The hippies were spiritual people who believed in peace and love. The parents of the hippies were born during the Roaring Twenties and the youngest of their children came along just after the Summer of Love. During the middle of the twentieth century, most hippies migrated to the East and West Coasts of North America, because they heard other hippies were gathering there. Some hippy clans migrated to New Mexico, Montana, Toronto, or India. Similar things were happening in Europe.

The hippies smoked pot, dressed in colorful clothing, and performed tribal rituals such as staring into candles. Many drove Volkswagens. Although statistically a minority of the population, they left their mark in the 1960s when they introduced the ecology movement, now a mainstream concept (environmentalism). What we now know as organic vegetarian food and natural health care are remnants of their civilization.

Unfortunately, true hippy culture disappeared in 1970 when hippies got into "hard drugs," which they mistook for "hard rock." Many died or became poverty stricken. Some converted to "yuppie-ism," while others went into hiding. Nomadic hippies followed the Grateful Dead and Rainbow Family tribes over many decades following the end of the sixties. Nomadic hippies are vastly different from their suburban ancestors, who often grew up in comfy middle class homes with color TVs.

Mainstream culture still honors the memory of the original hippies with events like the anniversary of Woodstock, but true hippy civilization is lost. Occasionally a hippy reincarnates into an ordinary family. Parents of hippies are encouraged to accept and nurture their hippy children, and help them find what they are looking for on their spiritual quest.

Opinion: Hippies Get a Bad Rap

We have noticed that people define the word "hippy" in different ways. Some people remember those days as a nostalgic phase of history, a peaceful backlash to whoever / whatever killed JFK. We were a natural reaction.

However, because of the hard drug crazy Helter Skelter ending of the hippy movement in approximately 1970, some people associate the word "hippy" with the end of civilization.

This struggle over the word must come to an end. Hippy can mean anything from peace-loving granola-eating organic farmers to drug-addled hypocrites who argue too much. It is foolish to argue over the meaning of a word. There is plenty of room for all connotations. Some people think of the Young Elvis; some think of the drug-addict Elvis. It is up to every individual to decide what the word means.

I always thought of it as a derivative of the word "hip" and that it was a reaction to hypocrisy in government, beginning with the assassination of JFK, our generation's 9/11.

Astrological Basis of Hip Generation?

According to astrologers, characteristics of the generations are related to slow moving planets such as Pluto, Neptune and Uranus. Neptune spends about fourteen years in each sign. When the Flower Children were born, Neptune was in Libra, which is associated with harmony, peace and love. Next it moved into Virgo, and a generation of practical, critical people who were generally dubbed x'ers. Neptune is now in Aquarius. [Editor's note: Neptune was in Libra, the flower child generation, 1942 to 1957. Neptune was in Aquarius, when this article originally appeared. It was in Aquarius from 1998 to 2011, then moved into Pisces in early 2012.]

Sacred Symbols of the Hippy Culture

The flag of the hippie kingdom is the tie dye. Even more sacred to some is the tie dye with peace sign in white. It's okay with us if someone wears our flag as clothing or even if an old tie dye cloth is used for mopping, since we consider cleanliness next to godliness (despite stereotypes to the contrary). So please feel free to display our flag.

Another unfounded accusation against hippy culture is that hippies are snobby and will not talk to you like normal people. You're thinking of some other group, like the Beautiful People of Hollywood culture, or the world of rock and roll. Someone who is really a hippy will sit down and discuss anything with an open mind. That is, unless they are a Meathead, which is the antithesis of true hippy culture.

The Hippies Were Right!
Green homes? Organic food? Nature is good?
Time To Give The Ol' Tie-Dyers Some Respect!

by Mark Morford/The San Francisco Chronicle
Sat., 05 May 2007

Go ahead, name your movement. Name something good and positive and pro-environment and eco-friendly that's happening right now in the newly "greening" America and don't say more guns in Texas or fewer reproductive choices for women or endless vile unwinnable BushCo wars in the Middle East lasting until roughly 2075 because that would defeat the whole point of this perky little column and destroy its naive tone of happy rose-colored sardonic optimism. OK?

