Secret Drugs of Buddhism by Mike Crowley

Secret Drugs of Buddhism by Mike Crowley

Delving into the Secret Drugs of Buddhism

Did the Buddhists of the ancient world make use of shamanic plants and psychedelic sacraments in their sacred rituals? This is the broad topic that Buddhist lama and author, Michael Crowley, attempts to unfurl in his book Secret Drugs of Buddhism: Psychedelic Sacraments and the Origins of the Vajrayāna. Crowley’s book is the culmination of over forty years of research exploring the extensive historical evidence for the use of entheogenic plants within the Buddhist tradition.

It is often supposed that Buddhism is and has always been ‘drug-free’, and is rather something that is practiced entirely by one’s own efforts. This view of Buddhism can be thought to stem from the fact that Buddhism has largely taken root in global consciousness through the work of the exiled Tibetan leader and Buddhist teacher, H. H. The Dalai Lama. Nowadays, there is a common misconception that the Buddhism practiced in Tibet is representative of all Buddhism and that it is the default, normative version of Buddhist practice.  

However, the book focuses on an earlier form of Buddhism, known as Vajrayāna Buddhism. The Vajrayāna movement of Buddhism began in the 5th and 6th centuries AD. The scriptures of the Vajrayāna continually make reference to a sacrament called amrita, the term for ‘immortality’ in Sanskrit. The term amrita is significantly older than the Vajrayāna and was used within the ancient Indian scripture, the Rig Veda, (composed c. 2000 BC) as a synonym for soma, the divine intoxicant.

A Closer Look at the Vajrayāna

Drawing on scriptural sources, botany, pharmacology, and religious iconography, the book calls attention to the central role which psychedelics have played in Indian religions. It traces their history from the mysterious soma, venerated in the ancient Hindu scriptures, to amrita, the sacramental drink of the  Vajrayāna. Although the amrita used in modern Vajrayāna ceremonies lacks any psychoactivity, there is copious evidence that the amrita used by the earliest Vajrayāna practitioners was a potent entheogen.

A glance at the titles of Vajrayāna scriptures will find the word amrita again and again. Many Vajrayāna deities have amrita as part of their name and a liquid called amrita is frequently visualized in Vajrayāna meditations. Almost all the early teachers of the Vajrayāna are depicted holding skull-cups of amrita. Two “skull-cups” of amrita adorn Vajrayāna altars and a drink called amrita is consumed at all major Vajrayāna rituals. Hundreds of Vajrayāna deities are said to carry amrita in some form, whether in a skull-cup, vase, flask or bowl.

Consider, for example, the prominent meditation-deity Hevajra. He is usually described and depicted as having sixteen arms with every hand holding a skull-cup filled with amrita and in one of his several variants he and his tantric consort arise out of the amrita itself.

And yet, despite multiple references in Vajrayāna literature and near-ubiquitous depictions in Vajrayāna art, you may be forgiven for never having heard of amrita before. If you are, as I am myself, a practicing Vajrayānist, then you may have performed the Vajrasattva purification practice in which the body is (mentally) filled with amrita. But the actual nature of amrita, its origin and history, are rarely discussed, if at all. In fact, even a standard textbook which provides a detailed account of Vajrayāna Buddhism as practiced in India and Tibet has managed to overlook it entirely.

2nd Edition of Secret Drugs Coming Out Fall 2019

We are excited to announce that this upcoming Fall 2019 we are scheduled to publish the 2nd edition of Secret Drugs of Buddhism. Don’t miss out on our pre-order discount, and order your copy with us now!

Pre-order Secret Drugs of Buddhism

Interview on Adventures Through the Mind Podcast 

Learn more about Secret Drugs of Buddhism through this fascinating podcast interview with James W. Jesso, 2016. In this episode, Michael unpacks symbolism within the Vajrayāna tradition, examining the vast history of Buddhism, and retells the story of how the book came to be!


