Weed Culture

Altering Reality With Terence McKenna Art

Terence McKenna portrait

Stoner culture is shaped by some of the greatest thinkers to ever exist. And while many of them are sorely underrated, their work continues to inspire weed enthusiasts from around the globe. If you’ve been hunting for the perfect inspiration for your next project, look no further than these Terence McKenna-inspired art pieces. They pair perfectly with a fresh bowl of kush.

Photo: Flickr

“If the Artists Cannot Find the Way, Then the Way Cannot be Found.”

McKenna was a visionary. He advocated for the safe use of psychedelics. But his greatest contributions came in the form of his written works and many lectures.

While his art may have been of the written kind, however, McKenna was vocal about his love for visual art. He believed in the transformative ability of art, as well as in the artist’s ability to “save the soul of mankind.”

And if there’s one thing that beautifully captures the essence of the “journey into the Other,” it’s McKenna’s own musings on art.

Shamans Are Remote Ancestors to Artists

Of his many takes on art, McKenna most notably placed them in the same class as Shamans. Particularly, he likened the need for connection expressed through artistic creativity with Shamanic ecstasy.

Reality, he determined, was dictated by our present circumstances. But true awareness could only come from surrendering to a Transcendent Other. And in doing so, in recognizing the larger patterns of time and space, we would finally glimpse our own role in the grand scheme of things.

The Stoned Ape Theory

One of McKenna’s most controversial theories pertained to how humans learned to think. He blended existing theories of evolution and early migration with his own idea that psilocybin pushed human cognitive abilities to evolve at a rapid rate.

This, in turn, is what he believed caused the rapid development of technology, language, literature, and, of course, art.

Whether one agrees with McKenna or not, the Stoned Ape Theory does offer an interesting perspective on the human condition.

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The Garden of the Ancestors

Each ancient culture has its own understanding of humanity’s origins. Some believe we came from the gods, others believe we emerged from the oceans. Some imagine humans were carved from clay or shaped from sand, and others determined we were made from stardust.

Ultimately, it matters not where we came from. What matters is where we go from here. McKenna strongly advocated for dismantling that which brings us collective harm. He dreamed of a world where we were truly free, a world beyond our current understandings.

A world entirely of our own making.

Art is a Revolution

Stoners, despite their reputation for being the most chill group out there, have spent a long time fighting. Fighting for freedom, peace, community, legalization, and so much more. Stoners have been an integral part of several counterculture movements.

For stoners know, perhaps better than more, that freedom comes through revolution. And McKenna knew, perhaps better than most, that the greatest battles were fought through artistic expression.

Art is an Obligation

As much as he viewed art as revolutionary, McKenna also believed it was a responsibility. In a world where oppressive forces work against humanity’s ability to ascend, he believed it to be an artist’s obligation to create art. Because art, he believed, was the one true way for a person to transcend a false reality.

What, then, is true reality? Take a hit from your bong and you might just find out.

Art is Created in Suspended Reality

McKenna believed the truth of human existence lay shrouded in the mysteries between all realities. To question reality is to create art.

So if you ever find yourself frozen, simply look out at the world and ask the all-important question: “What is it?”

Chaos is a Ladder

When you ask questions of the Universe, you might find the answers come not in digestible waves, but in a fury of incoherent chaos. That’s when you know you’re doing something right.

The mind, as McKenna and many eminent psychologists saw it, is dominated by the Ego. We live, as such, in fear and judgment. But when we embrace the unknown and the chaos within, when we finally let go, is when we are truly free.

So if you have your heart set on creating Terence McKenna art, don’t be afraid of losing yourself in the process. Let yourself be free.

The True Test of Psychedelics

One of McKenna’s greatest bits of wisdom came from the notion that the worth of psychedelics stems from what we do without them. Being high opens us up to the world in a way many of us find impossible when sober.

As he put it, “What’s lacking in the Western mind is the sense of connectivity and relatedness to the rest of life, the atmosphere, the ecosystem, the past, our children’s future. If we were feeling those things we would not be practicing culture as we are.”

The gentle parts of our soul can be so easily warped while in constant survival mode. Yet, one brick at a time, stoner culture dismantles this isolation. And in its place, a community is built.

Art is a Prison, and Our Salvation

As much as he believed in art as the key to our journey beyond, McKenna also stated that we’re “imprisoned in some kind of work of art.”

The world and its imposed reality, for all its inhibitions, is still utterly gorgeous. There is beauty all around us and beyond it. To ignore it is to ignore the path toward the “realm of the eschaton.”

And yet, a beautiful prison is a prison, nonetheless. To become too complacent in an authored reality is to lose one’s true self to an illusion. And to craft Terence McKenna art that does not recognize this dichotomy as practically a cardinal sin.

We Are the Complexity

The human mind has never been a trivial thing. We exist in a state of complex thought and feeling. And despite the attempt to distill us down to bare essentials, we never stop thinking or feeling, And we certainly don’t stop creating.

McKenna’s work revolved around deeply profound notions of humanity moving beyond known realities. He wanted to explore what lay beyond our understanding of the world. From philosophical understandings of where we truly come from, to uncovering higher states of consciousness and the secrets of the Universe, McKenna reveled in shattering what was “real” or “normal.”

And at the core of that approach was his most important teaching: that we are the complexity we seek in the world.

Create Your Own Roadshow

McKenna offered many gems of wisdom. And while his audience may have been stoners, every ounce of wisdom offered is a life lesson waiting to be absorbed.

So if you find yourself ready to tackle some Terence McKenna-inspired art, embrace the chaos, disengage from the half-baked bones of a dying world, and let the eternity within you flow.