Mystic Arts: The Brothers Hood.
Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and I was their "little brother."
I idolized my oldest brother Ron, and whenever he was around, I begged him to let me hang out with him. He was always smiling, with his characteristic “cat that ate the canary" grin under his blond wavy hair. I could be persistent, and I succeeded in talking my way into rides in his blue Volkswagen van. Ron would stick a Paul Butterfield Blues Band eight-track tape into the player and I was in seventh heaven. I loved the sound of the blues. I would tag along, following him to places like the Mystic Arts World, a metaphysical bookstore, hippie boutique, and head shop on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. It was the epicenter of the psychedelic world and one of the first head shops in existence.
Mystic Arts World was where the Brotherhood of Eternal Love dropped lSD and turned on the world. They rejected their material ways and the old Anaheim car club, that had once called themselves the Street Sweepers incorporated as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. They were granted tax-exempt status as a religious organization by the State Franchise Tax Board. They dropped acid and smoked pot, while the FBI sat across the street, monitoring their every move. They were most often referred to as simply “The Brotherhood,” and they welcomed me in as one of their own. It was all a strange trip, yet one I wanted to take. I was their “little brother.”
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was originally founded by a man by the name of John Griggs. He had first gotten turned on to acid after robbing a Hollywood producer at gunpoint for all his stash of Sandoz acid. After dropping his first hit and having a totally amazing enlightening religious experience, he returned to the producer’s home and returned all the acid, thanking him profusely.
He had truly believed they had found a “magic bullet” in LSD, and they decided to shoulder the mission of turning the entire world on to the wonders of LSD. At first, they were committed to a non-materialistic lifestyle, striving to achieve eternal peace, love, and enlightenment, through communal living. It was truly “all for one and one for all.” The men of the Brotherhood appeared to be men of honor and respect, and I became enchanted by them and their unconventional ways, and why not? They were not part of the establishment. What had the establishment ever done for me? The school was part of the establishment and school had done nothing for me except make me miserable.
A large part of the Brotherhood’s lifestyle was getting high. Because of my devotion to the principles of that group, I became firmly convinced that there was absolutely nothing wrong with using the drugs that the Brotherhood used. After all, pot and psychedelics came from nature, and nature meant God, and in my eyes, God was always a good thing.
The only things the drugs seemed to do was make a person more mellow and loving, and what could possibly be wrong with that? Back then, I never saw anybody get hurt from smoking pot or dropping acid. The movement was so new that no one had any idea of the far-reaching side effects of acid that would show up decades later. It is ironic that the Brotherhood, which was founded on the principles of peace and love, became the biggest LSD manufacturer and hashish and pot smugglers in the world during the 1960s and ’70s.