Upcoming Author Events

June 21st, 7:30-9:00 PM, An introductory explanation of Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayāna @ SF Dharma Collective

3 classes: Friday, June 21, July 5th, and August 2nd. The talks provide a basic outline for understanding the different philosophies, meditations, and practices of the three vehicles, as well as their historical context. Each of the three sessions will include a meditation session appropriate to the vehicle under discussion.

Want to know more? Check out the SF Dharma Collective’s Calendar.


More About Michael Crowley 

Michael Crowley was born February 26th, 1948 in Cardiff, Wales. He began studying Buddhism with a Tibetan lama in 1966, becoming an upasaka of the Kagyud lineage in 1970. In order to augment his Buddhist studies, he acquainted himself with Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese. Mike has lectured at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been published in Fortean Times, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK. In January 2016, Mike received the R. Gordon Wasson Award for outstanding contributions to the field of entheobotany. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Psychedelic Sangha, a group of psychedelically-inclined Buddhists, based in New York and he teaches at the Dharma Collective in San Francisco.


Praise for Secret Drugs of Buddhism 

Mike Crowley has manifested a delightful book on a topic rarely spoken of, and certainly never explored with such depth. With a combination of personal anecdotes, detailed historical research, and a large collection of traditional art, this book will encourage modern-day Buddhist yogis and mind-explorers to see their practice and its roots in a new way.  —Rev. Kokyo Henkel, Head Teacher, Santa Cruz Zen Center

Writing clearly, in the fashion of an investigative reporter, Mike Crowley unlocks the mystery of amrita, and answers, with previously unseen certainty, the question of whether or not psychedelics were part of historical Buddhist practice. Allan Badiner, Co-editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

Psychedelic drugs in ancient Buddhism? Believe it. Don’t believe it? Read this book. —Clark Heinrich, Author of Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy

Bicycle Day 2019 and the History of LSD

Bicycle Day 2019 and the History of LSD

From Mystic Chemist: “This portrait of Albert Hofmann by German artist Bernd Brummbär, was painted in homage ‘to the great biochemist, inventor of LSD and courageous pioneer of altered states of consciousness,’ 2007”

Celebrating Bicycle Day 2019

The celebration of ‘Bicycle Day’  does not commemorate the invention of our favorite two-wheeled vehicle, it serves as an homage to the day that Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first intentionally ingested Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (otherwise known as LSD) in a self-experiment to ascertain its effects.

What does that even have to do with bicycles? On April 19th, 1943, Hofmann ingested 250 micrograms of the substance, believing it to be a threshold dose of the drug (later he learned that a threshold dose was a mere 20 micrograms). About an hour after ingesting the drug, Hofmann began to feel its effects take hold, asking his laboratory assistant to escort him home that evening. However, due to wartime restrictions cars were prohibited; they had to travel home by bicycle. He later wrote: 

“I suddenly became strangely inebriated. The external world became changed as in a dream. Objects appeared to gain in relief; they assumed unusual dimensions; and colors became more glowing. Even self-perception and the sense of time were changed. When the eyes were closed, colored pictures flashed past in a quickly changing kaleidoscope. After a few hours, the not unpleasant inebriation, which had been experienced whilst I was fully conscious, disappeared. What had caused this condition?” Jonathan Ott, Albert Hofmann (1997) Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History

A Significant Discovery

Immediately, Hofmann became fascinated by LSD’s ability to induce changes in consciousness. Through his LSD experience, he gained a new view of reality, becoming aware of the wonder of creation and the miracle of the natural world. This new insight led to LSD being researched as an aid to perception within the fields psychiatry and psychology. LSD was investigated for its abilities to treat addictions such as alcoholism, as well as for its ability to facilitate creative thinking.

However, before long, research into this fascinating substance came to a halt. LSD had escaped the hands of the research community and fallen into those of popular culture causing an ideological revolution in the younger generation and giving birth to a psychedelic culture. The result was Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’, demonizing psychoactive substances, ruling out their possible medical value, and making them illegal.  

