PTSD is the new normal

86486961One in three teens is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and the percentage of highly stressed teens is growing at an alarming rate. Teens have now surpassed adults for exhibiting signs of PTSD.

This is a great tragedy and a likely the result of drugging an entire generation with stimulants and SSRI’s. Obviously, the mass drugging is not working, in fact, it seems to be contributing to the problem.

Part of this equation is also the immense cost of college, which puts tremendous pressure on kids to make grades and parents to save. The shrinking job market also plays a major factor, because opportunities after college are shrinking.

But the media also plays a major role with relentless violence pornography and amplification of terror events. You can’t help but be psychologically impacted when a horrific event of violence commands the news for days.

I’m not in favor of censorship, but I do yearn for a rise in conscious media that honors the benefits of peace culture and shows respect for non-violence, and projects that lifestyle as an honorable path. One way to implement this is to show appreciation for the hippie movement, something on the cusp of a 50th anniversary, and a true piece of American history.

Strangely, much of the story is still untold, starting with the death of hippie’s greatest avatar, Johnny Griggs, founder of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

Who knows, hippie energy might come around again someday. I sure hope so.

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From Chef Ra to Father Yod: My voyage of discoveries

BlackPantherJimThe first real-life shaman I met was a kid my age named James Wilson, who became an activist for peace while in high school. Jim was inspired by a lot by music and had filled his bedroom with Jimi Hendrix posters before he even discovered psychedelics. He liked the new styles that were coming out, although his biggest influence and role model was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was still alive when Jim made his big transformation. While a junior, he started dressing like a Black Panther, and went on a mission to single-handedly heal our school’s considerable racial divides. Jim accomplished this by becoming Senior Class President (the first black in our school’s history to achieve this honor) and then organizing education and harmonization ceremonies. Back then, nobody realized Jim was doing magic. We didn’t know he was a natural shaman. Later he would transform into the Great Chef Ra.

WavyandKrassnerIn 1969, Jim and I both ended up at Woodstock, and he was the first person I knew who I ran into. He was standing at the gates, watching people stream in with a huge glowing smile. I’d never seen Jim so happy. We all felt the vibes of arriving in New Jerusalem. And, of course, we’d get to study some of the grandmasters of our culture up close, like Wavy Gravy, Abbie Hoffman and Paul Krassner (left). The Pranksters arrived with the magic bus, just not Kesey, who was probably my biggest role model at the time and hiding out in Mexico. At Woodstock, however, I began to study Wavy’s style closely, as he seemed to have a handle on the type of magic I wanted to manifest. I always liked to dress up for a ceremony.

29285263A couple years after Woodstock, I got introduced to Jasper Grootveld of Amsterdam and became utterly fascinated, especially since Jasper had started the Happenings, of which I was a great student (and especially since John Cage did his biggest Happenings in my humble town of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois). John Cage was into monster displays of energy and media, similar to the Pranksters, while Jasper dressed like an African medicine man and used zero technology in his rituals. Jasper’s style was a brilliant synthesis of African and European shamanism and I instantly realized its power and wanted to become an artist like Jasper.

128053064-John_Griggs_1969I learned a ton about magic from Stephen and Ina May Gaskin, who I knew about from Sunday Morning Services in Golden Gate Park back in the late sixties. Stephen understood the major spiritual texts from the East, and could translate difficult concepts into easy-to-understand English. But something really deep happened when I discovered John Griggs, founder of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. I instantly realized John was a true hippie messiah, and like all messiahs had died at the zenith of his creative powers, a tragic loss for the world. John’s heart was immense and his love for the world boundless. James put me on the path of action, The Pranksters put me on the path of fun, Stephen put me on the path of wisdom, but John Griggs put me on the path of love. It’s strange how some of the most important figures in the history of the counterculture remain unknown and uncelebrated, and John Griggs is the prime example.

yod2Which is why I think it’s so incredible that I discovered another hippie messiah that I didn’t even know about until a few months ago? I speak of Father Yod and the Source Family. Who knows, I may have even run into some of them at a Rainbow Gathering over the last 20 years, but had no idea the manifestations of this hippie saint and his flock. Yod was doing improvisational ritual theater pretty much non-stop after he discovered the art form and he mixed up all spiritual styles, just like I’ve been doing for the past 20 years in my own humble fashion, while organizing ceremonies at the Cannabis Cups and Whee! festivals.

