean in the buildings there would be a throne, but the throne would be of the priestess, or the goddess would be in a central place, the goddess figuring would be in a central place. Second very important part is that there are no, in all these cultures, in these hundreds of things have never been found any weapons, there have never been found any fortifications. That is not the pattern that you find in later Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek, Egyptians, all these other cultures, which were all male God cultures, of a male king, surrounded by all this wealth and ornaments and sometimes slaves also killed along with it, and weapons and inscriptions about the glorious deeds, militaristic deed that the hero, the king, had done. None of that! Instead men and women and children equally were buried right under the house where you eat and sleep, so that you have the connection with your ancestors right under your feet, under your body, where you live, you’re reminded of it. And what does this mean? This means that, see these people were our ancestors, the nomadic patriarcal warrior sky-god people were our ancestors, and the peaceful, egalitarian, goddess culture people were our ancestors. Because of course they intermarried, I mean they didn’t just killed, they destroyed their religion but they intermarried, they had children. Loads of them are our ancestors. You may be familiar with Rupert Sheldrake theory of morphic resonance, you know the habits of nature and culture get transmitted by repetition. That means the morphic field for a culture that is egalitarian between the sexes and that’s peaceful exists within us, we have it within us, we have access to it within our psychic memory, whatever that may be, whatever form that may take. And, not only that, the morphic field of that is much stronger than the morphic field of the militaristic, aggressive, dominating, patriarchal system that started around 4 to 3 thousand years before Christ because those cultures go back to 10 thousand, 20 thousand, 30 thousand, 40 thousand, 50 thousand, right back into the upper Paleolithic were you first have little stone chips inscribed with goddess symbols. These were hunter gatherer cultures and pastoral culture, and farming culture, they were not fighting cultures. The fighting comes in as a result of the invaders who came in, who took over, who plundered basically, said “hey these people are growing the food, this is much better than having to gather it, let’s just take it!” who were able to do it because they set up high on horses who installed their [...], of course I’m not saying, this is sort of the gross picture, [...] there is evidence for peaceful interaction also, and cultural assimilation and all of that, but the morphic field of that cultural way of life is stronger because longer in time, more people, longer period of time, than this other more new ones. So that, when I discovered that, when I learn this from Marija Gimbutas writings and talks it did a change in my worldview and my paradigms that was as profound as the change induced when I first took LSD. Because up to that point I had always believed, you history begins with bloodshed and warfare, and there’s been blood and warfare ever since. And in fact in the biology school along with that they said “well we’ve descended from these aggressive animals” aggressive in nature, nature raw in tooth and claw, eat or be eaten, the territorial imperative, you know, two thousand and one, you know, bash the soul, that’s it. We’ve always been that way, it’s part of human nature, we can’t change. Along comes this woman from eatern Europe and says, “hu hu”, no matriarchy, no weapons, for tens of thousands of years, ten times, twenty times as long as our history that we previously thought, you know, this is our ancestry. This means these people were our ancestors, we know how to do it, we know how to live in an ecologically and peaceful harmonious world, we’ve done it. So for that reason I’m actually extremely hopeful although I realize as everyone of you do that our world situation as you look at it today is a total and unmitigated disaster. The apocalypse is already in full sway, it’s not something that gonna happen next year or 25 years from now, it’s happening now, all you need to do is read the papers, look at the titles. The four horsemen of the apocalypse, war, famine, poverty, and destruction they’re all rampaging over the entire globe. Amnesty International just put out [...] more than two thirds of all nation governments sanction torture, sanction torture as an official government sanctioned practice. And the numbers are increasing, and the variety of turture techniques being used and the numbers of people being used on is increasing. So, by no stretch of the imagination that can be called progress, but there are these very very hopeful sings, and the locus of those signs is within the psyche of every single human individual, nowhere else. So, thank you for your attention.
[40:48] TM: Ok. The expectation for this afternoon is simply that we will attempt to address what concerns you have to dialogue, to give people a chance to ask questions. It seems to me that often the most fertile part of these things is the dialogue part of it, because this is where the talking heads pontificating about whatever obsessions drive them personally, you have a chance to try and be the rudder of these public egos and stir them toward something interesting and so the obligation is on you on the quality of rhetoric for that kind of accession. So I don’t know how much was clear this morning, how much of [...], what issues it raises for people, but if someone would like to start off with a question we would just make our way into it. Yes
TM: Yes, before we go further, do you want people to take a microphone? Speak clearly when you ask your question. Sorry, go ahead
Q: Ok so here’s a repeated question and it’s got to do with the drugs, psychedelics, I know that you didn’t necessarily recommended it but you also didn’t sound like you were against it, and
TM: Maybe I’ve overdone this, evenhandedness
Q: My question is, what is there to know about drugs and brain damage. They have advertisements where a pen and an egg going in there and [..] your brain and knock some brain cells out
TM: Well, you know the president consort urges us to simply say no and I can’t remember whether, who it was, I think it was Tim Leary the other night was wearing a t-shirt saying “just say know” k-n-o-w.
TM: … then you have to make very clear choices. My own approach to this has been to give give great force to tradition. That’s why we’re here talking about shamanically utilized plants, because they are plants with a history of human usage, thousands of years old. We already know that they do not cause tumors or madness or miscarriages because if that were the case they would have been pushed aside over millennia of usage. A private prejudice of my own that I urge on people is that the drugs that they take should be as much like brain chemistry as possible, as non-invasive of the physical brain as possible. Fortunately and suggestively, the strongest of all hallucinogens are the ones most like ordinary brain chemistry. Another thing I think it’s important is to be, sort of pharmacologically mono-manical. It’s good to do, when you find out what works for you just really do it into the ground rather than being someone who’s always, you know, this week it’s 2CB, and next week it’s something else, and then something else. It’s much better, I think, if you find an ally who resonates with you to then utilize that. Ralph you deal with all this, what do you…
[45:33] RM: Well, a couple of things that I would say to that question. One is, the first thing we all have to learn to do, I mean we do it but we also fall into the habit. A national culture has this concept of drug, d-r-u-g, you know the [...] and see Regan slogan, the drug is a very global category as anyone knows as soon as you start to think about it and law enforcement legislation does not currently make any distinction between heroine, cocaine, marijuana, LSD, which couldn’t be more different. They’re completely opposite sometimes effects on the brain and nervous system. So that’s one thing: be discriminating about what drug you’re talking about. And then the other thing is to be aware of the fact that science and scientific information is a controlled process and it’s controlled by a government that has basically a fascist attitude towards food and drugs. I always thought that FDA could be an acronym for fascist drug administration. We do have a fascist system, within a larger democratic, outwardly democratic process. One of the things that it’s interesting to realized is that if you have a democracy you can elect yourself into a fascism, which is what we’ve done. Because fascist is the imposition of the opinions and beliefs of a minority on a majority.
TM: It’s the great danger of democracy, that it will become some kind of fascism of the majority
Ralph: And so the science, the fascist science, the medical-pharmaceutical complex, which is next to the military-industrial complex, the largest and most powerful power group in our world, controls what goes out into the media in terms of scientific information. Not only control it, they manipulate it, it becomes more like a propaganda. So when you read all kinds of newspapers and magazines that say such and such scientist did a study on that proved that MDMA serotonin levels whatever, damages brain cells, you can’t read that and accept it as truth, you have to inform yourself, I’d say become monomaniacal about pharmacology in a different sense then Terence, you have to [prain] yourself and read the technical, if you really wanna know what really goes on you have to go into the original literature yourself, I mean you have to be able to discriminate between scientific experiments that are done for propaganda purposes and those which are genuine and the media do not make that distinction, and drug enforcement, and legislation doesn’t make it. So, you know, everyone’s responsibility, everyone’s gonna be their own shaman, so it’s their own responsibility to know your drugs, know what your particular body can tolerate as well as what’s generally tolerable or what’s toxic, what has undesirable side effects and be discriminating, use discernment, be impeccable about it and take responsibility, as part of the whole medical thing we don’t, you know, we don’t take responsibility for our own health and well-being and getting better. We say, you know, we still have that old “the doctor knows best” and you know. And finally I would say along with what Terence was saying, I think that the use of the word drug is not a good word to use period, I have tried to use it less and less and less and even. And even Hoffmann said this years ago, in relationship to psychedelics. [mumbles] about plants, visionary plants, sacred plants that have a long long culture history, as well as nutritional plants. This ties into the use of herbs, rather than synthetic antibiotics and drugs in medicine. Herbal medicine is a huge underground medical system that’s basically unrecognized and unacknowledged as the way psychoactive plants and substances are unrecognized and unacknowledged. So by focusing on herbs and plants, natural substances, using synthetics only in those cases where you’ve discovered, something has been discovered that otherwise is not known in the plants and animal kingdom, would enable to bypass much of that whole drug prohibition, paranoid, punitive complex that we live under in our society, which is very very weird because you have a fascist minority wishing to not only to control certain substances, but actually control what you put into your body. That’s going pretty far, I mean it’s not that different from telling you what you can eat and what you can’t eat.
TM: Eventually, you see, when we move beyond the current sort of dark age that we live in, the idea that governments can tell you what drugs you can take will be as bizzarre a notion as that government can buy and sell human beings, or that there should be recognized a divine right of kings. It’s actually a civil rights issue. And, you know in the 19th century people’s argument against women’s suffrage was that it would be unimaginable, the world would be destroyed if you gave women the vote, and just madness would ensue. This is now the argument against allowing people to make these decisions about their bodies and their spiritual development. And yet science which just relentlessly rolls forward, creating an endless cornucopia of steroids, hallucinogens, aphrodisiacs, memory enhancers, so forth and so on, is presenting us over and over again with this dilemma of how do we chemically manage ourselves in the kind of world we’re living in. And I tried to indicate this morning, I think this is central to understanding what human beings are, that there is no such thing as a person without habitual relationships to plants. And it’s tea, coffee, sugar, alcohol, and then a wider spectrum
TM: Yeha cereals, we embed ourselves the very way in which we define good feeling and the expression of the self is these various states of mind that we associate with our diet and our habit. People get up first thing in the morning most people do is choose the first drug of the day, will it be tea? Will it be coffee? And so forth and so on. There’s nothing wrong with this. We apparently by our ability to collect, and actually you know it all goes back to our omnivorous diet. Most animals are not omnivores, most animals have a food source, a spectrum of foods that they eat that is very narrow. But if you’re an omnivore, if your habit is to eat everything and to test everything in the environment for protein then you lay yourself open to exposure to vast numbers of mutagens, hallucinogens, tumor-inducing compounds, steroids, galactosides, poisons, all kinds of things. You accept that these things are impinging and selecting on the human genome and very quickly we have evolved into this very quirky kind of species that, as I said this morning, addicts to everything. I mean it is the source of our great anguish and our great grandeur, we can addict to a piece of land and call it the homeland and defend it against all comers and slaughter with impunity everybody who gets near it and claim it after we’ve been away from it after 10 thousand years as hours because once we were there, we can addict to another person, you know, anyone who has experienced heartbreak, real heartbreak know this is like a withdrawal syndrome. I mean bursting into tears every 20 minutes and not sleeping and vomiting every 3 hours. I mean this person has a severe dependency which is being broken. In the same way we ideologically enslave ourselves. So there is no percentage in denying this side of ourself, what we have to do is manage it. Manage it in some way that serves obviously community-preserving purposes. And I think that the model is always tradition, that the traditional compounds, the traditional plants of shamanic usage are the ones that we are probably meant to use. They fit our hand, the way a tool fits our hands, they were meant for us we co-evolved with these things. I was talking to Leicester Winspoon about this recently and he said “the way you can tell how long human beings have been using a drug is by few side effects that drug has” because of course there is this mutual levelling of the stress of contact. Symbiosis has never been taken seriously by evolutionary biologists. Food as a mutagenic influence has never been taken serious by human evolutionary theorists. And yet obviously that is what has driven us to such a rapid state of evolution: our willingness to expose ourselves to an extremely complex and shifting environment that was in fact the things we put into our bodies. Everything else stayed pretty much the same over long periods of time. So this question that the gentleman asked goes to the whole heart of the matter, to the fact that you know we are living know in a kind of hysteria about drugs. Tim Leary said LSD was a compound capable of causing psychotic behaviour in people who hadn’t taken it. This can know be generalized to, we see an entire society and a drug-induced frenzy induced by drugs that they have never taken, you see.
[57:23] Ralph: One other thing that I’d like to add too on this theme of the relationships between food and drugs and the human species again to hammer on this point, you know, the argument has been made that every major civilization is founded on one of the seven sacred grains, there are seven sacred grains. The Chinese is built on rice, the European is built on wheat and rye, and American-Indian civilization is based on corn, and so forth. And it’s interesting to realize that, you know, there are these food addictions and food allergies, which are connected, and wheat is one of the commonest foods that people get both allergic and addicted to as a food, and, what was probably the most prominent source of LSD, ergot, which is a fungus that grows on rye and wheat, and was probably cultivated in ancient Greece, deliberately, the ergot was, as the vision inducing beverage that was the heart of the Eleusinian mysteries, if Wasson and Hofmann and Schultes are correct in their theory about this, and there have been newspaper reports from England of pharmacologists and doctors claiming that people who buy wheat or rye that may be contaminated with ergot may actually be ingesting active doses of LSD-type compounds. So right here in the central supportive grain in the western civilization you have a psychoactive vision-inducing plant built in, the knowledge of which disappeared for 2000 years. And is now in process of being rediscovered, and what that really means for us gives much thought
Q: Hypothesizing about the early dawn of consciousness of mankind, if it were assisted by visionary plants, would this have made a genetic change in the DNA strand rather than just an experience for that hominoid or whoever it was that was enlightened, could made a mutation and then their consciousness was pass on to their offspring
TM: Well it’s a very complicated situation and where we don’t have all the information, but what it looks like happened was there were arboreal, canopy living primates in Africa, in a tropical forest similar to the Amazon in extent, and over a long period of time, 100 thousand years or so, drying set in, and grasslands emerged and the forest retreated and these primates, that who already have binocular vision and an advanced grasping hand and social form of existence with group signalling, were forced down onto the veldt. And there, in a much more restricted environment in terms of species of plants, they abandoned their previous vegetarian, fruitarian habits, and became omnivores, began testing all the food sourced in the environment. Co-evolving in this grassland situation were herds of angulate animals, bison, zebra, and this kind of thing. In the manure of these animals was psilocybin containing mushrooms. Well, you see, the psychedelic to be the trigger of human consciousness, it must be African, it must be, it must require no preparation, it must stand out from its environment, and it must confer an adaptive advantage. Now it seems to me the only plant or organism which fulfills all these points is the mushroom. What the mushroom would do in low doses is confer slightly increased visual acuity, well you only have to have taken evolution 1A to know that if you have two populations and one of them have something in their food that increases visual acuity and these are pack-hunting animals, that the ones with this vision-enhancing compound in their diet will have a more successful reproductive strategy the competitors and it will dominate. Well at a slighter higher dose, psilocybin like all the CNS stimulators, can be enterpreted as an aphrodisiac, in other words, prolonged erection, prolonged interest in sex, and so forth and so on. At a slightly higher level it flowers out into a visionary experience. So it’s like a stair-step process where the deeper the organism imbibed this one items in the food chain the more payback there seems to be. First better hunting, then better sex, then great ideas. Who could turn it down? And I’ve taught, you when Riane Eisler peered here, Riane is by no stretch of the imagination a psychedelic, I mean she is a very straight and very wise lady, but not a stoner, but she said “You’re right, there is something going on having to do with pastoralism, having to do with this point in time where the previous pack-hunting primates instead of killing their prey began to pen then and began to relate to them, to addict to them” is what it was. And I was saying to someone earlier today, here’s a test of how conscious of the real world you are: what is the weirdest thing about a cow? And my victim said “the eyes?”. No the weirdest thing about a cow is its tits. Obviously. I mean have you ever seen tits like that everywhere else? These tits are made to fit a human hand, it’s obvious. And so this is an example of coevolution, co-adaptation. That human being, the cow, and then less immediately obvious, but nevertheless powerfully present, is the mushroom. John referred to this this morning, you see, I think what happened is that women outsmarted themselves. The men were off silently hunting and practicing being quiet as they stalk their prey, the women were creating language in order to describe the taxonomy of these various food-plants, of which they probably could distinguish four of five hundred plants, seasons, soil conditions, variants, unusual conditions of all sorts, which parts of the plant were edible, which were poisonous, so forth and so on, and as always happens when you succeed in an enterprise where you seek control, you inevitably simplify. So the women became so conversant with the power of plants that they realized they need no longer gather them, they could grow them. And then they realized they wouldn’t of course grow all the plants they knew about, they would only grow those plants that grew easily, produce large fruit and had big payback. And suddenly the women undercut their own power base. And it began impossible to silently practice very dulling agriculture. And the gods then became not the gods and the orgy and the hunt and the wild plants. But the gods became corn gods, and wheat gods. And it became important to be able to get up early and walk off to your field and weed. And less important to be able to ecstatically prophesy and have visions. Well that’s just one scenario, but it’s worth talking about because how we image our emergence out of animal organization is going to color very deeply how we image our transition into a transcendental realm. That’s why I talk about what I call the archaic revival, rather than the new age. All this talk about shamanism is a reaching back, fifteen twenty thousand years to those models, to steady us. We should go out the way we came in. Which means, as a partnership society, as a psychedelic society, as a tribal society. And so in thinking about the origins, we actually get an intimation of the future.
[1:07:48] Q: [...]
TM: Oh yeah, I mean it is all of a piece, the suppression of women. It’s a complicated thing I mean it has to do with solar calendars which gained prominence with the invention of agriculture. See I think the invention of agriculture is where it began to go wrong. Well some people say it was the domestication of the horse or cities, or this and that. But people idealize the neolithic and think that this was fine, but I think that already in place where notions of hanging on to the land, of storing wealth, of cooperating… coerced cooperation in the production of food, a simplified vocabulary in the production of food. All of these things were put in place by the neolithic. But you know Arthur Young, some of you may know his theories, he has this idea that every state of freedom is accomplished by a descent into a state of bondage. So that for instance, you know, molecular chemistry is the product of the molecular bond. If you have chemical systems with so much energy that there can be no molecular bond then all you have is atomic chemistry, you have not the possibility of organic chemistry. So the coming and going of the male ego, the coming and going of the repression of women and the feminine seems to be related to how much exposure there is to these wild plant states because, you see women come up against it, because they bury the dead, they birth the living, they know that all is not as it appears to be. They are informed of the fact that culture is a charade. But men believe all this stuff
RM: At least those women that are, were able, like the witches, or the women who, and a few men, who stayed, who had the wisdom to stay in touch with the lore, the herbal lore, the plant lore, so they acted as midwives, thye helped women have abortions when they wanted to get rid of the children they went to these midwives, they did healing when the doctors of the time didn’t have the knowledge to do so. So the inquisition was kind of the result of an unholy marriage between the power threads of the medical profession against natural healers, which still exist, and the power trip of the church against the animistic religion, because the church put its whole wait against this thing, this scapebuilding process, of using women as the scapegoats. So everything that was corrupt in the church itself, because women were sinful and they sold themselves and lead to the devil. So from the church point of view they didn’t really care about the plant lore. It’s very interesting that a lot of plant lore went defunct with elimination and the execution of the witches. Because there was nobody there who was interested in preserving it. In fact witchcraft trials give clear indication that when the women try to say well, you know, when they were asked “why did you go and fly off and of this thing” that was being reported to you or “why did you fall down on the ground and you were lifeless for 3 days?” and they said “well because we took this little herb”. And the inquisitor said “no no no, it’s because you took the devil”. One poignant story actually recorded, you know the swiss word, the german word for herb is kraut and the swiss version of it is krutly so these swiss witches that were being prosecuted and the inquisitors said “who is your god, what makes you have these visions and these journeys” and they would keep saying krutly, and so the inquisitors wrote in their books “they called their god kurtly” they called the devil whom they may have intercourse with because it takes them off on these journeys, so as a result the knowledge got lost. So the lore, the herbal lore of the middle ages that witches preserved was completely lost. I mean the inquisition took place between 14th to 18th century so that’s comparatively recently. And the scapegoating mechanisms incidently there, also at play, which is very important, is the same exact mechanism, that surfaces later in the 20th century with the genocide, in that case is the jews who, the particular race, who’s singled out as being the scapegoat in the early inquisition, which is exactly the same patterns of the patriarchical power structure imposing this used, piked the women as being scapegoat at the time. Hopefully one of the things that has to happen is we grow beyond the need for scapegoating and take the responsibility for our own growing and learning
Q: and embedded in all the monoteistic text [...] so she has to be controlled
RM: ...And Francis Bacon who initiated the experimental method in science talked about nature actually having to be violated, we have to force her secrets from her by force, by violence. It’s sort of rapacious
TM: He is the man of the torture
RM: The torture! The torture here to get out her secrets. Whereas true science, see there is to me there is a true science, much of what we call science is not true, there are a few individual scientists who are true scientists, like the true alchemists they are lovers of nature, like Albert Hoffmann, and he who loves nature and approaches nature with love and loving understanding, is given nature’s secret as a gift, as a grace, as a gift, which is why he was good in it.
