Terence McKenna On Ancient Gnosticism & The LSD Revolution of the 1960s

Terence McKenna – On LSD

In this excerpt, the great noetic archaeologist, American philosopher, psychonaut, ethnobotanist, and lecturer Terence McKenna describes the substance Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and its social ramifications since the 1960s.

Terence McKenna – On Gnosticism

Here Terence discusses his views on the Nag Hammadi Library, dualism, the archipelago of Gnosticisms throughout antiquity, and more.

Note: the historical facts and opinions given in this talk are those of Terence alone and by no means reflect those of their poster (well… at least not entirely – much new research has been done on the subject of Gnosticism since Terence recorded this talk, and off the top of my head I can think of a handful of mistakes he makes unintentionally – think for yourself – please do your own research. Otherwise, they are great talks from a great speaker. R.I.P. Terence)

A Few Recommended Readings:

Yates. Frances. Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. 1964.

Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.

Scholem, Gershom G. Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition. Philadelphia: Maurice Jacobs, 1965.

Rasimus, Tuomas. “Ophite Gnosticism, Sethianism, and the Nag Hammadi Library.” Vigiliae Christianae 59 (3), 2005: 235-263.

Hoeller, Stephan A. The Gnostic Society Library: The Nag Hammadi Library. March 13, 2014. http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html (accessed May 16, 2014).


Those Who Hold Up Broad Heaven: Pillars, Columns, and the Eliadean Axis Mundi in Homer’s Odyssey

Here’s a lecture I put together entitled “Those Who Hold Up Broad Heaven: Pillars, Columns, and the Eliadean Axis Mundi in Homer’s Odyssey” which discusses the nature of ‘sacred space’ according to Mircea Eliade in the Homeric Greek epic.


Eliade, Mircea. Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1959.

Evans, Arthur J. “Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult and Its Mediterranean Relations.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 21, 1901: 99-204.

Korom, Frank J. “Of Navels and Mountains: A Further Inquiry into the History of an Idea.” Asian Folklore Studies 51, 1, 1992: 103-125.

Poimandres – Corpus Hermeticum [Guided Transcendental/Psychedelic Meditation]

A dramatic reading of an old philosopher from the first work in the Corpus Hermeticum.  The speech has been set atop a drone designed for use in meditation, psychedelic ritual, or contemplative listening.

Poimandres (Greek: Ποιμάνδρης; Latin: Pimander), originally written in Greek, was once thought to mean “Man-Shepherd” from the words ποιμήν and ἀνήρ; recent studies on its etymology, however, have shown that it is actually derived from the Egyptian phrase Peime-nte-rê meaning “Knowledge of Re” or “Understanding of Re”.  It is a sort of deity or attribute of God as nous (mind).

“The Hermetica is a category of papyri containing spells and initiatory induction procedures. In the dialogue called the ‘Asclepius’ the art of imprisoning the souls of demons or of angels in statues with the help of herbs, gems and odors, is described, such that the statue could speak and engage in prophecy. In other papyri, there are recipes for constructing such images and animating them, such as when images are to be fashioned hollow so as to enclose a magic name inscribed on gold leaf.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, known as Hermetica, enjoyed great prestige and were popular among alchemists. The “hermetic tradition” consequently refers to alchemy, magic, astrology and related subjects. The texts are usually divided into two categories: the “philosophical”, and the “technical” hermetica. The former deals mainly with issues of philosophy, and the latter with practical magic, potions and alchemy.”

First Video Interview: Ancient Mystery Cults FAQ

mystery cults

What were the Greco-Roman mysteries?  Where were they most popular?  What exactly happened in these initiation ceremonies?  What is the relationship between ritual magic and the mysteries?  What is the current status on the study of mystery cults?  Classicists Dan Attrell and Stephen Millburn discuss these and many other frequently asked questions concerning the Greco-Roman mystery cults (Mithraism, Dionysianism, the Isaic mysteries, the mysteries of Attis and Cyele, the Eleusinian mysteries, etc.) in order to provide a general survey of the subject.

If you have any personal questions you would like to have answered in one of our next talks, please include them in the comment box – don’t be afraid to ask about specifics.  Don’t forget to subscribe for more discussions, lectures, and presentations on this and other similar subjects (Paganism, Early Christianity, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Alchemy, etc.).

Dead Kings and Saviour Gods

Here’s a lecture based on a little something I wrote while I was in Romania puking my guts out between dig sessions.  It’s about Thracian religion.  It’s good.  I swear.

Eight Very Useful Electronic Tools For Learning The Latin Language

Fluency in a language is not efficiently attained by reading alone. When it comes to ancient languages, it can be difficult to create a sense of immersion for yourself since there are few, if any, Latin TV shows, movies, or video games (a means by which many young people now learn English around the globe). Here below are a number of resources to help you cope with our contemporary scarcity of living Latin. Some of these entries are audiobooks or lectures meant to help you spend more time accumulating Latin experience by ear without having to open a textbook or sit in a class. Listening to Latin on a regular basis is a sure way to increase your fluency and with the help of headphones, it can be done just about anywhere at any time. Other items listed below are online tools or apps which I believe no Latinist should be without.

