The Way of the Psychonaut is one of the most important books ever written about the human psyche and the spiritual quest. The new understandings were made possible thanks to Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD—the microscope and telescope of the human psyche—as well as other psychedelic substances. This comprehensive work is a tour de force through the worlds of psychology and psychotherapy, Holotropic Breathwork, maps of the psyche, birth, sex, and death, psychospiritual rebirth, the roots of trauma, spiritual emergency and transpersonal experiences, karma and reincarnation, higher creativity, great art, and archetypes.
Written in his late eighties, at the height of his magnificent career, The Way of the Psychonaut is possibly Grof’s greatest contribution. The commanding breadth and depth of his knowledge is astounding, the tone of his writing easy and accessible, and his narratives brightened with amusing anecdotes, intriguing personal accounts, and brilliant case studies. Grof reviews the history of depth psychotherapy, the important revisions that are needed to make it more effective, and why the inner quest is such an essential pursuit.
As one of the fathers of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, its most experienced practitioner, and deeply deserving of a Nobel Prize in medicine, in these two volumes Grof has successfully unveiled a new and sweeping paradigm in self-exploration and healing. The vast and practical knowledge in this book is sure to be an invaluable and treasured resource for all serious seekers.
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Praise for the Book:
“Stanislav Grof’s research on psychedelic therapies, Holotropic Breathwork, and transpersonal states of consciousness is unparalleled in psychology and psychiatry. This two-volume work is a unique encyclopedic summary of six decades of extraordinary explorations; essential reading for anyone interested in an integrative approach to the many-leveled realms of the human unconscious.”
—Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life, coauthor of The Systems View of Life
“Stanislav Grof’s decades of ground-breaking exploration of consciousness and the healing potential of non-ordinary states has touched thousands of lives and inspired healing practitioners around the world. The growing acceptance of psychedelic research and treatment in mainstream medicine stems in large part from Stan’s work, and the treatment methods used in modern clinical trials draw directly from what he has learned about the wise and skillful use of psychedelics. The Way of the Psychonaut is a valuable resource that will continue to teach and inspire psychedelic therapists into the future.”
—Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., MDMA-assisted psychotherapy researchers
“The Way of the Psychonaut is an overview of the human journey inward by someone who has led the way and discovered a new path or two. Stanislav Grof has spent his life exploring consciousness, especially non-ordinary states, and in this book he shares his maps and revolutionary findings. This book is a perfect dose of wisdom, opening us all to the nature of mind.”
—Wes Nisker, meditation teacher, author of Essential Crazy Wisdom
“If you have ever wondered what it would have been like to sit down and talk with Freud, Jung, or William James, you now have the opportunity to read the current, living works of one of the leading psychological theorists in modern history. Stanislav Grof serves as our guide through the territory of our own consciousness—from our core essence to the furthest, most extraordinary frontiers. Scholarly, radical, historic, and original, this book is written in a completely accessible way—each page holds the potential to stretch your mind just that little bit more.”
—Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., President, Institute of Noetic Sciences, author of Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life and Spiritual and Religious Competencies in Clinical Practice: Guidelines for Mental Health Professionals
“The Way of the Psychonaut is a treasure trove of insights distilled from Stanislav Grof’s long and distinguished career in psychedelic therapy and Holotropic Breathwork. This is a rich and comprehensive statement from a master clinician who has forever changed our understanding of our mind and the mind of the universe. Essential and wonderful reading.”
—Chris Bache, Ph.D., author of Dark Night, Early Dawn; Lifecycles; and Living Classroom
“Future historians will describe the emergence of psychedelic compounds and plants in the mid-1960s as an event that radically changed psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. It also sent shockwaves through Western culture, transforming lifestyles, worldviews, the arts, theoretical physics, technology, and the computer industry. If you think this is an exaggeration, read The Way of the Psychonaut, Stanislav Grof’s well-crafted and beautifully written account of an era that may save humanity in spite of itself.”
—Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University, Oakland, California
“Stanislav Grof’s The Way of the Psychonaut is an odyssey through time, mind, consciousness, culture, psyche, politics, society, and cosmos that leaves one amazed—how can one man in one lifetime experience so much depth, delve into mysteries so passionately, and emerge so transformed and so clear about how to express the universalities of his experience to other seekers on the Path? Stan is a world treasure, his journey that of the new humanity.”
—Jim Garrison, Ph.D., founder of Ubiquity University
“I consider Stanislav Grof to be a far-out eclectic involved in transpersonal psychology, psychedelics, and scientific psychiatry as well as a very dear friend who has made significant contributions with his work.”
“Stanislav Grof is one of the great pioneers of consciousness research whose far-reaching explorations and wide-ranging syntheses have significantly expanded our view of the psyche and its potentials. You may not agree with all of his conclusions, but you certainly want to be aware of his work, which he skillfully summarizes in these volumes.”
—Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
“Stanislav Grof has generated overwhelming evidence that the so-called impossible happens, and because it does, the world is different from what the dominant paradigm claims. Really different!”
—Robert McDermott, President Emeritus, California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
About the Author:
Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist with over sixty years of research experience in non-ordinary states of consciousness and one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he also received his scientific training: an M.D. degree from the Charles University School of Medicine and a Ph.D. degree (Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine) from the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Grof’s early research in the clinical uses of psychedelic substances was conducted at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, where he was principal investigator of a program that systematically explored the heuristic and therapeutic potential of LSD and other psychedelic substances. In 1967 he was invited as Clinical and Research Fellow to the Johns Hopkins University and the Research Unit of Spring Grove Hospital in Baltimore, MD.
In 1969, he became Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and continued his research as Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Catonsville, MD. In 1973 Dr. Grof was invited to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where he developed, with his late wife Christina Grof, Holotropic Breathwork, an innovative form of experiential psychotherapy that is now being used worldwide.
Dr. Grof is the founder of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) and for several decades served as its president. In 1993 he received an Honorary Award from the Association for Transpersonal Psychology (ATP) for major contributions to and development of the field of transpersonal psychology, given at the occasion of the 25th Anniversary Convocation held in Asilomar, California. In 2007, he received the prestigious VISION 97 lifetime achievement award from the Foundation of Dagmar and Václav Havel in Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 2010, he received also the Thomas R. Verny Award from the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) for his pivotal contributions to this field.
Among Dr. Grof’s publications are over 150 articles in professional journals and the books LSD: Gateway to the Numinous; Beyond the Brain; LSD Psychotherapy; The Cosmic Game; Psychology of the Future; The Ultimate Journey; When the Impossible Happens; Books of the Dead; Healing Our Deepest Wounds; Modern Consciousness Research and the Understanding of Art; The Stormy Search for the Self; Spiritual Emergency; and Holotropic Breathwork (the last three with Christina Grof). These books have been translated into twenty-three languages.
About the Narrator:
Narrator Becca Tarnas, Ph.D., is a scholar, artist, and author of the book Journey to the Imaginal Realm: A Reader’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology.