Art by Tom Swanson

Dennis McKenna on Ayahuasca: Part 1

Ayahuasca, a visionary brew originally found in the Amazon, is a subject of interest to a growing number of people around the world.  I was able to spend some time talking with Dennis McKenna about it recently.  Dennis is a PhD and Assistant Professor at the Center for Spirituality and Healing in the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota.  He’s the author of the book ‘Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss‘ a memoir which chronicles life with his brother, pioneering psychedelic author and lecturer, Terence McKenna. Dennis did his PhD thesis on ayahuasca in 1984 – long before the drink became known to popular culture and has a long resume of research and speaking engagements. The brothers were the first, or among the first, to bring ayahuasca to Hawaii and establish it.  Hawaii has since become an epicenter for the brew’s production.  The writing and research of both brothers is more pertinent than ever; in my opinion both brothers were ahead of their time and the world is just catching up to what they were onto for decades.  April 3rd, 2015 marks the 15 year anniversary of Terence’s passing and I noted that there seemed to be more info and remembrance of him on the internet than ever.

This is the first in a small series of videos; the video quality was not up to par so I’ve chosen to use stock images to go with the audio.  Apologies to all for the rough editing of both video and audio…   It’s not what Dennis deserves but he was cool enough to do a rootsy interview nonetheless…


Check out the Heffter Research Institute also to see what Dennis is up to.  Here’s a copy/paste of their mission: The Heffter Research Institute promotes research of the highest scientific quality with the classical hallucinogens and related compounds (sometimes called psychedelics) in order to contribute to a greater understanding of the mind leading to the improvement of the human condition, and to alleviate suffering.

The Heffter Research Institute was incorporated in New Mexico in 1993 as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Institute is named after Dr. Arthur Heffter, a turn-of-the century German research pharmacologist, who was the first scientist to study, systematically, a naturally-occurring hallucinogen, publishing his work in 1897.


You can find more about The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss at the book’s site:

Kindle Ebooks and soft-cover books are available here: The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss

And Barnes and Noble Nook Format is here: The Brotherhood of Screaming Abyss

Thanks go to Dennis for the interview and to you who check it out.  You can follow on social media for updates of current content and more: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Comments are welcome on this page but will be screened to weed out spam and will take time to appear.


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