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Summer of Love Sale: LSD & 1960s Counterculture

Summer of Love Sale: LSD & 1960s Counterculture

Albert HofmannSummer Love Sale and The 50th Anniversary of Woodstock

This year commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the legendary music festival Woodstock. Woodstock began in 1969, taking place in Bethel, New York. It was one of the world’s most iconic music festivals with an enormous attendance of over 400,00 people, bringing people together in times of great social turmoil. Formally known as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” it served as a testimony of music’s power to unite people, giving hope of a better future. 

In order to celebrate Woodstock and the revolutionary culture surrounding it, we are offering a ‘Summer Love Sale’ on Mystic Chemist which tells the story of the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD. The role of LSD and other mind-manifesting substances should not be overlooked in the 1960s countercultural revolution. 

Get Mystic Chemist half price with the coupon code: summerlove

San Francisco’s Human Be-In: The Birth of a Psychedelic Culture

Poster advertising the ‘Human Be-In’ designed by Stanley Mouse, and Michael Bowen using the photograph of artist Casey Sonnabend (via Wikicommons).

Woodstock alongside the revolutionary youth culture that it celebrated emanated from the rapid movement that developed in 1967, leading up to ‘the Summer of Love.’ 

San Francisco’s legendary Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park, January 1967, serving as a prelude to the Summer of Love. An estimated 20,000 people attended what was planned to be a small “gathering of the tribes” in order to protest the new California law banning the use of the psychoactive drug LSD. 

The Be-In represented the birth of ‘hippie’ culture with a generation of young adults finding themselves disillusioned by authority figures due to the Vietnam war, the recent assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the continued struggle for civil rights. The gathering cemented the foundational ideas of 1960s counterculture including: radical liberalism, the rejection of materialism, socio-political decentralization, communal living, and the idea that we could evolve consciousness by using psychoactive substances such as LSD.

The Be-In was attended by counterculture figureheads such as the beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg who unconsciously embodied the generational shift between the beatnik bohemians and the hippie generation. Timothy Leary (see below), famed LSD guru and ex-Harvard psychologist stood up amongst the crowds and encouraged young Americans to “turn on, tune in, drop out.”

 

The Summer of Love

As it turned out, the youth heeded Leary’s enticing call and by the summer of 1967 as many as 100,000 people had made their way down to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, inspired by the possibility of creating a new way of life. 

Throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, San Francisco and the Bay Area had attracted individuals searching for alternative lifestyles. Beatnik figures such as Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs lived in the city’s North Beach neighborhood. Their works helped to germinate the hippie movement, expressing contempt to 1950s America, rejecting materialism and encouraging spiritual, sexual and cognitive exploration. Thus, Haight-Ashbury which was already the home of several alternative communities became the epicenter for hippie culture.

The Be-In was an underground experiment which unwittingly inspired a spontaneous uprising of radical youth culture, the likes of which had never been seen before. Haight-Ashbury was no longer a quiet down-town neighborhood, its culture became infectious and mushroomed into the mainstream – The Summer of Love had begun. 

The Discovery of LSD 

Albert Hofmann first synthesized Lsysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) in 1938 whilst working for Sandoz laboratories researching compounds that would act as respiratory and circulatory stimulants. The psychoactive properties of LSD were not discovered until April 1943 when Hofmann decided to intentionally ingest the substance in a self-experiment to ascertain its effects. Read more about Hofmann, and the world’s first LSD trip.

LSD presented itself as a significant discovery in the fields of psychiatry and psychology as it was believed to have possible clinical applications. Initially it was thought of as a ‘psychotomimetic’ and believed to be capable of producing a model for psychosis. It was also researched for its potential to treat addiction and conversely encourage creative thinking. Reflecting upon the importance of LSD, Hofmann stated that:

“I knew immediately that this drug would have importance for psychiatry but, at that time, I would never have believed that this substance could be used in the drug scene, just for pleasure. For me, it was a deep and mystical experience and not just an everyday pleasurable one. I never had the idea that it could be used as a pleasure drug.”

Timothy Leary and the Rise of LSD 

Hofmann could never have anticipated how LSD was to escape the bounds of the laboratory, making its way into mainstream culture. For this reason he refered to LSD as his “problem child.”

LSD was largely popularised by the ex-Harvard psychologist, Timothy Leary who believed it to be an important tool in the exploration of consciousness, and a shortcut to spiritual enlightenment.

