Terence McKenna's 1982 Lecture at Esalen: "Tryptamine Hallucinogen Consciousness"

Terence McKenna, Sam Stern, Allan Badiner

November 4, 2019






We’re pleased to introduce a new segment where we dive deep into the history of the Esalen Institute, in order to focus on a lecture previously recorded here in Big Sur. Today our subject is Terence McKenna and his talk entitled “Tryptamine Hallucinogen Consciousness”, recorded in December, 1982. McKenna was an American ethnobotanist, author, lecturer and widely-respected psychonaut known internationally for his work with shamanism, metaphysics, consciousness, and of course, psychedelic medicines. He’s the author of "The Invisible Landscape," "The Archaic Revival," "Food of the Gods," and "True Hallucinations." His playful yet highly powerful mode of intellectual inquiry around the topic of plant medicines made him a well-loved and highly-respected countercultural figure. While Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, and Ram Dass were better well-known in psychedelic circles for their pioneering and often rebellious leadership during the first psychedelic wave of the 1960’s, McKenna rose to prominence later, first enjoying notoriety during the 1980’s. One of the most frequent stops on his lecture circuit was Big Sur and the Esalen Institute, where he lectured nearly 100 times over the years on subjects as diverse as “Dynamics of Hyperspace,” “Reflections on Eros,” “Our Cyberspiritual Future,” and “Biotech and Nanonfungal Futures.” Further commentary is provided by the author and environmentalist Allan Badiner, who is also the convener of the 2019 Psychedelic Integration conference at Esalen. Badiner knew Terence McKenna intimately, and thus was able to shed some light on the man behind the message.


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