Food of the Gods The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge

Food of the Gods The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge[Download] ➽ Food of the Gods The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge By Terence McKenna – A Radical History of Plants Drugs Human EvolutionFor the first time in paperback the counterculture manifesto on mind altering drugs hallucinogens Illustrated A Radical History of Plants Drugs Human the Gods PDF/EPUB Â EvolutionFor the first time in paperback the counterculture manifesto on mind altering drugs hallucinogens Illustrated.

Terence Kemp McKenna was a writer philosopher the Gods PDF/EPUB Â psychonaut and ethnobotanist He was noted for his knowledge of the use of psychedelic plant based entheogens and subjects ranging from shamanism the theoretical origins of human consciousness and his concept of novelty theory.

Food of the Gods The Search for the Original Tree of
  • Paperback
  • 311 pages
  • Food of the Gods The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge
  • Terence McKenna
  • English
  • 28 November 2016
  • 9780553371307

10 thoughts on “Food of the Gods The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge

  1. Andy says:

    This book is trashI picked up this book because of an interest in drug culture and history The premise sounds interesting enough we stopped doing shrooms and got worse as a societyI'll summarize the book in case the premise sounds interesting to you so you can get the gist without reading it Some ancient cultures used mushrooms Lots of cultures MAY have used mushrooms but we'll never know Mushrooms may have helped the human brain evolve and help us evolve language Ancient orgies on mushrooms are good for society because they dissolve social boundaries He goes into a history of sugar and says it's just as addictive as heroin He goes into a history of lsd cocaine dmt heroin tea He suggests we have become male dominated loss of feminine societies because we removed drugs from everyday societyThe wikipedia article on shrooms is far interesting than this book and better written That's right a wikipedia article is coherent than this book That should send you runningTerence will present a pseudo idea and then ramble off into barely related topics until you want to die It is a chore to read Instead of any kind of solid research he glues together tangents into a a rickety web of boredomLet's look at an example gem from Terence's writingThe drive for unitary wholeness within the psyche which is to a degree instinctual can nevertheless become pathological if pursued in a context in which dissolution of boundaries and rediscovery of the ground of being has been made impossibleDid you zone out while reading that sentence? Imagine 300 pages of that He has a remarkable way of presenting ideas in a fog of poor writing It's the same style of writing as a highschooler with a thin grasp of an essay topic and too much access to a thesaurus It's as if Terence knows his ideas don't hold much water so he throws in as many slightly related things as possible to make it look like he has a solid theory The worst is when he gets into his own head without relying on any external sources When that happens expect to be liberally skipping paragraphsThis book suffers terribly from not having an editor Easily 90% could be cut out and not lose any substance And once you realize that Terence can't even provide interesting accounts of drug trips you start to think very hard about your life and why you're 200 pages deep in hellSome of his theories like mushrooms helping our brains evolve language are completely unfounded and he has no research to back it up This would be fine if he didn't devote dozens of rambling pages to themYou should also probably know that Terence McKenna stopped doing mushrooms in 1998 after a bad tripTo get a full understand of how poor of a communicator Terence is listen to him speak Some of his lectures are online If you can suffer through it I dare you to try to come up with one thing you learned from hearing him speak Anyone who claims he is an elouent speaker or that the audio book is better has been tricked by Terence's ability to ramble for hours and isn't aware they aren't learning anything and that he has no coherent ideasI don't think ideas about mushrooms and societal integration are bad I started reading to become familiar with drug culture and history and potential good uses of psychedelics But 10 pages in I regretted it If you think you enjoyed the book then you haven't read any good nonfiction Compared to persuasive organized well researched non fiction books Food of the Gods is a pile of trash

