Sunday, May 22, 2011

Psychedelic 'McKenna' Adventures At the edge of the Abyss (on-line course)

The Brothers McKenna are widely known to the psychedelic community.  Their ideas and adventures, explorations of inner (and perhaps outer) space, and their Amazonian odyssey in search of answers to the mysteries of time, history, and being have been well chronicled by Terence, who though he passed on in 2000, still haunts the Net as an avatar and articulator of a radical and highly unconventional perspective on humanity’s current precarious perch on the edge of the singularity.  Even the most skeptical souls can no longer deny that our species is at the threshold of an enormous and irrevocable plunge into novelty; a plunge that will change forever our understanding of who we are as a species, and our place in the scheme of a universe that is marvelous, terrifying, beautiful and puzzling in ways that we cannot begin to comprehend.
US PRICE: $110
Early bird special, through May 20th: $90.00
To join click the image above or go to
 or read more below...

Terence, not by choice, escaped to a hyperspatial redoubt, just as humanity crossed the threshold into the third millennium of its problematic  career on this planet.  His younger brother Dennis continues to grapple with the revelations and insights, perhaps delusions, that the two brothers confronted during their journey to the Amazonian rainforest in 1971 in search of exotic hallucinogens and high adventure. They found both, in spades, and it changed them, and perhaps the world, forever.
Now Dennis has determined that the time has come to tell his side of the story, and is proposing to write a book, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss; the title is in recognition of the name the two brothers and their intrepid band of fellow adventurers chose for themselves, partly tongue in cheek, and partly – mostly, as they discovered – deadly serious. Dennis is using to garner the resources, and time, needed to write this work, which will be both a memoir of sorts but also a fresh examination of the revelations forced onto them at the climax of that heart-of-darkness journey. Those who may be interested can find a detailed description of this proposal on the Kickstarter web site at
The Course

This course is offered as a follow-up to the launch of the writing project and an anticipation of themes that will be explored in depth in the book, slated for release in the fall of 2012. The course will consist of four sessions, with dates set for June 5th, 12th, and 25th and July 2nd.  Using live video, each webinar session will be hosted by Dennis McKenna in wide-ranging conversations with key guests who are recognized leaders on the cutting edge of post-millennial thought: Daniel Pinchbeck, Ralph Abraham, Marc Pesce, Ralph Metzner, Luis Eduardo Luna and Erik Davis.
Most have also been close personal friends of Terence and Dennis over many decades; they have shared Terence and Dennis’ fascination and preoccupations with the concepts under discussion and have been key players in the development, elaboration, and expression of these ideas.  Like Terence and Dennis, they lived through the social, environmental, and political changes that have characterized our ever-accelerating race toward novelty during the late 20th century and the first decade of the 21st; in many respects, they are the people who have helped to catalyze the radical changes in global consciousness that have resulted.
Each webinar will be 90 minutes in length, with the first 60 minutes devoted to a dialog between Dennis, the host, and one or more invited guests.  The format will be an informal discussion, preceded by a brief exposition outlining the main themes under consideration in that session. There will be ample opportunities for the audience to interact in real time with the host and guests following the hour-long conversation. Participants from the audience will be able to ask questions and offer their own comments and insights via live video chat, text, or email.  If you can watch a YouTube video, you can take part in this course.

