From Hippie to New Ager

Back in the 1960's and 1970's they were called Hippies, people who dropped out, some with mental problems, some with inherited or saved money, many well educated but lost souls, some draft dodgers escaping the war in Vietnam, people who generally would not have fit into the structures of society anyway, meeting along the journey of life. I was part of the Hippie Generation, attended Woodstock in 1969, but never was a Hippie - no drugs, rebellion, fighting for a cause, acting out, etc. though I did embrace the movement of my generation.

Janis Joplin at Woodstock -- "Me and Bobby Mcgee"

There were drugs, hallucinogens to reach higher awareness, music and Woodstock, a cause to fight for, Vietnam, a spiritual mission, poetry sessions to express pain and emotion, meditations, communes, cults, and more.

The 'hippie dippie' years had to eventually evolve along with the culture that created it, many of these people having children they later called Indigo!

Nothing ever changes ... as all is recycled ... as the program set up the next level of the game ...

... And time moved on and another set of souls emerged along with their 'drop out' issues, new causes in new timelines, their own brand of music and technology, something called 'healing', something new called 'reality TV' in which the issues with tissues people could search for their purpose, etc. They were called the New Age Community, the same energies as the Hippies, but functioning in higher frequency, maybe, involved with prophecies, metaphysics, and a sense of coming closer to whatever their mission. Yo!


Hippie (often spelled hippy, especially outside the United States) is a term originally used to describe some of the rebellious youth of the 1960s and 1970s.

The word hippie was popularized by the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. Caen's articles were always written with the help of notes and letters from his San Francisco fan base. He is also credited as among the first to include the words beatnik and yuppie in his column.

Though not a cohesive cultural movement with manifestos and leaders, some hippies expressed their desire for change with communal or nomadic lifestyles, by renouncing corporate influence, consumerism and the Vietnam War, by embracing aspects of non-Judeo-Christian religious cultures (including much Eastern philosophy), and with criticism of Western middle class values.

Such criticism included the views that the government was paternalistic, corporate industry was greedy and domineering, traditional morals were askew, and war was inhumane. Hippies referred to the structures and institutions that they opposed as The Establishment.

Hippies of the time were interested in "tuning in to their inner minds" (with or without drugs or mystic meditation) and improving mainstream society. Influence in hippie culture is sometimes akin to Eastern religions, philosophies, and associations. Although mainstream culture is not associated with hippie ways, modern hippies nonetheless exist as made apparent on sites such as Hippyland and events such as Rainbow Family Gatherings.


In the 1940s and 1950s the term hipster came into usage by the American Beat generation to describe jazz and swing music performers, and evolved to also describe the bohemian-like counterculture that formed around the art of the time.

The 1960s hippie culture evolved from the beat culture, and was greatly influenced by changing music style and the creation of rock & roll from jazz.

The first use of the word hippie on US television was on WNBC TV Channel 4 in New York City at the opening of the New York World's Fair on April 22, 1964. Some young Anti-Vietnam War protesters, wearing t-shirts, denim jeans and with long hair like The Beatles, staged a Sit-in and were called hippies by NYPD officers and reporters. The police swung their batons at them to chase them off the escalators and they fought back and were arrested. Before that date, the type was generally referred to as Beatnik.

On the east coast of the U.S., in Greenwich Village, young counterculture advocates were called, and referred to themselves as, hips. At that time, to be hip meant to be "in the know." Disaffected youth from the suburbs of New York City flocked to the Village in their oldest clothes to fit into the counterculture movement, the coffee houses, etc. Radio station WBAI was the first media outlet to use the term hippie to describe the poorly-dressed middle class youths as a pejorative term originally meaning "hip wannabes."

September 6, 1965 marked the first San Francisco newspaper story, by Michael Fellon, that used the word "hippie" to refer to younger bohemians. The name did not catch on in mass media until almost two years later.

Hippie action in the San Francisco area, particularly the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, centered around the Diggers, a guerrilla street theater group that combined spontaneous street theater, anarchistic action, and art happenings in their agenda of creating a "free city." The San Francisco Diggers grew from two radical traditions thriving in the area in the mid-1960s: the bohemian/underground art/theater scene, and the new left/civil rights/peace movement.