I’ve been inspired by meeting some of his family online and one even gifted me a free copy of their new book about the family. You can watch their amazing documentary on Netflix.

The biggest problem with attempts to forge a hippie religion is the tremendous pressure put on the leader. The more spiritual the group becomes, the more pressure. Many commune founders went off the deep end with egomania or took advantage of people because they had too much power over their flocks. People ask me if I am starting a new religion with the Pot Illuminati. Yes, I am. But I’m not wanting to be the Pope or anything close. I seek to create a refuge from the storm until full legalization arrives where we can share our sacrament in peace and safety. The ceremonies are improvisational, we are all equal, but everyone gets a chance to put on the big hat and be the Grand Wizard for a day. In this way, we protect the society from corruption and know it will never become encrusted with dogma. I have no dogma. Do what you want, just don’t hurt anybody.

Father Yod began telling his flock he was God. But one day, he woke up, called them all together, and said, “I lied. I am not God. We are all God.” Then he decided to take flight on a hand-glider with no training. He crashed and was carried to his house. Although his injuries did not seem life-threatening, he passed over nine hours later. There is a parable of great meaning in this story.

More LSD than anyone even thought existed

ronald-stark-thomas-abbottIf you ever want to explore the role of intel in spreading LSD around the globe, Ronald Hadley Stark might be a good place to start since he was one of those super spooks who could dance through raindrops and not catch a drop. And he’s also got an interesting British component for those fascinated by possible MI6 ops. Stark seems to have picked up his style while visiting Tavistock. At one point he tried to recruit fellow Tavistock associate R.D. Laing into playing the role of psychedelic messiah leading world revolution. Laing wisely rejected that part, so Stark went off to America to seek out Timothy Leary, who was a spook at heart himself, always playing all sides against the middle and attempting to navigate the ladders of intrigue and power.

Leary had been thrown out of his cushy retreat at the old Mellon mansion in upstate New York horse country, and had landed penniless in Laguana Beach, seeking refuge in the heart of hippie culture. Hippies, you see, were birthed on the West Coast beaches, offspring of surfing, marijuana, rock’n’roll and Jack Kerouac.

hippie-mafiaThe real hippie messiah was Johnny Griggs (on the right with flower in ear), who created a wild west scene free from police intervention in a canyon near Laguna Beach, a community where every third house was used to stash kilos when necessary. Griggs had been a typical juvenile delinquent into cars, motorcycles and guns, but transformed after one acid trip, throwing away his revolver and preaching universal love from that point on. He had a heart chakra that could bowl you over and he created the Brotherhood of Eternal Love based on Leary’s advice. The Brotherhood was very spiritual and very successful financially, although many members took a dislike to Leary when he began hitting on their wives behind their backs. Leary was a martini drinking meat eater, while the Brothers were non-drinking vegetarians, and deep into the worship of Mother Earth. Leary copped their style, not the other way around. Suddenly, Leary was wearing silk robes with a flower behind his ear. Yeah, he even copped the flower from Griggs’ ear.

Suddenly Griggs dies mysteriously of a build-up of fluid in his lungs after injesting a synthetic drug provided by a underground chemist. Leary, meanwhile, is jailed on trumped-up charges and given a lengthy sentence. That’s when Stark shows up at the Brotherhood hideout with more LSD than anyone even thought existed on the planet, way more than any underground chemist would make at one time because sentences are based on doses and we are talking millions of doses of Orange Sunshine. This happened in 1969, just around the time street acid became cheap and plentiful, although many would soon long for that old Owsley acid, finding the new versions too speedy and mentally unsettling. Stark wanted to use profits from Orange Sunshine to bust Leary out of jail, a mission he paid the Weather Underground to carry out, leading to speculation that revolutionary group may have been fomented by intel to incite violence and demonize the peaceful hippie counterculture.

Stark schooled the Brotherhood on how to make big money and operations expanded considerably. He had a manual he always carried, a novel by Robert Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Stark identified with the revolutionary leader Professor Bernardo de la Paz, someone modeled on autarchist Robert LeFevre, although I see shades of Adam Weishaupt. Knowing how easy it is to penetrate and subvert revolution from within, the Professor employs the familiar cell system: “Organization must be no larger than necessary — never recruit anyone merely because he wants to join. As to basic structure, a revolution starts as a conspiracy; therefore structure is small, secret and organized as to minimize damage by betrayal—since there are always betrayals.” Of course this has always been standard operating procedure for all intelligence organizations. The Professor was also a whiz in code-making, something Stark also apparently excelled in.