In recent years, we are seeing a renaissance in psychedelic research with studies consistently illuminating the therapeutic and transformative potentials of substances like LSD. A recent study by Imperial College revealed how LSD changes brain connectivity alongside research from the University of Zurich, demonstrating how LSD can have a therapeutic effect. 

To help you celebrate Hofmann’s legendary bicycle ride, we are offering 25% on

The Mystic Chemist, and all related titles. Browse related titles here.

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

mystic chemist albert hofmannBy 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.

Save 25% from now until April 30th with the coupon code: Bicycle2019

Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD, the most potent mind-expanding substance ever found, was an event of multiple synchronicities – it occurred in 1943 in Switzerland, a neutral country, within months of the building of the atomic bomb – as if it was to be a kind of psychospiritual healing antidote to mass death weapons. It occurred in a country with a centuries-long tradition of alchemy, the psychospiritual counterpoint to reductionist material science – and involved a previously unknown substance that could induce integrative expansions of awareness with profound implications for healing, for creative problem-solving, and for cosmological understanding. Albert Hofmann had the scientific and spiritual insight to recognize the enormous significance of his discovery and spent the rest of his long life exploring it with an ever-widening international circle of fellow scientists, artists, and visionary explorers. The authors of this biography have done a marvelous job of pulling together documentation and commentary, not only about Hofmann and LSD but also the socio-cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s, during which LSD and all mind-expanding drugs played an enormous role – and were made illegal. The story of LSD and its potential role in society is however far from over, as Hofmann himself also thought. Please read this book and stay tuned.ーRalph Metzner PhD

Albert Hofmann & the History of LSD

 

Celebrate Bicycle Day at San Francisco’s Midway

Presented by Euphonic Conceptions & The Legion Of BloomSan Francisco’s April Bicycle Day Celebration is not only a concert, but a petri dish of creativity, inspiration, and sensory stimulation. World-renowned visionary artists doing live painting, an immersive art gallery and exhilarating performances all play a large role in this annual festivity that is always packed to the brim with heart-opening experiences.

The event will feature: The Polish Ambassador (LIVE), Slow Magic, Rob Garza(of Thievery Corporation), BluetechWyatt Marshall (Dirtybird / Desert Hearts), MiHKALEl PapachangoDISSØLV, Evan Casey (Desert Hearts), Justin Campbell (Desert Hearts).

There will be LIVE VISUAL ART by Android Jones with Art Gallery by Tribe13 Gallery, an ever-growing collective of artists who share a passion for transformative expression.

Interested in learning more about the event? Delve deeper, and buy tickets here, or go to the event’s Facebook page. 

“Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs” eBook Now Available

“Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs” eBook Now Available

Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs eBook Newly Available

For those who like to save paper, keep things minimal, or merely have their research library on easy tabs, we are excited to announce that the Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs (ESDP50) Volume 2: Proceedings of the 2017 conference held in Tyringham Hall, UK, is now available in eBook format!

 

McKenna’s Milestone Publication

The milestone publication, ESPD50, emerged as the brainchild of Dennis McKenna. McKenna, having attained a copy of the original publication from the 1967 conference, found himself inspired to shape his career in light of the book, delving into a lifelong investigation of the pharmacology of traditional medicinal plants.

“The realization that real science was being pursued in this field was a revelation to me, partly because it opened the possibility that one day I, too, might be able to achieve a place in this exclusive fellowship. At first, I thought I would be able to prove to my parents that I was serious about psychedelics and not just a confused hippie in search of cheap thrills, but they were not very reassured. However, over the years, they came to recognize the merits of my chosen career.”Dennis McKenna, The Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs: Reflections on a Book that Changed My Life.’