  2. Mario the lone bookwolf says:

    The book covers a very wide range of topics from the description of legal and illegal synthesized drugs natural drugs history of drug use and it´s influence on human evolution and history Alternative ideas of how something might have developed are always interesting and in this case two interesting uestions come to mind First how the whole human and before primate evolution biochemistry neurological functions brain development etc might have been shaped by coincidence or by consciously consuming certain herbs plants berries mushrooms etc and second how this might have influenced the development of all kind of faiths and beliefs You are what you eat even if you are just a tiny rodent That gets interesting with bigger mammals and very exciting with primates because a few hundred or thousands of years of consuming especially during pregnancy might have some impact Much fresh seafood mixed with some vegetables and barely any red meat is something different than much carbohydrates etc That´s just the normal food and as everyone interested in what is the best fuel for ones´ engine knows much depends on it And now take ten thousand or even years in which apes and human ancestors consume certain mushrooms herbs fruits weed etc just because of its effects on the mood or the hallucinations or most probably as many animals do instinctively with a not understood sense or if certain health problems occur and they have memorized the cure Or just because they wanna get high probably it´s one of the many reasons why we are so weirdA key element of faith might be that both drugged shaman witch doctor god emperor whatever and the believers experience real hallucinations highs or in the case of not so hard stuff euphory and extreme happiness No matter if they get secretly drugged by the shamans before a session or the witch doctor floats the room with psychoactive smoke if they take it together in a ritual they get welded together by this experience Founders of sects could find many inspirations by getting high and getting in contact with whatever their already damaged possibly already mentally ill and sober voice hearing and vision seeing minds wanted to imagine This was often combined with climbing very high mountains which gives extra weakening to the brain by a lack of oxygen so that the sh can kick in like hellThe future development can be used for boosting health and longevity by improving the nourishment of the body with as much precious and not hallucinogenic elements of all holy and healthy herbs from around the world a kind of organic wonder powder from dozens or even hundreds of everything the planet can provide The options for pimping epigenetics and brain development are the bigger topic because they may lead to different brain evolutions depending on what a culture nation or government prefers to feed to its citizens Of course that´s already happening with each traditional dietSome uestions kept rotating in my drug hating mind works best when sober although the brain is a vicious traitor who intrigues against us look a beer commercial damn it Did some civilizations destroy themselves by overuse of drugs?How do natural substances and all those new food chemicals react with each other let´s say a dietary mix of natural food with many ingredients pure industry food with many additives and chemicals and some psychoactive substances out of both categories?What could genetic engineering make possible like combining the positive or mind altering aspects in one single plant? A cancer preventing superweed that makes the memory better helps to stay slim growing muscles without exercising hulking outWhat surprising results may the interdisciplinary field of ethnobiology find in the future both about our past development and the coming influences of what we are consuming right now looking at you eating or high reader What about medical and therapeutical applications?A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books

  3. Adam says:

    I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to convince you why this book is FUCKING AMAZING so you'll just have to trust me This guy is an ethno biologist meaning he studies the interactions of substances and world cultures past and present and how the two have influenced each other; both biologically mentally spiritually and culturally This is truly a mind fuck for those in search of knowledge; even making the well supported case that the original fruit of Eden was something a bit taboo than an apple This book includes in one capacity or another almost every drug known to mankind around the world its bio cultural effects origin history chemistry psychedelic nature spiritual implications and its candidacy for consideration as; what he calls The Original Tree of Knowledge This book goes from primate substance relationships through the VERY first recorded religious substance relationships they were mushroom worshippers to modern day substance relationships FUCKING FASCINATING I can't tell you enough Read it if you aren't scared of knowing

