Sections Above and Below This Page:
The MOST (Morning Star) Newsletter
Volume I #1
A Project of The Peregrine Foundation
P.O. Box 460141
Staff (so far): Ramon Sender, editor; Pam Read Hannah, assistant
editor; Baker Bart, Occidental Correspondent
San Francisco, CA 94146-0141
telephone: (415) 821-2090 / (415) 282-2369
"What Go 'Round Come Around"
A BIG HELLO to all of you dear friends, brothers and sisters,
survivors and graduates of Morning Star and Ahimsa ranches! Since
this is more or less the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first
graduating class of 1967, and since the magic of desktop publishing
has arrived to make newsletters easier, here we go with a serious try
at establishing a network to put all of us in touch and catch up on
everyone's news. Please photocopy this and mail it to others. Also,
write or phone in with your mailing address and the addresses of
anyone with whom you are in contact, general news about births and
deaths, and tell us a few things about what you are doing now!
We can't mail you future issues of MOST if we don't know where
So what's the Peregrine Foundation? It is a charitable public
foundation whose purposes are as follows: "To provide charitable
support and educational assistance to individuals and families who
have been uprooted from totalitarian sects, religious cults and
intentional communi-ties." Also to create an archive of materials and
network folks together. I think our tribes qualify as "intentional
communities," so I'm including us. And a newsletter seems wayyy
overdue as a way to keep in touch.
The first project of Peregrine involved the setting up of a
newsletter called "KIT" (Keep In Touch) for the survivors/graduates
of an abusive Christian sect called the Bruderhof. I had a personal
involvement with this group in my early twenties, and my daughter
grew up there, married -- and died of cancer. It's a long story, and if
there's room in the newsletter sometime in the future I'll tell it. But
now that the staff has sharpened its skills for a few years serving
this group of wanderers, it seems an opportune time to widen things
out to include our unique and far-flung tribe that evolved in the
'60s-'70s in Western Sonoma County.
Anyway, this is just an opening "Hello out there!" I'm continually
amazed at how closely connected we all remain. Even when we
haven't seen someone for years, when we meet again it's just like Old
Times! So welcome aboard, Old Timers! Badaba! Your
"And Meanwhile, Back Off The Ranch"
Deaths in the Family: O. B. Ray, Zen monk and beloved grandpa,
died November 11th, 1990 at 66 years of age.
Sunny Supplee, mother of Quinn, died in a tragic auto accident on
Maui earlier this year. There was a memorial for her at the beach, as
well as at Star Mountain Ranch. She was very active as a midwife,
and will be very much missed by her friends and family.
Status/addresses needed: Please send us anyone whose address
you know for a sample newsletter!
"Cannabisco Michael Hubmay" was a distributor out of Inglewood,
CA, to head shops in the '70s. He bought sight-unseen a large
quantity of The Morning Star Scrapbook, and, since we are
running low on copies, we need to contact him and see if he still has
any. By the way, hold on to your copies, folks! The originals went
down the Russian River in one of its annual floods!
Pam Read Hannah graciously has agreed to come on board as
contributing editor, and Baker Bart as Occidental Correspondent. So
that's a beginning! I spoke with Laura Koewing Horton who is living
in Berkeley She's currently unemployed as a television program
producer, after working in the newsroom of a major TV station for
some time. And... she's about to become a grandma since her
daughter Nihila is having a baby! Congratulations!
Her brother Al Koewing lives in Colorado and works for the post
Bliss Buys married Jim Cochran on St. Paddy's Day. They have a
desktop publishing business, Bliss publishing an annual guide to
antiques and a monthly art/antique tabloid.
Alicia Bay Laurel's business, "A Wedding Made In Paradise," is
doing very well on Maui. Recently she discovered a new avocation as
a jazz vocalist, and is singing a lot. "Diony is living on the Big Island,"
she reports. "She may buy some land next to a hot lava flow. Robbie
Friedlander is managing a flower garden on Maui. And Sylvia Clarke
Hamilton is totally launched as an artist, with a lot of gallery
coverage. She does ink drawings and oils of flowers and landscapes.
