“ ‘The Motherhouse’ and ‘The Ascended Master Moves On (Hang Gliding in Heaven)’ are our homage to Father Yod, the spiritual master of musical vegetarianism,” says Eric Nielsen of High Mountain Tempel. The two songs on the band’s new album, The Glass Bead Game, include sampled sermons given by controversial sex-and-veggie cult leader Father Yod.
Nielsen’s partner Ras Al H’nou explains, “Father Yod lived a storied and adventurous life as a military hero, jiu-jitsu expert, and craftsman when he came to found one of the first health-food restaurants in America, the Source. What started as a series of lectures morphed into a full-blown commune, the Source Family. The group venerated Yod as the living embodiment of God and created a completely alternate lifestyle based on communalism, chanting, meditation, vegetarianism, and ritual sex.… The Source Family engaged in marathon sex magick sessions.”
Yod was also a musician and recording artist championed by fan and sometime follower Sky Saxon of the Seeds.
“The Source Family released roughly ten albums,” says Ras Al H’nout, “going under names like Ya Ho Wa 13 and Father Yod and the Spirit of ’76. The music was a wild and thrilling ride through Yod’s various beliefs and manifestos.… Father Yod played gongs and kettle drums while preaching.”
The Source Family ended with Father Yod’s 1975 death in a hang-gliding accident. According to Nielsen, “Family members went their own ways, but in recent years they’ve reconnected to publish oral histories of the group and stage concerts.… We use Yod’s chants and snippets of wisdom on the new album to hopefully re-create the atmosphere the Family felt during their morning meditations.”
– Jay Allen Sanford