Perspectives On The Current Global Crisis – A conversation with Ralph Metzner

Ralph latestIn this conversation with journalist Will Shonbrun, we first discuss at some length the current global crisis, in light of my writing in the revised edition of The Expansion of Consciousness.

We then discuss the most promising current research and application projects involving psychedelic drugs. The interview has been published on the website of Project Censored, founded by Peter Phillips.

Heart Medicine: A True Love Story – One Couple’s Quest for the Sacred Iboga Medicine & the Cure for Addiction

heartmedicine

By Elizabeth Bast.

Drug addiction is notoriously difficult to cure or even treat. Relapse rates are discouragingly high, as are mortality rates. Since all the addictive drugs are also illegal and possession can result in incarceration – the cards are stacked against addiction therapy. Into this toxic psychosocial mix comes the legendary central African plant root Tabernanthe iboga or its semi-synthetic derivative ibogaine, a powerful entheogen used in healing and initiation ceremonies in the Bwiti  cult. Uniquely among other psychedelic plants or substances, ibogaine has the capacity to actually block addictive cravings for long enough to permit an addict to re-establish a healthy connection with the core of their being – given appropriate guidance and support.  In the past twenty years or so, a number of healing centers offering ibogaine therapy for addiction have been established in  countries outside the US. What a karmic paradox: a potential cure for the addictions plaguing the urban West comes out of former slave colony states in central Africa!

Elizabeth Bast is a yoga teacher, temple dancer ritual performance artist and hierodule. Her partner Chor Boogie is a spray-paint artist whose brilliantly colored murals adorn public spaces in several continents. During their relationship he relapsed into a drug addiction he had left ten years before, coming close to death.  The couple went on a healing quest and found themselves in an iboga addiction treatment center in Costa Rica with a 10th generation Bwiti shaman from Gabon.  Both went through intense cleansing and truth-telling rituals, releasing deep pockets of shame, guilt and self-deception. This book tells their unique and inspiring story – a healing story for our troubled time – a story of courage, vision, truth and deep love. Available on Amazon.

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.”

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.

 

 

New Book of Poetry: Diving For Treasures

diving for treasure_cover

Diving For Treasures

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.

Paperback book $15 signed by the author Add to Cart

These poems were written over a period of about 30 years, in the course of my travels in America and Europe, teaching courses and workshops in consciousness expansion, meditation, psychedelics, shamanism, alchemy and emerging new worldviews.

Some of these poems were recorded on a spoken voice CD called Spirit Soundings with sonic and musical accompaniment by Kit Walker and friends. The Song of the Pearl is my adaptation of a 5th century Gnostic hymn describing the soul’s journey from incarnation, through birth and growth, and ultimate return to the origin.

Epilog I: Gnostic Themes in The Song of the Pearl
Epilog II: The Road to Language
Epilog III: A Riddle with Six Answers

New Book! Allies for Awakening – Guidelines for Productive and Safe Experiences with Entheogens

Allies for Awakening_cover“Entheogenesis” means “the growing realization that we human beings and the world around us are much more than simply material organisms living and evolving on a material planetary body.” We are multi-dimensional spiritual, cosmic, noetic, psychic and physical beings.

This monograph is based on my 50 years of experience as a participant-observer in the international underground sub-culture involved with entheogenic, consciousness-expanding substances. My intent is not to prove or promote any particular method or treatment of any condition, but rather to discuss the uses and values of “entheogenic” substances, when the explicit intention or purpose is for spiritual awakening, psychotherapy, healing, increased understanding and the enhancement of creativity.  Buy a signed copy here.

The evaluation of entheogens needs to be in terms of how productive these experiences are of healthier approaches to the issues of living in these times, in this world. The central insight that emerges from entheogenic states and is confirmed by the perennial spiritual traditions of East and West, is that at every level, from macro-cosmic to micro-cosmic, from atoms and animals, to trees and planets and stars, Spirit dwells within created forms and expresses through them.

Table of Contents:

Introduction

One: Intention and Preparation
Psychotherapeutic individual sessions in a medical clinic
Growth-oriented sessions in a non-medical group context
Peyote ceremony of the Native American Church
The Peyote Way Church of God
Traditional mushroom ceremonies of the Mazatec Indians
Amazonian mestizo ayahuasca ceremonies
Brazilian religious ceremonies with ayahuasca

Elements of hybrid entheogenic group ceremonies
1. The circle structure
2. The invocation of spirits
3. Articulating and clarifying intentions or questions
4. Ceremonial altar or table. Amulets and talismans
5. The role of prayer, mantra and mudra
6. Chanting, singing and music
7. The council format and talking stick practice
8. The role of the elder, leader or guide
9. Egalitarian group structure with rotating leadership

Two: Spirit Medicine Practices
Effective and dissociative/dysphoric dosage levels
Individual factors affecting intensity of experience
LSD
Mescaline
Peyote and San Pedro cactus
Ibogaine and Tabernanthe iboga
Psilocybe mushrooms and psilocybin
Ayahuasca or yaje
Jurema and Mimosa tenuiflora
A note on neurotransmitters
Selected psychoactive tryptamines
Selected psychoactive phenethylamines
Ketamine
Salvia divinorum, “Sage of the Diviners”
Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica

Three: Precautions and Safety
Confidentiality
Pre-existing conditions and contra-indications
Emergencies requiring outside interventions
Sexuality and entheogens
Menstruation and the use of entheogens
The problem of over-idealization and grandiosity

Four: Closing Ceremony and Integration
Closing the circle and giving thanks
Integration and the telling of stories
Celebration
The place of entheogens in ongoing practice

References
Epilogue
Four Elements Medicine Wheel Prayer
Invocation of All the Spirtts of Great Nature
Giving Thanks to the Four Great Planetary Spirits