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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VALUABLE and IMPORTANT book to read
The above one-star review proves why it is necessary to read this book. Dismissing ideas because we may be ridiculed for taking them seriously is what landed us in this undeniable global mess. Whether or not shrooms are ETs or artifacts of ETs is not the issue. A quote of Terence's: "I like to show people how things can be seen differently, and if things can be...
Published on June 29, 1999

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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some people would like all copies of this book burnt
I enjoyed this book, as it is so much easier to read than McKenna's other works (some of which are as dry and technical as scientific journals) -- if you are interested in hearing what Mister McKenna has to say, definitely start with this one. The chapters mostly consist of essays which had been published in various new age magazines, as well as transcripts of several...
Published on May 8, 2005 by Mister Smyth


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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VALUABLE and IMPORTANT book to read, June 29, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
The above one-star review proves why it is necessary to read this book. Dismissing ideas because we may be ridiculed for taking them seriously is what landed us in this undeniable global mess. Whether or not shrooms are ETs or artifacts of ETs is not the issue. A quote of Terence's: "I like to show people how things can be seen differently, and if things can be seen THAT differently, in what other ways can they be seen differently", because staying the course is not working. Open-mindedness is Terence's message, and his convincing proof of the viability of his "crazy" ideas will go a long way toward opening you up to new ideas. Another quote: "It doesn't do you any good to know that in some computer somewhere there are equations that perfectly model or perfectly don't model something else. The only understanding of the universe that will do you any good is your own understanding, because it's you you have to live with, and it's you you have to die with.... the last dance you dance, you dance alone"
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this if you're interested in drugs or mysticism., June 1, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
This is a great book to read if you feel the least bit innundated by the whole UFO, alien, and/or E.T. hype. McKenna's view of UFO sightings and other related phenomena as an affect of a "Jungian" archetype of the collective unconscious derived from our modern feeling of oppression by science and objectivity is definitely a breath of fresh air in the midst of all these guys who claimed to have been abducted or have proof of alien existence.
Also interesting in this book is McKenna's view of human evolution as being facilitated by the discovery and use of psychedelic mushrooms. The only part about McKenna's views expressed in this book that I had a little bit of trouble with is his reluctance to validate mystical traditions of the world that don't or never have used psychedelic drugs as a part of their tradition. Terrance is definitely coming from a subjective realm in his description of his psychedelic experience (even though the experience can be confirmed to some degree by others who trip). Therefore, I believe that he should not discount non-psychedelic mystical traditions without having experienced the level of subjectivity that he obviously has with psychedelic drugs. Great book!!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You were......and still are....Ahead by a Century, September 8, 2003
This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
first I would like to quote Tim Leary from his skymaster speech "Terence Mckenna means a great deal to me, he's deffinently one of the 5, 6 most impotant people on the planet......I can't even think of any others....lol....(short term memory loss)...by the way the role Terence is playing right now takes not only vision but it also takes f***ing courage!"
Terence Mckenna is not just a scientist, philosopher, theorist, new age thinker, and shamman, he is someone who took it upon himself, at the cost of his own life, to teach humankind the truth, or something that came closer to truth than any other intellectual or prophet in human history. No one else of the 60's generation will likely go down in history as infamously as Terence will in the changing times we live in and will continue to change. Through the use of psychedelics, Mckenna has delved into the deepest levels of human consciousness and with the rigour and skepticism of a scientist. Deffinently a chalenge to those who think mind altering drugs dullen or stupify the intellect. Terence Mckennas intellect and thought processing speed capacity appear to have been accelerated by his use of DMT and psylocybin if you listen to him on interviews. Here is a person came into the world, underwhent formal schooling and academic training and managed to decondition himself evolving into genuine spiritual domains; surpassing the academic minds and spiritual models of his time and culture. Time-Wave Zero was his project, Novelty Theory his lifes work. Archaic Revival touches upon the ideas of novelty theory in relation to shammanism and extratterestrials, psychedelics and human cultural evolution into the surreal dimensions of hyperspace-spirituality. This is our future, our destiny as a species of absolute evolving consciousness.
Novelty theory is based on the immediate experience we have with reality in which all things in history and science seem to coincide in ways that not only defy explanation, but continuously addapt to their own conservatives. Terence believed novlety was a universal and necessary constant of not only all living beings consciousness but also a binding and cohesive principle of material/physical nature. Cosmological and evolutionary processes occur in accordance to novelties, physical laws and the behaviour of atoms, cells, populations and genetics behave and abide the way they do because it is the most novel thing to do. Simillar to Leibniz conception of this world as the best of all possible worlds, novelty states that this is not necessarily the best nor the only world but it is possible and exists because it is the most novel world. Another one of Terences discoveries was that self-reflective human consciousness evolved from language that the brain facilitated and expanded from the primate because of their consumption of psychedelic mushrooms. In this less popular model, conspiracies of alien intervention and genetic tampering of "reptilian" with "homonid" DNA to form human speciel consciousness is an intervention not by immediate technology from ET's but by evolving biological implantations of psychedelic chemicals into nature. Aliens do not fly arround in spacecraft as suggested by the modern myth, or as vampires, or as any other ancient view of shammanism, primitvism, religion, etc. rather these beings are products of collective collapse of human consciousness. The upright reptilians of millions of years ago, the dinosaurs, we now know only recently, were wipped out by a comet from outer space ("spacecraft"). An instantaneous annihilation through radiation (also a mutanogen) of a reptilian, upright species of intelligent small-brained but fully utillized neocortex had the effect to the disincarnate catastrophe of their energy. That dinosaur energy had to go somewhere, what better way than to evolve through millions of years, psychedelics, and homonids; and eventually upright sentient human bodies for their incarnation to us the proper phylogeny structure (upright soul-body complex). As outlandish as these novel theories sound they will no doubt become the cutting edge models to describe reality and of our evolution if the wars of today do not annilate us first (radiation). And yet another reflection of the Middle Eastern warfare we face today is no longer a search for language, craddles of man, or Messiahs, but that very fossil fuel (oil) that was their energy now embodied as a complexly knotted perturbation of human consciousness.
I recommend all members of the human species to read this book and also purchase Terences Alien Dream Time CD with electronica by Space-Time Continuum. To get the whole scope of these ideas I would also reccomend reading Terences friends; Rupert Sheldrake on morphogenesis, Michael Talbot in Holographic Universe and David Bohm on the Implicate Order.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Trip Down an Old Rabbit Hole, October 30, 2005
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This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
I just recently finished this book, and i can say it has been one of the most profound pieces of literature i've ever had the pleasure of reading. The topics explored in the book (which are, i might add, VERY extensively explored) ask the reader to look outside of the narrow field of spiritual and philosophical vision that constitutes our cultural typic, and question things one might not have ever thought of questioning. McKenna seems very frank and straightforward through the whole book, not dancing around subjects or refraining from certain phrases that some would be self-concious to use (ie. get loaded).