I'm talking about, say, energy-efficient light bulbs. I'm looking at organic foods going mainstream. I mean chemical-free cleaning products widely available at Target and I'm talking saving the whales and protecting the dolphins and I mean yoga studios flourishing in every small town, giant boxes of organic cereal at Costco and non-phthalates dildos at Good Vibes and the Toyota Prius becoming the nation's oddest status symbol. You know, good things.

Look around: we have entire industries devoted to recycled paper, a new generation of cheap solar-power technology and an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth" and even the soulless corporate monsters over at famously heartless joints like Wal-Mart are now claiming that they really, really care about saving the environment because, well, "it's the right thing to do" (read: It's purely economic and all about their bottom line because if they don't start caring they'll soon be totally screwed on manufacturing and shipping costs at/from all their brutal Chinese sweatshops).

There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power in D.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.

You know it's true. All this hot enthusiasm for healing the planet and eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and working with nature and developing the self? Came from the hippies. Alternative health? Hippies. Green cotton? Hippies. Reclaimed wood? Recycling? Humane treatment of animals? Medical pot? Alternative energy? Natural childbirth? Non-GMO seeds? It came from the granola types (who, of course, absorbed much of it from ancient cultures), from the alternative worldviews, from the underground and the sidelines and from far off the goddamn grid and it's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

Here's a suggestion, from one of my more astute ex-hippie readers: Instead of issuing carbon credits so industrial polluters can clear their collective corporate conscience, maybe, to help offset all the savage damage they've done to the soul of the planet all these years, these commercial cretins should instead buy some karma credits from the former hippies themselves. You know, from those who've been working for the health of the planet, quite thanklessly, for the past 50 years and who have, as a result, built up quite a storehouse of good karma. You think?

Of course, you can easily argue that much of the "authentic" hippie ethos -- the anti-corporate ideology, the sexual liberation, the anarchy, the push for civil rights, the experimentation -- has been totally leeched out of all these new movements, that corporations have forcibly co-opted and diluted every single technology and humble pro-environment idea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone and Odwalla smoothie to make them both palatable and profitable. But does this somehow make the organic oils in that body lotion any more harmful? Verily, it does not.

You might also just as easily claim that much of the nation's reluctant turn toward environmental health has little to do with the hippies per se, that it's taking the threat of global meltdown combined with the notion of really, really expensive ski tickets to slap the nation's incredibly obese ass into gear and force consumers to begin to wake up to the savage gluttony and wastefulness of American culture as everyone starts wondering, oh my God, what's going to happen to swimming pools and NASCAR and free shipping from Amazon? Of course, without the '60s groundwork, without all the radical ideas and seeds of change planted nearly five decades ago, what we'd be turning to in our time of need would be a great deal more hopeless indeed.

But if you're really bitter and shortsighted, you could say the entire hippie movement overall was just incredibly overrated, gets far too much cultural credit for far too little actual impact, was pretty much a giant excuse to slack off and enjoy dirty lazy responsibility-free sex romps and do a ton of drugs and avoid Vietnam and not bathe for a month and name your child Sunflower or Shiva Moon or Chakra Lennon Sapphire Bumblebee. This is what's called the reactionary simpleton's view. It blithely ignores history, perspective, the evolution of culture as a whole. You know, just like America.

But, you know, whatever. The proofs are easy enough to trace. The core values and environmental groundwork laid by the '60s counterculture are still so intact and potent even the stiffest neocon Republican has to acknowledge their extant power. It's all right there: is the new '60s underground hippy zine. Ecstasy is the new LSD. Visible tattoos are the new longhairs. And bands as diverse as Pearl Jam to Bright Eyes to NIN to the Dixie Chicks are writing savage anti-Bush, anti-war songs for a new, ultra-jaded generation.

