Saturday, March 26, 2011

Terence McKenna on Alchemy

Terence McKenna was one of the most interesting "alchemical artists" of the 20th century. His contributions to the genre of alchemical art forms, in my opinion, can best be understood as lying in the realms of bardic speech and weird theorization, rather than some mystical-magical or pseuod0-scientific project. Granted, his theory projects can be understood from these angles too. "Call it Faustian or obsessed," he joked about his psychedelic adventures. Terence wasn't the first to apply alchemical terminology to the psychedelic experience (see especially the alchemy chapter of Ralph Metzner's Maps of Consciousness), but he took it to a higher level of scholarship and beyond Jungian interpretations. I'm working on a paper about the influence of Frances Yates on his interpretations of "Hermeticism," interested readers should check out her books on Giordano Bruno, The Art of Memory, and Rosicrucian Enlightenment.


  1. Take a look: maybe the art of memory in Greece and Rome had something to do with the Eleusinian Mysteries.

    Answering Frances Yates


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