The first international gathering of researchers held on this subject was in 1967. It was an interdisciplinary group of specialists gathered in one place to share their findings on a topic that was gaining widespread interest: The use of psychoactive plants in indigenous societies. It was intended that follow-up conferences should be held about every 10 years. However, the War on Drugs soon limited any advances in this field of research, putting a prohibitive ban on psychoactive drugs, denying their medicinal value altogether.

 

The Future of Medicine

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of research into the medicinal and therapeutic properties of psychoactive substances. In spite of their prohibitive ban, researchers persevered. With their substantial discoveries and findings helping to reverse public opinion and reestablish the medical legitimacy of certain substances.

In June 2017, a group of interdisciplinary researchers from around the world convened to review their research and findings together in what was known as the second Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs Symposium. The papers given at the 2017 Symposium, organized by Dr. Dennis McKenna, have been collected and curated into what is now known as the ESPD50, representing the most significant body of knowledge in this field available.

 

McKenna Speaks at ESPD50 Conference

 

 

Interested in ESPD50, but find the science hard to digest? Make your reading interactive by watching the video lectures of individual authors presenting their research papers at the 2017 Symposium here

Check out Dennis McKenna’s recent interview on the Future Fossils Podcast with Michael Garfield, where they discuss the applications of psychoactive substances as tools for scientific investigation.

What Reviewers Had to Say:

For decades, the keepers of the psychedelic therapy and ethnobotany flames have guarded and passed along rare copies of the published proceedings of this January 28–30, 1967 conference at UC San Francisco, which were released later that year as “Public Health Service Publication No. 1645” and briefly sold for $4 by the U.S. Government Printing Office.

This month, the historic research papers from that mostly forgotten conference, along with the proceedings of a symposium held in England last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the San Francisco gathering, have been published by Synergetic Press in a beautifully boxed, two-volume hardcover edition. 

Don Lattin, award-winning journalist & author of Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy

Much of their discussion centers around the indigenous peoples of the world who have utilized these miraculous psychedelic fungi and plants (even the skin secretions of frogs and toads) in their cultures and religions. Of course, what’s most exciting is the potential for additional therapeutic discoveries, once the substances are better understood. 

Matt Sutherland, Foreword Reviews

Synergetic Symposium & Salon with METZNER, MCKENNA AND DOBLIN

Synergetic Symposium & Salon with METZNER, MCKENNA AND DOBLIN

This year we are organizing a series of events to deepen our conversation with pioneers and visionaries working in an array of fields of study about the world around us and within us. Our first event is in Santa Fe is next month, details are below. Future events will be held in San Francisco and London.

01SP-home-slider-EventSOLD OUT!  We will prepare webcasts of the presentations in the near future for those who missed this event. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive notice of when they will be available.

SYNERGETIC SYMPOSIUM & SALON

on Earth Consciousness & Lore of the Amazon

Conversations on Ayahuasca, Ethnomedicine, and the Biospheric Imperative with

RALPH METZNER • DENNIS MCKENNA • RICK DOBLIN • ALLAN BADINER • JOHN ALLEN • GEORGE GREER • VALERIE PLAME WILSON • GAY DILLINGHAM • MICHAEL GARFIELD

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
4:00 – 11:00 PM

Talks • Dinner • Visionary Art • Poetry • Music • Dancing

Synergia Ranch

Santa Fe, New Mexico

 [hr]

Program

Symposium 4:00 – 6:30 PM
Talks by Dennis McKenna, Rick Doblin and Ralph Metzner
Panel Moderated by George Greer
Dinner 7:00 – 8:00 PM (optional)
Salon 8:30 – 11:00 PM 
Earth Consciousness Roundtable with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Valerie Plame Wilson, Gay Dillingham and others (TBA), moderated by Allan Badiner
Poetry with John Dolphin Allen
Music & Visuals by Lightlab with DJ Goz and other TBA
Dance performance by the Daughters of Lillith
A time during the program will be made for introductions and brief presentations from local leaders of communities and groups engaged in Earth awareness, in raising consciousness, spiritual studies, and frontiers in developing frontiers in medical research with entheogens.
The Symposium & Salon are designed to share the wisdom and inspiration of our speakers and artists, to generate ideas and insights, and to nourish our vibrant local community.
Tickets:
• Symposium  $40
Dinner  $25
Salon  $20
• Package  $75