And oh yes, speaking of good ol' MDMA (Ecstasy), even drug culture is getting some new respect. Staid old Time mag just ran a rather snide little story about the new studies being conducted by Harvard and the National Institute of Mental Health into the astonishing psychospiritual benefits of goodly entheogens such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA. Unfortunately, the piece basically backhands Timothy Leary and the entire "excessive," "naive" drug culture of yore in favor of much more "sane" and "careful" scientific analysis happening now, as if the only valid methods for attaining knowledge and an understanding of spirit were through control groups and clinical, mysticism-free examination. Please.

Still, the fact that serious scientific research into entheogens is being conducted even in the face of the most anti-science, pro-pharmaceutical, ultra-conservative presidential regime in recent history is proof enough that all the hoary old hippie mantras about expanding the mind and touching God through drugs were onto something after all (yes, duh). Tim Leary is probably smiling wildly right now -- though that might be due to all the mushrooms he's been sharing with Kerouac and Einstein and Mary Magdalene. Mmm, heaven.

Of course, true hippie values mean you're not really supposed to care about or attach to any of this, you don't give a damn for the hollow ego stroke of being right all along, for slapping the culture upside the head and saying, See? Do you see? It was never about the long hair and the folk music and Woodstock and taking so much acid you see Jesus and Shiva and Buddha tongue kissing in a hammock on the Dog Star, nimrods.

It was, always and forever, about connectedness. It was about how we are all in this together. It was about resisting the status quo and fighting tyrannical corporate/political power and it was about opening your consciousness and seeing new possibilities of how we can all live with something resembling actual respect for the planet, for alternative cultures, for each other. You know, all that typical hippie crap no one believes in anymore. Right?

Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thoughts for the author? E-mail him - click here.

Go to original article:

Deadhead Seeks Amnesty on Religious Freedom Grounds
Editor's note: This series of articles was written in 1996. Karen has since been released from prison.

Twenty-six-year-old Karen Hoffman-Horning is currently serving forty years in prison for selling LSD. She was arrested in a federal sting operation (known as "Through the Looking Glass") by undercover policemen disguised as Dead Heads at a Grateful Dead concert. Her story appeared in High Times magazine, Feb. 1997, p. 40, stating that she received a life sentence. However, since the story was reported her sentence was reduced.

Karen recently told the courts that she believes LSD is a religious sacrament. She also wrote to Pray for Peace News for information regarding the Hindu religion. Karen stated that her experiences on LSD led her to believe she is a Hindu. In response, we photocopied some information on Hinduism and enclose it here, with this newsletter (see below).

That made us wonder, what would hippies and Hindus have in common, and how does LSD tie in?

Karen's Book

The Tallahassee Project: 100 Nonviolent Women Prisoners of the War on Drugs, by John Beresford Ph.D. (Editor), Karen Hoffman (Introduction)

In their own words, more than 100 women, most of them first-time nonviolent offenders, tell their side of a story not often covered in the media - the unfair incarceration of drug offenders. The Tallahassee Project gathers personal statements and photographs of these victims of a drug war condemned by every civilized nation - except the United States.


Hare Krishna, the most commonly recognized American Hindu group, has close links with Dead Heads and LSD. First, the Hare Krishnas basically grew out of the hippy movement. Second, although hippies faded away for a few decades, one group kept the faith, i.e., the Dead Heads, or followers of the Grateful Dead. Over the last three decades, Krishna devotees have provided free food to Dead Heads (and others) at "Rainbow Gatherings." Gatherings are a meeting of the tribes for those who choose to live an alternative lifestyle, away from the grind of what they refer to as "Babylon." The Hare Krishnas provide blessed vegetarian food, along with mantras, Krishna fashion, and philosophy. They even sometimes mark people's heads with sacred clay at a Rainbow Gathering.

It's possible Karen's original contact with Hinduism could have come from attending Rainbow Gatherings, or from associating with Dead Heads who were exposed to Hindu beliefs at Rainbow Gatherings.