We’ll never know all the various drug operations, revolutions and terror events Stark may have been involved with, but he was a global character and connected with remarkable people wherever he went. He ended up in jail in Italy for a few months, although he may have been placed there to provide surveillance on a terror-drug group inside, or just to better school that group on operations procedures when they were released, or maybe he was busted for real by an anonymous phone call while holding several hundred kilos of cannabis in his hotel room. If so, that was the only betrayal Stark ever suffered from, the only time he felt a raindrop. In any event, Stark was eventually able to talk himself out of that prison by convincing a judge he worked for the CIA. Or maybe it was the sudden death of the previous judge who’d denied that plea that was so convincing?

At one time, Stark had access to a brownstone near Washington Square Park, in a hidden and very exclusive alley, completely private and heavily secure. David Rockefeller lived across the street. Inside, the walls were covered with the paintings of old masters. I suspect this belonged to Richard Mellon Scaife or his younger cousin Billy Mellon Hitchcock, Leary’s benefactor for a time. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the bottom of who Stark was. But he did have some connection to The Process Church of Final Judgment, that British splinter group from Scientology that became the spookiest of all the weird cults in the late sixties, heavily involved with Hitler worship. And the Process influenced the recently released Charlie Manson upon his arrival in the Haight, straight out of prison, and Manson soon began spouting apocalyptic dogma. That was Process Church speak Charlie was spouting, mixed in with bits of Scientology and satanism.

There seems to be another world out there, completely hidden and comprised of spooks and their mind control robots, and they conduct operations through cut-outs like the Process Church. But people like Stark will always be just burn layers no matter how high they climb the ladder. They’ll never be accepted inside the oligarchy. I find it strange Heinlein wrote a book supposedly referencing Robert LeFerve, a right-wing, pacifist revolutionary, someone who created a small private school that graduated both Kerry Thornley and Charles Koch.

Was Stark a Tavistock robot and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress a key to his programming? We’ll likely never know for certain.

The Hippie-Mafia Connection

When the hippie generation first emerged around 1966, they had a tremendous, global impact almost immediately. The hippies influenced the Beatles, for example, not the other way around. The movement was actually deeply ethical and spiritual, and involved respect for nature and native cultures, as well as a deep suspicion for the oil companies, who had emerged as the world’s dominant corporations. Their relentless campaign to turn everything in America into plastic really annoyed us. Plastic was a bad word to hippies. We hated it.

One thing we didn’t hate was marijuana, which was the primary sacrament from day one. All sorts of other plants and substances quickly followed. We needed people to cultivate, transport and sell these sacraments. These people were closer to priests than outlaws to us since they were providing our sacraments at great personal jeopardy.

It’s no accident that the most spiritually advanced hippie clan was also the most successful smuggling and dealing operation in North America. I speak of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love based out of Laguna Beach, California and founded by hippie saint Johnny Griggs.

The Brotherhood became known as the hippie mafia, and their story became a tale of drug smuggling and police interventions. The Godfather was John, picture at the left with his kids and a surfboard he never surfed on, but was just posing with. But the hippie mafia story is a little bit like the blind man describing an elephant by touching its toe. Nick Schou recently wrote an entertaining book on the Brotherhood and he couldn’t understand why John’s widow couldn’t relate to it. The illegal part of hippie life is like the visible part of an iceberg. The heart and soul of the culture lies submerged, out-of-view. And that is the spiritual side, known to made members. We have no official ceremony for this initiation, but we know how to recognize when one gets “zapped” by this unique, non-violent form of spirituality. But to the population at large, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love remains just another “crime syndicate.”

Which is why I can relate to the so-called “mafia.” See, the Sicilian immigrants that came to America arrived with a very strong sense of tribal culture and clung together and supported each other. The most successful among them, the man who produced the most jobs, became “the father” of his clan, and among his duties was to negotiate disputes among family members and navigate towards peace. Because Sicilians lived under conquerors for centuries, they developed a unique sense of justice. When a Sicilian feels dishonored, he does not go to a policeman or the halls of justice, both of which were historically controlled by an enemy culture. He does things the Sicilian way, which is to say in a dark alley from behind with a stiletto to the throat.

