The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence McKenna
AUTHOR: DENNIS MCKENNA
PRINT LENGTH: 508 PAGES
PUBLISHER: NORTH STAR PRESS OF ST. CLOUD
PUBLICATION DATE: JANUARY, 2013
Terence McKenna and his younger brother, Dennis, grew up in a small town in Western Colorado during the 1950s and turbulent ’60s. In 1971, they joined three other kindred spirits on a journey into the upper Amazon, a ragtag band they lightly dubbed the “Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.” They fully expected their quest for a legendary hallucinogen to change everything forever, which it did, though in ways they’d never imagined.
Over the following decades, the two brothers took different paths, but their fates and interests remained entwined. Once called “the intellectual’s Timothy Leary,” Terence emerged in the 1980s and ’90s as a radical philosopher, futurist, and raconteur. His “timewave theory,” an unorthodox model of history, has played a key role in the various prophecies surrounding the year 2012. Since Terence’s death in 2000, his unorthodox ideas on psychedelic consciousness and other issues have given him a sort of virtual second life. He continues to haunt the Internet, the witty and articulate prophet of an end time he didn’t live to see.
Dennis, by choice and inclination, remained in the background, pursuing a career in ethnopharmacology and neuroscience, investigating the same deep mysteries he and Terence had first been drawn to as kids. After Terence’s death, Dennis has lived to witness the dawn of an era that looks a lot like what his charismatic brother had foreseen—a new century as strange and disturbing, as full of hope and despair, as any that humanity has yet endured.Here, for the first time, Dennis gives his account of the ideas, adventures, and anguishes he and Terence shared—and some they didn’t. “Surely our lives were destined to be unique in many ways, as all lives are,” he writes. “And yet I’ve also realized how much Terence and I were the products of our age, our minds and dreams shaped by the cultural influences that touched so many.” This sweeping account will appeal to anyone interested in Terence McKenna, of course, but ultimately it is the story of two men, and two fates, that only Dennis McKenna could tell.
Click here to read an excerpt on Reality Sandwich.