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The Archaic Revival

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  1,562 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Cited by the L.A. Weekly as "the culture's foremost spokesman for the psychedelic experience," Terrence McKenna is an underground legend as a brilliant raconteur, adventurer & expert on the experiential use of mind-altering plants. In these essays, interviews & narrative adventures, McKenna takes us on a mesmerizing journey deep into the Amazon as well as into the ...more
Paperback, 1st , 288 pages
Published May 8th 1992 by Harper Collins (SanFrancisco)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Graff
Mar 17, 2015 Erik Graff rated it liked it
Recommends it for: McKenna fans
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley, James Koehnline
Shelves: psychology
Terence McKenna is one of the most interesting and entertaining speakers one can listen to. I strongly recommend listening to some of his public lectures and interviews about topics as diverse as James Joyce, psychedelics, Mayan calendrics, modern cosmology, ethnobotany, cybertechnology, the mass media et cetera. He is witty, charming and sometimes acutely creative. He is probably very, very stoned.

As a writer, McKenna does not shine as brightly. His best book may be Food of the Gods, but this c
...more
Noah Green
Mar 20, 2010 Noah Green rated it liked it
I had to keep my eyes from rolling into the back of my head with this one. It's an interesting read, enjoyable, and also ridiculous. McKenna poses ways of looking at natural psychedelic experiences (psilocybin mushrooms and DMT, not LSD) as gateways into other realities and parallel universes. Oh, and he believes the psychedelics were put on planet earth by aliens so we could ingest them and listen to the aliens' instructions to guide our culture as a whole.

McKenna wants society to get to the po
...more
John
Jan 03, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Zero stars for rationality + 4 for audacity = 4 stars
Ryan Jedlicka
Aug 08, 2007 Ryan Jedlicka rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: self transforming machine elves
You're probably not ready for this.
Jens
May 07, 2015 Jens rated it it was amazing
This book was important in my personal development. It lifted me out of my 'intellectual Kansas' so to speak, haha!

Here we have a collection of essays dealing with a wide range of topics all connected by the unifying theme; psychedelia.

Reading McKenna's prose is a psychedelic experience in itself! The guy expresses himself in a rich and beautiful way. His ideas are dense and rich, weaving Jungian archetypes, eschatology, process philosophy and Platonic forms together in a dizzying, but at the sa
...more
R R
May 26, 2014 R R rated it it was amazing
Having read "food of the gods" and unfortunately found it fairly boring and dull i wasn't sure that this book would offer anything of interest to me. Thankfully my expectations were surpassed, this is truly a fascinating read.

The majority of the book derives from interviews which for me was fantastic (i feel he is at his best when talking). Despite the fact in the past i haven't enjoyed his writing, the essays allowed him to further expand on many topics introduced in the interviews and i am n
...more
Helmut
Nov 18, 2014 Helmut rated it really liked it
Shed the monkey!
Zauberpilze sind außerirdische Lebensformen, die per Panspermie auf die Erde kamen und für die Entwicklung von Affen zum Menschen mitverantwortlich sind, sich uns in der Form des UFO metaphorisieren und uns den Weg weisen, wie wir am Ende der Geschichte (nicht der Welt), 2012, den nächsten Schritt zum Überbewusstsein erreichen, mit dem wir uns dann schnell auf den Weg zu den Sternen machen. So, das als Vorabwarnung; wer jetzt noch weiterliest, hat das Recht verwirkt, nachher süff
...more
Chad Oldham
Dec 06, 2009 Chad Oldham rated it it was amazing
God, i love Terence. This book catalogs alot of his mind-bending ideas. I remember a quote from terence that will stick with me forever "The deconstruction of reality has no bottom.".....as kurtz said ...that quote was like "being shot in the head with a diamond."
Marjan
Sep 10, 2014 Marjan rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, art, shamanism
I thought this would be more like his other books; a developed argument on the subject, but in fact it is a compilation of essays and interviews. Not just that, it is also a collection of his wildest ideas. Although these things will not come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with McKenna's work, it is good to have it on the shelf, since youtube videos don't fit there yet. ;)
Cameron
Mar 05, 2016 Cameron rated it liked it
This collection of interviews, essays and articles contain the most entertaining expressions of the psychedelic audacity that originally inspired me to track down McKenna's writings. Whether or not his conjectures are meant to be taken literally misses the point of living inside his brain for a short time, which is a pleasure.
Preston
Aug 13, 2015 Preston rated it it was amazing
"What good is a theory of how the universe works if it's a series of tensor equations that, even when understood, come nowhere tangential to experience? The only intellectual or noetic or spiritual path worth following is one that builds on personal experience."

