• Joe Lightfoot

The Four Types Of Hippy: A Field Guide

After years of intensive field research I've identified four distinct kinds of Hippy. They include The Original Hippy, The New Age Hippy, The Social Justice Hippy and The Metamodern Hippy. Let's take a look at their similarities and their differences.

Artwork by Arrow Bow

But first a few caveats:

  • These ideas were originally inspired (but not endorsed) by Hanzi Frienacht and his concept of the Quadruple H Population (Hippies, Hipsters, Hermetics & Hackers).

  • The true lineage of the Hippy goes back much further than the 1960’s.

  • Each person is far too complex and multilayered to ever be fully represented in any kind of typing system. These are all just stereotypes and best absorbed with a grain of (Himalayan) salt. In other words they aren't meant to be taken too seriously.

  • If you identify as rather Hippy-ish but none of these four typologies seem to represent you that might be because A. It’s a half baked model or B. Because you’re actually more Hipster, Hermetic or Hacker than you are Hippy.

  • A person can be a less concentrated or more concentrated version of each type and often they blur together as opposed to being wholly discrete from one another. I’d also suggest someone can have different percentage portions of each type of Hippy in their overall presentation of Hippy-ness.

With all that said. Let's dive in.


1. The Original Hippy

Springing out of the 1960’s counterculture we have The Original Hippy. Think flowers in the hair, patchouli and revolutionary anthems. They are typified by an egalitarian vibe and are often deeply enamoured with peace, love and lentils. These kinds of Hippies are becoming harder to find these days because the old guard are dying off and most of the new generation tend to lean towards one of the other three types. However I still come across younger Hippies that embody the spirit and ethos of this original archetype. This stream of Hippy-ness spawned both the back to the land and permaculture movements.

Examples - Most Grateful Dead Fans. Drugs Of Choice - Originally LSD & Cannabis. These days, anything natural. Bright Side - Usually very chill and hilarious. Shadow Side - Can be a little stuck in their ways.


2. The New Age Hippy or 'The Nippy'

Next we have The Nippy who first arrived during the 1970’s New Age movement but who have continued to emerge in subsequent generations. These cosmic folk subscribe to the original Hippy ideals of peace and love but they tend to be more focussed on crystals, alternative healing practices, spirit guides, Rainbow Gatherings, past life regressions, aliens and yoga. Nippies tend to be more oriented towards transcendence, ascension or enlightenment than direct political action.

Examples: The JP Sears Youtube Channel. Drug of Choice: These days Cacao, Kambo, Rapé & CBD Oil. Bright Side: They see the awesome potential latent in all beings and can help others heal and experience moments of bliss. Shadow Side: Can be ungrounded and at times lean towards narrow mindedness or even shades of dogmatism.


3. The Social Justice Hippy or 'The Sippy'

Also originating in the 1970’s we have the Sippy. They are a stream of Hippy that was originally involved in anti-nuclear and environmental protest moments. Nowadays the younger generation of Sippy tends to focus on a wide range of issues including anti-globalisation, animal rights and identify politics. They too share the ideal of a more egalitarian world but tend to be open to using more direct and ‘less Shanti’ means of bringing about the change they wish to see in the world. In the more extreme form think of dreadlocks, squats and often Anarcho-Communist ideals. In the less strident form think of the kinds of people that usually run the food co-op and composting program at your local university or college campus.

Examples: Anyone at a protest march either wearing no shoes at all or else wearing big black boots and dreadlocks. Drug Of Choice: Cannabis & also quite often alcohol if they’ve recently been victorious in their cause. Bright Side: Often courageous, self sacrificing and willing to stand up for what they believe in. Shadow side: Can be cliquey and overly conflictual. Can talk a big game but may not always live up to their own lofty ideals in their personal lives.


4. The Metamodern Hippy or 'The Mippy'

Some time in the last 20 years we’ve seen the emergence of the Mippy. They are a little trickier to discern from the other three H’s (Hipsters, Hackers & Hermetics) but are still a distinct subcategory. These folks have quite often (but not always) encountered some form of Metamodernism, Integral theory or Spiral Dynamics and tend to spend the majority of their time attempting to bring about systems change by elevating their own and other peoples inner state of being. While they can still be involved in activism they are usually oriented towards self actualisation and new ways of more authentically relating to each other. These days it's common for them to focus on some form of somatic experiencing and the process of integrating trauma. They quite often pop up in Bali, Costa Rica and Thailand as well as in culturally progressive parts of the West.

Examples - Often found working in the transformational festival scene, psychedelic therapy world or life coaching online. Drug of Choice - 5 Meo-DMT

Bright Side - Can empathise with a wide range of perspectives. Shadow Side - Can sell out when they take their ideas to market and might not be as integrated as they like to present themselves as to the world.


And if we look further into the future what might we find? Perhaps… The Transhuman Hippy or 'The Trippy.' A Hippy that has transcended the mortal coil by merging with technology through the use of organic implants based on the principles of biomimicry. They are wholly dedicated to increasing rather than depleting the carrying capacity and biodiversity levels of planet Earth.

Drug of Choice - Thrice Recycled Agave Neural Fluid. Bright Side - Can be indistinguishable from trees. Shadow Side - Are often inconveniently mistaken for trees.


Joe Lightfoot is a writer, podcaster and apprentice community weaver. He is the author of A Collective Blooming: The Rise Of The Mutual Aid Community and the host of The Lightfoot Podcast. You can sign up to his newsletter The Lightfoot Letter and find him on Facebook & Twitter.

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2021 Joe Lightfoot

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