Mary Garvin lives in Florida where she was working for a while for a
nature conservancy group. She's bought some land and is going back
to nature. Billie "Vishnu" Gottlieb made the Maui gossip column by
graduating from college with plans to go on to Cornell Law School."
And what about the Maestro\ himself, Lou Gottlieb? He's living
in L.A. and currently "experiencing the Revolution." Although he
retired from the Limeliters in December, they are still on the road.
Hey Lou, you're not a youngster of 65 any more! Come home! (We'll
be publishing his memoirs soon, by the way, so keep tuned in.)
Ramon Sender 4/29/92: Well, I'll start off -- and excuuuse me if
I toot my own horn! I'm living in San Francisco with my wonderful
wife Judy. We've been married for ten years, and it's been a true
blessing. She's been a wonderful stepmother to my 3 sons. Jonathan
(32), the oldest, is working on the post-production music for a new
Children's Television Workshop series titled "Ghostwriter" that will
air this September. He lives in New York, played electric bass with a
group called 'Konk' for years (they have a few records out) and also
composes songs. His last one, "Got A Lot Of Love," is getting some air
play. Andrés (31) is concentrating on his painting and building his
first lute, as well as nursing his grandma. Sol Ray, whom many of
you will remember, graduates from college this month. He's a
Comparative Religion major with a minor in Art (hey, it's not an MFA,
but what did you expect?), very involved in his painting and music.
We'll be in England this summer to put on a conference for the
KIT newsletter folks I mentioned above. Sol Ray will come along,
and perhaps stay on to absorb the museums. We'll return to put on
ANOTHER conference for the U.S.A. KITfolk in Massachusetts, before
celebrating my American Mom's 92nd birthday with her.
As for myself, I published a memoir about my Spanish mother,
killed in the Spanish Civil War, in 1988 with the University of New
Mexico Press. Research for this took Judy and me to Spain for two
summers, and we met over sixty of my Spanish relatives, some of
whom knew me as a two-year-old. Amazing! And for me, a very
healing experience to find my birth mother's story and learn who she
was. If you're interested, hunt down: "A Death In Zamora," by Ramon
Sender Barayon (my mother's last name).
I haven't had as much luck publishing my novels, which seem to
be too West Coast or too, um, something for New York's Publishers
Row. So I've been concentrating on two more non-fiction
manuscripts, which are circulating around right now. More news
about these as things happen.
Otherwise, I keep busy editing other people's books, occasionally
writing for The Whole Earth Review, and co-hosting a couple of
forums on a computer teleconferencing network called The Well. For
those of you who have computers and modems, you can reach me via
TeleNet/UseNet e-mail as: rabar@ well.sf.us or on MCI Mail as
The Well is an amazing 'virtual community' of 6000 or so people
all chatting and interacting in about 100 conferences on-line. It feels
tribal and 'extended family,' although it's been growing so fast that
it's hard to keep up!
Sol Ray's mother Joanie is married to a writer named Joseph
Sutton. They have an eleven-year-old, Raymond, and Joanie has
carved herself out a career as a talented storyteller and teacher at a
local girls' school.
Others who keep in touch: Zen Jack Bridgstock, Cable Car John
Nelson, Louis the Lion Kuntz, Rosalee (Sara Ransom), Rena
Occidental Walking Report
Wm. D. "Bart" Beck
Ranger Rick Kaufman is often seen keeping the town clean. The
county sends him a small check each month as our town remains
debris-free. Nancy Collins is often about. She's always good for a
hug and a kiss, and some very good company. She always stops to
offer me a ride (if I'm on the road walking) in her Audi. Nice car.
Nancy is happily married to a saintly young Englishman, and is
working as a cook for the catering service at a Bodega Bay bed and
We miss Clown Day here in the Big O, and are doin' our best to
keep our streets and abodes safe for all, and especially clowns!
Please return to Occidental, Zero!
IMPORTANT: When you write us your address, tell us if you want
your address and/or phone number listed in the next newsletter. An
'address book' will follow!
Chapter 10 from "Home Free Home"
First Ridge Settlers
Upon the Ridge, the influx of people wrought sudden and
shattering changes in Bill and Gay's life. Bill and Gay made an honest
attempt to be open and understanding, but at times they just wanted
everyone to go away. Their garden was raided for vegetables, cars
roared through to the back of the land, shit was left everywhere and,
along with the people there came dogs in increasing numbers. Dogs!
