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New Age Gainesville

A snapshot in time of the holistic/new age movement in Gainesville, Florida, beginning with the 1970s

Back to the '70s

When Dottie Zavada and I met in Gainesville, Florida in the 1970s, we discovered that we shared an insatiable passion for collecting new age publications.

We rationalized our overflowing filing cabinets full of dog-eared papers by affirming that we were guardians of the history of a movement that was sweeping the planet. An exhilarating expansion of consciousness was in the air and we felt that some day we would use our collections of new age magazines and newspapers to document what was happening in an underground of sorts that was tentatively emerging in our own hometown.

Gainesville People's Pages - Doorway to my new world

My own uncertain leap into the new age-holistic-spiritual-metaphysical community materialized in the 1970s.

I was clueless and anxious about what was happening to me deep inside. I was changing, but into what? I thought I needed a road map to take me somewhere, though I didn't know where, and someone to assure me I was not the only one in the Universe going through this "whatever." I prayed for help. It arrived disguised as a new age newspaper.

There was a natural food store and juice bar called Health Horizons at 627 N. Main Street. I had never been there but decided to check it out since a friend worked there. While waiting for my smoothie, I picked up a funky free newspaper they distributed, called the Gainesville People's Pages. It was truly an artform, like no newspaper I had ever seen. It was published by Andy "Astra" Lopez, of the LIST (Living Institute of Survival Technology), which was owned by Astra's Garden School of Divination and Psychic Development at 1813 SW 23rd Street.

That paper was a doorway into a new world for me to explore. Before long I found kindred spirits willing to share my adventures in consciousness

Down Memory Lane via the LIST

OK, ready for a roller coaster ride down memory lane? Hang on, read the LIST  newspaper over my shoulder, and see how many of these people and places you remember. Some are still here and some are gone, but not forgotton. (Note: This is NOT a test!)

In 1977, the North Florida Botanical Society took out a full page ad asking for community help in establishing a botanical garden that would be called Kanapaha. Their dream manifested into Kanapaha Botanical Gardens which opened to the public in 1987. Today, it's a 62-acre facility with 24 major collections including the state's largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. What a success story! It's located at 4700 SW 58th Drive in Gainesville (entrance on SW Archer Road 1 mile west of I-75 exit 384).

In 1977, the Florida School of Massage was located at 114 SE First Street and had been offering massage therapy education since 1973. The complete tuition was $650. Today they are located on ten acres in the raised hammock that surrounds Payne's Prairie wildlife preserve. Their address is 6421 SW 13th Street, Gainesville. Their website has a 360-degree Virtual Tour that tells their story better than I can. Another success story!

In 1977, Sunshine Plants advertised her popular Down to Earth Breakfast House at 625 W. University Avenue. The bulletin board was situated so we could read the flyers while waiting in line. It was the place to discover what was going on in the happy little new age subculture I was still tentatively checking out. We gathered there and exchanged hugs and the latest news while waiting for the indescribably delicious whole wheat banana pancakes and yummy herbal omelettes. What I loved best was that my good friend, Mary Lee Chapman, was a waitress there (way before it became politically correct to call them servers). She served love with the food, and it felt warm and fuzzy, like going home.

Around the corner, across the side street at 10 SW 7th Street, was Subterranean Circus. It was the first head shop I'd ever been in. It was the '70s - a time of black lights and lava lamps, beaded curtains and beanbag chairs. It was the place to buy those groovy blacklight psychedelic posters, flower power bumper stickers, and not-yet-illegal paraphernalia. If you hung out long enough, you could count on running into a lot of people of all ages in tie-dyed shirts and Birkenstocks. William Killeen managed it, though I can't recall meeting him.

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words and music by Greg Webb & Kiki Carter Webb

mountains crumble

stone by stone

river will rise

as the rain comes down

seeds will flower

flowers will seed

changing surface

serving deeper needs


in all of creation

the only constant is change

welcome the change

turn the page

welcome to change

turn the page

seas ebb and flow

as the moon calls the tide

stones fall from heaven

distant planets collide

in all of creation

the only constant is change

welcome the change

turn the page

welcome to change

turn the page

(c)1994 Shebreana Music (BMI)

Kiki & Greg Webb
dancing Light