NEW AGE HIPPIES, GLOBAL NOMADS & THE TRANCE TRIBE
December 20, 2018
“A man needs a little madness, or he never dares cut the rope and be free.” NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS (ZORBA THE GREEK)
There is a colourful counterculture on this planet that has captured my imagination for years. You are just as likely to find these strange eccentric beings at protest marches as you are at festivals like Glastonbury.
This subculture can also be found exploring the world, destinations like Goa in India, Thailand, or even in the basement clubs of Berlin or dancing on the beaches of Ibiza and Ios in Greece.
New Age Hippies, Neo-hippies, Global Nomads and The trance Tribes are recognisable from their distinctive dress. Often their hair is long, sometimes in dreadlocks but it can also be short and brightly dyed in shades of bright pink, orange or green.
Most often hats are a feature. Top hats dressed up with feathers, jester’s hats and all variety of homemade insanities perched upon their heads.
Their clothes are bright and eccentric, Indian pajama pants, hooded nomad tops with mirrors sewn into the fabric and long colourful sarongs and let us not forget the neon, the glow sticks and the accessories. Crazy decorated umbrellas, Celtic decorated walking canes, cymbals decorated with ribbon and bags covered in neon pink fur. The idea is to light up the world.
“The new nomads were hipsters, compelled by the need to be rootless and free of the straight, plastic world. Instead of seeking fertile land to plow, the new travelers came to furrow new visions of the world into their fecund minds.”
Planet Backpacker: The Good Life Bumming Around the World, The Wandering Press; 3 edition (14 April 2011)
But who are these glowing individuals? What does being a new age hippie mean? What are their politics? Where do they travel to and why? Where do they live? What festivals do they go to and what clubs?
What do they eat? How much do drugs play a role in their lives and what music spins their world? Are they a natural progression from the original hippies or are they a result of the current times?
I would like to explore this subculture just as much as I would love to join their ranks. I believe in their energy and trust in their unique authenticity, but others doubt this sincerity believing the mindset of the 60’s hippies died when that particular movement fizzled out in the early 70’s. I strongly disagree with this analogy because the neo-hippies aura is too strong; and too real.
Let’s take a journey into their world. The world of the modern day freaks.
It was Sunday night, the last night of Wilderness festival, I had been blown away by my experience of the festival and was well up for the final live performance of the weekend; Muse were about to enter the stage. The crowd was enormous and the atmosphere electric. Just before the band was about to begin to play their set, a group of five individuals appeared from behind where me and my friend David were standing. I was immediately affected by their energy and the strange and exotic clothes they were wearing. One held an umbrella emblazoned with neon glow sticks and pulsing Christmas lights.
As the band began to play one of the group, a man with a long platted beard and a feathered top hat, invited us to dance with them. They embraced us and I was enveloped with their energy and otherworldly glow. This was a turning point for me; I wanted to know more about these strange creatures and their kind. If truth be told, I wanted to join them
“I happened to plop down on planet earth just as the flower children were beginning to blossom. My soul somehow knew that this was an important time of cultural change not to be missed.”
MODERN HIPPIE BY KIMBERLY KINGSLEY, Publisher Intention Love, LLC, 2015
“New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970’s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis, largely as a result of its highly eclectic structure. Although analytically often considered to be religious, those involved in it typically prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body, Spirit and rarely use the term “New Age” themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist.
As a form of Western esotericism, the New Age drew heavily upon a number of older esoteric traditions, in particular those that emerged from the occultist current that developed in the eighteenth century. Such prominent occult influences include the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought and Theosophy. A number of mid-twentieth century influences, such as the UFO religions of the 1950s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and the Human Potential Movement, also exerted a strong influence on the early development of the New Age. The exact origins of the phenomenon remain contested, but there is general agreement that it developed in the 1970’s, at which time it was centred largely in the United Kingdom. It expanded and grew largely in the 1980’s and 1990’s, in particular within the United States. By the start of the 21st century, the term “New Age” was increasingly rejected within this milieu, with some scholars arguing that the New Age phenomenon had ended.
Despite its highly eclectic nature, a number of beliefs commonly found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age typically adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self. This is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate, particularly through the form of channeling. Typically viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name. There is also a strong focus on healing, particularly using forms of alternative medicine, and an emphasis on a New Age approach to science that seeks to unite science and spirituality.
