From machine elves, to stoned apes, to adventures in La Chorera, Terence Kemp Mckenna inoculated my heart with his theories and ideas for a better world. He gave us permission to explore our own consciousness and convinced us that culture is not our friend.

Born on November 16, 1946 his body left this Earth 18 years ago on April 3, 2000. He was an ethnobotanist, psychonaut, lecturer, author, and an advocate for the responsible use of psychedelics. He encouraged us to respect the Earth and to realize that we are a part of nature. His way with words and his alien-like voice captivates audiences well after his death. His body may be gone but his spirit lives on in all of us through his ideas.

Terence had a way with words like no other. His use of imagery could transport you to another dimension.

He made me realize that the way I speak and the words I use can transform my entire  world. One psychedelic trip he encounters creatures which he calls “machine elves”.  Creatures that can sing objects into existence. The elves encourage him to do the same and while this may seem like a crazy concept, my personal experience tells me  that the words we use can alter our physical reality and can shape our existence.

We may not sing objects into the world, but perhaps we can speak in a way that creates a reality that we would like. For example, certain words you use could make  someone fall in love with you or it could destroy a relationship. Our lives are shaped  around the words we use everyday.

This quote by Terence sums up this idea:
“The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”

Terence reminds us  that words have power and they can be used to shape our world.

In the same way that Words can change our existence, thoughts can too. The word psychedelic literally means “mind manifestation”. Everything that has been created, started off as an idea in our mind. Terence uses his words and his mind to create a world he believes in.

Terence used his speaking skills to advocate for the responsible use of sacred psychedelics. He convinced us that we are not bad people for using something from nature that gives us insight and enlightenment.

 He spoke of his own experiences with psychedelics that encouraged people of all  kinds to “Take it easy, dude, but take it!” as he likes to say. He normalized psychedelic use and helped  bring mushroom cultivation techniques to the US so more  people could experience this sacred medicine even though our culture saw it as taboo.

Our society Demonizes psychedelics from nature. Both psychedelics and nature are controlled and disrespected because we forget that we are a part of nature ourselves.

“Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.” This is a quote by Terence that I think of often.

Humans forget that they are a part of Nature and Terence reminds us of this fact. Our  society foolishly destroys its own home in order to accumulate a false sense of pride. We  pollute, mine, and extort our Earth for meaningless “wealth”. Society disregards sacred  plant medicines in the same way it disregards our connection to the Earth.

18 years after his death and his ideas still touch my heart.

Terence Mckenna's words continue to sing his ideas into existence just like the machine elves. Although he is not with us, his words continue to shape our minds and create our realities. His advocacy for psychedelics is creating a world that respects nature and cognitive freedom. Terence has made a huge impact on my life and I hope to continue his message by speaking out for the responsible use of psychedelics. Hearing Terence speak is like a psychedelic experience in itself. I think our society could benefit from opening their mind's to McKenna's ideas. 


Some of my favorite videos, photos, quotes by Terence: