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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Alex Grey

Net of Being by Alex Grey (Inner Traditions)

Alex Grey’s painting Net of Being – inspired by a blazing vision of an infinite grid of Godheads during an ayahuasca journey – has reached millions as the cover and interior of the band TOOL’s Grammy award-winning triple-platinum album, 10,000 Days. Net of Being is one of many images Grey has created that have resulted in a chain reaction of uses – from apparel and jewelry to tattoos and music videos. Grey is the author of Sacred Mirrors, Transfigurations, The Mission of Art, and Art Psalms. His work has been exhibited throughout the world.
Net of Being explores how the mystical experience expressed in Grey’s work opens a new understanding of shared consciousness and unveils the deep influence art can have on cultural evolution. The narrative progresses through a successive expansion of identity – from the self, to self and beloved, to self and community, world spirit, and cosmic consciousness. Presenting over 200 images, including many never-before-reproduced paintings as well as masterworks such as St. Albert and the LSD Revelation Revolution and Godself, the book also documents performance art, live-painting on stage throughout the world, and the ‘social sculpture’ called CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, which Grey cofounded with his wife and creative collaborator, artist Allyson Grey.
According to Grey in the preface to Net of Being, the evidence that all beings are connected is revealed every day. A meme is a parcel of cultural meaning, a shared value. Transmission of a meme often occurs through iconography. The journey of a visual meme through the cultural body presents an icon vector, the wake of an image through time and the collective mind. Art is a consciousness evolutionary tool because of its ability to transmit memes.
A community is a net of beings, a web of relationships, selves united through a shared vision and language, a shared set of meanings. Over the past decade, as Grey and Allyson have traveled widely; they see how his paintings have been integrated by various subcultures, from spiritual seekers and healers, tattooists, and rockers, to psychonauts and other visionary artists. The Net of Being icon was catapulted into the mindstream of millions of people in 2006, when the album cover for 10,000 Days came out, followed by the 3-D fly-through space in the video “Vicarious” as the backdrop for multiple tours.
The painting Net of Being proposes an archetypal symbol for the networked Self, an infinitely interconnected transcendental node seeing in every direction, part of a vast continuum of Godselves. The value of the image is in its symbolic transmission of sacred interconnectedness.

 ... possibly the most significant artist alive. Alex’s work, like all great transcendental art, is not merely symbolic or imaginary: it is a direct invitation to recognize and realize a deeper dimension of our very own being. – Ken Wilber, author of Integral Life Practice; Sex, Ecology, Spirituality; and A Brief History of Everything
Inspired by Allyson Grey, every single image that flows into vivid being from Alex’s magical hand awakens, energizes, enlightens, and overjoys! The Net of Being is an ageless, yet now, glimpse of the Jewel Net of Indra, the divine Buddhist image for the mutual interpenetration of all beings and things, from the subatomic to the trans-galactic. It takes your breath away, in the best way possible! – Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University, cofounder of Tibet House US, and author of Inner Revolution
Alex Grey’s artworks bring together the tangible outer worlds investigated by scientists – full of molecules, bodies, and stars – and the intangible visionary inner worlds – full of light, shadow and spiritual beings – known mainly to mystics. – Albert Hofmann, inventor of LSD and author of LSD: My Problem Child

Far out, way far out.



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