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Start Your Own Religion: New York State’s Acid Churches

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Abstract

This paper describes a radical and short-lived spiritual movement that emerged in New York State in the 1960s. With Dr. Timothy Leary as the figurehead, two of these psychedelic religions rose to brief cultural prominence in period of 1963–1968 when Leary and his communal group made their home in the small village of Millbrook, New York. Due to negative media attention and a subsequent law enforcement crackdown brought upon at least partially by the increasingly provocative stance of the leaders of these psychedelic groups, they were forced to flee the state by early 1968. This paper establishes the historical significance of New York State’s Acid Churches within the culture of the 1960s and draws the link to today’s Neopagan and New Age movements and the rebirth of the use of psychedelic substances within the modern scientific, psychological, and therapeutic communities.

Lander, D. R. (2011).  Start Your Own Religion: New York State’s Acid Churches. Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, 14(3), 64–80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/nr.2011.14.3.64
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