‘The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
Excerpt from "As I Walked Out One Evening"
-W. H. Auden
This line has always struck as as having psychedelic implications. McKenna said he initially thought it was about LSD, but that over time his understanding had grown and evolved.
Speaking of McKenna interpretations of known poetic works:
Below McKenna comments on W.B. Yeats "sailing to Byzantium" giving a rich entheogenic interpretation of the work:
In space, the physical space that surrounds the planet, the modalities of imagination will be the limiting cases of what man can be done. So I see, uh, man becoming an artist and an engineer. In other words, flowing into our ideas, perhaps more than we dare even now suspect. In other words, uh, a possible end state of that kind of technical evolution would be, uh, the interiorization of the body - the human body, the individual body - and the exteriorization of the soul. And, this seems to me to be what the recovery from Adam’s fall, uh, allegorically is getting at. That the soul must be made manifest and eternal and the body must be incorporealized so that it is a freely commanded object in the imagination.
And what I mean by that is something like what William Butler Yeats is getting at in his poem, 'Sailing to Byzantium', where he speaks of the artifice of eternity and talks about how, beyond death, he would hope to be an enameled golden bird singing sweet songs to the lords and ladies of Byzantium. In other words, it’s the image of the human body become an indestructible, cybernetic object and yet within that indestructible, cybernetic object, there is a holographic transform of the body and it is released into the dream. In other words, the after death state is actually the compass of human history, that we are attempting to undergo a complete death of the species. -terence McKenna
:the poem itself:
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Excerpt from "Sailing to Byzantium"
-W. B. Yeats
I have always taken a very psychedelic interpretation of the following lines of Edward Kelley's poem:
All you that faine philosophers would be,
And night and day in Geber's kitchen broyle,
Wasting the chips of ancient Hermes' Tree,
Weening to turn them to a precious oyle,
The more you work the more you loose and spoile;
To you, I say, how learned soever you be,
Go burne your Bookes and come and learn of me.
...as if it were saying "you are smart but walking in your sleep, set aside knowledge derived from your fellow man and come learn of the psychedelic"
While this may seem far fetched, when your deeply examine the work of Dee and Kelley it is incredibly shamanic and psychedelic in nature, and while there is no evidence that Dee or Kelley ever encountered psychedelics, the state's of mind which they were exploring were in the same territory.