It was only a matter of time before they raided the neighbors' sheep.
Beatrice and Willie B. moved over from Morning Star with their
boy André, two dogs and two horses. Beatrice leveled off a place for
their tent while Willie B. watched. He never was one for doing work,
but he made up for it with his music. Thor, his stallion, soon became
impossible to control. He kicked or bit anyone who tried to interfere
with his daily raids on campsites, destroying tents in his efforts to
get to the grains and oats. Finally he was given away because no one
had the heart to castrate him.
Of course, along with the gentle flower children there came the
Impossibles. Nevada drove in one day monstrously drunk, weaving
on and off the road, taking out the fencing as he came. He ended up
in Bill's studio, haranguing him about Jesus, Morning Star and his
single-handed conquest of the North Koreans. If Bill didn't listen and
agree to everything he said, Nevada threatened to punch him out.
On May 10th, 1968, the temporary injunction against Morning
Star was made a permanent injunction that continued to forbid Lou
or any of his agents from operating an organized camp, living in any
structures except Lou's studio, exposing private parts, etc, etc. Also
Lou was ordered to tear down all illegal structures - which now
included the Upper and Lower houses - and clean up the place.
Aware that the permanent injunction would bring even more
refugees to the Ridge, Bill tried to establish some minimum rules:
bury your shit, no open fires in the fire season, no building in the
open meadows - the cows have to eat too. Some people cooperated
while others just laughed.
"We didn't come here to be told what to do!"
Gay: "To put in a toilet according to the county's regulations would
have cost each person six hundred dollars. Inasmuch as this was out
of the question, we evolved a human waste disposal method
acceptable to almost everyone who came to live with us. When one's
bowels began to move, one took a shovel in hand and a brief walk in
the fresh country air to select the perfect spot for a donation to
Mother Earth. Afterwards, the hole was refilled with dirt and the
shovel replaced. Some people with children preferred to dig a larger
hole in advance, using it until it was full. I chose to have a different
view from my toilet every day. But some people who came either
did not understand the importance of burying their feces, did not
care or could not find a shovel in time."
By June, 1968, there were thirty to fifty settlers on the Ridge
and word was spreading fast. On June 17th, Bill's birthday, Bill and
Gay returned from town to find the studio decked out in crepe paper,
banners and balloons. Musicians were playing, and food had been
laid on the table. Whatever misgivings and reservations they had
been feeling melted at this open expression of love from their new
brothers and sisters. On that day, Bill realized that all the difficulties
triggered by the influx of refugees were worth it. His decision to
open the land, no matter how hard to maintain, was RIGHT ON.
Gay: "The land was choosing its settlers. No one ever said who could
or could not stay, but the natural course of events often caused
people to move on. Some left feeling bitter at their inability to fit in
to the budding community, but most left with a loving attitude
towards the Ridge. Of the thousands whose lives crossed on the
paths of the land, only one person was there from start to finish - Bill
Wheeler. Two or three others were there most of the time, and
hundreds were there for periods of less than one year. For many,
the Open Land experience was like attending a school."
Bill: "The land was open only insofar as the people on it were
themselves open. When they committed 'closed' acts, they closed the
land to themselves. When a person couldn't accept the lines of
communications and trust of the Morning Star consciousness, when
they did violence of one kind or another, they did not remain but
returned to the greater society which offered specific remedies for
amoral and asocial behavior - prison or the hospital. In the first five
years of Open Land, during which time many thousands from every
stratum of society passed through the Ridge, I did not have to tell
anyone to leave of remove them myself more the five times."
One day Beatrice came to Bill and suggested they close the gate
to newcomers. But Bill, already committed to the Open Land ideal,
had no intention of turning back. The challenge to make a workable
community was tremendous. He had much the same feeling as when
as a painter he confronted an empty canvas, - a mixture of fear of
the unknown and the exhilaration of an infinite potential.
