Terence McKenna was an American ethnobotanist, mystic, psychonaut, lecturer, author & an advocate for the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic plants. He spoke & wrote about a variety of subjects, including psychedelic drugs, plant-based entheogens, shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, philosophy, culture, technology, environmentalism, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness. He was called the "Timothy Leary of the '90s", "one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism", & the "intellectual voice of rave culture".

McKenna formulated a concept about the nature of time based on fractal patterns he claimed to have discovered in the I Ching, which he called novelty theory, proposing this predicted the end of time, & a transition of consciousness in the year 2012. His promotion of novelty theory & its connection to the Maya calendar is credited as one of the factors leading to the widespread beliefs about 2012.

Terence McKenna was born & raised in Paonia, Colorado. McKenna developed a hobby of fossil-hunting in his youth and from this he acquired a deep scientific appreciation of nature. He also became interested in psychology at a young age, reading Carl Jung's book Psychology & Alchemy at the age of 10.] This was the same age McKenna first became aware of magic mushrooms, when reading an essay titled "Seeking the Magic Mushroom" which appeared in the May 13, 1957 edition of LIFE magazine.At the age of 16 McKenna moved to Los Altos, California to live with family friends for a year. He finished high school in Lancaster, California. In 1963, he was introduced to the literary world of psychedelics through The Doors of Perception & Heaven & Hell by Aldous Huxley and certain issues of The Village Voice which published articles on psychedelics. McKenna said that one of his early psychedelic experiences with morning glory seeds showed him "that there was something there worth pursuing",& in interviews he claimed to have smoked cannabis daily since his teens.

In 1965, McKenna enrolled at UCB, & was accepted into the Tussman Experimental College. In 1967, while in college, he discovered and began studying shamanism through the study of Tibetan folk religion. That same year, which he called his "opium & kabbala phase"[ he traveled to Jerusalem, where he met Kathleen Harrison, an ethnobotanist who would later become his wife. In 1969, McKenna traveled to Nepal led by his interest in Tibetan painting & hallucinogenic shamanism. He sought out shaman of the Bon tradition, trying to learn more about the shamanic use of visionary plants. During his time there, he also studied the Tibetan language & worked as a hashish smuggler, until "one of his Bombay-to-Aspen shipments fell into the hands of U. S. Customs." He then wandered through southeast Asia viewing ruins, & spent time as a professional butterfly collector in Indonesia.



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