Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:41 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/19/19



Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link
Type of site
Virtual community
Available in English
Owner The WELL Group Inc.
Launched February 1985; 34 years ago[1]

The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, normally shortened to The WELL, is one of the oldest virtual communities in continuous operation. As of June 2012, it had 2,693 members.[2] It is best known for its Internet forums, but also provides email, shell accounts, and web pages. The discussion and topics on The WELL range from deeply serious to trivial, depending on the nature and interests of the participants.[3]


The WELL was started by Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant in 1985, and the name (an acronym for Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link)[4] is partially a reference to some of Brand's earlier projects, including the Whole Earth Catalog. Initially The WELL was owned 50% by The Point Foundation (publishers of the Whole Earth Catalog and Whole Earth Review) and 50% by NETI Technologies Inc. a Vancouver-based company of which Larry Brilliant was at that time the chairman. The WELL began as a dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) influenced by EIES,[5] became one of the original dial-up ISPs in the early 1990s when commercial traffic was first allowed, and changed into its current form as the Internet and web technology evolved. Its original management team—Matthew McClure, soon joined by Cliff Figallo and John Coate—collaborated with its early users to foster a sense of virtual community.[citation needed]

Gail Ann Williams was hired by Figallo in 1991, as community manager, and has continued in management roles into the current era.

From 1994 to 1999 The WELL was owned by Bruce R. Katz, founder of Rockport, a manufacturer of walking shoes.[6]

In April 1999 it was acquired by Salon, several of whose founders such as Scott Rosenberg had previously been regular participants there.

In August 2005 Salon announced that it was looking for a buyer for The WELL, in order to concentrate on other business lines. In November 2006, a press release of The WELL said, "As Salon has not found a suitable purchaser, it has determined that it is currently in the best interest of the company to retain this business and has therefore suspended all efforts to sell The WELL."[7]

In June 2012 Salon once again announced that it was looking for a buyer for The WELL as its subscriber base "did not bear financial promise". Additionally, it announced that it had entered into discussions with various parties interested in buying the domain name, and that the remaining WELL staff had been laid off at the end of May.[8] The community pledged money to take over The WELL itself and rehire important staff.[9]

In September 2012, Salon sold The WELL to a new corporation, The WELL Group Inc., owned by a group of eleven investors, who are all long-time members. The CEO was Earl Crabb, who died on February 20, 2015. The sale price was reported to be $400,000. Members have no official role in the management, but "can ... go back to what they do best: conversation. And complaining about the management."[10][11]

Notable items in WELL history include being the forum through which John Perry Barlow, John Gilmore, and Mitch Kapor, the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, first met. Howard Rheingold, an early and very active member, was inspired to write his book The Virtual Community by his experience on The WELL. According to Rheingold's book, The WELL's Usenet feed was for years provided by Apple Computer over UUCP. The WELL was a major online meeting place for fans of the Grateful Dead, especially those who followed the band from concert to concert, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The WELL also played a role in the book Takedown about the pursuit and capture of Kevin Mitnick. Founded in Sausalito, California, the service is now based in San Francisco.

Topics of discussion

The WELL is divided into general subject areas known as "conferences". These conferences reflect member interests, and include arts, health, business, regions, hobbies, spirituality, music, politics, games, software and many more.

Within conferences, members open separate conversational threads called "topics" for specific items of interest. For example, the Media conference has (or had) topics devoted to The New York Times, media ethics, and the Luann comic strip. An example of a local conference is the one on San Francisco, which has topics on restaurants, the city government, and neighborhood news.

"Public" conferences are open to all members, while "private" conferences are restricted to a list of users controlled by the conference hosts, called the "ulist". Some "featured private" or "private independent" conferences (such as "Women on the WELL" and "Recovery") are listed in the WELL's directory, but are access-restricted for privacy or membership-restriction reasons. Members may request admission to such conferences. There are also a large number of unlisted "secret private" conferences. The names of these conferences are public, but the contents, hosts, and members are restricted to members of a particular conference. Membership in private conferences is by invitation. WELL members may open their own new public or private independent conferences.

Policy and governance

The directors of The WELL have included Matthew McClure and Cliff Figallo, both veterans of the 1970s commune called The Farm, and Gail Williams, previously known as one of the principals in the political satire group the Plutonium Players. In 2016, The WELL hired Christian Ruzich and Daryl Lynn Johnson, who have over 30 years of combined experience on The WELL, to be the General Managers. The couple, who met on The WELL, will draw on their years of marketing and online community experience to help The WELL become the prime destination for premium online conversation and discussion.

The community forums, known as "conferences", are supervised by "conference hosts" who guide conversations and may enforce conference rules on civility and/or appropriateness. Initially all hosts were selected by staff members. In 1995, Gail Williams changed the policies to enable user-created forums. Participants can create their own "independent" personal conferences—either viewable by any WELL member or privately viewable by those members on a restricted membership list—on any subject they please with any rules they like.

Overall support and supervision of the conferencing services is handled by several staff members, often referred to collectively as "confteam", the name of the UNIX user account used by staff for conference maintenance. They have more system operational powers than conference hosts, along with the additional social authority of selecting "featured conference" hosts and closing accounts for abuse.

WELL members use a consistent login name when posting messages, and a non-fixed pseudonym field alongside it. The "pseud" (in WELL parlance) defaults to the user's real name, but can be changed at will and so often reflects a quotation from another user, or is an in-joke, or may be left blank. The user's real name can be easily looked-up using their login name. WELL members are not anonymous.

There is a time-honored double meaning to the WELL slogan coined by Stewart Brand, "You Own Your Own Words" or ("YOYOW"): members have both the rights to their posted words and responsibility for those words, too. (Members can also delete their posts at any time, but a placeholder indicates the former location and author of a deleted or "scribbled" post, as well as who deleted it.)


The WELL was frequently mentioned in the media in the 1980s and 1990s, probably disproportionately to the number of users it had relative to other online systems. This has diminished but not disappeared in recent years, with other online communities becoming commonplace. This early visibility was largely the result of the early policy of providing free accounts for interested journalists and other select members of the media. As a result, for many journalists it was their first experience of online systems and, later, the Internet, even though other systems existed. Although accounts are now seldom provided for free to journalists, there are still a sizable number on The WELL; for example columnist Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle, Wendy M. Grossman of The Inquirer, and critic Andy Klein of Los Angeles CityBeat.

The WELL also received numerous awards in the 1980s and 1990s, including a Webby Award for online community in 1998, and an EFF Pioneer Award in 1994.

In the news

In March 2007, The WELL was noted for refusing membership to Kevin Mitnick, and refunding his membership fee.[12]

Virtual community and social network difference

There is often confusion between a virtual community and social network. They are similar in some aspects because they both can be used for personal and professional interests. A social network offers an opportunity to connect with people one already knows or is acquainted with. Facebook and Twitter are social networks. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Yammer open up communication channels among coworkers and peers with similar professions in a more relaxed setting. Often times social media guidelines are in place for professional usage so that everyone understands what is suitable online behavior.[13][14] Using a social network is an extension of an offline social community. It is helpful in keeping connections among friends and associates as locations change. move. Each user has their own spider web structure which is their social network.[15][16].

Virtual communities differ in that users aren't connected through a mutual friend or similar backgrounds. These groups are formed by people who may be complete strangers but have a common interest or ideology.[17][16] Virtual communities connect people who normally wouldn't consider themselves to be in the same group[18]. These groups continue to stay relevant and maintained in the online world because users feel a need to contribute to the community and in return feel empowered when receiving new information from other members. Virtual communities have an elaborate nest structure because they overlap. Yelp, YouTube, and Wikipedia are all examples of a virtual community. Companies like Kaiser Permanente launched virtual communities for members. The community gave members the ability to control their health care decisions and improve their overall experience.[18] Members of a virtual community are able to offer opinions and contribute helpful advice. Again, the difference between virtual communities and social network is the emergence of the relationship.

The WELL distinguished itself from the technology of the time by creating a networked community for everyone. Users were responsible and owned the content posted, a rule created to protect the information from being copyrighted and commoditized.[19] Women particularly were able to find community and voice on the WELL. While largely bound to household work at the time, women of the WELL could be participants and contributors on message boards by sharing experiences and information.[20]

Publications about The WELL

• Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community
(1994) Perennial ISBN 0-06-097643-8 (Hardcover) – ISBN 0-262-68121-8 (2000 revised paperback edition)
• John Seabrook, Deeper: My Two-Year Odyssey in Cyberspace
(1997) Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-684-80175-2 (Hardcover) – ISBN 0-684-83873-7 (Paperback)
• Katie Hafner, The WELL: A Story of Love, Death and Real Life in the Seminal Online Community
(2001) Carroll & Graf Publishers ISBN 0-7867-0846-8
Katie Hafner's book, expanded from a Wired Magazine article, chronicles the odd birth, growing pains, and interpersonal dynamics that make The WELL the unusual, perhaps unique online community that it is.
• Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
(2006) University of Chicago Press ISBN 0-226-81741-5
"Where the Counterculture met the New Economy: The WELL and the Origins of Virtual Community", Technology and Culture, Vol.46, No.3 (July, 2005), pp. 485–512.
Tierney, John. “Stewart Brand - John Tierney - An Early Environmentalist, Embracing New ‘Heresies.’” The New York Times, February 27, 2007, sec. Environment. ... .html.Kirk, Andrew. “Appropriating Technology: The Whole Earth Catalog and Counterculture Environmental Politics.” In Environmental History, 374–94, 2001.
Kirk, Andrew G. Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 2007.

See also

• Digerati
• William H. Calvin
• Global Business Network
• Cyberia (book)
• Brian Eno
• Michael Gruber (author)
• Peter Ludlow
• Tom Mandel
• Douglas Rushkoff
• John Seabrook
• Gail Williams
• Declan McCullagh
• Hugh Daniel


1. Pernick, Ron (1995). "A Timeline of the First Ten Years of The WELL". Retrieved 2008-06-28.
2. "The Well, a Pioneering Online Community, Is for Sale Again". The New York Times, June 29, 2012
3. "WELL, The.". Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2015. ISBN 9783803266316.
4. Learn About The WELL
5. "IRC History -- Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES)".
6. Markoff, John (January 4, 1994). "COMPANY NEWS; Influential Computer Service Sold". New York Times. Retrieved 27 July2014.
7. "The Well to Stay With Salon" (Press release). The WELL. November 14, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
8. "Salon 10K filing, June 2012". 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
9. "Will The WELL Survive? Members Pledge $100K+ to Buy Influential Virtual Community from Corporate Owners". 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
10. Salon Media Group Sells The WELL to The Well GroupArchived 2012-11-15 at the Wayback Machine
11. Grossman, Wendy. "Salon sells The WELL to its members". Retrieved 27 July 2014.
12. Kevin Mitnick is Unforgiven Wired, March 21, 2007
13. Mahlberg, T. (2017). Alter-Identity Work via Social Media in Professional Service Contexts. In Proceedings of the 28th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS 2017). Chicago
14. "What is social network? - Definition from". SearchCIO. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
15. Clauset, A. (2005). Finding local community structure in networks. Physical review E, 72(2), 026132.
16. "Social Network vs. Online Community: What Is the Difference?". Social Media Today. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
17. Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (1999). Virtual communities as communities. Communities in cyberspace, 167-194.
18. "EXAMPLES OF VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES". Retrieved 2018-09-29.
19. From Counterculture to Cyberculture. Turner, Fred. University of Chicago Press. 2010. ISBN 1282894838. OCLC 824162179.
20. From Counterculture to Cyberculture. Turner, Fred. University of Chicago Press. 2010. ISBN 1282894838. OCLC 824162179.

External links

• The WELL
• "The WELL Gopher". Archived from the original on 2011-09-07. Retained as a text museum but now served via HTTP.
• Wired news: Salon buys The WELL
• Wired magazine: "The Epic Saga of the WELL" by Katie Hafner
• The WELL: Small Town on the Internet Highway System by Cliff Figallo
• C|net "The WELL celebrates 20th birthday" at (archived 2013-01-20)
• Net Wars at The Inquirer: "You own your own 20th anniversary"
• C|net "Salon places The WELL up for sale" at (archived 2013-01-19)
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:47 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/21/19



USCO art in Walker Art Center's exhibit catalogue for Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia

USCO was an American media art collective in the 1960s, founded by Gerd Stern, Michael Callahan, and Steve Durkee in New York. USCO, an acronym for Us Company or the Company of Us, was most active during the years 1964–66.[1][2][3][4][5] USCO exhibited in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and is considered a key link in the development of expanded cinema, visual music, installation art, and the Internet.[3] In addition, USCO's strobe environments heralded new media art.[6] In the late 1960s Durkee co-founded the Lama Foundation, while Stern and Callahan co-founded Intermedia Systems Corporation.[1]


The founding members of USCO were poet Gerd Stern, electronic technician Michael Callahan, and ex-Pop art painter Steve Durkee (aka Stephen Durkee, later known as Nooruddeen Durkee).[1][3][7] These three, along with photographer/weaver Judi Stern and sculptor/photographer Barbara Durkee, made up the core group.[3] Barbara Durkee (later known as Asha Greer) ran the group's Intermedia Gallery.[8] Judi Stern stated, "We dreamed collectively."[3]

Among USCO's other members were the filmmaker and video artist Jud Yalkut.[1][3][9] Yalkut created the following films for USCO events in the mid-sixties, some in collaboration with USCO members: Turn, Turn, Turn (USCO did the soundtrack), Ghost Rev, Diffraction Film, and Down By the Riverside.[3] Yalkut works can be found in The Experimental Television Center Collection.[10]

Stewart Brand, although not a formal member of the group, held close relations to USCO and was considered a peripheral member who played a major role in connecting countercultural networks with groups of researchers in the developing cyberculture.[1][3] Other peripheral members included Lois Brand, California painter Dion Wright, tie-dye artist Bob Dacey, and light artist/architect Paul Williams.[3]


California and New York background (1948–1964)

Gerd Stern was a German Jewish refugee who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area starting in 1948.[3] Stern's background in the Bay Area Beat community grew out of his involvement with Pacifica radio station KPFA in Berkeley, where he met Lew Hill, Allen Ginsberg, Harry Partch, Henry Jacobs, Michael McClure, and Harry Smith.[1] Stern and Hill collaborated on a poetry series for KPFA, with Wallace Stevens, Alan Watts, and Grace Clements, giving Stern the opportunity to use a wire recorder for the first time. Stern stated, "I was always interested in sound and the preserving of sound."[11]

Michael Callahan had been technical director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, when he met Stern in 1963 through the SF Tape Music Center's Morton Subotnick via Michael McClure.[2][3][12][13] Callahan's experience working at the SF Tape Music Center taught him how to make do with whatever technology he could scrounge and build, due to lack of funds.[2] By 1963 he was purchasing surplus IBM computers to use the parts for customized kinetic art.[14][15]

Steve Durkee, raised in New York, studied art at Columbia University. By the time he graduated in 1960 he was living in New York City as a renowned Pop artist and friend of Robert Indiana, but became ambivalent about Pop aesthetics a few years later. Around this time he and Stewart Brand, a lieutenant photographer in the U.S. Army, became friends. Durkee was included in a 1962 Art News feature on Pop art titled "The New American Sign Painters," and Callahan later explained that "Pop was part of Gerd's and Steve's attraction to each other."[3][15]

New York (1964–1966)

In 1964 Steve and Barbara Durkee bought an old church to use as a studio, located in Garnerville, Rockland County, New York in the Hudson Valley.[3][5][16] Later that year Gerd and Judi Stern moved to Woodstock, New York near Garnerville, and arranged to have Callahan join them. Callahan moved in with the Sterns in Woodstock, and then the three moved into the church with the Durkees in 1965.[3][16] Gerd Stern stated, "Without our names, we decided to call ourselves 'USCO', the company of Us, because we were anonymous artists."[16] Callahan stated they came up with the name USCO, "Company of US," to create something more inclusive than using their individual names; it was also a way of "bringing people together in an ad-hoc living arrangement."[2] Living not too far from the Hitchcock Estate in Millbrook, New York, they were invited to visit the communal Millbrook group; they then became involved with Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner.[17]

The USCO group collaborated with artists, engineers, poets, and filmmakers. Influenced by media theorist Marshall McLuhan, USCO used stroboscopes, oscilloscopes, projectors, closed-circuit television, computerized control systems, and audiotapes in their "multi-channel media mix" performances.[1][2][3][5][7] They often reused and repurposed technology from surplus parts.[2] To underline the community character of the project, USCO used the phrase "We are all one".[1][5] They mixed film, tapes, slides, light, kinetic sculpture, and live actors in audiovisual performances in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and at university campuses across the United States.[1][3][5][7]

In 1965 USCO collaborated with Leary and Alpert's Castalia Foundation, a precursor to the League for Spiritual Discovery, to reproduce the LSD experience in an "audio-olfactory-visual alteration of consciousness" psychedelic art event in New York City.[4] USCO became a client of Nina Graboi's Third Force Lecture Bureau in early 1966. Graboi became director of the League for Spiritual Discovery's New York Center later that year.[18] In 1966 USCO exhibited at the Riverside Museum in New York City and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Brand lived at the church for two months while helping the group prepare for the Riverside Museum exhibit.[3]

USCO's leftist politics were expressed in terms of relations rather than direct political action; they thought they were "beyond politics."[2] Judi Stern didn't see a separation, explaining, "Most of our work was involved in two things: Changing consciousness...and changing the world." For example, USCO added to their slide mix sympathetic photographs of people in Vietnam, due to the disturbance USCO felt about the Vietnam War. Brand, on the other hand, thought USCO's work had "zero political elements."[3]

Judi Stern and Barbara Durkee developed innovative techniques for silk-screening USCO posters.[3]

New York and New Mexico (1967–1968)

At the end of 1966 Steve and Barbara Durkee left Garnerville, and lived with Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass). For a short time period, Steve Durkee lectured with Alpert on "LSD: Illusion or Reality?" before Alpert left the U.S. for study in India.[19] In 1967 the Durkees formed the Lama Foundation in San Cristobal, New Mexico north of Taos with Jonathan Altman, and assistance from Alpert.[3][20][21] They created a spiritual community on land purchased by Altman, with its main structure built with others in 1968 in the shape of a dome.[22][23] Barbara Durkee stated, "We came to get away from the conservative world that was pretty tight and boxed-in, non-diverse and not very spiritual."[22] At the time, Lama was one of approximately thirty communes in Northern New Mexico.[21]

After the Durkees' departure, the other members of USCO in New York continued to produce and exhibit work under the USCO name through 1968.[3] During the late 1960s, USCO exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Art (1967), Walker Art Center (1967), Brooklyn Museum (1968), and Whitney Museum of American Art (1968).[3]

Post-USCO (1969 to present)

Gerd Stern was offered an Associate in Education faculty position at Harvard University and moved with Callahan to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they used USCO equipment to begin their own company in cooperation with a group from Harvard Business School. Stern and Callahan co-founded Intermedia Systems Corporation in 1969, the year the company handled some management and administrative details for the Woodstock festival.[1][3][24] Intermedia Systems Corporation made pioneering hardware to control audiovisual programming.[25] In the 1970s, Intermedia Systems Corporation produced multimedia art internationally.[1] Callahan worked at Harvard University from 1977 until 1994, at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts. He and his wife Adrienne co-founded Museum Technology Source in 1990. The company, based in Winchester, Massachusetts initially made electronic devices that allowed museum patrons to use video and interactive exhibits.[24]

The Durkees helped Ram Dass with Be Here Now, which was published by the Lama Foundation in 1971 and became a best-seller.[22][23] Its original title was From Bindu to Ojas, with illustrations by Lama community residents.[21]

In 2005 Gerd Stern and Callahan worked together on an USCO retrospective at Anthology Film Archives.[3]

In 2015 the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota included four major USCO works in their exhibit Hippie Modernism: The Struggle Toward Utopia.[26][27]

In 2016, the Garnerville church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[28]

Multimedia and intermedia works

Verbal American Landscape, Contact, and McLuhan

Prior to Gerd Stern's move to New York, while still in the San Francisco Bay Area, he began to project slides of words found on street signs, forming a poetry collage later known as Verbal American Landscape. After invited to give a poetry reading at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Stern instead staged a two-night performance in November 1963 titled Contact Is the Only Love, which involved sixty-four performers. The slides were shot by Stewart Brand. Callahan (in his late teens) assisted with audio, using equipment borrowed from the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Stern and Callahan created a four-channel mix of conversation, announcements, and popular music by simultaneously playing, mixing, and switching four pre-recorded tapes and live cut-ups of radio.[2][3][12][14]

Contact Is the Only Love evolved out of Verbal American Landscape. Stern and Callahan built an octagonal kinetic sculpture for the show, seven feet in diameter. It featured flashing neon lights, loudspeakers, amplifiers, and tape loops. In the center were painted signs with words such as "Go," "Merge," and "Enter with Caution."[3][15][29]

Stern described the performance:

We had transparent isolation booths onstage in which each of them--there were four people all together--you know, Herb Caen, Allen Ginsberg, et cetera, et cetera--we were able to broadcast and switch the signals from the various booths onto a series of speakers. In the meantime, we were projecting a series of slides which came from the Verbal American Landscape. Those had been chosen by me--I didn't do the photography; Ivan and Stewart Brand did the photography. We borrowed some closed-circuit television equipment, so there were television images. We were able to switch the whole thing. There were people in costume--it was a very elaborate affair.[12]

At the museum, M. C. Richards gave Stern her copy of John Cage's manuscript of McLuhan's Understanding Media, which Stern described as a report that McLuhan had written for the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) while still in Canada, and then had turned into Understanding Media with very little, if any, editing.[2][14] Stern recalled, "I read it, and it was a revelation; I understood immediately that his perceptions were seminal for my development. Particularly things like his statement that what you need to do is pay attention to the effect rather than the content."[30]

Stern and Callahan were then invited to Vancouver, by a University of British Columbia gallery director who had also been at the San Francisco Museum of Art show, to do a performance with a lecture by McLuhan.[2][3][31] The gallery director had noted the inclusion of McLuhan's ideas in the San Francisco performance, from a quote by McLuhan in the performance handout.[31] Callahan later stated:

Our work was really drawn from McLuhan. We looked at McLuhan as the theoretician–and we were the practitioners...We had a mission to bring about public awareness of the impact that all this instantaneous communication was having and was going to have–to attempt to be prepared for it and to change it if necessary.[2]

Psychedelic Explorations and Expanded Cinema

After doing several performances in the Bay Area, Gerd and Judi Stern performed at several college campuses en route to New York in late 1964. Steve Durkee, meanwhile, started making Super 8 movies. The group began experimenting, with Durkee developing image banks to Stern and Callahan's performances. As Stern explains, "We did electronic music, mostly meditational in nature, and before long we stopped doing the performances as individuals.[3][16] They then became interested in replicating the psychedelic experience through sensory overload.[2]

USCO's collaboration with Timothy Leary and his Castalia Foundation took place in July 1965. They reproduced the LSD experience in an event titled Psychedelic Explorations at the Psychedelic Theatre (the New Theatre in New York City).[4][7][32] During one part of the event, while Leary lectured about psychedelics, USCO played a recording of Artaud screaming.[32] A 1965 review of the show for The Nation by Howard Junker described USCO's event as an attempt "to stimulate multiple levels of consciousness by audio-visual bombardment."[7]

Filmmaker Jonas Mekas presented a series of multimedia productions in November and December 1965, under the title New Cinema Festival 1 (later referred to as the Expanded Film Festival), at the Filmmakers Cinematheque in New York City. John Brockman was Program Manager. Participants combined cinema images and projectors with live actions and music. The series featured two nights of an USCO collaboration with Carolee Schneemann, as well as other emerging psychedelic light show artists such as Don Snyder (whose multimedia event included Ralph Metzner and Angus Maclise), Jackie Cassen, and Rudi Stern.[33] According to Gerd Stern, USCO was asked to participate because "they thought that our multimedia performances were kind of simulations of psychedelic experiences."[34] Callahan explained USCO "took incandescent lamps out of slide projectors, and replaced them with intense strobe bulbs, so the projected image itself would flash on the screen."[2] Other participants in the series included well-known and emerging figures such as Angus Maclise (with members of the Velvet Underground), John Vaccaro, Nam June Paik, Jerry Jofen, Jack Smith, Roberts Blossom with Beverly Schmidt, Stan Vanderbeek, Alfred Leslie, Dick Higgins, Aldo Tambellini, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol (with a precursor to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable), Ken Dewey, Ken Jacobs, Louis Brigante, Elaine Summers, Al Hansen, Ed Emshwiller, David Bourdon, Robert Whitman, ONCE Group, Larry Rivers, Stan Brakhage, Robert Rauschenberg with Trisha Brown, and La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela's Theatre of Eternal Music (with John Cale and Tony Conrad.[33]

Mekas presented another multimedia event by USCO the following month, for a week in January 1966. Titled Hubbub, the event was promoted in the Village Voice in an ad that described it as "Expanded Cinema! Psychedelic Cinema! Media Mix! Marshall McLuhan! Timothy Leary! Film, oscilloscopes, stroboscopes, computerized, kinetic and live images. A visual feast."[35] Mekas, in his Village Voice column of spring 1966, interviewed Steve Durkee about USCO's use of strobe lights. Mekas asked, "What is the strobe light all about?," and Durkee replied, "Strobe is the digital trip."[6] USCO's strobe environments, which relied on electronic modulation of fluorescent tubes, invoked the more complex emerging technology of the digital computer.[6] Mekas also wrote about USCO in a 1966 review of their Riverside Museum show, comparing their work to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable and stating USCO went after the mystical experience in a more conscious way.[3]

The World

USCO participated in, and helped design and produce, New York DJ Murray the K's psychedelic multimedia event The World, which took place in an abandoned Long Island airplane hangar and was dubbed the first discothèque.[2][15][36][37] The April 1966 event was negotiated by John Brockman, who had previously included USCO in the Expanded Film Festival.[3] USCO used around twenty to thirty slides and one of the first video projectors to project superimposed images and 16mm film onto the crowd, and Callahan built a large-scale programmer to control the slide machines.[15][36] USCO included experimental films by Jud Yalkut and Stan Vanderbeek, as well as graphics with words such as "Act" "Slit," and "Is."[15] They also utilized closed-circuit television technology, with three cameras projecting the stage and floor on a super sized screen.[37] Music acts that performed included The Young Rascals, The Hollies, Del Shannon, The Isley Brothers, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.[15] The World was featured on the cover of Life magazine in May 1966.[2][37]

External links

• Gerd Stern, "From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978," an oral history conducted in 1996 by Victoria Morris Byerly, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2001.


1. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library.
2. Kuo, Michelle (May 2008). "Special Effects: Michelle Kuo Speaks With Michael Callahan About USCO" (PDF). Artforum. pp. 133–136.
3. Oren, Michel (Winter 2010). "USCO: Getting Out of Your Head to Use Your Head" (PDF). Art Journal.
4. Ulrich, Jennifer (4 June 2012). "Transmissions from The Timothy Leary Papers: Evolution of the "Psychedelic" Show"". New York Public Library.
5. Davis, Douglas (20 August 1973). Art and the Future: A History/Prophecy of the Collaboration Between Science, Technology and Art. New York: Praeger. p. 157. ISBN 978-0500231814.
6. "A Digital Trip: Strobe Light and the Birth of New Media Art". University of Notre Dame Department of Art, Art History & Design. 7 November 2016.
7. Junker, Howard (5 July 1965). "LSD: 'The Contact High". The Nation.
8. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 141.
9. Zinman, Gregory (4 September 2013). "Dream Reeler: Jud Yalkut (1938-2013)". The Brooklyn Rail.
10. "Experimental Television Center: Artists". Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art. Cornell University Library. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
11. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 34.
12. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 73–74.
13. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 265–268.
14. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 268–274.
15. Chapman, Rob (10 May 2016). Psychedelia and Other Colours. New York: Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0571282005.
16. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 80–81.
17. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 83.
18. Graboi, Nina (May 1991). One Foot in the Future: A Woman's Spiritual Journey. Aerial Press. pp. 140–146. ISBN 978-0942344103.
19. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 95.
20. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 94–95.
21. "Lama Foundation Oral History Project". Social Networks and Archival Context Cooperative. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
22. Romancito, Rick (22 June 2017). "Lama at 50". The Taos News.
23. Boyle, Molly (12 May 2017). "A time to every purpose: Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest". Santa Fe New Mexican.
24. Holland, Roberta (1 May 1999). "Peace, love and interactive media". Boston Business Journal.
25. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 102.
26. "National Register of Historic Places Program: The USCO Church". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved October 26,2017.
27. "Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia". Walker Art Center. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
28. "National Register of Historic Places listings for August 5, 2016". U.S. National Park Service. August 5, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
29. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 72.
30. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 67.
31. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 76–77.
32. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. pp. 90–92.
33. Comenas, Gary (2014). "Expanded Cinema?". p. 1. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
34. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 84.
35. Comenas, Gary (2014). "Expanded Cinema?". p. 2. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
36. Stern, Gerd (2001). "Oral History: From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist in San Francisco and Beyond, 1948-1978". The Bancroft Library. p. 87.
37. "Ramapo College Exhibition Features Installation By NJ Poet and Media Artist Gerd Stern". Ramapo College. 11 August 2005.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:52 am

Take the No Out of Now: Multi-Media Artist and Poet Gerd Stern at the Kelly Writers House
by The Kelly Writers House
September 26, 2000



"NO OW NOW," the electronic mantra, reproduced from the exhibit "from USCO through Intermedia, 1962-1979" at Thorpe Intermedia Gallery, which opened on September 9, 1979, assembled by Michael Callahan, Gerd Stern, Zalman Stern, Lind Von Helwig (Sparkill, New York)

Gerd Stern is a poet and multi-media artist. His book, First Poems and Others, was published in 1952. A second volume, Afterimage appeared in 1965. During the early 1960s Stern started using cut-out words to create visual collages, and soon after that started making kinetic pieces using flashing lights, and electro-magnetic components to construct poem sculptures. These were first shown at New York's Alan Stone Gallery and in Stern's first one-person show at the San Francisco Museum of Art. The next phase of Stern's work included multi-channel word visuals and sounds cut out of the real world, titled "the Verbal American Landscape." Influenced by Marshall McLuhan's written work, Stern appeared and was associated with McLuhan for a number of years.

Stern was one of the founders of "USCO," a group of artists, engineers and poets creating multi-media performances and environments which toured the U.S. museum and university venues during the sixties. Their work appeared at the Museum of Modern Art, Brandeis University, the University of California, the Walker Art Museum, the Riverside Museum and many others. USCO also designed one of the first multi-media discotheques, named "The World" (and featured on the cover of Life magazine).

Stern has been a visiting lecturer in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

The painters, engineers, poets and sculptors who formed USCO worked out of an old church in Garnerville, New York in the 1960s. Their work included images, sound, and technology executed by a community of participants, some living at the church, and others in various parts of the country and world. What they produced became the subject of a considerable body of journalism and critique. During the late sixties some members of USCO initiated the Lama Foundation in New Mexico. A number of others helped found the Intermedia Systems Corporation in Cambridge, Mass.

When the Thoepe Intermedia Gallery presented its exhibit "from USCO through Intermedia, 1962-1979" (1979), one of the pieces shown was "NO OW NOW," a contraction of an USCO mantra ("take the no out of now - then - take the ow out of now - then - take the then out of now - then -"). The work was an electro mechanical mantric device, with manual and automatic modes, utilizing the basic, Our Time Base Is Real USCO timing circuit. A limited editions of three pieces of NO OW NOW were on display, made of IBM surplus parts. Another piece of kinetic sculpture shown at the Thorpe Gallery in 1979 was "Monolog to Digital ("if you can't count don't blow"), a voice operated assemblage of first-generation solid-state counting modules, dated 1966.

A sampling of USCO productions:

• Psychadelic posters and other graphics
• Various kinds of machines and electronic devices, such as strobe lights and programming units
• Electronic audio-visual aids, such as a counting unit for the New York production of Norman Mailer's The Deer Park
• Kinetic artistic-informational displays, such as a much-appreciated media-mix about the Lower East Side for New York's Jewish Museum and the Smithsonian Institution
• Miscellaneous sound and light effects for all kinds of pacifist benefits
• An elegant kinetic meditational tabernacle for their own house
• Consultation in environment creation, including what one critic called "hyped-up rooms intended for psychiatric purposes"

During his Writers House visit, Stern may read from a set of eight Conch Tales with drawings (silk-screened) by David Weinrib.

Stern now lives in New Jersey and also spends time at his home, "Poetsreef," in Jamaica.


Scene and Not Herd [Excerpt]
by Richard Kostelanetz
December, 1967

USCO functions as a frame, as well as a signature, for individual artists who move in and out, contributing to the collective effort and yet preserving their personal identities. The quickest measure of USCO's impact is the relation between its age and achivement; for in less than four years, it has completed a multiplicity of projects and established an international reputation.... USCO has produced objects of all sorts--posters as well as machines--but their primary medium has been the theatrical event. Some have been conventional performances, where an audience arrived at a certain time, paid an admission price and then took their seats, but USCO prefers to work in what Gerd Stern calls "the environmental circumstance," where "you take a space and en open-ended piece of time, and you see what you can make it do to people."

The four-room environment USCO constructed at the Riverside Museum in May 1966 was probably their most elaborate and brilliant exhibition. USCO designed this "system" to be a "meditation room," full of basic symbols and materials--male and female, heartbeats, and above, seven spheres representing the seven planets....

Back in 1960 Gerd Stern read an early draft of Understanding Media (1964) in the form of a report McLuhan submitted to the National Association of Educational Broadcasters in 1959, and that experience persuaded Stern to consider the artistic potential of the new media. Soon after, his own poetic impulses took off from the problems of black words on while paper and were channeled into tape collage. McLuhan himself has joined USCO for two performances... USCO concurs with [McLuhan's] prophecy that today's cities will soon disintegrate into small communities, electronically interconnected; and from him, they also recognized how sensory overload in their home environment could recircuit their own sensibilities. "When you live in a twenty-four channel system, day in and day out--as we did when we were doing our things at home [at USCO], running them for twenty-four hours a day, almost," said [Steve] Durkee [a USCO painter in his late twenties], "you can become pretty much omniattentive.

From McLuhan, along with the Indian aesthetician Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, they took the theme that the contemporary artist should be as anonymous as the medieval artist; but interpretations of 'anonymity' create a constant argument within the USCO house. Their work is clearly anonymous in the sense that it contains neither an individual signature nor earmarks of personalized expression. However, to Stern, their impersonal result does not deny individual artistic contributions....

The young producer consultant John Brockman does so much work with USCO that he is an associate in all but name, and along with Gerd Stern and Michael Callahan [an electrical engineer specializing in the "languages of switches and circuits"], Brockman is co-authoring an introductory textbook on intermedia.... [B]y now USCO seems an example of what can be done--a recognized avant-garde revolutionary elite; and just as their innovations in the arts of media-mix have influenced scores of other artists and groups of artists, so USCO itself has become a model for other new American tribes in sync with the electronic age.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:09 am

Happy 90th Birthday Gerd!
by Franz Kunst, Processing Archivist
Stanford Libraries
October 12, 2018




Since today is his birthday, I can't think of a better time to announce that the papers of poet and media artist Gerd Stern (1927-) are now processed and available. How do I begin talking about what an experience it's been? As with a few other collections I've been honored to work with, the roots and branches are seemingly endless. Stern connects McClure to McLuhan, Brockman to Brand, de Angulo to di Suvero. A tireless networker with deep involvement in many fields, his collection provides many avenues for research. While Stern is perhaps best known as a primary force behind the arts collective USCO and later president of media production company Intermedia Systems, his papers also contain a great deal of his activity prior to USCO, especially in the swinging San Francisco of the 1950s in which commercial and artistic worlds freely intermingled. A cursory outline of Stern around this time: He managed composer Harry Partch, was namedropped in Herb Caen columns, wrote for Playboy magazine, dated Maya Angelou, read at poetry gatherings, was a publicity agent for food, wine, and fashion, went fishing with S.I. Hayakawa, marketed bamboo bongo drums, ate peyote with Philip Lamantia, hosted jazz parties on his Sausalito barge with musicians like Chet Baker along with films and dancers, and produced fine press poetry broadsides with his wife Ann London. Stern worked at public radio station KPFA and was close to founder Lew Hill. He had met anthropologist/storyteller Jaime de Angulo in Big Sur on his first trip West and was an early champion of his work, as well as later that of Marshall McLuhan. Perhaps the best part is that Gerd maintained dated outgoing drafts of all his correspondence, so we have a solid chronology on top of it. Two researchers have already begun working with the collection. The first of many!

Here's a few glimpses of what can be found:

Boobam article
"BUSINESS PARTNERS" in Boobam manufacture try drums. Left: Gerd Stern; at piano, David Wheat, Loughborough.

Partch signature
Acapulco article
The News ... In Acapulco
Mexico, D.F., Thursday, March 31, 1960
Third Section
Page Eight-C
A SEMI-BUSINESS MEETING at the Luster house when all of the Playboy Magazine crew came by for some information and drinks. Left to right: Don Bronstein, photographer, Arthur Paul, art director, Pedro Juarez, one of Mexico's better photographers, Alicia Disney, Jean Sanders, model, Gerd Stern, writer from San Francisco, Shirley Lewis, model, and Vincent T. Tajiri, picture editor. (Photo by Ronnie Luster.)

Who R U flier
"... in the electronic age whose media substitute -at-onceness for one-thing-at-a-timeness. The movement of information at approximately the speed of light has become by far the largest industry in the world ... Patterns of human association based on slower media have become overnight not only irrelevant and obsolete, but a threat to continued existence and sanity." -- H. Marshall McLuhan
Conceived and produced by poet Gerd Stern in association with painter Ivan Majdrakoff, sociologist Howard Becker and the San Francisco Tape Music-Center. Judy McBean, coordinator.
Starring Live Public Figures, Tape, Telephone, Television, Projected images ...
On Tuesday, November 12, 1963
& Thursday, November 14, 1963
at The San Francisco Museum of Art

anti-LSD flier

KPFA wine program listing
3:45 WHO IS A WINE SNOB?: The matter is discussed by Leon D. Adams, author of "The Commonsense Book of Wine" and co-founder of the Wine Institute; Alexis Merab, owner of Alexis' Tangier Restaurant in San Francisco; Dr. Robert T.A. Knudsen, vice-president of the Medical Friends of Wine and official judge at the California State Fair; and Mrs. J.F.M. "Mary" Taylor, of Napa County's Mayacamas Vineyards. Gerd Stern moderates.

anti-Vietnam War flier

USCO flier
YIELO TURN AHEAD CONTACT IS THE ONLY LOVE in a world of simultaneous operations you con't have to be first to be on top if you can't count don't glow

PM West program listing
12:15 - 5 - PM West. O'Flaherty is host to avant-garde Poet Gerd Stern who reads his works to the bongo playing accompaniment of "Mr. Bongo" Jack Costanzo

Pablo Light Show sticker

Woodstock logo letterhead
August 1, 1969
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:35 am

Gerd Stern: Media artist and cheese maven and the author
by Edge
Accessed: 6/21/19



GERD STERN is a poet, media artist and cheese maven. He has several published books of poems and his oral history, From Beat Scene Poet to Psychedelic Multimedia Artist 1948-1978 has just been published by ROHO, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. He was a founder of the arts/technology cooperative USCO, an early member of The Reality Club, president of the public company Intermedia Systems Corporation, consultant for the Rockefeller Foundation arts program, for NEA and NYSCA and remains as president of Intermedia Foundation. He was born on the German/French border and presently lives in New Jersey and on the island of Jamaica.

In the News
Get by email is a nonprofit private operating foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Copyright © 2019 By Edge Foundation, Inc All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:40 am

History of the Lama Foundation: A Dramatic Reading
by Steve Fox
April 17, 2010




Many Taoseños have connections to the Lama Foundation, just north of San Cristobal, and many more know of the eclectic, spiritual intentional community through its printed prayer flags, Dances of Universal Peace and annual summer retreats. Many around the country and across the world have heard of Lama because the foundation sold and distributed, beginning in the ’70s, the famous “Be Here Now,” Ram Dass’s account of his conversion to the guru Neem Karoli Baba’s teachings in India. Hand printed and assembled loose in a box, the book sold 770,000 copies in 32 printings by 1991, providing Lama a small stream of income that helped keep the community stable.

While all the other collectives and communes in northern New Mexico—and in most other U.S. locations—faded from the scene years ago, Lama endures, even after the catastrophic Hondo Fire in 1996 created a raging firestorm that took 1,000 firefighters four days to control and destroyed 20 of its 23 buildings. Rebuilding drew in volunteers who helped with spiritual renewal as well as structural, after Stewart Brand printed an appeal in the Whole Earth Catalog.

How Lama was born, faced its crises of doctrine, fire and succession of core membership—and kept regenerating itself—is the subject of “Lama Genesis/Lama Incarnations,” a two-act dramatic reading that spans the history of the Lama Foundation since its founding on land in northern Taos County in 1968. This production draws from 100 hours of interviews to tell Lama’s dramatic story in the words of the founders and other residents. It tells of Lama’s efforts to create and recreate itself over 40 years of changing conditions.

Lama Foundation rode the wave of the back-to-the-land movement in the late ’60s. It remains a viable intentional community, founded on the principle that all spiritual traditions maintain a “kernel of truth” and are practiced and respected as such. Its dedication to consensus decision-making, respect for the land and ecology, conflict resolution and life-affirming paths continues to invite and inspire all comers.

The interviews were conducted over the last five years by Ammi Kohn, who began spending summers at Lama a decade ago and realized that no one had begun taking its oral history. Such stories from within are very important for anyone trying to learn from this place that is one of the handful of Sixties collectives still viable after 40 years, anywhere in the country. Oral histories have been taken from the charismatic founders, the average “Lama Beans,” and from those “coordinators” who took on the task of overseeing, for a year, Lama’s rich network of shared work assignments and what they call “tuning,” or dispute resolution and tension reduction.

The reading will include voices explaining the impact of the “Holy Wars,” when founder Steve Durkee returned from Saudi Arabia in the ’70s, having converted to Islam, and demanded that all Lama residents convert. A community confrontation ensued in the main geodesic dome, with complicated personal relationships and new alignments facing off in a climactic struggle over community identity, decided by popular vote.

The chief challenge for spiritual groups started by charismatic founders has always been to establish effective succession of leadership, and then to continue appealing to second and third generations of members. This reading will address how Lama has fared in that rare process. Because of funding from the state Humanities Council, a question-and-discussion session will be held after each performance, with humanities scholars familiar with Lama’s history available to provide context.

The performance is directed by Bruce McIntosh and produced by Metta Projects Theater of Taos. Four performances are scheduled: April 22, 23, 24 and 25 at their Metta theater, located in El Prado at 1470 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. An eight-page portfolio of pictures spanning Lama’s history, taken by Ahad Cobb, will be available free (donations to cover costs appreciated). Linking key quotes from the reading performance, the portfolio will give the audience images to go with the oral history’s significant phases.

For further information contact Steve Fox at 758-8101 or Ammi Kohn at 719-256-5080.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:50 am

Part 1 of 2

Lama Alive -- Lama Foundation: The Little Village That Could
by Lama Foundation
December, 2006



Photo Courtesy of Willie Peck © 2006

Inside This Issue:

• Our New Coordinator
• The Residents
• Rebuilding Lama Foundation
• Hondo Fire, Ten Years After
• To Market, To Market
• Church of Conscious Harmony
• American University
• Sacred Sites
• Maqbaras
• Photo Album
• Donors
• 2007 Summer Schedule
• Raffle Winners
• Oral History Library
• Lama Endowment Fund
• Ways to Help
• Wish List
• Flags


A message from our new Coordinator -- Kathy Lyons

…..So I hiked up to the Healing Tree this morning. The intention was to receive a transmission of truly phenomenal words that I could then write for the newsletter. I didn’t hear any words, but I was aware of my heart pounding in my ears, the wind through the golden aspen, and the elk with their unearthly bugling cry. Was this it?

…..So I slipped and slid down the path to the Maqbara and sat on the new flagstone seats that encircle the grave. Along with my heartbeat, the wind, and the elk, I heard zikr and dances (Ancestors, Sky People, all here today, hear my heart song. Hear my respect. Hear my love. Hear my grateful tears fall. I am truly blessed.) weaving in and out and around my memories of the now, then, and when. Was this it?

…..So I followed the path down and around to the springhouse and listened to the water bubbling up from the depths of the Mother. I listened here for a very long time. I think I fell asleep because when I opened my eyes I noticed the sun had shifted lower on the horizon and there was a trail of ants crawling over my foot. Was this it?

…..So I let the path take me to the Tipi Circle, whirl me around the labyrinth and launch me towards the ISC where I sang my thanks to the open sky and firm ground. (You are truly blessed. We are truly blessed.) The path led to the gardens, once abundant with squash, beans, corn, but now tattered with frost bitten stems and leaves. I stood there feeling a sense of awe at the limitless possibilities represented by a garden. Was this it?

…..So I ended up in the Dome, looking around at the vestiges of Chris and Rita’s wedding: the benches still covered in the white muslin that we use for our prayer flags and, here-there, a dried marigold petal, crispy, yet retaining the fragrance of summer. The wind has picked up a bit and the Dome ceiling creaks and shifts with it. It's amazing, really, how long this space has been here. The view from the window expands and contracts as I breathe in and out. I pause to listen for the heartbeat and voices of those who came before me and of those who will come after me.

Kathy Lyons

Kathy (with her husband Austin and their two cats) has been at Lama Foundation for three years and has held a number of guardianships during this time. Most recently, she has turned over the Kitchen Manager and Secretary positions to fellow Beans. Kathy eagerly anticipates the next stage in the ongoing saga of her relationship to Lama and the Mountain. She is also quite fond of Fritos (or anything salty-crunchy) and scalding hot showers.

The purpose of the Lama Foundation is to be a sustainable community and educational center dedicated to the awakening of consciousness, respect for spiritual practice in all traditions, service, and stewardship of the land.

-- Lama Foundation Mission Statement

Purring through the Winter Membership Meetings

Dearest Beloved Lama Friends,

Greetings and Salutations from Lama. Here is an update of the happenings from the kitty perspective at Lama Foundation. As some of you know, Keshiva and I are still the oldest current residents here at Lama. Many have asked "what is your secret for surviving the consensus or what are now called winter membership meetings?" Simple -- the art of purring through the meetings. We have noticed that none of the human residents are bothered by our presence here in the winter. That helps as well. But, just to make sure that the circle is content with us, we keep purring.

(Keshiva) - Keeping my claws sharpened and my coat loaded with dust helps keep the humans in check.

(G) - Well, our mousing ability, or lack thereof, certainly has no impact on our membership!

(K) - Yeah, I still think it's hilarious that they have a guardianship filled to do our job as Mouse Guardians.

(G) - As a non-voting member, I do wish to express gratitude for the warm laps and good petting qualities of this year’s candidates. I feel that all of them have done an excellent job of keeping our food and water refreshed promptly, and they do a decent job of opening the doors for us. I feel this is a result of good communication skills between the human residents.