Society for the Oral Reading of Greek and Latin Literature (Website): Here we have a small but useful catalog of excerpts from classical works (both Greek and Latin) being read by a variety of professional readers. This is a good way of getting acquainted with some of the peculiarities of classical pronunciation and metrically read poetry. All audio is accompanied by the original text and an English translation. (http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/Latin.htm)

Verbix (Website):
Verbix is an online Latin word conjugator. Just put in the verb you want to look up (in its first-person singular indicative form) and you get a full breakdown of the verb in all of its conjugations. This tool is most useful for Latin composition. (http://www.verbix.com/languages/latin.shtml)

Wilfried Stroh’s Lecture Series (Latin MP3):
Beware – this is no beginner resource. In an exposé of his very own fluent and lucid rhetoric, the famed German Philologist Wilfried Stroh relates a detailed history of Greek and Roman oratory and Latin letters. Listening to professor Stroh not only gets your Latin cogs churning at full speed, but it also gives you an idea of what a totally fluent Latin lecturer (without recourse to reading) sounds like. Lectures can be individually downloaded for free from the links below:

De Eloquentiae Graecae et Romanae Historia’ – http://stroh.userweb.mwn.de/scholae/vl_eloquentia_wise08-09/eloquentia.html

‘De Historia Litterarum Latinarum’ – http://stroh.userweb.mwn.de/scholae/vl_litteraelatinae_wise09-10/litteraelatinae.html

Commenius – Orbis Pictus (English/Latin MP3 Audiobook):
Listening to simple Latin prose is a good way to subconsciously improve fluency with basic forms and common vocabulary. It is fun to listen to and, despite its simplicity, it can even benefit the advanced student of Latin. Commenius’ Orbis Sensualium Pictus was the first ever picture book written for school children, and it also makes for a great Latin primer. Using simple grammar and style, Commenius built up a veritable verbal cosmology of countless peoples, plants, animals, metals, minerals, places, planets, climates, philosophies, politics, and more. This intra-linear Latin-English audiobook (9hrs 43min) exposes its listener to a massive volume of vocabulary cleverly organized into thematically delineated sections, and thus new words are immediately recognizable by their context.

Paypal Price: $4.99 at http://latinumstore.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/orbis-sensualim-pictus-english-and.html

Phi Latin Texts (Website):
27 years ago, the Packard Humanities Institute began digitizing every known piece of Latin literature in order to create a massive searchable database. Now that they’re done, we get to reap the benefits. Simply go to the ‘word search’ tab at the top of the page and put in any Latin word that pertains to your research and you will be given a list of full texts containing that word in all its forms. (http://latin.packhum.org/browse)

Sanford and Scott’s Junior Latin Reader (Latin MP3 Audiobook):
More simple Latin prose for stimulating a rusty vocabulary, crystallizing the usages of forms, and learning about Roman history in Latin. The audiobook (8hrs and 50 min) begins with various popular myths then moves into a good outline of Roman History as the difficulty of the audiobook gradually ramps up.

Paypal Price: $4.99 at http://latinumstore.blogspot.com/2011/11/junior-latin-reader-sanford-and-scott.html

SPQR (iPod/iPhone App):
SPQR is the best Latin app I have found so far. It contains dozens of texts in Latin and English, two comprehensive dictionaries (Lewis & Short/Whitaker’s Words), a grammar tester, and best of all, a flashcard function which can break down any Latin text, cross-reference each word with the app’s internal dictionary, then create decks of useful vocabulary review cards. The layout is sleek, clean, and easy to navigate.

iTunes Store Price: $6.99 at http://www.romansgohome.com/spqr)

Swallowing the Dictionary (English/Latin MP3 Audiobook): In his Handbook of the Latin Language Walter Ripman organized Latin vocabulary into domains and subdomains. The list was long held to be a useful way of organizing the material for a student learning Latin vocabulary. This particular audiobook (8hrs and 22 min) closely follows Ripman’s work as it uses intelligently organized lists of words and idioms sounded off in English and Latin in rapid succession. This audiobook is meant to be used for personal brainwashing (that is, listened to multiple times) on the bus, in the car, while doing household chores, etc. Initially it seems overwhelming but, over time, the repetition of various words in different context clusters helps to build a vast vocabulary efficiently. If refreshed regularly, unusual words and expressions will crystallize in your mind with each successive listening.

Paypal Price: $4.99 at http://latinumstore.blogspot.com/2009/12/swallowing-dictionary.html

The Universe

In my research on the Picatrix I came upon this gem: “The Universe” according to Piero di Puccio da Orvieto, from the Camposanto of Pisa.

"The Universe" according to Piero di Puccio da Orvieto, from the Camposanto of PisaCheck out how the nine angelic spheres acting as the intermediaries between God/Christ and the nine corporeal spheres of stars are depicted separately.