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center|Prayer Circle during Pluralist Furneral in Northern California

California spirituality, a Wikipedia:New Religious Movement of pluralist, panentheistic "Seekers" of Wikipedia:religion and Wikipedia:spirituality, that has its humble beginnings as recently as the 1960s in Wikipedia:San Francisco,[1][2] but which could also be traced back to the Wikipedia:Ascona Wikipedia:Commune in Wikipedia:Switzerland during the Wikipedia:early 20th century,[3] often draws inspiration from Wikipedia:Buddhism, Wikipedia:Taoism, orthodox and Wikipedia:gnostic Wikipedia:Abrahamic beliefs, and Wikipedia:East Asian religions such as Wikipedia:Hinduism, with an emphasis on Wikipedia:Esotericism, Wikipedia:Gnosticism, and Wikipedia:Theosophy.[4][5] This Wikipedia:New Religious Movement of "Seekers" is often associated with Wikipedia:California, and thus the first person to document it in a scholarly way coined it as such,[6] but it is, in practice, an aspect form of Wikipedia:religious freedom. California Spirituality is not a Wikipedia:religion in that there is no explicit Wikipedia:dogma, as it was inspired by the idea that one needs not a Wikipedia:priest to talk to their own Wikipedia:God, but there does exist a cogent Wikipedia:Dharma of Wikipedia:Metaphysical Unity, the Karmic Cycle, and the tenants of Wikipedia:Gaianism.[7] “The Seeker Generation,” as Clark has called them, began accepting tenants of Wikipedia:religious beliefs, and semi-religious belief systems, beyond Wikipedia:Christianity, such as Naturalism and Wikipedia:Eastern Philosophy.[8] This group of “Seekers” are mostly descendent from a generation rife with Post-Wikipedia:World War II era disillusionment with horrors of Wikipedia:modern society wherein people, according to Wade Clark Roof, where mainly seeking “personal meaning and social belonging.” [9] Practitioners and believers of California Spirituality are often simply called Wikipedia:Hippies, although that is not always an accurate description, a more appropriate term would be a " Seeker," a phrase also coined by Roof.[10]

History Edit

In fin de siècle Europe, from 1896–1908, a German youth movement known as Der Wandervogel began to grow as a Wikipedia:countercultural reaction to the organized social and cultural clubs that centered on Wikipedia:German folk music. In contrast to these formal clubs, Wikipedia:Wandervogel emphasized amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involving hiking and camping.[11] Inspired by the works of Wikipedia:Friedrich Nietzsche, Wikipedia:Goethe, Wikipedia:Hermann Hesse, and Wikipedia:Eduard Baltzer, Wikipedia:Wandervogel attracted thousands of young Germans who rejected the rapid trend toward Wikipedia:urbanization and yearned for the Wikipedia:pagan, "back-to-nature" spiritual life of their Wikipedia:ancestors [12]

During the first several decades of the 20th century, these beliefs were introduced to the United States as Germans settled around the country, some opening the first Wikipedia:health food stores. Many moved to Wikipedia:Southern California where they could practice an Wikipedia:alternative lifestyle in a warm climate. In turn, young Americans adopted the beliefs and practices of the new immigrants. One group, called the "Wikipedia:Nature Boys", took to the California desert, raised Wikipedia:organic food, and espoused a "back-to-nature" lifestyle.[13] Wikipedia:Eden Ahbez, a member of this group, wrote a hit song called Wikipedia:Nature Boy, which was recorded in 1947 by Nat King Cole, popularizing the homegrown "back-to-nature" movement to mainstream America. Eventually, a few of these "Wikipedia:Nature Boys," including the famous Wikipedia:Gypsy Boots, made their way to Wikipedia:Northern California in Wikipedia:1967, just in time for the Wikipedia:Summer of Love in Wikipedia:San Francisco.[14]

