Below are just some mind expanding books. From Acid to Zen, these books inspire us to understand the world around us and be more in tune with it.
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by Skip Stone
is the Webmaster and Editor of the very successful Hippyland - Hippy.com,
a thriving online community for today's counterculture. For the last
three years he has researched hippies and the hippy movement. The
result is his first book on the subject,
on The Earth by Alicia Bay Laurel. The
early '70s was a time of great optimism (and despair in true Dickens fashion).
Everywhere people were experimenting with alternative lifestyles, leaving
the cities and heading back-to-nature. Communes were popping up all over
and those returning to the land had to learn fast the art of survival.
With impeccable timing and the feeling that a guide to this new/old way
of life was needed, Alicia Bay Laurel wrote "Living on The Earth", an invaluable
resource for those seeking to live in harmony with Mother Nature.
Published in 1970 by Bookworks, a small outfit in Berkeley, "Living on The Earth" sold out its first run of 10,000 copies in six weeks. It was picked up by Random House and went on to sell 350,000 copies, making it on to the New York Times Bestseller List. This was at a time when The Whole Earth Catalog was dominating the non-fiction category and Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book" and John Muir's "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (the first Idiot's guide!) were hits with the hippies.
Alicia's book defied the rules and in so doing created an intimate, often imitated, style. "Living on The Earth" is written and illustrated by Alicia's own hand without the benefit of modern typesetting equipment. This is true to the theme of her book, a how-to-survive in the country manual "for people who would rather chop wood than work behind a desk". It took an earthy Taurus to write a book so full of practical advice. Advice that was scarce among the average urban American family in 1970. I'll bet your parents never taught you how to build a dome or make your own moccasins from soft leather that you tanned yourself!
Fortunately for a new generation of hippies, Alicia has re-edited her book and it is again being published by Random House. It will appear on April 22, 2000, a day that every nature lover knows as Earth Day. It is apropos since "Living on The Earth" is a paean to the Back-to-Nature movement pioneered by Emerson and Thoreau, and emulated by thousands in the '60s and '70s. It is chock full of useful tips on everything from camping to building a dome, making tie-dyes to baking bread and organic gardening to herbal remedies. Although much of this wisdom can be found elsewhere (even on the Internet), it is Alicia's unique hippie style that brings the message home. Hand drawn illustrations on almost every page give the book so charming a personality that it inspired many in the '70s to imitate it.
Do you want to make your own clothes? Can your own food? Build a Kayak? Butcher game? "Living on The Earth" makes it clear that self-sufficiency is hard work and living together in a commune requires facing some difficult realities. Alicia's sage advice ranges from natural childbirth at home "eat some of the placenta", to cremation "pour on kerosene and lots of incense. Burning bodies don't smell so good." In between birth and death, there's a lot of life to be lived, and how we live it is the essence of this book.
If the Hippy Movement achieved anything lasting, Alicia's book seems to sum it all up. Whether quoting Lao-Tsu, "be like water", or encouraging us to "discover the serenity of living with the rhythms of the earth", Alicia shows us that how we live our lives DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Not just by removing ourselves from the rat race or not eating at McCorporation, but by tuning into nature and sharing our lives with other people in a non-technological way. By walking softly upon the Earth we show our respect for all life and we satisfy our souls each day lived in balance and freedom. Whether this concept will survive the 21st Century is something we have the power to determine. "Living on The Earth" has returned just in time to remind us of our connection to nature and our responsibility to each other and the planet. Review by Skip Stone
of the Sun: A Pictorial Anthology From Germany to California 1883-1949
by Gordon Kennedy. Who were the first hippies in modern times?
What did they do? How did they live? This book answers these questions
with the biographies of 16 people who taught and followed a hippie philosophy
and lifestyle in Europe and the U.S. It discusses four different
social reform movements that embraced pre-hippie philosophy. But
the real joy here is the 144 b/w & color photos of the people, the
art and publications that represented the people and their movements.
It was a pleasure to discover the beautiful full color artwork of Fidus
who obviously influenced the psychedelic posters of the 1960s.
Starting in Germany in the 1880's, Kennedy documents the people, places and ideas that led to the American Hippy Movement of the 1960s. The Lebensreform (Land Reform), Naturmenschen (Natural Men) and Wandervogel (migrant birds/free spirits) movements inspired many to leave the cities, their jobs, and even their clothes behind, to setup natural communities in the countryside. The leaders of these movements espoused living in tune with nature, embraced naturopathy, nudism and vegetarianism and rejected the hypocrisy and distorted values of German society.
Fortunately some of the followers of these movements moved to the U.S. and their healthy living ideas caught on, particularly in California. One of these, Arnold Ehret, was the founder of the Mucusless Diet and a big proponent of fasting. Soon barefoot nature boys were gathering at "health food" stores in California. One of them, eden ahbez, composed a song, "Nature Boy" while living in a cave. That song, sung by Nat King Cole ended up being a #1 hit for 15 weeks, and for awhile in 1948 focused attention on the radical philosophy embraced by these nature lovers. It was these "nature boys" who spread their influential ideas across America and inspired the flower children in the 1960s.
Kennedy's book lays to rest the idea that the hippy movement was just a 60s fad. It fills in the gaps in hippie history and serves as an inspiration to us all to continue to pass on our beliefs and lifestyle to younger generations. Review by Skip Stone
Here Now - Ram Dass
The classic guidebook for those on the inner spiritual journey. This inspired work blends Eastern Philosophy with the western mindset. Everything is connected and you can achieve nirvana if you can just Be here now! Good graphics and unusual format make this book a real trip.