(K) - Are you saying that you’re forgiving them for leaving you trapped in the Dew Drop over night?

(G) - Oh no, that was an act of intention on my part, it was sooo cold that night, and I wanted to make sure that I stayed indoors.

(K) - That reminds me of the reputation you had before of being the tent hopper. Off from one tent to another.

(G) - O.K. Keshiva, let’s not go there.

(K) - Ah, I remember the night I went to teach Thomas Renault a very important lesson about boundaries.

(G) - Oh yes, you were quite ruthless!

(K) - Silly man, he let me right into his nice warm sleeping bag, right in between his legs. Then, hee- hee, when he wasn't focused on me, I went right for the jewels! Though I must say, the man has some quick reflexes. He did use a broomstick to create the necessary boundary between my claws and his suffering!

(G) - Well Keshiva, I'm glad that the two of you are still getting along. Oh, and I am glad that with Beth's help as mediator, we are now getting along.

(K) - Well, I think that's where the humans have it made. They can work out issues in a tenth of the time that it took us.

(G) - You know, there is the milk-offering issue I still feel needs smoothing out.

(K) - Nothing to work out G, the milk offerings are all mine!

(G) - Not if you get trapped in the Dew Drop when it's offered, hee-hee!

Blessings from GiGi and Keshiva Katz
Translated by Mouse Guardian Kunga Chokyong



The Residents

♥♥♥The New Circle - Who, Where From, How Long They’ve Been Here, and Their Practice ♥♥♥

Kathy Lyons
Overseas - 4th Winter

Krishna Das Rayfield
North Carolina - 5th Winter

Lynn Farquhar
Colorado - 4th Winter

Kalman Gallay
Canada - 3rd Winter
Goddess-Centered Worship/
Insight Meditation/
Native Earth-Based

Mika Kraemer
New Mexico
Returning Resident
Radical Faerie

Jack Cormier
Pennsylvania - New Resident
Zen Buddhist

Mia Cohen
Tennessee - New Resident

Meredith Mason
Wisconsin - New Resident

Kunga Bill Brower
Colorado - New Resident
Tibetan Buddhist

Paolo Caserta
Louisiana - 2nd Winter

Alia Caserta
Lama - 2nd Winter
Precious Love Light

Lori Cohen
Florida - 3rd Winter

Beth Garrigus
Midwest - 4th Winter

Austin Babcock
California - 4th Winter

Blessings to our
2006/2007 Winter Circle

Meeting of the Ways

We come as many
Gathering around a single Truth.
Let our differences dissolve
In the light of reality,
That we may join together
In a single purpose,
A unified vision,
A purified desire,
For what we forever share unchanged.

Alia… Precious Love Light

Being at Lama as a family is such an amazing blessing. Having so many loving people around her, Alia is really thriving, and she is so happy! She is full of noises and expressions which make us all laugh constantly. At her first birthday, August 2, Alia met her two little cousins, Gabe and Zach, who came all the way from Florida to celebrate with her. Her first words were “Ya Fattah!” (it’s true!) followed by hi, baby, Momma, and Amen! Alia started walking around thirteen months, and she loves her new mobility. We have found that she is incredibly musical! She loves Kirtan and Zikr and has a tendency to be dancing, making up songs, or finding something to create music with, especially shakers and drums.

Alia is very much a part of the Circle – she joins hands with us when we circle up and copies the hand movements during Dances of Universal Peace. One of her favorite things is being outside, whether picking flowers or playing with dirt or rocks. She has meant so much to all of us. It is such a gift to watch her and learn; she is often referred to as our teacher. Alia loves books - especially ones with animals, and was a ladybug for Halloween! She still hasn’t had a haircut, and it has been said that people pay good money for hair like hers….

Lori Cohen

Alia Caserta - Teacher in Residence

May the sun
bring you energy by day,
May the moon
softly restore you by night,
May the rain
wash away your worries,
May the breeze
blow new strength into your being,
May you walk
gently through the world and know
its beauty all the days of your life.
Apache Blessing


Thank you to our departing residents!!
Erik Memmott, David Vargo,
Nathan Wherly,
Chris Daniels, & Rita McElmury
Blessings on your next journey!


Little trees grow where big trees fell
Prayer flags they don't burn so well
We breathe, we share, in One we're found
The Dance of Hope goes round and round

Little green trees on a mountain of love
Water and earth and sky above
We build here now and sing this song
The Dance of Hope goes on and on

It’s up to You, it's up to Me, it's up to Us:
the Dance of Hope, HOPE!

"Dance of Hope"
Lyrics by Frank Meyer, Steve Kemble, and Rob Norris

Rebuilding Lama Foundation

During these past ten years of rebuilding, re-visioning, and rededicating Lama Foundation, a new branch of the Lama family tree has blossomed: the natural builders. They brought state-of-the-art mud and straw knowhow, a passion for after-hours fun such as dancing and drumming, and most importantly, a heart-centered dedication to re-building Lama with an emphasis on both beauty and function.

The only buildings left intact after the Hondo Fire were the Dome Complex, the Old Kitchen, the New Kitchen foundation, the Dew Drop office, and a single residence. This was barely enough to keep Lama Foundation in operation. The wintertime vulnerability of straw bales wrapped around trailers, thinly insulated tipis, yurts and domes challenged year-around residency. This in turn destabilized the on-going rebuilding effort. Nevertheless, Lama supporters threw themselves into the fray and gave until they had nothing left to give. And yet, Lama Foundation's special "magic" remained intact; new people came up the mountain each year, fell head-over- heels in love with Lama, and continued the huge task of rebuilding.

Starting in the summer of 1996, thousands of willing hands came up and felled trees along the contours of the land to preserve the top soil, planted baby trees, developed a long-term building site plan, and worked diligently to complete new buildings. For several years, the task was overwhelming because building projects during the busy summer season competed with serving summer retreats, growing food, and enjoying the fruits of Community. However, because so many believed in Lama Foundation’s vision and supported it with donations and/or their time, Lama has not only risen from the ashes, it is soaring!

Community Center Portal - 1999 The Workshop - 2002

The Workshop - 2002

The Kanaat - 2000

The Tree House - 1998

BHN Apprentices - 2006

Myles & Clarity - 2002

Community Center Complex, etc.

Maqbara Hermitage - 1997

Mollie - 2006

Making Adobe Bricks - 2004

Keyline - 2003

Vault One - 2004

BHN Apprentices - 2003

The Bear Hermitage, etc.

Ten years after the Hondo Fire, the long list of building accomplishments is impressive:

• The "Community Center" complex with new kitchen, pantry, larder, outdoor eating area, meeting rooms, and office space
• Seven straw-bale buildings
• One chainsaw-joinery building for year-round resident housing
• One summer-housing building made of strawclay
• One chainsaw-joinery hermitage
• One straw-bale hermitage
• Three important infrastructure straw-bale buildings (a recycling materials building, a woodshop/workshop, and a land-tool storage building)
• Some of the ISC complex has been rebuilt.

In 2007, we are planning to finish and occupy another straw-bale vault for year-round housing and also the straw-bale Cottage Industries Building, which includes a studio for making prayer flags and other hand-made Lama products, office space, and a "Lamassary - Love Emporium" retail facility. These days Lama Foundation resembles a small village as seen from the old High Hermitage site. Not only has Lama's ever-changing community completed some one and a half buildings each year (and we're still going), but each building has unique details that reflect the hearts of the many hands who gave so fully of themselves.

A few important guiding principles were adhered to while rebuilding. The "Lama Foundation Site Plan" (written in 1998-1999) provided an important over-all perspective in harmoniously siting buildings with the surrounding landscape, road access, and overall mapping of Lama. An ever- deepening understanding of straw-bale construction together with passive-solar design has proven to be an inexpensive and environmentally-sound method of creating new buildings. Building projects have been overseen by building professionals in conjunction with Lama community members, and so we continue to learn how to accomplish each project a little bit better. The result is a "new and improved" Lama Foundation with warmer buildings, a more modern utility infrastructure, and vast spaces of land left untouched. One might say that the Hondo Fire catastrophe provided an opportunity to upgrade.

While there are many accomplishments, Lama Foundation is still lacking adequate indoor summer housing for the many visitors who do not tent, and we are in need of funds to complete the Cottage Industries Building, which will greatly enhance Lama's ability to generate year-round income. So, we will continue to rebuild.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. Rebuilding Lama Foundation is a community effort, and we absolutely could not do it without you!

Blessings, Austin Babcock

Magnificent Manifestations Of Your Generosity!

The Community Center Complex

Flag Mountain Cottage Industries

The Solar Shed & Panel Array

The Workshop

The Recycle & Storage Shed


The Maqbara Hermitage




The Kanaat

The Greensong and the Keyline

The Bluebird


The Eco Nest

Vault One

The Tree House

The Hondo Fire, Ten Years After

Yesterday was gorgeous with the Mountain displaying its full autumnal splendor. The reds, browns, and bronzes of Gambel’s oaks are more varied and vibrant this year, perhaps due to our abundant spring and summer rains. Oaks have replaced ponderosa pine as the dominant plant species after the Hondo Fire, and they seem to huddle together in clumps separated by grassy areas and pathways.

Immediately after the burn, the Land Restoration Team was primarily concerned with retaining the soil that had previously been held in place by the montane vegetation. Our hastily constructed check dams and erosion barriers functioned well to preserve a healthy substrate that now supports a much greater variety of plant life than was present pre-fire.

Rico Zook, Lama Foundation’s Land Manager for several years, said, “The land looks good now, and I am pleased on many levels. It is normal for oaks to move in after a fire, but they could be cut back to speed up the return of the ponderosas. In the near future, Lama will have several options, such as thinning the aspen grove to manage its health.”

The meadow area behind the Main Dome was the first area to fully recover. It is filled with thick grasses, oaks, and seasonal wildflowers, including bursts of purple asters this fall. Yellow-flowered chamisa shrubs line the roadway leading up to Central. Walking along the Maqbara path, I was delighted by the contrasting colors of leaves in transition: yellow snowberries, red wild roses, and yellow-green deer brush. Occasional ponderosa pine seedlings provided a refreshing dash of vivid green against the drabber grasses.

Many planted ponderosa saplings adorn the Maqbara Hill, some of them four feet high. Most of the burned pines on Foundation property have been felled by chain saw or the gusting winds. Yet a dead forest still stands in the Mountain’s upper reaches, towering like blackened grave markers. The land is more open and spacious now, with stunning views of the gorge and surrounding country, yet also possessing a rawness that urges residents and visitors to search ever more deeply within and without.

Resident Lynn Farquhar, head of the Land Team said, “All the rain this year was heavenly. The Mountain has been exploding with asters that combine with the yellow sunflowers to make an eye- popping spectacle.” She noted that mule deer, elk, black bear, raccoons, and bobcats are much more numerous in the post-fire landscape. The bird life has also become more varied with bluebirds, hawks, magpies, flickers, and ravens frequently seen.

The aspen grove has come back full force with trunks reaching twenty feet skyward as their golden leaves gently sway in the breeze. Overgrown stacks of felled aspens remind me of the fierce flooding that swept over Lama just two months after the Hondo Fire. These barriers protected the springhouse from those destructive waves that roared off the denuded slopes above the Foundation.

The plant life along the drainage is thick and luxurious with young narrowleaf cottonwoods rising above snowberries, clumps of Rocky Mountain maple, mullein, and nodding brome grass. Check dams in the creek bed still slow the erosive forces of spring runoff and summer thunderstorms.

Our tree planting, reseeding, and erosion control certainly helped to minimize the effects of fire and flood. Yet it was the restorative, regenerative forces of Mother Nature that revegetated and that will eventually reforest this land. Once again, the Mountain humbles me. And, once again, I am grateful.

jai cross


Lama Goes To Market

After Kathy and I attended several organizational meetings this past winter and spring, it was exciting to be 'on the ground floor' of the new Questa Farmer's Market this summer. Each Sunday, we'd go set up our booth, evolving from a comedy team like Lucy and Ethel struggling with our canopy parts in the grocery store parking lot to a smooth team of booth organizers, growers, bakers, and candle/cream/ lipbalm producers, interacting with our customers, and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow marketers. It was a delight getting to know our neighbors and swapping stories and bread and produce with others passionate about community building and organic food.


As luck would have it, our booth wound up right next to where most weeks a musician (including fiddle-playing Meredith with her beautiful voice and banjo-playing Mia with HER great voice!) or group of musicians would play and sing to make the time zip by. It's been so inspiring to develop relationships with these folks, with their wealth of knowledge and stories about planting, harvesting, baking, and just living in beautiful northern New Mexico. As a result, I've a feeling that, more and more, Lama's produce will be coming directly from our own gardens and greenhouses as well as from local farmers like Daniel Carmona of Cerro Vista Farm, who gave such a fascinating and inspiring presentation during "Build Here Now, Grow Here Now, Live Here Now".

We really lucked out with this summer’s rains, and consequently we were able to enjoy lots of homegrown produce all summer long, and we still have root crops going strong! During the cold season, we're looking forward to visioning about which crops to grow where, how to perfect our 'value-added products' like candles, and ways to expand the number of people enjoying the new Questa Farmer's Market. See you there next summer!

Lynn Farquhar

Lama Alive will be on-line soon!
Go to and click
on the Newsletter Link to see the entire
December 2006 Newsletter, in color!
Additional color photos are also available


Church of Conscious Harmony
From a conversation with Youth Minister Don Hale

The Church of Conscious Harmony in Austin, Texas, was co-founded by Tim Cook 18 years ago after he experienced a spiritual awakening during a Ram Dass retreat at Lama Foundation. Its Abba is Father Thomas Keating, a monk, author, and founder of the world-wide ministry of Contemplative Outreach. Church of Conscious Harmony (CCH) youth and chaperones first came to Lama in 1997, a year after the Hondo Fire, in response to requests for help with rebuilding. Another group returned to Lama in 2001, and CCH youth have returned every summer since that time.

The journey is a multi-leveled pilgrimage, an opportunity to go more deeply into prayer and to see prayerfulness modeled by practitioners from different spiritual traditions and walks of life. To experience the open-hearted welcome and acceptance of the Lama community in which the youth feel safe and held has a much greater impact on their lives than simply reading about religion. Lama has become a second home.

Youth Minister Don Hale explained, “The youth prepare for every pilgrimage by raising funds through the sale of calendars, peaches, baked goods, and an annual spaghetti dinner attended by over 100 people, but we try not to get lost in the fundraising. The week before our departure, we participate in an all-night vigil with centering and contemplative prayer. Each participant contributes to a group aim. This gives the youth a sense of the trip and an opportunity to deepen both individually and in their relationships with one another. Our departure is blessed by our pastor, Tim Cook and his wife Barbara, family, and other community members.”

“Our first ‘official’ stop is the cross overlooking Santa Fe, where we do a sit. We spend the night in Espanola and do morning devotion at the Hanuman Temple in Taos. One of our goals in taking the centering prayer to different sites is to realize that although external environments change, the inner environment is the same.”

“We come to Lama to serve and work with the community. Through the relationships that form with members of the summer community, the youth have an opportunity to see how they affect others’ lives. Watching the Lama Community open to them is an experience they don’t get anywhere else. They feel the ancient wisdom of the Mountain and the natural world that surrounds Lama, manifested in members of the community, and come to realize that this wisdom is part of their nature as well. At Lama, they experience a world that is slower – in a different rhythm – than the world from which they have come and so they learn to match rhythms with those around them.”

Mountain Learning

We arrived at Lama with the air of hustle hovering on our shoulders. We were excited and nervous to see just how a course entitled “Contemplation and Sustainable Design” would unfold on the side of a high-desert mountain.