Q: [...] hallucinogens, you mentioned psilocybin which was good for sex, and mescaline
TM: They’re all good for sex
Q: [...] peyote which has mescaline in it, which is near methamphetamine, what about scopolamine and what about DMT, what to emphasize
TM: Well it’s good that these questions are asked. The real source of information is largely folkloric in our own culture because of course we live in a society where research is not allowed so it’s all underground and clandestine. But you asked about scopolamine and scopolamine is along with L-hyoscyamine and other things, the active ingredients in jimson weed, which because of Carlos Castaneda and the practices of Brujeria in Mexico is well known as a psychoactive plant, it certainly is psychoactive. Whether it is psychedelic or not
Q: Maybe more like madness?
TM: It’s a kind of delirius frenzy, you go between delirium and frenzy and you have a great deal of trouble remembering. It’s what’s called state-bounded. If you try to, you know, from my own point of view if I were to try to describe the ideal shamanic plant what it would do it would not interfere with the short term and long term memory, it would clear your system very quickly and it would be highly visionary, I guess just the kind of personality that values vision, so I really think it’s weird when people say they took drug x and it was wonderful, and you say “well did you hallucinate?” and they say “well no”, well then what was so wonderful about it, there must have been something, a feeling. But for me what is fascinating is just the indole hallucinogens, this very small family, which include psilocybin, LSD, ibogane, harmaline, and harmine, the beta carbolines, did I say DMT. And that’s it! Not even mescaline, which marks me as a kind of calvinist
Q: [...] dance alone
TM: But these indole hallucinogens, what we’re trying to get our here is we’re trying to appear to be sane and rational people so we don’t seize you by the lapelles and shake you, but what we’re trying to get out is that these things contain something that our heart, our history, our religion did not prepare us for, and it appears to be an alien god, an unknown dimension, the edge of our ideological world in some way. Big excitement, not prolonged erection, or enhanced memory, or the ability to rave all night, or ability to recall instances of molestation in your childhood which may or may not have even occurred. But something else. Some thing really transcendental, completely astonishing. And that, as a rationalist, I think we have no right to expect that it exists. Most people don’t know that it exists. People go from birth to the grave and never have the faintest inkling that there are these things in the environment which can just turn them upside down, said elves crawling through your doors and jumping out of, I mean really reality just comes apart, if you’ve neve had that experience, be assured that you could. A lot of people live their life in the faith that there is no Santa Claus, well I’ve got news for you
RM: One thing I might add about scopolamine is that atropine and hyoscyamine that are derived from this night shades, solinacea night shades were an important psychoactive when, which is the European medieval shamanic tradition, and they seem to produce a kind of visionary, but different from psilocybin, or indole tryptamine kinds of vision, accompanied by kind of a twilight sleep, what brain researchers referred to as fatal state, just before sleep where you get these kinda imageries where you get a sequence of images like dreamlike and then you kinda fade out, you go into sleep, which is why, and then you may wake up again and your body feels very heavy and kind of asleep and yet you’re having these visions. So there is this sense of confusion, did you see that did you dream it, what was it. And because its detachment from the body scopolamine was quite commonly used in childbirth for generations of women gave birth to children while in this delirial twilighty sleep state
TM: It was also used by the SS as a truth serum because they thought they could extract information
Q: Thank you
Q: In a recent article, the same magazine that Ralph mentioned [...] Ralph Metzner wrote an article along with another person who’s name I don’t recall, on MDMA and my [...] you Ralph pretty much extolled the virtues of MDMA for experiences in the generic kind that we’re discussing here today. Terence you give criteria when you talk about what you think are useful criteria for substance selection, in terms of what you think to be helpful for people that are interested and knowing a plant or knowing these substances as they’re interested in they consciousness expansion excetera. I just wondered if you both could comment on what you think about MDMA. There’s a lot of press, there seems to be certain counts that think that has a great virtue, and some people think that it’s just an excuse to take amphetamine.
TM: Do you wanna go first?
RM: Either way, you go first
TM: Oh no you go first
RM: Give him the bad news, you give him the bad news I give him the good news
TM: Well it’s a complicated question and so I will give it a complicated answer, which is the only answer that is true. First of all it’s a moving situation. Research is going constantly. Couple of years ago the question was is MDMA good or bad, now I think although Ralph may disagree, the question has become how bad is it? You have to talk, first of all about, the psycho-activity and then the physiological activity. The psycho-activity seems entirely salutary, people report tremendous breakthroughs in their personal growth. If it is as a drug of abuse I don’t think it’s really a problem, although some people have proven that they can take a great deal of it. What the pharmacology stands as of 10 days ago is that it does destroy in the rat at a very fairly low exposure, in other words only twice a human level exposure, it destroys certain microscopic structures on the dendrite of the nerve. Now the problem is no one knows what these microscopic structures do. And there is no behavioural sequelae, that accompany the visible destruction of these structures. So there are 3 possibilities, or there are several possibilities. One is that whatever the structure on the dendrite is it is not important past puberty, think of it as a scaffolding around a building that once erected the scaffold remains but is not performing any function, therefore this destruction that we see is not a problem. Or it may be that it’s cumulative over a long period what it seems to do is that it seems to show aging of brain structure very rapidly. At a hundred and twenty days gain in the rat, there’s no reversal of this, at 240 days there’s no reversal of this. So, but there is another drug, I think it’s called fenfluradine that is used to manage psychotics and it also destroys in the very same way the very same structures and if it’s been used with impunity with mental hospitals for 15 years. So what I say about MDMA is a prudent course would be to wait and see if it’s really bad they’re going to find out, if it remains in the somewhat nebulous place well that means the people that think it’s bad are actually losing ground. As a general rule I never was very excited about MDMA because because I’m just very suspicious of synthetics. And one of the things that’s really terrible about the cultural climate that we’re operating in is here is MDMA, a drug with an apparent potential in psychotherapy, that actually became popular in psychotherapy, and because there was no process for legalizing it, it was never tested at all. That’s what the FDA gave us with [...] was an utterly untested psychoactive drug because they refused to test it. So the fruits of ignorance are dendritic oblation in this case
[1:26:19] RM: Well because they refuse to test it because they couldn’t persuade any drug companies to test it because the drug companies couldn’t market it because the patent had already expired and it had cost the drug companies 5 million dollars on the average to, or more, to take the drug through the human and clinical trial necessary before it can be approved and prescribed
TM: But don’t you think in a civilized society, if they know people are taking this drug, the government itself should pay
RM: Yeah, in some other countries that exactly what happens. In England for example it may still happen that way, England may in fact end up with a legal form of MDMA because they run the sort of system little differently than we do. I think the thing that I would add to what Terence has said, I mean I basically share those views. I think that in a kind of a basic sense if your talking about the whole spectrum of psychedelic and psychoactive drugs Adam is just not that interesting. It happens to be the most effective drug so far discovered for psychotherapy. For helping people sort out their emotional entanglements, emotional attachments, and balancing up the emotional nature. And that sometimes takes one session with MDMA, sometimes two, sometimes half a dozen, in a therapeutic kinda context and many therapists found this was the case. And there’s a book we published that’s called through the gateway of the heart which is available in the book store if you want to read accounts, a selection of accounts of experiences that people have had with it in a therapeutic context and it’s not visionary, we, myself and somebody else simultaneously came, independently came up with the term empathogenic for it: generating a state of empathy. Simply seems to produce this kinda opening of the heart center from which then people can relate, they can look at their problems with empathy, other people and their relationships, and they can sort of balance it out. But apart from that, people that have done that, people report that after having done that a few times, they can get to that state of open heartedness without it.
TM: The expectation for this afternoon is simply that we will attempt to address what concerns you have to dialogue, to give people a chance to ask questions. It seems to me that often the most fertile part of these things is the dialogue part of it, because this is when
… [repetition from 40:48]
[1:58:29] TM: Well what there has to be is an incorruptible source of psychedelic experience, and you know
TM: Well in some way it has to be incorruptible, and the best way that I found is to urge people to grow mushrooms, because the mushroom itself then acts as the purity maintainer, the quality control, you can see what it is. When you have LSD in front of you you have a little piece of jelly, a little piece of paper, who knows this is you know. And some what to extract the drug from the market economy. This is what undid in the 1960s. Some people got high on LSD and some other people realized you could make a fortune on it. And once that realization hit home it was all she wrote. So there has to be, you know, some way the opportunity to create a huge financial empire out of it. And how this is done I’m not sure but the simplest solution I think is grow your own. And depend on nature. Nature is a bountiful storehouse. This is where these things come from and
RM: Grow or gather
TM: Grow or gather. Somebody over here we haven’t done much this way
Q: This question is for Terence. Can you speak a bit about your experience in some of the older societies you’ve lived in and the relationship between visual artists, artisans, or [jetnickers], and shamanism
TM: Should I repeat the question. The question was could I speak about the relationship of artists to shamanism in some of the more, the preliterate Amazon societies that I’ve been in. Well, I think, you know, people have the notion about tribal people, that their life is very hard, in some environments and some situations it is, but people try everywhere to create leasure for themselves, and to have an opportunity for aesthetic expression. In psychedelic societies everything is art. I’m thinking particularly for instance the Shipibo, in their classic expression, the Shipibo are an Amazonian tribe, they cover every utilitarian object with design, everything is an expression of the images of the internal world and language and puns and this sort of thing become very important. Life, when you have nothing, life is easily transformed into art, because there’s a howness about everything. How you make a fire, how you cast a pot, how you perk a monkey, everything is a paradigmatic activity, meaning everything is traditional, everything has been done millions of times before in the way that your people do it. And so the individual is seen almost like just the cutting edge of the ancestral energy, and they even have the concept of what they call the way of the ancestors, and so you’ll be doing something like sharpening a stick and someone will come up to you and say “don’t do it that way, we do it this way”. This is the way of the ancestors, they show you how to do it, and sure enough it is easier to do it that way. Probably because this is the morphogenetic field of the howness, and I think Ralph mentioned this morning the confluence of Yoga, alchemy, and Shamanism, in the Taoist tradition. And I think it’s worth stressing that because to my mind Taoism is the most refined ideal of human existence. It is open ended, it always yields to a good laugh, it’s not dogmatic, it’s rooted in nature, it sees the world as shells of energy that can be manipulated and cultivated, and I really see Taoism as something broader than the nature religion that arose in southern China pre-Confucius and so forth. I see it as the kind of natural way of being in the world that tribal, tribally alive societies settle into, and it’s what we’re trying to recreate: appropriate activity. That alone would create a world in forming revolution. When I say that we must change our minds the physical [ac-]compani-ment to changing our minds is that we would begin to behave properly. Bury our shit, manage our resources, lower our voices, it’s simply awareness, awareness, and awareness of awareness. And this is what these societies have that we have lost, and I think it’s because the male ego is a wart on human perfection. And everybody has one, it’s not down to man. The male ego is a part of the repertoire of every human personality in the modern world. But it is unnecessary divisive and out of Tao. And this reconnection with the Tao, the flow, the invisible, the spirits, the energies of sky and water and earth, the psychedelics impel into recognizing these things, but it’s our own intent that can allow to bring these things back into the word and apply them. So for me that was the lesson of the so-called primitive people. You wanna talk about anything else?
RM: Well the only thing that I would add to it is that the male ego has come out of touch but it can be reconnected, there’s nothing inherent in that psychic structure itself, the ego is simply the means through which we function in the world, what gets it into trouble is this thing of assuming only it knows the only reality and it has claim to value over other. It’s not a relatedness, it’s a superior, separative, superior, dominating, controlling [...] that it tries to run. But at the same time the Tao has shown, to the way of functioning with decisiveness, Tao is not a passive or inert or quietistic religion, it’s practice a lot, it’s being able to act and to function with the flow, with the grain of nature, so that your actions are in harmony with nature and therefore by themselves successful and Taoism has proven itself to be remarkably resilient, it’s not by any means the religion of ancient China, it’s a 5000 year old or longer tradition and teaching that is alive and well to this day in communist China and other parts of the world. And we also have to recognize that we’re not gonna be able to go back to hunter gatherer life style, we’re never gonna recreate great areas of wilderness we’ve lost, we’re never gonna get away from city living, there is such a thing as urban shamanism, and it’s really our task to invent that, that’s something brand new, aboriginal cultures do not have it. How do you live in a city environment in the late 20th century while recognizing that in the city environment too the other world, the world of spirits, of animals and plants, is right there, in the streets of New York and under the concrete, in the, in the [sures], some of you may have seen the film The Last Wave, is about the Australian aboriginal, the survival of an Australian aboginal culture under the streets of Sydney, it’s a very interesting story. So this is where, this is gonna require all the resourcefulness we can come up with, we have to study the past, take the valuable lessons that we’ve forgotten, bring them back into, put them together with the new information that we’re getting, that science has presented us with, plus our knowledge of the limitations of the existing political structures, and go to work, and use whatever you can.
[2:08:20] Q: When we step aside from the information, I mean all of us here obviously must think about this, all this information coming from the television, the great theater, is so fascist and so subtle because it’s so embedded because it’s entirely a censoship of the economy, [...] it’s just a pragmatical reality, [...] experience it as what it is, controlling and telling us how it is to perceive reality and you know we’ve lost, we had [...] shamanic [...] experiencial [...] but that was put aside, so I think it’s a test case to watch with this election, I’m sorry you said when Bush is elected, I’d like to think that’s an if, but when you talked about that unexploded bomb well let’s see how the forces of disinformation can repress the unexploded bomb and allow Bush to be re-elected, or how to [learn to] continue to look between the lines, I mean I’ve [...] learnt to look between the lines and yet I ingest daily stuff that I don’t question because it seems well on the order of priority whether I should look into what this is really about, but we’re giving a 360 hologramatic redefinition of our reality entirely through the media. We consent [...] by ingesting it, so that’s the thing to sidestep back and look for the nature ally
RM: You have to look at it with the same state as visions presented to you in a drugged state or a dream state, with that same impeccability, with that same discrimination, keep testing, and keep looking. Use what you know, compare, you know, is this true for you? What’s really behind it, what’s the hidden message, what’s the hidden agenda
TM: And trust your instinct
RM: This stuff barraging us from television or from media is exactly it’s a complete mix of truth with indescribable dosages of fantasy, hallucination, projection, disinformation, malevolent intrusions, and there’s no shortcut, there’s no way of sidestepping it, we have to confront it, deal with it, look at it, know it
TM: But when you look at the cultural images that we’ve inherited I think it’s very easy to see that monotheism is a great deal of what lies at the root of our problem, because you know, was Jung that made the observation that as we picture our gods so then do we model our psyches, that in fact our gods are models of our psyches, and monotheism, which is basically the idea that god is all powerful, omnipresent, male, and not to be trifled with, if that’s your model of your psyche, well then your describing someone that’s extremely pathological. I mean that is a pathological model of the personality and yet how many generations of men have behaved as though they were Yaweh, and we buy into this unquestioningly
RM: Yaweh is the only god, the only divinity, the only god in all of world’s mythology who never has sex with a female. Most of the creation myths involve sexual or to have consorts, Yaweh who is the Christian, and basically the Islamic god too, is the only one who never has contact with a female, either human or divine. Pretty interesting that’s our god
Q: The metaphor that you say that men low be stronger than the laws of nature, that women experience [...] as the door opens and closes [...] and that man would impose himself on the doorway between nature through the woman’s body to creation it’s, that’s the final metaphor
TM: Well that’s omnipotence, omnipotence, we can interfere with anything, we can do anything. Back here
Q: I mean much here [...] to all of us very close to my ears and I feel there’s a resonance especially when people have waited to hear something described in a certain way it’s like coming home, there’s a real fine edge that I feel in myself when we get to a place in [Austin] then really strong, and I noticed than when this man brought up the thing about the politicians, you know, there was a certain uncomfortableness and a kind of laughter that very easily came forth, and I know that in my work with the nuclear waste it’s very easy to get in this almost victimized role, it’s like someone else is doing it to us. And it’s seem to me in part almost strategizing together if we really want this truth, that you’re, you know, describing to really be present on this planet and in our myths that there’s one aspect, that we have work to do ourselves, that’s to me really the strongest thing that you said, if you can really embody it impeccably and continue to look at your own homework that you don’t have to so much worry about what’s going on around you. But there’s another place where it seems to be that you do have to worry or be concerned for what’s going on around us, and in being impeccable at that level it seems to me that some of the mind change has to do with the [...] and in seeing them as the enemy and us as the victim. And I know that in the nuclear work one of the strongest things we did was to take a group of people down to Westing House, down to where we’re constantly burying the waste in the ground to see that the people that have taken on this job are actually, they really believe they’re doing the right thing and they really believe they’re doing it for us and to almost from that place of common ground start trying to share this information. So I’m wondering in terms, I guess I just really felt personally to comment about that in face of this us-them place that we can get into, and see if you have any comments about our impeccability in terms of dealing with this situation correctly
TM: You know well I don’t really think in terms of us and them. I really resist paranoia, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, I don’t believe that anybody is running the world, I think it has a life of it’s out. I think that, I agree with you, the major task is the task of working on oneself, but not entirely to the exclusion of social responsibility. The major contribution most people can make in the field of social responsibility is clarity of thought and intention. The general tone of the discussion arises out of the quality of the people participating in it. And you can reach most people if you will start with something that they’re familiar with and trying to lead them out of it. I mean I’m amazed in all the years that I’ve been talking about the things that I talk about, I had never been heckled, ever. No one has ever stood up quacking with righteous wrath and quoted chapter and verse and denounced me, and it’s because I would argue with anybody until the 9th hour if necessary. I really think that the best ideas will come to the forth
[2:16:36] TM: … who among us cannot think back on our own behaviour to moments that hardly exemplify the Gaian ethic. So then how can we expect more or anything better than that from other people. The real task is one of linking together through communication, which people don’t realize when they’re not communicating. What we’re doing right now this is very unusual activity, even the most intelligent of us goes through our ordinary day basically with grunts and groans, that’s how we signal to each other, but creating a shared mindspace, a consensus of understanding requires people talking to each other and clearly speaking from the heart of what they know and understand. Ralph introduced me to the notion of clairparlance, this is a psychic ability that we’re trying to cultivate. Clairparlance is clear speech. You know William Blake said “the truth cannot be told so as to be understood without being believeing it”. That’s the greatest the truth has. That if it’s articulated and you hear it you will serve it. And so will George Bush and so will anybody else who hears it. The power of the truth it’s a mediate limped rightness. So cognitive activity, and this goes back to the theme of the week-end, which is shamanism. To my mind what shaman’s really are, are people who indulge cognitive activity. They communicate, they dance, they sing, they chant, they tell stories, they speak out, they orate, they pray, they communicate. And in so doing they empower everyone around them to open their hearts and their minds
Q: [...] was a shaman, or is a shaman
TM: Oh yes, it’s stage magic, and there is, and you can’t understand why it works, and it is morally neutral. This is the other thing. I mean, Goebbels, you can forget Ronald Raegan, this is a picker and a buffoon, Joseph Goebbels was a man that understood the power of information and communication, and if he believed the best idea wins, he can only shake his head, the faith that overtook his ideas. Because here it was a millenial dream that 12 years after was launched people were living in basements on rats. So it’s a matter of allowing the ideas to fully express themselves through us. We can only advance into the future at the rate at which we can transform our language. And we can only transform our language by working with it. This is why design, and art, and music and all of these things are so important. The artist, who appears to be the weakest among us, actually creates the context for everything to happen in. So it’s so bizarre to hear right wing politicians for instance talk about terms like spin, and hype, and, I mean they use the language by grafting certain concepts onto the language, you make it impossible for people not to agree with you, you actually foreclose the option of disagreement. They know this, and we know this. So this is the theater where the battle goes back and forth, to say what the world is in such a way that you convince everyone, and then we can get down to the business of living in that world. And history really is that process, trying to generate a guiding image that serves. And so someone, Christ, Muhammed, Buddha, will project the guiding image and it gels in the unconscious and becomes a criode and a vast set of historical forces follow it the way water follows a dry arroyo, but then the way is lost. It’s not clear what direction the flow should go. Then there must be a new guiding image. And I think that the guiding image which we have been operating under, which is the property owning male citizen is giving way to a new guiding image, which is the planetary steward, androgine, shaman. And this image reconnects us to nature, reconnects us to the lost parts of ourselves, and will serve then until circumstances change, and then it too will have to yield to some new definition, because we’re ultimately malleable, we are like water, we take upon ourselves the shape of the container into which we are poured. And this is what history is, is the flowing from one container to another.
