Alien Dreamtime
Multimedia Experience
Creator: Terrence McKenna, Spacetime Continuum, Stephen Kent, Rose X Media House
Played by: Brian Zbriger
On February 27, 1993, Terrence McKenna delivered spoken words, including the quotes below, as part of a multimedia event called Alien Dreamtime. He was accompanied by ambient electronic music from Spacetime Continuum, the ancient drone of the didgeridoo played by Stephen Kent, and psychedelic computer graphics by Rose X Media House.

Game II Core Wave: "Ancient Ideas in Modern Times" or "Time Transcendent Ideas."

Primary Category

Related Categories

Relationship to Core Wave

Are some of the most ancient ideas of all (the interconnection of all life, the existence of an alien intelligence, the importance of psychedelics and shamanism, etc.) becoming trendier then ever before? Does this mean we are about to evolve into something beyond the animal body? Will the more immediate future take on the appearance of prehistory?

Connection Tunnels

  • The Meru Project
  • Ripple
  • The Big Bang Never Happened
  • The Greatest Illusion/Time
  • The Infinite Game
  • Mind Altering Substances
  • The Primary Distinction / CoreWave Game One
  • Science vs. Mysticism
  • The Bridge

    Highlight Quotes

    "Every time a culture gets into trouble, it casts itself back into the past looking for the last sane moment it ever knew. And the last sane moment WE ever knew was on the plains of Africa, 15,000 years ago.... before history. Before standing armies, before slavery and property, before warfare and phonetic alphabets and monotheism. Before, before, before. And this is where the future is taking us."
    -- Terrence McKenna

    "The secret faith of the 20th century is not modernism. The secret faith of the 20th century is nostalgia for the archaic, nostalgia for the Paleolithic. And that gives us body piercing, abstract expressionism, surrealism, jazz, rock and roll, and Catastrophe Theory. The 20th century mind is nostalgic for the paradise that once existed on the mushroom-dotted plains of Africa."
    -- Terrence McKenna

    Geographic Location

    The Transmission Theater
    San Francisco, CA

    Images and Clips

    Brian has an image of the audio recording cover up at: dowcet/ Images/ alien.gif. There is a sound clip from Alien Dreamtime at: users/ seeker1/ cyberanthro/ McKenna.aiff.

    Access and Distribution

    The video of Alien Dreamtime is produced by Rose X Media House: and is available through:
    City of Tribes Records
    63 Fountain Street
    SF, CA 94114
    The audio recording is put out by Astralwerks (catalog # ASW6107), distributed by Caroline Records.

  • Main Submission

    Terrence McKenna, author of "Food of The Gods", "True Hallucinations", and "The Archaic Revival," has developed and popularized visionary theories about psychedelics and the patterns of history, in the tradition of Timothy Leary. He has worked on several projects with electronic musicians and computer artists, developing a reputation as a sort of techno-shaman. Alien Dreamtime is a mind-blowing example of this work.

    He believes that at one time, a regular ritual of eating mind-expanding, boundary dissolving mushrooms is what held early societies together and allowed us to evolve beyond other primates. As technologies like the wheel and metallurgy were discovered, we moved into what he calls the dominator culture. The mushroom, open sexuality, femininity and many other aspects of the archaic human paradise began to be suppressed more and more. This suppression has brought us all the problems we have now.

    He refers to some alien intelligence which has pulled evolution from the Big Bang into the animal body and eventually the human mind, making nature a "novelty conserving engine," which will bring us to even more complexity and transcend the dead end of the dominator culture. This "new myth," drawing ancient beliefs and modern science together, is what Terrence McKenna explains in Alien Dreamtime.

    He also deals with his experiences with DMT (an extremely powerful hallucinogen), which he claims puts humans in contact with "self-transforming machine elves" which help coordinate "an ecology of souls." He suggests that DMT can be a powerful tool for us to evolve beyond our physical dimension. It is one of many ways that we can move our way of life to be more prehistoric, closer to the wisdom of nature or "Gaian mind". As the high-tech nature of Alien Dreamtime might suggest, he sees technology as an important part of this return to Paleolithic culture, not something to be dropped off.

    When listening to this recording, I cannot help but draw a parallel to the prehistoric times McKenna refers to. I imagine a tribe of naked people dancing around the glow of a fire. They have all eaten psilocybin mushrooms that they have gathered themselves, and they listen while the shaman speaks in the earliest of languages, accompanied by primitive instruments, about the same issues that McKenna deals with.

