Talk by Eben Alexander, MD On His Six-day Return Journey Beyond Death

This is a link to a one and a half hour lecture by Eben Alexander, MD, called “A Neurosurgeon’s Journey through the Afterlife.”  Dr. Alexander’s book, Proof of Heaven, on which his talk is based, has become an international best-seller.

He describes with great lucidity an out-of-body trip that lasted six days in real time, in which he was essentially brain-dead, having contracted a deadly virus that put him in a coma. However, contrary to medical and familial expectations, he returned to full consciousness, and has been describing, with great lucidity and passion, his journeys into the spiritual realms beyond death.

This book represents a major paradigm breakthrough toward the re-unification of the scientific worldview with ancient recognized truths of life beyond the veils of death.

Two great new books of psychedelic art and the work of H.R. Giger

giger stan Giger mapsThe work of the Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who died in 2014, occupies a unique place in 20th century art. His nightmarish, claustrophobic visions express some of the deepest recesses of the human psyche, both individual and collective. They have particularly drawn the attention of the pioneering psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who has provided uniquely profound elucidations of the monstrous destructiveness of the collective psyche of modernity.

These two magnificent art volumes contain numerous illustrations of Giger’s art, as well as that of other artists, and the commentaries by Stanislav Grof.

One volume, entitled HR Giger and the Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century is published by the Swiss publisher Nachtschatten Verlag.  It has mostly Giger’s art, but also some of the paintings from Grof’s patients in psychedelic, perinatal and holotropic therapy. It has the bilingual (German and English) texts of essays by Grof and a foreword by art historian Claudia Müller-Ebeling.

The other, even more recent volume is by Stanislav Grof, published by the MAPS organization and titled Modern Consciousness Research and the Understanding of Art, and includes an extended essay again on The Visionary World of H.R. Giger. Besides Giger’s art, the volume also includes magnificent full color illustrations of the visionary and surrealist art of Ernst Fuchs, Mati Klarwein, Roberto Venosa, Martina Hoffmann, Alex Grey, Android Jones and others. And Grof’s text include his comments on art and the unconscious as seen in the writings of Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, Erich Neumann and others, as well as the detailed correlations with the experiences in the perinatal matrices.

In my commentary on this work, on the book’s back cover, I wrote that “we marvel at the startling correlations between the healer’s insights and the artist’s visions. Both have given powerful expression to the apocalyptic violence and destructiveness seething beneath the surface of 20th century mass-mind mentality. In the recognition of these unconscious processes, there is great hope that humanity may find a way back to a saner and healthier balance.”

Q and A with Ralph Metzner at CIIS – On Cannabis Prohibition


Question from Audience: Isn’t the present movement toward the legalization of Marijuana, an expansion of consciousness, evidence of the Octave continuing in a positive direction?

Ralph: Well, the octave thing is just a model, you know, and there’s lots of different factors at work. The situation is extremely complex. The legalization, or the partial legalization of a substance. Cannabis is an amazing substance. An ancient ancient healing plant. Not only healing but with many other virtues of consciousness expansion. There’s appetite stimulation. Medical applications. Very very ancient. Very potentially beneficial plant — That’s been illegal for 50 years. Why? It’s potentially also fantastically a money producing crop, you know. All kinds of applications in clothing and manufacturing, quite apart from it’s mind expanding properties. And yet why is it still illegal and treated like a drug with all these dangerous consequences, that have been demonstrated to be false many times over. You see.

So that’s an interesting sociological historical question. Obviously, there are interests at work that want to keep it that way. Probably, I can just guess, and your guess is as good as mine, it has to do with MONEY. There’s enormous amounts of money to be made, both illegally, in the production of this crop, by all kinds of international groups, and by the military-industrial police enforcement complex, in the enforcement of the prohibition. Just like (the same as) with alcohol prohibition, which was small potatoes compared to marijuana.

So…and in amongst all of that: professional, positive, therapeutic, beneficial, physically and emotional, psychologically beneficial healing plants. Not to mention recreational. I mean, after all, what’s wrong with recreation? And as a recreational drug, way way more safe, more valuable, more interesting and safer than the most popular recreational drug, alcohol, which is a “blah.” Except in moderate doses.

Richard Wolff on the Greek and European Economic Crisis

Here’s the best analysis I’ve seen of the current economic catastrophe happening in Greece and the rest of Europe. It’s from Richard Wolff, an American economics professor and an avowed Marxist – one of the very few in the US. He does weekly radio commentaries on current economic events on KPFA, which are very insightful, and has two websites of his own:  and

Appropriately and necessarily, Wolff provides a Marxist historical perspective, situating the current Greek crisis in the history other economic crises in Europe over the 20th century, including how Germany was bailed out of total collapse after WWII, when the Western powers simply cancelled all its accumulated wartime debt – allowing it a fresh start, which was then lauded an “economic miracle”.

Alongside the Greeks, many other Europeans now grasp what awaits them too in the “unified Europe” that German leaders are constructing and using. Yet the Portuguese, Irish, Spanish, Italian and other poorer (relative to Germany and France) people want a differently unified Europe. With troubling historical echoes, German leaders once again seek to force a particular kind of capitalist unity onto Europe. The weapons this time are economic and political instead of military, but they too provoke
resistance. Europe risks severe divisions and disunity with serious ramifications for the world.

