Journeying the Sixties: A Counterculture Tarot     index     <prev     next>


"As a woman, I've grown happily accustomed to Open Land life. There is no social pressure to work, be a housewife, or get married. People smilingly accept relationships that once labeled a woman a 'slut' . . . Those who live together on Open Land feel a familiar bond. Babies are brought up relating to many people as their mommies and daddies . . . As the child grows, it develops independence rapidly . . . He feels free to wander over the meadows. Carnal parents don't have to worry about their children. The land provides a gentle, natural environment."

--Near Morningstar recalling life at Morningstar Ranch in 1967. From 'Home Free Home: A History of Two Open Door California Communes' by Ramon Sender Barayon et al 1986

At last, the Sun shines and the children play. The source of all experience floods our waking hours with bright warm light. Everything is possible. At least the children think so. They haven't a reason to think otherwise. So it was for the Counterculture's Flower Children, the hippies who celebrated their youth and determined to remain forever young. If anything could block the illumination of hope it was the tired preoccupations of adults marching lockstep to the beat of society's conforming drummer, who acquiesced to jobs they didn't like and to injustices they would not see. At least that's how the children saw it. The Counterculture cherished its youthful exuberance, its determination to live in the present and to discover wisdom in every social or personal experiment. It was alive, alert, and could see for miles.

Playful dreams underpinned the existence of thousands of communes with names like Drop City (an artist's collective in Colorado), Tolstoy Farm (peace activists in Washington state), Twin Oaks (utopian social planners in Virginia), Black Bear Ranch (revolutionary activists in Northern California), New Buffalo (a peyote church in New Mexico), Packer Corner Farm (writers in Vermont), and Arcosanti (ecologists and designers in Arizona) to name only a very few. And despite sometimes austere conditions most communes indeed were more permissive than traditional families. With the exception of rigorously religious retreats, most communes indulged nudity, a wide range of intimate relationships outside conventional monogamy, and drug use. Playing together without clothes returned Counterculture adults to the polymorphous innocence of childhood and affirmed a commitment to natural living. Religious scholar Timothy Miller, in his book 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond, quotes a leader at the Sunrise Hill commune in Massachusetts:

"The practice of group nudity in the community proved itself a genuinely valuable instrument for the promotion of a sense of warm and frank familiarity among the members. It was - moreover - a symbolic act of communion with - and trust in - each other which helped to cement us."

Or, as a woman at Cold Mountain Farm observed, "It had been such a pleasure to be among ten stark naked people unselfconsciously planting corn in the field . . . we had all kinds of bodies, of all colors and sizes, and we had grown used to these basic differences without embarrassment. That had been important for people who had been raised to regard their bodies with shame." Nudity in the Tarot relates to an inner divinity emerging to embrace opportunities. The children of the Sun card amplify the alignment of unconscious innocence. Logos submits to eros. The Sun washes our realities with its clear, clean light but secrets arrive by releasing the light from within.