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Ecology of Consciousness


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About the Author

Ralph Metzner, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. He has authored and coauthored several books, including The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, Green Psychology, The Roots of War and Domination, Know Your Type, and Sacred Vine of Spirits. Learn more online at and


"Ecology of Consciousness is a fascinating compilation of Ralph Metzner's seminal writings exploring the inner and outer realms of human experience. Through his comprehensive and vibrant contributions, Metzner illuminates with vital insight and meticulous clarity the myriad paths and implications gleaned from the world's great myths, spiritual traditions, and contemporary psychedelic research. It is a uniquely personal expression from one of the modern era's most gifted and prolific pioneers of human consciousness, an offering of inestimable value to a time and culture challenged with survival and struggling to achieve its personal and collective destiny."
--Charles S. Grob, MD, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles; director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute; editor of Hallucinogens; and coeditor of Higher Wisdom
"Ecology of Consciousness is a remarkable anthology revealing Ralph Metzner's undeniable genius as he portrays the changing states of awareness, perception, and consciousness through cultural perspectives, politics, technology, psychedelics, and more. He illustrates a pathway to develop inner awakening through spiritual practices and mythological teachings, but most importantly by illuminating the journey of the human soul. Metzner stands as one of the great 'thought leaders' of our time. This compendium will be a treasure for consciousness-seeking generations to come."
--Jamy Faust, MA, and Peter Faust, MAc, coauthors of The Constellation Approach
"Ecology of Consciousness is an inspiring display of enormous erudition, by one of our culture's keenest observers of how our consciousness is integrated with our world and universe. This superb book is an antidote for the alienation, distrust, and fear that threaten our future existence as a viable species on Earth. This book is not only about healing, it is healing. For all our sakes and that of our descendants, it deserves universal readership."
--Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind
"A comprehensive synthesis from the life work of one of our true explorers of consciousness. There is theory, visionary understanding, and skillful practice to discover here."
--Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

"How we choose to conceptualize consciousness impacts everything about who we believe we are and how we act in the world. Embracing a radically empirical perspective, Ralph Metzner guides us through the distilled wisdom and practice of a lifetime spent in the deep study of consciousness, articulating ways to work with consciousness that have profound positive potential at both the individual and societal levels. As a neuroscientist interested in the study of consciousness, I find this book to be a deep breath of fresh air!"
--David Presti, PhD, teaching professor in the department of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience
"Not since Virgil showed Dante around Hell and Purgatory have we had as gifted a guide as Ralph Metzner help us comprehend and appreciate the major realms of consciousness. His blend of erudition, wisdom, common sense, and personal experience makes each approach he describes (from Alchemy to Buddhism, Agni Yoga through psychedelics, and more) inviting, understandable, and enlightening. In addition, the practices he presents to open these many gates make this not only an illuminating book, but give each of us a way to investigate, experience, and ultimately decide for ourselves our own best path or paths. The book fulfills Metzner's intention, 'to awaken spiritual intelligence and bring about a deeper connection with our essential nature.'"
--James Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide
"Ralph Metzner has been thinking creatively about the mysteries of human consciousness since the dawn of the psychedelic sixties. This thought-provoking, cross-cultural anthology covers half a century of exploration into the human potential and political ramifications of what can happen when we radically change our minds."
--Don Lattin, author of The Harvard Psychedelic Club
"Ralph Metzner, in Ecology of Consciousness, opens up the pathways to expanded individual and collective awareness. His amazing work represents over a half century of sensitivity, practice, and deep understanding of what it means to be fully human. Metzner explores the unlimited possibilities of life-path self-actualization and metaphysical maturity without imposing prescriptions. His work gives empowerment to individual freedom of choice for personal consciousness, social justice, and connection with the divine."
--Peter Phillips, PhD, professor of sociology at Sonoma State University, and coauthor/editor of many of the Project Censored yearbooks

"Ralph Metzner's Ecology of Consciousness marries the scientific and the spiritual in a mutually beneficial relationship that gives birth to an expansion of human consciousness and inspires us to restore, preserve, and protect life on Earth. He recognizes the Earth as the Black Goddess, the Generative Mother, who provides the material substances of science, and the spiritual inspiration at the heart of mythology, divination, shamanism, and the ritual arts, present in all cultures since the beginning of time. He applies a medicine to the Great Wound of Western Civilization--that is, Post-Inquisition Spiritual Trauma that has stripped us of our divinity, polluted our imagination, and threatens to lead us down a path to annihilation. He rescues Nordic mythology from the ravishments of Nazi interpretation and perversion, makes it embraceable, and recovers its shamanic origins and natural uses."
--Luisah Teish, author of Jambalaya, and coauthor of On Holy Ground
"This work is a masterful presentation of the awareness and attention necessary to move humanity out of its anthropocentric, subject-object orientation, toward a holomorphic, embodied way of knowing. Holomorphic wisdom is embedded in our evolutionary soul, and with it arises a new consciousness able to create a new human--Eco sapiens. The book is a primer for inner as well as group leadership."
--Philip Snow Gang, PhD, author of Rethinking Education, historian, and founder of The Institute for Educational Studies

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