Under the guidance of Professor Paul Wapner, seven American University graduate and undergraduate students left the walls of our Washington, D.C. campus this summer and embarked on the adventure of a non-traditional class. The course syllabus had prepared us for training in natural building techniques and global environmental politics discourse. Our days were spent mixing cob and slathering it onto the blossoming Cottage Industries Studio, reflecting on global issues within a personal context, and incorporating all of this into artful journaling. We soon learned that what was not on the syllabus offered an equally important lesson: Seva, tuning, lodges, Shabbat, yoga, sweat, tears, connections to the soul, sharing meals made with intention, looking for thunderheads, exploring the raspberry trails on the land, sleeping hard, and living lightly.

We left Lama with song, presence, and love in our hearts. We are fortunate to have lived a bit of Lama’s place, people, and spirit. The residents, summer stewards, and other visitors transformed a “class” into a course on the intricacies of life. Thank you to all of our Lama teachers!

Leah Baker ( AU student of Paul Wapner)

What is Centering Prayer?

Prayer is our relationship to God. Centering Prayer is a method of exercising this relationship - it provides access to deep forms of prayer known in the tradition as contemplation or contemplative prayer. This prayer may be described as silent communion with God. It is the core practice for spiritual growth and transformation.

We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. Centering Prayer is the opening of mind and heart - our whole being - to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. We open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing - closer than consciousness itself. Centering Prayer is a process of interior purification leading, if we consent, to divine union.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer; it simply puts other kinds of prayer into a new and fuller perspective. During the time of prayer we consent to God's presence and action within, while at other times our attention moves outward to discover God's presence everywhere.

Centering Prayer, one of the two core teachings upon which Church of Conscious Harmony is based, is designed to give us a direct experience of God's presence and action in our lives.

Reprinted by permission from Church of Conscious Harmony

Lama Foundation will be hosting a
“Contemplative Prayer Silent Retreat”
The tentative dates are July 10, 2007 - July 19, 2007.
Look for it in our 2007 Summer Brochure.

American University Workshop: Contemplative Sustainable Design
July 29-August 13, 2006

We came to the Mountain to reflect on and even try to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. We wanted to learn how to respond to climate change, loss of biological diversity, increasing scarcity of fresh water and the overall degradation of the earth’s air, water, soil and species diversity. As students of global environmental affairs at American University, we understood that our current ways of life are unsustainable. We wanted to know how to steer ourselves, our nation, and the world in new, more hopeful and sustainable directions.

We came from Washington DC, arguably the belly of the beast. We were used to trying to change the world by staring at computer screens and competing against each other and many others to win the attention of policy-makers or, really, anyone who would listen. Many of us were worn down by the frenetic politics and the city itself. We came to Lama for refuge and to experience a model of sustainability. Lama was our summer laboratory for experimenting with ourselves and our grand ideas of how to make the world a better place. When we arrived, I asked Das what to expect. He replied, “Well, let’s see what happens.”

Things, in fact, did happen. We helped build the new Cottage Industries Studio with mud, straw, and, as Austin always reminded us, love. We sat in the prayer room and listened to our breath, heart, and souls. We practiced yoga, walked in the woods, stared out across the gorges, valleys and mountains, and shared our fears and thoughts about global environmental problems. Most of all, and most rewarding, we joined the community.

Tuning, eating, talking, dancing and smiling with the residents and summer staff is a profound experience. Lama continues to be a place where people come together to support each other’s journeys and the community’s unfolding, and this proved to be our biggest lesson about sustainability. We learned that, more important than all the technical know-how revolving around environmental well-being, at the root of things is finding a way of living together that honors each other’s souls, cultivates a sense of caring about each other, and harmonizes our lives with the natural world.

At the end of our stay, as the shuttles left the mountain to the sound of the conch shell, these kinds of things started to sink in and we were able to appreciate the deeper meaning of sustainability. We did so, it turns out, by becoming different people. We arrived as individual students dedicated to environmental protection. We left as a thankful community more understanding of ourselves and more supported in our political and spiritual aims. Over our three weeks at Lama, we grew thankful for the land, for the opportunity to live alongside the wise folks of the Mountain, and for the transformative powers that flicker at the center of life.

Paul Wapner


Ned O’Malia

Three Credits and an Outhouse

There is a long familial bond between Lama Foundation and the Honors Program of the University of New Mexico. For almost 20 years, Lama has been host, academic center, and spiritual guide to an unusual Honors seminar entitled: Sacred Sites of Northern New Mexico. Using Lama as a home base, this ten-day, three-credit seminar allows fifteen students to experience Lama and visit other spiritual communities.

For me, there is no greater joy than driving to Lama during Community Camp, wondering who will be there. We enter into whatever rhythm of spiritual life we encounter. Once, we arrived on a day of silence when an orientation and land tour were conducted by use of writing on a clip board. We have arrived several times to be greeted by the spiritual chords of Stew Baba Britton’s saxophone kirtans. We once arrived to the music of three Iranian men from Denver playing archaic Iranian instruments most of the night in the Dome.

Sacred Sites has a Web page ( which relates some of the history of this seminar. In time we will have photos of each of the seminar years. There is a section entitled “Sacred Characters” to honor the people we meet in our travels who have had a profound effect on us. This year at a roadside picnic stop near Abiquiu, we met Roy C. Johnson, a cowboy traveling with his horse and bed roll from San Antonio, Texas to Spokane, Washington. He had already been on the road for 71 days and expected to be riding for another 6 months. His wife told him he was not the man she had married and that he should go find that man. Roy was on as true a Yantra as any soul flying to India. Fatima Rigsby is one of our favorite “Sacred Characters.”

One of my greatest pleasures in teaching Sacred Sites has been seeing the familiar through the new and enthusiastic eyes of students. It is a tradition that we stop in the lower parking lot and walk slowly and consciously in silence up the longest route to the Dome. In the Dome, we circumambulate clockwise seven times and then sit in a circle to begin our orientation. The experience of seeing this spectacular building on the top of the wide meadow, then feeling the wooden floor, danced on and prayed over so many times, creates an electric wave about all of us.

In the hallowed tradition of Seva, the Sacred Sites students became quite good at building and refurbishing outhouses in the very beginning of this long union. We would usually tackle one of the hermitage outhouses, dig a new hole in rocky ground, move the outhouse, replace worn boards, and paint it with the brightest paint we could find. We took endless photos of these grand creations, and I once showed former Governor Jerry Apodaca photographs of the seminar. When he asked about the outhouse I told him that we build them as part of the seminar work. He replied, “Finally a resume item worth something.”

Roy C. Johnson, (Cowboy), Ambrosia Ortiz (Teaching Assistant 2007), Ned O'Malia

Our grandest Seva was moving building materials, including a wood stove, to the High Hermitage. Plans were under way for this movement, which included talk of a helicopter lift, when I chimed in that I had college students eager to work. We placed the cast iron wood stove in a wheel barrow, and in the Chinese style, I attached three ropes to the front of the wheel barrow so that the stove was pulled and pushed up the long rocky path to the High, and the old one brought back down.

Even when I think I am beyond being surprised by student reactions to Lama, I am surprised again. A young woman boldly stated that she enrolled for this seminar because it was shorter than a semester and looked easy. After a week, I met her one night crying, saying she had just called her mother and had asked to be baptized in their family church. If there is a trend with my students at Lama, it is that they reawaken to the discarded religion of their childhood. Now they see the adult version of that teaching with its complexities, mysteries, and opportunities.

Sacred Sites is not all outhouses, sweat lodges, teepees, or Willie’s wondrous cinema. Each student writes a research paper, which is shared with the class. Each student creates an annotated workbook of writings, musings, questions and 25 images, which can be photographs, drawings, found art, and once a bone fragment. These workbooks are a gift to that student later in life. They are a record of a moment in their lives, which most will never experience again. Some of these workbooks are of museum quality with high imagination and huge creativity; some are merely adequate to meet the goal.

I am often surprised by where and when the seeds planted during this seminar come to sprout. In May of this year, I spent an afternoon in the Maqbara reading the hermit journals. One stated, “I first came here twelve years ago with a college class; I have gone downhill since that time. I am back to recover something.” He signed his name, which I immediately recognized, as he was somewhat of a pain in the neck. Of all the people on all the seminars, how he found his path back here still amazes me. Plus, as he was carrying his Blackberry with him, he was able to contact the Hermit Master Krishna Das through the Internet for his daily supplies. Wow!

In reflection, I am grateful that over 300 college students have felt the heartbeat of the Lama Foundation, walked the meadows, drank tea, danced in the Dome, cooked silently in the morning kitchen, and met great spiritual beings. There is no measure of how the Lama experience will translate into their lives. I am aware of the smiles shared and the tears dropped. I have felt heart spaces open in many students. I am thankful to have been a part of this Lama Foundation – Honors Program seminar. I am thankful to have learned something from each student - about them and about me. With the grace of the Goddess, may it long continue.

Thank you Lama Foundation! Ned O’Malia

Maqbaras on Lama Mountain

Murshid Samuel L. Lewis’ Maqbara


Samuel L. Lewis was Lama’s first “teacher”. Following is an excerpt from his diary of that time (1970): “Here I am in a spiritual commune way up in the Rockies (Lama), where they practice, practice, practice what others preach, preach, preach. It is marvelous. It is the New Age. It is the New Age without any recent Messiahs. Just human beings who demonstrate love and humanity, and worship according to the forms of all religions and don¹t waste time on endless lectures.”

Murshid Sam was buried on Lama Mountain in the deep of winter in January 1971. The Maqbara of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis, like the shrines of Sufi teachers in the East, is a place of Baraka, of blessing, of peace. It is a place of pilgrimage where we can reconnect with spiritual reality, recharge our batteries, and seek an answer to life’s problems. Lama celebrates Murshid’s birthday on October 18th and his Urs (day of passing, or wedding with the Beloved) on January 15th. All are welcome!

Funded by Sufi Ruhaniat International, work was done this past summer to improve the seating around his Maqbara. The crescent above the grave was expanded and new stones were laid along the top. The area can now seat 25 to 30 people.


Toward the One
The perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty
The only Being
United with all the Illuminated Souls
Who form the Embodiment of the Master
The Spirit of Guidance

Murshida Vera Corda’s Maqbara


This summer a group of volunteers from the local community, lead by Rahaman Brown worked on a beautification project at Murshida Vera Corda’s Maqbara.

Excerpted here are a few words Shabaz Juan Lopez shared about the project: “(The) volunteers lovingly hauled over two tons of rock, stone by stone, from the base of the the Maqbara site. It is quite steep... The cement used was made with rainwater (gathered from the roof of the bench shelters at Murshid Sam’s Maqbara up the hill)... The cookie jar urn (with Murshida’s ashes)... is now under the floor of the little grotto in the center of (a stone) crescent... There is still work to do. The monument still needs some finishing details. The path and landscape will be (improved) and two beautiful benches (made by John Murray who built the bench shelters at Murshid Sam’s Maqbara as well as the Maqbara hermitage hut) will be set (in place). The floor and walls of the small grotto will be decorated with (quartz) crystals being collected... Hopefully the honoring of our teachers will carry on the four winds to the highest heaven.”

This project (materials and food for the volunteers) is being funded by donations to Holistic Human Development, Inc., a trust set up to further the work of Murshida Vera Corda. Contact them c/o Zahira Rabinowitz (mzahira@ (707) 763-6078.

Pilgrims are welcome to visit both Maqbaras any time.
Please call for road conditions.
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Part 2 of 2

2006 Snapshots

Everybody likes to plaster

Dervish Healing Order - 2006



Liz & Jai

Jan Daugherty

Alia - “Hug me”


The Ram Dass Bus got a new paint job

Diana, Rabia, Pat, & Chen



On September 23, 2006, more than 200 well-wishers attended the wedding of Chris Daniels (Foundation coordinator and long-term Lama stalwart) and Rita McElmury (Flag guardian and artiste extraordinaire). Diane Adkins married the loving couple at Lama in a ceremony punctuated by talented musicians, poignant singing, and heart-felt vows. Afterwards, the multitude celebrated with fantastic food, fire dancers, and wild dancing in the Dome. Chris and Rita honeymooned in Hawaii before settling into their new duties as caretakers at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos. Join us in blessing the newlyweds in this and all their future endeavors together!