Centred primarily in Western countries, those involved in the New Age have been primarily from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds. The degree to which New Ager’s are involved in the milieu varied considerably, from those who adopted a number of New Age ideas and practices to those who fully embraced and dedicated their lives to it. The New Age has generated criticism from established Christian organisations as well as modern Pagan and indigenous communities. From the 1990s onward, the New Age became the subject of research by academic scholars of religious studies
“The legacy of the hippie movement continues to permeate Western society. In general, unmarried couples of all ages feel free to travel and live together without societal disapproval. Frankness regarding sexual matters has become more common, and the rights of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people, as well as people who choose not to categorize themselves at all, have expanded. Religious and cultural diversity has gained greater acceptance.
Co-operative business enterprises and creative community living arrangements are more accepted than before. Some of the little hippie health food stores of the 1960s and 1970s are now large-scale, profitable businesses, due to greater interest in natural foods, herbal remedies, vitamins and other nutritional supplements. Authors Stewart Brand and John Markoff argue that the development and popularization of personal computers and the Internet find one of their primary roots in the anti-authoritarian ethos promoted by hippie culture.
Distinct appearance and clothing was one of the immediate legacies of hippies worldwide.
During the 1960s and 1970s, mustaches, beards and long hair became more commonplace and colorful, while multi-ethnic clothing dominated the fashion world. Since that time, a wide range of personal appearance options and clothing styles, including nudity, have become more widely acceptable, all of which was uncommon before the hippie era.
Hippies also inspired the decline in popularity of the necktie and other business clothing, which had been unavoidable for men during the 1950’s and early 1960”s. Additionally, hippie fashion itself has been commonplace in the years since the 1960’s in clothing and accessories, particularly the peace symbol.
Astrology, including everything from serious study to whimsical amusement regarding personal traits, was integral to hippie culture. The generation of the 1970s became influenced by the hippie and the 60’s counter-cultural legacy. As such in New York City musicians and audiences from the female, homosexual, black, and Latino communities adopted several traits from the hippies and psychedelia. They included overwhelming sound, free-form dancing, weird lighting, colorful costumes, and hallucinogens.
Psychedelic soul groups like the Chambers Brothers and especially Sly and The Family Stone influenced proto-disco acts such as Isaac Hayes, Willie Hutch and the Philadelphia Sound. In addition, the perceived positivity, lack of irony, and earnestness of the hippies informed proto-disco music like M.F.S.B.’s album Love Is the Message.
The hippie legacy in literature includes the lasting popularity of books reflecting the hippie experience, such as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
“In music, the folk rock and psychedelic rock popular among hippies evolved into genres such as acid rock, world beat and heavy metal music. Psychedelic trance (also known as psytrance) is a type of electronic music music influenced by 1960s psychedelic rock. The tradition of hippie music festivals began in the United States in 1965 with Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests, where the Grateful Dead played tripping on LSD and initiated psychedelic jamming. For the next several decades, many hippies and neo-hippies became part of the Deadhead community, attending music and art festivals held around the country. The Grateful Dead toured continuously, with few interruptions between 1965 and 1995. Phish and their fans (called Phish Heads) operated in the same manner, with the band touring continuously between 1983 and 2004. Many contemporary bands performing at hippie festivals and their derivatives are called jam bands, since they play songs that contain long instrumentals similar to the original hippie bands of the 1960’s.
With the demise of Grateful Dead and Phish, nomadic touring hippies attend a growing series of summer festivals, the largest of which is called the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which premiered in 2002. The Oregon Country Fair is a three-day festival featuring handmade crafts, educational displays and costumed entertainment. The annual Starwood Festival, founded in 1981, is a seven-day event indicative of the spiritual quest of hippies through an exploration of non-mainstream religions and world-views, and has offered performances and classes by a variety of hippie and counter-culture icons.
The Burning Man festival began in 1986 at a San Francisco beach party and is now held in the Black Rock Desert northeast of Reno, Nevada. Although few participants would accept the hippie label, Burning Man is a contemporary expression of alternative community in the same spirit as early hippie events. The gathering becomes a temporary city (36,500 occupants in 2005, 50,000+ in 2011), with elaborate encampments, displays, and many art cars. Other events that enjoy a large attendance include the Rainbow Family Gatherings, The Gathering of the Vibes, Community Peace Festivals, and the Woodstock Festivals.