Das Energi by Paul Williams. Paul wrote this book while living on a remote commune in Canada (his book about that experience is called Apple Bay). Das Energi contains illuminating revelations that cast light upon life's great mysteries. A manual for the Taoist within, full of hippie wisdom.
Steal This Book : Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Facsimile Edition by Abbie Hoffman. Yippie, media hound, author, anarchist, Abbie was many things to many people. In this book he gives loads of tips on how to get by with no money, how to take advantage of the "system", and how to undermine it. A classic!
and Cyberculture by Timothy Leary. Timothy
Leary, the LSD guru has a lot to say about society, culture, technology
and the human mind. This book offers up thirty years of Leary's experience
and knowledge. A good retrospective and introduction to his work.
The Politics of Ecstasy by Timothy Leary. In this book, Timothy Leary, the high priest of LSD, promotes the right to expand one's mind as he seduces us to turn-on, tune-in and drop-out! He questions the government's growing power to prevent individual experimentation with psychedelics, still a relevant topic! Includes the famous 1966 Playboy interview where he discusses LSD and sex.
Flashbacks : A Personal and Cultural History of an Era by Timothy Leary, William S. Burroughs. This is Leary's autobiography and includes fascinating tidbits from his days at Harvard to turning on celebrities to his escape from imprisonment. Always delightful, entertaining and mind expanding.
|Coming of Age in Babylon : Finding Your Own Reality by Doug De Bias. Candid talk about sex, sexuality, drugs, race and ethnicity, feminine facial hair, male and female masturbation, the myopia of upward mobility, parents, partners, politics, religion, the rat race and more. Comes with a CD with 20 songs! (new edition!)||The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. Tom Wolfe's book about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. One of the great books about how LSD invaded America's consciousness, peaking during the Summer of Love. A tribute to Kesey, the Pranksters (including Neal Cassady, Ken Babbs, Mountain Girl and Wavy Gravy), and the whole psychedelic generation. Good insight into how the torch was passed from the Beats to the hippies. It also contrasts Kesey's "up front", experiential movement versus Timothy Leary's experimental, insightful approach to the LSD trip.|
the Road - by Jack Kerouac. One of the original "beats" writes
about the freedom of life On the Road from his sensitive Buddhist perspective.
Kerouac influenced a whole generation who went searching for another way
Dharma Bums - by Jack Kerouac Jack Kerouac's book about the beat philosophy's roots in Zen Buddhism. He chronicles his adventures in California and a trip across the country, ending in a reflective stint up on a mountain as a fire lookout. This "rucksack wanderer" sure met some interesting people on his journeys including poet Allen Ginsberg and Buddhist Gary Snyder. The descriptions of Beat parties are not to be missed. This book and "On The Road" inspired many a hippy to take to the road in search of onself.
Speaks - Jane Roberts. Seth
speaks through Jane Roberts and has lots to say. How you create your
own reality, why we reincarnate. The Seth books help you learn to
integrate your experiences and put a good perspective on life.
The Nature of Personal Reality : Specific, Practical Techniques for Solving Everyday Problems and Enriching the Life You Know (A Seth Book) -Jane Roberts.
Memory Babe, A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac. Considered to be the best book about Jack.
|A Separate Reality Don Juan is Carlos' guide into the world of the brujo, the sorcerer. With Don Juan's careful tutoring, Carlos is given mind altering drugs to enable him to perceive the Separate Reality. Naive Carlos is forever making a fool of himself, but Don Juan is patient and has much to teach about the world beyond the veil. The Fire From Within and Tales of Power are two more great books about the teachings of Don Juan.||Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenence: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. Now here's a book that really makes you think about how you approach life. This easy reading tale is packed with meaning.|
|Looking for the Summer by Robert W. Norris. A Vietnam War conscientious objector's adventures and search for identity on the road from Paris to Calcutta in 1977.||The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, Aubrey Beardsley (Illustrator) Gibran's inspirational masterpiece. Divinely inspired philosophy without dogma. A poetic guide to life and peace of mind.|
|Ishmael by Daniel Quinn Unusual socratic dialogue between human and ape discussing the place of man in the nature of things. A cult book.||A New Model of the Universe - P. D. Ouspensky Ouspensky makes use of the "hidden knowledge" mystics have passed down through the generations resulting in a mind expanding exploration of the universe beyond our senses.|
|Autobiography of a Yogi by Pramahansa Yogananda. This is a tale of devotion of an incredibly loving person for his guru and and all life. His life story and the teachings within touch the soul.||Bhagavad
The classic Indian gospel of Lord Krishna and his devotees. Great inspiration for peace loving, mantra chanting, vegetarian eating hippies.
|Tao Te Ching - Lao Tsu, Gia-Fu Feng translator. This has been hailed as the best English translation of Lao Tsu ever. And that's so important to convey the subtle meanings inherent in the Tao. The nature photography accompanying the text compliments and enhances it's meaning.||The Drifters by James Mitchener. Follow six hippie travelers on their outer and inner journeys to exotic places like Marrakech and Mozambique. This book will ignite your spirit of adventure.|
|Awakening the Buddha Within - Lama Surya Das A westerner who has studied Tibetan Buddhism for twenty years relates how Buddhism can improve our modern lives.||The Tibetan Book of the Dead - Don't leave life without it! How to exit this world gracefully and assure your return in another body. If it's good enough for the Dali Lama...|