Timothy Leary

Leary, like most of the avatars of the early psychedelic movement, saw the value of psychedelics as deconditioning and deprogramming agents. Psychedelics allow users to “unhook the ambitions and symbolic drives and the mental connections which keep you addicted and tied to the immediate tribal game.” They break the trance of consensus culture. ─Daniel Pinchbeck, Breaking Open the Head

Leary was fired his position as an instructor on the Psychology Faculty at Harvard due to the controversy surrounding his research. No longer a lecturer, he began a campaign advocating the use of psychoactive drugs for personal development, often inviting friends and the occasional graduate student to participate in psychedelic sessions with him and his colleague Richard Alpert (Ram Dass).

Later, President Nixon deemed him as “the most dangerous man in America.” Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ demonized psychoactive substances, ruling out their possible medical value and making them illegal, causing research into LSD to come to a grinding halt.

To learn more about LSD, its history, and pivotal role in creating the 1960s counterculture, check out Mystic Chemist which we are offering  half-price!


Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSDMystic Chemist

By Dieter Hagenbach & Lucius Werthmüller

Mystic Chemist is the authoritative biography on arguably the most famous chemist of the 20th century. Authors Hagenbach and Werthmüller, close friends of Hofmann, take us on a journey through the 20th century from his mystical childhood experiences with nature; to his chemistry studies with Nobel Prize winner Paul Karrer in Zurich through his discoveries of both LSD and psilocybin at Sandoz; to his adventurous expeditions and his many years of retirement devoted to philosophy of nature and a rich social life. The authors also reveal a thorough and eventful history of the impact that LSD had on culture and the ensuing struggles between its advocates and opponents, many of which persist today.

Get Mystic Chemist paperback for only $20 with the coupon code: summerlove

Buy Mystic Chemist Here

 
Featured artwork from Brian Blommerth’s Bicycle Day 
In Memoriam, Dr. Ralph Metzner (1936-2019)

In Memoriam, Dr. Ralph Metzner (1936-2019)

Ralph in 1963, photographer unknown

In Loving Memory of the Visionary Ralph Metzner

Psychologist, writer, pioneer in the field of psychedelic and consciousness research, Dr. Ralph Metzner passed away peacefully in his sleep earlier this week, March 14, 2019. He was truly an asset to this planet and will be greatly missed by us all.

Ralph was always far beyond his time and will be remembered for histories to come. He traversed the boundaries of traditional psychology through the integration of shamanic techniques that alter consciousness, and enable us a deepened awareness of the human psyche. As a graduate student in the early 1960s, Ralph worked closely with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard research into psilocybin. Beyond research, in the 1970s Ralph’s focus shifted to the intensive study and practice of yoga, incorporating a meditative system of life-energy into his work. Furthermore, he was a brilliant author, and some of his books include: Searching for the Philosophers’ Stone; Encounters with Mystics, Scientists, and Healers, Ecology of Consciousness; The Alchemy of Personal, Collective, and Planetary Transformation, Birth of a Psychedelic Culture and many more.

A planetary steward, Ralph was the founder and president of the Green Earth Foundation which strove to harmonize human understanding with the planet that we live in. In 2014, Ralph was interviewed by Michael Gosney at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Conference in Oakland, California regarding his views on ecology for the Eco Evolution Podcast. This podcast examines the ecological crisis that we are living through, illuminating the fact that our relationship to the divine has been severed.

“The idea that the spiritual and the natural are opposed or that spirituality must always transcend nature is a culturally relative concept not shared by non-monotheistic religions or traditional societies. In indigenous cultures around the world the natural world is regarded as the realm of spirit and the sacred; the natural is the spiritual. From this follows an attitude of respect, a desire to maintain a balanced relationship…-in short, sustainability.” Ralph Metzner, “The Psychopathology of the Human-Nature Relationship,” 1995

Listen to the podcast in full here.

A Tribute to Our Beloved Friend

Dr. Ralph Metzner and publisher, Deborah Parrish Snyder, when she visited him in his home late November 2018.

“Our beloved Ralph Metzner, pioneer in consciousness research, left the planet early this morning. His friends agree, there is no person better prepared for death than Ralph. As he makes the ultimate transition, I say so long, friend, as you transcend, know how much wisdom you have left behind, and how we treasure you.” Deborah Parrish Snyder, Synergetic Press Publisher

Global treasure Ralph Metzner, one of those on whose shoulders our evolving consciousness stands, passed over today. A quickening in the force as his human wisdom and inspiring journey informs the broader Gaiamind.