Your hosts, Deborah Parrish Snyder and Michael Gosney, are happy to answer any questions, or provide further information at
deborah at synergeticpress.com
About the Speakers and Moderators
RalphMetzner
Dr. Ralph Metzner is author of many books, practicing psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies including a book coauthored with Ram Dass, Birth of a Psychedelic Culture (Synergetic Press). Dr. Metzner has been involved in consciousness research for over fifty years, including psychedelics, yoga, meditation, and shamanism. He is co-founder and president of the Green Earth Foundation, a non-profit educational organization devoted to healing and harmonizing the relationship between humans and the Earth.
 [hr]dennis
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.

doblin
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.

Allan BadinerAllan Badiner is the editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (Synergetic Press), as well as two other books of collected essays, Dharma Gaia: A Harvest in Buddhism and Ecology (Parallax Press, 1991) and Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism (Parallax, 2002). Allan is a contributing editor of Tricycle, and serves on the board of directors of Rainforest Action Network, Threshold Foundation and Project CBD. He has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for more than 25 years.

john_allenJohn Dolphin Allen is author of Me and the Biospheres (Synergetic Press), poet, playwright who invented, conceived and co-founded the Biosphere 2 project – the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology. Biosphere 2 set a number of world records in closed life system work including, among others, degree of sealing tightness, 100% waste recycle and water recycle, and duration of human residence within a closed system (eight people for two years). Allen has also conceived and co-founded nine other projects around the world, pioneering in sustainable co-evolutionary development.

bioGreer
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 was also the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the New Mexico Corrections Department during the 1990s. He has been the Medical Director of the Heffter Research Institute since 1998.

Valerie Plame Wilson is a former career covert CIA operations officer who worked to protect America’s national security and prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Valerie sits on the boards of Global Data Security, a cyber security company that safeguards digital data, and Starling Trust, a predictive behavioral analytics company. She also serves on the nonprofit boards of the Ploughshares Fund, Global Zero, the Penn State School of International Affairs, the United Way of Santa Fe County, and Postpartum Support International. Valerie is affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute, a trans-disciplinary scientific think tank addressing the most compelling and complex problems in the world today.

dillingham_gayGay Dillingham is Co-Founder, former President and Chair of Earthstone International, LLC, an environmental IP company manufacturing recycled glass into an engineered “white foam glass.” Gay served as Chair of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board for six of eight years of her tenure and passed historic greenhouse gas regulations in 2010. Gay owns a production company, CNS Communications, and is an award-winning producer/director. Her latest film, Dying to Know, celebrates the unique friendship of Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, exploring their extraordinary lives and perspectives on death. She is executive director of the Livingry Foundation, served two years as board chair for the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers, and currently serves on the boards of Santa Fe Community College, New Voice of Business, and the World Security Institute.

Michael Garfield writes music for the head and heart – intelligent, emotional performances that captivate attentive audiences and reward repeated listening.  Alternately tender and apocalyptic, simultaneously chill and energetic, his intensely technical yet vulnerable music reimagines folk and psychedelic rock alike, updating “solo artist with guitar” to suit an age of existential wonder, cybernetic systems, and emerging planetary consciousness. Michael’s music has been featured in the award-winning PBS documentary series Arts in Context, as well as on numerous podcasts (including Expanding Mind and The Psychedelic Salon).  Passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration, he frequently co-improvises with fire dancers, aerialists, live painters, and visual projectionists. 