In the UK, there are many new age travelers who are known as hippies to outsiders, but prefer to call themselves the Peace Convoy. They started the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1974, but English Heritage later banned the festival in 1985, resulting in the Battle of the Beanfield. With Stonehenge banned as a festival site, new age travelers gather at the annual Glastonbury Festival. Today, hippies in the UK can be found in parts of South West England, such as Bristol (particularly the neighborhoods of Montpelier, Stokes Croft, St Werburghs, Bishopston, Easton and Totterdown), Glastonbury in Somerset, Totnes in Devon, and Stroud in Gloucestershire, as well as areas of London and Brighton. In the summer, many hippies and those of similar subcultures gather at numerous outdoor festivals in the countryside.”
“In the UK and Europe, the years 1987 to 1989 were marked by a large-scale revival of many characteristics of the hippie movement. This later movement, composed mostly of people aged 18 to 25, adopted much of the original hippie philosophy of love, peace and freedom. The summer of 1988 became known as the Second Summer of Love. Although the music favored by this movement was modern electronic music, especially house music and acid house, one could often hear songs from the original hippie era in the chill out rooms at raves. In the UK, many of the well-known figures of this movement first lived communally in Stroud Green, an area of north London located in Finsbury Park.
In New Zealand between 1976 and 1981 tens of thousands of hippies gathered from around the world on large farms around Waihi and Waikino for music and alternatives festivals. Named Nambassa, the festivals focused on peace, love, and a balanced lifestyle. The events featured practical workshops and displays advocating alternative lifestyles, self sufficiency, clean and sustainable energy and sustainable living.
In 1995, The Sekhmet Hypothesis attempted to link both hippie and rave culture together in relation to transactional analysis, suggesting that rave culture was a social archetype based on the mood of friendly strength, compared to the gentle hippie archetype, based on friendly weakness.”
The result of this evolution from the origin hippies to these like minded, colourful and eccentric nomads has brought about a situation where an alternative way of living is not only possible but sits as a happy, collective response to the dark changes our world is currently experiencing today.
This new age hippie movement has many different tribes and those tribes hold many different views and beliefs around how we should be living our lives. From drug taking and Ecstasy fueled all night raves, to travelling around this countries magnificent festival scene.
Many of these characters choose to travel the world, backpacking from one party or spiritual location to the next. Places like Thailand, Vietnam, Tibet and India.
Many choose to live communally in co-op based housing set ups where fruit and vegetables are grown, livestock nurtured and vegan food the chosen diet. Or alternately canal boat living is another new age hippie favorite as well as converted bus and motor-home living.
Politics also plays its part, who hasn’t seen these brightly clothed creatures at protest rallies and marches against things like Brexit, racism or the nuclear bomb.
One favorite spot for the new age nomads is Goa in India. I personally absolutely love Goa and the new age hippie scene there but not everyone is so sure:
The True Hippie Died When Narco-Capitalism Hit Goa
NOVEMBER 24, 2014 11
BY: TJ MOREY
“Present day Goa—dancing away into the haze of a drug-induced delirium, you will find a stereotypical hippie clamouring to keep sense of reality, or to whatever he can perceive of it. Mind you, this doesn’t come for free; the entry costs $4-$40 and a dab of acid costs another ten. For a land of the free where Hippies could truly embrace the movement and let it nurture and grow, Goa has matured into a much different world where a pure spirit is lured and bent and broken into a mutated beast of today’s existentialism. To understand this transition of the Hippie culture, one needs to get to the underbelly of the movement in its motherland, Goa, half a century ago. And from what can be seen is far from a pretty sight.
Circa 1947, India won independence from the shackles of the British rule, albeit Goa was still administered by the Portuguese. A beachfront state riddled with breathtaking hills that cradle the sea, it was obvious why the Portuguese were adamant to stay. Goa had been a tourist attraction since the 13th century, when the Mughal Sultanate used Goa as a summer getaway. This was followed by the British making a beeline for the beaches in the 18th century while still ruling the rest of colonized India. Rest assured, Goa was a truly lucrative place to be. The Indian army finally managed to barge into Goa in 1961 and drive the Portuguese away to reclaim Goa. That’s when the Hippie culture started to blossom, and thanks to the Indian religious ideas and cultural beliefs that were gaining momentum among the Hippie movement, the best solution for blossoming hippies was to make the holy pilgrimage to India.