  4. Nick Stibbs says:

    I first encountered McKenna in a New Age bookshop in Brighton whilst perusing for material to flesh out an essay on Shamanism I was writing I came home with 'The Archaic Revival' which introduced me to ideas such as the Logos a rather funky formulation than the Christian use of the word the Mayan Calendar and 2012 My humanistic psychology professor Brian Bates suggested that McKenna was rather difficult to deal with academically but nevertheless I proceeded to give a talk on how I was starting to perceive that The Logos was gleaming out of the faces of the homeless on the streets of Brighton in my case my visionary awakening was due to rather large amounts of skunkweed being consumed I later read 'The Invisible Landscape' on a Buddhist retreat inventing my own programme which supplemented meditation for copious amounts of time spent reading other people's books in the dormitoryI had been aware of 'The Food of the Gods' for many many years but had avoided this book due to its explicit dealing with drugs I had rather gone off them though had lodged in my head a recommendation by a poetry teacher Tom Sherrin to give it a go so a month or two ago I ordered the book basically to get it out of the way I must say my perception of McKenna has changed now and although the subject material covers all kinds of substances most of which I abstain from now or use very infreuently but most of which I have experimented with to various degrees the writing style pleasingly mixes academic knowledge and language with a technicolour vision and writing style I am very happy to engage with this kind of writer who steers a multidimensional route between the dangers of a too dry arid manner and completely losing himself in gushy poetry McKenna traces the evolution of humanity's relationship with drugs according to his own historical understanding from our early 'archaic' roots where he posits a polyamorous tribal cattle rearing psychedelic culture which was supplanted by a patriarchal horse riding dominator society The history of the world becomes one not of class struggle but of substance use and repression He is clearly down on our present day reliance on alcohol tobacco and TV and looks forward to a revival of the archaic period where people embracing a pluralistic democratic spirit will break through into a wider better exciting and celebratory culture in communion with a re sacralised nature and awakened to buried dimensions of spiritual intelligence whether in our own being or that of elves angels and so forth He ends the book with a manifesto and political blueprint for how to get there which surprisingly from my perspective relies on taxation in large part He would have alcohol and tobacco taxed at 200% with warning of their dangers cannabis legalised and the rest legalised a year later McKenna thinks popular fears of the conseuences of the legalisation of drugs are analogous to Establishment fears of the eradication of slavery or emancipation of women in the past On a philosophical note one of my criticisms of the book is his insistence that the modern belief in the meaninglessness of the world and also the belief that meaning is context dependent are both wrong He posits God as a Wholly Other and presumably bearer of a fixed pre given Meaning as revealed perhaps in psychedelic experience I would suggest that on analysis it is hard to argue that meaning is not to some degree context dependent but I certainly have experienced an archetypal substratum to existence that he may be hinting at in which certain patterns seem to be playing out behind the surface veil of people's lives This would suggest that there is a structure that is pre given but the meaning attributed to that structure would presumably be constructed through an interactive process between the perceiver and the perceived So for example a tree has a structure and pattern behind it but different people might interpret the meaning of it in stories or art depending on their own perspective and the context in which the tree was presented The World Tree or Axis Mundi is a common motif in mythological seuences from Norse tales of Odin to the awakening of the Buddha at the foot of the Bodhi tree to the crucifixion of Christ which takes him down into hell and then up into heaven spanning a vertical spectrum of consciousness all use a similar metaphor to describe dramatic transformations and a vertical wooden presence but framed in different ways according to the culture My feeling is that McKenna has been so seduced by the beauty of his own psychedelic experience and the rush of information received through sometimes overwhelming revelation see 'The Invisible Landscape' that he let his own academic rigour be swayed by the poetry of the vision What we see how we interpret what we see and then how we present what we see are three different things and tricky if not impossible to tease apart the three Brian Bates may have been correct in his warnings of McKenna's visionary glow obscuring a paucity of analytical thinkingI would also uery the pre history that he talks about as being a rough sketch of something much complex and varied These things are hard to prove but no doubt some of early humanity liked to get high just as many animals do whether by accident or intention It must be a temptation though to project experiences of post modern psychedelic culture and aspirations onto a pre modern template On his treatment of recent history he doesn't really do justice to the dangers of psychedelic use though he does recommend the establishment of a contemporary neo shamanism which would guide people through their experimentation and I wonder if his inference that intelligence services were hand in glove with criminal drug distribution cartels is uite as black and white as he states Something I would like to research myself I've often heard this accusation and don't know to what extent it is true Finally McKenna does not talk of other methods some explicitly shamanicreligious such as trance dance fasting or meditation others perceived as universal such as art and exercise to achieve 'altered' states of consciousness These things may be used in an ascetic culture or as compliments to drug experience We are clearly moving into a visual culture a shift which has its roots in the development of photography and then film and TV which has happened as far as I know independently of or at least in parallel to psychedelic use The explosion in the 1960's of psychedelic use will have certainly fueled a momentum which was already happening which has always been latent in the human psyche and will have had periods of flourish cave painting Dionysian celebration Renaissance art and then repression Protestant smashing of the stained glass windows and insistence on scripture over sacraments Taliban destruction of Buddhist statues ISIS destruction of Palmyra and the rest But I think McKenna makes too strict an association between the use of drugs and visionary experience There are ways to crack open the egg of consciousness than he gives credit to in his book and I wonder if he is leading people down a hippy cul de sacdead head end rather than relativising drug use into just one possibility for entrance into the Age of Imagination which he prophecisesMcKenna does deserve applause for his positive vision and affirmation of the value of expansion of consciousness He is a pleasure to read and preferable to the youtube videos which filter his rather nasal monotonous psychedelic guru voice into your living room A book which I imagine will be read for a long time henceforth as different cultures work out their own balance on intoxicating substances

