Unveils the spiritual meaning that fueled the artistic, political, and social revolutions of the 1960s
• Investigates the spiritual principles that informed everything from the civil rights and anti-war movements, to the hippies’ rejection of materialist culture, to the rise of feminism, gay rights, and environmentalism
• Reveals how medieval troubadours, Gnosticism, Renaissance hermetic magic, and the occult doctrines of Aleister Crowley helped shape the psychedelic Sixties
• Offers in-depth analysis of many of the era’s most famous books, films, and music
No decade in modern history has generated more controversy and divisiveness than the tumultuous 1960s. For some, the ‘60s were an era of free love, drugs, and social revolution. For others, the Sixties were an ungodly rejection of all that was good and holy. Embarking on a profound search for the spiritual meaning behind the massive social upheavals of the 1960s, Tobias Churton turns a kaleidoscopic lens on religious and esoteric history, industry, science, philosophy, art, and social revolution to identify the meaning behind all these diverse movements.
Engaging with views of mainstream historians, some of whom write off this pivotal decade as heralding an overall decline in moral values and respect for tradition, Churton examines the intricate network of spiritual forces at play in the era. He reveals spiritual principles that united the free love movement, the civil rights and anti-war movements, the hippies’ rejection of materialist culture, and the eventual rise of feminism, gay rights, and environmentalism. He traces influences from medieval troubadours, Gnosticism, Hindu philosophy, Renaissance hermetic magic, and the occult doctrines of Aleister Crowley. He also examines the psychedelic revolution, the genesis of popular interest in UFOs, and the psychological consequences of the Bomb and the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King. In addition, Churton investigates the huge shifts in consciousness reflected in the movies, music, art, and literature of the era–from Frank Sinatra to the Beatles, fromI Love Lucy to Star Trek, from John Wayne to Midnight Cowboy–much of which still resonates with the youth of today.
Taking the reader on a long strange trip from crew-cuts and Bermuda shorts to Hair and Woodstock, from liquor to psychedelics, from uncool to cool, and from matter to Soul, Churton shows how the spiritual values of the Sixties are now reemerging, with an astonishing influx of spiritual light, to once again awaken us.
“The Spiritual Meaning of the Sixties is Tobias Churton’s most personal book. . . . A wonderfully capacious interpretation of the tumultuous decade.” (James Penner, Ph.D., author of Timothy Leary: The Harvard Years)
About the Author
Tobias Churton is a world authority on Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Freemasonry, and Rosicrucianism. Appointed Honorary Fellow of Exeter University in 2005, he holds a master’s degree in Theology from Brasenose College, Oxford, and is the author of many books, including Aleister Crowley in America and Occult Paris. He lives in the heart of England.