High Times Greats: Interview With Terence McKenna

in Culture

Counterculture icon Terence McKenna was born November 16, 1946 and died April 3, 2000. The late psychedelic drug advocate changed the way Americans think about drugs, and in this April, 1992 print interview from High Times, David Jay Brown and Rebecca McClen ask him all about it.

Did hallucinogens play a crucial role in human evolution? Terence McKenna has devoted most of his life to exploring this question. A specialist in the ethnomedicine of the Amazon Basin, McKenna along with his partner Kat Harrison McKenna founded Botanical Dimensions, a nonprofit foundation devoted to rescuing Amazonian plants that have a history of shamanic uses. They move the plants to a 19-acre site in Hawaii and preserve the details of the plants’ uses by storing the information in a computer database. In addition to preserving these important plants, as a nonprofit organization, Botanical Dimensions solicits donations to publish a newsletter and to aid in carrying out the preservation of the folk knowledge of the peoples native to the Amazon area. The combination of McKenna’s academic approach—he has a BS from the University of California at Berkeley with a distributed degree in ecology, resource conservation and shamanism—his vast travel experiences, and uniquely visionary perspective, combine to make him a most sought-after speaker and author. His newest books include Food of the Gods (Bantam) and The Archaic Revival (Harper/San Francisco)—in which an abridged version of this interview appears. A slightly different version [appears in a book] by David Jay Brown and Rebecca McClen.

HIGH TIMES: Tell us how you became interested in shamanism and the exploration of consciousness.

Terence McKenna: I discovered shamanism through an interest in Tibetan folk religion. Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet, is a kind of shamanism. In going from the particular to the general with that concern, I studied …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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