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I'd Love to Turn You On - a story behind the music about LSD

by Arlo Hennings 2 months ago in 60s music
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Is it time for a third 'summer of love'?

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

My turntable in the late 1960s was full of LSD spiked music. The Beatles, Moody Blues, Rolling Stones, Donovan, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, John Coltance, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Country Joe. The list is long and like a true fan I had to try it too. 

What all the music had in common was enlightenment.

"When people experience Enlightenment, they frequently report losing their sense of self, and scientific analysis confirms that brain activity is driving this sensation. Though Enlightenment is typically associated with fervently religious or spiritual individuals like Mother Teresa or the Buddha, people from all walks of life can experience essence-changing events - sometimes just walking down the street, Dr. Newberg tells us. Similar experiences can be purposefully induced through the use of pharmacological substances like LSD or hallucinogenic mushrooms."

What is LSD?

Many have attempted with varying degrees of success to describe what effect LSD has. But, one thing is for certain the drug had a life-altering effect on me.

Psychedelic Experience Manual 

The LSD I had came in a blue sugar cube and wrapped in Paisley-colored tin foil. 

It offered a gateway to another dimension of my being. A parallel world as much a part of our reality as the Earth, to which we're bound.

A domain of spirit where the cumbersome physical body cannot function. Where encounters with rabbit holes and other such entities of the imagination are commonplace.

It is in that place - where time and space melt away. The consciousness of all beings\living or dead seems to connect. 

A place where I am in a state of awareness, where I am making sense of the otherwise inexplicable.

It is in this realm where the soul maps are hidden away, waiting for a timely moment to reveal their secrets - to unveil the path to transformation.

Only pure LSD was powerful enough to propel me beyond the ego's gravitational pull.

Beyond the inky black nothingness of the dream mind.

The trip

After the first booster had exhausted its fuel, I'd enter Stage 1. Feeling the drift, then into Stage 2. My vision tapped through the dark illusion of time… and finally, onto Stage 3 - where a white-out happened.

I experienced my conscious and unconscious minds merging. Into a state of blissful surrender. To go beyond the matrix and travel to other galaxies, uninhibited by any mortal means.

Philosophically, what does enlightenment mean?

After taking LSD, I became a voracious reader, which inspired me to become a writer and a musician.

The downside was it alienated me from a conservative culture that prized money above all else.

My enhanced brain percolated with delusional ideas of dropping out (Timothy Leary), being special (Steve Jobs), and a turntable guru (Beatles).

My visions prompted me to believe that I knew something beyond the ordinary. 

It was interesting but not practical to live inside a Don Juan book.

Had I gone where no mind had gone before there wasn't a practical place for such individuals.

I had tried many variations of Acid that did not take me "there." Like purple haze, microdot and windowpane, orange sunshine, and 3-way wedge, which I place in the hallucinogenic class, not the DIY Shaman kit.

I tripped so many times I grew weary of the predictable trip arc. How many times did I need to witness my mind leaving my body?

Or watch my ego dissolve like Alka-Seltzer?

Until I admitted, I was not the Buddha and never would unravel the great mystery of my navel.

Trying to explain what I experienced was like holding water with a fork. When the good trips became bad trips, I didn't need to drop it anymore.

I still wonder what kind of person I may have become if I never experimented with LSD. It changed who I was but to what degree and to put a finger on that I've never been able to ascertain.

The bandage of self came off and I saw the non me for the first time. Like that first light at birth, I had reached Universal Mind.

The vision gained was like trying to hold water with a fork. I stopped at this point to smell my fingers. The taste of the journey remains on your fingertips. 

50 years later what conclusion

The resurgence of research supports LSD's medicinal properties. Using psychedelic substances to treat conditions such as addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety are promising.

In recent years, LSD has undergone something of a public image shift, from Steve Jobs talking about his experiences to Silicon Valley types advocating microdosing (taking tiny amounts of the drug to boost creativity). The first placebo-controlled study into microdosing was launched in September by the Beckley Foundation and Imperial College London, while the UK has also conducted medical trials that investigate LSD's potential therapeutic uses.

While it may not be summer of love III, it might just be the beginning of a new era of openness, even respectability, for the drug.

More writing by author

60s music

About the author

Arlo Hennings

Author 2 non-fiction books, music publisher, expat, father, cultural ambassador, PhD, MFA (Creative Writing), B.A.

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