We're pleased to introduce a new feature to the Common Ground website, the webzine. Now you can flip through the pages the same way you might our printed editions, which are otherwise only available in San Francisco Bay Area locations.

Simply click on the 'Current Issue' above, 'Back Issues' or any of the magazine covers above. We hope you will enjoy this new paperless alternative.  Thanks for supporting Common Ground and its advertisers.


from the publisher

Michael Pollan, the darling of the natural foods movement, changed his mind and decided to successfully add “psychedelic guy” to his resume. Advancing an open conversation about the acceptance of psychedelics, he’s credited with having moved the yardsticks further and faster than anyone in recent history. I asked Pollan if he ever feared being compared to Timothy Leary. He said I was the first to make the comparison, acknowledging that he has the peoples’ ear like Leary did but other than that, no. In so many ways he urges caution—the opposite of “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” 

The reason Pollan has been an effective advocate is because he comes as an outsider with his objective journalist credentials. He researched the terrain, then experimented (with the help of guides), had mostly good experiences, and wrote about it in his bestselling book, How to Change Your Mind. People are interested and psychedelics are getting past the bad rap they got during the war on drugs.

While Pollan was born to a Jewish family, his actual interest in spirituality was zero—he chose instead to look at life through the lens of a scientific empiricist. One of the happy upsides of his psychedelic experiment was a temporary feeling of ego dissolution, and with that came a sense of more connection—with everything, notably nature. This strong taste of the mystic has prompted him to meditate more. He describes finding himself more patient and present when his father passed recently. He also finds himself trying to answer questions such as “What is consciousness?”

Carl Jung is another point of fascination in this issue. Jennifer Dum-pert has written a piece about Jung and his way of accessing the creative realms of the liminal states. I too became curious after seeing Jung’s fantastic paintings from the mysterious Red Book. Jung’s paintings, and the book, have been hidden in Switzerland for decades, but recently I was lucky enough to experience this art firsthand at a rare exhibition at the University of California at Santa Barbara. There I was permitted to take photos of the art, which constitute our pictorial feature. I’ve come to the conclusion that Jung, who earned so many other distinctions, is also the Father of Psychedelic Art, however inadvertently.

I am very proud to include Meredith Heller’s essay “Why I Teach Poetry Writing to Teen Girls.” And with her essay we’ve published poems by her local students range in age from 10 to 17.

You’ll appreciate our West Coast Festival Roundup compiled by Meia Matsuda, as well as another interview in this issue that I conducted with Danielle Madeira, VP of special events at Another Planet Entertainment.

Merlyn Travis brings a fresh look at the existing research on creativity and cannabis, while Nina Fry and Helané Wahbeh from the Institute of Noetic Sciences look at the actual science of measuring creativity. Sarah Bowen cleverly looks at Star Wars and The Force as the inspiration sparking creativity. Mirabai Starr provides us with “Alchemy of Art: The Vital Connection Between Creativity and Feminine Mysticism.”

We look forward to seeing you out and about as the season’s festivals unfold. As ever, please show your appreciation of Common Ground by patronizing our sponsors—the best. And please consider becoming an advertiser yourself. Supporting local independent media is a good thing.
May the spark be with you,
Rob Sidon
Publisher/Editor in Chief