The first batch of hippies, who marked the Hippie Trail, were said to have come to Goa all the way from Greece, after hearing stories of the Goan sand and sea. With the perfect weather, jolly warm locals, and an overdose of nature at its peak, what followed was an invasion of Hippies from all over the world, gathering and basking in the cultural hotpot that was currently booming.
While you had the typical American hippies trying to make their way to Goa, there was a major influx from the U.K., Italy and France. While the Hippies preferred to live a humble life of solitude and sheer merriment, they managed to run out of money while trying to fuel their regular drug habit. The Charas and Ganja that was at an astonishingly cheap price in India was enjoyed, but the coveted drop of Acid, Mescaline, or other drugs were particularly difficult to procure. Soon, travelling Hippies who were to reach Goa were informed to get batches of drugs for their beloved brethren, and they willfully agreed. There was no apparent harm in holistic peddling.
Unfortunately, this came at a hefty price to pay. These Hippie travellers, upon reaching Goa, realized the dearth of drugs and were hit by waves of greed. Drugs were in perpetual demand, and these peddlers were ready to make the pilgrimage to and fro to spread some chemical happiness. This gave birth to favouritism among the small colonies of ethnically diverse Hippies that were forming at the time. The Italians who took over the famed Anjuna beach started running the show while giving priority to fellow Italians when it came to renting a place or running a shack.
Contrary to the Hippie belief, the new set of people making their way to Goa were more captivated by the trance-dance experience and the drug flow than the humble hearty living of a true Hippie. While the Italians were busy capturing one bit, the Israelis followed suit and went on to capture the northern parts of Goa. An escape from the hardened compulsory military regime to a carefree happy life was much too appealing to resist. The Hippie ideology soon started to dissolve and the definition of a hippie soon became a haze. The new age Hippies of the ’80s and ’90s were described as wide-eyed white people prancing around naked on the beach in the wee hours of the morning while mumbling some intangible gibberish. They were far too lost to return to reality.
While colonies were being formed, new blood also brought forth a certain sense of punkish rebellion mixed with the Hippie bit. This new generation could flip a switch and transform from a happy Hippie to a raging rebel. What followed was territorial gang wars, homicides, petty crimes among others. Of course, this wasn’t the case with every Hippie who stepped in, but it did bring about a grim atmosphere amidst the usual cheer. By this time, the hippies who first arrived to seek solitude either found themselves with this new crowd or were beaten down by the tourist-oriented nature of Goa. They had no choice but to return back to their homelands with memories and a broken dream.
This caught the eye of the Goan Tourism board that had turned a blind eye to the Hippie theatrics, but were concerned about the safety of the locals and the immigrants alike. They brought down the hammer, hard. In the 90’s, when Hippies had taken over north Goa and raves were held right from forts to exotic lagoons to practically every other place, the busts started. The ones who could afford to pay off the cops stayed back while the others fled. Organisers were jailed or made to pay heavily. The venues closed and the hippie ‘clowns’ were mopped up.
Goa – today: the busts left a disastrous aftermath to say the least. All that remains are the stories of these hippies who once inhabited the Goan shores. As of today, newer generations arrive lured by the echo of memories, and the dream of attempting to emulate what was once a thriving global movement. The problem is that without the founding principles and the influx of drug-based entrepreneurship, the movement has disintegrated into being little more than kids on drugs and dancing to monotonous thumping music.
The simple idea of freedom that shaped the movement has turned on itself to a current state based on a free market. Yes, you will meet guys with dreadlocks who will be jolly to talk to, but that’s where the apology ends. The spark’s missing.
But yes, there do exists hippies. No, not the drug-loving kinds, but the ones who still gather and protest on the streets, who still keep the fight of humanity alive. Change is their drug. Those are hippies in the true sense of the word. But the hippie born in Goa is long way from home.”
