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An Ode to Terence (McKenna) by Bruce Damer

Esalen (final) Verison (June 2012)


Lorenzo Hagerty and Dr. Bruce Damer in the Big Yurt, Esalen Institute, June 2012

Read as part of a workshop titled “Terence McKenna: Beyond 2012” led by Dr. Bruce Damer and Lorenzo Hagerty at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California on Saturday June 16, 2012. Find recordings of this reading at the following web sites (accessed March 6, 2013):
http://www.matrixmasters.net/salon/?p=595
and
https://archive.org/details/PsychedelicSalon316Damerdeepdive

This work was composed by Dr. Bruce Damer from personal recollections of Terence and subsequent compilation of his extant talks and research within Terence’s family and community from 2000-2012. The first version was read at the workshop in Sierra Madre, California in January 2012. This is the final version written for the Esalen program. It is available for use in your projects under our Creative Commons sharealike noncommercial attribution 3.0 license.

1. Where did you come from Terence?

-  You youthful seeker of the weird, from circus freak show fuzzy Charlie to Eros on the tightrope strutting just out of reach of death in the big top
 - Amazing stories filled your fuzzy head, the best sci fi the 50s had to offer  invaded your mind with mind machines of alien cities flying overhead on ten mile diameter Hoover vacuum cleaner covers
- As a goggle-eyed nerd kid you learned the extraordinary discipline of sitting quietly until you could see pictures moving on the back of your eyelids
 - Seeker of the brilliant opalescent nature of your Colorado home you hunted agates, jade and assorted minerals until one spring you spotted a butterfly, the most astonishing thing you had yet seen.
 - Out in the Bay the psychotropic butterfly flew you to a land of beheld iridescent machines
 - The butterfly then vectored you to the tropics on globe girdling adventures seeking another place never of this world
 - Hauling two hundred pounds of books to the Seychelles for a peaceable read, who else would even remotely consider such a thing?
 - Running scared with your hash through the markets of Bombay you skirted the Dominator’s immuno-attackers
 - Finally parked to the left of the Andes, the Amazon green enfolded your fellowship
- You sought black gold but the elfin ‘shroom  bodies of your assigned teacher found you first
 - Impregnated thus with the adjacent possible you conjured a cosmology, an anthropology, an eschatology, a numerology, and a technology that saner people wouldn’t dare to place their life’s poker chips on
- Two brothers penned an invisible landscape, two “Os” cultivated a book on growing the Teachers so that they could en-sporalate the west
- Your funny ideas challenged  one too many times you turned away from science and scientists, instead seeking fellow travelers like John Dee, Whitehead and others piling up on the pier
- In 1982 your ship, the “HMS Philosophical Gadfly” set sail with a full crew complement for ports unknown, tapes set to “record”

2. Why did we love you when you were here Terence?

- Stories flowed and droves came to your sort of theater, an amazing concoction not seen since the shaman’s tales of the dreamtime
- In a time of the drought you courageously promoted a pathway back to the plant experience
- Three friends formed a Trilalogue and your ideas could be floated in a gentlemanly fish bowl
- Your voice soothed us, your wordage mesmerized us, your laugh opened us, so that when your flashlight shone on your take on the Overmind, we believed
- Your silvery Joycean delivery delivered us whole into the vivid weirdness of your extraordinary mind
- Whose to know what you really saw on these trips, what was truly seen in slack jawed naked astonishment and what was later polished shinola for the gods and the goods of blarney?
- Whose to say your mind was not a unique Copernican instrument piloting novel invisible landscapes at the cosmic edge?
- Omega, Esalen, and other one-worded places beckoned as the gadfly grew into the guru, no matter your abhorrence of the latter

