The Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius – The Occult 1960s

The 1960s saw many revolutions: social, political, sexual. But one revolution in that frenetic decade may have made the biggest impact of all: the magical revolution. In 1960 a book appeared in Paris that quickly set the Seine on fire and had the existentialists tearing off their berets. The Morning of the Magicians was like a technicolour UFO landing in St. Germain de Pres. Alchemy, magic, occult Nazis, and much more set the tone that would dominant those swinging years. Soon Timothy Leary and LSD provided the canapes for the psychedelic generation, and by 1967, the most famous people in the world, the Beatles, had hopped on the occult bandwagon. Music, film, television, comics: practically all of 60s popular culture was saturated with mystical, magical, occult ideas, with a revived Aleister Crowley overseeing the proceedings. Yet darker sprouts soon shot up among the flower children, and by the end of the decade, with the Manson murders and the squalor of Altamont, something had clearly gone wrong. How did the Morning of the Magicians turn into the Night of the Living Dead? Come and dig it, man!

Book: The Dedalus Book of the 1960s: Turn Off Your Mind


Gary Lachman is the author of many books about consciousness, culture, and the Western esoteric tradition, including The Return of Holy Russia, Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump, Lost Knowledge of the Imagination, and Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. He writes for several journals in the US, UK, and Europe, lectures around the world and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. In a former life he was a founding member of the pop group Blondie and in 2006 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before moving to London in 1996 and becoming a full time writer, Lachman studied philosophy, managed a metaphysical book shop, taught English literature, and was Science Writer for UCLA. He is an adjunct professor of Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He can be reached at, and

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