Mollie, Donnie, Kaki, & Steve

Jamie, Arielle, Heather, & Courtney

Tea in the new Flag Building

Thanks & Blessings to our Beloved Donors

For Your Monetary Support: ♥Diane Adkins ♥ Lynda Aiman-Smith & Larry Taylor ♥ Bear & Kathryn Albrecht ♥ Nicholas Alexander ♥ Margaret Allsebrook ♥ Jonathan & Kathleen Altman ♥ Loretta Armer ♥ Stephen Ascue ♥ Catherine Auman ♥ Ana Alpern Avital ♥ Austin Babcock & Kathy Lyons ♥ Joseph Peter Badalucca ♥ Saul Barodofsky, Ananda Cronin & The Dervish Healing Order ♥ Zet Baer & Rudi Harst ♥ Margaret Baird ♥ Vadan Baker ♥ Pamela Barrale & Mary Elizabeth Ford ♥ Brenda Barstow ♥ Mary & Aziz Bartley ♥ Lisa Bayne ♥ Shama Beach ♥ Van & Zakira Beasley ♥ Red & Molly Beckley ♥ Michelle Beittel ♥ Guy Benintendi ♥ John Bennett ♥ Susan Berman ♥ Asha & Andre Uwais Bernard ♥ Dr Samuel A Berne ♥ Sandy Berrigan ♥ Gabriele Birnbaum ♥ Jeffrey Birnbaum ♥ Candice Blocker ♥ Michele Boccia & Lewis Sawatzky ♥ Karen Bolander-Claus ♥ Jan Boyer ♥ Fadhilla Nancy Bradley ♥ Jessica Brady Hogan ♥ Varda Brahms ♥ Linda Chase Broda ♥ Kate Brown ♥ Larry Brown ♥ Roy T Bruno ♥ Carolynn Bryan ♥ Tasnim Janice Burton ♥ Bob Campbell & Melissa Russo ♥ William & Marie Carman ♥ T. Bruce Carpenter ♥ Katherine F C Cary ♥ Marti Cate ♥ Donna Chamisa ♥ Dr James J Childress ♥ Katherine Chudoba & David Powelson ♥ Derek Clark ♥ Kenneth D Clements ♥ Abraham Cobb ♥ Ahad Cobb ♥ Nat and Sarah Cobb ♥ Elizabeth Coe ♥ Elizabeth & Robert Cogburn ♥ Douglas Conwell ♥ Marguerite Craig ♥ Jai & Jan Cross ♥ Jay Cross ♥ Lenora & Jim Cross ♥ Kenneth Cuthbertson & Douglas Calderwood ♥ David & JoAnn Dalley & SIRS Mid Atlantic ♥ Rameshwar Das & Kate Rabinowitz ♥ Janice Daugherty ♥ Richard & Elaine Davis ♥ Terry Davis & Bruce Holthouse ♥ Annie Degen ♥ Kristina Deimel & Richard Pollens ♥ Devi Elena & Thomas Akbar DeJardin & DUP Portland ♥ Deb & Robert Denome ♥ William Diehl ♥ Mark Dixon & Sandy Fazio ♥ Susan Drobeck ♥ Leonard Edmondson ♥ Susie & Barry Ehrmann ♥ Craig Ellis ♥ Christy Engels ♥ Merrybelle D England ♥ Rosemarie & Dean Enix ♥ Jim & Dorothy Fadiman ♥ Richard Falk & Francine Falk-Allen ♥ Maureen Fallon-Cyr ♥ Janice Jemila Felisko ♥ Calvin Fentress ♥ Allen & Lucy Fergusen ♥ Marigold Fine ♥ Kelley & CT Fitzpatrick ♥ Felicia Flower Gironda ♥ Kimmi Foree ♥ Azima Lila Forest ♥ Frank Fox ♥ Richard Fox ♥ Joel Frankel ♥ David & Deborah Franz ♥ Danielle Freeman ♥ Zev Freidman ♥ John Fridinger ♥ Justin & Linda Friedman ♥ Bill Fungaroli ♥ Donna Gaddie & Mark Chonko ♥ Don & Pat Gallegos ♥ John & Alyne Galm ♥ Teresa Gardner ♥ Herbert & Frances Garn ♥ Terry Garthwaite ♥ Agatha Gelderloos ♥ Georgia Gersh ♥ Rhoda Gilman ♥ Gayle Gilmore & Ozzie Curlee ♥ Marla Goedhart ♥ Caroline Goff ♥ Sarkis Gorial ♥ Rand & Teresita Greenfield ♥ Arthur Greeno & Hokoji Zen Temple ♥ Asha Greer ♥ Julie Grossman ♥ Raina Grygorowikz ♥ Tricia Guinle ♥ Richard Hammer ♥ Judith Henry ♥ Mark and Christine Hickman ♥ William & Susan Hogan ♥ Phillip Holliday ♥ Barbara E Horan ♥ Jiun Hosen & Bodhi Manda Zen Center ♥ Jim Hunt ♥ Rabia Hunter ♥ Bernard Iovine ♥ Martha Iwaski ♥ Jan Jahn ♥ Dawn, Eldon & Thomas Janssen ♥ Beth Johnson ♥ Mansur Johnson ♥ Mariel Margery Johnson ♥ Robert & Patricia Johnson ♥ Jean Jorgensen ♥ Shabda & Tamam Kahn & The Ruhaniat ♥ Joan Kaiser ♥ Kenneth Kalata ♥ Mel Kaushansky & Ph.D. & Gordon Wallace ♥ Susan Kazmierski ♥ Jeanne Rainwater Kelley ♥ Steve Kemble ♥ Jean and Steve Kenin ♥ Daniel Kennedy ♥ Jamil Kilbride & Karin Arielle ♥ Jeffrey S King ♥ Sandra & Jay King ♥ Randall Klarin ♥ Ammi Kohn ♥ Michael Kothrade ♥ Mika Kraemer ♥ Steve Krajacic ♥ Betty & Warren Kuehner ♥ Elizabeth Ann Kuhn ♥ Stuart & Virginia Kupferman ♥ David Kyle ♥ Veronica Lake ♥ Diane Lange ♥ William & Judith P Lanyi ♥ Linda Larkin ♥ Martha & Peter Laudert ♥ Kathryn Lawrence ♥ Katrina Lehman ♥ Lorie Levison ♥ Miryam Levy ♥ Jon Lipman ♥ Hugh Littlebury ♥ Charles Lonsdale ♥ Jim Lorentzen ♥ Steven Lovelace & Gary Clark ♥ Corinna Lyon ♥ Ed and Ann MacBeth ♥ Virginia Maclovia ♥ Anne Maedke ♥ Vishu & Nancy Magee ♥ Chris Mandeville ♥ Brenda Manning ♥ C Victor & Barbara Manny ♥ James E Marienthal ♥ Paula T Markham & DUP Blacksburg ♥ Rick Markov ♥ Ann Sophia Marshall ♥ Luzie Mason ♥ Mary Ann Matheson ♥ Randal McClure ♥ Chuck McKennon & Cotopaxi Band ♥ Glenn & Billie McNeal ♥ Virginia Melroy ♥ Devin Miller ♥ Uma & Vishwanath Miller ♥ Deborah Milosevich ♥ Robert & Sarah Moench ♥ Deborah Morin ♥ Marvin & Nancy Morse ♥ Molly Moyer & Ronnie Storey ♥ Gwendolyn Murphy ♥ Rev Alice Pintki & John Murray ♥ Lawrence Muscat ♥ Bette Kay Myerson ♥ Jeanette Nadeau ♥ Mary Neikirk ♥ Peggy Nes ♥ Liz Neve ♥ Alan & Deniese Newman ♥ Sharon Niederman ♥ Lorraine Williams Norby ♥ Heather Norfleet ♥ Ned O’Malia ♥ Estate of Mark Oberman ♥ Cheryl Dee Odom ♥ Lucy Oliver & Thomas Rightmyer ♥ Eileen Pappalardo ♥ T R Patterson & Daisy Schrock ♥ Gyana Pendleton ♥ Franklin & Linda Peters ♥ Nina Amina Peterson ♥ Rosie Powell ♥ Roger Pritchard ♥ Ivan Rasmussen ♥ Polly Margaret Raye & Bill Christmas ♥ Quentin Rebholtz ♥ Gilbert Renault ♥ Thomas Renault ♥ Wayne Rice ♥ Flora Richey ♥ Fatima Rigsby ♥ Ronald E Rinker ♥ Tamar Rivers ♥ Barbara Jemila Rose ♥ Judith Rousso & David Arneson ♥ Edwin A Ruber & William Payer ♥ Nuria Stephanie Sabato & Joseph Gorski ♥ Tovia & William Safford ♥ Joseph Salack & James Bailey ♥ Rachel Sanborn ♥ Theresa Sapunar ♥ Jan Schubert ♥ Andrea Scott ♥ Dona Seay ♥ Roberta Sharples ♥ Patrick Shaw & Jenny Kostecki ♥ Layla Shellie Steckel Sheppard ♥ Vakil Forest Shomer ♥ Scott Thomas Shuker ♥ Lawrence & Sarah Siegel ♥ Caryn Simon ♥ Steve Slusher & Jon Lewis ♥ Sandra Smiley ♥ Janet F. Smith ♥ Susan Ida Smith ♥ Shane Snell ♥ Bernadette Sonefeld ♥ Martha Stampfer ♥ Marti Stewart ♥ John Stocke & Polly Tifft ♥ Suzanne Stone ♥ Cathy & Doug Strubel ♥ Sully Sullivan ♥ Elaine Surya ♥ Andrew Swanson ♥ Charles Maboud Swierkosz & Tara Andrea Brunjes- Swierkosz ♥ Karen B Taylor ♥ Lori Thweatt ♥ Linda Shakura Trageser ♥ Patti Tronolone ♥ Nic Tuff ♥ Farishta Sara Ulrey ♥ David Vargo ♥ Rob, Julia & Marika Vazquez ♥ Peter Vennewitz ♥ Liz Vereycken ♥ Ruth Von Goertz ♥ Tom Wallace ♥ P.B. and Ron Walsh ♥ Regina Jamila Walther ♥ Catherine Wanek & Pete Fust ♥ Paul Wapner & Diane Singerman ♥ Gideon & Shirley Weisz ♥ Susan Elizabeth Werner ♥ Gail West ♥ Jess West ♥ Jill Wichlens & Rich Gabriel ♥ Larry Wiesner ♥ Stewart E Wiggers ♥ Rafia Marian Wilcox ♥ Dianne Gary Williams ♥ John Wilson MD ♥ Genevieve Windsor ♥ Melody Shekinah Winnig & Vincent Giuliano ♥ Alice Wirth ♥ Sandy Wolf ♥ Oscar Woodson ♥ Kyle Xhilone ♥ Wendy Zieve ♥ Polly & Steve Zimmerman ♥ Dave Zirin ♥ Melvin & Susan Zwillenberg ♥

Thanks to our Trustees: ♥ Diana Adkins ♥ Jai Cross ♥ Asha Greer ♥ Rabia Hunter ♥ Bob Johnson ♥ Pat Johnson ♥ Fatima Rigsby ♥ Elaine Surya ♥

Special Appreciation and Thanks to: ♥ Jonathan & Kathleen Altman Foundation [ALTMAN FOUNDATION Contact info 35TH FLOOR, NEW YORK NY 10175-0003, Last update: 2008-12-01,
This nonprofit has assets of $207,778,412, income of $152,610,496.] ♥ Saul & Ananda Barodofsky and the Members of the Dervish Healing Order ♥ Don Hale and the Church of Conscious Harmony ♥ Ram Dass ♥ Annie Degen ♥ Holistic Human Development and the Friends of Murshida Vera Corda ♥ Shabda & Tamam Kahn and the Members of the Ruhaniat ♥

For Material and Energetic Support, Building, Landscaping, Meal Prep, Transportation,

Teaching, Counsel, and inspiration: ♥ David Abrams ♥ Diana Adkins ♥ Zaida Amaral ♥ Paula Anderson ♥ Richard Archuleta ♥ Estevan Arellano ♥ Ruthie & Jim Ashe ♥ Ernie Atencio ♥ Emma Avalos ♥ James Bailey ♥ Vadan Baker ♥ Nancy Barstow ♥ Bob Bassara ♥ Courtney Becker ♥ Trew & Tony Bennett ♥ Susan Berman ♥ Michele Boccia & Lewis Sawatzky ♥ Jan Boyer ♥ Jessica Brady Hogan ♥ Varda Brahms ♥ Christopher Briggs ♥ Rahaman David Brown ♥ Bud & Blanche ♥ Bob Campbell ♥ Jadi Carboni ♥ Daniel Carmona ♥ Curtis Cates ♥ Mark Choplin ♥ Cids Food Market ♥ Gary Clark ♥ Ahad Cobb ♥ Continuing & Free Associate Members ♥ Abe Cordova ♥ Julie Covington ♥ Carole Crews ♥ Jai & Jan Cross ♥ Mollie Curry ♥ David & JoAnn Dalley ♥ Janice Daughtery ♥ Annette F Daymon ♥ Richard & Linda Deertrack ♥ Annie Degen ♥ Jeff Dickinson ♥ Mark Dixon & Sandy Fazio ♥ Jody Drew ♥ Susie & Barry Ehrmann ♥ Jennie Evans ♥ Frank Fox ♥ Zev Freidman ♥ Ed & Lynn Galusky ♥ Tyson Galusky ♥ Terry Garthwaite ♥ Susannah Gelb ♥ Agatha Gelderloos ♥ Genny Genevich ♥ Mira Lyra Geroy ♥ Joel Glansberg ♥ Jasper Gomez & Rose Gatewood ♥ Sarkis Gorial ♥ Marica Graff ♥ Gary Greenstein & Heather Ferris ♥ Asha Greer ♥ Cedar Rose Guelberth ♥ Ben R Haggard ♥ Jeff Hartezer ♥ Cathy Hope ♥ Rabia Hunter ♥ Kaki Hunter ♥ Martha Iwaski ♥ Sita Jamieson ♥ Del Jiminez ♥ Mansur Johnson ♥ Bob & Pat Johnson ♥ Mark Johnson & Family ♥ Ken Kalata ♥ Steve Kemble ♥ Jean & Steve Kenin ♥ Ky Kenney ♥ Donnie Kiffmeyer ♥ Rick Klein ♥ Julilly Kohler ♥ Ammi Kohn ♥ Paul Koppana ♥ David & Madge Kraemer ♥ Kitty Kuluvar ♥ Lama Council Members ♥ Lama Neighbors ♥ Jamie Lamar ♥ Brad Lancaster ♥ Holly LeBerge ♥ Katrina Lehman ♥ Stewart & Sakae Lenox ♥ Eva Leveton ♥ Habib Dick Levison ♥ Lorie Levison ♥ Arielle Lewis- Zavala ♥ Joseph Lichtman ♥ Larry Littlebird ♥ Bert Lopez ♥ Shabaz Juan Lopez ♥ Steven Lovelace ♥ Toshiko Lyons ♥ Darvesha MacDonald ♥ Katie Maedke-Hall ♥ Richard Mahler ♥ Glen Martin ♥ Mary Ann Matheson ♥ Candice May ♥ MJ McCabe ♥ Jethro McClellan ♥ Laura Meltsner ♥ Gael Minton ♥ Sara Morgan ♥ Chien Motto ♥ Molly Moyer ♥ Kate Munger ♥ Gwendolyn Murphy ♥ Mystery School Band ♥ Mary Neikirk ♥ Margaret Nes ♥ Liz Neve ♥ Norbert with Off Road Performance ♥ Ned O’Malia ♥ Willy Peck ♥ Sarah Prasek ♥ Questa Health Center ♥ Zahira Rabinowitz ♥ Sylvia Rains Dennis ♥ Becky Reardon ♥ Baltazar Reed ♥ Gilbert Renault ♥ Thomas Renault ♥ Maura Rieman ♥ Fatima Rigsby ♥ Tamar Rivers ♥ Jose Romero ♥ Farrunnissa Lila Rosa ♥ Carl Rosenberg ♥ Micah Rosenberg ♥ Ruth Ross ♥ Melissa Russo ♥ Liam Rutan ♥ Tovia Safford ♥ Myles Saigh ♥ Joseph Salack ♥ Shanti Salima ♥ Shay Salomon ♥ San Cristobal Post Office ♥ Rachel Sanborn ♥ Miguel Santistevan ♥ Frank Schmit & Eve Marie Egan ♥ Colette Schmitt ♥ Dona Seay ♥ Patrick Shaw & Jenny Kostecki ♥ Scott Shuker ♥ Marney Solle ♥ Linzi Soloman ♥ Mirabai Starr ♥ Ronnie Storey ♥ Elaine Surya ♥ Al and Julie Sutherland ♥ Tony Sutherland & Harmony Haynie ♥ Elaine Sutton ♥ Maboud & Tara Swierkosz ♥ Julie Tato ♥ Terra Tiffany ♥ Ben Titelbaum ♥ Dylan Trachtman ♥ Nigel Valdez ♥ Julia Vasquez ♥ Siddiq Hans & Sakina von Briesen ♥ Beth Waldron ♥ Tom Watson ♥ Tim Weaver ♥ Daniel Weinman ♥ Mark Welch ♥ Genevieve Windsor ♥ Rico Zook ♥ and many more unnamed beloveds!

Congratulations to the winners of our
“2006 Caribbean Second Chance Raffle”!

Grand Prize Winner - Judy Henry of Santa Fe, NM
A trip for two to the beautiful Caribbean Coast in Tulum, Mexico

2nd Place Winner - Theresa Sapunar of Yellow Springs, OH
A weeklong Hermitage or Retreat at Lama Foundation

3rd Place Winner - Dakota Durkee Heim of Charlottesville, VA
A three-night Hermitage at Lama Foundation

4th Place Winner - Larry Brown of Olivebridge, NY
A $75.00 Gift Certificate to Flag Mountain Cottage Industries

Thank you to all those who participated in our raffle!
It was a great success, because of you!
Special thanks to EcoTulum Resorts for generously donating the accommodations!
Visit their website

This issue of Lama Alive:

Jan Cross

Layout, & Design:
Jan Cross and Fatima Rigsby

Contributing Writers:
Austin Babcock, Leah Baker,
Kunga Bill Brower, Lori
Cohen, Jan Cross, Jai Cross,
Lynn Farquhar, Beth Garrigus,
Ammi Kohn, Kathy Lyons,
Ned O’Malia, Fatima Rigsby,
and Paul Wapner

Austin Babcock, Lori Cohen,
Jai Cross, Beth Garrigus, Ned
O’Malia, Willie Peck, and

Tentative Summer 2007 Schedule

May 27 Opening Day
May 27 – June 2 Community Camp
May 31 – June 3 Family Retreat
May 27 – May 30 Spiritual Communities
June 14 – June 17 Eco Summit
June 17 – June 24 Build Here Now
July 10 – July 19 Contemplative Prayer Silent Retreat
August 12 – August 15 Vast Silence
August 16 – August 19 Women’s Gathering with/Asha, Zuleikha & Taj
August 23 – August 26 Annual Meeting
August 31 – September 3 G & L Reunion
September 6 – September 9 Singing in Circle
September 13 – September 16 Cooking with Thomas (Mediation Training)
September 20 – September 23 African Dance Weekend
September 23 Closing Day

Check the website in 2007 for more up-to-date information -

A Snapshot of the Lama Library of Oral History and Memory

In July 2005, the Lama Council approved the creation of Lama Foundation’s Library of Oral History and Memory. This noteworthy project preserves the memorable stories of people intimately involved with the Foundation during its illustrious thirty-nine years of community life and service to humanity. The Library is headed by the indefatigable Ammi Kohn, who has recorded over 75 hours of memories on approximately 60 cassette tapes and CDs.