Instead of seeming to be written exclusively for futuristic scientists with an affinity for psychedelic drugs, the book seems to be aimed at the much wider crowd of anyone with an open mind and a vocabulary. The ideas described vary in topic from UFO abductions to a 15th century manuscript, and everything in between. most of the chapters have some common thread connecting them, the only exception being "The Voynich Manuscript." im not really sure where he was going with this chapter in relation to the rest of the book, but its interesting nonetheless. anyway, the book is nothing but a collection of speeches, essays, interviews, etc conducted by him over the years, and is really meant to be an introduction to his philosophy. His other books: The I Ching, and Food of the Gods, though i havent' read them, have been reviewed to be much more technically worded, hard to read, and aimed at students of mathematics and anthropology/ethnobotany. The Archaic Revival is more or less easy to comprehend, but he does use some terms over and over again that the average person wouldn't know (ie. phenomenology, entelechy, gnosis), so have a dictionary close by if you want to get the most out of the material as possible.

Terrence McKenna has some very bizzarre ideas for sure, and not everyone will relate to all of the ideas expressed in his writings, but i think that most ppl can find something about it they find interesting, and for the psychedelic crowd, McKenna's ideas sound like solaces from beyond, as he so easily verbalizes concepts that otherwise seem impossible to explain. His ideas of social reform and reverting to imitating plants as the role models of human life and civilzation, rather than animals, are so insane that they make more sense than anything i've ever heard. As far as his idea of the end of human history and the transcendence of physical existence into cyber-spiritual entities, all happening by the year 2012, i think he was a little off with the exact figures of time, as im writing this on Oct. 30, 2005 and it doesn't look like the world is going through a historical apocalypse in the next 6 yrs., but oh well--when you're dealing with the entirety of history, you can give or take a couple thousand years w/out compromising the legitimacy of your idea. plus, who knows, maybe on Jan. 1, 2012, we'll all be sitting around watching our bodies dissapear and our souls externalize.