Daniel Pinchbeck
Sunday, June 5, 3:00 p.m. EST
In this first session, the role of host and guest will be reversed. Author and commentator Daniel Pinchbeck will fill the role of host and moderator, and Dennis will be the interviewee.  It will take the form of a free-wheeling retrospective look at the influences that led the brothers to forego any hopes of a normal life or careers and head to the Amazon in search of psychedelic secrets in 1971.  It will be a personal reminiscence.
Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006) and Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (Broadway Books, 2002). His articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, EsquireWired, The Village VoiceLA WeeklyArtForumArthur, and many other publications. He is currently the editorial director of Reality Sandwich and a national columnist for Conscious Choice magazine. He is also the executive producer of the PostModernTimes series of interviews, directed by Joao Amorim, and is featured in Amorim's upcoming documentary, 2012: Time for Change.
Here are some of the questions he will be asking Dennis about his early years with Terence:
  • What were the personal, familial, and societal factors that led to their preoccupation with matters both arcane, and peculiar?
  • What was behind their early interest in psychedelics, transdimensional realms, consciousness exploration?
  • What did their baffled parents, teachers, priests and peers make of all this?
Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna
Sunday, June 12, 3:00 p.m. EST
The second session will be a conversation between Dennis and his guest, Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna. Eduardo is one the closest and oldest  friends of Terence and Dennis.  He also happens to be one of the world’s leading experts on ayahuasca ethnography and New World psychedelic shamanism.
Eduardo was there (almost) from the start. A well-educated but distinctly un-psychedelic seminary student growing up in the tiny Colombian river community of Florencia in 1971, Eduardo’s first encounter with Terence on his way back from his second visit to La Chorrera changed his life forever. Terence was fizzing with fresh revelation when they met and was literally wild-eyed, a Messiah come back from the forest.  Eduardo’s exposure to the strangest ideas in the known universe drove him to abandon his dreams of the priesthood forever and to plunge headlong into the pursuit of psychedelic shamanism. Terence and his companion traveler, the legendary Kumi, lived at Eduardo’s vinca for several months while they worked out what was to become TimeWave Zero and the first draft of the Invisible Landscape.
One of the most influential anthropologists in the field of ayahuasca research, Luis was the first to study the ayahuasca shamanism practiced   by mestizo (or mixed-blood) people in the Amazon. Born and raised in the Colombian Amazon, Luis was educated in Spain and Norway, and always had a foot in both worlds. His work revealed the importance of the diet that ayahuasqueros follow, and the pivotal role played by the icaros, or magic melodies, in shamanic ceremonies. Luis has also studied the Brazilian ayahuasca churches such as Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal and Barquinha. He is the director of Wasiwaska, a research center for the study of psychointegrator plants, visionary arts and consciousness, in Brazil, and is the author of several books, including Vegetalismo: Shamanism among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian AmazonInner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (co-authored with Rick Strassman et al.), and his much loved collaboration with the painter Pablo Amaringo, Ayahuasca Visions: the Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman.During this session, Eduardo and Dennis will talk about:
  • How the path of Eduardo's life was changed after meeting Terence McKenna
  • How the nature of Eduardo and Dennis's collaboration has changed through the years
  • The inside scoop on the psychedelic scene they were a part of--between the two of them they know where all the bodies are buried!
Ralph Abraham
Saturday, June 25, 3:00 p.m. EST
What is TW0? And does it really describe anything? Terence proclaimed to his dying day that it was a map of the quantum structure of time, and that it could be used to predict the future; even more shocking, he claimed that its spiral structure predicted the collapse of the space/time continuum on a specific date, December 21st, 2012.  This date just happens to coincide perfectly with the predicted end of time based on the Mayan Calendar, as well as other world traditions that seem to express expectations of a major shift in the planetary world order, if not the cosmic order, on or around that date.
This is the ‘teaching’ that two bemushroomed, raving wild men walked out of the jungle proclaiming??  Dennis is not so sure, and in recent years has begun to publicly question whether it means anything, or whether it means what Terence believed it to mean. No one knows the answer, but many very intelligent people have been both baffled and fascinated by Time Wave Zero.
Ralph Abraham has been involved in the research frontier and the development of dynamical systems theory in the 1960s and 1970s. He has been a consultant on chaos theory and its applications in numerous fields, such as medical physiology, ecology, mathematical economics, and psychotherapy. He is the author of Foundations of Mechanics with Jerrold Marsden, Dynamics, the Geometry of Behavior with Christopher Shaw, Chaos, Gaia, Eros, and Chaos, Cosmos, and Creativity with Rupert Sheldrake and Terence McKenna.
Ralph Abraham will join Mark Pesce and Dennis McKenna in a lively debate about the validity of the Time Wave, which Dennis has become more skeptical about in recent years. They will discuss:
  • Is the TWO real?
  • What is the proof in favor of its existence? 
  •  Is there something about it we need to understand before 2012, in order to avert or prepare for global catastrophe?
Mark Pesce
Saturday, June 25, 3:00 p.m. EST
Dennis and Terence disagreed on whatever it was they experienced together following the Experiment at La Chorrera.  Was it a simultaneous psychotic break, a shamanic initiation, an alien abduction, or something even stranger?  They honestly don’t know, and interpretations have changed over the years. What is definitely odd about the La Chorrera “Event”, whatever it may have been, was that they brought something back with them.  This was the mathematical construct derived from the King Wen sequence of the I Ching that has become known as Time Wave Zero. Most psychoses or shamanic experiences do not end up yielding a mathematical tool, particularly one that purports to describe the fractal topology of time, and one that (possibly) predicts the end of the world.
Mark Pesce is an inventor, writer, entrepreneur, educator and broadcaster.  In 1994 Pesce co-invented VRML, a 3D interface to the World Wide Web. Pesce founded graduate programs in interactive media at both the University of Southern California’s world-famous Cinema School and the Australian Film, Radio and Television School. In 2006 Pesce founded FutureSt, a Sydney consultancy dedicated to helping clients negotiate the challenges presented by our ‘hyperconnected’ future.
In this session, Mark Pesce will discuss all things Time Wave with Ralph Abraham and Dennis:
  • What is TW0? And does it really describe anything?
  • Does it really hide the answer to our current ontological and historical dilemma?
  • Why does its interpretation coincide so closely with the apocalyptarian predictions of so many other cultures?
Erik Davis
Saturday, July 2nd, 3:00 P.M., EST
Although Terence did not live to see it, many of his ideas have been accepted into the mainstream cultural zeitgeist--a state of affairs about which he would feel quite comfortable.  He predicted much of the wild changes we are witnessing during this time of global transformation. There can be little doubt that psychedelics, in permeating our culture, in opening the door once again to the rediscovery of parallel worlds and non-human intelligences, have functioned as a major catalyst of that change, and that new transformed worldview. These ideas no longer seem so strange because many people have taken psychedelics; many have confirmed for themselves what Terence and Dennis were raving about. In this session, Erik Davis joins Ralph Metzner and Dennis for a conversation about the evolution and transmission of these ideas.
Erik Davis is a North American writer, social historian, cultural critic and lecturer. He is noted for his study of the history of technology and society and his essays about the fate of the individual in the dawning posthuman era. Although significant aspects of his work include media criticism and technology criticism, his works span across other disciplines to include a larger social history of art, religion, and science, technology, and politics. His books include TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information, The Visionary State: A Journey Through California's Spiritual Landscape, and Led Zeppelin IV. 