After reading Terrence Mckenna, everyone becomes a philosopher. This man, in my view, is still the most important philosopher to have ever lived; he certainly changed my life. I hope his motives for a new generation of seekers is met wit
...more
Anthony
Jun 27, 2016 Anthony rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking, fecund with wild ideas, some of which haven't aged that well (like the world ending in 2012). It's impressive to read this book from the 80's and see how much freak-philosophy and fringe ideas are still basically just re-hashing quotes from Mckenna. Of course half the ideas are total bananas and half are pure genius and the fun part is trying to sort out which is which.

Some quotes I liked:

"almost all yogis are inveterate hash smokers"

"ecstasy is the contemplation of whole
...more
Eric
May 10, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Terence McKenna was a genius of philosophy and science who had a knack for poetic realization.

This is an early collection of essays, interviews and articles. I like the way it gives thought to a number of different issues and approaches some of the same thoughts from different angles. Admittedly, this creates a reprise of some analogies or trains of thought. Sometimes repetition is not a bad thing.

It also allows you to read and contemplate small servings of modern archaic philosophy, which I thi
...more
Chris Feldman
Aug 01, 2009 Chris Feldman rated it it was ok
Another one from the crackpot shelf.
Kennyjohnson
Before delving into this hodgepodge of essays, articles, and interviews take note that the subtitle of this book begins "speculations on..." meaning that the statements and claims therein are not necessarily driven by hard data, but by language and the imagination as it is informed by personal experience, research, and exploration. The approach is personal and phenomenological rather than empirical. It says that one need not look to the priesthood, or scientists and scholars, or ascetic monks an ...more
Stephen
May 22, 2010 Stephen rated it liked it
2007 wrote: McKenna was not even in my spectrum of existence until about a year ago when i happened to be suggested it when shopping on Half.com. I read a blurb and boughta few books and immediately shelved them when they came in, because there is always too much to read. Now that said, I have sine found that McKenna has a fairly large underground following and that can get damn near religious. the subtitle reads : "Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolut ...more
Pieter-Jan Beyul
Nov 12, 2013 Pieter-Jan Beyul rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-shelf
Today we're privileged to see hours of Terence McKenna lectures online with a single mouse click. So most of the ideas covered in this book, which is an anthology of articles, essays, travelogues and interviews, won't be unfamiliar to the regular McKenna fan.
But this book is still worth having on the shelf because next to being the greatest bards of the 20th century, McKenna is also a fantastic writer. As one of the few who dared to converse with the mushroom Logos, knowing how to handle the lin
...more
Nick
Jul 13, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it
Im tempted to give this book 5 stars because it was just so entertaining. McKenna goes off the deep end in numerous parts, but he is also surprisingly lucid and rational when discussing seemingly bizarre subjects such as the "stoned ape" theory of evolution. The number of topics in this book is astounding, so anyone interested in scifi, fantasy, ethnobotany, travels in south america, aliens, Lovecraft, pantheism, 2012, and a lot of others.

Even though McKenna was dead wrong about numerous things,
...more
Ant
Jan 28, 2013 Ant rated it liked it
Disappointing. As a book that, beautifully jacketed in silver and adorned with an amazing sketch for every enticingly named chapter written by one of the most thought provoking speculators of the future of culture, promised much, I expected more. The first few chapters laid down the raps which McKenna is well known for; DMT, Psilocybin, the inner alien, logos as flying saucer, 2012 & all that follows that strain of eschatology, however most other chapters, many transcriptions of radio interv ...more
Tristy
Jun 10, 2013 Tristy rated it it was ok
Shelves: shamanism, scavenged
As far as Terrence McKenna books go, this one is actually the easiest to read. His writing can be dense, but also filled with beautiful metaphors. I find it fascinating that someone who talked so much about "destroying the ego" through hallucinogens, also believed that all the "messages" he received while taking "heroic trips" were true for every single person on the planet. Instead of paying attention to what he was bringing personally to his trips, he chose to remain OUTSIDE of himself to inte ...more
Tiffany Shacklett
Oct 22, 2014 Tiffany Shacklett rated it it was amazing
So densely packed with ideas it took a while to get through, but it was well worth the journey. Really wish Terence was still around, he was a brilliant writer unafraid to eloquently articulate many an unorthodox theory of existence. A mind-opening read that encourages the reader not to just take his word, but go out and experience a richer version of life for themselves.
Mark Hammond
Jun 29, 2014 Mark Hammond rated it liked it

