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The Meaning Behind the Song “White Rabbit”

white rabbit on green grass during daytime

The Meaning Behind the Song “White Rabbit”

“White Rabbit” is a timeless classic written by Grace Slick and performed by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane. Released in 1967, this psychedelic rock song became an anthem of the counterculture movement during the 1960s. With its enigmatic lyrics and captivating melody, “White Rabbit” continues to captivate listeners to this day. Let’s dive into the meaning behind this iconic song.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The inspiration for “White Rabbit” can be traced back to Lewis Carroll’s famous novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Grace Slick, the songwriter, was heavily influenced by Carroll’s surreal and whimsical tale. The song incorporates several references to the book, including characters and scenes that Alice encounters during her journey.

Escaping Reality

One of the central themes of “White Rabbit” is the idea of escaping reality. The lyrics invite the listener to follow Alice’s lead and explore a world beyond the constraints of everyday life. The line “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small” refers to the use of drugs, which were prevalent during the 1960s counterculture movement. It symbolizes the desire to break free from societal norms and experience an altered state of consciousness.

Challenging Authority

Another significant aspect of “White Rabbit” is its critique of authority figures. In the song, Grace Slick challenges the strict societal norms and expectations imposed by those in power. The line “Feed your head” encourages listeners to question the status quo and seek knowledge beyond what is readily accepted. It became an anthem for the anti-establishment sentiment of the time.

Psychedelic Experience

The psychedelic nature of “White Rabbit” mirrors the experiences of the counterculture movement. The song’s dreamlike quality, enhanced by its hypnotic melody and Slick’s powerful vocals, captures the essence of the psychedelic experience. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of music and its ability to transport listeners to different states of mind.

Legacy and Cultural Impact

“White Rabbit” remains a significant cultural touchstone, representing a pivotal period in American history. Its message of individualism, rebellion, and exploration resonates with generations of listeners. The song has been covered by numerous artists and featured in various films, further solidifying its place in popular culture.


“White Rabbit” is more than just a song; it is a powerful expression of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Its meaning goes beyond the surface level, delving into themes of escapism, challenging authority, and the psychedelic experience. Grace Slick’s iconic lyrics and Jefferson Airplane’s mesmerizing performance continue to inspire and captivate audiences, ensuring that “White Rabbit” will be remembered for years to come.