RM: I think, wanted to just connect
[2:22:41] Q: I just wanted to ask to comment on [...] this morning about anticipating the future and how information goes back in time
TM: I thought you would never ask
Q: Can you repeat the question?
TM: It’s referred to my comment this morning that a portion of shamanism is anticipation of the future by accessing information that drifts backwards through time. Well I think that my interpretation of what religion is, other than the scheming of unix, is there is something there, there is something there transcendent and compelling. And what it is, is I think an anticipation of a future event, an anticipation of a future state of human completedness, that actually ahead of us in time our destiny, whatever it is, is casting an enormous shadow backward into what we call history. And that in fact one way of thinking about history is as the shockwave which preceeds an escatological event. 55-100 thousand years ago there was no intimation of an escatological event, there were simply hunters and tribalism and animal existence embedded in the life of the planet. Then slowly there has grown like an ever increasing downward rolling boulder, a momentum of intuition that there is something, a great change is in store for us, that we’re all going to become enlightened, or that the messiah is going to come, or that the extraterrestrials are going to rescue us from ourselves. The intimation of a sudden shift of epoc and an ingression into ordinary history of the transcendental. Now some psychologist might say this is nothing more than the culture’s reaction to the inevitable fact of death. But everyone of us will recapitulate this process that death itself is like an enormous shadow at the end of life sending a flickering signal back through our existence, and when you’re young, death seems far away and has no power, but as you live your life, you suddenly realize that the walls are growing steeper, the water is moving swifter, there is a kind of inevitability, and that you don’t want to stare at this inevitability in the face. Well I think the historical process is like that and we are in the grip of what I call a singularity that is cultural, that the evolution of techni to become an ever more limped mirror of the self is turning into a kind of process where we are becoming the objects of our imagination. We are through cultural evolution actually creating our own escatology. You know, Plato said if god didn’t exist man would invent him, well there are many different kinds of gods for humanity to invent and one of the most satisfying I think is this escatological hypostatization that lies outside of history and informs it. This is what the seers are reacting to. This is what inspires the careers of the prophets. And it is, I maintain, what shamanism is about. We’ve offered many definitions of shamanism here. Here is another one: a shaman is someone who’s seen the end. That’s all. Once you’ve seen the end it’s like going to a friend to a movie that you’ve seen and they haven’t. You have a completely different relationship to it. You’re anticipating their enjoyment of it. Their moments of fear, anticipation, and pleasure, but you’re above them looking down, you’ve already seen the end, you know the punch line. And every shaman in every culture gains his or her humor, balance, healing ability, wisdom, by having participated in the transhistorical escatological object. And modernity just denies this. The modern, the theory of history taught at university is what is called the trendlessly fluctuating theory. That just means war, revolution, reform, revolution, war, war, reform, revolution. It’s like random walk across the landscape with a steady increase of technique, rising malthusian pressures, but that’s all. It’s because there is no place for the transcendent in the scheme of rationalism as we inherited from the late, you know, from the Enlightenment. But in fact, if what the psychedelic experience argues, what our dreams argue, what our good sense argues, is that it is not business as usual, on this planet, and history is not a random walk that has tens of millennia to run yet ahead of it, but actually we’ve set off processes that finalize our time upon the Earth, finalize the duration of our present cultural mode, we’re going to have to fish or cut bate. We have built this into our myths about our world, but it has an ending. And so it shall. And I think shamanism anticipates this superhuman condition, out of which we arose in Illo tempore, before history, and into which we shall be subsumed at the end of the historical peregrination. The myth of our culture is the myth of the prodigal sun. We made the descent into [fices], into the world of matter, into the well of the world, if you wish. Our job to recover a piece of lost information about the nature of the soul and then return to the tribal family, to the shamanic prehistoric, and post historic mode where the fruits of history will be not [fanatoptic] in their consequences, but transformative. Anticipation of the future.
[2:30:10] Q: To follow along that, I [...] and also in that second book where there’s an interesting comment on the act of contrast or complementarity of creativity and transformation, was to suggest that the [...] processes are counter to one another, could you..
TM: Well, I think the Iching is a special obsessive interest of mine, specifically the kinds of things you’re talking about. There is this body of commentary that is pre-confucian, late Chou, early Hun, that is puzzling in the present context of the Iching, and I think this is what you are referring to, there’s a place where it says “the backward running numbers refer to the future, the forward running numbers refer to the past”. And you say, well what does this mean, there are no backward or forward running numbers, there are just 64 numbers. It’s because the Iching as we possess it today is a piece of broken machinery. It is actually an extremely sophisticated understanding of time couched in an intellectual and epistemic domain that we can barely cognize, because it arises out of a different kind of language stratum. But really I think being is a kind of interference pattern where the forward flowing casuistry of what I call prepotent situations, like the rolling downhill of a ball bearing
Q: Is there another way of [...]
TM: The momentum of happenstance. Where the momentum of happenstance meets this more mysterious carrier wave from the future and together they form an interference pattern. I remember I was very impressed where the Amazon river flow into the Rio Negro. These are both huge rivers, they’re both about 12 miles across where they meet each other. And so consequently they are like two waves coming together, and where they meet they form a standing wave, and you can actually sail up to this bump in the river, and it’s quite large, I mean it’s 5 or 6 feet high and you can sail along it, it’s like a ridge in the middle of the river, and you can see that all the material is in motion but the wave itself is stable, it is what is called a standing wave. And I think that this is what being is. Science has attempted to give a very full account of the forward moving momentum of happenstance. But we deny that there is appetition for the future, or that the future is somehow shaping events. And in our denial we’re then left with a blind spot in our account of reality. I’m going to teach a 5 day workshop at Essalen the week after Thanksgiving in which psychedelics will barely be mentioned and the Iching and its mathematical dimension will be the entire focus of this, because I take this notion very seriously and have worked it out in excruciating detail, because I think that the wave form of the Tao can be known, and was known, and that there are technologies of interior observation, which is what Yoga is, but Taoism in its earlier and incipient phase was a similar kind of technology, that allow real insight into the future. The future is not determined. If it were, thought would be meaningless, but it has, it’s like water flowing over a dry arroyo, the water takes the shape of its container, and the water of historical happenstance flows into the vessel of the future, which already exists, and takes its shape.
Q: Could comment on the apposition of creativity and transformation in [...] chapter
TM: Yeah I’m not so sure about that, you see those as opposed?
Q: I thought that one led to the other. But in reading that it seems that there’s some question and I’m puzzled about.
TM: Well I think you have to read the Iching with a grain of salt. I mean, why does before completion come after after-completion. There are a number of puns, I mean it can be read as very deep but not without humor. And it is Taoistic thinking is inherently contradictory, the coincidencia oppositorum, used to create cognitive dissonance, so you never have the satisfaction of logical closure that you get in Hegel or somebody like that, you’re always left not sure, not knowing.
Ralph do you wanna sum this up? I got carried away here, I thought my watch said 4:30 and it said 5 o’clock
RM: Well we said we were gonna stop at 5 so I think there’s anyway to sum it up, but
TM: Well you can just [had]
RM: Well one thing, I just thought we had some thoughts about tomorrow and also maybe some of you have some particular wishes or that you’d like to express about that. But the one thought we did have about, that we might do tomorrow is to tell stories rather than present ideas or informations, to tell stories and Terence has some stories, I have some stories, and many of you will have some stories and, there are relate to your theme. And stories, I mean one way of looking at our lives is we’re creating and living our stories and we’re trying to create stories that are interesting and productive and live sustaining, life enhancing. What are stories, personal stories that have happened to you or fairytales, myths, or ones that you’re working with in your process that you might wanna share and we might wanna use a staff for that, a talking staff so that the storyteller has the staff and [pay low attention] to the floor. You might dream about that, you might have some dreams and so that’s what we have in mind about tomorrow. I did wanna mention one little thing that may be happening around here and I wanna mention it in the sense of sharing an observation in the [...] perhaps some of you are also picking up ahead of, a dream the other night, and I’ve since talked to two other people who had similar dreams last night, here, in which there was some kind of attack by not so friendly spirits, in my case I would just say indistinct humanoid, could have been aliens could have been humans, I had no way of knowing, I didn’t know anything except for their intent they caused my actually to scream in my dream. And somebody else experienced a gang of street punk gangsters kind of challenging invading intruding. So there might be something happening… just to tune in and perhaps will have something to report tomorrow, or perhaps some of you know about it already, if you do I’d appreciate knowing about it. Might be some of the [...] to discuss
TM: Pay attention you might be the next Whitley Strieber
RM: So maybe we should end with a few minutes of drumming and, when is dinner?
[2:45:15] RM: Three other main kind of paths or types that are known, ways of knowledge within the shamanic context, that some of you may relate to. Probably the most common one actually that most people relate to is the shaman as healer and this is the one where the shaman functions as the physical and spiritual healer of the, of his family, his or her family and the immediate village or tribe and does shamanic work for the purpose of healing. Part of that includes aspects of the warrior. The warrior is a necessary part of the healer function because in the process of health maintenance the warrior function is the function that defends your body against infection and toxins, the immune system. The immune system is the warrior function of the body, or our system, seen as an aspect of healing, maintaining the integrity of the system. And then another very [honored] path is the one that Terence referred to a great deal yesterday, was the path of the artist, or the maker. The artist, the maker of tools, the craftsman, which would include scientific inventors and people that build tools and perceptual instruments for example, that facilitate our perception and cognitive understanding of the world, communicate our vision. And so, and then another path is the path of the seer, or prophet, or visionary. In some cultures, such as the ancient paleolithic Basque culture of Europe, the soul surviving pre-indoeuropean culture in Europe, they have a class of people called vision-makers, were the ones that you go to when you have a problem or you need to, you wanna get an insight into your life path, your life destiny. Professional oracle. So I wanted to share that with you, because it might trigger off some thoughts about, I see different people who are engaged in shamanic work having different combinations of different qualities. Terence is obviously very strong on the explorer, adventurer and the artist communicator. I have some of the healer, also adventurer and explorer is some of my main one, also with some of the healer, some of the artist communicator also, some of the warrior but not as much as some of my friends that I know. One interesting additional difference between the path of the warrior and the path of the explorer that I also learnt recently is that the adventurer, the warrior instead of to seek a vision is more likely to go for an ordeal, where pain and stress is used as a way of expanding your perception, pushing your boundaries. So the kind of thing that [Morris] Black Elk is going to do, inserting himself into a hole in the ground, suspended from hooks in the chest 2 days and 2 nights without food or water in total darkness. That’s an ordeal, see it’s not natural, I mean you’re going out of your way, nature isn’t doing that to you, you’re going out of your way to create a stressful limiting situation in order to be able to transcend or push that limit further. The adventurer, explorer tends to again, because the attitude is not quite as hard as that of the warrior, to go to nature herself, the wilderness, pure wilderness. Now wilderness may be an ordeal, but it may not be. May be sheer ecstasy. And it’s in the wilderness with its shifting mysterious patterns that you have to be alert, you can’t just say well mother will take care of me, mother nature will not take care of you, mother nature doesn’t give a shit about you as an individual basically, you know that, and that’s a very important realization. If you think that mother nature is going to take care of you like your mother did I mean you can be dead in two seconds flat out in the wilderness. If you attend and pay attention, then you can survive, not only survive in the wilderness, you can learn a great deal, you can enter into communication relationship. So, wilderness is the preferred mode of vision path, adventurer explorer. And that could be the wilderness internal as well as external
Q: Do we cheer occasionally when…
RM: Yeah absolutely. Ok so having said that I wanna read you a brief passage from Blake’s, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which he summarizes basically what both Terence and I said yesterday in a few memorable lines
TM: Let me know who’s on top [...]
RM: Well, he was a great visionary at an early age. The ancient poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive.
RM: Oh! And particularly they studied the genius of each city and country—you know they had this concept of the genius loci, spirit of the place—placing it under its mental deity; till a system was formed, which some took advantage of to enslave the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood. Very important sentence. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of and enslaved the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood.
Q: That’s [you too]
RM: No way Josè. Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounced that the Gods had ordered such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.
One last passage from the same Marriage of Heaven and Hell, fantastic text. The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I’ve heard from hell. That’s your apocalyptic vision right there. For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life—see the cherub is standing guard of the tree of life to prevent humanity from attaining immortality, that’s what Yahova said, you know you’ve gotta go because otherwise you might eat from the tree of life and you become a mortal like us, exclusionary system, so— the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite, and holy whereas it now appears finite and corrupt. This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment. Go for it, aphrodisiacs and hallucinogenics
Q: And each other
RM: and each other. But first the notion has a body distinct from his soul has to be expunged; this I shall do by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives—do you know those Blake’s engravings and copper and itching and stuff— which in hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid. If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.
So I’d like to tell you a story part of a story, part of an ancient story, an ancient myth, actually the oldest written myth of western culture. Story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu and the goddess Ishtar, it might also be called the story of the hero, the wildman, and the goddess, or better, the goddess, the wildman and the hero, just for the sake of balance. And in this oldest myth of western civilization I think more basic to the western psyche to the Greek or the Egyptian myths we find all the themes, in a prophetic way, that we deal with now: the overbearing male, patriarchal, heroic warrior ego trip, the distrust of the goddess and the projection upon the goddess of qualities of human deceitfulness and treasury. The regret of what was lost in giving up the old goddess cultures and going to a male-dominated culture, and what was lost by leaving the wilderness and going into cities, and the price that was paid for that, the price that was paid for hubris, and the price that was paid for separation from our instinctual nature. And Gilgamesh was king of Uruk. Uruk was a city from which Abraham went out. Abraham was a pastoralist, a herder, a wandering nomadic herder, he took his herds of sheep and his tribal people and founded another religion. Uruk was a city of farmers, and Gilgamesh was a great king, a great warrior, he had built the city of Uruk with massive walls of stone, he had slayed many enemies. He was said to be one third god and two thirds man. He was a mighty and powerful man and king and he became overbearing and arrogant in his behaviour towards his own people. He lorded it over the people, he bullied the young men, and he demanded that the young brides were given to him for the first night of their marriage, and he oppressed the people to the point where the people went and complained to the high gods, and said you have to do something about this Gilgamesh king of ours, he lords it over us, he oppresses us and he pushes us around, till our lives are miserable, he’s a tyrant. And the gods sitting in council agreed that something had to be done, that a counterpart player had to be created, so they went to the ancient goddess Aruru, the creator goddess, who created both them and men. And said to her, please create somebody to balance out this raving Gilgamesh tyrant, somebody who would be his equal, in strength and courage, who would be like him, like his very self, like a second self, it says. Thereby pointing, this is an aside, to the fact that right here in this earlier story we’re dealing with a coded story that talks about the internal psyche. The second self is the second self within everyone of us. Gilgamesh is the human self who becomes arrogant through power. Gilgamesh had a dream in which he saw a star fall from heaven and the people came to pick up the star and it was heavy and Gilgamesh tried to pick it up and it was so heavy that he could not lift it. And he went to his mother Nin-Sumum, who was herself a [seerus] a divine [seerus] priestess, who said this dream symbolizes the one who is going to be born who will be your counterpart, your brother, your equal, like unto you, like your very self. Gilgamesh said in the dream he bent down to pick up the star, he said he felt attracted to it like to a woman. And he had another dream in which a sword of unusual design was found in the town square. And nobody could figure out what it meant and Gilgamesh picked it up and put it on his belt and he went to his mother and he asked what does this mean? And she said, this too is the one who is going to be born who is like yourself, your counterpart. And he will be like your right arm, he will help you fight your battles and be your equal, strong like you. In the woods. A hunter saw a creature, a man, with the animal, running with the animals, drinking at the stream with the animals. This man was covered with hair all over his body and had long hair like a woman. Gilgamesh went to the priestesses of the temple of Ishtar and asked to the priestesses of the temple of Ishtar to send one of their one of their women priestesses later on, falsely called sacred prostitutes, they were not prostitutes, they did not sell sex for money, they offerred love as an act of devotion to the goddess. Gilgamesh sent the priestess with the hunter and another companion out into the wilderness to search for this man called Enkidu. Enkidu. And they came to the place after three days walking and sat down and waited, and waited for five days. And finally Enkidu appears with the animals to drink water from the stream. The woman from the temple of Ishtar went towards Enkidu and exposed her nakedness to him and took his hand to touch her breast, whereupon Enkidu was suffused with feelings and sensations he had never felt before, at this hairless being, who spoke and made sounds from her throat that he had never heard before. And they made love for 9 days and 9 nights. It is said. After 9 days and 9 nights the woman said to Gilgamesh, we must bath you, we must give you a haircut, they gave him a haircut, they bathed him, they [...] him fragrant oils, they gave him human foods to eat, sweet meats, grain, breads, fruit, cooked flesh. And when Enkidu attempted to connect with his [...] animal friends he found he could not do so. They shunned him because he smelled differently. And he could not keep up with them when they ran, his legs were as weakened, he could not run as fast as he could before, he escaped, he no longer had any contact with them. And he was saddened by this. But the people, and the woman encouraged him and took him with him to the city and told him about king Gilgamesh and his arrogant tyrannical ways. And Enkidu said I will fight this man, I will right this wrong. And Enkidu came to the city where Gilgamesh was strutting down the main street and they met in the main street and they fought and wrestled for 2 days and 2 nights. And neither one could throw the other. And after many hours of battling and fighting they stopped their fighting and embraced one another as brothers and friends, and henceforth were inseparable companions and Enkidu came to live in the city and a house and much wealth and a wife. And he and Gilgamesh went out and did many heroic deeds together. And this is the first part of the story which is the story of humanity’s transition from the wild state to the city-dwelling culture Neolithic farming state. From the existence as wild nomadic hunter gatherers who lived in the fields in a wild state, in the wilderness. We were all wild men, not only do we have a wild man, wild woman within us, those are our ancestors. We were that for hundreds of thousands of years, much much longer, ten times as long as we were city-dwelling, farming pastorius, technological, literate people. So and this story tells about the price that is paid for this separation from nature, or the separation from our own wild nature, our own instinctual nature, the loss of the communication and the communion that we had with the animals, and the knowledge of the land and the plants and the forest. For the advantage of city-dwelling, of language, of sexuality, and it’s the role of the woman. And it’s very instructive to compare this story of the transition from wildness to culture, from nature to culture, from wildness to civilization with the story in the book of genesis, which was the story of the Abrahamic pastoralists who went out of Uruk to the land of Palestine and the role of the woman in that story, where the woman is claimed for the declined from an edenic state with no advantage to the state that they went into. The state outside of the garden of Eden is a pure fall, a pure disaster. In the Gilgamesh story, which is older, Sumerian Balilonian story, the woman plays the crucial role, she plays the civilizing role for which she is not blamed but rather honored as appears later on in the story. And also there are advantage to the civilized life while there’s also recognition of the price that was paid. And later on when Enkidu dies he has a flash back hallucination on his death bed of regret and even cursing both the hunter and the woman who seduced him and abducted him out of the wilderness. But the gods say to him no! You shouldn’t curse nor the hunter nor the woman because they brought you into the city and they brought you the friendship of Gilgamesh and they brought life and a house and much wealth and a wife and a family. And he says yes you’re right I take back my curse, I honor the woman. He says later on on his death bed he says I honor the woman, she shall