Let me begin by saying I have a significant portion of my friends circle who engage and condone this lifestyle. People are allowed to express themselves and I'm not going to bash anyone who is passionate about being a new age hippie.
However, I do have an issue with people who simply dress like a hippie but don't actually live the message that they're portraying. I'm going to give the run-down of a true heady person's actions, beliefs, and sense of style, as well as their culture as a whole compared to the original hippies back in the 60's, and the difference between genuine heady people and heady wannabes. Fair warning: you're probably going to get really tired of hearing the word "heady" throughout the article as there are very few synonyms I can alternate between, sorry!
What Defines a "Heady" Person?
Our friend on Urban Dictionary does an excellent job dumbing down the definition of this slang word. For one, it can mean a strong, particularly high-grade strain of marijuana. Unfortunately you're going to have to look elsewhere for an article that really dissects that meaning of the word "heady".
Someone who claims to be heady rocks new age hippie threads (usually organic and uber expensive), a colorful snap-back hat detailed with some trippy artwork and absolutely covered in pins, a head full of dreadlocks or some other shaggy hairstyle that screams "I woke up like this" all day every day, and a montage of tattoos including but not limited to: Ohm symbols, lotus flowers, Buddhist symbols, zodiac signs, etc. Lastly, most new age hippies have a plethora of body piercings and intricate handmade jewelry pieces/stone wire wraps evenly distributed on each limb of their body.
The Heady Equation
Female demonstrator offering a flower to a Military Police officer during an anti-war protest in 1967
Your typical genuine heady believer will engage in all sorts of spiritual activities and practices on a daily basis. As far as religion goes, they usually don't conform to mainstream beliefs. Instead, it is common that they will study and practice Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, and Hinduism instead. Fun fact regarding religion: Timothy Leary was a renown psychologist who founded the League of Spiritual Discovery which actually declares LSD as its holy sacrament to stand as a symbol of acceptance for religious freedom.
Politics usually mean nothing to our heady generation. This is a big difference they have now from the hippies back in the '60s due to that generation's involvement in protesting the Vietnam War. Although they held peaceful retaliations and movements, they were relentless and very passionate about spreading peace and love to end war. Heady people/new-age hippies don't partake in too many rebellious acts and most don't have any political preference; most would choose to be liberals if anything.
Yoga and meditation are also an outlet for anger or depression within the original and new-age hippie culture. Yoga relaxes the mind, strengthens the body, and maintains an overall healthy physical lifestyle.
Ever been on a psychadelic journey? No? Then you're not 100% heady bruh.
The point of this article isn't to educate the general public of the use of hallucinogens and other psychedelic drugs; [however, my 11th grade research paper was all about hallucinogens and the counter culture movement (96% by the way) so I can upload that later upon request!] the point is to help "normal" people understand the characteristics that make someone heady.
Peacemakers in the '60s believed that in engaging in the use of psychedelics, you are opening your mind to a world beyond what normally meets the eye. They include psilocybin mushrooms, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD, acid), and Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). These illegal drugs can be harmful by the decisions and actions the user makes while under its influence, but the actual drugs themselves haven't been known to cause any permanent physical or mental damage.
The heady collective believes in this tradition as well and are also known to have a strong passion for marijuana. Their new-age culture runs extremely parallel to the hippies at Woodstock back in 1969 whether they are aware of it or not. Their beliefs, actions, sense of style, and body language all coincide with the old fashioned hippies back in the day.
I respect someone who is heady and I condone in their beliefs because they wish to be peaceful and segregated from our corrupt society. I just don't really dig the whole "dreadlock and hippie threads" get-up. However, just because you have a heady wardrobe doesn't actually make you a genuinely heady person. There are a few ways to tell whether or not someone is 100% heady, or if their heady-ness doesn't get deeper than what meets the eye.
- Close-mindedness: Heady fellows usually have a certain genre of music or artist that they are particularly fond of, but they are also accepting of everyone else's interests as well. A heady wannabe would say something like, "How could you still like Flosstradamus, their music is so 2013 and ever since then they've produced nothing but trash." Sorry we aren't all into Bassnectar or Desert Dwellers; that doesn't mean nobody else can produce good music. Everyone has different tastes and a true heady individual is accepting of that and doesn't make someone feel like shit about their preferences.
- Hypocrisy: Going along with the previous example, I'll be at a music festival and get trashed by a wannabe heady one moment for the kind of music I like, and then the next moment they're standing right next to me during Flosstradamus's set going harder than I am. It's okay to like other genres of music, be passionate about your favorite and don't bash someone else's taste only to go listen to that same kind of music later.
- Dramatic: Honestly, most heady people I know in the area I live in stir the most drama and actually thrive off of it. Don't dress like a gypsy and preach about PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect) and then spread rumors or judge someone else for no reason at all. Even if that person has done something in the past to hurt you, if you're actually as heady as your outfit makes you out to be, then you'd ignore them, be the bigger person, and continue along a peaceful and drama-free lifestyle.
So go ahead and spend hundreds of dollars on cool hat pins, printed scarves and shawls, or tye dye harem and flare pants; No matter how much money you want to spend on your hippie attire, that doesn't actually make you a real heady guru.
Woodstock 1969 vs. Mysteryland 2014
Heady is NOT Hipster
One last thing: Heady is similar to the word "hipster (a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.)" but don't you DARE call someone who is heady, a hipster. That will probably result in an unnecessary yet completely avoidable argument if you just keep to yourself. A new-age heady person doesn't follow the latest trends and fashions but they do like to stand out and disassociate themselves with mainstream cultures.
You're a Hipster if...
Some friendly advice:
So to wrap it up in a nutshell, heady people are chill and fun to get to know because of their different outlooks on life, but only if they're actually 100% genuinely heady. Unfortunately it seems to me as though the majority of the heady culture movement consists of heady wannabes who dress like they don't give a shit but in reality they're the ones who give the most shits out of all of us. Sorry heady wannabes, you're just making yourself look stupid when your outfit is carefully put together to make you out to be a heady guy or gal, but when you actually open your mouth it's easy to distinguish the difference between a genuine heady person and a poser.
Everyone has the right to dress how they want and express themselves, but the double standard that comes with trying to be heady, is that dressing like that comes with a reputation you need to carefully maintain. If you don't act the part and accept and practice their beliefs, you WILL get judged and the real headies out there will resent you for making them look bad as a whole. So take my advice and either dress and act like a heady individual is supposed to, or express yourself in a way that won't be detrimental to a specific culture if your actions don't coincide with their philosophy. You're welcome.
Tim on November 13, 2019:
Kate (author) from Philadelphia, PA on October 28, 2016:
Thank you! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions Steve!
Steve on October 26, 2016:
Nice description. I'm interested in the research paper.
Michaela from USA on February 25, 2016:
Thing is, a hipster doesn't follow the latest trends and fads, they "liked this stuff BEFORE it was cool..." but yeah, in the end not much difference.