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Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius Paperback – June 1, 2003
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From the Publisher
The Sixties were a time of revolution—political, social, psychedelic, sexual. But there was another revolution that many historians forget: the rise of a powerful current that permeated pop culture and has been a central influence on it ever since—the revival of the occult. Beliefs that were previously ridiculed took center stage—in the music of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, in films like “Rosemary’s Baby,” and on the bookshelves, with Lord of the Rings, The Tarot, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead becoming best–sellers. Astrology, kabala, hippies, yogis, witchcraft, Satanism, drugs, UFOs—they all became the common currency they are today. But when Sixties liberationism met the occult—as it did with the Manson murders—it was often with sordid consequences. In Turn Off Your Mind, Gary Lachman delves deep into the dark heart of the mystical Sixties. The author, as Gary Valentine, was a founding member of the hit music group Blondie. He’s now a writer and literary critic for publications that include MOJO, THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT and THE LITERARY REVIEW. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Gary Lachman was a founder member of Blondie and wrote the group's early hits. Born in New Jersey and a long-time resident of both New York and Los Angeles, he now lives in London.
Top Customer Reviews
I did not know just how heavily the Sixties were influenced by ideas taken from writers of fantasy, science fiction, and occult literature. Imagine designing a commune based on novels written by persons who had never lived in communes themselves, who had no practical experience of them. Small wonder so many communes ran into trouble!
Shortly after reading the chapter on Carlos Castaneda ('The Teachings of Don Carlos') Amy Wallace published her memoir, 'Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda.'
Reading that book in conjunction with Lachman's book will be fascinating.
One large demerit I would assign to this book is that Mr. Lachman does not disclose what his own philosophical position is, which means the reader cannot take Mr. Lachman's biases into account.
My take is that Gary Lachman appears to be deeply sympathetic to Gurdjieff/Fourth Way work. There is nothing at all the matter with this, but if you're a practitioner of 'the Work', this will affect your perspective on spiritual and occult/magickal practice. If this is where an author is coming from, his or her readers deserve to know.
At the same time Lachman gave some very misleading information about Zen Buddhism, classifying it as an occult discipline, which in fact Zen is not. The radical thing about Zen is that it rejects all attempts to pursue or cultivate special powers or special states of mind, and considers these distractions that keep the ego busy spinning webs of illusion
In the academic world, it is standard practice for authors to tell the reader what their own stance is, so the reader can take author biases into account when reading their material. I wish Gary Lachman had been up front about his belief system.Read more ›
Lachman makes the most tenuous connections to build his argument. For example, Bobby Beausoleil wore a top hat (not unusual at the time). So did Mick Jagger on a concert tour. Therefore the Rolling Stones are connected with the Manson family. One use of the word "magic" is enough for him to label a writer as magical. He labels the Marxist philosopher Marcuse a Gnostic, who wanted to bring magic to politics. Lachman follows the common newspaper editorials of the day in equating student activism with Nazism. He also argues that occultism=Nazism and environmentalism=Nazism! He finds Anton LaVey's philosophy "revolting" although I doubt he knows anything about it. He supplies untruths, such as that LaVey had a "dope-smoking lion" and "often appeared in the buff" in girlie magazines.
The book has a British slant, although he is unaware the Picts were not fictional. Some terms will be unfamiliar to Americans. He is unaware California has a long history of religious cults, and never mentions Ravi Shankar in a discussion of the sitar. The first 200 pages are hard to get though, as it is a historical survey through books - who wrote what, and who turned who on. Writing about Jack Parsons, he uses the term "South Orange Grove Avenue" for his house at least 8 times in 10 pages, and "spit and image" for "spitting image", showing the need for an editor.Read more ›
Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream,
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining.
I was eighteen and a Beatles' fan when Revolver appeared. I listened to it and that song over and over when it came out but I had little experience with the burgeoning occult movement and mystical drug cultures that inspired it. I had only a vague idea of what Lennon was singing about but I knew it had something to do with drugs. That changed dramatically in following years. I began "experimenting" with some drugs and sought out exotic spirituality too. For many of us coming of age in the sixties the Beatles were guideposts. John Lennon and George Harrison especially seemed to be on the cutting edge of popular fashion in everything from hairstyle to spiritual philosophies. In college I became an art student among the hippie milieu. We were reading Hesse, Jung, Camus, McLuhan, Heinlein, Rimbaud, Tolkien, Marcusse, Mailer, Yogananda and Blake. Some of us went deeper and darker. We read Blavatsky, Lovecraft, Crowley, Gurdjieff, Hubbard, and even LaVey.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have spent some time studying religion, esotericism and mysticism. I was born in 55 and didn't have the full 60s experience. I came in at the tailend. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
In my late teens and early 20s, I became obsessed with mysticism. While I was never much good at meditation or ceremonial magic, and never had the guts to ask anyone for... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cryptic Counselor
It is heavy on the shortcomings of the Flower Power Generation. Also, it is vague on where the fault lies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Richard Dengrove
Despite most of the unfavorable reviews here, at the time that I read this book, it helped open my eyes to certain aspects of the occult that were not exactly healthy... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Anonymous
This book offers all kinds of different routes on investigation. rather than going really deep into any one topic, it looks broadly at occultism in the 60s as a whole. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jeff Suwak
loved this book. Great stories about the untold stories of California and the 60 sPublished 17 months ago by Cheryl Muller
As a child of the 60s , this incredible book really spoke to me. In pulling back the facade of that increasingly, superficial age, Lachman shows us the inanity of some of our most... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book for old hippies with interest in the sixties and the occult.Published on October 6, 2014 by Amazon Customer