be honored by all, old men will take off their hat to her, young men will take off their pants to her. It says inscribed in stone, clay tablets. After a while of living in the city Gilgamesh said to Enkidu you and I should go out and to the great cedar of forest and cut down some cedar trees which we need to build more houses and walls, and kill the giant that lives in that forest, whose name is Umbaba, a great and terrific giant. And first Gilgamesh goes to the great Shamash the sun goddess, I want to do this and the sun god says why? Gilgamesh says because, and he says it to Enkidu too, because he is evil and we must rid the country of this evil. And Enkidu gets tears in his eyes and says oh no! Oh no Gilgamesh you don’t know what you’re saying, you don’t know what you’re getting us into, this giant Umbaba that you want to kill is a fierce and terrible and monstrous giant, he will wipe us both out, he will destroy us. You don’t know that forest, I know it, I’ve been there, that forest is ten thousand leagues in every direction, it is huge, it is monstrous, we are in great danger if we go there. And the gods have appointed that giant to guard that forest, that’s the guardian of the forest. If we kill him we will incur the wrath if the gods. And Gilgamesh said don’t worry the two of us will do it together we’ll help each other, why are you, don’t be afraid. I’ll help you, I’ll protect you, you’ll protect me and together we can do it. That’s what the hero always says, regardless of whether he’s a man or a woman, this is a man’s point of view but please recall this it’s equally true of a woman. The hero and the hera are the parallel people, the wild man, the wild woman. So they go and march many days before they come to the forest. Before he goes Gilgamesh has the people of the city make magnific weapons for weapons for him, great swords great clubs, great axes, great shields, carved in bronze, and they go out and they march many days. And they come to the mountain. They cross seven mountain ranges to come to the great cedar forest, where the great cedar trees are. And Gilgamesh goes up on the mountain and says prayers to Shamash the sun god, who is his special protector. And says will you protect me and help and Shamash says first question is why do you wanna do it and Gilgamesh says well I wanna rid the country of this evil. And Shamash says well alright I don’t think is that big an idea but he bought the sacrifice, the god bought the sacrifice and said ok I’m compassionate I’ll help you, I’ll give you these allies and you’ll have seven fierce winds, the north wind, and the icy wind, and the frost wind, the hot wind, that will be your allies in this fight against this terrific giant Umbaba if you should need them. And Gilgamesh had a dream on the mountain before he came to the forest. And in this dream he dreamed that he and Enkidu were in the kanion underneath the mountain and there were tiny gnats under the mountain. And then he had another dream a second dream on another night in which he dreamt that the mountain fell on him and crushed his body, pinned his body under the rock and then a great light came out of the rock and turned into a light being, a light man figure who lifted the rock up and freed him. And Gilgamesh told his dream to Enkidu. And Enkidu interpreted it. Throughout the story Gilgamesh has dreams and Enkidu is better at interpreting them and say what they mean. The instinctual man, the wild man, is more intuitive, more connected with nature, more connected with the unconscious. Altered states of consciousness. And he said this is a favorable dream, this means we will succeed in our fight against this giant because you have this light of god helping you. And Gilgamesh had a third dream which was a disaster where dust clouds blackened the sky, a volcanic eruption dust settle over everything, for many days and nights nothing but darkness. It came to the forest, the forest was an enchanted forest, it had a magical enchanted gate outside of it. And when they came to the gate Enkidu touched it, and said to Gilgamesh don’t touch this gate, what just happened to me is that my whole arm and hand went paralysed and weak when I touched the gate, so you have to smash the gates, he said to Enkidu. I’ll leave it to you to think about what this means. This whole myth and going in and slaying the forest giant is the myth of our ecological catastrophe that we’re presently in. We are the people in the form of the lumber companies, supported by government and industry who go in and cut down the giant cedar forest and the giant rain forest and the Amazon, and the cedar forest in the north west, to build our cities, and in doing so we violate the guardian spirit of nature that are assigned to protect those and maintain those [...] as sacred [...] sacred forests, sacred to the gods. So I think it’s interesting that right here, in the oldest myth of our culture dating back to maybe 3 thousand years BC we have this ecologica dilemma already indicated very clearly. Because then they go into the forest and the giant recedes into the inner recesses of the forest and they don’t see him and Gilgamesh proceeds cutting down the great cedar trees. This summer I was up in a Vancouver island, on the west coast of Vancouver island where they have these cedar forests, where the connection between what’s happening now and this myth became clear to me. The cedar trees sometimes grow over a thousand years old, they are 50 or 60 feet in diameter, they are the most magnificent trees you could imagine, and they’re being cut down. So they proceeded to cut down the cedar trees and when he had cut down many of them he fell into a coma, a sleep coma from which he could not rouse himself for several days. Like Enkidu who his wrist and hand got paralysed, Gilgamesh cut down the cedar trees he became paralysed, fell into a coma. Umbaba, the giant, in the meantime, the giant forest guardian, heard the cedar trees being cut down and came out of the inner recesses of the forest to where Gilgamesh and Enkidu were having cut down the trees. Enkidu managed to rouse Gilgamesh just in time from his sleep and said that Umbaba fixed them with his fierce eye, the eye of death. He fixated him with his eye of death. As in another sumerian myth Ereshkigal the goddess of death fixates Inanna the goddess of heaven. With the eye of death. And Gilgamesh called upon the allies given to him by the sun god, the north wind, and the frost wind, and the icy wind, and the hot wind, the fierce wind, and the hurricane wind, and they come and they blow, and they confuse and immobilize the giant. So he cannot fight effectively, and so Enkidu and Gilgamesh are able to pounce upon the giant and cut of his head. And drag him, the body, and the cedar logs back to the city. Before they kill him one other last telling episode. The giant has been caught by them, by the combination of the winds and Enkidu and Gilgamesh’s strength. He’s trapped he’s caught. He appeals to them, he says don’t kill me, I’m doing my job here, the guardian of the forest. You have seen the abode of the gods which is in the inner recesses behind these forest, the beautiful edenic garden, the garden of Ishtar, the garden of the sun god, are all protected by this forest, you have seen it, you should let me go, I am the guardian, I’m doing my job, I was sent here to protect this forest. And Gilgamesh says, well I’m inclined to agree with you, I think we should let you got, this catching animals is not a good idea, Gilgamesh says. And Enkidu says, interestingly enough I don’t think that’s a good idea because if you letting go he will kill you. So Enkidu is suspicious he doesn’t trust the other forest dweller, the forest wild creature, because he knows basically what he wants us to escape and he’ll do his best to continue his role. So he says if you wanna really get rid of this giant you better kill him know while you got him. Because if you don’t he’ll get you. So Gilgamesh says, well you’re right. So they kill him. So it’s a very interesting story, in that you know it’s the arrogant human still who wants to go out, who creates an enemy out of nature, in order to exploit nature, calls nature evil, this is what the christians did later on, and violates the sacred integrity of nature for his own exploitative ends. The wild instinctual part of him tries to warn him, but then when he does agree to go along, cause he has no choice, he is one with him, he’s the same person, he then has a better understanding of what the real issue is and what really needs to be done to accomplish the objective. Where Gilgamesh still is more likely to be compassionate. So it’s not like a black and white story, it’s not like Gilgamesh is all bad and Enkidu is all good, you know, it’s not the wild savage either, it’s the canny wild man, it’s a very different thing. And they both together after all because they are together, they’re both in the same faith because they all suffer the same faith the same consequences. So they go back to the city and it’s the end of the second main story of that, and I’ll just tell you the third and leave out the last one.
RM: Well because I won’t take too much time. The last one, or the third of these stories in this epic has to do with the story with the goddess Ishtar. So after they come back and they you know they get great admiration, oh Gilgamesh what a here and Enkidu what a hero, what mighty man, what great heros and warriors that killed this huge giant. And look how huge this giant is and his body is huge and his body is huge. And Ishtar the goddess say to Gilgamesh I want you for my lover. I want you to come and be my lover and together we will have great and enjoyment and you will be my preferred lover you who are so strong and virile. And Gilgamesh says in this old old tale he says. I don’t want to be your lover. Number one I don’t know what to give you, I don’t know what to feed a goddess for example, the way I know how to take care of a wife. I wouldn’t know what you need. And number two, more importantly, what about the history of your previous lover. What about Tamus, look at what happened to him, he was your lover, and he got killed for your sake. And the people are still bemoaning in and crying Tamus Tamus where are you, every year they cry for him. And what about the bird, the man that you turned into a bird, he was your lover and he now is a bird with a broken wing who goes around flapping his wings paralysed fashion. And what about the lion who became your lover, and look at what happened to him he got caught and killed by the lion hunters, and look about the stallion, what happened to him, he got caught, he got captured and made domestic and he’s now experiencing the whip and the spur and the saddle. And what about that other man, you turned him into a mole, is underground. I don’t wanna be your lover, look at what happened to all the others. And Ishtar was furious. This is a story of the male gods, the patriarcal hero warriors with their male gods and their reaction of fear and distrust of the goddess and of the feminine. And Ishtar said, went to her father Anu and said, god Gilgamesh has insulted me tremendously and I’m just enraged and her father who knew her well said well you know what he said was true, that’s your story, you did all those things, what can you expect, she says I don’t care, I’ve been greeviously insulted and I demand that you give me the bull of heaven to punish these people and if you don’t allow me to send down the bull of heaven to punish these people I’m gonna open the gates of the underworld and allow the dead to come up and eat food with the living, see how you like that. He say well ok ok, you can have the bull of heaven. The old gods knew the power of the goddess, him although, you know it had been turned around where she’s daughter, originally she was not the daughter she was the mother of the gods, but that’s how the myth got turned around, this myth is a very interesting myth of a hybrid of the old goddess culture myths, you know they all create a goddess, created the gods and the humans and the new male god, sky god mythology. Flips back and forth from one point of view to the other. And Anu her father says well if you’re gonna send down the bull of heaven are you gonna take the precautionary measures, I mean the people will be out of food for seven years, there’ll be tremendous famine and so forth and she says I’ve seen to it, they’ve got grain stored up, they’ll be ok, they’ll survive. She send down the bull of heaven, which some people say is a draught, some people say I prefer [...] it’s like a flood, flooding Tigris and Eufrate’s valley probably flooded, had numbers of devastating floods, that simply wiped out. Cause it says the bull of heaven came down, killed 100 men with his first snort, and his second snort another 200 men, and another 300 men, wiped out hundreds of people, wiped out the city, wiped out, a major disaster in other words. Gilgamesh and Enkidu attacked the bull of heaven in a great struggle during which Enkidu leaped up on the bull’s back grabbing him by the horns, leaped up on the bull’s back as they later on did in Crete, at the bull games, and while riding on his back seizing his tail in one hand and the horn in the other Gilgamesh cut into his throat and heart with a sort and killed the bull of heaven for the great crash. And dragged him into the city adding to their great accomplishments. And Ishtar was even more [...] because now they had killed this semi-divine being that had been sent down by the gods. And the gods sat in council, and the oldest of the Gods Anu, said they’ve killed the forest giant Umbaba, they have killed the bull of heaven, one of them must die, let it be Gilgamesh, the one who cut down the cedar trees. And Enlio the god of the sky said, no no Gilgamesh is my special prodigy and it should be Enkidu who gets killed. Enkidu saw this whole scene of god council in a dream. And Shama said I don’t think you should kill them at all because after all I helped out, you know they came to me, offered me sacrifice and I gave them allies. Enlio got enraged at Shama, see the gods get enraged at each other. And said yeah well you just go down there and hang out with humans all the time, you’re a real trouble maker yourself so the decision was Enkidu was going to die and Enkidu. Actually there is an extraordinary story too even before he has this dream, the goddess Ishtar goes up on the city walls and complains and inveys against them they’ve kill not only the forest giant, now they’ve killed also this bull of heaven this special animal that she sent down. And they’re both defiant, they say basically fuck off you know we don’t care about you. That wasn’t inscribed in the tablet. So Enkidu, it says took the right thy of the bull, which might actually be a glass for the penis of the bull, we don’t know, says took the right thy of the bull and hurled it at the goddess, this is what we’ll do to you if we catch you. So they were naugthy boys, to say the least, in relationship to the gods. The defied the gods, they insult the gods, this is what we still do, all the naughty boys, the big companies and the government. So after it was decided by the gods in council that Enkidu shall die Enkidu became sick and ill and started having these hallucinations. And had a vision of the land of the dead where all the great kings and emperors, people of power, [...] and all were wandering around in this dusty-grey world with no light and sitting at tables with dust and eating food with dust, the land of the dead. And he had other dreams and he had visions and he thought about his animal friends that he had left long ago and he cursed as I told you the hunter and he cursed the woman and the god came and said no no don’t curse the hunter don’t curse the woman they gave you this. And Gilgamesh was weeping and said oh my god you know what am I gonna do? I’m just going crazy I can’t stand this, you’re my best friend, you’re my closest, think of all the adventures we’ve had together, and all the good times we shared, we’re so close, and I’m gonna miss you, it’s terrible I just can’t tolerate this, what am I gonna do, and Enkidu gets sicker and sicker, he has this fever and he’s hallucinating and he’s raving, seven days, and 8 days, and 10 days, and finally he dies. And Gilgamesh goes crazy and tears off his hair, his clothes and starts wandering through the wilderness and crying Enkidu my brother my friend my other self has died what shall I do. I must go on a great journey to find out the secret of life and death and what this is all about. And that’s another whole part of the story, which I’ll leave for now, having told you the story of how Enkidu, the wild man came to the city through the woman, how Enkidu and Gilgamesh together as hero warriors fought and slew and cut down the forest and killed the spirit guardian of the forest. And how Enkidu and Gilgamesh insulted and rebuffed the goddess and how then the price was paid and that the animal part of the man dies. Eventually the man himself dies also, the animal part, the body part dies first. And there’s one counter part I wanna mention to you of this experience that Gilgamesh has in relationship to the goddess. Why does Gilgamesh say to the goddess I don’t want to be your lover because you’re such a faithless goddess, you know, what is that. And it came to me that experience is analogous to an experience that I had in the desert when I first, wilderness vision quest, when I first realized that mother nature so-called, does not give a shit about me personally, doesn’t care for me personally. That I can be wiped out by a falling rock, a sudden falling temperature if I’m unprepared or losing my way, landslide, a number of things, in which my personal existence, my personal accomplishments, my personal happiness, security, well-being, recognition, reputation, none of those mean a whit for nature, that’s why the limitation, so if you try to have a personal relationship like a lover to nature, you know I love nature, sort of romantic ideal, you’re likely to get clabbered, you’re likely to get killed because nature, as Maria Gambutas call up, the old goddess is not really a mother goddess, that’s the limitation of that mother metaphor for nature, ok metaphor in one sense because it indicates we’re a family, but it has a limitation because our mother is not like that, it means that you don’t truly take care, we are responsible for our own relationship to nature, and our impeccability in our relationship with nature, we have to observe, we have to be attentive, we have to study nature so we know our part in it, and how we can survive and live in an adapted way with nature, otherwise we get… So that to me is the insight that’s behind Gilgamesh’s rejection, it’s a kind of a petulant spoiled adolescent kid, you know, who’s rejected by the girl when he wants his first date kinds thing, but that’s the experience behind it, the basic recognition that nature is personally neutral to us, I mean it’s not against us either, that’s a misinterpretation of Gilgamesh, she’s not out to do us in, nature is doing her own thing and we’re part of it. Not for us. So neither for us nor against us she is neutral, but the petulant male adolescent who gets his ego bent out of shape says you know, you rejected me, I don’t wanna be your lover, I can’t be your lover because look at what happened to all these other guys. But we all get killed by nature in the end, maybe by other people but that’s nature too isn’t it? So the story of how Gilgamesh and Enkidu comes to the city, how the man makes peace with the wild animal man within, they become companions, which is the true relationship for them to have, how then they get overbearing and lose it by going killing the forest guardian spirit and then by rejecting the goddess and nature in a personal way, rather than understanding their proper role in relationship to nature. And then the final illusion, the last story is that he should be able to do something that would allow him to be immortal like the gods and he has to learn that lesson to that that’s not gonna happen. So that’s the end of this part of the story of the hero, the goddess, the hero and the wildman.
[3:36:44] TM: Puzzling, and all myths that are authentic and haven’t been re-written for modern day time television maintain a kind of dream-like surreal quality and… so I’d like to tell you a story that I came upon a few months ago and was delighted. And I’ll tell it to you in the hope that you can perhaps help me understand it. Like all good stories it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but I felt that there must be something important in it because it was very easy to memorize. So that clued me to the fact that there must be something in it. And this story comes from that ultimately pivotal moment in western civilization when the last outpost of the goddess culture, which was Crete, Minoan Crete, fell and was in the process of falling to the pirate paternalists of Misonea who with advances in ship building and economic base built on grain were beginning to conquer the eastern mediterraniann and one by one the last bastions of the goddess religion were falling. There were also great earthquakes in the eastern mediterranean at this time which also contributed to the disruption of this civilization. And the story that I want to tell is a story that occurs from the very oldest stratum of Greek mythology. This is not about the pantheon, classical or even Doric Greece, this is an older story. Misonean, perhaps older than that, going back even to the pastoralists coming out of Africa into the fertile crescent. It’s a story set in a setting which is probably familiar to most of you, although this story is only told in Pausanias and alluded to in Herodotus, so it is not some story that even classicists are too familiar with. Rober Graves in his 4-volumes study of Greek mythology gives it only passing reference. You might remember the king Minos, who was the king of Crete. And that he was most famous for having built a labyrinth, in which to house the Minotaur, and I’m sure you know the story of the traversing of the labyrinth. And perhaps you know that king Minos built the labyrinth, had needed it because his wife, queen Pacifei was an extremely sensual and experimentally minded young woman, and she became so interested in the sexual habits of cattle that she had Icarus, the craftsmen that was later to break out on the screen, Dedalus, the guy who was going to break out of this scene later on the first flying machine, she had him fashion for her an artificial cow in which she hid in order to have sexual union with the bulls in the royal flok. And out of this hanky panky came the minotaur, and her husband trying to cover up this series of full pause, built the labyrinth and stalled the minotaur in the labyrinth and they grew older and did less swinging and began to settle down, but then comes the story I want to tell. which is a few years later, the king and the queen apparently under quite normal conditions, conceived a child who was in due time born. And this child’s name was Glaucus, Glaucus means blue-grey. And is to this day a term preserved in taxonomy to describe the blue-grey colour typical of the peyote cactus and the bruising reaction of psychedelic mushrooms. And young Glaucus had the run of the royal palace [ignosis] and in his 6th year he was exploring the pantries of the palace and he discovered a huge urn filled with honey, and he took the lid off the honey urn and was reaching into it and fell into the honey and was drown, and died there and no one knew what had become of the son of the king and the queen and there was tumult as you can imagine in the court. And eventually queen Pacifei in a state of complete hysterical destruction went to the the great seer who advised the king’s generals and the kings whether makes, and said “you must find our son”. And the seer looked into the surface of oils pours on water and burned isop leaves and said “my magic is not sufficient to find your son, but I can lead you to one who can find your son.” He said “the person..” and this is the part of the myth that is so bizarre that you suspect that there must be textual corruption or some kind of misunderstanding, because it’s so weird what follows. The seer said “the person that can lead you to your son is that person who can compose the apt simile on the tri-colored cow in your herds”. What the tricolor cow is, what kind of code language we’re dealing with can only be a matter of conjecture, but obviously the story at this point is couched in a secret language which conveyed meaning only to the initiates. So the kind and the queen commanded each citizen of the principality to appear before them and compose a simile on the tri-coloured cow. And there was a man there, a minor philosopher, whose name was Poliedos, and Polyeidus you only have to have spent 2 weeks in Greek before you transfered out to something a little less terrifying, to know that Polyeidus means many ideas. So Polyeidus, the man of many ideas went before the court and proposed a simile, which according to the account of parsenius was brilliant, he doesn’t preserve it and hence is lost for ever. But whatever this simile was it carried the day. And Polyeidus was actually a very humble man, a minor healer, and magician, and he was puzzled that out of all the people in the kingdom he had been chosen, or he had, by faith, been singled out as the one who could solve this extremely wracking dilemman of the lost son for the king and queen. And he said to the king “I have no idea how to go about this, how to find your son.” And the queen went into a rage and said “He should be sealed into a crypt with the body of our son, and he can come out when he comes out with our son alive.” And so Polyeidus was seized by force, and notice now the motif of incarceration, the night of the….