As the relatively obscure member of the “Harvard Psychedelic Club” trio, unlike Leary and Alpert he kept pushing the envelope in the field of psychology all the way until his final days, studying, researching, teaching, evolving. He held the first major conference on Ayahuasca in San Francisco in 2002 (we produced the private after party at the Anon Salon space), and was the guide of the guides one might say, in fostering the neo-shamanic movement of psychedelic Work, a culture just now making its way out of the underground as psychedelic-assisted therapy emerges as a new legal paradigm of caregiving and life enrichment, and a new respect for the spiritual and healing powers of ayahuasca, fungi and other plant teacher/healers dawns. He was a thoughtful, very kind man, and from early on saw the need for awareness and care of our planetary body while we are taking our human journey, as expressed through his Green Earth Foundation and contributions to the Eco-Psychology movement. His newest book, just released, is a wonderful biographical account “Searching for the Philosophers’ Stone: Encounters with Mystics, Scientists, and Healers”. He explored and taught us about the passage of death, making his own transition all the more poignant. As is often the case with our visionaries, his work and life’s legacy will now be more widely recognized, and we hope received, by the mainstream.

May your path bring more light, love, and life to you dear friend. Thank you from all of us.” —Michael Gosney, Synergetic Press Associate Publisher

An Exploration into Other Worlds

In 2013, Ralph collaborated with us to commemorate the publication of The Mystic Chemist, in the Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, NM. In this talk, Ralph recounts personal stories of his extraordinary experiences into Other Worlds, whilst reflecting on the life of the late Albert Hoffman. 

Meditations on Mortality

After Ralph’s departure, it is comforting to have video footage from an interview taken for the revolutionary documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, exposing his thoughts on the nature of death. Being avidly involved with research into psychoactive substances, Ralph discusses the ability of these mind-manifesting substances to transform our conception of death, helping us to evaporate fear in the realization that we are not our bodies, and that there is ultimately “nothing to be afraid of.”

Ralph, you were truly an inspiration and a guide to all that met you, the world has yet to digest the lessons that you spent your life teaching. 

R.I.P. Ralph Metzner (1936-2019)

 

Ecology of Consciousness with Dr. Ralph Metzner

Ecology of Consciousness with Dr. Ralph Metzner

Recently, Synergetic Press publisher, Deborah Parrish Snyder, went to visit well-known counter-culture figure and pioneer in the field of consciousness studies, Dr. Ralph Metzner in Sonoma. There she found him continuing his prolific writing and received a copy of his latest book we would like to share with you here. 

Ecology of Consciousness: The Alchemy of Personal, Collective, and Planetary Transformation (Reveal Press | New Harbinger)

Dr. Metzner’s new book The Ecology of Consciousness presents a cartography of the mystified landscape of consciousness resulting from his lifetime of research into Eastern philosophy, mysticism, and shamanism. The book aims to approach questions surrounding consciousness that have danced before us throughout the centuries, by providing a comprehensive overview informed by a wide range of perspectives and traditions.

Spanning from ancient philosophies to New Age spirituality, the topic of consciousness has been the subject of much contemplation and debate, with The Ecology of Consciousness approaching the subject through the lens of psychospiritual and consciousness studies. The book’s purpose is to give you a more fully fledged understanding of consciousness, providing practical tools through which you can approach your spirituality, teaching age-old shamanic and alchemical traditions and how to connect them with the healing practices of today.

The Ecology of Consciousness

Praise for Ecology of Consciousness

John Allen reading The Ecology of Consciousness

“A truly marvelous, scientific transmission of the exploration of consciousness and objective alchemy (the chemistry of transformations of human understanding). This brilliant book should go on the most treasured shelf of one’s library. Ralph’s synergy of experience and experiments of transformation of understanding is unique, comprehensive, and precisely expressed.” — John Allen, Pioneer in Biosphere Science

“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

Other books of interest by Ralph Metzner

Birth of a Psychedelic Culture: Conversations about Leary, the Harvard Experiments, Millbrook and the Sixties, Ralph Metzner, Ram Dass and Gary Bravo

ram dass psychedelic cultureIt can be thought that no understanding of the history of the sixties could ever be complete without a grasp of the paradigm-shifting work of Leary, Alpert, and Metzner, the cultural resistance to their experiments, and the way in which psychoactive drug use became a part of contemporary society.