I would reccommend this book to just about everyone, although i imagine it would be very hard for a 13 yr old to read, but im sure there are some very intelligent 13 yr olds out there who could comprehend it. for the open-minded, the book should be fascinating and engaging in its freshness, and for the rigid western thinkers--it should at least crack the shell and expose the possibilities of what's really out there. if anything, i'd say this is a book of non-denominational hope, derived and reported back from the past, and in McKenna's case--the future.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!!, November 18, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
This book is a wild trip indeed. He postulates very convincingly that psychactive compounds contained in mushrooms are the key to great leaps in human consciousness. Just as they aided our ancestors on the plains of Africa, so too, volunteers Mckenna, can they change the way we live now. In fact, he goes so far as to say that we really do NEED them because our current state of living imprisons us in webs of contradiction and convention all for the good of prohibitive and fearful authorities. Drug fiends might well be fascinated and convinced, but this book is also for anyone with an inquisitive and open mind. Archaic Revival is chock full of articles and interviews. A kind of collection of discussions. Some are more lucid than others and there is a deal of repetition...but in the end, I must highly recommend this book to the open minded among us. If you disagree, please mail me and tell me why.
Steve
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Starting Point for McKenna, April 30, 2000
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This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
This book offers the best taste of all of McKenna's wild ideas. The book is a compilation of 18 or so interviews, speeches, essays and stories about magic mushrooms, shamans, UFOs, virtual reality, partnership societies and basically anything else that Terence McKenna mused on during his thirty year career as psychedelic spokesman. This will be a rewarding read for anyone who's ever though that there may be more to the world than what most of us experience in day to day life.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some people would like all copies of this book burnt, May 8, 2005
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This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book, as it is so much easier to read than McKenna's other works (some of which are as dry and technical as scientific journals) -- if you are interested in hearing what Mister McKenna has to say, definitely start with this one. The chapters mostly consist of essays which had been published in various new age magazines, as well as transcripts of several interviews with the author, so it all flows rather nicely. Terrence McKenna is widely acknowledged to be one of the world's foremost authorities on the shamanic use of botanical hallucinogens, and unlike Leary and Castenada, he is a true scholar, who apparently is speaking in earnest about a topic he feels is very important. Probably the most significant argument McKenna makes is that the Church and State have colluded in suppressing, penalizing, and attempting to actually eradicate anyone who proposes that the altered perception which occurs upon the ingestion of these alkaloids is, in fact, essential to understanding the true nature of the universe. He states that the Church does not want the average person to have direct access to "God", nor does the State want the average person to be shook out of their complacency and begin to ask difficult questions. These alkaloids are a catalyst which is clearly dangerous to the dominant power structure of our society -- thus they are prohibited. He makes a number of other amusing statements and observations as well. However, several times throughout this book, McKenna started to get rather bizarre (understandable), like when he was presenting computer generated graphs which purported to show exactly when the world would end (and we would all be "transformed into energy beings" or some such), and when he began singing the praises of DMT -- about the effects of which I've heard some rather horrible things (imagine being trapped in a H. R. Geiger painting). If you are serious about studying the multidimensional aspects of the world around you, check out this book, which states that the universe within one's mind is just as interesting, and perhaps even more accessible.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The many doors of perception, November 15, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. At first, I was convinced that McKenna must be insane (obviously too much shrooming); but then I began to wonder if it was us (20th century American society) that are the insane ones. He truly sees the world from a unique perspective.
I must admit that the book piqued my curiosity...and yes...at least for me...it was a mind-expanding/life-changing experience. But, I am a college physics instructor in my 30's whose sole motivation was consciousness and spirituality. I'm glad I never took "the voyage" in my teens or twenties, before I had an idea of who I am and what is important. I have a feeling it would have been very destructive.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining!, April 11, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
This is an excellent read. Mckenna has a beautiful command of the english language, perhaps as a result of his extensive use of entheogenic fungi. It is an entertaining and thought provoking book. I believe Mckenna strides on the edge of psuedo-science by offering a heavy dose of speculation, but since Western science turns its back on the entheogenic experience we have to start somewhere.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Collection of "Far Out" Ideas., March 4, 2006
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This review is from: The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (Paperback)
_The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History_ by ethnobotanist Terrence McKenna is a rather interesting collection of essays and interviews revealing McKenna's often rambling thoughts on the various subjects mentioned in the title. McKenna's basic theme seems to be that the hallucinogenic plants have beneficial effects and can result in mind expansion which ultimately will aid society and bring about a utopia. Oddly however, the book rather hypocritically begins with a warning in which the publisher and author note the harmful effects of these substances and their illegality. Whatever one's personal beliefs are about the justice behind so-called drug laws, the fact remains that the hallucinogenic substances and plant products mentioned by McKenna in this book are illegal and possibly dangerous and that ingestion of these substances can result in possible difficulties with the law as well as potentially harmful side effects.

