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The Hippie TrailA History$
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Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526114624

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526114624.001.0001

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The hippie as pilgrim

The hippie as pilgrim

(p.137) Chapter 4 The hippie as pilgrim
The Hippie Trail

Sharif Gemie

Brian Ireland

Manchester University Press

The chapter starts by recounting the story of ‘George’, who travelled to India and found a faith. Some historical contextualisation is given: the decline of Christian beliefs and practices in the UK and USA after 1945 is considered. There were precedents to spiritual searches in the East: in the nineteenth century both Egypt and Tibet were seen as lands which held mystical truths. The rise of new forms of religion in the West, such as Buddhism, is considered. It is argued that these religions had a particular force in the USA. The appeal of Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism is considered. On the other hand, there was a groundswell of religious scepticism among some travellers. In conclusion, it is argued that the hippy trail should be considered as a form of secular, possibly spiritual, pilgrimage.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Western Buddhism, Islam, Sufism, Orientalism, Theosophy

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