Sunday, May 18, 2008

Three Lectures on Alchemy

In a lecture that Terence McKenna gave at Wetlands Preserve in 1998, he said that he was "very grateful to the people who type up my talks and then post them at their websites." In that spirit, we are presenting a few of his talks on alchemy transcribed from the raw notes of those who attended them.

"Gnosticism is the idea that somehow the pure, holy, real light of being was scattered through a universe of darkness and of Saturnine power and that the goal is that by a process which we can call yogic or alchemical or meditative or moral/ethical, the light must be gathered and concentrated in the body and then somehow released and redeemed. All esoteric traditions, East and West, talk about the creation of this body of light and we will not, in this weekend, talk very much about alchemy, non-western alchemy, Taoist and Vedic alchemy, but in those systems too the notion is about the creation of this vehicle of light. This is one metaphor for the externalization of the soul."

"Imagination. I think this is the first time I've used this word this evening. The imagination is central to the alchemical opus because it is literally a process that goes on the realm of the imagination taken to be a physical dimension. And I think that we cannot understand the history that lies ahead of us unless we think in terms of a journey into the imagination. We have exhausted the world of three dimensional space. We are polluting it. We are overpopulating it. We are using it up. Somehow the redemption of the human enterprise lies in the dimension of the imagination. And to do that we have to transcend the categories that we inherit from a thousand years of science and Christianity and rationalism and we have to re-empower and re-encounter the mind and we can do this psychedelically, we can do this yogically, or we can do it alchemically and hermetically."

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