Los Angeles also had a vibrant hippie scene in the mid-1960s, arising from a combination of the L.A. beat scene centered around Venice and its coffeehouses, which spawned the Doors, and the Sunset Strip, the quintessential L.A. hippie gathering area, with its seminal rock clubs, such as the Whisky-a-Go-Go, and the Troubadour just down the hill. The Strip was also the location of the actual protest referred to in the Buffalo Springfield's early hippie anthem of 1966, For What It's Worth.

Summer 1967 in Haight-Ashbury became known as the "Summer of Love" as young people gathered (75,000 by police estimates) and shared the new culture of music, drugs, and rebellion. The outdoor Human Be-In concert started the Summer of Love. However, the Diggers felt co-opted by media attention and interpretation, and at the end of the summer held a Death of Hippie parade.

The hippie movement reached its height in the late 1960s, as evidenced by the July 7, 1967 issue of TIME magazine, which had for its cover story: The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture.

1971 was the last year of the Hippie Era.

By 1972, its ideas and styles had, more or less, been accepted by most of society.

Flower Children, Flower Power, Flower of Life

Because many hippies wore flowers in their hair and distributed flowers to passersby, they earned the alternative name, "flower children."


Hippies often participated in peace movements with Liberal views, including peace marches such as the USA marches on Washington and civil rights marches, and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations including draft card burnings, and the 1968 Democratic Convention. Yippies represented a highly politically active sub-group.

By today's standards, they're prone to hedonism and pacifism. The culture has also rapidly embraced post feminist and mostly postmodern principles in wake of the twenty-first century.

Though hippies embodied a counterculture movement, early hippies were not particularly tolerant of homosexuality. Acceptance of homosexuality grew with the culture, and by today's standards such issues are non-existent.

Hippie political expression also took the form of "dropping out" of society to implement the changes they sought. The back to the land movement, cooperative business enterprises, alternative energy, free press movement, and organic farming embraced by hippies were all political in nature at their start.


Alchemy Wheel in Motion

Driven by the appeal of the Sixties "psychedelics guru," Harvard professor Timothy Leary, who advocated use of these drugs as a form of mind expansion, many hippies participated in recreational drug use, particularly marijuana (cannabis, cannabis (drug), hashish) and hallucinogens such as LSD (psychedelic and psychedelic drug) and psilocybin (Psychedelic mushroom).

Some hippies prize marijuana for its iconoclastic, illicit nature, as well as for its psychopharmaceutical effects. Although some hippies did not use drugs, drug use is a trait often ascribed to hippies. Some hippies used drugs to express their disaffection with societal norms.

In addition to Leary, Ken Kesey was also an important figure in spreading the psychedelic philosophy. By holding what he called "Acid Tests," and touring the country with his band of Merry Pranksters, Kesey became not only a "drug guru" but a magnet which drew media attention to the fledgeling movement. The use of cannabis had been established by the Beats, and the drug appears in "On The Road," which was widely read among soon-to-be hippies.


By 1970, much of the hippie style, but little of its substance, had passed into mainstream culture. The media lost interest in the subculture as it went out of fashion with younger people and even became the target of their ridicule with the advent of punk rock. However, many hippies made, and continue to maintain, long-term commitments to the lifestyle.

Rainbow Gathering
Symbology: 12 Around 1, Rainbow Bridge, Torus, Spirals Sacred Geometry]
I wonder if the people who made this, knew the patterns they were creating?

Drumming, Primal Beat of Mother Earth Recreating

As of 2005, hippies are found in bohemian enclaves around the world or as wanderers following the bands they love. Since the early 1970s, many rendezvous annually at Rainbow Gatherings. Others gather at meetings and festivals, such as the Peace Fest.

In the United Kingdom, the New Age travelers movement revived many hippie traditions into the 1980s and 1990s.


  • Longer hair and fuller beards than current fashion. Many white people with curly or natty hair associated with the 1960s counterculture and American Civil Rights Movement wore their hair in afros in earnest imitation of African Americans.

    Some people find the longer hair offensive. They believe it is unhygienic, frivolous, or feminine; or offensive because it violates traditional cultural expectations. When Hair moved from off-Broadway to a large Broadway theater in 1968, the hippie counterculture was already diversifying and fleeing traditional urban settings.

