The Core Mystery

Alchemical symbols.

Terence McKenna’s complex of psychedelic ideas can be mapped with language at the center, influencing every discourse he entered, and there were many: hermeticism, alchemy, the Logos, DMT, DNA, I Ching, shamanism, ecology, and ontology—where the linguistic structure of reality it/self is asserted.

Early in his psychedelic adventures, a profoundly influential experience with DMT seems to have set this strange attractor in place in his personal landscape. He has called this experience, and the DMT experience in general, “the core mystery.” “I guess it’s called a peak experience, or a core revelation, or being born again, or having your third eye opened, or something, which was a revelation of an alien dimension; a brightly lit, inhabited, non three-dimensional, self-contorting, sustained, organic, linguistically intending modality that couldn’t be stopped or held back or denied. . .
. . .I found myself in the sort of auric equivalent of the Pope’s private chapel, and there were insect elf machines proffering strange little tablets with strange writing on them. And it all went on, they were speaking in some kind of — there were these self-transforming machine-elf creatures — were speaking in some kind of colored language which condensed into rotating machines that were like Faberge eggs, but crafted out of luminescent super-conducting ceramics, and liquid crystal gels, and all this stuff was so weird, and so alien, and so “un-English-able” that it was a complete shock.

Emblem 45, Michael Maier. "The Sun and its shadow complete the work."

In the explication of the McKennas’ experiences, below, it is important to remember that the truth value of scientific speculations is not the issue. Both Dennis and Terence individually have disclaimed such verifiability. But as an extensive recording of the events of a psychedelic experiment, they reveal a mythical narrative which can be compared with the myths emerging from the work of the other Xenolinguists presented.


Go to next McKenna page: The Experiment at La Chorrera.



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