Bill: "The flow of immigrants waxed as the summer passed. Open
Land became the ultimate absurdity, as crazy as New York City's
subway rush hour. The magician poured milk in a never-ending
stream into a tiny glass. The Grand Hotel remained open and never
One day a black man with an intense gaze appeared at the studio
door. He asked permission to settle his group on the land. This took
Bill by surprise, inasmuch as permission was seldom asked.
Ultimately a sign was posted on the front gate that read, 'Land
permit to live on not required.' That man, Ray, and his four male
disciples settled down near Bill and Gay's garden. Bill gently
suggested they might find another campsite further from any
immediate neighbors. Moving behind the goat pen, they built a large
plastic dome with a tiny entrance to crawl through. The walls,
covered with photographs and religious decorations, were dominated
by a large photo of Gurdjieff whom they considered their guru.
Women or sex seemed to have no place within their tightly
disciplined existence. Once settled into their 'monastery,' as they
called it, the 'Gurdjieff Boys' proved extremely energetic and a fine
addition to the community.
O.B. Ray came that first summer as a permanent fixture. Sufi
philosopher, father figure, lover, superlative good-karma marijuana
farmer (he gave away all he grew), his large tent was always
available to anyone needing a place to sleep. After surviving three
bloody landings in the Pacific with the Marines during World War II,
O.B. had been assigned to guard a desert island with two other
soldiers. The other men went crazy, but O.B. loved it so much that he
asked for an extension of duty. On that island he discovered the
purpose of his life - to do nothing. That is what made him the
happiest. After the war, he was, in his own words, 'forced into
slavery' driving a cab in San Francisco for seventeen years before
getting turned on to Zen by Suzuki Roshi. He retired to Mt. Tamalpais
for a year to meditate, take acid and write a book about his religious
experiences. O.B.'s laugh was a wonderful thing, and could be heard
from one end of the land to the other. He was a font of wisdom and
mellowness at all times, a great sage and much beloved tribal elder.
O.B.Ray: (excerpted from his book): "The basic nature of things is
inhuman, impersonal, impartial, indifferent; it is neither cold nor hot,
neither soft nor hard, neither good nor bad; it has no particular color,
no particular form, no particular texture; it has no emotions, no
feelings, no thoughts. It is not made up of such things as molecules,
atoms or electrons. It appears as a brilliant light, vibrant,
modulating. (It seems to be pure energy). It is not seen as if there
were a light and someone was looking at the light. The light is
experienced immediately, without the object-viewer relationship.
The seer becomes the light and all characteristics vanish or become
meaningless. The basic nature of things never stays the same for
two consecutive instants. It is in a constant state of flux, changing,
vibrating, undulating, concentrating and then melting away; forever
active, even at rest, reverberating, moving, waving. Yet this basic
nature appears to take the form of an infinite variety of things.
These forms appear to be hot or cold, soft or hard, good or bad, etc.
It was never born nor was it created, and it will never come to an
"There is no ego. There is no soul. There is no self. There is
nothing which I can call O.B. Ray."
Curly-haired Chuck arrived from Morning Star and became Bill's
first spiritual teacher. A God-intoxicated person, Chuck practiced the
deepest meditation for hours on end, totally oblivious to his
surroundings. He spent many days fasting and in service to others,
his sole possession the tattered dress he wore. His curly hair formed
a bush around his head, his body well-browned by the sun. One day
he came and sat in the studio, working on a piece of paper with Bill's
drawing pencils. After he had labored for over an hour, Gay looked
over his shoulder to see the word WONDER carefully drawn and
Chuck had enlisted in the Army, had gone through basic training
and received his orders for Vietnam. One day he looked in the
mirror as he was about to shave and said, 'What am I doing? I don't
want to go to Vietnam and kill or be killed.' He put down his razor,
got a weekend pass and went to the Haight. From there he caught a
ride to Morning Star and, when the arrests began, moved to the
Ridge. He slept in the barn or out-of-doors and ate whatever was
offered him. Chuck was loved by everyone. Later, when he went to
New Mexico with the Morning Star exodus, he became a Christian, cut
off his hair, put on shoes and turned himself in. [to be continued]
Okay, so this is just a teaser. Once again, please write or phone
one of the numbers on page 1 to make sure you get your next issue!