An even earlier link between hippies and Hindus was established in the 1960s, through the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. On Sept. 19, 1966, Timothy Leary declared LSD the sacrament for his new religion and the Brotherhood made LSD widely available. Leary and the Brotherhood taught followers to listen to Indian music "turn off the mind, relax and float downstream," as Leary wrote in his translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Beatles used the line in their song, "Tomorrow Never Knows."

A member of the Brotherhood met the Hare Krishna's guru, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, and became his disciple. Unbeknownst to his guru, this disciple went on selling LSD while preaching the Hindu message. Although the Krishnas' guru would not have approved, many young people took "Krishna acid" believing it to be a sacrament of transcendence.

Hippy paraphernalia has always included Eastern imagery, such as Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, peacock feathers, incense, beads, and Ravi Shankar music. In the sixties people traveled overland from The Netherlands to India on the Magic Bus. Many would testify that LSD experiences inspired them to seek transcendence. These are some of the reasons Karen may have adopted LSD as her holy sacrament, and her religious practices have put her in jail.


Pray for Peace News does not endorse the synthetic chemical LSD, but we acknowledge that its effects are similar to natural psychedelics that are genuine religious sacraments. The Native American Church, for example, legally uses peyote, and their constitutional right to do so is recognized by most state governments. Other countries have psychedelic plants that have played an important part in native religions. We believe Karen was sincere in her spiritual search, and that she took LSD to experience a religious high.

The problem with LSD is that while it may open the doors of perception, the chemical can be a harsh teacher whose lessons may be misinterpreted without adequate spiritual guidance. We hope that young people will recognize this and place less emphasis on LSD as a spiritual tool.

Karen is being persecuted for her spiritual beliefs and we hope the courts will give her case further consideration.

To learn more about LSD and other psychedelics, visit the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS):

If you or a loved one needs help sorting out psychic experiences, especially from drug use, it could be a "Spiritual Emergency." In other words, something spiritual may be trying to break through - an emergence, but it's coming too fast - an emergency.

Genuine Hinduism

When Karen wrote to PFPF News from prison, asked for information on Hinduism, we sent her this excerpt from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami:
Hinduism has always accepted adoptives and converts. It is sometimes claimed that one must be born in a Hindu family in order to be a Hindu, that one cannot adopt or convert to this world's most ancient faith. This is simply not true. The acceptance of outsiders into the Hindu fold has occurred for thousands of years. Groups as diverse as local aborigines and the invading Greeks of Alexander the Great have been brought in. Entering Hinduism has traditionally required little more than accepting and living the beliefs and codes of Hindus. This remains the basic factor in the process.

For learn more about the Hindu religion, visit Hinduism Today. The following information comes from Hinduism Today magazine.


Sri K. Navaratnam enumerates a set of basic beliefs held by Hindus:

1. A belief in the existence of God.
2. A belief in the existence of a soul separate from the body.
3. A belief in the existence of the finitizing principle known as avidya (ignorance) or maya (illusion).
4. A belief in the principle of matter--prakriti (material nature) or maya (material energy).
5. A belief in the theories of karma and reincarnation.
6. A belief in the indispensable guidance of a guru to guide the spiritual aspirant towards God Realization.
7. A belief in moksha (liberation) as the goal of human existence.
8. A belief in the indispensable necessity of temple worship in religious life.
9. A belief in graded forms of religious practices, both internal and external, until one realizes God.
10. A belief in ahimsa (non-violence) as the greatest dharma (calling) or virtue.
11. A belief in mental and physical purity as indispensable factors for spiritual progress.


1. Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world's most ancient scripture.
2. Hindus believe in one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
3. Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
4. Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
5. Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.
6. Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, and sacraments, as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.
7. Hindus believe that a spiritually awakened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.
8. Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, "noninjury."
9. Hindus believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

"We don't study history to learn about the past; we study it to learn about the present." Perform an act of random non-hypocrisy: learn something from history today.

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