Synergetic Press is proud to support and collaborate with Rick Doblin and his team at The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) This membership-based non-profit research and educational organization has been working for three decades to develop medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. We are honored to introduce Rick to our community here in New Mexico at this event. Here are just a few of the ways MAPS is working —
MAPS supports research into the safety and effectiveness of ayahuasca-assisted treatment for drug addiction. They also support conferences, meetings, and publications about the scientific, therapeutic, sustainable, and spiritual uses of ayahuasca, and serve as non-profit fiscal sponsor for organizations that support these uses. They completed the first North American observational study of the safety and long-term effectiveness of ayahuasca treatment for addiction and dependence. The paper describing the results of the study was published in June 2013 which you can download by clicking here: Current Drug Abuse Reviews

MAPS Anniversary Event in Oakland and Psychedelic Dinner Salons

MAPS will celebrate it’s 30 year anniversary on April 17, 2016, Oakland, California. Addresses from leading psychedelic researchers, participants in MAPS-sponsored research, forward-thinking philanthropists, acclaimed visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey, and others. Keynote from MAPS Founder and Executive Director Rick Doblin, with a multimedia performance by  Android Jones and Phadroid, a visual musical performance by DJ Spooky. Tickets and information at: 30 Year Anniversary. More information on their series of Psychedelic Dinner Salons at Psychedelicdinners.org, a community outreach effort to support MAPS program of medical research with MDMA for treatment of PTSD.

 Forthcoming Titles

AYAHUASCA READER, Edited by Luis Eduardo Luna and Steven F. White, Second Edition (JUNE)
JOHN C. LILLY READER, Edited by Gerard T. Houghton and Craig Ingles
Making the Planetary Personal

Making the Planetary Personal

Dear Friends,
Reflecting on this next turn around the Sun and this auspicious moment in human and planetary history, brings to mind some of the key ideas that drive me and our work here at Synergetic Press:
  • We live in the ANTHROPOCENE: The Age when humans are recognized as the dominant geological force of the planet;
  • BIOSPHERICS is the interdisciplinary science essential to understanding planetary and cultural dynamics;
  • The NOOSPHERE, a sphere of intelligence around the planet that is emerging to determine our evolutionary future.
The concept of the noosphere was developed in the 1920s by Vladimir Vernadsky, Édouard Le Roy and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Nearly 100 years ago, in scientific, philosophical, and artistic circles people were discussing the idea of the noosphere, a world in which all of humanity become responsible stewards of the biosphere. I heard about the noosphere in 1984 when I was working at the Biosphere 2 project and published the first English translation of Vernadsky’s theory of the biosphere. Thirty years later, the noosphere has become an essential concept for understanding today’s ecological and culturological crises.

Humanity is undergoing a process of “planetization” becoming a truly global culture and entering a new era of the human journey.

        -Teilhard de Chardin

In the Guardian recently, David Suzuki applauded the landmark Paris agreement on climate change as an indication that “the Age of the Humans won’t necessarily lead to an age of destruction.” But, to change course, we humans must act swiftly and on a grand scale.
However, I’ve been exposed to countless BIG IDEAS about sustainability, consciousness … what practical changes have I made as a result? Christian Schwägerl’s book The Anthropocene, made me really question everything I think I need to live, what I throw away, and how. I began to examine each purchase and found ways to recycle as much as possible. Tony Juniper tells us in What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? that we produce enough food on the planet to feed everyone, but upwards to 50% of the food now produced is wasted. Staggered by this statistic, I have since paid close attention to what’s in the fridge, saving money and produce. Working on Zig Zag Zen with Allan Badiner and Alex Grey inspired me to reenergize my body and brain through meditation and seek to be more conscious of my actions and daily choices in life.
Every book Synergetic Press publishes contains ideas to help us understand how to be better to the planet, better to ourselves. The time is now to think, innovate, regenerate … make the planetary situation personal.
We have an exciting year ahead.
Deborah Parrish Snyder, Publisher

News & Events

Biosphere 2: World’s Largest Laboratory for Global Ecology Documentary Short on YouTube