Terence McKenna is a brilliant cultural and evolutionary theorist who posits hallucinogenic plants as a driving force of human evolution and actually backs it up. One of the great takeaways is that all those buttoned up scientists of the first world initially learned about the medical efficacy of plants from indigenous shamans who received their knowledge in a direct pathway from the plant world itself in the form of ayahuasca or similar vegetal means. He is kind of an inconvenient genius in an
...more
William
Sep 11, 2008 William rated it did not like it
A member of America's Worst Generation tries to make a case for legalizing dangerous hallucinogens, and fails.

While I agree with many of his observations about history, I disagree with almost all of his views on the path we should take moving forward.

He dismisses those who can achieve shamanistic results without the use of hallucinogens, revealing his own prejudice that drugs are the only way.

He virtually ignores the curing side of shamanism (which after all was one of the main points of shamans
...more
Brad
Dec 19, 2007 Brad rated it really liked it
Mind-bending thoughts about the true nature of our universe and mind. McKenna writes and speaks (over half of the book's chapters transcriptions of talks and interviews) with great clarity and concision. The ideas presented are sometimes outrageous, yet they are so well explained that it's hard to take them for anything but the truth. An exciting book to get one to really consider and push the limits of what modern science knows. Furthermore, a call to reunite humanity with itself, our planet, a ...more
Pán Rostlin
Jun 12, 2016 Pán Rostlin rated it it was amazing
The essential collection of articles, essays and interviews from, by or with one of the leading and most important world personalities and intellectuals, though sadly now departed American-Irish author-lecturer Terence Kemp McKenna. I strongly suggest this book to anyone with interest in ethnobotany and the like.
Brian
Sep 10, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has the feeling that there is something huge and unseen on the horizon for our species
Recommended to Brian by: The Mushroom
Shelves: tmk, entheogens, nature
The Archaic Revival by Terence McKenna

Most definitely a change of pace from FOOD OF THE GODS, in that the book doesn't flow in a chronological, story-like (although non-fiction) way that FOOD did. Instead each chapter is either a transcription of a lecture, an interview, or an article written on a specific topic... Pure knowledge. Please give Terence a chance... even if ya can't get into his books, just look up his lectures on youtube.com... You'll be glad you did... or perhaps you'll find yourself much more confused about our natu
...more
Neal Young
I read this one awhile ago, but i distinctly remember this book kept me awake into the long hours of the night. Sleepless and not caring I soaked in every drop of ink from every letter of every word of this book. Many good memories lay within my head of staying up reading, enchanted by the words in front of me, this book being one of those shining memories forever brightening my day far flung into the future. It reminds me of friends lost and times long ago. I was told to read this book by my gr ...more
Tim Cusmano
May 26, 2014 Tim Cusmano rated it really liked it
Really interesting stuff from a unique guy. My only real complaint is that by the nature of this book (a collection of articles and interviews), it starts to sound like a broken record by the end.
Zach Bartell
Oct 08, 2012 Zach Bartell rated it it was ok
I like some of the ideas in this book, and the others I feel indifferent about. My favorite are the mystery of the homing pigeons' secret sense and the notion of the cosmic attractor. However, time-wave zero, which is referred to a few times throughout the book, is utter lunacy. I mean come on, divining the future by plotting historical events on a timeline against a decrypted I-Ching? It's humorous though and I forgive McKenna for being a radical nonconformist. I recommend this book to people w ...more
Sean Lawrence
Nov 14, 2014 Sean Lawrence rated it it was ok
He lost me with the metallic gnomes controlling the universe
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Terence Kemp McKenna was a writer, philosopher, psychonaut and ethnobotanist. He was noted for his knowledge of the use of psychedelic, plant-based entheogens, and subjects ranging from shamanism, the theoretical origins of human consciousness, and his concept of novelty theory.
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“My voice speaking is a monkey's mouth making little mouth noises that are carrying agree-upon meaning, and it is meaning that matters. Without the meaning one has only little mouth noises ” 34 likes
“It is not easy to measure the ocean, but we can be measured by it, confront it, and be in it.” 27 likes
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