When prohibition set in, all the immigrant cultures had criminal gangs, and the Irish were among the strongest. Nucky Johnson was the grand poo-bah of that culture, but Joe Kennedy was probably a close second. But the biggest money-makers at the time were probably the Jews in Canada, the Bronfmans. But slowly, the Sicilians took power. Why? Perhaps because their spirituality was stronger and they were more dedicated to their tribes. And maybe also because they were students of Niccolo Machiavelli, who taught them the strategies of force. Those who seek only to do good inevitably lose to those willing to commit evil. The great dons of the past were often educated, well-read and deeply spiritual, although they’ve been stereotyped as virtual morons with mustaches. The reason “The Godfather” resonated so strongly is that this elaborate and ancient culture was actually investigated for the first time.

Strangely, after Joe Kennedy’s son became president, his brother launched a vicious campaign against Jimmy Hoffa’s control over the Teamsters, and Hoffa’s greatest ally, Carlos Marcello of New Orleans. For the most part, these investigations became centered on the Sicilians, as if they were the only organized crime in the country? From their perspective, RFK looked more like a political demagogue than righteous crusader. RFK called up some of the most respected fathers and treated them with the utmost of disrespect. This was done because he wanted to subvert their influence over the labor movement, when, in fact, they’d been leveraged into that position to replace the Communist Party, which, in fact, was just another intel op, part of the grand chessboard where all sides report to the same bankers. The media is always trying to paint the picture of organized crime as one grand criminal conspiracy instead of the complex web that actually exists. If there is a grand conspiracy, the perpetrators are hiding inside the halls of the Pentagon and the Wall Street banks, and scapegoating hippies running grass or even Italians running bingo parlors isn’t going to threaten that situation anytime soon.

10 Most Sacred Spots in America

1) Congo Square, New Orleans. This is the actual birthplace of the counterculture, where Native Americans, African slaves, and a wide mixture of European whites first gathered to create an improvisational culture, blending elements of all their histories to create the popular, non-violent, hybrid-vigor culture we know today as the counterculture.

2) Hippie Hill, San Francisco. Located at the base of Haight Street, just steps from the corner of Haight/Ashbury, Hippie Hill was the ceremonial gathering place for the birth of the hippie movement.

3) Laguna Beach, California. Just as important as Hippie Hill was the influence of John Griggs and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. There is a little-known surfer-hippie connection that has not been fully explored yet. Surfers who took LSD early in the sixties were among the first people to reach true enlightenment. The real center of energy may have been the auditorium on Newport Beach, but unfortunately that temple of surf rock was torn down.

4) Woodstock Festival, Bethel, New York. The first Woodstock was a true gathering of the tribe, and a place where the counterculture first realized itself in enormous numbers. It was our hippie version of the Sermon on the Mount. Also worth mentioning is Magic Meadow, Woodstock, New York. Located near the start of the trail to Overlook Mountain, Magic Meadow is the main ceremonial location selected by early beatniks and hippies who flocked to Woodstock as a haven for counterculture spirituality. Overlook Mountain also had a long history of use by Native cultures as a primary site for vision questing.

5) Strawberry Lake, Colorado. Located on the continental divide, Strawberry Lake was the site of the original Rainbow Family Gathering. The authorities tried to close all access to the site when they learned ten thousand hippies planned on camping there over the week of July 4th, but despite the roadblocks and police presence, all the hippies managed to sneak into the site via the back trails.

6) Camp Winnarainbow, Laytonville, CA. Wavy Gravy is the foremost master of ceremonies of the counterculture and he built the second most successful counterculture community in America. Wavy is the master of improv energy and channeling the fun vibe. His camp is the perfect place to send your kids to learn about counterculture spirituality.

7) Ken Kesey’s farm, outside Eugene, Oregon. The original bus, Further (or Furthur) is parked here. Kesey is our counterculture version of Odysseus, and his magic bus ride was a seminal moment in counterculture history. Wherever that bus resides will always be a most sacred spot in counterculture history.

8) Mount Tamalpias, CA. The birthplace of 420 and the site of the original April 20th ceremonies. Since cannabis is the primary sacrament of the counterculture (and has been used since its birth in Congo Square), the birthplace of 420 will always be a most sacred location for the counterculture.

9) Owl Farm, Colorado. Located a short drive from Aspen, the home of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson radiates with intense vibrations from all the ceremonies held on the site.

10) National Rainbow Family Gathering. Every July 1-7, the gathering is held in a different National Forest so this is a mobile sacred spot that moves around every year. The Rainbow Family is the heart and soul of the counterculture. Everyone needs to make a pilgrimage to this event at least once in their life to see what a world without violence and bigotry actually feels like.

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