Erik will be talking to Ralph Metzner and Dennis about the following:
  • Is there an impending historical singularity on the horizon?
  • What are the possibilities for trans-human metamorphosis and plant-human symbiosis?
  • Has alien contact already taken place and what is the likelihood of humanity migrating into space?
Ralph Metzner
Saturday, July 2nd, 3:00 p.m.
Whether or not Time Wave Zero is ‘true’ or not, there is little doubt that it has evolved into a pervasive cultural meme, sharing the space with a whole universe of cultural archetypes that certainly did not exist, or at least were a lot less overt, when Terence and Dennis were growing up in that small town in Colorado in the 1950s.  In the post-millennial, pre-eschatology decade of the third millennium A.D., a whole host of bizarre notions about the impending historical singularity, trans-human metamorphosis, plant-human symbiosis, the emergence of the Gaian planetary intelligence, the globalization of the human nervous system, the archaic revival, alien contact, space migration, transdimensional realities, parallel universes, and many others that would have seemed like schizophrenic delusions to earlier generations, have now become an accepted, almost mundane, component of the contemporary cultural zeitgeist.  Suddenly we find ourselves living in a science-fictional universe; without even noticing it, things seem to be getting stranger and ever more bizarre at a rapidly accelerating pace.
This final session, hosted by Dennis with guests psychedelic pioneer Ralph Metzner and techno-guru Erik Davis, will explore the ways in which many of Terence's predictions about the changing nature of the world have become true.
Ralph Metzner's work has been focused on the transformations of consciousness, and as a graduate student, he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. He is founder of the Green Earth Foundation and His books include The Well of RemembranceThe Unfolding Self, Green Psychology, and two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of Ayahuasca and Teonan√°catl.
The discussion will cover various topics including:
  • How have Terence's ideas permeated culture?
  • Do psychedelics have an evolutionary function? 
  • Can psychedelics help us transition into ahistorical time?
We could ask for no two finer minds with whom to explore these themes. At the end of this final session, you may have a glimmer of some of the answers, but we guarantee, you will have a lot more questions! And it is in that dynamic space between knowing and unknowing, that understanding and insight may flourish.

  Dennis McKenna is a ethnopharmacologist focusing on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices. He is well known for his work with his brother Terence McKenna and their ground breaking research in The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching, and is co-founder of the Hefter Research Institute that promotes scientific research on hallucinogenic compounds.
By participating in this online course, you will receive:
  • Four 90-minute live video seminars with Dennis McKenna and his featured guests
  • 30 minutes of question and answer time in each seminar
  • Breakout sessions for student discussion following each seminar
  • Participation in a private online community with other students
  • Unlimited online access to videos of all seminars
  • PDF articles about course topics from Dennis and each of the guests
We hope you join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the lives and ideas of Terrence and Dennis!
PRICE: $110
Early bird special, through May 20th: $90.00

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