German capitalism in its way replicates the fundamental mistake of capitalists elsewhere. It does not know how or when to stop overstepping the limits of what the rest of society will endure and allow. No matter whether opposition comes from Greeks suffering absurd privations, from Germany’s only real opposition party, Die Linke, from Pope Francis or from rising questions and challenges of capitalism per se around the world, German capitalism pushes ahead oblivious. It ignores especially its own past lessons about recasting internal economic problems as the fault of other, lesser people who deserve harsh punishment. Europeans everywhere recoil, again, from German foreign economic policies and their modes of articulation. Their worries about the sort of European unity Germany’s economic dominance will yield are changing into opposition and resistance. Something ominous is underway, and the unfolding Greek tragedy-cum-resistance expresses it profoundly.

MindSpace and TimeStream – Understanding and Navigating Your States of Consciousness – Talk at IONS in Tuscon, October 2

Ralph_300I will be giving a presentation at IONS in Tuscon, on October 2, 2015.

Title: Understanding and Navigating Your States of Consciousness
Date: Friday, October 2, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Open to the Public
Suggested Donation: $5

Unity of Tucson, 3617 N. Camino Blanco off River between Swan & Craycroft

MindSpace and TimeStream – Understanding and Navigating Your States of Consciousness

Each state of consciousness that we experience, ranging from the familiar states of waking, sleeping, dreaming and meditating, to the expansive spiritual states of psychedelic explorers, meditators, mystics and mediums, has its own distinctly different mind-space and time-stream. We need to learn how to use expansive, positive states and intentionally focused states of concentration for spiritual growth, self-healing and creative expression.  And we need to learn how to navigate, with therapeutic and meditative help,  out of the contractive, unhealthy states of fear and rage, addictions and compulsions, into healthier, life-affirming states.

Bio statement:
Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. is a recognized pioneer in psychological, philosophical and cross-cultural studies of consciousness and its transformations. He collaborated with Leary and Alpert in classic studies of psychedelics at Harvard University in the 1960s, co-authored The Psychedelic Experience and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. He is a psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the California Institute
of Integral Studies, where he was also the Academic Dean for ten years in the 1980s. His books include The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, Green Psychology, The Expansion of Consciousness, Alchemical Divination and Mind Space and Time Stream. He co-authored, with Ram Dass, a memoir of the 1960s,  Birth of a Psychedelic Culture. He is the editor of two collections of essays on the pharmacology, anthropology and phenomenology of ayahuasca and of psilocybin mushrooms. He is also the president and co-founder of the Green Earth Foundation, dedicated to healing and harmonizing the relations between humanity and the Earth.

Website: Green Earth Foundation Website.

New Edition of “Zig Zag Zen” Just Published

zigzagzenI have a Chapter in the lavishly illustrated new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, which has just been published by Synergetic Press.

Zig Zag Zen contains an expanded display of stunning visionary artwork including new pieces from Alex Grey, Android Jones, Sukhi Barber, Ang Tsherin Sherpa, and Amanda Sage, as well as the work renowned modernists Robert Venosa, Mark Rothko, Robert Beer, Francesco Clemente, and others.

The book includes new essays on ayahuasca’s unique influence on Zen Buddhism, a recent interview with Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS, my essay  “New Look at the ‘Psychedelic Tibetan Book of the Dead,'” and a public dialogue on mixing dharma and psychedelics, with James Fadiman and Zen monk, Kokyo Henkel.

“Entheogens have entered Buddhism to stay; there can be no turning back from the point that has been reached. Nor can the issue any longer be swept under the rug. The facts that bear on the matter are contained in these pages, as are the leading theories that try to make sense of the facts. Compelling visionary art and vivid accounts of personal encounters lace the facts and theories together in ways that make for a gripping experience. This book will be a landmark for years to come.” – From the Preface by Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions.

Foreword by Stephen Batchelor  |  Preface by Huston Smith
Allan Badiner, Editor  |  Alex Grey, Art Editor

From a Review of Zig Zag Zen by “Harvard Psychedelic Club” Author Don Lattin:

The psychotherapist Ralph Metzner pens another one of this edition’s original essays: “A New Look at the Psychedelic Tibetan Book of the Dead.” He is the author (along with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert) of the influential 1964 book The Psychedelic Experience, a manual on how to take an LSD trip. Metzner, Leary, and Alpert based their tripping manual on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a self-styled English translation of texts popularized by the American Theosophist W.Y. Evans-Wentz, first published in 1927. Whether or not The Tibetan Book of the Dead reflects ideas that are authentically Tibetan or Buddhist, Metzner and his coauthors helped establish the idea that a psychedelic drug trip was another route to the mystical insights one could achieve—with much more work—through the discipline of Buddhist meditation.



Workshop on September 16th at California Institute of Integral Studies

Photo of Ralph Metzner with hand on chin

I’ll be putting on a workshop at the California Institute of Integral Studies in September.

When: September 16, Wednesday, 2015   

Time: 7pm

Where: Namaste Hall – 3rd Floor

California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 575-6100


“Ralph Metzner: A Celebration of His Recent Writings”

Join us as Dr. Ralph Metzner discusses his three new books published this year.

The first is Allies for Awakening – Guidelines for Productive and Safe Experiences with Entheogens, a distillation of his 50 years of experience in the international underground sub-culture of consciousness-expanding substances. It is also, he says, “my last book on drugs.” The second work is The Expansion of Consciousness, in a new edition with a revised essay on “Transformations of Collective Consciousness: An Octave of World History from 1945 to 2001.”  The third is Diving for Treasures, his first collection of poetry. Come celebrate the prolific and influential writings and work of one of the most prominent thinkers in consciousness studies.

Allies for Awakening_coverAllies for Awakening: Guidelines for Productive and Safe Experiences with Entheogens

ExpCon_CoverRev2015The Expansion of Consciousness – Revised Edition

diving for treasure_cover

Diving for Treasures


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