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Maps of Consciousness

The Classic Text on Exploring the Mind and Expanding Awareness

Foreword by David E. Presti
Published by Park Street Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

A classic guide to expanding perception and consciousness development

• Explores six ancient yet timeless systems for exploring the mind: the I Ching, Tantra, Tarot, astrology, alchemy, and the yoga philosophy of Actualism

• Shares exercises from each system and illuminates the key stages in the journey of consciousness development

• Shows how each of these disciplines can help you become a fully aware and conscious participant in your own spiritual evolution

In this highly acclaimed classic, psychedelic elder Ralph Metzner presents a guide to six ancient systems, once known only to the initiated few, to expand awareness and free your consciousness from exterior limitations and cultural conditioning.

Metzner begins with the I Ching, revered by the Chinese as the oldest and wisest book in the world. He explains how it reveals change as the evolutionary constant and offers a hands-on method of divination and guidance. He explores the Hindu and Buddhist Tantras of medieval India, ancient practices celebrating the union of male and female energies that transmute ordinary sense experience into ecstatic ritual worship. He examines the tarot, revealing how the cards act as culture-transcending mirrors, bringing us through worlds of darkness and light in a complex journey. He looks at the practice of alchemy, explaining how it is a “psychic chemistry” of inner union through which we can transform planetary and cosmic energies. He explores the esoteric aspects of astrology, revealing the rhythmic cycles of the planets and how their phases may be experienced in terms of motion and emotion. He then examines in depth the yoga philosophy of Actualism, centered on the techniques of Agni Yoga, which allow you to use your living “inner fire” to illuminate the shadow parts of consciousness and burn out that which obstructs the free flow of energy.

With a new foreword by UC Berkeley professor of neurobiology David E. Presti and featuring all of the original diagrams, this new edition of Metzner’s classic text shows how each of these disciplines can help the modern individual become a fully aware and conscious participant in their own spiritual evolution.

About The Author

Ralph Metzner (1936–2019) obtained his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Harvard University, where he collaborated with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert on psychedelic research. He was Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and president and co-founder of the Green Earth Foundation. Dr. Metzner is the author of numerous books, including Overtones and Undercurrents, Searching for the Philosophers’ Stone, and Green Psychology.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Park Street Press (September 19, 2023)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781644116210

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Raves and Reviews

“An unparalleled guidebook for readers interested in the mind and its workings. Ralph Metzner was a master cartographer who described each map in a fascinating reader-friendly narrative that may resonate with readers’ own experiences.”

– Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., distinguished professor at California Institute of Integral Studies

“A testament to Metzner’s visionary legacy, this classic study of consciousness is finally back in print, providing both philosophical and practical guidelines for the journey of inner awakening. Rich in its cross-cultural exploration of the spiritual quest, this book is a treasure house, a resource guide you will want to return to over and over again.”

– Rabbi Simcha Paull Raphael, Ph.D., author of Jewish Views of the Afterlife and founding director of

“Published more than 50 years ago, Maps of Consciousness is as relevant today as it was then. Metzner has shown us how the organizational structures found in astrology, tarot, I Ching, and other knowledge maps can be used to rise above the automatic responses that dominate the lives of most people. And his presentation is not just a tip of the hat to tradition; it is also explained and reinterpreted in the context of modern thought, particularly Jungian and Gestalt psychology. The holistic pathways described in this book offer guideposts for those on a spiritual quest, a journey that begins with self-knowledge. Importantly, these ancient methods are challenging and designed for total personal transformations, not just behavior changes.”

– Bruce Scofield, author of The Nature of Astrology

“Metzner’s Maps of Consciousness is a foundational offering in his lifelong work to digest diverse esoteric texts from around the world and share them with a wider audience of fellow explorers. Each new reader will recognize how they, too, exist in the context of multiple millennia of fellow explorers from around the world, seeking understanding, meaning, and wisdom in a world that can be as dizzying as it is marvelous. Metzner was a brave soul, joining a long lineage of our intrepid ancestors who not only dedicated their lives to such explorations but also took the time to share their working hypothesis and evolving maps of psyche and cosmos with others.”

– Kile Ortigo, Ph.D., author of Beyond the Narrow Life

“Far ahead of his time when this book was first published, Metzner was one of the first Western scholars and clinicians to recognize the psychological value of astrology, which illuminates cycles of change and the spiritual significance of each moment. This is a groundbreaking work that helped birth the field of spiritual psychology.”

– Greg Bogart, Ph.D., MFT, lecturer at Sonoma State University and author of In the Company of Sages

“A rich account of alternative ways of knowing and being that splendidly rewards any serious student of consciousness who takes the time to dig out all the gems that lie within it!’’

– Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., author of The Human Odyssey

“I was fortunate to take a course with Ralph Metzner using Maps of Consciousness as the textbook. All the disciplines covered in the book were explained in such a clear and concise manner that I left the class well-informed and inspired to continue the pursuit of a deeper understanding of other ways to expand and study consciousness.”

– Antonio Nunez, Ph.D., professor, consultant, and coach

“This notable republishing of Ralph Metzner’s classic Maps of Consciousness is extremely timely. The potential for a true culture of kindness to emerge into the mainstream, ever present since that period, is furthered by Metzner’s cogent summaries of perennial wisdom. Astrology in particular is thankfully gaining ground as are the other models of spirit outlined here. Bravo!”

– Henry Seltzer, author of The Tenth Planet

“We are in the midst of the need for a powerful spiritual renaissance. This welcome reissue of Maps of Consciousness leads us to revisit the exploration of the ancient and modern wisdom of the I Ching, Taoism, the tarot, astrology and Actualism. Read it; there is a lighted way on every page!”

– Jais Booth, president of Star Mountain School of Liminal Art

“A collection of profound esoteric wisdom. It is on Ralph’s shoulders we stand as he remains an inspiration to all of us as we continue this pilgrim path of evolving consciousness.”

– Justine Willis Toms, cofounder and host of New Dimensions Radio and author of Small Pleasures

“Ralph Metzner was a pioneer in exploring altered consciousness not only through psychedelics but also in utilizing different spiritual ways to work the mind.”

– Michael Erlewine, renowned astrologer and director of the Heart Center Karma Thegsum Chöling

“This book was very important to me when it first came out and remains important to this day.”

– Ralph Abraham, professor emeritus of mathematics at University of California, Santa Cruz

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