[3:45:45] and thus Polyeidus sat there bewailing his faith and rending his clothes and calling out on the gods to help him, a snake enters the chamber through some unseen tiny chink, and the snake approached the corpse of the child lying in a dripping pool of presumably dark attic honey on the polished stone of the sarcofage and Polyeidus emerged out of his revery and struck out at the snake and killed it because he was afraid that would violate the body of the child and then seeing that the snake was dead he went back to his revery, and then a few minutes later a second snake appeared, and came to the body of the first snake and reacted very violently and before Polyeidus could move to catch it, quick as a wink it was across the room and lost through a small aperture in the floor, and hours passed and the deapth of Polyeidus despair grew and multiplied as he realized the hopelessness of his situation, and then suddenly the second snake appeared again and this time it was carrying in its mouth a branch of a small herb and it approached the corpse of its companion and regurgitated the branch into the mouth of the dead snake, and the dead snake was revived, and the two snakes went away, and Polyeidus was struck dumb with amazement. And he called to his jailers and he described this herb to them which was well known to him, for its use in other medical matter. And the herb was brought to him and he chewed it up and he regurgitated it into the mouth of the corpse of young Glaucus and the child was revived and Polyeidus ass was saved. So he emerged and the king and the queen were jubilant and court was jubilant and the king said “you can have anything that you wish” and Polyeidus who was actually a foreigner to Greece said “I want to journey to my homeland, I want to return to my homeland” and king Minus was on the brink of granting the boon, when queen Pacifei intereveined and whispered in his ear and said “you cannot allow a magician of this power to leave the kingdom, we must somehow gain his knowledge before we allow him to depart from us” and so king Minus backtracked and made a different deal and said “you can return to your homeland but first you must teach all your magical arts to my son Glaucus who you have resurrected” and so Polyeidus not liking it that seeing the power of the king exceeded to the demand, and over the course of many years he taught all his shamanic and magical arts to Glaucus, and he schooled him in all of the esoteric knowledge that had made Polyeidus the unique person able to recover the, find the lost child, and finally he went to the king and said “I have taught all I know to your son, now fulfill your promise and allow me to leave your kingdom”. And so the king was agreed and on the appointed day of departure a royal retenue accompanied Polyeidus to the quay, where he was to grab the boat out to Siracuse, and they were embracing and the last goodbyes had been said and finally it only remained for Polyeidus to make his departure to Glaucus and he approached Glaucus and he said “as my pupil, as the one that I’ve initiated, I have one request: it is that now at our farewell you spit into my mouth.” And Glaucus thought it was a bizarre request but he did as his master baid him and Polyeidus boarded the ship and they cast of and sailed away and as the royal family was standing on the quay looking out to see Glaucus realized that all the magical information that had been given to him over the years had been contained in the glob of spittle and that the master had reclaimed his knowledge and sailed away. So that’s the story of Glaucus and Polyeidus.
RM: In the original you said they couldn’t find the body, and then you said they knew where the body was and they needed to revive it
TM: Oh yeah I blew the story. He did, Polyeidus once chosen he dreamed and saw the body in the honey but they were so flipped out that the kid was dead that the fact that he had found the body didn’t buy him much slack. Yes thank you for clarifying that. Now the reason, let me say a little bit about it. It’s a very interesting story. I found it while I was searching for proto-hellenic myths related to mushrooms and there’s something funny going on in this story. The fact that the blue-grey child is preserved in the honey. And then is resurrected through the intercession of another herb, an herb known to the snake. And recall from the Genesis myth that the snake is always the keeper of the vegetable secrets. It was the snake who had the inner [skinny] on the flora and fauna of Eden. So the snake comes bearing information that then concerns this herb of immortality and the ability to resurrect the dead, and it shows that the very late persistence of these paleolithic themes of shamanic power carried and transmitted through plants. If any of you have any other insight into this while, perhaps in the afternoon…
[3:53:09] RM: … eaten a mushroom and then gone into some sort of coma state where he appeared dead, and then the task was to revive him so they found an herb that restored people who are apparently dead. In the Gilgamesh story there’s also an herb of immortality that the snake [absconds with] and the snakes has always been especially credited with knowing the secret of regeneration [...]
TM: Well you know people in Mexico who built a [watland] and places like that and collect the mushrooms, the on-the-road, old style way of preserving the mushrooms was to put them in honey. And it turns into a totally black mess, it turns into the alchemical primal material, it turns into the [exudate] of the grave, but if you have the courage to eat it, it is then reborn inside of you, and a honey, the role of honey, well any of you who have read Levi Strauss, Honey and Ashes, and the Raw and the Cooked, know that this is a symbol of semen, of sunlight, of sweetness. I mean it’s a very rich kind of symbol. There are even, it’s reputed hallucinogenic honeys in the Amazon. This is a whole unexplored area where nobody has ever been able to walk into a laboratory and slam down a quart jar of hallucinogenic honey but there are persistent reports filtering back from wild-eyed travellers.
TM: The metaphor of honey, the [manas] from heaven, yeah
Q: Do you recommend preserving mushrooms in honey
TM: No I don’t recommend preserving mushrooms and honey if you have freeze, dryer and modern refrigeration, but otherwise, you see the honey draws the moisture out and it like candyze it and cristalizes it, and makes it impervious. Honey is highly antibiotic, nothing rots that is immersed
TM: Yes, Mr. Coffe, you had a story to tell
Q: No No
TM: I tailored myself to your needs sir and now I have nothing to say
Q: Come one you can’t back up!
TM: Yes he can as a matter of fact
RM: He has a joke
TM: a joke
Q: Well, it’s a death-bed joke, when I was [deathing] my father, a couple of days he died he told me a dream he woke up and he that he was sitting on the top of the peaks and the elders came and gave him beads and they contained the secrets of the universe and they described and went through the [...] and showed him all the secrets of the universe and he understood that he was gonna die and they had given him this gift before he died, and then they left him there telling him that they would see him and he looked down on the beads and he couldn’t remember any of the secrets of the universe
TM: Yes, well there’s something about dreams where meaning puns, or some great truth is portrayed but it can never be quite brought back, and it seems simple, silly, profound, but mostly difficult to remember. And a friend of mine, the closest to my mind that anybody ever came to capturing this, was, a friend of mine told me about a dream he had that was very complex and many many things happened but in the final scene there was a raft covered with Edwardian furniture and nakes mermaids, and it was floating out to sea, and the mermaids where waving to my friend who stood on the beach and the last thing he heard them call out to him was “Deja-vu! Deja-vu!”. It sounds like it means something! Well, anyone who wishes to say, I mean you don’t have to feel constrained to, you have to feel constraint, no hahah
Q: Maria Gimbutas says the snakes are the goddess, that any symbol of the snake that you see in archaic something or other are the goddess
TM: Well, too bad that Maria Gimbutas can’t mud wrestle Sigmund Freud…. Sure the [caducias]
RM: I’d like to invite people also in terms of telling stories also dreams I think would be, you know, often do contain good stories and you might search your memory particularly for dreams, I mean I have a personal interest I think it kinda ties in with the theme of this weekend and it’s the theme of the wild man or the wild woman, the wild creature, the half animal half human part of our own nature. If you ever had a dream about such a, that seems to be about such a being, this would be such a significant dream, very centrally related to what we’re talking about here.
TM: There was a book published very recently that I enjoyed plugging because the guy is so perverse, and you know he’s a post-structuralist-marxist-Jaque-Derrida-labour-organizer-rationalist type, but he wrote an amazing book about ayahuasca called “Colonialism, Shamanism…”, no “Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man”. And if you want to be plunged into the world of real shamanism as it is practiced today among very sophisticated people, I mean this guy got it, I really, his name is Michael Taussig, and you have to take off your hat to this guy because being an anthropologist at the university of Chicago and a Marxist he took it over and over and over again, not sipping it, he actually you know just got flattened with these people and talks about it and just throws out the gauntlet to orthodox anthropology, and he’s no true believer, this is not Carlos Castaneda, this is somebody very few of us here would actually be comfortable with, because you can tell, this guy is abrasive, thinks everybody else is a moron, thinks people who hear voices should see a psychiatrist, and yet you get the whole thing, it’s all there, Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man
RM: Yeah the thing that I got from that book is that the thing that he points out is that people in the Amazon region having experienced 250 years of savage colonial oppression are returning to ayahuasca to heal themselves and to get a, to retreat as it were, to restore themselves, to heal themselves to the outrageous wounds and humiliations imposed on them by the colonial rubber barons that run the rubber plantation down there, who regularly torture and massacre the indians just for sport, and you know, convert them to slaverly basically and so the ayahuasca is healing and also reconnecting them with their original existence in the jungle which fits with his marxist analysis of you know the major human [...] patterns being a reaction against economic oppression. And the role of hallucinogens there, I mean there is other evidence for that, in Africa for example where the tribe that uses this Iboga root, from which Ibogane is derived, are the farm people of the Congo area, and they themselves say, in their visions and their descriptions of their journeys with it, which say puts you in touch with your ancestors, and they acknowledge their own ancestors that had to do these great migrations to get away from Muslim and Christian, soldiers, and armies and so forth, and credit the, an even, another people, the Pygmy people who lived even further int he forest, so the farm of village dwellers, and so they claim the Iboga, the use of the Iboga having learned that from the Pygmies, who showed them this is how you live in the forest, which is the earlier status, really the wild, even more wild then they were, I mean from my point of view they’d be wild, but this is even further, more nature, deep forest. So they learn from them how to reconnect with that living source in the deep forest and at the same time escape the deprivation of the colonialist oppressors.
TM: It’s interesting in the case of Iboga there’s no no reference to it before the 1850, so this is like a use of a hallucinogen in a tribal context for which there is no evidence of great age at all. The peyote use over a widespread area is also similar. The older strata of archeological digs in the south west seems to indicate that peyote use came in fairly late. This springs up a point that I wanted to make in discussing an imaging of the figure of the shaman, which is not to get into a naive cult of the wild man. Some of you may know the book The Rio Tigri and Beyond, by Manual Cordova-Rios, sorry it’s by Bruce Lamb but it’s about Manual Cordova-Rios who was a great ayahuaschero, and he described going on [Currari], collecting and Rosewood collecting expeditions into really uncontacted tribal areas in the Amazon and there he would meet people brewing ayahuasca, completely bare assed, terrified, hunter-gathering types, and they didn’t know how to do it, and it was weak. He took it with them and it was just [stone rag]. So if you know the book you know he himself had this history of involvement with ayahuasca, so he made it for them the way he thought it should be made and showed them how to make it. And they had no resistance at all, they said “My God! You really know how to do this! Our whole culture will now be different, we just been making weak tea!”. So there is this thing about how the real access to the shamanic mystery is a shifting doorway, you never know where you are going to find it. When we were in the Amazon in ‘83 we were dealing with pretty authentic tribal people and asking them about these orally active DMT drugs and the best they could do was to say “well I saw my grand father a couple of times before he died, and he died 20 years ago, but I think I could make it”. The tradition was just in the act of fading away. But then, among the pharmacology students of the University Nacional De Peru, we found that with the help of Harvard-museum botanical leaflets they had reconstructed these aboriginal drugs so that they were extremely powerful and hit the mark every time. So shamanism is not the depth of a shaman’s authenticity, is not measured by the authenticity of the culture. The woman or man who is a shaman it depends on very unique personality, that my brother once suggested that a good definition for a shaman would be an extra-environmental, and that this is the attitude to cultivate: be a stranger everywhere, always stand on the outside, always be the alien, and you have the proper attitude for further in yourself the tendencies that make you into a person who sees deeply into reality. Another way of thinking about a shaman, this is a definition I created when my son was much younger, and he asked me “What is a shaman?” and I said “A shaman is a person who knows how the world really works”. And this is the task of everyone of us, to find out how does it really work, how does it really work? You inherit always a cultural model which is relatively trivial and idiotic and in all complex situations will fail you, so how does the world really work and to what degree does the cultural model stand in the way rather than serve as a springboard too. In the case of our own culture I think quite a bit.
[4:07:32] RM: This thing about the disappearing knowledge reminds me of something I wanted to share with you too, is that, some of you may know this woman called Ann Armstrong, was a very very gifted seer, seeress, [...] somebody who can tune into personal and meta personal kind of larger cultural visions of the past and the future. So she was once asked in a context of small conference about the history and future potentials of psychedelic plants, of visionary plants, and she got from her vision that, said something like “well these kinds of psychoactive visionary plants have been used by humans since the most ancient times for the purpose of helping humans come closer to god” basically, using kind of god language, or we might say in a more abstract way closer to a real understanding of the evolutionary design of the life on this plant and what our role really is. So the kind of role of psychedelics that we’ve been talking about here. But what happens is that the intelligences, the conscious beings that inhabit these plant forms, plant species, reach out to the human world essentially to establish this kind of cooperative, symbiotic, mutually supportive relationship, but then if humans start forgetting what the purpose of that is and start misusing the plants for their own personal purposes, then the plant spirits withdraw and they withdraw into the recesses of history, so they become inaccessible. [...] would say “the knowledge is lost”. Because the people are no longer using it for the purpose for which the plants really want them to be used, you know this is like really treating the plant spirits as equal intelligences to us, not as something to be used but as something to be shared and communicated, exchanged. Or, you know, the knowledge becomes forgotten like with the mushrooms they were regarded as a myth up until the ‘50s, you know, still in the 20s and 30s there were anthropological texts that referred to the magic mushrooms as a myth. A fairy tail in other words, a non-true story, a fantasy. Until the 50’s, until Wasson rediscovered the Maria Sabina up in the mountains Oaxaca brewing and doing the mushroom velada that was the belief. Or another way they become inaccessible, you know the Eleusis ergot beverage was lost, of course it was suppressed, the Soma thing was suppressed or lost, or both, and or they become, another way they become inaccessible is by making them illegal, prohibited as happened with LSD and all these drugs, very quickly, becomes accessible, the same with MDMA, MDMA was used like LSD was for about 10 years by a therapist and serious people wanting to use it to explore the potentials of the human mind, then at a certain point, a certain threshold gets crossed, people start realizing the potential for making profit by distributing it to large numbers of people who otherwise wouldn’t really have any interest in it, it’s manufactured not for the purpose of helping people expand their consciousness, but for the purpose of making certain people rich, then it becomes illegal, immediately. And then it becomes illegal, then you got the various maniacs, the perverts, the exploiters, the barbarians, the people like Manson who completely you know misuse it for the opposite of what it was originally intended to be and it becomes essentially inaccessible.
TM: It’s interesting to try and understand how this kind of knowledge could ever be lost. I mean Soma is a good example. The whole of the Rig Veda, especially the 9th mandala of the Rig Veda is just this ecstatic hymn to Soma, to some kind of intoxicating plant juice thing that was expressed in a series of pumps and grinders that was the central mystery of this invading Indo-European civilization for a couple of thousand years. And then around 1000 B.C. for inexplicable reasons even the knowledge of what this plant was seems to be lost. Well how can such information that is so central to a full experiencing of human potential, once found, ever be forgotten. And I think the only scenario that I’ve ever been able to come up with that would account for something like that is if you have a visionary plant and it’s used by the population but then you specialize and create a professional class that uses it and then that professional class makes it illegal for all other classes, and then the professional class which is using this entheogen coincidentally is also the ruling class, then when the lower echelons of society have had enough of being ruled then there are slave revolts and popular uprising and the priestly class that held this secret as its own source of power is probably wiped out to the last bold-headed priest and with them dies the information. So the holding close of the information is the first step toward losing it.
[4:14:00] RM: Well the other aspect of that is the act of suppression by the priest cast of the knowledge, the same patterns exactly happened in Europe with all the herbs preserved by the witches, the ruling priest of the church, and in India I think something similar might have happened, the priests always want people, like Blake says, the priesthood abstracts the deities and says we have a special relationship to this deity, we are the ones, we’re the experts, we’ll interceed for you, we’ll be the intermediary. You talk to the deities, they’ll talk to you, through us. We’ll tell you what the god say, cause we have the superior connection to them, and you do what they say, and you pay us, you support us, that’s the deal. And the people buy the deal and part of the deal consists then in you can’t take the medicine, because the medicine would make the people communicate with the god directly. That’s what the peyote Indians say, you know, white man goes and talks about god, Indians go to the peyote teepee and takes peyote and talks to this god. And so the priesthood immediately don’t want people to have mystical experiences, whether with mushrooms, soma, herbs, datura, no matter what it is. And then they want the power and the wealthy control the power finally and they say, they don’t need to take the mushrooms either, cause actually if they continue to take the mushrooms they would have to question their own power trip, so they rather wanna maintain the power trip rather than constantly question it. The only way soma could have been wiped out is by systematic suppression.
TM: It’s all there in Genesis, I mean basically the story of this struggle over access to a plant, and the first prohibition, you know, you can do anything you want, but do not eat off the fruit of this plant. And the
RM: Tree of knowledge, tree of knowledge!
TM: Tree of knowledge, and the other source is saying, you know, you will become as him, you will know your true condition in the cosmos, well is it that you will know your true condition in the cosmos, or is it that you will be cast down into an unending and eternal hell unto the thousandth generation, this is essentially Nancy Regan’s position. So the issue is knowledge, the true, you know, if you look for an archetype of the shaman in the western pantheon, the archetype of the psychedelic user it has to be Prometheus. It is Prometheus that steals the fire from divinity and carries illumination down to the human species. And for that must suffer the most outlandish torture and indignity ever dreamd of by the western imagination
Q: I have a story
TM: Ok and then we’ll break, tell your, get your mic and do your thing
Q: Ok, so I wanna change from the image of the primordial man, sort of primitive man of nature who was the other half of ourselves, to the primoridal man in the sense of the wizard, or the genie, in the sense of excellence
TM: The immortal
Q: The immortal [...] And in this story his name is Hasanabi who is a muslim figure who kind of runs around on the edge of reality rather like Elijah for the jews, Elijah was taken up in a [...] to fire and never died, and so he’s always present and you can come to the rabbis and sit after midnight and stand in front of their disc and teach [...] little pieces of scriptures to them. And so Hasanabi comes to people in their dreams or in vision and in the hindu tradition Babaji is this man. So the story starts with a little, an ordinary man living in a small village on the frontier of Afghanistan and Southern Russia there, and he’s the official in charge of collecting taxes, the weights and measures, so people who come through they go through him. And he has a perfectly nice life with a wife and a child and so on, and one night in the middle of the night comes to the foot of his bed this figure Hasanabi and is dressed with an emerald green cloak, with an emerald green pointed hat, and they have golden silver stars and thicke moons embroidered upon the cloak and the hat, and he has a long pointed grey beard and piercing green eyes and his eyebrows curl up at the edge, and he says to the little man “meet me at the river in 3 days at sunset”. And the little man is totally trembling and he wakes up in the morning and goes to his little tax office and he tells the big boss in charge of him “excuse me but in 3 days time I have to leave and I’m quitting the job now and I can’t do anything about it” and they say, the rumor spreads through the village immediately he’s gone made, he’s gone crazy. And his wife comes to hear of it because he doesn’t have the courage to tell her himself, and “Oh dear he’s gone crazy what can we do perhaps we didn’t feed him the right food,” or whatever else he takes. But anyway 3 days later he’s standing at sunset at the edge of the river and he sees far upriver coming towards him this man with great emerald green cloak and the tall hat and the pointed beard and they meet and they acknowledge each other and Hasanabi says “jump in the river”. So… shall I continue?
So he jumps in the river… Robert Blights encourages when the storyteller stops then you’re supposed to encourage him otherwise he doesn’t know maybe he’s boring you, you know? So good. You try to encourage him you know just in the traditional way, make you know that we love your story. So, he jumps in the river and fortunately he can paddle a little bit and swim a little bit so he’s in the river and it’s carrying him and it’s nearly dawn when a small fishing boat comes by and sees him and says “oh your nearly at the mouth of the river, it’s dangerous here” and they take him up onto the boat and they take him to shore where they have a small hut [...] and they make him help with the nits and they feed him of course from the fish that they’ve caught and then they take him out and they teach him how to read the stars, to know what time it is and when to set out for the fishing. And they teaching about the tides, about the seasons, and then one night he’s sleeping in his little hammock in the fishing village and who should come by but Hasanabi who says “leave here before dawn, walk over those mountains and see what happens”. Shall I continue?