Another name for what I call New Age Hippies, Global Nomads and Trance tribe is:
“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.”
I am a child of the sixties and I see myself more as a retro hippie. But I love the new age hippie scene, I adore clubs like Whirl-y-gig, festivals like Wilderness and Glastonbury and many others of course that are home to this tribe. The music is great too, trance, Goa trance, world music, indie Celtic folk and any type of music that has a spiritual vibe. I am moving forward in my hippie journey and want to join this clan. It excites me, draws me in and hugs me like an old friend
Or am I already a member and haven’t realised it yet?
“We become whimsical. Spirit dances through us, reaches out and joins with others, follows the fun and elevates everything and everybody in its path. This time around we may not be traveling to Haight-Ashbury in a Volkswagon bus, but we are on a journey nonetheless.”
THE MODERN HIPPIE – KIMBERLY KINGSLEY
Keep being yourselves, you crazy colourful jesters.
Definition of a New Age Hippie
- “What many hippies of the 60s and 70s turned into in the 80s and 90s with the best intentions, except without drugs or any attempt to change the world. They almost all live in the Southwest, are obsessed with Egypt, India, or someplace else that’s exotic, they mix the worst parts of all Eastern and Pagan Religions and say “I’m spiritual, not religious.” Almost all are sold out baby boomer women that are not quite fat, have orange hair, and have overbites. They would probably say to this definition, in their draining whisper, “I’m picking up on a lot of hostility here. Can I do Reikion you?”
2. The music they play while meditating on why Native Americans and Asians don’t all love them even though they have the respect to drain their traditions.
I had a vision from the Spirit I was at the Pyramids and suddenly Isis blanketed me inside a blanket of warm healing energy. You know what that means, I was Nefertitiin a past life. Oh, and these Tibetan monks were giving me prayer flags. And there was some Enya song in the background.”
people who most times are very spiritual, however not religious. Being New Age entails very harmonious ideas and the belief everyone should live in coexistence. New Age is somewhat of a term for a modern day hippy, but New Age people aren’t stereotyped as druggies at all.
“Pronounced to rhyme with “sewage”, “New Age” is a term used to refer to the spiritual practices of a sizable fraction of the populations of California and New Mexico.
Dude! I like _so_ totally can’t attend that anti-capitalist rally in Berkeley until I’ve like totally balanced the energy flow in my loft, polished my mood crystals, and had my $15 thimbleful of Kopi Luwak.
by rapmasta May 06, 2004
Meaningless media buzzword made popular in the late 80s, mostly referring to the alternate beliefs and practices that have existed for centuries. Such as Tarot, ‘Channeling’, Reiki, Meditation and so on.
Also a style of music closely related to ambient music except with more tribal sound and often with effiminate, wishy-washy vocals (see Enya).
Person – “What are you doing?”
New Ager – “I’m meditating.”
Person – “Ugh. You’re so new age! Lame.” *goes and watches Jackass for 1000th time*
New Ager – *flips bird*
by Silly-hippie January 02, 2007
new age music
- A very highly elevated form of music combining rock, jazz, classical and other forms of ethnic music.
2. Also known as the New Age movement-spiritual movement which started in the 70’s.
3. Something of this kind.
John Tesh and Yanni are examples of New Age Musicians. Jim Brickman is a example of a pop music driven New Age pianist.
Tarot, Astrology, Numerology, and Divination are examples of the New Age Movement.
by TheNewAgeRiseth May 09, 2005
Slack off hippies who don’t even have the tits to actually stand for a cause. The believe that the best way to become one with the earth is to buy mass produced books, tapes, crystals, cloth, and other crap that probably were responsible for the death of at least one species of exotic tree and a few dozen monkeys.
They also like to be lazy “vegetarians”, lazy activists, and generally holier-than-thou twats who hate any emotion that isn’t about sprinkling flowers and love or fucking your cat.
New Agers like to live in pricey lofts that are especially equipped for white people, drink frappuccinos, and denounce anyone who actually cares about the environment as “extremists”. They are usually pacifists, so they’re great for the beginner gun enthusiast.
Beth: Holy shit, look at that New Ager!
Jessica: Yeah, I got that beauty a few nights ago. He kept screaming about me disrupting his “chi“, so it was a little difficult to concentrate and aim properly.”