It is rare for me to have such unbridled praise for any individual writer, but Metzner is quite simply a shining intellect - a hero among others.
Anything with the name Ralph Metzner even remotely attached to it is a safe buy. Metzner brings vitality and encyclopedic awareness to every project. An elder statesman responsible for such dramatic shifts in consciousness within this nation and throughout the world, buy his works and read them with pleasure.
What is striking about this work is the respect he brings to the subject and the well-constructed tapestry of thought contained within the pages.
Also, the design of this book is beautiful.
Solid content with the stamp of greatness. Palatable to the senses and nourishing to the neurons.
Cannot go wrong here!
This book discusses Ayahuasca from a variety of perspectives: historical, religious, chemical, cultural, horticultural and experiencial. The way the book is structured it would be easy for a reader to skip over the topics that don't interest them. All of the information is presented in a thorough, well-written, and objective manner offering some conclusions while at the same time allowing the reader to form their own.
Most interesting were the 25 or so personal accounts, 3-4 pages each written by people who appeared to Americans/Westerners who took the drug for religious/spiritual purposes and in a religious/spiritual setting. It was clear, based on their mindset (objectives and beliefs) and the religious setting that Ayahuasca seems to somehow create a religious construct through which a person can work through personal issues or sort through personal beliefs. The experience seemed to have a profound affect on most of these people.
Overall, I got the impression that Ayahuasca was not connecting these individuals to something divine outside of themselves, but rather that it was freeing the brain up to explore the subconscious/ID in order to resolve problems or explore issues in the persons life.
Well worth reading if you're interested in this sort of thing.