3. How did you fare Terence?

 - In the 1980s dark thunderheads announced their throaty arrival, yet your course stayed ever truer, to your sense anyway
- By 1990 business got scary, your marriage dissolved, and your Teacher gave you a frightful licking one night
- Terence to Teacher: enough of the dancing mice, show me what you are for your self (black draperies lift and organs tone as the yawning infinite cracks open)
- Teacher to Terence: why did you turn away? Enough of the Other, it’s time for a dose of Self, your self
- The Teacher turned on Terence and he never again returned. Instead Terence launched on a dubious decade telling ever taller tales touting adventures on 5-7 dried grams while living in fear of these very plant medicines.
- Language and the mind got you all the way to the domed vestibule of the elves my friend, but as the shamans taught, it is the humble heart that opens the inner sanctum, completing the true hero’s journey to healing and wholeness.
- Shinola shifts to shit and the existential crisis accelerates… Dennis to Terence: is it time to pause for a reevaluation?
 - Terence hits the gas on his forward escape as Integrity entered the rear view mirror… it was now the Story that was the Thing
- The Blue Morpho shutters his wings, the psychedelic light flickers and dies
- Ram Das to Terence: your life is your message, Terence to Ram Das: my life is a mess, my message is my message.
- Nominated as the Altered Statesman, anointed by the good Doctor Leary, and books flying off the presses, your trajectory arced high
- Bills to pay and a web to be woven, your public persona had you in its grasp and kept your white knuckled grip on the wheel, navigating into ever less charted waters
- A date in 2012 lay shimmering on screen as TimeWave Zero code came to life but it was destined to languish in the bardo of scientific non-falsafiability
- Your fellow Trialoguers one day drew a line in the sand as the stories started dragging anchor, Ralph to Terence: that is a paranoid fantasy
 - Overtoning made you into a performer and you gloriously peaked in late ’98 but by then your personal singularity was barreling toward you
 - You began to experience dreams that were un-Englishable, and for you this is really saying something
 - By early ’99 we saw the fatigue of too many trips inscribed into your face and unbeknownst to us you were heading for one more encounter with the Teacher
 - On the eve of your concrescence I was honored to guide you, as avatar Zoneghost, to take a dip into the language built virtual worlds of cyberspace, your last taste of TechNovelty

4. Where did you go Terence?

 - The Teacher announced its return one cruel day in May
- The doctor’s ironic observation on the ‘shroom shape of your tumor kicked off your descent into the ultimate experience of Novelty
 - Y2K and your surgeries came and went without a hitch so the end of the world fell from favor but you still had your date with a forward escape
 - On April 3rd your final boundary dissolution was at hand and almost too late, mind disintegrating your heart forced its way open gifting you the ultimate wisdom of the teaching plants and of this and any world: its all about love
 - So, Terence, teller of Irish tales, we love you, we are all still here, its 2012 and in some sense “your year”, and yes, we kept breathing.
- But where did you go?
- Did you end up so stuck in muck the transcendental object could not even pull you out?
- Did the mushroom wave come for you ten miles wide and sweep you away?
- Or did the saucer ship pick you up on the pier and ply the star matrix to the elfin grey havens luxury condo complex?
- In a dream with you in ’99 in Hawaii I saw you unfold yourself and step into an elf piloted, plush seated, bejeweled Faberge Egg which carried you up though the azure veil. When told of this vision you said “ahh the getaway car!”.

5. We have brought you back Terence

- Years later in dreams you returned to me and to others in many guises
- An electrical short, or the elves, or whatever took your archives from us in the fire in ‘07
- So Lorenzo and I and many others got going and got together in a project to put you back together and make sense of the whole
- Piece by piece the psychedelic bard McKenna was reconstituted in Cyberspace
- So now we look back and if your journey was only partly completed, your business left unfinished, and yourself half baked, what is left?
- What the heck! Today we summon you back to life here at Esalen, a place at which you were beloved and held court in yurts, hot tubs, lawns and big houses.
- Before you departed we were planning a workshop together in this very place so I could return and do them myself. Michael Murphy and Nancy Lunney said “do it” so here we are!
- Then what of you is left Terence? What of your raps, your recipes, your theories, your life lessons, your missteps? What is there left that goes beyond 2012?
- So Terence that is what this is about, so help us out!
- Don’t be afraid, we are your faithful and we now know the true rap, so come in the door and take your place, for Terence, we are here to remember you, to revivify you, to appreciate you, and to release you.
- The spell is now broken Terence, so now if the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.

In memoriam and appreciation, Dr. Bruce Damer

Sierra Madre Version (January 2012)


Bruce Damer photo credit: Eric Cifani

A reading introducing the Terence McKenna: Beyond 2012 series featured in this Psychedelic Salon podcast

Delivered January 28, 2012

Ode...

Where did you come from Terence?

-  You youthful seeker of the weird, from circus freak show fuzzy Charlie to Eros on the tightrope strutting just out of reach of death in the big top

 - Amazing stories filled your fuzzy head, the best sci fi the 50s had to offer  invaded your mind with mind machines of alien cities flying overhead on ten mile diameter Hoover vacuum cleaner covers

 - Seeker of the brilliant opalescent nature of your Colorado home you hunted agates, jade and assorted minerals until one spring you spotted a butterfly, the most astonishing thing you had yet seen.

 - Out in the Bay the psychotropic butterfly flew you to the land of iridescent machines

 - The butterfly then vectored you to the tropics on globe girdling adventures seeking another place never of this world

 - Hauling two hundred pounds of books to the Seychelles for a peaceable read, who else would even remotely consider doing that?

 - Running scared with your hash through the markets of Bombay you skirted the Dominator’s cellular immuno-attackers

 - Finally parked to the left of the Andes the Amazon green enfolded your fellowship

- You sought black gold but the little elfin bodies of your assigned teacher found you first

 - Impregnated thus with the adjacent possible you conjured a cosmology, an anthropology, an eschatology, a numerology, and a technology that saner people wouldn’t dare to place their life’s poker chips on.

