Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth

Excerpts & Samples

By Ralph Metzner

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Ralph Metzner

Ralph Metzner
Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., helped found the Harvard Psilocybin Project in 1960 and is now a psychotherapist and professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, including The Psychedelic Experience (with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert More...



A visionary ecopsychologist examines the rift between human beings and nature and shows what can be done to bring harmony to both the ecosystem and our own minds. 

• Shows that the solution to our ecological dilemma lies in our own consciousnesses. 

It is becoming more and more apparent that the causes and cures for the current ecological crisis are to be found in the hearts and minds of human beings. For millennia we existed within a religious and psychological framework that honored the Earth as a partner and worked to maintain a balance with nature. But somehow a root pathology took hold in Western civilization--the idea of domination over nature--and this led to an alienation of the human spirit that has allowed an unprecedented destruction of the very systems which support that spirit. 

In Green Psychology Ralph Metzner explores the history of this global pathology and examines the ways that we can restore a healing relationship with nature. His search for role models takes him from shamanic ceremonies with the Lacandon Maya of Mexico to vision quests in the California desert, from the astonishing nature mysticism of Hildegard von Bingen to the Black Goddesses and Green Gods of our pagan ancestors. He examines the historical roots of the split between humans and nature, showing how first sky-god worshiping cultures, then monotheisms, and finally mechanistic science continued to isolate the human psyche from the life-giving Earth. His final chapters present a solution, showing that disciplines such as deep ecology and ecofeminism are creating a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the Earth are harmoniously intertwined. 

"At once visionary and down-to-earth, [Green Psychology] is an often profound exploration of the deeply disturbed relationship between humanity and nature."
Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1999

"Green Psychology accomplishes things that few environmental books have--it involves the reader on more than the intellectual level; it personalizes the global issues on a deep, inner level; it allows one to embrace the shadow side of our industrialized past; it brings myths to life in a renewed way; and it weaves poetry to stir the heart and imagination. Of all the other writers preaching about and berating our environmental participation, perhaps it will be the psychologist, a Ralph Metzner, who awakens the sleeper."
Sophia Tarila, ForeWord, August 1999

"An engaging and inspiring perspective."
Napra Review

"Metzner brings an astonishing number of sources together in his survey of contemporary ecological thinking. With accessible prose, extensive references, and superb illustrations, Green Psychology provides the reader with a fascinating introduction and resource to the field of ecopsychology."
Michael Emerson, Independent Publisher

"Ralph Metzner's life-long fascination with human consciousness has led him to research history, political systems, mythology, archetypal psychology, and indigenous spiritual means. Green Psychology is a unique, masterful, and much needed integration of these usually disparate fields."
Chellis Glendinning, author of Off the Map and My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization

"Metzner's vision makes for stimulating reading and provocative reflection."
Choice, December 1999