I found out today that Terence McKenna has died. May his kind spirit be dispersed like spores on the gentle winds that blow through everything.
I was fortunate enough to spend a whole day chatting with Terence and about ten other technoshamans when he visited Australia in 1996. I went to a Rainforest Retreat near Byron Bay to see him. Terence is a wiry little elf-like man. he was very excited to be Down Under, because there were all kinds of ethnobotanical discoveries happening down here at the time. For example, a native species of Ibogaine had been discovered in the rainforests of the Northern Territory. Ibogaine has potential for treating alcoholism and heroin addiction. The diversity and beauty of local flora and fauna really impressed him. There was heaps of DMT about, because our ethnobotanists had been busy with acacias. The Australian National plant is the Golden Wattle, a species of acacia which contains DMT. That acacia is the inspiration for the Aussie Olympic uniform!
Terence said he felt like he was preaching to the converted, because he got such a warm reception from the locals when he spoke to larger audiences. Not surprising, as Byron Bay is a pretty psychedelic area. Anyway, we had a wonderful day talking about all the usual (unusual?) McKenna topics. I had mushroom ayahuasca that day, which was giving my voice synaesthetic qualities. I stayed focused on McKenna, I wanted to absorb all that he had to say. That wasn't hard, with that bright twinkle in his eye, and his captivating gestures.
We topped it off by all going skinny dipping in a natural grotto in a valley in the rainforest, with a little waterfall trickling into it as we splashed and dived. That night, I meditated on the beach at Byron, toking on some Salvia Divinorum and reflecting on all I had experienced. The synaesthetic waves of newness and novelty kept rolling over me, until there was no distinction between the Pacific ocean and myself.
This was one of the finest days in my life ... I'll miss you, Terence - I had always hoped you would visit again soon.