- Two brothers penned an invisible landscape, two “Os” cultivated a book on growing the Teachers so that they could en-sporalate the west

- You turned away from science and scientists, instead seeking fellow travelers like John Dee, Whitehead and others piling up on the pier

- In 1982 your ship, the “HMS Philosophical Gadfly” set sail with a full crew complement for ports unknown, tapes set to “record”

Why did we love you when you were here Terence?

- Stories flowed and droves came to your sort of theater, an amazing concoction not seen since the shaman’s tales of the dreamtime

- In a time of the drought you courageously promoted a pathway back to the plant experience

- Three friends formed a Trilalogue and your ideas could be floated in a gentlemanly fish bowl

- Your voice soothed us, your wordage mesmerized us, your laugh opened us, so that when your flashlight shone on your take on the Overmind, we believed

- Your silvery Joycean delivery delivered us whole into the vivid weirdness of your very mind

- And if even a small fraction of these tales were truly seen by you then your mind was a unique Copernican instrument piloting novel invisible landscapes at the cosmic edge

- Esalen, Omega, and other one-worded places beckoned as the gadfly grew into the guru, no matter your abhorrence of the latter

How did you fare Terence?

 - In the 1980s dark thunderheads announced their throaty arrival, yet your course stayed ever truer, to your sense anyway.

- By 1991 business got scary, a marriage dissolved, and your Teacher gave you a frightful licking one night

- Control and the mind got you all the way to the domed vestibule of the elves, but as the shamans taught, only the submissive heart opens the inner sanctum

 - As all that and Integrity entered the rear view mirror it was now the Story that was the Thing

- Ram Das to Terence: your life is your message, Terence to Ram Das: my life is a mess, my message is my message.

- Bills to pay and a web to be woven, you kept that white knuckled grasp on the wheel and navigated into ever less charted waters

 - Nominated as the Altered Statesman, anointed by the good Doctor Leary, and books flying off the presses, your trajectory arced high

- A date in 2012 lay shimmering on screen as TimeWave Zero code came to life but it was destined to languish in the bardo of scientific non-falsafiability

- Your fellow Trialoguers one day drew a line in the sand as the stories started dragging anchor, Ralph to Terence: that is a paranoid fantasy

 - Overtoning made you into a performer and you gloriously peaked in late ’98 but by then your personal singularity was barreling toward you

 - You began to experience dreams that were un-Englishable, and for you this is really saying something

 - By early ’99 we saw the fatigue of too many trips inscribed into your face and unbeknownst to us you were heading for one more encounter with the Teacher

 - So close to your concrescence I was honored to guide you, as avatar Zoneghost, to take a dip into the language built virtual worlds of cyberspace, your last taste of TechNovelty

Where did you go Terence?

 - The Teacher announced its return one cruel day in May

- The doctor’s ironic observation on the ‘shroom shape of your tumor kicked off your descent into the ultimate experience of Novelty

 - Y2K and your surgeries came and went without a hitch so the end of the world fell from favor but you still had your date with a forward escape

 - On April 3rd your final boundary dissolution was at hand and almost too late, mind disintegrating your heart forced its way open gifting you the ultimate wisdom of the teaching plants and of this and any world: its all about love

 - So, Terence, teller of Irish tales, we love you, we are all still here, its 2012 and in some sense “your year”, and yes, we kept breathing.

- But where did you go?

- Did you end up so stuck in muck the transcendental object could not even pull you out?

- Did the mushroom wave come for you ten miles wide and sweep you out to sea?

- Or did the saucer ship pick you up on the pier and ply the waters to the elfin grey havens luxury condo complex?

- In a dream with you in ’99 in Hawaii I saw you unfold yourself and step into an elf piloted, plush seated, bejeweled Faberge Egg which carried you up though the azure veil. When told of this vision you said “ahh the getaway car!”.

We have brought you back Terence!

- Years later in dreams you returned to me and to others in many guises

- An electrical short, or the elves, or whatever took your archives from us in the fire in ‘07

- So Lorenzo and I and many others got going and got together in a project to put you back together and make sense of the whole

- But if your journey was only partly completed, your business left unfinished, and your self partially realized, is this even possible?

- What the heck! Today we bring you back to life in this place, where you visited by happenstance in ’69, where you later spoke, where with Ken and others you organized the Palenque seminars, and where your life was celebrated with a proper Irish wake a dozen years ago.

- Then what of you is left Terence? What of your raps, your recipes, your theories, your life lessons? What is there left that goes beyond 2012?

- So Terence that is what this gathering and others to come are all about, so help us out!


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