First up in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide today we have three perfect gifts for the spaced-out Hippie in your life. Hippies are still a thing, right? If not, maybe these gifts will persuade someone to expand their mind and live their lives in the cosmic moment.

This entry in the gift guide is inspired by The Monday Marathon of Nigel Pye’s bi-weekly soul-expanding show, Psychedelic Shack, which you can hear until 3 PM this Monday on The AIR.

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
by Timothy Leary
ISBN-13 : 978-0806538570
$15.95 (cheaper at Amazon)

The Shaman Shyster Guru of the Summer of Love, Timothy Leary, extrapolates the idea of better living through chemistry with the Tibetan Book of the Dead and created an artifact of how they thought we would move into the future, way back in the past.

Perhaps I should quote the PR…

Created by the prophetic shaman-professors Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), this foundational text serves as a model and a guide for all mind-expanding inquiries. Based on a unique interpretation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Psychedelic Experience remains a vital testament to broadening spiritual consciousness through a combination of Tibetan meditation techniques and psychotropic substances.

More than fifty years after the Summer of Love, the promise of the psychoactive ’60s—that deeper self-awareness and greater harmony can be achieved through reality-bending substances and practices—is close to becoming a mainstream phenomenon. The signs are everywhere, from a renewed interest in the therapeutic effects of LSD and micro-dosing, to the popularity of the ayahuasca trips and the annual spectacle of Burning Man. Now, for a new generation seeking the trip of a lifetime, The Psychedelic Experience is the essential guidebook to getting there.

The updated edition includes a dedication to Aldous Huxley with a short introductory citation from Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception, which was used by the Beatles in the song Tomorrow Never Knows and a brand-new introduction by Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism.

“It is a book for the living as well as for the dying.”
—Lama Govinda, founder of the Arya Maitreya Mandala

This book is either inspiring or hilarious, depending on your point of view, but you may know just the person who would really dig this, baby.

It’s a quaint, historical artifact now, so enjoy it for what it is.

Dreams Unreal: The Genesis of the Psychedelic Rock Poster
by Titus O’Brien (Author), Andrew Connors (Preface), Scott B. Montgomery (Foreword)
University of New Mexico Press published in association with Albuquerque Museum
ISBN-13 : 978-0826361509
$39.95 (discounted at Amazon)

Okay, this is where my interest in psychedelica lay. I don’t care for the drugs, and if I expand my mind any further I’ll never be able to find a hat that fits me. I love psychedelic stuff for the art and the music, and this book combines both of them into a glorious collection of incredible images and the stories behind them. Again, we quoteth the blurb…

The music scene that sprang up across the Bay Area from 1965 to 1970 was energetic, immensely creative, and loudly outspoken. Bands needed theaters to play in, music promoters needed to get the word out about the shows, and a group of talented young artists producing dreamy, free-form work needed a medium of expression. Thus was born the psychedelic rock poster, one of the most explosively inventive, instantly recognizable, and profoundly influential aesthetic movements of the last century. A group of young visual artists provided perfectly trippy visuals to accompany soundtracks by bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, the Doors, and many more. These artists–including Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Bonnie Maclean, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, and others created a new artistic genre: the collectible rock concert poster. Some are household names today while others are largely forgotten, but the poster art that gave visual life to the amazing music lives on in Dreams Unreal.

This book is the perfect gift for anyone who loves psychedelic art, music history or just coolness in general. This book is 392 pages of some of the finest rock poster are ever made, and the stories behind them.

Follow Me Down: Vanguard’s Lost Psychedelic Era (1966-1970)
Available from Amazon

This collection of killer Psychedelic Rock tunes doesn’t offer up many household names, but the music is amazing and it’s a great snapshot of one of the quickest-moving eras of musical evolution.

Vanguard is primarily known as a folk and blues label, so it was a bit of a revelation when we found the compilation Follow Me Down: Vanguard’s Lost Psychedelic Era 1966-1970.
As Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote for AllMusic,

” Like so many labels and musicians of the time, Vanguard expanded their horizons in the late ’60s, taking a cue from the success of their act Country Joe & the Fish to sign a bunch of weird, woolly guitar acts that specialized in winding, elliptical jams loosely rooted in folk. Elsewhere, there were bands specializing in fuzz-drenched stomps and frenzied journeys to the center of their minds, but the groups Vanguard signed — or at least the ones showcased on this 18-track collection of album cuts and forgotten singles — never followed a straight path and favored pulsating liquefied grooves. Sometimes these ever-circulating patterns are a shade too solipsistic — the Serpent Power’s 13-minute “The Endless Tunnel” does seem like it will never end — but that indulgence not only is the charm of this collection, it also results in several wonderfully elastic and ridiculous moments that capture all the odd, misshapen glory of the psychedelic era. A key thing to keep in mind with regard to Follow Me Down is that many of these acts — acts that aren’t strictly from the West Coast, either; the Third Power hailed from the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills and the Frost were from the Motor City proper, Elizabeth were from Philadelphia, Third Bardo leader Jeff Monn was from New York City — were more about sound than song. This emphasis on aural tides means the sculpted songs do stand out — whether it’s the frenzied “Travelin’ Around” from Circus Maximus or the distorto-hippie blues of Far Cry’s “Hellhound” or Monn’s “I Can Understand Your Problem,” which almost seems like a bid for AM radio in this context — but the best way to enjoy Follow Me Down is just to follow the compilation blindly: the point isn’t the destination, it’s the journey.”

This was originally a Record Store Day release six years ago, but it’s now widely available. And there you have it, a perfect record/CD/Download for the fan of Psychedelic Rock who may have all the more famous stuff in their collection already.