  • Bright-colored clothing, and unusual styles, such as bell-bottom pants, tie-dyed garments, dashikis, peasant blouses, and non-Western inspired clothing. Much of their clothing was self-made in protest of Western consumer culture. Head scarves and long beaded necklaces, for both men and women, were also fashionable in addition to sandals.

  • Listening to certain styles of music; psychedelic rock such as Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane, blues such as Janis Joplin, traditional Eastern music, particularly from India, or rock music with eastern influences, soulful funk like Sly and The Family Stone, jam bands like the Grateful Dead and folk Music Bob Dylan. Neo-Hippies frequently participate in the bluegrass music scene.

  • Performing music casually, often with guitars, in friends' homes, or for free at outdoor fairs such as San Francisco's legendary "Human Be-In" of January 1967, the Woodstock Festival of August 15, 16, 17, 1969, or contemporary gatherings like Burning Man festival.

  • The VW Bus is usually known as the counterculture/hippie symbol; a peace symbol is usually painted where the VW logo would otherwise be seen. Because of its low cost (during the late sixties), it was revered as a utilitarian vehicle. A majority of buses were usually repainted with graphics and/or custom paint jobs, this was the predecessor of the modern-day art car. Although not as common they did also use the Chevrolet Corvair cars and vans.

  • Free love

  • Drug use

  • Communal living

  • Use of incense

    Pejorative Connotations

    The term hippie has also been used in a derogatory sense to describe long-haired unkempt drug users. Among those of the Beat Generation, the flood of youngsters adopting Beatnik sensibilities appeared to be cheap, mass-produced imitations of the Beatnik artist community.

    By Beat standards, these newcomers were not "clever" enough to really be "hip". On the other hand, conservatives used the term hippie as an insult toward young adults who had leftist, liberal, and other progressive outlooks on life. Band members like the Beatles defied and baffled adults in adopting long, shaggy hair. Such showmanship of apathy to appearance is but one aspect hippies encompass in defiance of preconceived adult establishments.

    Today, in more conservative or mainstream culture, the term hippie is often used to suggest the pejorative connotation of irresponsibility and participation in recreational drug use. An example is its use by the South Park cartoon character, Eric Cartman. In the "Die Hippie, Die" episode, the entire town joins Cartman in his negative view of hippies after they invade South Park for a "Hippie Music Jam Festival ... [creating] the largest such gathering in the history of Man."

    Many hippies of today have made use of the World Wide Web and can be found on virtual communities such Hippyland in the US or UKhippy in the UK. Also, there are many events, festivals and parties which promote hippy-like lifestyles and values.

    Some critics of the hippy movement claim that people become hippies as a result of sociopathy and/or inferiority complex, but these claims have not been substantiated by psychological studies.


    Neo-hippies or simply hippies are 21st century people who claim to believe in the hippie philosophy developed in the 1960s. Dreadlocks, especially with beads sewn into them, remain popular amongst neo-hippies. However, many critics argue, that these "new hippies" are making more of a fashion statement than a counter-culture movement.

    While there are references to the peace and justice themes advocated by their 1960s counterparts, neo-hippies have done comparatively little civil disobedience or demonstrating to oppose the Iraq War and Patriot Acts I and II. They are most prominent in the "Dead-head" and "Phish-head" movements. This same phenomenon was observed by the original hippies of the young "teeny-boppers" which only imitated the fashion of the original counter-culture, and not the spirit.

    In the US, the art car has almost replaced the VW Bus since these have become sought-after by enthusiasts, however a few hippie-era buses remain.

    In the UK and Europe, there New age travelers in converted buses and trucks, who are generally referred to by others as "hippies", although most of them will strenuously reject this and other labels. An interest in environmentally-friendly technology like hybrid vehicles (not to include biodiesel and SVO/WVO technology) have also gained massive acceptance and promotion.

    Vegetarianism or veganism, as well as beliefs in animal rights, are also evident.

    Drug usage is just as accepted as in the "original" hippie days, although it is not considered necessary to take drugs in order to be part of the lifestyle. Some modern hippies frown upon excessive drug use because of lessons learned from the past.

    References and Links