Edition #3: Raw Water – healthy or dangerous hippie trend?

This week's edition covers Erowid, New Age Statistics, Legal Psychedelics and Stardust.

Welcome to your weekly dose of weird, where I share new age trends and dig up gems from the counter culture. You can sign up for the newsletter or find previous editions here.

Tell me when you put out new (age) content:

How do you like your water, raw or well-treated?

Raw water is “water found in the environment that has not been treated and does not have any of its minerals, ions, particles, bacteria, or parasites removed.” (Wikipedia)

Companies like Live Water are selling raw water like hot cakes. It’s part of an “off-grid water movement” that involves drinking unfiltered, untreated water.

The trend seems to be a confluence of these forces: distrust of the public water supply (think Flint), the raw food trend, and the idea that anything “natural” must be good. 

Add conspiracy theories about government mind control, and you’ve got the makings of a hit new age product.

Vox and Verge talk about this concerning trend, in which enterprising companies stand to make a significant profit while potentially making their customers sick.

“Proponents claim that raw water’s health benefits include naturally occurring minerals and microbes. But the reality for any inadequately treated water from the tap or a spring is that those minerals can sometimes include arsenic, and those microbes can be deadly.”

The most damning coverage came from Men’s Health. Reporters went to Opal Springs, the source of Livewater’s raw water, and found that their pricey water is just “tap water from Jefferson County, which residents get piped into their homes for about one-third of a cent per gallon.”

(Btw, who expected such great investigative journalism from Men’s Health?)

Check out other people’s “trip” logs on Erowid

Erowid is a non-profit database of psychedelic drugs most well-known for its experience vaults, where people anonymously share their “trip” experiences.

A couple named Earth and Fire (I kid you not) still run the website. Here’s a great article from the New Yorker covering the back story of Erowid in depth.

I find that the outdated web design and difficult navigation add to the charm of this well-meaning resource.

Got 5 minutes to kill? Here’s an example LSD trip report written by the aptly named HippieGirl.

If you’re specifically interested in magic mushrooms, Shroomery.org also has a dedicated trip vault.

60% of Americans believe in one of these New Age beliefs

A 2017 Pew research report found that almost six-in-ten American adults accept one of these “New Age” beliefs: psychics, astrology, reincarnation and that physical objects can hold spiritual energy.

Two other surprises I found in this report:

  1. The majority of Christians hold at least one New Age belief, just as much as religiously unaffiliated Americans.
  2. About 70% of women hold at least one New Age belief, compared to 55% of men.

Curious numbers here. How many of you identify as religious and hold one of these beliefs? Let me know.

Sage and other legal psychedelics

When my roommate told me that sage can be psychedelic, I went into a rabbit hole of researching legal psychedelics. 

Turns out, a form of sage called salvia divinorum, more commonly referred to as just salvia, can produce terrifying trips

Here’s an in-depth guide on the salvia plant, which has varying levels of legality.

Check out this wider list of legal psychedelics, one of them being nutmeg!

We are (actually) made of stardust

If it’s any phrase that sounds woo-woo to me, it’s something that rings like We are made of stardust

I feel sheepish to say that this is technically true, according to reputable sources like the Smithsonian and Natural History Museum (UK).

Every element was made in a star and if you combine those elements in different ways you can make species of gas, minerals, and bigger things like asteroids, and from asteroids you can start making planets and then you start to make water and other ingredients required for life and then, eventually, us. — Dr Ashley King

Oz Chen

Oz Chen

Oz is the host of Hippiecritical, a blog and podcast exploring new age trends with both skepticism and an open heart. He's a designer + writer by day, hippie whisperer by night.

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