The book Birth of a Psychedelic Culture, constitutes a five-part conversational memoir between Dr. Ralph Metzner and Ram Dass, covering the five year period of 1960-65. It sets out to illuminate their Harvard experiments as well as the cultural context from which they emerged, featuring never seen before photographs and personal experiences of authors Ralph Metzner and Ram Dass, who vividly recall descriptions of particular “trips” as well as conversations with luminaries such as Aldous Huxley, Charles Mingus, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and others that appeared on the scene.

Birth of a Psychedelic Culture

About the Author

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. is a recognized pioneer in psychological, philosophical and cross-cultural studies of consciousness and its transformations. He is a psychotherapist and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. A recognized pioneer in studies of consciousness and its transformations, he collaborated with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) in the study of psychedelic drugs at Harvard University in the 1960s and coauthored The Psychedelic Experience. Metzner has authored, coauthored, and edited several books, including The Unfolding Self, The Well of Remembrance, Green Psychology, Maps of Consciousness, The Roots of War and Domination, Sacred Vine of Spirits: Ayahuasca, Allies for Awakening, and Birth of a Psychedelic Culture, among others.

John Perry Barlow R.I.P. (1947-2018)

John Perry Barlow R.I.P. (1947-2018)

City Lights book launch of Birth of a Psychedelic Culture: Conversations About Leary, the Harvard Experiments, Millbrook and the Sixties,  in 2009.  John Perry Barlow (seated left), Ralph Metzner, Peggy Hitchcock and Gary Bravo. Click on the photos below for some memories from that rare gathering in San Francisco’s iconic bookstore. Photo of JPBarlow at top by Joi Ito.

John Perry Barlow, Wyoming rancher, poet, philosopher and pioneer for Freedom of the Internet, passed away this month. His wit, wisdom and vision for a beautiful and just world for all people remains with us in his extensive archives of writings and speeches hosted at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization he co-founded and served on the Board until his death.

I had the distinct pleasure to know John Perry and experience his amazing energy and love of life. He had a way of telling a story like few people, with piercing perception and poetry. When last I saw him, we talked about how good it is to be sitting on the porch telling stories with family and friends, the best kind of communication there is.

He shares some tales from his adventures in the sixties in his introduction to Ram Dass and Ralph Metzner’s book, Birth of a Psychedelic Culture:

I sped around with a longing for the Spirit that seemed inaccessible until sometime in 1964 when I read about the “Good Friday experiment” in which, on Good Friday of 1962, Walter Pahnke, Tim Leary and the two battle-scarred saints of the Unnamable whose reminiscences you’re about to read, had given psilocybin to some divinity students in Boston University’s Marsh chapel and – mirabile dictu! – they fucking saw God or something like It. And all because somebody gave them a pill.

Like most people raised by hick kids in the mountains, I was a mystic without ever having heard the word. If I could have a direct experience of The Thing Itself, without all that regulatory obligation wrapped around it, I would become whole again. After that, I read everything I could find about mystico-mimetic chemicals: Gordon Wasson’s 1957 article for Life magazine about magic mushrooms, Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception, Bill Burroughs’s Yage Letters, etc. I wanted a piece of that communion wafer and so did a lot of other kids raised around the dreary wasteland of American piety.         (Click Here to Read John Perry’s Full Introduction)

John was a master communicator and we all benefit from the clarity of vision and direct action he and his colleagues at EFF have taken since the early 90s to insure basic freedoms for information and the internet remain. Thank you, EFF!  Here is a link to John Perry Barlow’s Archive and more information on EFF.

You were truly a natural born mystic, John.

R.I.P. John Perry Barlow (1947-2018)

Deborah Parrish Snyder, Publisher, Synergetic Press

Raising Earth Consciousness at the Synergetic Symposium and Salon

Raising Earth Consciousness at the Synergetic Symposium and Salon

Written by Michael Gosney

 

Here’s a report from our last symposium. New events coming in London and NYC this November, details found on this link: https://www.synergeticpress.com/understanding-ayahuasca-indigenous-origins-neo-shamanism/

On Wednesday April 6, 2016 a Synergetic Symposium and Salon was held at Synergia Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This symposium and salon marked the first in a series of events with the goal of raising Earth Consciousness. One hundred and fifty people attended this high-frequency gathering entitled “Earth Consciousness and the Lore of the Amazon – Conversations on Ayahuasca, Ethnomedicine and the Biospheric Imperative.”

