Counterculture Writings
Selected & Presented For Your Edification by Patrick The Lama



April 1966. The radical Bay Area magazine takes a look at acid, among other things. The tone is pretty academic and highbrow, and whatever angle they're coming from, it makes for an unusual approach to the acid phenomena. The attitude in the 9-page LSD feature is essentially positive, since anything that changes the status quo is to be encouraged. Secondly, they want to know if it enhances creativity, which is tested via a bunch of far-out acid drawings by a female artist. There is also a discussion of yage. Excellent reading. No photos.

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Journal of Psychedelic Drugs

Vol 1, issue #1, July 1967. Xeroxed and bound like a university paper with no images whatsoever, the contents show an ambition to bridge the world of professional physicians and politicians with what was going on in the streets of San Francisco; an ambition that reached its ultimate goal when publisher David E Smith launched the acclaimed "Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic" a few months later. The ubiquitous Richard Alpert is the most famous name among the half-dozen doctors and researchers Smith rounded up. There's a bibliography at the end. 60 pp. There are later editions with expanded contents, including a slang glossary.

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Vol 3, issue #1, September 1970. Excellent issue on psychedelic drugs, much more interesting than issue #1 and also clearly superior to the Psychedelic Review from this same era. All essays are highly illuminating, covering various topics from a serious scientific-sociological perspective. 130 pp.

Here's the complete run up until 1972:

Vol 1 Issue 1 - Summer 1967 - see above
Vol 1 Issue 2 - Winter 1967-68 - Psychedelic Drugs and Religion - Religious Experience: Its Production and Interpretation by Timothy Leary 
Vol 2 Issue 1 - Fall, 1968 - Current Marijuana Issues. 
Vol 2 Issue 2 - Spring 1969 - Speed Kills: A Review of Amphetamine Abuse. 
Vol 3 Issue 1 - Sept. 1970 - LSD, The Psychedelic Experience and Beyond - see above 
Vol 3 Issue 2 - Spring 1971 - Drug Abuse 1971 
Vol 4 Issue 2, Parts one and two (two issues) - Fall 1971 - The Contemporary Heroin Scene 
Vol 5 Issue 1 - Fall 1972 - Drug Abuse 1971 
Vol 5 Issue 2 - Winter 1972 - The Politics of Uppers and Downers

David E Smith, the clinic and the journal are still around -- now under a slightly altered name, and dealing with academic drug and addiction research in general. Some recent issues of interest are "Therapeutic Use Of Hallucinogens" (Oct-1998) and "Ayahuasca In A Cross-Cultural Perspective" (June-2005).  Check it out

ETC magazine

December 1965. This magazine was usually concerned with General Semantics (an interesting field in itself) but decided to look into the possible crossover potential with the ongoing psychedelic research for this particular issue. The result is a highly readable mag, or book, featuring several wellknown names mainly from the LSD camp. Timothy Leary delivers one of his more spaced-out musings (only available here) which alone makes this a must, and all over this is an essential piece. Incidentally, this combination of General Semantics and psychedelia provided the blueprint for the philosophy of the 13th Floor Elevators, as given in the liner notes to their first LP, although it is not known whether band mastermind Tommy Hall had actually read ETC. Findable with some effort. No images. 140 pp.

San Francisco Oracle

This paper should need no introduction. A leatherbound facsimile of all issues appeared in the early 1990s. There is also a CD-Rom version with printable scans available.

Here's an index to all 12 issues:

#1 (Sept. 1966). The Love Pageant Rally issue. Incl.: feature on Michael McClure's play "The Beard" (+ letters in support from Ginsberg, Creeley and Mailer); a collage by Michael Bowen; Marshall McLuhan; Provos.

#2 (Oct. 1966). The Youth Quake! issue. Incl.: centrefold mandala by Bruce Conner; ads. for the Grateful Dead. 

#3 (Nov. 1966). Ken Kesey's Graduation Party. Incl.: front page photo of Ken Kesey + feature/interview; Chet Helms interview; Gary Snyder - "Buddhism & The Coming Revolution"; John Sinclair column; letters from Ron and Jay Thelin, and "a digger". 

#4 (Nov. 1966). Dr. Leary and The Love Book issue. Incl.: extensive transcript of Timothy Leary's press conference/interview in San Francisco announcing his psychedelic celebrations on the West Coast; "Love Book"/"The Beard" busts; yoga and the psychedelic mind; the Diggers; Ferlinghetti poetry centrespread featuring collage artwork by Michael Bowen; photo of Robert Duncan and Wallace Berman; Fillmore reviews, incl. Bobby Beausoleil and the Chamber Orkustra. 

