Metaphysical Underground: The Underground Press and the Transformation of Metaphysical Religion, 1964-1973
The following dissertation examines the effects that underground papers published between 1964 and 1973 had on metaphysical religion in the United States. Research was conducted by consulting the Underground Press Collection, a microfilm collection of underground and alternative periodicals from 1963-1985. The dissertation shows how metaphysical ads, articles, columns, and letters in underground newspapers transformed metaphysical religion and nurtured the development of New Age religion. The dissertation demonstrates three effects that underground papers had on metaphysical religions. It shows that metaphysicals used underground papers to express their political views; it shows how underground papers contributed to the democratization of metaphysical ideas, symbols and practices; and it shows how underground papers contributed to the perception that metaphysical religions were hip. These effects facilitated the development of New Age religion in the early 1970s, and that collectively, underground papers from the 1960s make up one of the institutions by which the American counterculture transformed metaphysical religion in the United States.