  5. Gabriel Garcia says:

    A lot of people write off Mckenna as a charlatan or performer but having just discovered him I'm impressed by his creative thinking and pathos I encourage everyone to read him I think his voice is necessary in a world where addictions run rampant and our understanding of ourselves has hit a trough where value is measured by productivity and consumerism Some of his ideas are way out there but if you give him a chance and go there with him without judgement the ideas will inspire some pretty interesting uestions I loved it Ill read it again

  6. No says:

         This is a pretty amazing book and a lot of new subject matter for me and also my first encounter with Terence McKenna's work I will probably read this again someday and learn just as much as I did the first time Interesting subjects such as shamanism evolution philosophy language DMT cave art classical art addictions religion rituals and also very old short stories and the authors interpretation on how they relate to the mind altering mushrooms that give us that glimpse TV as a drug and also brief histories of cannabis opium hashish sugar tea coffee chocolate and honey All of this and much packed into 275 pages makes for an educational thought provoking book     Terrance McKenna makes a good case for psilocybin psychedelic mushrooms playing a decisive role in our evolution Just one mans theory but one that has a lot of clues art literature and history to tie it all together and back it up He also talks about many different Gods and Goddesses but i look at them as representatives of natural forces and do not take them literally like most dolts do McKenna can also get deep and philosophical at times talking about other dimensions and uantum physics and our understanding of planetary purpose which kept reminding me of what one of my favorite authors David Lane had written in the 88 precepts of natural law In precept no 8 it says; What men call the super natural is actually the natural not yet understood or revealedAre plants the missing link?uotes and NotesAuthor makes association that when eve ate the forbidden fruit it was psilocybin containing mushroomsThe government not only restricts research on psychedelics that could conceivably yield valuable psychological and medical insights it presumes to prevent their religious and spiritual use as wellI learned in India that religion in all times and places where the luminous flame of the spirit has guttered low is no than a hustlepg6 uotebeta carbolines can be used in conduction with DMT to prolong and intensify visual hallucinations until very recently virtually unknown to the general publicthe knowledge that certain plants certain compounds unlock forgotten doorways onto worlds of immediate experience that confound our science and indeed confound us Properly understood and applied this information can become a compass leading us back to the lost garden world of our originsIt Psilocybin excites vocalization; it empowers articulation; it transmutes language into something visibly beheldAgriculture brings with it potential for overproduction which leads to excess wealth hoarding and trade Trade leads to cities; cities isolate their inhabitants from the natural worldRains usually followed the new moon in the tropics making mushrooms plentiful Gatherings took place at night; night is the time of magical projection and hallucinations and visions are easily obtained in darknessThe Goddess Gaia EarthThe mushroom seen to be as much a product of cattle as are milk meat and manure was recognized very early as the physical connection to the presence of the Goddess This is the secret that was lost some six thousand years ago at the eclipse of Çatal HüyükNeolithic last phase of the stone age domesticated animals and development of agriculturePaleolithic early phase of the stone age in Africa stone tools and cave paintingsa planet dying under moral anesthesiaWithout such a visionary relationship to psychedelic exopheromones that regulate our symbiotic relationship with the plant kingdom we stand outside of an understanding of planetary purpose And understanding planetary purpose may be the major contribution that we can make to the evolutionary processThe notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridiculous in the first placeThe consumption of sauma Soma may have been the only means recognized in Iranian religion of seeing into menog existence before death;whatever Soma was it was a visionary intoxicant of tremendous power and an unparalleled hallucinogenAs honey itself easily ferments into an alcoholic intoxicant it is possible that over time a practice of mixing fewer and fewer mushrooms in and honey may have encouraged replacement of the mushroom cult with a cult of mead psilocybin to alcoholthe flesh of Stropharia cubensis and other psilocybin mushrooms has the property of staining a bluish color when bruised or broken This blue staining is an enzymatic reaction and a fairly reliable indicator of the presence of psilocybinChristianity's triumph ended the glorification of nature and planet as supreme spiritual forcesWife beating without alcohol is like a circus without lionsWitches that were burned at the stake were most likely the free thinkers scientists and philosophersimpressed by the beauty power and general depth of information contained in the experience His approach is not hedonistic but knowledge seekingWilliam Randolph Hearst popularized the term marijuana with a clear intent of linking it to a mistrusted dark skinned underclassAfter alcohol and tobacco sugar is the most damaging addictive substance consumed by human beingsThe poppy growing areas that are the source of raw opium are closely monitored by phot surveillance satellitesYet when the seed capsule is scratched with blade or fingernail a milky latex like material soon accumulates and as it hardens turns a dark brown This material is raw opiumBook The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick WWII had been won by the Japanese and the Third Reich first move was legalizing marijuana in CA to pacify the populationTelevision is by nature the dominator drug par excellence Control of content uniformity of content repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coersion brainwashing and manipulation who runs the media?The children of Ken and Barbie briefly broke out of the television intoxication in the mid sixties through the use of hallucinogens Oops responded the dominators and they uickly made psychedelics illegal and halted all research A double dose of TV therapy plus cocaine was ordered up for the errant hippies and they were uickly cured and turned into consumption oriented yuppies Only a recalcitrant few escaped this leveling of values Nearly everyone learned to love Big BrotherMescaline is a powerful visionary phenethylamine that occurs in the peyote cactus Lophophora williamsiiLSD Albert Hofmann Basel Switzerland trying to produce new drugs to ease childbirth placed LSD 25 in storage April 16 1943 handling the chemical without gloves he left work early and set off on his bicycle went home and laid down and tripped 1947 news of his discovery was out and landless box was flung openBook The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley male European intellectual grappling with the true dimensions of consciousness and the cosmosIn 1956 the Czech chemist Steven Szara synthesized dimethyltryptamine DMTtelevision for the poor and cocaine for the richillegalization of LSD October 1966Good techniue is obvious one sits down one shuts up and one pays attention That is the essence of good techniue These journeys should be taken on an empty stomach in silent darkness and in a situation of comfort familiarity and security Study the darkness behind closed eyelids with the expectation of seeing somethingThese experiences range from mild tingling in the feet to being in titanic and alien realms where the mind boggles and language failsThe existence of this dimension of knowable meaning that appears to be without connection to ones personal past or aspirations seems to argue that we are facing either a thinking Other or the deep structures of the psyche made suddenly visibleNature is not our enemy to be raped and conuered Nature is ourselves to be cherished and explored

  7. Hooper says:

    This book is great much than a treatise on shrooms and dope Have you ever thought about the mind altering power of purified sugar the politics of coffee and the parallels between these and what we consider to be dangerous drugs like cocaine?