#5 (Jan. 1967). The Human Be-In issue, with front cover design in colour by Stanley Mouse and Michael Bowen identical to their poster/handbill design. Announces "The Gathering of the Tribes" in Golden Gate Park; extensive interview with Richard Alpert; "Renaissance or Die" centrefold by Rick Griffin; Allen Ginsberg; Michael McClure. 

#6 (Feb.1967). The Aquarian Age issue, with Rick Griffin's psychedelic front cover art of bearded prophet with outstretched arms pouring out urns against a background of coloured rays emanating around him. Preceded by the very rare rainbow-coloured, split-fountain variant. Incl. a photo-collage from the 'Be-In' and a report; a McLuhanite essay by Chester Anderson; John Sinclair ("Firemusic", on the jazz scene); "LSD, Revolution and God", an interview with Paul Krassner; Alan Watts; astrology; Lenore Kandel's "In Transit", with erotic/psychedelic art (by Michael Bowen?); "In The Land Of The Dark The Ship Of The Sun Is Driven By The Grateful Dead" full-page psychedelic artwork by Rick Griffin featuring a negative photo-image of The Dead by Gene Anthony; full-page back cover colour psychedelic art by Rick's wife, Ida Griffin. 

#7 (March/April 1967). The Houseboat Summit issue. Back cover art by Rick Griffin. Contains "Changes", the complete transcript of a taped discussion of counterculture ideals amongst Leary, Ginsberg, Watts and Snyder before an invited audience in Alan Watts' houseboat home in Sausalito, Feb. 5th, 1967.  Full-page ads. for Grateful Dead LP, Kenneth Anger's "Lucifer Rising" (designed by Rick Griffin), Big Brother & The Holding Co. 

#8 (May/June 1967). The Native American issue (negative front cover image). Incl.: psychedelic yoga; Philip Lamantia; Bob Kaufman; collage by Bruce Conner; Kirby Doyle; full-page psychedelic ad. by Tom Weller for Country Joe & The Fish LP.

#9 (Aug. 1967). The Psychedelics, Flowers and War issue. Mandala front cover art (in red & blue) by Bruce Conner. Incl.: Leary & Metzner - "On Programming the Psychedelic Experience"; Haight St. feature; Dane Rudhyar - "The Buddah Mind"; Michael McClure - "Poisoned Wheat". Back cover Mandala Man artwork.

#10 (Oct. 1967). The Politics of Ecstasy issue.  Incl.: William Burroughs - "Academy 23: A Deconditioning"; a 5pp. interview with Timothy Leary conducted by the staff of the Oracle; Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Lew Welch - "Greed". 

#11 (Dec. 1967). The City of God issue, featuring speeches by Buckminster Fuller and Robert Theobald, plus a long poem by Stephen Levine. 

#12 (Jan. 1968). Symposium 2000AD and the Fall issue. Front cover design by Bob Schnepf. Incl.: Michael McClure; Esalen Institute; Carl Rogers; Alan Watts; Philip Whalen, and art by Alton Kelley, and Martin Linhart. 

Oracle of Southern California
(a k a the LA Oracle)

Apart from the name and a loosely defined connection, this tabloid is a completely different paper from the famous S F variety. The contents and style differ markedly, with a more generic "hippie" vibe, as opposed to the street-wise attitude of the S F paper. Needless to say, the local articles deal with LA-area issues, but most of it is non-local and mainstream. There's plenty of mindblowing acid artwork, and it's printed in full color. The circulation has been estimated to 10-15.000 by a person involved with the paper. Like the S F Oracle, original copies of the early issues are not easy to find, and this has never been reprinted in any form.

Here are the contents of a few early issues:

#3 (June 1967)
"How To Start Your Own Religion"; "On The Possibilities Of An LSD Utopia", by Thadeus & Rita Ashby; full-page colour ad. for Oracle Benefit Concert, featuring The Byrds, Kaleidoscope, Clear Light, and The Fraternity of Man; Leary film ad.; full-page psych. ad. for Griffith Park Love-In; qtr.-page ad. for Monterey Pop Festival.

#4 (July 1967) - pictured above
Post-Monterey text on Ravi Shankar; Miles's interview with George Harrison; the LA Diggers; full-page colour psych. ad. for The Fantasy Faire and Magic Music Festival (Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Country Joe & The Fish et al); photos of hippies, etc.

