Review by Donald DeGracia, PhD

There is no question that altered states of consciousness are real. The real question is: what are they? For centuries this topic has been shrouded in secrecy and mystery in Western cultures, and this has served to drive all but the most persevering from delving into this topic in a serious way. But there have been a few pioneers such as Frederik van Eeden, Charles Tart, Stephen LaBerge, Yram, and Ophiel, and dare I say even, Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant, just to name only a few, who have paved the way for the serious inquiry into the nature of altered states. For these cannot be simply studied intellectually, say, as one learns the facts of history or geography. No, it is more like playing piano or riding a bike. You can only learn by doing. These states can only be studied by learning how to achieve them, and then, once in them, study the phenomena carefully, reflect on them, find regularities, common experiences, new explanations, or breathe new life into old explanations.

And this is exactly what Fred Aardema is doing in Explorations in Consciousness. Fred is showing us systematic methods for achieving altered states. He is synthesizing in a serious and careful way, the work of those who have come before him. He is offering novel and creative perspectives, he is stating hypotheses, and he is finding ways to test them, and he is laying a solid foundation for others to follow his work and build on it. In short, Fred is playing the Epic Game of contributing to the birth of a new science, the science of altered states.

Explorations of Consciousness represents a new height, a new level in the serious intellectual study of altered states, and specifically the so-called "out of body experience". But it is not a dry and pedantic framework, but an exciting, living framework that has a lot to offer people of all levels of interest. If you want a book with sound methods for inducing OBEs, Fred's book has it. If you want a sophisticated critique of past workers in the area of out-of-body experiencing, lucid dreaming, and astral projection, Fred's book has it. It you wish to learn cutting edge ideas about this experience, and how it ties to other areas of learning, ranging from psychology to physics, Fred's book has it.

So, in short, Explorations in Consciousness is an important addition to our knowledge of altered states. It is an important 'how-to book'. It represents a new example and sets a new standard of quality and intellectual sophistication. It serves as a great example. Needless to say, I recommend you read it!

-- Dr. Donald DeGracia
, Associate Professor of Physiology, Wayne State University, Author of Do-OBE.