Introduction and Afterword to Vivre sur la Terre, the French edition of Living on the Earth, by the Editor and the Calligrapher

Front cover of the Editions Ulmer French translation of Living on the Earth

Lila Hervé-Gruyer, the book’s editor at Editions Ulmer wrote the story of how she found the book, which she sent to me translated into English (below). It will be included in the finished book, in French, of course.

How Living on the Earth became Vivre sur la Terre…

The story of this book is magical. For several years, I have dreamed of getting my hands on this mysterious book, but second-hand copies are sold at a high price on the Internet. One day, I came across a website that sold the Spanish version. When I received it, I was moved.

Alicia’s drawings and words resonate very strongly with me. This 19 year old hippie embodies a freedom, a simplicity and a carefree attitude that we miss today. An almost dreamed life, a total commitment. Alicia proposes to live like a flowing river or a growing tree. To live in the middle of nature, in community, out of the consumer society and far from capitalism.

50 years after the first edition of Living on the Earth, the biosphere is enoxerably degrading and anxiety is rising, even faster than the ocean level. Alicia reminds us that ecological movements are not new. Today too often derided, the hippies had the courage to question the very foundations of a capitalist society. It does a lot of good to delve into their legacy, full of struggles and inventiveness. Reading Alicia, the answer is here, almost obvious, in front of our eyes. I am convinced that living on love alone is not naive, but one of the possible solutions to face this ecological crisis. A fair, beautiful, desirable, joyful and fun path.

One day, I bring this treasure to the office, to share with my colleagues. This hippie bible is a literary UFO! A bestseller that has gone around the world, translated into Japanese, Korean, Spanish… And sold more than 350,000 copies for the American version.

We bet with Emmanuelle and Antoine, Ulmer’s managers, that it could work. I contacted Alicia who quickly told me that the book would be published in English to celebrate its 50th birthday! What a happy coincidence, life is well done. Virginie started translating and Alicia agreed to rewrite everything by hand in French, a language she does not speak. Once the translation is finalized, Alicia starts writing, courageously. She spends more than 6 days on some pages. Until she injures her hand and the project comes to a halt.

That’s where Harmonie the aptly named comes in. I was working with this potter-designer-artist on another book. I had shown her Alicia’s book and she too had fallen in love with it. She often asked me about the translation and I was disappointed to tell her that it wasn’t going well… Until I received a handwritten note from Harmonie: her handwriting looked like Alicia’s! So Harmonie started to rewrite the book with a lot of enthusiasm. 248 pages later, Agathe proofreads, Camille prepares the files, it goes to the printer’s.

This is why you can now hold this precious book in your hands. The moving testimony of an emancipated young woman living as close to nature as possible, patiently rewritten to be as close as possible to the original. Because in 2022, we continue to have a great need for Peace and Love.

I wish you all to live closer to the flowers!

Lila, editor of the book.

And here is the note from artist Harmonie Begon, who beautifully hand-lettered Vivre sur la Terre after I had to stop a year ago, due to an injury to my right arm and shoulder.

Dear Alicia,

When Lila told me about your book, I thought it was beautiful. When I got my hands on it, I thought it was sublime.

I have a special affection for notebooks and journals. I fill many of them, with words and drawings, like you.

Writing by hand each of your pages was an intense experience. For I did not only write, I read, I integrated, I almost lived these observations. I have traveled. I felt like leaving my desk a hundred times to cook, tinker, create, camp, repair, build. That’s the beauty of your book, it makes you want to live.

To live for real, to do with what we have. To be inventive, creative, to learn. To be outside. To take the time to do.

“This book is for those who would rather chop wood than work in an office to pay for gas and electricity.”

I find myself in these words, and I like to believe that we can still have this logic of things, that it is not too late.

I believe in the importance of passing on knowledge and skills, the importance of sharing, always, what has been shared with us, because nothing can compare to that feeling, the one that comes when you have accomplished something yourself, when you are capable. When you have been able to do it.

Thank you for your words, your poetry, and your music that lulled my long days of writing.




Lisa Rovner’s Interview of Alicia Bay Laurel for “Wilder” Magazine’s Summer/Fall 2013 issue

Illustrated with art from Living on the Earth. Lisa is a skillful interviewer!