    Ravers like those at Alien Dreamtime are basically involved in the same sort of activity. The technology may have changed, and some of the ideas involved may have become more complex, but the basic spirit is as old as humankind is. This spirit, the most ancient of ideas has been forgotten, leading to all the most fundamental human and planetary problems, and we must return to them to continue our evolution as a species.


    My words cannot convey nearly as much as hearing/seeing a recording of the event. You'll get much more insight if you check it out yourself. A transcript of Alien Dreamtime, and a lot of other stuff by Terrence McKenna, can be found at:

    -- Brian Zbriger

    Follow Ups

    Is the notion of an ecology of the soul and of a mushroom-dotted paradise, while emphasising nothing so much as the overwhelming whole, really accessable except through the reflection of the individual? I cannot vouch for the spirituality of most states of mind, nor the validity of most spiritualities, but I know one thing for sure: that I will never know paradise for as long as I am coddling my ego. My ego and I whisper into each other's ears all day, every day, "We wants it. It's our preciousss. It's ours, isn't it?" Nothing can satisfy the little reptile unless we possess it. I'm pretty certain that paradise doesn't work like that.

    No paradise is possible unless each and every individual loves their neighbour as they love themselves. And with an appreciation of all comes a philosophy of of the whole, but the real battle is within the one. The final and most powerful temptation of the Buddha was the lure of identity, both Jesus and Socrates are honored for nothing so much as not saving themselves from the consequences of their convictions, and Gandhi's power was due exclusively to the discipline he applied to his own self. The evil of dissatisfaction and the confusion of individualism may have, as its only alternative, an ecology of the soul, but is such a state a description of the process, or merely the direction in which each sentient creature must struggle to go each and every day, since time began?

    -- Isaac Arendsson

    Issac's follow-up brings up ideas which are adressed in Alien Dreamtime, but that i had not connected with the core wave in my submission. Issac mentions, "the direction each sentient creature must struggle." Issac states, "that I will never know paradise for as long as I am coddling my ego." Here are a few direct quotes from Alien Dreamtime which might relate to the themes Issac has brought up:

    "what we need is a new myth. What we need is a new true story that tells us where were going in the universe. And that true story is that the ego is a product of pathology, and that when psilocybin is regularly part of the human experience, the ego is suppressed. And the suppression of the ego means the defeat of the dominators, the materialists, the product peddlers."

    " the Gaian mind is what we're calling the psychedelic experience. Its an experience of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet, and without that experience we wander in a desert of bogus ideologies, but with that experience, the compass of the self can be set. And that's the idea, that we're figuring out how to reset the compass of the self, through community, through ecstatic dance, through psychedelics, intelligence..."

    "once you touch the inner core of your own and someone else's being, you can't be led into thing fetishism and consumerism. The message of psychedelics is that culture can be reengineered as a set of emotional values, rather than products. This is terrifying news. And if we are able to make this point, we can pull back, we can pull back and we can transcend."

    -- Brian Zbriger

    I wasn't at Alien Dreamtime but I have seen Terrance speak a number of times. The best was in NYC in 1994 at a Zippy tour. Zippies are "Zen Inspired Professionals" who champion the term "pronoia": the sneaking suspicion that people are conspiring to help you. (Conspire by the way at its roots means to breathe together), which I think is cool and can be positive beyond the word's recent implications. Watching Terrance's magical mastery of language is an incredible experience, especially when you're packed into a small black lit room with a bunch of rave kids and wired types. Isaac, there is also a great CD by the techno group The Shamen with many tracks refering to the Archaic revival and lyrics like "activate the rhythm that has always been within you." The last track has Terrance reading an essay about evolution over the music. This really is an above average techno album I would highly recommend.

    With regard to the issues of ego brought up by Isaac, I would first note that Terrance seems to have a pretty big ego when he is perfoming. I don't know that this is such a problem or it may just be part of Terrance's journey but I do know that when a person is on stage (of sorts) using magic(al language) it seems important to an audience that some sort authority be at play in order for the audience to have a higher experience. Perhaps this doesn't apply in every case but it does seem to apply in general. Maybe it has more to do with where we are right now as a species.

    On this issue of ego I offer the following quote: "A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something seperated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

    "Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Albert Einstien

    Brian I think you are right on that Terrance takes this tract as well. Terrance also feels that art and connectivity are major parts of the path. Perhaps our Bead Games are part of the process.

    -- Robert Cohen

    © 1998 CoreWave (tm)