It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to psychedelic pioneer Ralph Metzner who passed away early yesterday AM. Metzner, a Ph.D. psychologist, participated in psychedelic research alongside Dr. Timothy Leary and Dr. Richard Alpert (later named Ram Dass) at Harvard University in the 1960’s. Following Leary and Alpert’s ejection from the University over the ill-fated Harvard Psilocybin Project, Metzner continued to work alongside the two in the more casual setting of a Millbrook mansion in upstate NY. The famous experiments that took place here are often referred to as the ‘birth of a psychedelic culture’ in the West and became the subject of The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which Metzner co-authored with Leary and Alpert in the mid-1960’s.
Ralph’s work as an author and healer had only just begun with his interest in psychedelics and psychology growing to include an array of more traditional shamanic substances that would inform his views on healing and ecology. He has continued to write, teach and lead workshops through the Green Earth Foundation, including a series of Evolver webinars that we were fortunate enough to collaborate on and host through our network. A few of his works include: Sacred Mushroom of Visions: Teonanacatl, Sacred Mushroom of Visions: Teonanacatl, Green Psychology – Transforming our Relationship to the Earth, The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience, and Birth of A Psychedelic Culture.
Ralph’s breadth of knowledge and incisive wit will be sorely missed as he crosses into the bardo that he wrote about so many times throughout his life.