#5 (Aug 1967)
Articles on STP; George Harrison and Ravi Shankar; an interview with the mentor of the psychedelic tribe, 'Strawberry Fields'.

#6 - #9 (monthly issues Sep-Dec 1967)
I'm not sure if there were any more regular issues after #9, but the LA Oracle was revived in 1969 for a one-off "Anthology" issue with reprinted material. This was intended to start a new run which didn't happen (to my knowledge). A related paper, Aquarian Anthology would however follow.

All these later issues have lots of nice hippie artwork, but the somewhat generic flower-power feel that dominates hasn't aged that well. There is usually 1-2 articles of interest in each issue (see scans below), and the magazine is worth picking up if you find it cheap.

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STP article Timothy Leary predicts (4 pp) David Crosby of the Byrds (5 pp)

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Art Kleps vs Timothy Leary


The Harvard Review - "Drugs & the Mind" (1963)

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The Magna Carta of the academic Eastcoast hallucinogen scene of Leary/Alpert/Metzner, this 1963 one-off "drug" special from a local Harvard college magazine caused significant waves in the outside world. Editor Andrew Weil was apparently supportive enough of the IfIf crew to turn this magazine into something that looks like a dress rehearsal for the Psychedelic Review, whose debut issue appeared shortly afterwards (it is advertised on the back cover). Apart from the historical importance, "Drugs & the Mind" is a terrific read, with fine articles by heavyweights like Gordon Wasson and Richard Evans Schultes, a very interesting piece on the history of US drug legislation, and several more worthwhile articles. Ph D:s Leary & Alpert contribute the groundbreaking "The politics of consciousness expansion", which despite its brevity is dynamite coming from two Harvard scientists in '63, and carries the seeds of the whole subsequent acid revolution as it played out on the Eastcoast. In line with the overall theme the review section has an excellent review of "The Naked Lunch" by a Harvard student. 

This is not an easy item to find, but its importance and quality validates the 3-figure asking price. 80 pp, some b/w illustrations. Contents image above is clickable.

As a Feed Your Head special, we present the entire Leary & Alpert "The politics of consciousness expansion" article for your illumination.


The Rag

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1967-Nov-6. The Rag was a long-running, somewhat legendary publication from the counterculture around University Of Texas (UT) in Austin. As with most underground papers it dealt mostly with radical politics and local college news, but being located in the hometown of the 13th Floor Elevators there was bound to be some acid & music coverage too. Actually, The Rag was somewhat down on the Elevators after showing early support, but the magazine kept covering hallucinogenic news and psychedelic music on an irregular basis. All the early issues have been scanned in their entirety and uploaded to the WWW, and are well worth checking out. Especially the Spring 1967 issues feature lots of psychedelic material, while the late 1967 issues have lots of neat ads for the IL Club and Vulcan Gas Company.

Scanned here is a brief piece on how to abort an LSD trip gone awry; it appears not to be a Rag special but reprinted from the independent UPS network. This piece is not included among the uploads mentioned above. A typical ad design is included as a bonus.


The Realist

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#60 / June 1965. Paul Krassner's long-running NY counterculture publication could hardly avoid dealing with psychedelic drugs in many of its issues. Here's a re-cap of Krassner's first and rather amusing acid trip. The rest of the issue is of no immediate interest. 1pp article.



The Avatar (Boston)

Issue #8, 1967
You could write a whole book about the story behind this popular (circulation 35.000 at its peak) and legendary Boston underground paper, which existed roughly 1967-69. Connected in both amusing and eerie ways to the Mel Lyman Family commune, the Avatar went through a series of mutations depending on who was in charge, although the determined craziness of Lyman's followers ultimately wrangled control of the paper out of the hands of the more average hippies and heads who were involved from the start. The last few issues were 100% Lyman productions. I've written an article about the Mel Lyman Family, and there is of course an entire website with more info and transcripts of all Lyman-related material from the entire run. This particular paper, "The Leary Issue", has some thoughts about Leary from Mel, a scary testimony from one of Mel's followers, and a declaration on LSD policies in Lyman's typical no-bullshit style. There's also some poetry, cartoons, and other less striking material.

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(some of the text was printed using light blue ink, making legible scans hard to produce, unfortunately)


Innerspace (separate webpage)



The Psychedelic Review  (separate webpage)



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Patrick The Lama 2004-2008