I am happy to say that I’ve now watched Agnes Varda’s joyously surrealist film about her uncle, my artist mentor, Jean “Yanco” Varda, many times. I also linked it to the page in my online store for the blue on blue t-shirt I designed with the Living on the Earth houseboat pages, which arose from my years living at Gate Five, Sausalito. I made a black and white version of the t-shirt as well, with the movie link there too.
Here’s where I found these pages online:

https://aliciabaylaureldotcom.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/76197-aliciabaylaurelwildersummer-fall-final.pdf

Vote for Being of the Sun in the 2022 COVR Awards Contest

Please vote for Being of the Sun in the “iconic book” section of the Coalition for Visionary Resources contest. The ballot is at: https://covr.org/covr-awards-public-voting/ Deadline is April 24th.

Note from Tracee Dunblazier, the president of COVR:

“The important thing for voters to know is that they cannot navigate away from the ballot once it’s begun. They’ll want to have gone through all the entries in the voter’s guide beforehand. Voters must make a choice in every category, even if it’s ‘none-of-the-above’.”

Here’s where to download the voter’s guide!

Author’s statement:

Behold:

I present for your consideration, Being of the Sun, an un-guide for curating your own path to higher consciousness, originally published in 1973, and re-released last October 2021 by Echo Point Books & Media.

In between then and now, Being of the Sun has done yeoman duty, providing ideas for ceremonies in the wild, chants, drone music and music theory, amusing craft projects, healing practices and freedom from dogmatic concepts to wiccans, pagans, Druids and unnameable other free-spirited beings for decades.

I am Alicia Bay Laurel, the author/illustrator/designer of the best-selling early sustainable living classic, Living on the Earth, which is newly in print in its 50th anniversary, 5th English language edition. I’ve created other illustrated books, fine art, and commissioned illustrations, as well as producing/designing/performing/touring eight albums of original and historic music.

I collaborated in 1972-1973 on the text and the music in Being of the Sun with composer, musician, author and philosopher Ramon Sender Barayón, a friend since 1969. I illustrated, designed and hand-lettered Being of the Sun myself.

You can hear me and Ramón improvising our ecstatic music in the soundtrack of the book trailer for our book, Being of the Sun:

I’ve submitted Being of the Sun as an “iconic” book, because it is, in fact, iconic – it’s not just previously published, but a book that has already moved thousands of people around the world to insist on spiritual creativity, freedom of consciousness, and oneness with nature, over the past 49 years.

Here is the history of the book and reader comments:

Here is the book’s page in my store, Indigo With Stars:

Ramón and I also made a recording of the music from the book. He recorded us on a reel-to-reel tape recorder in 1973. In 2013, I obtained a digital copy of the tape, took it to a recording studio, and had it remastered into a CD.

https://indigowithstars.com/…/songs-from-being-of-the-sun

“Your work still inspires and brings joy to so many!”

Alastair Gordon
Author, Architecture Critic
Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design
New York, New York

“Beautiful Extraordinary Book!”

Brigitte Mars
Herbalist, Professor, Author, Plant Expert, Natural Food Chef

“Alicia Bay Laurel and Ramón Sender Barayón share their vision of yoga, healing, sun songs, moon songs, meditation, ceremonies, communes, solitudes, and more in a how-to format connecting us back to our inner child, naked & free!

“May the holy words found in this book heal the world at a time when we need them most!”

Tracy Conti and Stephen McCarty
Solar Return Shop
Echo Park, Los Angeles, California

“We don’t own or keep much in our lives, but this is one of the most treasured. This book came into our lives and gave us such joy. Wonderful images and genuine words of love and care for the planet and each other. Gratitude each day for the arrival of the Morning Star, bringer of life and joy to each and every living being on this planet.”

Neil and Ness
Getting high on nature


Interview podcast and tea party with herbalist/skateboarding goddess/millennial bohemian, Bianca Scott

Podcast: November 2021 interview of Alicia Bay Laurel by herbalist/skateboarding goddess/millennial bohemian Bianca Scott, broadcast on Spotify.

Writes Bianca: “Alicia Bay Laurel, a pure child of the revolution. We seek the truth as we discuss Alicia’s journey of peace, love, freedom, poltergeists, acid and spirituality. We share our thoughts surrounding The Cockette’s pink velvet cock and balls of sexual anarchy to the power Media has over innocent human beings. For the first time on LifeFlux, I drank tea picked out by my guest. Who would have thought ginger tastes so good in hot water? It was a dream come true to speak with such a bright soul who’s book, Living on the Earth, gave light to my journey just a few years ago. Purchase Alicia Bay Laurel’s handwritten and illustrated, award-winning books and music CDs at aliciabaylaurel.com. If you are human, these books are meant for you. Cheers!”

