He was called the “Timothy Leary of the 90s“, one of the leading authorities on the ontological foundations of shamanism”, and the “intellectual voice of rave culture”. He also formulated a concept about the nature of time based on fractal patterns.
Terence McKenna advocated the exploration of altered states of mind via the ingestion of naturally occurring psychedelic substances. For example, and in particular, as facilitated by the ingestion of high doses of psychedelic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and DMT, which he believed was the apotheosis of the psychedelic experience. However he was less enthralled with the synthetic drugs stating that “I think drugs should come from the natural world and be use-tested by shamanically orientated cultures…one cannot predict the long-term effects of a drug produced in a lab”.
McKenna spoke of hallucinations while on DMT in which he claims to have met intelligent entities he described as “self-transforming machine elves”.
So I did it and…there was a something, like a flower, like a chrysanthemum in orange and yellow that was sort of spinning, spinning, and then it was like I was pushed from behind and I fell through the chrysanthemum into another place that didn’t seem like a state of mind, it seemed like another place. And what was going on in this place aside from the tastefully soffited indirect lighting, and the crawling geometric hallucinations along the domed walls, what was happening was that there were a lot of beings in there, what I call self-transforming machine elves. Sort of like jeweled basketballs all dribbling their way toward me. And if they’d had faces they would have been grinning, but they didn’t have faces. And they assured me that they loved me and they told me not to be amazed; not to give way to astonishment