He comes to a green valley over the mountains and he sees some men harvesting and putting the wheat up on a cart and carrying it to the farm house and coming back for more and he stands by the road watching them and they call him and say “hey come and help us”, so he helps and he loads the hay and then in the evening they’re in the farm house and they’re sitting down at the table with all of them and the next morning he’s up for breakfast and is the farmers daughter who brings him the porridge and cereal and everything and this is looking quite nice and he learns about planting and about the seasons, and the autumn, and the spring time and how to keep the seeds, and he’s quite interested in the farmers daughter after all, and life is not so bad and there’s cream and there’s honey, and then who should come in the middle of the night but Hasanabi and says “without saying goodbye to these people because you like them, before the dawn comes leave, and go to that far city and become a dealer in furs and skins”
Yes yes each time he gets up in the middle of the night and rushes off with nothing. And they’d given him a small salary, so he has to take the money that he’d earned, and go and set himself up. So he goes there and buys some skins, and because of his non-attachment and because he didn’t really do this out of ambition, the god smiled on him, even though nature is indifferent, sometimes if your mood is right then those nymphs and other devas and goddesses who inhabit nature can actually and give us the illusion I think that nature is on our side even if it really isn’t. So he has this illusionary experience and becomes quite rich and one of the men much in ladies take an interest in him and they decide should go and buy a house together and then improve their investments and share their knowledge of dealing and things. And they’re putting their money together and discussing this and they find the right and house and who should come in the middle of the night but Hasanabi with his emerald green cloak and all these paraphernalia, and said to him “give me the money you’ve earned” which is the part I really like about this story “and go to that small village in the mountains and apprentice yourself to the potter” or is it the green grocer? I always change this part of the story. Anyway, shall we go on?
So he goes, he gives the money to Hasab and he goes to the small village in the mountains and he apprentices himself to the green grocer and people come to buy the vegetables and so on and they talk to the green grocer and they pay him and they talk to the green grocers assistant and they go away and they feel nice. And then some of the ladies in the village have a headache and they go to the green grocer and they come back from the green grocer and the headache’s gone, and then someone’s sick and they go by the green grocer shop and he isn’t there and they speak to the assistant and they go away and they’re not sick anymore, and so this becomes by word in the village and finally the leaders of the village come talk to the person and even the scholars from other places come and they examine him and they ask him to tell them what it is that has brought him to this deep knowledge and which marvellous teachers he has had and which theological schools he’s studied in and then he tells them the story of his life, I don’t know if you remember it I could tell it again…
So they make up some story, which makes it very important for his life and they say “well he’s really hiding from us and he must have studied with this great teacher and had these tremendous initiatic experiences” and it’s simply called the story of the man with the inexplicable life and my question out of it is how the primordial man and the kind of alchemist, how they play against each other and with each other in our struggle to become more than just our human selves, to discover our natural primordial self and also to discover this godlike self.
TM: Well anyone who has written a curriculum vitae has grappled with that problem. Ok gang, that’s it, we’ll meet here at 3
[4:25:45] TM: So, it is not a metaphor that we are in a state of symbiotic abandonment to our mother, it isn’t a symbolic statement at all. It is simply a true statement, that we are so far out into the history game that we don’t understand this, that our own existential angst it’s all because we don’t know jack shit about what’s going on, and the reason we don’t is because we have accepted prohibitions against finding out what’s going on. We are infantile, as a matter of fact. Our whole spiritual engine of transcendence is infantile, it rests on the daddy figure, who is the priest, the guru, the wise man, some beady-eyed character from Bengal or elsewhere who is just going to straighten us all out. Is a complete kind of wrong headedness that we have inherited as part of our historical legacy. It’s that we do not value direct experience, we do not trust ourselves, we do not pay attention to the immediate input from the living world. We are always casting away from ourselves. What do the experts say? What did Buddha say, what did Plato say, what did somebody on the other side of the world, what do they say now? We give ourselves away. And the reason is because we are bereft. You know that phenomenon of 40 year old guy with the sports car and three marriages behind him, this guy is desperate, he is bereft. I always think of that amazing phrase in Lady Chatterley’s Lover where Constance Chatterley faces the fact that she is and she says in the book “to be had for the taking”. And to some degree we all have reached such a state of spiritual bereavement and abandonment that we are to be had for the taking. And this makes us susceptible, it makes us marks, to use a word a word that’s dear to William Burroughs. Shamanism is an effort to get outside the carny midway, to actually walk between the tents, and to discover the cool night that is going on away from the sound of the change makers and the barkers. And this it has to do, I maintain, and I become less and less tolerant of any other view, which is either a sign that I’m slowly losing my mind, I’m slowly just, eventually I’ll just be like John Lilly, I just won’t give a shit, you know, really say what I think, but I really believe that authentic shamanism is psychedelic shamanism. And then people say, and nobody said it yet, but it’s ok to say it, “can’t you get there some oth…
[4:29:36] TM: I’m not saying that you can’t put consciousness around, and I’m not saying that you cannot induce psycholitic states, states of self recognition, states of abandonment of neurotic behaviour patterns, and that sort of thing, certainly these things happen. But this informing impossible mystery, this thing which need not exist at all so far as we can tell. It is entirely a gratuitous mystery, this informing sense of the other that approaches us with poetry and jeweled machines and visionary vistas of the far future and lost races in space and biological destinies possible but untried, that is not approachable any other way, and I think you know, that all this lineage mumbo jumbo and the close holding of secrets means you don’t have a strong hand. If you’re holding your hand close to your chest is because you’re afraid to play it. And the shamanism that is happening at the most primitive cultural level is shamanism that is willing to show its hand. I mean they don’t tell you that you’re not pure enough or celibate enough or haven’t mastered textual proficiency enough. They just say “yes, come with us into the woods and we’ll just show you what we know”. And what we know is that we don’t know nothing. And this is how we found that out. We found that out by putting ourselves at the mercy of something that we absolutely cannot understand. Something which cannot be boiled down to serve ideology, this horse cannot be broken. Any priest that will try to ride it will be thrown for a loop. Any politician who tries to ride it will be trampled beneath it. It is a true mystery. And the male ego, that reductionist, Newtonian, Cartesian, positivist approach always pushes for closure. There is never satisfaction unless there is explanation. And yet explanation is a fool’s game. Anybody can create an explanation, the history of thought is the history of one cock-eyed explanation after another. Which is immediately perceived as ludicrous, once it becomes outmoded. So the mystery is not an unsolved problem, it is a true mystery. Nobody knows what is going on. I don’t think any tradition has taken a measure of this, or operates in the light of it. The people who actually handle the molten alchemical ore that pours out of the furnaces of hyperspace have very little to say about it. Have no interpretation to offer, it’s the public relations people, and the priestcraft people and the people who have a book they’re selling. They are just full information, explanation, denunciation, adoration, so forth and so on. But the people who stand close to the mystery are silent. And what I would like to put across, and what I’m always trying to put across, and what is very hard to put across even though we say it over and over again, is how real what we’re talking about is. It is real. It can just shake your teeth out. It is very fine to sit under the teaching tree and talk about psychedelic drugs. You know how much this is like being smashed on a psychedelic drug. Not at all! Not one iota. Because what is required in the actual confrontation of the thing is that all this theory is that all this theory, all this tradition, all this self examination is brought in to the focus of the moment. It is existentially real, you are being tried and you are being tested by a thing and an agency that you cannot know. And this is very different from getting a laugh from an audience or a paycheck from an institution, or your book reviewed in the newspaper, that is all dross, and foolishness. Because know that there are weasels everywhere and that your position in human society is no indication of your existential validity. But if you can pass through the fire of the psychedelic experience, and it is a fire, the hexagram “Li”, the clinging is the sign of the psychedelic experience, it is the noetic fire, it’s the fire that descended on Pentecost and gave language to the apostle, if you can pass through that fire then you have made a pact outside of history, outside of the validations and value systems of men and women, you have found authentic being. And it’s a great challenge, a great controversy, people, you know, react differently, they want to preserve this particular tradition which mitigates against that particular tradition and which mitigates against… the fact is we can only say what we know. And I diligently sought existential validity in the various rumoured sophic-oasis in the landscape of human aspirations, such as yoga, such as sitting, such as, such as, and it’s just a matter of shopping around, you know, and finding out what actually sets your knees knocking, what actually makes tears of joy run down your face spontaneously, what actually can make you grovel and plead for mercy. Amd It is this force, this real invocation of real spirit, it is a dark night of the soul, it is an ecstasy, apotheosis, apocatastasis, it even happens outside of Greek. It is pure challenge met and overcome, pure self authentication. And in a world where we are just buffeted, used, set against one another, misled, misconstrued lied to and controlled, nevertheless you can just push between the tents of carnival row and walk out into the woods and there you find the spiritual life waiting, there you find the limpid sophic waters of the Tao, that were always there, and it’s a matter of courage. Not of finding the guru, not of seeking the answer. Everybody who’s seeking the answer is in flight from the answer. Because the answer is not sought it is faced! You know what it is, you just have to face the demands that it will make upon you, because it isn’t easy. Somebody isn’t going to pass by your prostrate form and touch you on the head and tell you you’re enlightened, it’s going to be burned out of you, the way the dross is burned away from the precious metal in the alchemical furnace. It takes courage and commitment, and the willingness to make what Plotinus called the flight of the alone to the alone. This is what shamanism is about. We do have a good time with each other, we do have a good time with all these drugs and copulating furiously upon them and making metaphors with them, but the truth is that it is the narrow neck that challenges us, and the narrow neck that authenticates us. And when you pass through it, each time you come through the other side, you’ve taken a step along the path of knowledge that is irrevocable, you are not set back. Nature loves courage. Nature is an infinitude of doorways opening into authentic being. Calling to us with the voice of our ancestors, the spirits of the planet, the time travelers that rove the centuries ahead of us. And who knows what else. The whole fact of being is a palpable, ongoing, continuous miracle. And we know this, we feel it. But we are the programmed victims of a death-dealing society. So our task becomes I think to use the empowerment that these kind of gatherings give us. And to use the self recognition that we can each have here that we are not alone. That, you know, I’m saying this because I’m glib, but we all know it. That’s how I’m able to say it. It is elicited from the group mind. If it weren’t in you I would be incomprehensible. So we form then an understanding and then we each are strengthened in the private trials of our souls when we go to meet these things, when we try to hammer out a relationship to the ally, when we try to hammer out a relationship to the denizens of our own unconscious. This is life authentically lived. And I’m sure that you’re probably like me in that you come to these kind of gathering points from a much more mundane life, a life of a scramble for sustenance and whatever career mongering we’re all doing, I mean very few of us have a chance to keep the white hot image of ourselves as a sky-walker in front of us. But nevertheless, this is the fact, this is the internal myth that drives us and delivers knowledge and delivers authentic being. And it takes a very very small number of people to make a change. Especially when the change is not resisted, because what we’re saying is not menacing to the establishment, it’s utterly incomprehensible to the establishment. So we can formulate in our benign neglect, we can formulate our own self image, and when finally in the chaos of the world we are asked for what our answer would be, what solution we would propose, it would be all there, all finished, ready and waiting. This is how mutation, real mutation occurs in biological populations. It isn’t that there’s a mutation and suddenly it works better and so it takes over. No, it’s that the mutation is always there in the background and it’s never significant until the conditions change, it gets dry, it gets wet. Suddenly those mutant genes that allowed an organism to survive in wetter or dryer conditions make all the difference. So we are a residual mutation that will not die, but it carried along in the bloodstream of the beast and every 20 or 30 years or so, like the hatch of locusts or the coming of some other natural phenomenon in the ecosystem of the planet, there are waves of reform, and of transcendent hope. It begins in America with the transcendentalists. As part of that now, we have only to bide our time, this shamanic model is at the very centerpiece of the new society that will be constellated if there is to be any future society at all. That’s it I think. Well now we should talk more, it’s just like a summation of what I wanted to do out of it. So now we should react against this and
[4:43:48] RM: Let me give you also… Ok [...] we’ll just take a few minutes to give you one other mythic image to think about that has recently come into focus again which relates very much to the kind of apocalyptic millennial types of discussions and images that Terence has been conjuring. And that’s the story of Kali in Hindu mythology. [Agik Mukuji] who’s a scholar of indian [cantric/tantric] art, especially, has just produced another one of his extraordinary books and it’s called “Kali the feminine force”. In Hinduism, especially Hindu tantrism, the goddess is regarded as the dynamic life force. Consciousness is thought of as basically inert and needing to be galvanized into life by the dance and the power of the Shakti, which is the female power, and you get these symbolic images of Kali dancing on the inner body lying prone on the ground, sometimes with an erection, of Shiva, sometimes just lying as if dead, and she’s dancing on his body, as the picture of the entire universe process. So as you know they also have this vision of 4 descending world ages of increasing density, tightness, and darkness, and evil, and degradation and degeneration after which the whole cycle starts over again, and we’re now in the middle or end phase of the Kali [...] the fourth and tightest and most grimmest phase of the cycle and the story that relates to that is that Kali is born out of the head of Durga who is herself the feminine form of Shiva as the destroyer-transformer who is a warrior goddess Durga and she goes around slaying demons, and there comes a time in which the asuras, which are basically demons, and they’re male demons, the asuras sometimes referred to as violent gods, or gelous titans, or something analogous to titans in Greek mythology and the closest to anything that Hindus have in terms of like the devil, it isn’t one figure that incanates evil, basically the asuras are like a cosmic mafia, they basically break all the rules and do everything opposite to the gods. The gods are trying to help the evolutionary process along, and the asuras are trying to do the opposite, they’re into power and violence. And the humans are of course caught between these two fashions, plus the animals [...] So there’s this time that comes when the asuras, the activities of the asuras, the violent fighting and control trips that the asuras, the fighters, the warriors, the militarists, male run on each other and on other people, other beings on the world, gets totally out of hand, and the gods become alarmed. Like in the story of Gilgamesh they say we’ve got to do something these [...] are getting out of hand, the world itself is being threatened, it’s gonna have repercussions on other systems and so on. And the gods go to Dorga, and Dorga says “ok it’s time for Kali”, produces Kali out of her head, and Kali proceeds to deal with the situation by devouring all of the male demons, the asuras. And you see these pictures of their bodies and heads and arms cut off flying into the air, and Kali is just shoveling them in, so what is that image? This is the image, some new age people refer to as Gaia, the earth, doing the corrective action needed to deal with the imbalance created by an amok technology applied by paranoid militarists. And the kind of devouring that’s in fact what’s happening. Asuras, as well as of course many humans are being devoured, heads and arms and limbs are flying to the air, war, torture, famine, pestilence, [fam], all the four hoursmen of the apocalypse that’s all the Kali age, that’s the balancing process of the earth going on. And I’ll just give you one other reflection connected to that which is that you know this theme that the earth is regressing the balance, you get this in a lot of the Indian prophecies, the Hopi prophecies, the earth is going to go through this time of purification, and then there’s various myths about the elect being able to take off in time and so forth, which needen’t concern us, but the emphasis is on the purification, so what form does that take, you see? And one of the things that I was shown in one vision was that if it got to the point, if the environmental, the ecosystem degradation got to the point that some violent reaction became necessary to turn the thing around before being blown up let’s say, what would happen would be and ecological disaster on this planet, that would be the earth response. An ecological disaster of such proportions, global proportions, that it would take the entire combined cooperative use of all of human resources, of all countries and missions simultaneously diverted away from a military technology, which is where the bulk of it presently goes, and a concerted effort to deal with the problem forcing people to cooperate against a common enemy, and that’s in fact what I think is gonna happen, and I think it’s gonna happen during the next 10, 20 years, the ecological crisis will grow to the point where many people will feel, myself included, or we’ve already reached that point, already is an unmitigated world-wide disaster that dwarfs everything else, including nuclear war, because nuclear war after all is a threat, is a possibility, I may never happen. The eco-disaster is already happening, is in full swing. The greenhouse effect and the population exploding are only the two last factors that have [grotly] dawning to people’s consciousness as adding and multiplying the fact of even far beyond everything else, the greenhouse effect which is really misnamed because greenhouse suggests something positive that promotes growth, the greenhouse effect is actually a heat trap, a planetary heat trap, or fever condition of the planet that we’re in and that we have no way of stopping. The best we can do now according to the latest computer projections is to slow it down, to slow the inevitable rise of at least one degree over all global temperature which could result in major disaster world-wide, including the desertification of the entire American midwest green basket, will either take 20 years or 15 years or 25 years, depending on the kind of action we take. So this is the significance of the Kali, the myth of Kali, which is Gaia, which is the earth correcting herself, and redressing the balance, purifying herself, doing corrective action. So I wanted to share that with you for further reflection
[4:51:51] TM: The image that I always hold of all of this because I try to be a rationalist and an optimist, and it’s very difficult to be both I think, but I don’t think we ever slip out from beneath the control of nature, that man is not some kind of abomination run amok inside what otherwise would be a very ordinate and pleasant situation. It’s that the planet itself is destabilizing. The last 10 million years have been more unstable with more glaciations than the previous 100 million years. And the appearance of human populations is simply to the present moment the most extreme example of the destabilizing forces loose on the planet, but evolution does not proceed at a steady rate, it appears to go faster and faster. And historical time is like the career of intelligence, just putting the pedal to the floor, and you’re pushed back in your seat, and you begin to accelerate. This is what history is, and we are now accelerating at such a rate that as Ralph very eloquently pointed out there are processes in motion that are real and measurable and show beyond the shadow of any controversy that we are living in times such as had never been known before. The dissolution of the ozone in the atmosphere, the clearing of the amazon, the pandemic spread of diseases, and information, the complete globalizing of the whole human family so that we essentially do live in a global village. What happens in Bangladesh and Argentina and Anchorage is all reported everywhere in the same day. The kind of eco-castrophies that Ralph mentioned, the AIDS epidemic, the AIDS epidemic like the spread of nuclear weapons, another epidemic, have been wonderful stimulus to sober thought about our condition. And, you know, I believe that the Chernobyl disaster in the soviet union was really what turned the Kremlin leadership toward rethinking their foreign policy. Because the explosion of a single power plant was like dropping a drop of ink in a glass of water and watch the entire glass of water turn slightly grey. And we’re talking about the atmosphere of the only planet suitable for human life that we know of. And people just said, you know, my god, when Three Mile Island nearly melted down, if it had melted down and the federal capital of the United States of America had had to be relocated 100 miles to the south this would be a more ecology conscious nation today. I mean we got through by the skin of our teeth. But the image that I think is large enough to contain the violence and the desperation of the situation and still offer some hope is the image of birth. That we are somehow the children of the planet, we are somehow its finest hour, and this may great on some people as anthropocentrism, but I actually espouse a certain kind of modified of modified anthropocentrism because I don’t think we’re like fruit flies and giraffes and even [god say] this dolphins and chimpanzees. There is something different about this species. The evolutionary biologists say what it is, is that we have maintained, we are omni-adaptive. The strategy of other animal species is to define a niche, a tight set of conditions and to perfectly occupy that niche. We don’t do that, what we do is we redefine niches. We remake things so that we can go there. We dress ourselves so that we can inhabit the arctic, we invent fire so that we can keep it with us, so forth and so on. We are some kind of experiment that nature is indulging herself in. An experiment with the efficacy of epigenetic codes. Previously the coding system that has been ubiquitous throughout nature has been the evolutionary code of the nucleotides that form the codons of the DNA that code for the structure of proteins that then compete in a kind of structural environment of adaptability. But the epigenetic information that we carry through song, through writing, through dance, story-telling, and electronic media, is a whole different ball-game. We do not forget, we bind time, we bind the past, we anticipate the future, we are going hyperspacial, we are coining a whole new dimension for biology that it never claimed to be for. Always before biology has operated within the confines of the immediate moment, but with the invention of writing and mnemonic skills and still more so with the proliferation of electronic media, we are actually becoming a fourth dimensional kind of creature. Our past lives, our future is somehow with us. And you’ll recall early on I said the shaman journeys through time, the shaman is the paradigmatic figure for the future state of all humanity. What is happening is a birth process. And in the same way that a foetus in its maternal matrix eventually must be parted or else [toxinia] sets in and threatens the life of the mother and the infant, in that same way, we have seem to have been groomed for metamorphosis into our own imagination. This is where we are going, and this is what our peculiar cerebral self-reflective property is about. Now history is a week of god’s eye. 25 thousands years maximum, a geological instant, which begins with people chipping stone flint and which ends with people walking through a violet doorway into what? Galactic citizenship. A super civilization spread throughout space and time and through levels and continue [...] we can barely conceive or imagine. I mean we are like paleolithic man staring dumbly into its campfire and seeing there the shimmering towers of Babylon and Memphis and Athens and Rome and New York and saying, you know, what is it? What is it? What is it? It seems so important, it looks so familiar, and yet it’s utterly incomprehensible. Our future is our mystery, our destiny is to live in the imagination and the historical process that we’re going through is not I think cause for despair, but it is a major transition point in the life of the entire planet. And I would like to think that a thousand years from now the planet will be empty of human life. That you know, the forest will be creeping out into the grasslands, the animal populations will be stabilized, the sequestering of heavy metals will have been completed and the planet, like a woman who has just given birth to an 11 pound baby will just breath an enormous sigh of relief. And we, following the shamanic information, following the self-transcending image of shamanic flight that leads us to build space shuttles and starships and L5 colonies, we will have followed our imagination into the unimaginable vistas of artistic creation that are our true destiny and home. And we’re now in transition, the most difficult part of any birth process. Blood is being shed, the screaming and groveling and waves of tension sweeping through the planet, sweeping through the human population. But it is an anticipation of a higher, wider, freer, kinder, kind of being that we have always held up as an ideal for ourselves with the notion of the shaman, the super man or woman who knows the secrets of the animals, moves with the subtlety of the wind, is always capable of appropriate behavior, is at home everywhere, and leaves no mark, it’s our aspiration, it’s our guiding image. What we need to do I think
RM: leaves works of art
TM: yes it sheds works of art
RM: leaves records
TM: We excrete ideas, we leave a contrail of artifacts as we move through time. And they, you know, they’re rotting in the jungles of Belize in Guatemala, they’re parched on the sands of Egypt and Iran, and there are more artifacts ahead of us. An endless shedding of our architectonic and imaginary dreams as we move toward the quintessence, which is the self, which is this transcendent object at the end of time, that has cast this vast shadow over our dreams our poetry, our aspirations, our art, our self-image. And we can each know this, here and now. The psychedelics put you in on the joke. You no longer are caught in the unfolding drama, you have seen the end, you have acted as a go between, you have discovered the way in which the world actually works. Well know I’d like to hear from some of you, we can tie this up for people.
