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- For "psychedelics," see psychedelic drug.
The word psychedelic is a neologism coined from the Greek words for "mind," ψυχή (psyche), and "manifest," δήλος (delos).
A psychedelic experience is characterized by the perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ordinary fetters. Psychedelic states are one of the stations on the spectrum of experiences elicited by sensory deprivation as well as by psychedelic substances. On that same spectrum will be found hallucinations, changes of perception, synesthesia, altered states of awareness, mystical states, and occasionally states resembling psychosis.
The term was first coined as a noun in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, as an alternative descriptor for hallucinogenic drugs in the context of psychedelic psychotherapy. The term featured in a now-famous exchange with Aldous Huxley, in which the little-used term phanerothyme (derived from roots relating to "spirit" or "soul") was suggested:
- To make this trivial world sublime,
- take half a gram of phanerothyme.
- To fathom Hell or soar angelic,
- just take a pinch of psychedelic.
Timothy Leary, who was largely responsible for the popularization of the term "psychedelic", was a well known proponent of their use, as was Aldous Huxley. The word psychedelic should actually be spelled psychodelic, in accordance with proper Greek, as Huxley had pointed out to Osmund upon the term's conception. However, Leary thought that psychedelic sounded better and deliberately disregarded the proper spelling and pronunciation. The use of psychedelic drugs became widespread in the mid-1960s. One of the first uses of the word in the music scene of this time (who also helped popularize the term) was in 13th Floor Elevators album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.
The fashion for psychedelic drugs gave its name to the visual style of psychedelia, a term describing a category of rock music known as psychedelic rock. visual art, fashion, and culture that is associated originally with the high 1960s, hippies, and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Psychedelia generally began in 1966, but truly took off in 1967 with the Summer of Love. Although associated with San Francisco, the style soon spread across the U.S.A., and worldwide.
The counterculture of the 1960s had a strong influence on the popular culture of the early 1970s, and is well recognized even by those who are naïve to its psychedelic origins. It later became linked to a style of electronic dance music commonly known as psytrance.
The impact of psychedelic drugs on western culture in the 1960s led to semantic drift in the use of the word "psychedelic", and it is now frequently applied to describe any brightly patterned or coloured object. In objection to this new meaning, and to the pejorative meanings of other synonyms such as "hallucinogen" and "psychotomimetic", the term "entheogen" was proposed and is seeing increasing use. However, many consider the term "entheogen" best reserved for religious and spiritual usage, such as certain Native American churches do with the peyote sacrament, and "psychedelic" left to describe those who are using these drugs recreationally.
At the same time as psychedelic drugs were being used by the counterculture of the 1960s, they were also being used in experiments by governments, who saw them and sensory deprivation (apparently mistakenly) as useful agents for mind control; see MKULTRA for the CIA involvement in the use of psychedelic drugs.
- psychedelic art
- psychedelic era
- psychedelic experience
- psychedelic literature
- psychedelic music
- psychedelic psychotherapy
- psychedelic trance
- Psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants
- The Fool (design collective) - a group of psychedelic artists active in the 1960s.
- Psychedelic Art Gallery Large gallery of psychedelic art by various artists
- Science & Consciousness Review, The Neurochemistry of Psychedelic Experience
- Spirit Plants
- The Shroomery
- Tiedyeman's Fractal Gallery Dale A. Clark aka Tiedyeman
- Nativos Psychedelic designs