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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Grof, Dr Stanislav - Reliving being licked by an enormous cow



Type of Spiritual Experience


Here is an example that has a funny side to it.  One of Dr Grof’s patients a man he called ‘Richard’ had numerous problems.  In the following observation, Richard was not only able to access a childhood perception that had at the time caused great fear, but a perception experienced when he was a baby.

A description of the experience

LSD Doorway to the Numinous – Dr Stanislav Grof

The core experience of this system was most unusual and interesting.  In spite of the genuine terror that Richard experienced while reliving it, this episode did not lack a certain situational humour. 

For some time preceding the full reliving of this memory [perception], various rustic and agricultural elements kept appearing in Richard’s LSD sessions in different sensory modalities.  He saw scythes, sickles and rakes, ripened grain gently moving with the wind, grazing cows and horses, field flowers against the blue sky and loaves of bread and jugs with milk – a typical snack of farmers working in the fields.  This was accompanied by sounds of farm tools and domestic animals (whinnying and neighing, mooing, barking and cackling).  He felt the breeze flowing over the fields and smelled the fragrance of ripe kernels of grain, freshly baked bread, field grass and wild flowers.  The emotional concomitants of these seemingly idyllic experiences were rather inappropriate, they involved feelings of anxiety, depression and helplessness.

In one of these sessions, Richard suddenly regressed deeply into infancy and experienced himself as a one year old baby swaddled in a blanket and lying on the grass by a field, while the adults were harvesting grain.  He saw a cow approach him, graze in the immediate proximity of his head, and then lick his face several times with her huge rough tongue.  During the reliving of this episode, the head of the cow seemed gigantic and almost filled the session room.  Richard found himself gazing helplessly into the monstrous salivating mouth of the cow and felt her saliva flowing all over his face.

After having relived the happy ending of this situation, in which the adults discovered what was happening and rescued the baby, Richard felt enormous relief and a surge of vitality and activity.  He laughed for a solid five minutes and was able to joke about his shocking encounter with the cow

The source of the experience

Grof, Dr Stanislav

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps