Biography

RALPH WHITE

Pioneer of Holistic Learning, Author,
International Speaker on Cultural, Personal and Social Transformation, Conference Director

 

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Ralph White is the author of the memoir, The Jeweled Highway: On the Quest for a Life of Meaning (Divine Arts, 2015). He is also co-founder of the New York Open Center, America’s leading urban institution of holistic learning where his current role is Senior Fellow and Conference Director. He The Open Center has presented the major writers and speakers in the fields of wellness, social/ecological change, inner development, world spiritual traditions, art and creativity for over thirty four years.

He is an international speaker on spirituality, cultural transformation, and the history of the Western Tradition. He was editor of the award winning Lapis magazine, and taught the first fully accredited course in holistic learning at New York University. For many years he wrote the Open Center catalogue, and in addition to writing his memoir, he has edited and introduced The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited (Lindisfarne Press, 1999), contributed to What Does It Mean to Be Human, edited by Frederick Franck (St. Martin’s Press, 2000) and written the foreword to The Way of the Wanderer by David Yeadon (Travelers’ Tales, 2001). His story “A Walk on the Wild Side of Tibet” was published in Tibet: True Stories (Travelers’ Tales 2003). He has also written commentary on the political goals of the Religious Far Right for the Huffington Post, and contributed articles on topics such as alternative community, the national network of holistic centers, the movement for legal renewal, and the philosopher Rudolf Steiner for Dragonfly Media, a network of magazines reaching an audience of 250,000.

 Ralph White in Columbia, 1974

Ralph White in Columbia, 1974

He was born in Wales and spent his childhood there and his teenage years in the north of England. After completing a degree in American Studies at the University of Sussex, he came to the United States from Britain in 1970 as a Fulbright scholar. He was program director of Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck in the early Eighties. He has taught and lectured in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, Croatia and China. He has also organized many major national and international conferences on a broad range of spiritual and alternative themes, and is considered by those in the field of holistic learning one of the most knowledgeable professionals in America.

The national and international conferences he has both organized and directed include The Art of Dying 1 to 6, Reimagining Politics and Society at the Millennium, Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right, Voluntary Simplicity, Psyche, Spirit and Addiction. He has also worked with the International Forum on Globalization to co-create major teach-ins in New York on Technology and Globalization, Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Corporate Globalization, and Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth.

He has directed a twenty four year series of conferences on the Western Tradition known as Esoteric Quests. These include The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited; Prague, Alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition; The Italian Renaissance and the Esoteric Traditions; The Grail and Arthurian Traditions; The Golden Age of Andalusia, Sufis, Kabbalists and Christian Philosophers in Medieval Spain; Ancient Alexandria: Greco-Egyptian Birthplace of the Western Mind; The Mysteries and Philosophy of Greek Antiquity; and most recently two Esoteric Quests on the Mysteries of the North in Iceland and in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland on the Isle of Lewis. The series of international Esoteric Quests are widely considered to be among the leading events in the world on the Western Mystical and Esoteric Traditions. Established by Ralph in 1995, they are now entering their 23rd year

 Ralph White in Eastern Khan, 1989

Ralph White in Eastern Khan, 1989

He has made numerous appearances on radio and television, both in the United States and internationally. These include National Public Radio, the BBC World Service, Voice of America, CBS Nightwatch, RAI TV Italy, a broad variety of New York television and radio stations, Greek and Russian television, Polish and Czech radio, and now Chinese internet media. The many centers at which he has taught and spoken include: Hollyhock in British Columbia, Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Findhorn Eco-Village in Scotland, Sivananda Retreat in the Bahamas, and Kalani Honua in Hawaii. Most recently he lectured at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He was featured in a prominent article in the Los Angeles Times, and been quoted in The New York Times, Time magazine, the New York Daily News, the New York Observer, and many other more holistically oriented publications.

Lapis magazine, won the Alternative Press Award 2000 from Utne Reader. The award cited “the blending of the modern western mind with an ancient sense of soul” as the heart of Lapis’ editorial alchemy. He received a personal note from the editor of Utne Reader informing him that of all the magazines in Utne’s library, Lapis was his favorite and the one he was most likely to remove for his own private reading.

He hosted a program on WBAI FM radio in New York City for seven years where has interviewed many of the major figures in the holistic world and numerous scholars in the fields of multicultural mysticism and ecology. He is a popular speaker on a wide variety of holistic themes including the Western tradition, the process of transformation to a more holistic and ecological world, the Wisdom of the philosopher and reformer Rudolf Steiner, and the overall direction of the consciousness movement. He is recognized and honored as a seminal force at the annual Gathering of Holistic Centers, now known as the Holistic Centers Network (HCN) which draws leaders from many of the major holistic institutions throughout the world to discuss trends, developments, challenges and successes in the worldwide holistic movement.

He is also a board member of HCN and a Findhorn Fellow. He advises and consults with emerging centers and holistic initiatives on both a national and international level.

The following websites have more information about Ralphs' work:

opencenter.org

esotericquest.org

artofdying.org

centersgathering.org

He has been interviewed in Reality Sandwich.

He was featured in a major article in the Los Angeles Times, which can be found here.

He is also the subject of an interview in the magazine Brave New Traveler here.

The multimedia section of this site contains a number of recent video and radio interviews with Ralph about his life and work.

Further information can be found here.


Co-founder, Conference Director, Senior Fellow

The New York Open Center


Program Director: Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. 1981-1983


Author

The Jeweled Highway: On the Quest for a Life of Meaning.

A Walk on the Wild Side of Tibet in Tibet: True Stories

Preface: The Way of the Wanderer


Teacher/speaker

  • New York University, Gallatin School

  • Esalen Institute in Big Sur

  • Hollyhock in British Columbia

  • Findhorn Eco-Village in Scotland

  • Sivananda Retreat in the Bahamas

  • Kalani Honua in Hawaii

  • Tsinghua University in Beijing.


Conference and Workshop Leader/organizer

  • Esoteric Quests; Rediscovering the Western Tradition

  • The Art of Dying Conference 1-6: Spiritual, Scientific and Practical Approaches to Living and Dying

  • Reimagining Politics and Society at the Millennium

  • Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right

  • Prague, Alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition

  • The Italian Renaissance and the Esoteric Traditions

  • Psyche, Spirit and Addiction

  • Voluntary Simplicity

  • The Grail and Arthurian Traditions

  • The Golden Age of Andalusia

  • Ancient Alexandria

  • Greco-Egyptian Birthplace of the Western Mind

  • The Mysteries and Philosophy of Greek Antiquity

  • An Esoteric Quest for the Mysteries of the North in Iceland.


Editor

Lapis Magazine

Open Center Catalogue

The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited

Contributor

What Does It Mean to Be Human

The Way of the Wanderer

Tibet; True Stories

Huffington Post: 
Commentary on the political goals of the Religious Far Right
Alexandria, City of the Imagination

Dragonfly Media:

  • Findhorn Eco Village at 40

  • The Global Network of Holistic Centers

  • The movement for Legal Renewal

  • The philosopher Rudolf Steiner