These colorful and revealing histories will be securely stored and archived at the Fray Angelico Chavez Library in Santa Fe. This library specializes in New Mexico history and is a branch of the Palace Museum of the Governors on the Santa Fe Plaza. Copies of the recordings will also be stored in the Lama Foundation Library, under the supervision of the Library Guardian.

To date, over sixty people have been interviewed, and some of these may be contacted for a follow-up interview as well.

Thanks to the generous donation of Jonathan Altman, a computer system for the project was acquired and processing of the interviews has already begun. In the immediate months ahead, the Library will focus on duplicating histories that have not been copied, physically archiving the tapes and CDs at the Lama Foundation and the Fray Angelico Library, and securing legal authorization from contributors to archive their contributions, which are necessary to make the interviews available to researchers, educational institutions, and other listeners.

During the coming year, Ammi plans to master the Voice Recognition system to redictate histories and create a computer text database of all completed interviews. Although there is money for basic library maintenance for a year, there is no funding to hire a transcriber. Data base design, information retrieval, analytic work, and careful administrative oversight are all necessary components.

The Library will also collect specialized histories. For example, Myles and Austin will collaborate to describe the Cottage Industry Building, from its initial conceptualization to its completion which will give special insights into Lama's building process.

We can all appreciate the importance of preserving the story of Lama's unique history, culture, and community over nearly four decades. To accomplish this daunting task, Ammi would welcome help, donations, and suggestions on other worthy interview subjects. He can be reached at 719-256-5080,, or PO Box 532, Crestone, Colorado 81131-0532.

Ammi greatly appreciates the expressions of support and encouragement that he has received over the past year and looks forward to deepening the work. Thanks so much!

Ammi (right) takes a deserved break on the Portal

The interviewees to date, are: Karin Arielle, Austin Babcock, Saul Barodofsky, Zakira Beasley, Varda Brahms, Rahaman Brown, Doug Calderwood, Paolo Caserta, Ahad Cobb, Lori Cohen, David Cooper, Jai Cross, Mollie Curry, Ken Cuthbertson, Chris Daniels, Annie Degan, Noura Durkee, Sh. Nooruddeen Durkee, Lynn Farquhar, Beth Garrigus, Georgia Gersh, Will Giles, Natalie Goldberg, Asha Greer, Brian Herrera, Rabia Hunter, Joe Jackson, Steve Kemble, Jamil Kilbride, Mika Kraemer, Steven Lovelace, Kathy Lyons, Katie Maedke-Hall, Rita McElmury, Steven McElmury, Erik Memmott, Sara Morgan, Diane Nelson, Sharifa Oppenheimer, Willy Peck, Krishna Das Rayfield, Thomas Renault, Fatima Rigsby, Myles Saigh, Joseph Salack, Reb Zalman Schechter-Shalom, Marian Shirin, Scott Shuker, Eliezer Sobel, Mirabai Starr, Markus Stringer, Elaine Surya, Nick Tuff, Eliana Uretsky, Sakina von Briesen, Siddiq von Briesen, Abd al-Hayy Michael Weinman, Cynthia West, Abdul Hai Winer, and Rico Zook.


"It takes a noble man to plant a seed for a tree that will some day give shade to people he may never meet." -- David Trueblood

Lama Foundation Endowment Fund
For Donors Who Wish to Invest Today for Tomorrow

Lama Foundation has partnered with Taos Community Foundation to provide a legacy for future generations by creating a permanent endowment fund. This fund will generate a yearly income for Lama, yet the principal will remain in perpetuity for all those who come after us. An anonymous donor has kick-started the fund with a gift of $10,000 worth of highly appreciated stock. This enabled the donor to legally avoid significant capital gains and to receive a charitable contribution write-off, while contributing the full $10,000 to Lama.

Using the expertise of Taos Community Foundation, your gift of cash, stocks, bonds, IRAs, real estate, life insurance, art, and other assets will ensure the future of this magical mountain community. A variety of charitable instruments can be tailored to your unique situation, such as charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and charitable gift annuities. All gifts are tax-deductible to the maximum amount permissible.

Please help us protect and provide for the future of Lama. Check with your financial advisor to see how we could both benefit from a gift or bequest to Lama Foundation. Ninety percent of Endowment Fund contributions will go directly into the fund, while ten percent will fund Lama operational expenses.

For more information and to request an information packet, contact:

Lama Fundraising Office
Jan Cross: 505-758-8622
PO Box 782, Taos, NM 87571-0782

Taos Community Foundation may also be
contacted directly:

Taos Community Foundation
PO Box 1925, Taos, NM 87571-1925

We can help you with those pesky IRAs!
Individuals over 70 may transfer up to $100,000 from their individual retirement account to Lama this year – tax-free. A new law, enacted for 2006 and 2007 only, allows you to give more to charity and to pay less in taxes.

Ways You Can Help Now
Thanks for your continued generosity!

Cash Donations -

♥ At this point, Lama still relies heavily on cash donations for the many needs of the Foundation. General donations help to provide the basics, such as food, warmth, communication, medical care, resident stipends, repair and maintenance, vehicles, insurance, and the many other costs of keeping an entire village functioning.
♥ Flag Mountain Cottage Industries Building needs further funds to be up and running. Phase I, the exterior structure of this beautiful and functional building, cost $29,882. Approximately $25,000 more (of which we have already raised $10,000) will be needed for Phase II to completely finish the project next year. These funds will be used for the interior, furnishings (cabinetry, desks, work stations, phones and the computer system) and utility systems such as a solar radiant heating system, running hot and cold water, phone lines, computer lines, solar powered electrical system, and drainage system.
♥ The General Building Fund will be used for other necessary structures. Lama is still in desperate need of basic summer housing/dorms and infrastructure for our beloved Beans and retreatants.

Donate Goods or Services - see if you have an item from our wish list because these make a big difference to the folks on the Mountain! Professional services of all types are deeply appreciated!

Purchase our Cottage Industries Products – support our sustainable efforts! A portion of every flag purchase goes directly towards completing our new building!

Volunteer on the Mountain – cooking, gardening, building, cleaning, maintenance, serving retreats, and many other rewarding and fun jobs are always available.

Attend a Retreat at Lama - or tell a friend about a retreat that would interest them. Word of mouth is still the best advertising. Share the magic!

Spend Time at Lama as a Hermit - rejuvenating hermitages are available year round.

Tell Your Friends about Lama - or better yet, come visit us and bring a friend!

Include Lama in your Gift-Giving Plans – making a gift to the Lama Foundation Endowment Fund or remembering the Foundation in your estate plans will ensure that Lama will live on for future generations.

The Wish List

Physical donations have made a huge contribution to Lama’s re-growth after the Hondo fire. We deeply appreciate all these donations and the donors’ generous hearts.

We have a list here, both big and small, from things you already might possibly be looking to give to charity to the pies in the sky. In any case, if it is something beyond a “throw it in your car when you come here”, please contact the Lama Beans on the Mountain to make arrangements for shipping at 505-586-1269.

The Biggies – things we really need
(items or money towards)

*4WD vehicles able to withstand the Lama road
*Bio-diesel Conversion for our Suburban
*Solar Electric Panels & Equipment
*Greenhouse *Propane Freezer/Refrigeration


*Essential Oils
*Seven-day Candles
*Soy Wax for making candles
*Video Movies
*Spiritual Books
*Reading Novels
*Warm Clothing for Gypsy
*Like-new Tents
*Snow Boots
*Warm Blankets
*Solar Flashlights
*Compact Fluorescent Bulbs & Adapters


*Industrial Veggie/Fruit Juicer
*Large Burr Grinder
*Serving Bowls/Platters
*Knife Sharpener
*Pure Vanilla Extract
*Wheat Grass Juicer
*Dish Towels
*”Nourishing Traditions” Cookbook
Plastic Storage Bins with Lids


*High Chairs
*Art & Activity Resource Book
*Quality Play Set Equipment
*Art Supplies
*Musical Instruments
*Protection Gates
*Kid’s Table & Chairs
*Sports Equipment
*Kitchen Set

Land & Building

*Flat Bed Trailer
*Wood-Miser Portable Sawmill
*Small Submersible Solar Pump
*Water Bladder for Truck
*Portable Winch
*Work Gloves
*Small Metal Drums for Greenhouse
*Insulated Cloth Curtains for Greenhouse
*Old Blankets
*30-80 Gallon Barrels
*Watering Cans
*Flower Bulbs
*Shade Cloth
*Garden Hoses
*Quality Garden Tools
*Heavy-Duty Iron Wheelbarrows
*Oxy-Acetylene Tanks
*Band Saw
*New Mauls & Hatchets
*Belt Sander

Sacred Spaces

*Small Table & Dressers
*Nice Rugs
*Like-New Futons & Mattresses
*Lockable Glass Display Bookcase
*Industrial Sewing Machine
*Comforters & Covers
*Insulated Curtains & Blinds
*Compact, Heavy-Duty Vacuum
*Ultrasonic Mouse Repellant Plug-ins
*Ironing Board Cover
*Full-Length Mirror

Fantastic Wishes

*Large, Good-quality Flour Mill
*Potters Wheel

Flag Mountain Cottage Industries

Purple & Blue
19”x 26” $7.00

Lama Seal
19”x19” $5.00

Lotus Om
19”x19” $5.00

19”x19” $5.00

Yin Yang
19”x19” $5.00

Lotus Om
19”x19” $5.00

Peace Flag Set
Lama Foundation 1967 - 2007

In commemoration of Lama Foundation’s 40th anniversary and its continued vision for peace, we are happy to offer this special flag set. The universal symbol of peace is positioned in the center, flanked by flags from six different religions. This commemorative flag set will be available in 2007 for $35.00.

Please visit our website ( to place your order, call 505-586-1269, or email

Help to complete our new Cottage Industries Building!

$2 of every Flag and $10 of each Flag Set sold by 06/30/07 will go directly into the building fund for this special project! See our complete line of Prayer Flags and Flag Sets on our website.

Sufi Heart & Wings Set
Printed on hand-dyed fuchsia, bright yellow, and turquoise flags. $35.00

Red & Yellow
19”x 26” $7.00

Meeting of the
19”x19” $5.00

Ram Sun
19”x19” $5.00

Green Tara
19”x19” $5.00

Flying Hanuman
19”x19” $5.00

How To Contact Us

On the Mountain:
Lama Foundation
PO Box 240
San Cristobal, NM 87564-0240
Phone: 505-586-1269
Fax: 206-984-0916

Have you moved? Are you receiving duplicate mailings? Email the fundraising office with any change of name, address etc.

Fundraising Office:
Lama Foundation
PO Box 782
Taos, NM 87571-0782
Phone: 505-758-8622
Fax: 505-758-8622 (call first)
Please visit our website at Email:

Lama Foundation
PO Box 240
San Cristobal, NM 87564-0240


Non-Profit Organization
US Postage Paid
Albuquerque, NM
Permit Number 260
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:27 am

History of Lama Foundation
Accessed: 6/21/19




Origin of the term “Lama”

The name “Lama” comes from “la lama”, which means “mud” in Portuguese. Portuguese, not Spanish, interestingly, because the predominant culture and language of the early European immigrants who made their home in the Taos vicinity in the 1550’s were Spanish. How precisely the Portuguese term came to be used in this small settlement 20 miles north of Taos is uncertain, but the community that developed, and continues to this day, is aptly named. During the winter and spring, the roads and paths are perpetually muddy from the freeze/thaw of the snow and the spring rains. Nearly everyone on the Mountain has an anterior “mudroom”, where shoes are taken off in order to keep the rest of the house from becoming one large dirt floor.

Many mistakenly assume the name “Lama” refers solely to Lama Foundation and implies a singularly Buddhist focus. In fact, Lama Foundation was named for the Spanish community that was already here when the Foundation was founded. The land itself was historically an important crossroads for the Pueblo Indians that travelled through the area, and the spring on the land was considered a holy place, where warfare was not allowed. One of the original homesteads in the area, the approximately 110-acre property was privately owned before the Forest Service bought up the surrounding mountains and protected it as the Carson National Forest. Famously, the co-founders of Lama Foundation named it for the Lama area and the concrete foundation that existed on the property when they purchased it.

History of the foundation

Lama Foundation was founded in 1967 by Steve (now Nooruddeen) and Barbara Durkee (now Asha Greer) and Jonathan Altman, whose work with the psychedelic art community USCO in New York led to the intention and eventual creation of the community in Lama, New Mexico. Designed by Steve, the Dome complex was the first building constructed at Lama Foundation, and Little Joe Gomez of the Taos Pueblo, an early mentor to the fledgling community, directed its construction. Another early mentor, Hermann Rednick directed the formation of the invisible structure. On his counsel, Steve, Barbara, and Jonathan agreed to three fundamental rules that have shaped Lama since it’s beginning: 1) No drugs 2) Daily Meditation 3) Marital Fidelity. In 1968, the community was incorporated as a non-profit “educational and scientific” organization.

In 1970, Steve and Barbara’s friend Richard Alpert, now Ram Dass, returned from his first pilgrimage in India where he met his guru Neem Karoli Baba. With the aid of the artists in residence at Lama Foundation, Be Here Now was originally printed and sold by the members of the community in 1971, and eventually reformatted and printed for mass publication by Random House.


The success of Be Here Now led to a flourish of activity, and Lama Foundation quickly became a landmark for spiritual renewal and discovery. One of the first centers in the United States to host Eastern teachers, the inter-religious dialogue at Lama helped to spark a national movement. During this time, Lama hosted many eminent spiritual leaders, notably Murshid Samuel Lewis of the Chisti order of Sufis who is now buried at Lama Foundation, Stephen Levine, Jack Kornfield, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Father Thomas Keating, Robert Bly, Baba Hari Dass, Natalie Goldberg, Bhante Gunaratana, Rabbi Zalman Schachter, and Joshu Sasaki Roshi.

the original Maqbara (burial place) of Murshid Sam Lewis at Lama

Originally, the intent for Lama was to be a place of residence for the founders, and the programs and retreats held here were generally for them and a select group of people on a similar path. With the booming success of the 70’s, however, Lama quickly turned into a large retreat center, hosting gatherings upwards of 100 people, highlighted by the yearly Ram Dass retreat, which drew enormous crowds.

The success and evolution at Lama continued through the 80’s and 90’s, but on May 5, 1996, a massive forest fire turned the once highly forested area into a relative empty expanse. The fire, which consumed about 7,500 acres of national forest, nearly wiped out everything at Lama Foundation. However, the Dome Complex and the kitchen, along with the, as yet incomplete, new kitchen and community center, survived. Twenty-two other buildings were entirely destroyed. The Intensive Studies Center (ISC) was burned to rubble though much of the foundation and the original adobe walls remained intact. Work immediately began to rebuild Lama Foundation, and enormous outpourings of love, effort, and funds poured in. Later that year, Ram Dass suffered a debilitating stroke and his physical presence at Lama Foundation was forever lessened.

The Intensive Studies Center after the 1996 fire

Rebuilding Lama after the 1996 fire

Throughout the late 90’s and the first decade of the new millennium, Lama Foundation began building with a new vision, adding permaculture to the list of community efforts. Massive efforts were undertaken to protect the unstable soil from eroding and to provide clean drinking water. New buildings were constructed with fallen timbers, straw bales, cob walls, passive and active solar heat, and other natural building techniques. New gardens were developed, and the whole mountain buzzed with activity. During this time, Lama became a classroom for permaculture and natural building, hosting many workshops dubbed “Build Here Now”. Work continues to this day, and Lama Foundation has hosted a full program of retreats for many years now. Housing is available for a limited number of residents and guests, and work is under way for increased guest capacity.

The resident circle in 1998

Since the fire, the resident circle has shrunk to about 8-12 people each year, but in the summer there may be as many as 100 people on the land: teachers, retreatants, stewards, guests, and volunteers. The sense of community is palpable, the core values are firm, the practices are breathtaking, and with God’s grace, the future will bring many more people to Lama.

Lunch on the last day of summer – 2014

Nishima and Ray looking at photos during the 50th anniversary celebration

The Governance of Lama

Lama is guided by the spirit of consensus, and every decision must go through some form of it. Each body, however, has a unique method of consensus.

The resident circle is responsible for most daily decisions. From summer programs, maintenance of the infrastructure, accounting, record keeping, organizing practices and events, conducting meetings, coordination of the kitchen, oversight of construction, editing the website, laundry, and doing the dishes – every detail of daily life at Lama is in the purview of the resident circle. This work is completed only with the enormous aid of the steward community in the summer and the dozens of volunteers that work tirelessly throughout the year.

Consensus among the residents evolves as problems emerge and new ideas are tried, however we have found some nuggets that appear to hold true throughout all iterations. Decisions must be made with everyone who is impacted in mind. The intent is always to include the desires and concerns of every person, and some meetings can last a long time as we put our heads together to craft a decision that accommodates all the various perspectives. Needless to say, meetings are an integral aspect of resident life at Lama.

Within the resident circle, there is a group of caretaking members, generally residents who have been at Lama longer and have an eye towards the long-term success of the Foundation. From these members are elected a Coordinator, Treasurer, and Secretary, the three officers of the Lama Foundation, the closest thing Lama has to an executive branch. The board of trustees places the legal responsibility for the Foundation in their hands.

As a non-profit, Lama Foundation is required to have a board of trustees. Ultimate legal authority rests in the hands of this board, per the structure of 501c(3) organizations, but the board, mostly comprised of past residents, chooses to serve as an advisory board rather than a decision-making body. They do not impose decisions upon the resident circle, but prefer to make suggestions. Their wisdom and insight, of course, are obviously invaluable and therefore they exercise significant “soft” power.

A third body of Lama is the assembly of continuing members. Made up of past residents who are elected to the body of continuing members, these people choose to serve Lama through service, financial support, prayers, or other intentional acts. Like the trustees, all continuing members have significant “soft” power.

Residents, Trustees, Continuing Members, and interested people gather in the Dome for our annual meeting.

The highest decision making body of Lama is the Lama Council. Comprised of three caretakers, two trustees, and two continuing members, the Lama Council is responsible for any decision that costs over $5,000 or has significant long-term impact on the Foundation.

But wait! The community of Lama is more, much more, than those entrusted with responsibility and authority. All of the stewards and volunteers, every retreatant and visitor, every person who walks up the Mountain or holds Lama in his or her heart is a member of the Lama community, and the intent of all of Lama’s members is to create an association that serves everyone. The governors and boards of Lama are servants, seeking a consensus of the whole.

Be Here Now

Be Here Now, the story of Richard Alpert’s conversion and transformation into Ram Dass, amongst other things, is a perennial best seller and a 1970’s icon. A friend of Lama Foundation co-founders Steve and Barbara Durkee, Ram Dass returned from his first pilgrimage to India in 1970, taking up residence at Lama Foundation. During this time, he wrote what would eventually become the first section of Be Here Now, or Journey: The Transformation: Dr. Richard Alpert, PHD into Baba Ram Dass. He also, along with Steve and the other residents of Lama, contributed to the creation of the other three sections, the illustrations and aphorisms of From Bindhu to Ojas, the instructions given in the Cookbook section, and the recommended references in the Painted Cakes section. The work, originally hand-published by Lama Foundation quickly became a cultural phenomenon, and our portion of the sales continues to help support Lama Foundation to this day.

Ram Das
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:43 am

The “Whole Earth Catalog" was a 1960s publishing sensation. It happened because its creator was given a chance to fail.
by John Markoff
November 22, 2018




Bookstore managers didn’t know quite what to make of the oversized 64-page volume that showed up in their stores in the fall of 1968. It was called the “Whole Earth Catalog” and subtitled “Access to Tools.” For $5, buyers got a hodgepodge of photos, drawings and short written endorsements of books, tools, gadgets and materials, organized into seven sections ranging from “Understanding Whole Systems” and “Shelter and Land Use” to “Nomadics” and “Learning.”

With its striking cover photo of the Earth from space, it was unlike anything else in bookstores. But the Catalog touched a nerve. Leafing through took you on a winding path through a very late-’60s hippie, do-it-yourself world. Its busy, cluttered pages offered everything from buckskin, beads and L.L. Bean hunting shoes to kerosene lamps, electronic equipment, freeze-dried foods, a one-man sawmill and plenty of books, on topics such as camping, survival, “tantra art,” creative glass blowing and television production. The Catalog didn’t actually sell anything directly, except subscriptions to future issues — it referred readers to other sources for the goods it displayed.

The cover of the first “Whole Earth Catalog,” published in 1968.

Overnight, the quirky publication exploded as a national bestseller, with its first run expanded from 1,000 copies to ultimately 2 million copies. It won the National Book Award in 1972. The “Whole Earth Catalog” captured the hippie spirit and helped to define a generation of young Americans who, alienated by the Vietnam War and an increasingly materialistic nation that seemed to have lost its soul, were forming a powerful counterculture.

Fifty years on, the Catalog still defines the concept of serendipity. With its eclectic collection of wares, it was the link between the old Sears catalog and the modern Amazon online emporium. When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs tried to explain the Catalog to a new generation in a Stanford University commencement address in 2005, he described it as being “sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along.”

And yet, despite its rapid and enormous success, the “Whole Earth Catalog” almost never happened. Its Silicon Valley origins were an early embodiment of a philosophy that later powered the Valley’s entrepreneurial explosion: It’s OK — even good — to fail.

Inside page from the original "Whole Earth Catalog."


The Catalog has its own creation tale as told and retold by founder Stewart Brand, then a 29-year-old former paratrooper casting around for something to do after several failed ventures. In March 1968, he was flying back to his home in California from his father’s funeral in Illinois. As the nation’s heartland scrolled below, he jotted down ideas for a new business that would encompass a mail-order catalog and a delivery vehicle in the form of a mobile truck store.

Etched on the inside cover of a copy of Barbara Ward’s “Spaceship Earth,” Stewart Brand scribbled: “What I’m visualizing is an Access Mobile (accessory?) with all manner of access materials + advice for sale cheap. Including performances of stuff, books, dandy survival and camping equipment, catalogs, design plans, periodical subscriptions, copy equipment (+ other gathering equipment — some element of barter here). Prime item of course would be the catalog.”

As an afterthought, in a riff on a then-popular backpacking catalog with a cult following, he added: “Notion: every catalog item pictured is held by a naked lady.”

But while Brand — now a noted Silicon Valley author, sage and philanthropist — was the public face of the “Whole Earth Catalog,” another man, Dick Raymond, was the force that empowered Brand. Raymond, a business consultant and urban planner who died in 2015, ran the Portola Institute, an educational foundation where Brand was working when he came up with the idea for the Catalog.

The Portola Institute was Silicon Valley’s first true incubator. It not only birthed the Catalog, but several years later it also served as the seedbed for the Homebrew Computer Club, the hobbyist group that spawned several dozen personal computing companies, including Apple Computer.

That was a remarkable track record for a non-profit that operated on a shoestring. Explaining the Portola Institute, Raymond would point to a sign on his desk that read “Fail Young.”

Prior to starting the Catalog, that’s exactly what Stewart Brand had done.

Inside page from the original "Whole Earth Catalog."


In 1956, Stewart Brand had followed his brother Mike to Stanford, where he studied biology and mostly spent his time trying to get himself out of his “Midwest skin,” according to a Stanford friend, Joan Squires-Lind. During his senior year, as a result of a class assignment, Brand stumbled upon the Beat scene in San Francisco’s North Beach.

A chance visit to the city’s bohemian neighborhood lit up Brand intellectually. He raved about his visit in a long letter home to his mother. After graduation, he spent the summer in an apartment in North Beach before leaving to join the Army on the East Coast. He washed out of Ranger training, but then succeeded as a second lieutenant and paratrooper and spent two years in the service.

Deciding to pursue photojournalism as a career, he hung around for a while with a small band of new-media artists in Greenwich Village, but in 1962, he returned to San Francisco, taking up residence in an apartment in North Beach and diving back into the Beat scene. He soon discovered LSD, Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. He began working on the craft of photography somewhere at the line between art and photojournalism.

Not long after Brand returned, Raymond, a longtime family friend and mentor who was consulting for the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, offered him a job taking photographs at the reservation in Oregon. Brand’s trip there was a seminal moment. He was mesmerized by Native American culture, and when he was introduced to another friend of Raymond’s, San Francisco architect Zach Stewart, the two set out to capture the importance of Native American culture and contrast it with the modern United States in a show that Brand called “America Needs Indians.” With multiple slide projectors and a wild soundtrack, it foreshadowed a new art form that several decades later would come to life as “multimedia” in the personal computer era.

Brand used the show as the opening act for a three-day happening in January 1966 known as the “Trips Festival,” which became the defining moment for the emerging California counterculture. It became the most successful of a series of “Acid Tests” that had been organized by Kesey and the Pranksters. Intended to be a way to experience an LSD trip without taking LSD (actually there was plenty of LSD to be taken), the Trips Festival took place over three days at the Longshoremen’s Hall near the San Francisco waterfront and featured light shows and performances by the Grateful Dead and other bands.

Connecting “America Needs Indians” to the Trips Festival made Brand the bridge between the Beat and hippie cultures that blossomed in San Francisco. Later, connecting Native American culture to the “Whole Earth Catalog” helped shape the American environmental movement that arose during the 1970s.

By itself, the Trips Festival had a dramatic impact on San Francisco — it was the first time the 10,000 hippies who were then spread all across the Bay Area realized they were a defined community, leading directly to the emergence of Haight Ashbury during the following year. Brand, however, had little interest in the Haight Ashbury scene. Like many moments in his life, he was there early both as an observer and as a protagonist, and by the time the Summer of Love movement got off the ground, he was on to his next big thing.

The following year, Dick Raymond presented Brand with the opportunity to organize an even bigger event: a weeklong “Education Faire” on the San Mateo County Fairgrounds.

The Whole Earth Catalog was a cornucopia of tools, clothing, books and oddities, put together by a small team led by Stewart Brand and backed by Dick Raymond (above).


Raymond had been a close friend of Stewart’s older brother Mike at Stanford, and when Stewart arrived in 1956, Raymond and his wife, Ann, gave the younger Brand a haven away from the insular Stanford campus.

At the time, Raymond was working as an urban planner at Stanford Research Institute, where his clients included the city of Menlo Park and the Seattle World’s Fair. (Raymond convinced the fair organizers that its buildings should be permanent; the Space Needle and its surrounding complex remain Seattle landmarks to this day.)

The Raymonds lived in Ladera, a neighborhood in Portola Valley, then a small rural town just west of the Stanford campus. It was not far from Perry Lane, where Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters first took root in the early 1960s, and around the corner from where the Grateful Dead took up residence in the mid-’60s.

Raymond, who had a Harvard MBA, referred to himself as an economics consultant specializing in land use, recreational economics and community development. He started the Portola Institute in 1966, and it became a haven for freelance entrepreneurs in the field of education.

“There are no rules,” he wrote. “It demonstrates how the process of non-planning can work. The take we have now is making things happen but also having the air of complete simplicity — sometimes making things simple is more difficult than making things complicated.” For Brand, with Raymond as his patron, the Portola Institute was to become the base for a series of projects, with varying degrees of success.

The Whole Earth Catalog was such a publishing phenomenon that it generated several editions. Brand, above, helped to paste up the second edition in 1969.


After the Trips Festival, Brand led a group of student activists in San Francisco in a similar event in October 1966 called “Whatever It Is.” The students took over the San Francisco State campus during a long weekend featuring a fugitive Ken Kesey, the Pranksters and the Grateful Dead.

At the event, Brand met two young student activists, James and Cynthia Nixon. James Nixon was student body president at San Francisco State, deeply committed to radical education and active in a student-run “experimental college” at the school.

In early 1967 Brand had come back from helping his friend Steve Durkee start the Lama commune in New Mexico with the intent of “letting his technology happen” in Menlo Park. He went to Raymond looking for a job and perhaps some kind of entry into the world of “business technology” in the pre-Silicon Valley regional boom. As it happens, Michael Phillips, a San Francisco banker who was a friend of Dick Raymond’s and a Portola Institute board member, had organized an “Educational Innovations Faire” that had recently taken place on the San Francisco State campus, exploring the intersection of education and technology.

Raymond asked Brand if he wanted to extend Phillips’ original idea and help organize a larger version. At first Brand demurred, telling Raymond that he was through with public events for a while. However, spurred on by his need for work, he gradually warmed to the idea and several weeks later took Raymond up on his offer. He brought in the Nixons after spending a night driving the streets of San Francisco and brainstorming with them.

At the time computer technology was already a significant force around Stanford. The plan for the fair was to bring companies that sold primitive computer-assisted education systems into the fair as exhibitors. Brand met Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse and a computing system that was the forerunner of the personal computer and the internet, and he was enlisted as a fair supporter.

But what began with great enthusiasm would collapse after a half year’s hard work. Brand ended up deeply resenting the Nixons’ approach, feeling that they were immersed in the criticism/self-criticism style of the Movement. Burned out by endless meetings that accomplished little, Raymond pulled the plug on the project.

The experience permanently soured Brand on the New Left. He decided that the idealism of the students was largely ineffective.

Inside page from the original "Whole Earth Catalog."


Brand continued to spend his time at the Portola Institute. He also continued to be a fount of ideas, some off the wall and one or two occasionally worth trying. In 1968, despite the failure of the Education Faire, Raymond gave Brand access to a garage hidden in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains — part of an aging hippie crash pad known as Rancho Diablo set on 70 acres high above the Santa Clara Valley. Raymond had renamed it Ortega Park, with the idea of establishing an experimental laboratory to explore new ideas in teaching.

“What we’re trying to create here is a new administrative model,” Raymond told Gurney Norman, who co-authored a 1970 Esquire story on Brand, the Catalog and the Portola Institute, “a complete reversal of the success syndrome, a place to fail and feel good about it. That’s what education is all about, it grows on mistakes, without failure it just wouldn’t happen.”

Raymond’s faith in Brand, despite his string of failed projects, gave Brand the ability to take another chance. When Brand mentioned his idea of a wide-ranging catalog to Raymond, his mentor was quick to give him encouragement. With his then-wife, Lois Jennings, along with a young graphic artist and a typist, Brand moved into the garage at Ortega Park and quickly produced the first “Whole Earth Catalog.”

It was soon obvious that he had touched a nerve. Sales took off shortly after the first issue was published in 1968. The Catalog resonated with an entire generation. Millions of Americans were exploring more sustainable ways of living in the form of a brief but widespread back-to-the-land movement. Others were dabbling in everything from the human potential movement to psychedelic drugs, and the Catalog quickly became their bible.

For Art Kleiner, editor-in-chief of Strategy+Business, who as a young editor worked at CoEvolutionary Quarterly, a follow-on to the Catalog, Brand’s contribution was not just about “access to tools,” but also about instilling a deep faith in human progress. “It was the idea, ‘Let’s take this baby humanity out on the road and see what it will do,’” he says.

The “Whole Earth Catalog” went through several editions and supplements before sputtering out in the mid-‘70s. Today, at 79, Brand is still at it. His current project is Revive and Restore, an effort to spur the use of modern genetic engineering tools to help diversify the genomes of endangered species and thus increase their resilience in the face of climate change. It was, after all, the first sentence in the “Whole Earth Catalog”: “We are as Gods, and we might as well get good at it.”

And it wouldn’t have happened at all if Dick Raymond hadn’t given Stewart Brand permission to fail.
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