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Where to Now Psychedelia?

Coined by psychiatrists in the late 50’s to describe the effects of hallucinogenic drugs which were being tested for therapeutic values; the word psychedelic (mind-manifesting) eventually came to cover a more broad scope of things that had profound effects on the senses and mind.

Psychedelic Art is used to describe work which attempts to explore the the inner world of the mind. Technically drawn from a mix of the earlier works of the surrealists, such as Dalí and Escher, the abstractionists such as Lichtenstein and Pollack, It had a golden age in the late 60’s and early 70’s, with widespread use in album art, posters, and several films, most notably 2001 A Space Odyssey. With the advent of digital photography and computer generated imagery, coupled with a renewed interest by younger artists, it is enjoying a resurgence.

Psychedelic Music drawn from the psychedelic culture of the mid 60’s was used to enhance or reflect hallucinogenic drug experiences, beginning with bands like the Holy Modal Rounders, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Captain Beefheart, Country Joe and the Fish, The Great Society and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Later would come psychedelic works from the Beatles, the Byrds, Rolling Stones, Traffic, Soft Machine, Kraftwerk, and of course Pink Floyd, perhaps the seminal psychedelic band. It would influence, and spin off many new genres in rock, and lives today in electronica and “rave” music.

Psychedelic Literature is generally thought of as being books having to do with drugs or drug use, such as Andrew Shulgin’s  PiHKAL and TiHKAL, but many books have been written around psychedelic experiences, and a genre which came out of the Beat Generation’s writers, i.e. On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Howl by Allen Ginsburg, Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, could be considered precursors to psychedelic “story telling”, in the tradition of Carlos Castaneda’sBooks Of Power“. Arguably, some early writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and Jules Verne could be said to have psychedelic elements and ideas in them. At least two of those authors were known to have used laudanum and/or opium. Without question, Lewis Carrol’s “Alice In Wonderland” contains strong psychedelic imagery, and was written in 1865.

So where is psychedelia now?

Conventional thought says it’s time has passed. I don’t think so.

I think we are creating the next wave or genre of psychedelia now. The people here at Web420 form the next stage in the history of psychedelia, we are a new organization which attempts to explore the workings of the inner mind through interaction. We are a psychedelic community. Tune In, Turn On and Drop me a line to tell me what you think.

You can Join our community to share psychedelic art, music, ideas, etc.


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  1. “…we are a new organization which attempts to explore the workings of the inner mind through interaction.”

    It’s about time that something of that caliber becomes our main focus. All of my art is an effort to understand myself and what I experience as reality, and we should all find our own methods of such self-discovery. Embrace creativity, and expand your mind.
    If you care to, take a look at my work here:

    Peace and love.

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