  8. David says:

    What a great book The decision to close out 2008 with this book was made easier by my last McKenna review In Food of the Gods McKenna takes a historical look at the relationship between plants and human beings This relationship is described in four parts I Paradise II Paradise Lost III Hell IV Paradise Regained?The first part of the book explains the conditions in place that forced human evolution Namely psylocybin mushrooms Soma a conscious expanding ecstacy inducing drug of prehistory is said to have played an important part in the establishment of consciousness Although the exact definition of Soma has never been found McKenna has certainly done his homework and presents all sides of the research surrounding this elusive compound In addition McKenna’s description of the environment that early humans thrived in is truly one of a kindThe second and third parts of the book focus on the restriction of psychedelic medicines which is then followed by these plants being ignored and forgotten I found McKenna’s explanation of sugar found in a chapter also dealing with coffee tea and chocolate to be enlightening Here is one of his passagesSugar is culturally defined by us as a food This definition denies that sugar can act as a highly addictive drug yet the evidence is all around us Many children and compulsive eaters live in a motivational environment primarily rule by mood swings resulting from cravings for sugarThe final part of the book holds McKenna’s advice to society In short he says that we should reexamine our relationships with nature and truly ask ourselves which plants have proven beneficial to our understanding of The Other and which plants have been symbiotic with what he calls the dominator society The end of Food of the Gods contained many innovative and honest passages I have selected the following passage as a summation of McKenna’s aim in writing this bookI have attempted here to examine our biological history and our recent cultural history with an eye to something that may have been missed My theme was human arrangements with plants made and broken over the millennia These relationships have shaped every aspect of our identities as self reflecting beings our languages our cultural values our sexual behavior what we remember and what we forget about our own past Plants are the missing link in the search to understand the human mind and its place in natureOverall this book comes highly recommended I liked it even than the last McKenna book The Archaic Revival which I recently reviewed45 stars 311 pages Published in 1992

  9. Louis says:

    The greatest books I’ve ever read on the subject of drugs evolution and culture I’ve thought a a lot about some of the ideas McKenna shares in this book but this book brought it all togetherMcKenna was way ahead of his time as he anticipated modern developments and provides the only real solution to our modern problems This solution involves returning to a partnership culture by rekindling our relationship with nature and ourselves with psychedelics putting an end to the dominator culture which controls our politics and governments Here are 3 great uotes from the text“It cannot be said too often the psychedelic issue is a civil rights and civil liberties issue It is an issue concerned with the most basic of human freedoms religious practice and the privacy of the individual mind”‪”The enhanced capacity for cognitive experience made possible by psychedelics is as basic a part of our humanness as is our sexuality The uestion of how uickly we develop into a mature community able to address these issues lies entirely with us‬”“At the foundation of the American theory of social polity is the notion that our inalienable rights include “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness To pretend that the right to the pursuit of happiness does not include the right to experiment with psychoactive plants and substances is to make an argument that is at best narrow and at worst ignorant and primitive The only religions that are than the traditionally sanctioned moral codes are trance dance ecstasy and intoxication by hallucinogens The living fact of the mystery of being is there and it is an inalienable religiouS right to be able to approach it on one's own terms A civilized society would enshrine that principle in law”

  10. Cwn_annwn_13 says:

    I have listened to several lectures and interviews by and with McKenna but this is the first book by him I have read With McKenna there are always things I agree with disagree with think to myself well maybe and some things I write off as sheer kookery but I always found him and his ideas interestingThere is a lot I totally or partially disagree with in this He really pushes his theory that early man injesting Psilocybin mushrooms caused the brain to evolve to a state where man was able to have language imagination and creativity I feel like this theory is vaguely possible but extremely sketchy For one thing I believe the white race is effected differently than non whites by psycheldelics Plus whites have much powerful imaginations and the ability to create both in and out of their heads Before the brainwashed hippy types that read McKennas books start pointing fingers and condemning me for saying this I've read stuff where even these South American Indian shamans that guide white people through Ayhuasca sessions have said they believe that it effects whites differently than other races I'm also not into how McKenna for a guy that thinks outside the box still blindly accepts the out of Africa theory for the origins of humanityMcKenna is big on Psilocybin Mushrooms and AyhuascaDMT I have experience with mushrooms but none with AyhuascaDMT but I think these can be a gateway but are not the Tree of Knowledge as he calls it He also doesn't promote Cannabis the true tree of knowledge if there is such a thing enough He also doesn't condemn hard drugs like Heroin Cocaine and Methamphetamine enough I also think he should give a strong caution about heavy psychedelics People often aren't uite prepared for what they are in for While I'm not against people using Mushrooms Peyote or Ayhuasca I also don't think everybody is cut out for using them These are not casual or party drugsAll those criticisms aside I did enjoy Food of the Gods He really nails down the truth on what a brain numbing and dumbing down drug television is and has lots of interesting ideas Like I said I don't always agree with McKenna but he's always interesting

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