These essays and interviews show McKenna at both his best and worst. On the one hand he argues for an "archaic revival" and a restoration of the principles of shamanism based on his inherent belief that the indigenous peoples of the earth have something to offer modern civilization. However, I disagree with him when he turns to feminist political correctness and rails against Western civilization and Christianity (monotheism). McKenna's central argument is that the hallucinogenic mushroom has co-evolved with man in a symbiotic relationship. Echoing the theories of maverick psychologist Julian Jaynes, McKenna argues that primitive man was not fully conscious (did not possess self-awareness) until he underwent an appropriate transformation. This transformation involved the ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms. McKenna then goes off on a tangent in which he suggests the rather bizarre idea that the spores of these mushrooms are in fact interstellar travelers. Here, he mentions the pan-spermia theory of Cyril Ponnamperuma and Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA) that life originated in outer space and traveled to earth that way in the form of prebiotic molecules. In much the same way, McKenna suggests that the mushrooms constitute "intelligent organisms" and that they too are interstellar travelers. McKenna's theories developed over time as he traveled the world beginning with India (where he grew discontented over disagreements with the caste system) and eventually turning to the primitive shamanism (Bon-Po) of Tibet. McKenna eventually made his way to the Amazon where he experienced the use of hallucinogenic substances among the shamans there. Indeed, he discusses both the role of ayahuasca and the hallucinogenic psilocybe mushrooms. McKenna also has some rather strange theories on UFOs, regarding them as a sign of the coming world crisis. His theories on UFOs may owe a debt to the famous Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung whose depth psychology serves as the foundation for much of McKenna's theories and who observed the UFO phenomenon as a coming indication of changing world conditions. McKenna attempts to link the UFO and the extraterrestrial to the hallucinogenic mushrooms and hallucinogenic substances in general. He argues that after smoking DMT he experienced a unique phenomenon which he believed involved making contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence. Indeed, the phenomenon of alien abduction and ultimately the allegation of sexual encounters with aliens offers a unique embellishment of the UFO myth and a reverberation in the collective unconscious. McKenna also discusses what he believes constitutes the "end of history" in 2012, the ending date of the Mayan calendar. McKenna believes that with the help of the psychedelics the history of the planet will undergo drastic changes possibly allowing for an aversion of the coming ecological catastrophe. Other essays focus on the Voynich manuscript, perhaps composed by Elizabethan magus John Dee and its links to Rosicrucianism, virtual reality and the role of the virtual in the coming transformation of man's consciousness, and the history of the hallucinogenic mushroom in literature before R. Gordon Wasson discovered it, including references to the works of Lewis Caroll, H. G. Wells, and John Uri Lloyd (writer of the bizarre novel _Etidorhpa_, Aphrodite backwards). McKenna argues for a coming archaic revival brought about by renewed interests in the psychedelics which he believes will usher in a utopia.

While McKenna's theories are certainly bizarre and interesting at the same time, they are also naïve in certain respects. For example, McKenna's ultimate faith in the transformative powers of the hallucinogenic plants must be questioned. Whether or not these substances provide access to altered mind states, I believe it is rather naïve to attribute to them the powers of a panacea which will eliminate all social ills. McKenna's theories on virtual reality are equally interesting given the promise of these new technologies; however, again I believe he is somewhat naïve in believing they will truly transform mankind. Nevertheless despite these criticisms, this book did provide much food for thought on the various topics mentioned in the title.
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