Pioneer in biospherics and Synergetic Press author, John Allen, with Mark Nelson and other project co-founders and directors, talk about why they built the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology, Biosphere 2, and how eight people lived and worked inside it for two years (1991-1993) growing their food, recycling their air, water and wastes. This experiment, built to put Vernadsky’s theory of the biosphere into practice, defined many aspects of the metabolic connection between humans and the environment that sustains them, while greatly advancing the field of space habitat design. The project has been noted as the first experiment to examine the value of natural ecosystems services in this man-made world.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW


Photo of Christian Schwägerl and Tony Juniper by Jonathan Greet

The Anthropocene at the Royal Society of Arts and Royal Institution in London

The Anthropocene: The Human Era and How it Shares Our Planet, by award winning environmental journalist, Christian Schwägerl, was launched in London last Spring at the October Gallery, and joined by Tony Juniper in a talk on the subject at the Royal Society of the Arts. CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON THE RSA CHANNEL

And for a brilliant overview on the Anthropocene, see this talk at the Royal Institution in London with Leicester University professor, Jan Zalasiewicz and Christian, moderated by Robin McKie, scientific editor of the Observer. CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Vladimir Vernadsky’s Essays on Geochemistry and the Biosphere Now Available in EBook

Vladimir Vernadsky’s complete, unabridged Essays on Geochemistry and the Biosphere, his two seminal books in one. Translated from the Russian 1944 edition.

Read the Introduction by Alexander Yanshin, VP Emeritus, Russian Academy of Sciences for FREE.

Click Here


Dialogue About Buddhism, Psychedelics and Visionary Art in Santa Fe and London

In April we celebrated publication of the new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, edited by Allan Badiner and Alex Grey, with events in Santa Fe where editors Alex and Allan were joined by Rick Strassman and Allyson Grey for an engaging discusion of the topics.
In July, Zig Zag Zen released in London with events at Breaking Convention conference and legendary Watkins Bookstore. Zig Zag Zen is a unique collection of wisdom from scholars, teachers, and artists on the best practices for spiritual exploration and the interface with psychedelics.

Forthcoming titles include the Ayahuasca Reader and The John C. Lilly Reader. Click on the covers below for more details. Sign up for our mailing list to keep informed of new titles and events. www.synergeticpress.com

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Remembering Ornette Coleman

Remembering Ornette Coleman

Our dear friend Ornette Coleman passed away on June 11. Our condolences go out to his son, Denardo, and extended family in this time of loss. We will always remember the delight and inspiration that he and his music brought us over the years.

The video below is a clip from the award-winning documentary Ornette… Made in America, featuring the opening celebration for the Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Center  in the city of Coleman’s birth, Fort Worth, Texas. The city of Fort Worth welcomed back their native son with a mayoral proclamation of September 29, 1983 as “Ornette Coleman Day,” and Coleman was presented with a key to the city. On that night, Caravan of Dreams opened with Ornette and Prime Time on stage, while dancers twirled around the cameras in this film directed by Shirley Clarke. (Courtesy of Global Ecotechnics)

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZP_KNCm2yQ” width=”360″ height=”280″]

 

And we leave you with a poem by his friend, Johnny Dolphin.

Ornette Coleman’s Manhattan

Ship searching out cross-currents,
Myself stalking this big city
Ornette and me circling higher in simple talk
Until words turn prayer flags
Whipped into tatters on passes between peaks
While music shatters into microtones
Leading captured melodies into ancient slavery.
My poems are your saxophone
Your sax reads my reading;
Words and music make mad lucinations
Navigating existence into pulse.
You threw away keys,
I threw away logics,
We honed our intuition
Rapping in an old warehouse pad.
Our Apollonian attractors dive,
Nitroxed in gaudy Dionysian reefs.
Trip of trips
Stately fandango
Cold sober in every drunken gene,
While sweet potato pie
Concentrates our eye.

 

From: Off the Road: Poetry 1989-2000

 

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