TM: this gentlemen.. Oh yes microphone
Q: Well I basically agree with a lot of things that you’ve been talking about Terence and giving mass of [...] information and trying to just answer and put some points I feel are important that are important in the context that you are talking about. One is just a simple thing, in the beginning you talking about psychedelics, I didn’t quite get whether you make a distinction between synthetic and organically grown.
TM: No I make a definite
Q: Yes I know that you make the difference, but within your talk you mentioned LSD several times in ways that I got the impression that you look at LSD as something that is not synthetic
TM: Well LSD is probably a borderline case. I’m probably under the spell of Albert Hoffmann’s recent visit. LSD-like compounds occur in morning glory and were the basis for certain hallucinogenic riots among the Mayans and the Toltecs. LSD is soft of a hybrid. Ultimately I supposed I would be sort of anti LSD because the problem with LSD is that it’s so easy to make a million hits. And a million hits is not a party, a million hits is a governmental problem. And that’s what undid LSD, it was the fact that it was so easy to manufacture truly society-disrupting amounts of it
RM: And that was its main function, most likely
TM: Well but don’t you think a burrowing from within strategy might have gotten further? Like I believe that the reason Leary decided to use LSD in the Harvard experiments was because Michael Holland said, made the case to him that they could manufacture so much of it. Leary’s original inspiration was psilocybin, but there were physical constraints on its manufacturing
RM: Well yeah I just think that you know, I might not have done it that way but that’s the way it happened and it seems to have been what the historical process, was what the historical process came up with, something that could be manufactured, could be in large amounts, giving to hundreds of thousands of people access to experiences that before only few had had. That kind of hundredth monkey mass quantum action threshold
Q: I mean thinking in these quantitative terms is a very male thing. And I just wanted to put this question because my experience, my own experience as well as what I have seen in many cases of people taking LSD is that is extremely effecting your body and is creating confusion, possibly, and that you should at least take in consideration that it is develop by a Swiss company, and even Albert Hoffmann who I really appreciate as a wise, nice old man, is a man still, and it is done in the whole context of patriarcal chemical work [...] destroying the river [...] and besides all these things they have developed LSD.
TM: Yes well I try to be
Q: I just wanted to mention this very briefly, it’s not the main point that I wanted to come to
TM: Can I answer it anyway?
TM: Basically I agree with you, I bend over backwards to be liberal because I, you know, Ralph once accused me to be the most conservative person he knew, but I think you’re right, the fact that it can be manufactured means that it can be manufactured badly. What you want when you take a psychedelic is something that you know where it came from, you know what it is, and you don’t have to worry about, you know, were people orphaned, or did evil people manufacture this, or is the money being used to hold down black South Africans, or...? So, I think plants. My advice to someone who takes it seriously, who wants to get right on this issue is grow your own mushrooms. You should grow your own mushrooms. For several different reasons. First of all, if you can successfully grow mushrooms, you probably can take them. Because in the process of growing them it is taught to you kindness, punctuality, attention to detail, all these traits which are very useful then when you take it. And then you know what you have. You’ve watched grain, rye, a human food, turn into pure psilocybin. And it all happened in you own basement. So no middle man, no question of sources, no question of international chemical companies, so forth and so on. No I think you’re right to be very sensitive to this issues of synthetic, origins, and the karma of these things. But now go on
Q: Well your answer is even an answer to my next point, which is that we have been talking a lot about [...] on not taking drugs, which is from my impression not even a serious question for most of the people here. But the more important question that I found was not deal with enough, the question how we take it. We live in a culture where we have not many tools, or transmissions of knowledge how to use properly plants, and what you’ve just saying about mushrooms is a very good point, how we can learn to deal with these things properly, instead of just buying it and consuming it. And the last remark to this question I would like to maybe hear a few sentences from both of you, is the point that because I think Ralph mentioned the history of Eleusis at a certain point, and what I know or one point that I remember is that people were only allowed once in their life to get this visionary experience. And you pointing out it’s a visionary experience maybe it’s the most important, I would say, I mean, in shamanic cultures quite often is just the shaman who would go for the visionary experience and then has to share that with his people, and not everybody was just going for the visionary experience, and what happened in the psychedelic movement was that everybody was going for visionary experience again and again and again and again, was out, or even by doing that of losing his motivation of bringing his vision back to his life and to his people
TM: Well, people don’t know how to do it, you’re right. And so maybe it’s used, I mean this is certainly tying up loose ends, I feel like this is where we really sore out toward the edge, stretch the envelope of the institution, but you must know how to do it, right? And so how to do it, in my humble opinion, but based on experience, is first of all you take a committed dose. You don’t take some namby, pamby, pibbling, testing it out toe in the water kind of dose, because, you know, even in the Christian, in the gospel Christ says, it’s the lukewarm that I vomit out of my mouth, you know, don’t bring me any [dilatons], no dabblers, no drug store cowboys. So, you take a committed dose. What is a committed dose? A dose that when you think about taking it you feel fear, that’s a committed dose. So you take a committed dose, and then you take it on an empty stomach. And then you take it in silent darkness. Leave your walkman alone. Forget Motzart, forget the Pink Floyd, forget Bach’s choral preludes, it’s ridiculous. All that stuff sounds fine without these things. And this is heresy to some people. I mean to some people it’s all about, choosing the music. Again, this selling out, what the hell you can’t illuminate your mind without having a synthesizer dibbling in the background. So, silent darkness, committed dose, empty stomach, and then it’s very simple: you lay down, you shut up, you close your eyes, and you look at the back of your eyelids with the expectation that you may see something. Now, people, in describing this back to me, people have called that the McKenna method. Which means to me which you must be nuts to think of it that way because I talked to someone, I won’t name him, but a great researched, widely published researcher in psilocybin, and he’d done 80 trips and given it to 5000 people and so forth, and I said “well what did you make of the hallucinations?” and he said “I never closed my eyes”. And I realized, you know, that these guys are just quaking with terror.
[5:14:20] TM: … dose in a shamanic situation, and I, and now I’m not advising this, this I do not advise, but this is how I do it, I do it alone. I have never understood the obsessive need people have to take drugs in groups, it just makes my flesh crawl. And the only time I’ve ever been able to do it comfortably was with Amazonian people and Mestiso people where there was a language barrier. But if I take a psychedelic with somebody then I just listen to them breathing, and I hope they’re alright, and I get all tangled up with are they alright, should I say something, should I not say something, and it just turns into this mothering thing that I can’t stand, and often when I take psychedelics alone I pass through a place where I say to myself, boy I’m sure glad there’s nobody out here because I think this would really alarm them. At this point people would be reaching for 411, and since I can’t it’s not gonna turn into an embarrassment for me. So, I think, you know, committed dose, silent darkness, empty stomach, lie down, shut up, keep still. Keeping still the I-ching says, it’s all in keeping still
Q: and the last thing that I wanted to mention in this context is that from my own experience there’s more than just set and setting and dosage, which it has to do with the cleaning of the gates of, what you say [...]
RM: Perception, doors of perception
Q: doors of perception, because in my own case and again what I saw with many other people happening is that if you still have some [...] in your system and psyche, you first of all you’d have difficulty to stay in a place like you can do that, and what happened to many people is that either got difficulty to handle the situation and would do all kinds of things that would damage themselves, or is that they would go through, they would run around with some kind of omnipotent feelings. I mean there is serious research being done that Hitler had taken mescaline and got some of his visions, and got through his dark and deep wounded soul other than he did
TM: Well eventually it becomes an aesthetic question. I mean, you know, the trick with psychedelics, as with life generally, is to be in good taste. I mean it is not tasteful to vomit on your partner, or declare yourself the world messiah, this is embarrassing, and it’s happening but it’s inappropriate, I think, you know, the rules don’t change when you take psychedelics, you still, there’s no licence to be a jerk, the thing about narcissistic hang ups and stuff like that, usually I just feel that the person hasn’t done enough. And sometimes you really have to clober people
Q: haven’t done enough?
TM: that the dose is insufficient
RM: That’s a good response to, but let me just briefly ask in terms of your basica question on how, to Terence’s suggestion which centered mostly on dosage and setting factors, practical, down to earth, physical factors, I would emphasize the factor of intention more than he has. And to me intention is the single most important criterion for productive kind of experience and Terence’s is basically assuming a clarity and authenticity of intention. Many people who have experimented and dabbled in psychedelic drugs, as you were saying, you know, doing it for all kinds of reasons, such as being able to say that they’ve taken it once, or because their friends suggested it, or because they wanna be less insecure about their sexual hang ups or whatever it may be. And the intention, whatever your intention is in going in, the entire flow of the experience will be a response to that. You may not understand what the hell it means, what the significance really is and that’s your challenge to figure out, now it may take you years and months, that’s why for some people one psychedelic session was in fact enough. Not because afraid to repeat it, quite the contrary, that was the thing that connected them to their source, they got their instructions and they can live with the for the rest of their lives. Other people make a specialty of exploring various other areas and exploring the possibilities of tools and applying them in the contexts such as healing or creativity. I also feel that in a way we’re in a much more experimental age, and that ties back then you know the traditional shamanic societies were, and while I personally lean towards testing out and working as much as possible with the tried and trued ways, not because their shamanic but because they’ve been tried, they have in fact worked, they’ve demonstrated their ability, but that does not preclude the possibility that there may be new ways of working with these medicines that are still have integrity in relationship to the basic evolutionary purpose of why you’re approaching it, but that may be completely new. Such as for example, and that could apply equally to synthetics or semi-synthetics like LSD or plants substances to use them in combination with techniques of yoga, with techniques of birth. I personally know many instances where these breathing techniques that are known as the name of rebirthing, have been very effectively combined with low doses of MDMA. Where the MDMA, as a kind of a catalyst making that kind of technique much more effective. Or conversely during an MDMA experience where a person gets stuck in a certain way, their using a breathing technique that they’ve already learnt has dislodged them from a stuck place. So I think the possibilities of, also I think, I think Terence says about the totally committed dose, the full trip, yes. I think there are also possibilities of low doses that allow a certain different kind of entry and access to the other worlds, not as radical. Not instead of, not that one is better than the other, but is another dimension. I feel about these plants that they are allies, I mean they are tools, but they are more than tools, because along with the tool comes a living intelligence, someone that you can respect and communicate with, and so it’s more appropriate to call it an ally in your work, in our work of fostering the evolutionary process on this planet. And so the only reason is because I’ve encountered the allies, unexpected. Unexpected, I didn’t know that when I was in the graduate school, even undergraduate, or college, or high-school, that I would one day be working with teaching plants that can tell us what it is like to be a human being and what the proper role of human beings on this earth is, and what we are to do. It would have been, nothing could have been further from my imagination, and yet it’s presented and I’ve come to accept the arrival of a new tool or a new ally such as one of these plants, as a sign almost that I’m on the right track, approximately, I’m on the right track suddenly you meet somebody who’s like a [...] I know where you’re going, I know how you’re trying to get there and this will help you. I say “thank you very much”, I mean, respect and honor that. And try and understand as much of what’s going on. No one will ever know everything that there is to know, there are things that, you know, just the distinction that Terence was telling about the mystery, and I think this is the key to it. Be open to the mystery, and maintaining ourselves open to the mystery. If we close ourselves to the mystery and we have answers we are lost, we are dead or as punk and gangsters now say to one another “you’re history, man”. Right? They’ve done something that’s offensive to them, this is the insult “you’re history, man”. So we call ourselves off from the mystery, we’re history. The back water, bye bye humans. And it’s happened before according to the records. And so anything that we can do to keep ourselves open to that mystery and also recognizing that there will be some areas that will, that we’ll never know. The mystery has this allure, you know, it has a magnetic attraction for us, we want to explore it, draws us out of ourselves. And yet there are also realms that, and Castaneda talks about that in one of his last books, that are not only unknown, but unknowable, in principle we will never know. And to recognize the difference between those two realms can save us a lot of time and trouble, cause if we’re trying to go into the realm that are in principle unknowable we’re likely to get very very confused.
[5:24:47] Q: I thought I’d say something, or ask directly about the subject of how to, which we’ve been discussing. And I’ll say it in the quickest way as possible, so you can put your answer together the way you want. Potential problems in taking this. I’ve said to people “have you take a lot? Have you ever seen this stuff?” and they haven’t quite been in the dark. I’ve gone out and it’s hard to find a place that’s dark, there’s a lot of lights everywhere
TM: Well you don’t go out, you just close the door and turn out the light
Q: Then the question is, I talked to Kath a little about this and she said “No don’t do it in the city, you’re absorbing all the vibes of everybody around you”
TM: Well it’s true we live in the country but, it doesn’t have to be pitch, you just take your content and go up a joshua tree, up a canyon and…
Q: So you agree with the thing about not taking it in the city
TM: No, I think it’s totally weird to take it in the city. Before we move on, one thing I’d like to say about technique, it may seem small here but at some day may save you great wear and tear in a tight situation, and that is: if you get into a place in the psychedelic that is difficult, western people seem to freeze at the controls. And what you need to do is sing. And recognize that sound is a tool for pushing energy around. And you can just move past an unpleasant exhibit by chanting your way through it. And all the things that we’re taught as spiritual tools, mantra, yantra, mudra, all these things which never work worth a damn most of the time, work perfectly in that states, in fact that’s probably what they were designed for. I mean, I have no, all these things are totally frustrating to me, but in the psychedelic state yantra, mantra, chanting, singing, ab work, drumming, as advertised can move you through the spaces. Let’s give somebody else a chance, a woman back here, either Jiji or the lady in the…
Q: It’s not on
RM: yeah it is
[5:27:13] Q: It is? Ah. I just had a question about ritual you mentioned, that Terence method and everything
TM: Disgraceful, but yes
Q: Yeah, well that’s good advice, but I was wondering what other rituals you do repetitively other than just like the normal brushing your teeth kind of it
TM: You mean in my personal life?
Q: Yeah, is there anything that you do every day or every other month that you just…
TM: I stand as many hours a day as I possibly can smoking cannabis… This is a practice that…
RM: McKenna’s philosophy
TM: This is a practice that I’ve adhered to since my 17th summer, and you know, god knows if I put the same amount of time on yoga or writing plays… I also throw the I-Ching at the new and full moon… what am I doing to decriminalize it? Well I always talk about it when everybody else… it’s funny how rarely this subject comes up, even in groups like this, it’s almost as though marijuana is the poor country cousin, we’re all here talking about 5-Mehtoxy-Hydroxy, this and that, and the lowly cannabis weed which has been with us since before the Vedas were a gleam in some Indo-European warlord’s eye. It’s very interesting how the metaphors of cordage are also the metaphors of creativity, that we weave a story and we spin a yarn. And all, the connections between fibers and cognitive processes has always been well understood. I think cannabis has a bummer [app]. What I’m doing to decriminalize it is being fairly upfront about my devotion to it. I just think it’s trivial, and silly, and it’s like trying to outlaw masturbation or something. It has to do with having a torqued notion of human nature, I mean I’m not recommending that for everyone, but when I was young I was what’s called a nervous child, and the first time I had a hit of cannabis I realized that I could self medicate myself to normalcy, and be just like everybody else, and so I did that, and I don’t know if it’s the proper place to tell it but once I became concerned that I did too much smoking and so I decided I would quite. First of all I wanted to see if I could quit, and then I wanted to see how much of my interior life was actually riding on this ocean of cannabis ingestion. So it so happened that the conditions for this experiment were perfect because I was arriving on a small desert island in the Seychelles group in the Indian ocean and had rented a house on this island in order to write a book. So I had this [mombasan bomber] weed, a lid of it, and I just rolled it up and nailed it above my kitchen door and decided that I would not smoke until I had finished writing this book. And was revealed to learn that I had enough self control that this was possible, I mean I didn’t sleep a wink for 8 nights, but I did not resort to breaking my pledge and I slowly realized that it’s alright, what I seemed to do was I spent a lot more time reading and had much more interesting dreams, and otherwise it didn’t seem to be any big deal. And I wrote this book then, and it took me about 6 weeks, and I promised myself that when the book was finished I would then allow myself to smoke up this lid of weed before I left this island. So finally I finished, and I was very diligent, I wrote every day at 8am till noon, I typed and then I would take my dogs and explore this island and I had this very set regimen. And finally the book was finished and I rolled these huge bombers and dragged my launcher out under the coconut palms and waited for the sunset to get really going and then I just flared and consumed about 3 of these things in about 5 minutes and was just waiting for this sense of relief and accomplishment and clarity to sweep over me, and this thing began to happen, and I pushed it away, and it came back, and I pushed it away, and finally I realized I had to look at what this was, that it was just becoming overwhelming. And then I looked at it and what it was was the incontrovertible, instantaneous, deep, unarguable realization that this book I had written was dog shit! And I was just frozen. There, just sitting in this chair, quaking with this realization and up to half an hour ago I had this vision of myself returning triumphantly to Berkley like Lenin entering Moscow with the [tone] raised high “don’t worry brothers and sisters, it’s all figured out!” and I realized, you know, that I was a catastrophe and abortion, a monstruosity. So I was just, you know, really set back. So then I just shrugged my shoulders and I said “ok I will smoke day and night, until I can try and save this thing if it can be saved” and I did. I mean, I did smoke day and night, and I did struggle with this thing, and it was not possible to breath light into that course. This book, I’ll just tell you the title in order to convince you that this thing should have died aborning, it was called, I blush to tell you, it was called “Crypto-rap. Meta-electrical speculation on culture”. So I realized then, at that point, that I was a fool to try and navigate life without cannabis and that it would just get me in terrific trouble and that I’d lost my way and couldn’t make judgment and I had no discrimination, and so forth and so on. Anybody, yes sir, you’ve been struggling mightily to be heard
Q: I’ve taken LSD over a thousand times, and I’ve taken psychedelics plants a couple of hundred times. And I agree that plants are superior and I prefer them over LSD. However real, true LSD such as R and sunshine is a phenomenal mystery in my experience, compared to the rinki dink acid that’s going around these days. But to the guy that was talking about LSD I wanted to say that LSD is not confusing, it’s the environment, and the accumulative unconscious mind, the things that your unconscious mind has collected that is confusing. It’s the environment, society, and what they’ve programmed into your computer that is confusing, not good, true LSD.
