Cell Phone Serenade

“I am the author of The Source and one of Father Yod’s 14 wives,” announced Isis Aquarian in an email to me last year. She was inquiring about a “Blurt” concerning High Mountain Tempel, whose songs have included recordings of Father Yod, sex-and-veggie cult leader of the Source family, which based their lifestyle around vegetarianism and what Tempel musician Ras Al H’nou describes as “marathon sex magick sessions.”

“I am interested in finding out more about what the band did with this energy and how they used Father Yod in it,” emailed Isis. “It always amazes me to find out what inspires people from knowing about us.”

One year later, High Mountain Tempel are releasing a musical collaboration with Isis Aquarian, on a split LP with U.K. band Earthling Society called Pilgrimage to Thunderbolt Pagoda.

“While I’ve never met Isis face to face, we have talked on the phone for hours,” says Ras Al H’nou of High Mountain Tempel, who recorded Isis’s voice for the album via cell phone. “I have found her to be a person of singular focus and intensity. She isn’t shy about describing her legacy from the Source family years, and her reputation for being a ‘dragon-lady’.… In a sense, she had to be this way. She was the secretary and archivist for a wild and fearless spiritual leader, [but] she’s also sweet, knowledgeable, and kind.”

Though the Source family disbanded after Father Yod’s death in a 1975 hang-gliding accident, members have reunited for concert performances and various written histories of the group. “A documentary is being done on us,” says Isis Aquarian, “along with some pretty interesting leads for maybe a TV series.”

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Father Yod was also a musician and recording artist, championed by fan and sometime-follower Sky Saxon of the Seeds. “The Source Family released roughly 10 albums,” says Ras Al H’nou, “going under names like YaHoWha 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.”

“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 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.”

Regarding Isis Aquarian, Ras Al H’nou says “Her own spirituality has evolved towards developing an understanding of Goddess cycles and currents throughout history and cultures,” “Being of a certain age, Isis considers herself to be in the ‘crone’ phase of her life. Myself and a few others would add that, not only is she a crone, she is The Alpha-Crone!”

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