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Machine Elves (also known as self transforming machine elves) is a term coined by the writer and philosopher Terence McKenna to describe the entities that he claims one becomes aware of after having taken tryptamine based psychedelic drugs such as DMT. According to McKenna, their constant dance creates the reality as we perceive it. By following their dance, one can stay in contact with the Logos, a subconscious world of spiritual and other information. A close similarity is the Hindu Dance of Shiva. Many people have claimed to have encountered such entities, and have described them as abstract beings existing in the universe created from human and animal mental space. The term "DMT Space" has also been used.
There are numerous references of such encounters that could be found in many cultures ranging from shamanic traditions of Native Americans to Indigenous Australians, to African tribes, to the modern day "urban shamanism" like Santeria and Vodoun and the "new breed". This is something that Timothy Leary used to describe the rising generation of urban shamans, who would, he claimed, augment the spiritual awareness of the modern world.
This concept may be related to a tendency for the brain to imagine living entities during certain altered states. The best example of this is the extremely common feeling of a living presence during sleep paralysis (which has been theorized as the origin of the succubus, as well as a common theme in many alien abduction stories). Another example would be the widespread experience of a "Salvia Goddess" encountered by users of Salvia Divinorum. However, Terence McKenna and Rick Strassman have both asserted the sense of reality of the experience is distinct from ordinary hallucinatory experiences, leading both researchers to speculate that perhaps the physics of many worlds is involved.
These entities are a common theme of psychedelic trance musicians like Shpongle. Space Tribe created a track (TIP Records, 1996) entitled "Machine Elf" containing a voice sample of Leonard Nimoy saying "Visual contact established. Requesting permission to land."
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