TM: But on one level LSD is confusing, which is that when you buy it you don’t know what you’ve got. That’s truly confusing
Q: If you buy from people who don’t chant mantras and aren’t into a high state of spiritual awareness, and vegetarianism. I get it from people
TM: And I know weasels who chant mantras every day
RM: And they have to know chemistry
Q: I know where I get it, I know where I get it from
TM: But see, that’s too much to ask from most people. I recall a conversation I had with a psychotherapist about MDMA and he said “it doesn’t matter that it’s toxic twice the ordinary dose, cause I would never give somebody twice the ordinary dose”, and I said but “X, you don’t understand people pop this stuff like pretzels down on sunset strip”. So you have to think of the fool. The fool is always with us… Well maybe the fool is not always with us with an attitude like that. No but the thing about LSD that’s confusing is the difficulty to tell what you’ve got, until you’re well in it. Jiji what was your point?
Q: Being that you’re both in many ways a master of worlds, I want to go back and pick up on this fine line that you admittedly are walking in describing the plants as an ally, and at the same time describing them as a tool, and continually talking about use. And I find also in the question, using the word take a lot, which is our common language around this. And people have asked some questions about the ritual and also Ralph, I was glad to hear, brought up intention. And I’m curious knowing that in the native American traditions there are very simple teachings that respect the exchange when you interact with a plant, whether you pick a piece of sage, you give a give-away at that point, whether that would be some saliva, whether it would be something that you offer, that in the traditions that you have been working with if either within the intentions or within the rituals there are these kinds of give-aways and exchanges and you might comment some more on those so that they can sort of fill our body in this way. Or you might share also some of your own if you carry that deep sense of ally.
RM: Well, it’s hard to describe a ritual and they’re not only the rituals, I think Terence and I share and abide in interest in rituals surrounding these plants and traditional cultures, and at the same time, I think he probably agrees too, it’s not a matter of copying the Indians. We live in a different time and a different and different place, so I see a lot of very fruitful experimentation going on. Experimentation is not just random. It’s informed by clear intention and by deep study and reflection and grows organically. And so people have numerous groups and circles of people that have worked with these substances do have serious intentions and bring to bear a certain creativity that emerges out of those experiences, onto how best utilize the experience while, it is a matter, I mean, the plant itself is the thing that you take, but it’s the meaning behind it, the spirit behind it that is very significant. The significance of the psychedelic movement is not the drugs, it’s the experience that was facilitated by the drugs. And that in itself then makes the plants or drugs, I mean it a kind of a paradoxical thing, I don’t know if I’m getting at your question. So I think there are rituals and one of the basic rituals that I’ve become most familiar with is adapted from, I know groups that use some of these substances in a system, in a ritual that is adapted from the native American church, and yet is not an native American church ritual. I would not presume to try to run, for example, a native American ritual, or try to direct one, because that’s something that’s taught by those who have been initiated in that way and is passed on in that way. But some of the basic core features, such as sitting around in a circle, either around a fire, or darkness, and having something like a talking staff, which is a ritual that comes very strong in the North American, North-West American Indians, North-West coast, the talking staff often used in councils, and also in the peyote church, that’s the staff and rattle are passed around for people to sing during this ceremony, which allows each individual who is participating in the circle experience, the groups experience, to express some part of their own visions through their song or their statement, and yet each person’s own individual vision and journey is honored, in other words you don’t react to it, you don’t respond to it, you don’t give, encounter group challenges questions. Is that getting at what you’re asking?
Q: Not quite. Two things about it, I’m not looking for a description, you know, of the whole ritual per se, it’s as I’m tracking what you brought up earlier in the week, ehm, week-end about this memory that was way before that there’s some relationship with the plants that in our modern time and even in the traditional societies perhaps has been, you know, overlooked, or forgotten, shifted. And I’m curious about the experience of give-away, the experience of exchange which is part of this relationship with plants, which very quickly gets lost in our language and in some of our modern usage of them as tool. So I was looking for any sort of traces of that in your own sort of use, and relationship with the. And I’m also curious because this topic has come up in terms of the cultures in which these plants are called from, or visited, that these are also the cultures seemingly are having a great deal of difficulty holding on to their plants, in other words the destruction of the rain forest etcetera, and what is that all about in terms of this ally-ship.
RM: I’ll just say briefly and then… What I get from that was that you’re asking what are we giving the plant in exchange for what it’s giving us, that’s what I hear you say. What’s the give-away, the give-away is the exchange and what I’ve learned from the plants is an understanding of our proper role, and my particular role, in life on this planet, that’s the whole notion, this whole thing of this guy at conference the green earth work that I was mentioning to you, and that’s what I’ve learnt from the plants, that’s what was emphasized, and that’s what I’ve learnt from previous non-drug, non-plant involved shamanic kind of experiences, vision quest, however induced, similar kinds of communication with animals, I had dreams with animals, whales and dolphins, or plant, these plants telling me “ok here’s what’s the situation, you understand the situation”. Once you understand the situation that we find ourselves in, once you really face it as Terence said, there is only one course of action for all of us, I’m convinced, I mean it has many different forms. You know, realizing that Gaia the place of the earth that we’re at, and what we’re doing in our blindness and stupidity is tantamount in a way, it’s another aspect, it’s the reverse side of this vision that Terence is talking about, it’s the vision that once you see it, it’s incontrovertible, it’s inescapable, and you know what has to be done. And it’s just a matter of time and having the grace to not get caught in despair or cynicism, all of which are possible outs that we’ve all used, despair, cynicism, or escape, [blato], denial, burying ourselves in career and bla bla bla, whatever, and just getting on with it. Clean up our act, clean up our act. Over to you sorry
TM: Well I think what a person who has a relationship with an ally plant gets out of it is enriched and balanced inner life. What the plant gets out of it is a human being with an enriched and balanced inner life. And that feeds back then into stewardship and inspiration for caring. We then notice that we have this partner, and agriculture was the first great example of human-plant symbiosis and it was very important to the plants involved, they went from being rare grassland endemics to being great monocultural crops. And you know orthodox biologists say that successful reproductive strategies signify successful evolution. So you can say, what people got out of taking mushrooms in ancient Africa was increased visual acuity, better sex, and ultimately a rich inner life of cognition, but what the mushroom got out of it was cultivation and by being associated with cattle becoming like an episome on the main genetic heritage of human beings, because when we finally do go to Aldebaran and [Prosian], we will take cattle with us, and presumably we will take beans and peas, and hemp, and spinach, they are the could of genes that have managed to insinuate themselves into a relationship with human beings so that our faith is their faith and if the sun gutters out and is left behind by us as we radiate out through the galaxy, we will take with us dogs, cats, goldfish, runner beans, morning glories, ayahuasca, but not everything
Q: And is that your finding, both of you, in terms of [...]
TM: Yes I think so, that you can’t take these things without facing the facts of the historical crisis, our legacy, our bad behaviour, so forth, and then when you face that, you have to have recourse to some kind of stewardship. I don’t know people who are seriously into psychedelics who don’t want to change things. I don’t know of anybody who says I take psychedelics and I’m perfectly content with the world how it is. Then I wanted to say something else about ritual and here again I take a controversial position, and it never would have occurred to me to take this position except that the mushroom told me this, this is straight from the shoulder. Said “ritual is a substitute for understanding”, its exact words. And I said, you know, “I don’t quite, I don’t get it”. “If you understand, you have no need of ritual”. Ritual is like a demonic, a mnemonic demonic device, for touching something deeper which is in danger of being lost. So I recall a situation where I was in the Amazon and we were collecting ayahuasca plants, myself and a young botanist who was Peruvian but very westernised and we chopped through the ayahuasca bush and I, we hadn’t talked for a long time, and then as we were chopping it up and putting it into the bags to carry it out of the forest he said to me “don’t you think that we should have done a ritual and blown tobacco smoke over it and asked the plant permission to cut it”, none of which we had done. But has we had cut the plant, this had already been going through my mind and I felt that the moment was so intense that ritual would have been a trivializing of it. And so then I realized that what ritual is for is to ignite attention, that’s all. And you must have attention, and Ralph was very good in bringing up intentionality, which is a state of attention to what you’re doing and when you incinerate a bud of cannabis or cut an ayahuasca plant, or gather mushrooms, I, you must, it’s not necessary to perform a ritual, but it’s an abomination to have an empty head at that moment, I mean you must feel what you’re doing, you must be aware that a gift is coming to you, that a life is being sacrificed so that you can deepen your experience, so I don’t know if this goes to your question, ultimately the give-take question I think can be dissolved in that really is an in-out question. What do I take, what do I give. The planet is a gene swarm, and there is only one destiny for life on this planet, it is the destiny of all of it. And when we take these plants we’re synergised to higher states of intellectual activity, this creates redistribution in the patterns of propagation and growth of the plants, we are inside some kind of huge natural control mechanisms, we cannot fail to be in Tao, but we can fail to recognize to be in Tao, and so it’s always a task of bringing back attention, and reclaiming a feeling of authenticity in the moment
RM: I guess I would reformulate your statement but ritual being a substitute for understanding in two ways. One is I see ritual as a framework for communication, and a framework for structuring your intention. The kind of ritual you perform comes out of your intention. So if your ritual is empty, a ritual empty of intention, or consciousness is just that an empty substitute for the real thing. And I also realized that especially if you’re alone, going in that kind of experience, as long as you’re clear about your intention and your about what you’re doing with the maximum consciousness that you can, you are in fact doing a ritual, you’re doing the essence of ritual, and when you’re out in the wilderness and you do everything with as much consciousness as you can, every morsel that you eat, when you take a shit, everything, when you breath, when you brush your face, brush your teeth, sweep your campsite, everything becomes a ritual which means simply that you have clear intention and clear maximal awareness. You attention follows your intention, if you think about it. What your intention is determining what you’re going to attend to. And so I think ritual has its place and it has to be recognized for what it is, and it has to be imbued with your awareness and your intention so that it doesn’t become empty, we all know numerous empty rituals, the Church and the organized religions are full of them. And they’re harmless or not so harmless diversions.
TM: Other consideration, yeah, oh take the mic please
[5:54:40] Q: Getting back to the taking of such substances, Dr Israel Regardie who is the last in the original lineage of the hermetic order of the golden dawn out of England
TM: Well that there’s somebody who can test that, hehe, but go ahead
Q: He was the last living English
RM: He was in that lineage anyway
Q: And he made the statement that he would not accept a probationer into neophite into initiation until they had undergone 100 hours of psychotherapy, because he had seen how imbalanced people could become through the work of high magic. Do you think that applies to the use of psychedelics?
TM: Do I think psychotherapy should be a precondition to the use of psychedelics? God let’s hope so, I mean I hope that’s the question
Q: That’s the question. [They’ll… veil excuse me, which veils do you think that people should who do not have knowledge of how the psyche operates, who have not investigated their own psyche, should then take psychedelics, take large doses
TM: Well I don’t know, certainly I don’t think that psychotherapy is a precondition to taking psychedelics, I mean psychotherapy is, you know, probably the kindest thing you can say about it is that it’s a scan. Certainly a person should be sophisticated about the dynamics of psyche, and I wouldn’t, if Ralph prescription to have clear intention is followed I don’t think a person would arrive to the brink of a psychedelic experience
RM: If he needed psychotherapy instead
TM: If they didn’t have a help the interest the dynamics of the psyche. Most psychotherapy as it’s currently practiced is, well as I said it the Albert Hoffmann thing, psychotherapy without psychedelics is pissing into the wind. And it’s done a lot more than good. What is clear about psychotherapy is that its efficacy depends entirely on the therapists. Freudians, Jungians, Reichians, what have you -ites all get the same results, which are one third get better, one third get worse, one third stay the same, so clearly method is useless in psychotherapy, it’s something about a bonding between two people to sensibly discuss hang ups. What I think is generally felt to be true among psychedelic researchers is that early psychedelic trips tend to have a personalistic cast to them, tend to address one’s hang ups, problems in relationships, difficulty in coming to terms with parents and loved ones and so forth, but that people who persist with psychedelic experimentation, quickly burn through that, one of the objections that I sort of had to LSD was that I call it abrasively psychoanalytic. This seems to be a compound that only wants to talk about what are basically therapy issues. It wasn’t like that for everybody I gather but it was certainly like that a lot for me. I mean, I stuck with psychedelics basically because I was so puzzled by other people, what other people were saying about it. And this is where the real [skinny is held]. I don’t think you can read a better book on the psychedelic experience than Mysterium Coniunctionis and it doesn’t mentions psychedelics per se but it deals with the motifs of transformation and… No I think that if there is a relationship between psychotherapy and psychedelic shamanism is that psychotherapists must apprentice themselves to psychedelic shamans, cause they’re doing better than one third get better one third get worse one third stay the same. Neurosis in extremely shamanically oriented societies with a tradition of psychedelics is almost unknown and I saw these people work in the Amazon, and their intuition and their perspicacity in dealing with human situation was clairvoyant, I mean they could just go right into it. And so I think the relationship between psychotherapy and psychedelic shamanism should run the other way. To my mind, and I’ve made this metaphor many times, but it gives the right feeling to it, psychedelics are to the study of consciousness what the telescope in the 16th century was to the science of astronomy. And, you know, the telescope was suppressed, I mean, Galileo had to humble himself, Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake. Now they want to suppress the inner telescope, the telescope that brings the stars and galaxies constellated in the human psyche up for close inspection. Well I suspect they shall have the same faith as they had with the suppression of the telescope, they will just be looked at as pedestrian, plebeian philistines, and the good people who had the good sense to advocate this, people like Ralph Metzner, will be hailed as a forward-looking visionary
RM: the only thing that I would add to that analogy of the telescope, because the telescope after all was, is used by astronomers, or rather a select group of people, the average human never in his lifetime uses a telescope. The significance of the psychedelic drug in terms of enhancing our perception, expanding our consciousness, in addition to that it does it for, it has a potential for doing it for anybody, not everybody, but anybody who wants and needs it, who feels drawn to it. And so it’s a tool that’s unique and this ties back to the beginning, the age of the shamanic experts is over, that was the old age, I mean there will be experts of course, the people who have more practice and skilled at it and experience at it, the elders, the ones who’ve done it for the longest time are the ones who go through through guidance and training and so forth, but everyone has to make their own discoveries, everyone has to explore their own psyche, nobody else can do that for you. And I wanted to say one other thing in relationship to your question, I don’t want you to take this in anyway critical of your asking of the question, but I wanted to actually have you think about the assumption, the presupposition that underlies that question. Because you’re asking us in a way, you asked something like “should people who take psychedelics be required to undergo therapy”, that’s asking a question about who should or should not you know ingest certain substances, it’s a control question, and I understand you’re intention is you know, protection of people flipping out and all of that, and, but we shouldn’t be asking anybody that question, we shouldn’t be asking ourselves basically or anyone else that question looking for those kinda criteria, we should take the responsibility for our own path and that will serve as an example for other people. Everyone has to find their own way, psychedelics is not the way for everybody, there are many people who never should, in quotes, and who never will, and who don’t need to. And who would get quite possibly to the same spaces as we get without that way, and my always standard answer when people start asking questions about how do I actually get there, how do I actually make that connection, well ok, Terence has given you an actual practical hint, grow your own mushrooms, that’s certainly a way to go. I tend to give a more evasive answer which I really mean in all sincerity which is that, if the psychedelic visionary plants is going to be a part of your way, your path, you will find your way to them at the appropriate time, when needed, no sooner and no later. If your intention about it is clear and good, and that’s not to say you made or made not false starts, you may have some interest and decide it’s not for you, that is ok too. There’s no requirement. It’s everyone for themselves, and yet we’re all for each other at the same time, I mean if you’re all clear about your own intention and you take responsibility and you inform yourself and be discriminating, do the best you can, that by example will spread to others, you friends, associates, and people you come into contact with, and follow your example, and won’t need to follow your advice.
TM: Before we leave it I have to tell a wonderful story about the telescope, which relates to what we’ve been talking about, the telescope seems to be a good metaphor for psychedelics. When Galileo discovered the telescope he was not immediately slapped down by the Church, it took a few months for them to even sort out what the issue was here, and then of course eventually he had to recant, but in the year preceding his trial, Galileo was of course before the invention of the telescope, well known in influential circles in Rome as an inventor and scientist, natural scientist, so in his apartment on the rooftop he set up his telescope and would hold small garden parties for influential Roman citizens, among them great cardinals, and princes of the Church, who were involved in deciding the issue of whether or not he was dabbling in heretical material. So one evening he had cardinal Roncoli, of the holy office, which is the keepers of the doctrine of the faith and had him to dinner and said “excellency, would you care to look through my telescope”, and the cardinal aloud said how he would like to look through the telescope and so Galileo pointed it at the fool moon which was rising over the city and the cardinal peered into the telescope and Galileo said “and so excellency, as you see, there appear to be oceans and range of mountains on our sister world” and the cardinal looked for a long time, and said “yes, but senior, surely we can agree among ourselves that this only a hallucination!”. Well it turns out they couldn’t agree that it was a hallucination, and I don’t think that we can agree with our establishment that what we perceive is only a hallucination. It is, and yet it isn’t. It is a true hallucination. I remember once in the Amazon, very bizarre incident, I was lying with a fever in a hut, and stomach, some horrible thing had happened to me, anyway I was in a terrible state, and I heard these children singing outside in Spanish. And the song that they were singing as I slowly and painfully translated it I could hardly believe my ears, the song was “behold, behold, the final illusion, at last, at last, the final illusion”. And this is, I think, from the point of view of historical society what we are looking at we are looking at the final illusion. The body of heroes, expelled from Greece, burned at Eleusis, driven out of the European mind by bizian, pesky celibates, denied, repressed cut apart, lay and wait in the mountains of a new world for the European civilization that would eventually conquer the new world, and as it burned and pillaged and raped its way deeper into the interior of the new continents that it proposed to put under European sway at last, at last, in 1953 Gordon Wasson glimpsed the final illusion, it laid like the body of Osiris, like the body of heros, lost since the fall of paganism, but waiting there to spread back through this proud, vain, scientific, paternalistic, male-dominated society, and to lay the seeds of its undoing, to lay the seeds of an archaic revival, of a return to the way we lived when the glaciers were melting and the game was plentiful, the way we lived when there was partnership, and goddess worship, and ecstasy and a sense of community and globalism. And this is what we have found, you remember I said yesterday that the archetype of modern society is the prodigal son, the wonder who leaves his birthright, who leave the comfort of the village and the bridge who was planned for him and goes out and does something tremendous, unambiguous, and unimaginable, and returns with the gift, difficult to obtain, returns with the healing plant, the magic word, the jewelled crown, and lays it at the feet of the mother, so long parted from, and by that act, creates a historical closure. You recall at the beginning of this weekend I talked about the hexagram that had been thrown for the fate of our planet, work on what has been spoiled, through the line, work on what has been spoiled by the father, and what has been spoiled by the father is the feminine and the planet as the exterior manifestation of the feminine, leading to the change, which is the cauldron, the alchemical vessel, the theatre and laboratory of the witches’ magic, the potion that transforms, and in the act of transforming nature through cooking, in the act of transforming human nature through the cooking of the historical process we have made ourselves unrecognizable to our ancestors, even as we shall be unrecognizable to our children. But ladies and gentlemen, this souffle is done, this pie is cooked, it’s time to take out of the oven, give the oven a rest and spread the board. You know, with the passing of the patriarchy I recall that wonderful line in Finnegan’s Wake where Joyce says “Grampupus is fallen down: but grinny sprids the boord. Sunny side up with care. If you want to be phoenixed, come and be parked. Because up n'ent, prospector, you sprout all your worth and you woof your wings”. So that’s what I invite you to do, to woof your wings, woof woof! That’s all I’ve gotta say, Ralph’s gotta catch a plane
RM: I’ll give you one footnote for the word hallucination, and hallucinogenic. Hallucination we generally think means seeing something that isn’t really there, so then Terence talked a lot about but what about these hallucinations that are really there. And long ago we used to say, in the ‘60s we used to say well hallucinogenic is not a good name for a hallucinogenic drug because is not a matter of seeing something that isn’t there, it’s a matter of seeing something that is there but that you normally don’t see. And then I looked up the original etymology of the word hallucination and found to my interest and delight, it comes from latin halucinari, which means to wander in your mind, it has nothing to do with illusion. Hallucination is your experience in wandering through the psyche, the hallucinogenic substance, or plant, is one that induces you to go on a journey in your mind. And that’s a very appropriate term for that, and whether what you see it’s an illusion, a falsehood, a mask, or what it is or what it means, that’s up to each one to find up
TM: The greatest adventures still lies ahead