book review::The Source:The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and the Source Family by Isis Aquarian with Electricity Aquarian

When you think of the term cult it probably evokes horrific images of the Manson Family or Jim Jones & the People’s Temple. The term “cult” certainly has a negative connotation and in the nineties we saw the culmination of those reactions with the Janet Reno Branch Davidian disaster. Recently, I finished up The Source:The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family, and don’t remember the last time a book changed the way I looked at something, but this book has. Prior to reading I knew nothing about The Source, except some vague knowledge of their house band “Ya Ho Wa 13” and their impossibly hard to find music.

The Source is the story of Jim Baker, aka Father Yod, aka Ya Ho Wa, and his family of “sons” and daughters which numbered around 150 and really lived it up in Los Angeles between 1970 and 1974. Throw out any notions of serious abuse and tales of brainwashing horror, because The Source family existed like no other you have probably heard about. Jim Baker, was among other things, a judo and archery expert who had a prosperous health food restaurant on the Sunset Strip that afforded him and his family a luxurious lifestyle. They lived in a Hollywood mansion, had their own recording studio, he drove a Rolls Royce and had a fleet of red and white VW buses, and Baker became “Father.” These were men and women “commited to life that centered around spirit and family, health, well-being, and the attainment of consciousness.”

The book follows their misadventures around Hollywood and elsewhere, and includes some great anecdotes. My favorite being the tale of Yod taking some of his family to a chic LA restaurant and bribing the maitre d to sit them in their fancy far out garb next to then governor Ronald Reagan. Throughout the book it is evident that Jim Baker was charismatic, intelligent, extremely savvy, and very generous. While family members did donate their belongings when they joined, it was Baker’s restaurant and ingenuity that financed the bulk of the family’s high style activities. There is one story after another of future family members meeting Father Yod for the first time and having a transcendent experience.

What is truly touching is how much to this day the experience has maintained its’ meaning for many of the family members. There are countless commentaries by members who describe their time with Ya Ho Wa as the pinnacle of their lives. One member even states that sixty percent of his present memories come from the one year he spent with the family. Having said all that, this book is not all cheery eyed adulation for the family. There are some detractors, but even most of the dissenting views still show appreciation for this special time. In finale, I have to say that this book was not only eye opening, but the first book in a long time that I was a sad to see done. Father Yod and his family are great characters who carved out a world of their own amidst the fabric of early seventies’ new age California.

Be Sociable, Share!
Bookmark the permalink.
  • Archives

  • Bogs et Cogs