Jessica King’s video of the Zoom launch event for the movie, Living on the Earth – The Musical, and for the book, Being of the Sun


Artist Jessica King created and hosted the Zoom launch party for Living on the Earth – The Musical, and the book, Being of the Sun, on the autumnal equinox, September 22, 2021.

A diverse group of Alicia Bay Laurel’s friends joined the party and shared their stories. Alicia opened the event by singing the autumn equinox chant from Being of the Sun, accompanying herself on a zither. Here is Jessica’s film of the whole gathering!

The woman in the cover photo is California digital graphic designer and fine artist Karen Tsugawa, who coached Alicia over Zoom , and collaborated with her in creating the digital page layouts of the new editions of Living on the Earth and Being of the Sun, as well as the two book trailers, among other digital design projects.


Natural Born Alchemist podcast interviews Alicia Bay Laurel about Being of the Sun

In this recently recorded one-hour podcast, I am interviewed by Alex of “Natural Born Alchemist” about the book, Being of the Sun, which I co-wrote with composer/philosopher Ramon Sender Barayon, and the historic and cultural movements that surrounded its birth.

Listen to the podcast here.

Indigo With Stars online store makeover

The opening page of the Indigo With Stars online store

I gave my online store a makeover. It has a new function called “Shop by Category” that makes it easy to find whatever you want to see. Just avoid the “Browse All Products” button, unless you love chaos, in which case, be my guest.

It’s at: https://indigowithstars.com/ or you can just click on “Shop” at the top of each page of aliciabaylaurel.com.

Alicia interviewed at the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Academic Conference, 2017

Today I received a link to a recently completed video of a 20 minute interview with me about my time living on hippie communes, conducted by Kip Baldwin of S.O.U.L Documentaries, and recorded at the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Academic Conference in downtown San Francisco in the last week of July, 2017.



Loved this interview, Alicia! You are always so observant and articulate, it’s such a pleasure to hear our experience at Wheeler’s Ranch encapsulated so accurately. It was all about taking the cement out of our lives, with the abrasion of man-made accoutrements removed … no street lights, no sidewalks, no lawns, no rules… and we found a natural order was already in place, buried by Man’s heavy footprint. We could see at night by moonlight, we could sense a gathering, and it grew on its own, which is the way I remember sweat lodges… mostly on full moons… ( Helene dancing) and more… friendships still bonded today… though some important clairvoyants have moved on… would love to see you…

Sally French
Fine Artist
Kalaheo, Hawaii
___________________________________________________________

I wanted you to know that your S.O.U.L. interview brought tears to my eyes.  Tears of joy, not sadness.  Incredible that you are still able to tell the story.  And the interviewer really didn’t get it, in my opinion!  Blew me away that your cousin was married to John Fahey as he has always been one of my favorite guitar players and most people don’t even know about him.

Barbara Light Lacey
Singer-songwriter and Author
Dallas, Texas

_____________________________________________________________,

Clothing printed with Alicia’s art!

The herb and spice chart from Living on the Earth is available printed on an apron in English or in French.

Top row: “Hippie Hill” post card drawing from 1970, “You are Loved” painting from 2005, “Falling Star” ink and watercolor pencil painting from How to Make Peace, from 2003.

Middle row: “Joe Gallivan playing the Moog Drum” (detail from a concert poster from the 1970s), “Houseboat pages from Living on the Earth” (1969), “Alicia Bay Laurel self-portrait” ink drawing (2013).

Bottom row: “Peace Girl” watercolor pencil painting from How to Make Peace, 2003, “Meditation” page, watercolor pencil painting from How to Make Peace, 2003, and Apron printed with the herb and spice chart from Living on the Earth (1969).

You can browse the entire Indigo With Stars online shop here. There are style and color variants on some of these products, plus some are printed in and shipped from the UK or the EU.




A Facebook page for the movie Living on the Earth – The Musical

Ramón Sender Barayón and Alicia Bay Laurel play a medley of folk songs as the finale of the movie, “Living on the Earth – The Musical.”

I like having a container for the stories surrounding the movie, “Living on the Earth – The Musical.”


Here is the page where I have posted the professional reviews, the history of the live performance, the story of how the movie came to be made, where my performance costume came from, my other videos on Vimeo, and where to find my and Ramon’s books and music.


Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/LOTETM/