The crowd gathered in the geodesic dome at Synergia Ranch

The primary inspiration for the event was the forthcoming July release of the Ayahuasca Reader, but it also served as the launch of the Synergetic Press Earth Consciousness Campaign and seemed to be the perfect timing to bring together leaders on the cutting edge of psychedelic research in this year of rapid evolution. The event, featuring a 4 hour symposium, a gourmet dinner, and an evening Salon and dance party, was a resounding success. Video of the presentations will be available at synergeticpress.com.

The Symposium featured Dennis McKenna, providing an overview of the 45 year history and his journey of discovery with ayahuasca; Rick Doblin, presenting the new era of entheogenic/psychedelic-assisted therapy and the cutting edge research underway with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); and Ralph Metzner providing a framework for understanding the process of shamanic use of psychedelics and consciousness expansion, along with an addendum to his talk on the importance of activism on both the drug decriminalization and environmental frontiers. The Symposium concluded with a panel discussion and Q&A with the presenters and moderator George Greer.

(Left to Right) Allan Badiner, Gay Dillingham, Valerie Plame Wilson, Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Michael Garfield

After dinner in separate Synergia Ranch buildings, guests returned the dome for the evening Salon portion of the event. Kicking off the evening was the Earth Consciousness Roundtable moderated by Zig Zag Zen editor Allan Badiner, with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, author and ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, filmmaker Gay Dillingham (Dying to Know), and musician/artist Michael Garfield. The discussion touched on the broader aspects of raising Earth Consciousness, including biospheric science and social and political opportunities and challenges as well as further examination of the applications of plant teachers and synthetic compounds for therapy, personal growth and transformational work.

A “biospheric poetry” reading by John Dolphin Allen with Robert “Rio” Hahn providing visuals, provided the transition to the evening’s entertainment, starting with a dance performance by the Daughters of Lilith followed by musician Michael Garfield and DJs offering attendees a chance to dance with the incredible energy of the day.

More Synergetic Symposium Salons will follow, as well as the launch of the Earth Consciousness Campaign. This multi-level initiative will not only promote the release of the Ayahuasca Reader, but also widely disseminate essential information from the book and the work of its multiple contributors, who are in fact the world’s leading authorities on the subject. In addition, informing people and groups about the eco-evolutionary side of the equation, which means human stewardship vs. destruction of the biosphere. Indigenous wisdom/eco-psychology + biospheric science/sustainability solutions = Earth Consciousness. 

In conjunction with the Synergetic Symposium and Salon, Santa Fe Radio Café host Mary Charlotte welcomed several of the contributors to the salon to her show to deepen the discussion in raising Earth Consciousness. You can listen to the episodes below.

Don Lattin, Allan Badiner and Ralph Metzner

April 15, 2016

Allan Badiner activist and writer, contributing editor to Tricycle Magazine, editor of the new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, published by Synergetic Press, on the board of the CBD Project
Ralph Metzner Psychologist, writer, founder of the Green Earth Foundation, author of many books, including Allies for Awakening and Green Psychology
Don Lattin Author and journalist; his books include Distilled Spirits, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, and his forthcoming books is titled, Changing Our Minds: The Reemergence of Psychedelics for Mental Health and Spiritual Growth.

Ralph Metzner, Don Lattin, Allan Badiner interview by Mary-Charlotte for Santa Fe Radio Cafe

ksfrgreerApril 11, 2016

Dr. George Greer conducted over 100 therapeutic sessions with MDMA for 80 individuals from 1980 to 1985 with his psychiatric nurse wife, Requa Tolbert. Their review of this work remains the largest published study of the therapeutic use of MDMA. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Past President of the Psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. He is Co-Founder and Medical Director the Medical Director of the Heffter Research Institute since 1998.

Mary-Charlotte interviews George Greer, Santa Fe Radio Cafe

ksfrmckApril 11, 2016

Dr. Dennis McKenna is an American ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, lecturer and author. He is the brother of well-known psychedelics proponent Terence McKenna and is a founding board member and the director of ethnopharmacology at the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization concerned with the investigation of the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic medicines.

Mary Charlotte Interviews Dennis McKenna, Santa Fe Radio Cafe

ksfrdobApril 7, 2016

Dr. Rick Doblin is founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a twenty-five-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment. He wrote his doctoral dissertation (in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.

Mary Charlotte interviews Rick Doblin, Santa Fe Radio Cafe

Sign up for our newsletter at synergeticpress.com to find out about upcoming events in this exciting series and for more news on Earth Consciousness.

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