Common Practices Edit

Imagery of California Spirituality is prominent in many places around the world, but places surrounding few are as well known as Wikipedia:San Francisco and its northern coastal areas, including the southern Wikipedia:Oregon coast. These integrations of the some of the practices of the varied Wikipedia:belief systems has created a unique culmination of practices that are now nearly characteristic of certain segments of society, most famously the Wikipedia:Haight-Ashbury area in Wikipedia:San Francisco and the small towns north of the Wikipedia:Golden Gate Bridge, onto the Wikipedia:southern Oregon fishing villages.[15]

The imagery conjured for those whom have been to such places include such social phenomenon as Wikipedia:bumper stickers welcoming “seekers” permeating the visual landscape.[16] In the Pacific Northwest the “bumper sticker religion,” as many of the non-Seekers have dubbed it, is omnipresent. Recognizable icons from East and the West, such as Wikipedia:ॐ (“Aum,” or "Om"), the Wikipedia:Lion of Judah, and Native American Prophecies, often appear together as to affirm that all of these are part of a single belief system.[17][18]


  1. Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion. By Wade Clark Roof. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1999
  2. THE VISIONARY STATE: A JOURNEY THROUGH CALIFORNIA'S SPIRITUAL LANDSCAPE By Erik Davis Photographs by Michael Rauner Chronicle Books, June 2006
  3. Gordon Kennedy: Children of the Sun: A Pictorial Anthology From Germany To California 1883–1949. Nivaria Press (1998), 192 pp., ISBN 0-9668898-0-0
  4. Roof, 1999
  5. Davis, 2006
  6. Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Region: Fluid Identities (Religion by Region). Phillip E. Hammond, George Tanabe, Susan Frankiel, Douglas Firth Anderson, David Machacek, Edited Wade Clark Roof & Mark Silk. AltaMira Press, 2005, page 119
  7. Davis, 2006
  8. Clark, 1999
  9. Roof, 1999
  10. Roof, 1999
  11. Randall, Annie Janeiro. (2005). Music, Power, and Politics. "The Power to Influence Minds". pp.66-67. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-94364-7
  12. Kennedy, Gordon; Kody Ryan. "Hippie Roots & The Perennial Subculture". Retrieved 2007-08-31. See also: Kennedy 1998
  13. Kennedy, 1999
  14. Kennedy, 1998
  15. Roof, 1999.
  16. Davis, 2006
  17. Davis, 2006
  18. Roof, 1999

External linksEdit

1. "Esoteric California: Visionary State at the Philosophical Research Society," narrated by Erik Davis, delivered to the Philosophical Research Society, March 15, 2009.

2. "Erik Davis Speaks...Interview with Erik Davis," by Jon Hanna, Winter 2006, The Entheogen Review,

3. "The Altered State: California's Spiritual Frontiers," a four-week seminar, Feb 17, 24 March 2, March 16, 2004. California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco.

4. "Manly P. Hall and California Spirituality," Seminar deliver by The Gnostic Society, July 24, 2009.

5. "Visionary State: California Spirituality," Seminar delivered at The Esalen Institute, May 12–14, 2006.

6. "Chasing the Divine: Huston Smith and the seekers of Trabuco Canyon," By Don Lattin, California magazine, Published by UC Berkeley, Spring 2011.

Sources Edit

Wikipedia:Category:New Age Wikipedia:Category:Neoplatonism

Wikipedia:Category:Personal development Wikipedia:Category:Human behavior Wikipedia:Category:Philosophy of life Wikipedia:Category:Belief

Wikipedia:Category:Epistemological theories Wikipedia:Category:Epistemology of religion Wikipedia:Category:Metaphysical theories Wikipedia:Category:Metatheory of science Wikipedia:Category:Secularism Wikipedia:Category:Atheism Wikipedia:Category:Materialism Wikipedia:Category:Metaphilosophy

Wikipedia:Category:History of religion Wikipedia:Category:Christian terminology Wikipedia:Category:Reclaimed words

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