Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Anokhi Mushroom" -- did Dick know that Anokhi means "I"?

Aharon Varady, on the Facebook group, pointed out that "Anokhi" means "I" in Biblical Hebrew. Here's the bit in Transmigration of Timothy Archer

"Apparently the anokhi mushroom was toxic but the Zadokites found a way to detoxify it, at least somewhat, enough so it didn't kill them. It made them hallucinate."
page 83

I don't know if Dick was aware that Anokhi means "I" in Hebrew. He got deep into the Bible in English, but I haven't seen much to indicate that he was much interested in learning biblical languages. "Anokhi" seems to have become one of the many special jargon terms PKD adopted based on a superficial acquaintance with the (already kinda weird) research. I haven't looked closely enough at Dick's sources like the Allegro book, or the evidence about James Pike's beliefs. But those would be good places to look to understand this problem better.


  1. On page 74 in the edition you use, Timothy Archer says: 'the term “anokhi” itself refers to the Pure Self-Awareness.’ So, if Dick understood 'Pure Self-Awareness' to mean (or to refer to) 'I' - which he would have done - he would, surely, have known - or at least thought - that 'anokhi' means 'I'.

    1. Yep, there you go... that was my understanding: PURE self-awareness or WHAT IS. Not necessarily "I" (well I guess big I ;) We're all God, right?

  2. Well, not to blatantly promote my novel, but the whole Anokhi concept played a really important role -- IN FACT, I would say CENTRAL concept -- in my story. In all the reviews of AKS (A Kindred Spirit) I don't think anyone commented on that aspect of it. No one really tried to solve the papyrus on the back cover, and all that was tied together. I was most intrigued by the Gnostic, mystic, "things left unsaid" aspect of PKD and Pike. The Anokhi and Zadokite thread sparked my interest in writing the novel in the first place.

    I was shocked that in LRC's (our friend Dave's) analysis of tToTA (PKD's novel about Pike) he thought Phil had made up everything about about the Zadokite's. NOT TRUE. I used the same material you reference (the Allegro book and another that I've now forgotten title/author) in research for my novel. What I haven't finished (she says shamefully) is the tome that is the Exegesis. I wonder what all he says about Anokhi and such there.

    -- ej "jami" Morgan, author of A Kindred Spirit

  3. Pretty sure he dug into ancient etymology to satisfy his curiosity sometimes. Here is a section from notes I took from his correspondence with Claudia Krenz Bush:

    The Brit 3 says, I read in the article "Jesus Christ, His Message" in the macro, that it shouldn't read "Kingdom of God," it should read Kingship; that is, a transformation in which we don't go anywhere else, but God somehow assumes a different role than he assumes now."

    Jesus spoke of a coming "Kingship of God" which, He said, "Is among you/around you/within you." It could arrive at any time. When it arrives, many men, most men, won't know. Since God created this world in the first place, the angle of error may be slight, and the percentage which He must remove and change may be relatively small. Is all this world, every thing and creature and idea and object in it, objectionable to God and a produce of the Adversary? Obviously not. Suppose there were a subtle seizing of power, behind the scenes as it were, by the Rightful King. He would retain the present order by and large, disturb as little of it as possible, act in an economical way to take control. We might only sense that some oppressive power had departed; some burden and fear had lifted."

    Plenty more goodness in there.

  4. He definitely did, as far as I understood. At points in all three of the valis trilogy books he demonstrates that I is god anohki... Yhvh means I am as well. He knew this as well

  5. In the book, which I am currently reading (And that's how I got to this page) Dick mentions that anokhi means 'I' in English, the characters try to figure out what anokhi meant in ancient scrolls that mentioned eating and drinking anokhi, and different evidence mentioned in the book lead to the hypothesis it was a poisonous hallucinogenic mushroom they cooked and made a tea out of as part of a ritual.