Drawings from Alicia’s “Sylvie Sunflower” inspire students at UC Berkeley to consider gender roles

An online project of students at University of California at Berkeley studying 1960s counterculture and its lessons for people today.

Interesting that the Berkeley students noticed the feminist aspect of Sylvie Sunflower. I wrote it in response to a letter I received from a woman friend who noticed how stereotypical the gender roles were in the illustrations of Living on the Earth. That letter was my feminist awakening!

I set forth to break that obsolete mental pattern by writing and illustrating Sylvie Sunflower. It did not go unnoticed! The book was center-folded into a 1973 issue of Ms. Magazine as part of Letty Cottin Pogrebin’s series, “Stories for Free Children.”

My dear friend, Professor Greg Castillo of the School of Environmental Design in the School of Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, co-taught this class! He said, “This [website] was a great student project.”

First Magazine Review of Vivre sur la Terre

I received a welcome message today from the new director of communications at Editions Ulmer, the publisher of the French edition of Living on the Earth, Vivre sur la Terre.

Congratulationson your book, which I found absolutely fabulous! I’m a total fan.

I wanted to let you know that a very nice a review of the book has been published in Top Nature [magazine].

I hope we will have the opportunity to meet one day if you come to France in a near future.

Have a beautiful day,


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:


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.


“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

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.

The first new English edition of Being of the Sun since 1973, and its trippy book trailer

A 5-minute video synopsis of Ramón Sender Barayón’s and Alicia Bay Laurel’s celebration of freedom to choose one’s own spiritual path, with suggestions of practices and projects that have given them joy, including immersion in nature, making music on homemade instruments, and celebrating cycles of light.

Echo Point Books & Media, of Brattleboro, Vermont, expects to release the book in July 2021. Pre-ordering the book is available here.

In 1973, Ramón recorded himself and Alicia performing some of the songs, chants, drone pieces and improvisations in the book. In 2013, Alicia had these archival tapes remastered to create an album, Songs from Being of the Sun.

The original 1973 Harper & Row edition of Being of the Sun is available here.

The Soshisha, Ltd. Japanese language edition is available here.

History and reader comments about Being of the Sun here.

The colors of the cover and interior color illustrations for the 2021 edition are from scans Alicia made in 2019 of the original color artwork she created in 1972, which are more vibrant than the color pallettes used by publishers of other editions.

Cover art from Being of the Sun in the ancient village of Milinicos, Castilla-La Mancha, España

04-01-19-Spain-Milinicos-Antonio's mural of BoTS cover art

Juan Antonio Martínez Sarrión, who had translated, relettered and published (in 2017) Living on the Earth as Viviendo en la Tierra, was translating and relettering Ser Del Sol, a Spanish edition of Being of the Sun, with the idea of also publishing it through his company, Kachina Ediciones, when he painted the cover art on an old, traditionally styled house in the ancient Moorish village of Milinicos, in the mountains near the city of Albacete, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha.

A panorama of Milinicos, with the mural of the Being of the Sun cover.

Tokyo Fashion T-shirt printed with Being of the Sun page as fundraiser for 2011 Fukushima Triple Disaster Charity

Aya's fundraising t-shirt-gray.jpg

Tokyo fashion designer Aya Noguchi and I had been collaborating for five years when the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meldown disaster struck on March 11, 2011. We agreed to collaborate on a garment to raise money for the refugees now stranded in emergency shelters, both of us donating all of whatever we gained from this project.

Aya's fundraising t-shirt-detail.jpg

The jersey shirts are half cotton, half lyocell, a wood pulp fabric, also known as tencel. Aya intentionally made a diagonal hem at the bottom, and blended illustrations and text from Being of the Sun with a newer drawing of a bird from a notebook of drawings she commissioned from me in 2009. She added applique daisies to the finished shirts after silk-screening on the art.

Aya's fundraising t-shirt-black.jpg

I Meet Yoshimoto Banana

September 29, 2009

I come to Kurkku’s complex in Haragyuku for an interview by Switch Magazine, that will be a conversation between me and Japan’s beloved novelist Yoshimoto Banana (last name first is customary here, and her first name is pronounced BAH-nah-nah.)

In spring 2008, Kurkku hosted the first of what became four art shows of the original drawings and page layouts of Living on the Earth. I was delighted to hear that Banana-san had purchased my self-portrait that appears on the epilogue page of the book. She’s 15 years younger than I am, and the book was a favorite of her childhood. So, she said, she felt almost in a dream to purchase this drawing she had gazed upon so long ago.

Fujii-san, a rock and roll producer who is a friend of Banana-san’s and a friend of Keisuke Era’s (he’s the director at Kurkku) offered to introduce me and Banana-san, and Switch Magazine offered to document this event. So, here we are: Takeshi Fujii, Yoshimoto Banana, me, Miho Kawaguchi (writing for Switch), Kaori Miyagi (translating for me) and Kengo Tarumi (taking photos for Switch).

OMG! We showed up wearing the SAME EXACT T-SHIRT! It’s the Being of the Sun illustration licensed by Aya Noguchi (fashion designer and owner of Bed and Balcony) last year for her summer line.

But that wasn’t the only coincidence. After the interview was over, Banana went out to the street and there stood our dear friend in common – Sandii Manumele, vocalist extraordinaire and hula teacher of hundreds of Tokyo students, including Banana. Sandii rushed upstairs to see me and we had a happy group hug.

I had last seen Sandii at a huge rock concert memorial for Donto in Okinawa City in 2006. She danced and sang in the show, and I sang one of my songs, too. We became instant friends.

Sandii choreographed the hula for Donto’s classic song “Nami,” which women all over Japan love to dance. I just recorded “Nami” on my recent CD, Beyond Living, both in the original Japanese lyrics, and also in a Hawaiian and English translation. I was happy to present both Sandii and Banana with signed copies of my new CD.

Here‘s Banana-san’s blog about the same meeting (in Japanese).

Live at Shu Cafe in Fujino

September 27, 2009

I am the guest of TV producer Setsuko Miura, her husband Jun and their daughter Ren, in the very hip art and farming village of Fujino, in the mountains west of Tokyo. They have arranged for me to teach a class in making instant books at the local Waldorf School, which they helped to found, and which Ren attends. They also arranged a fundraising concert for the school at Shu Café in Fujino, at which I perform for about 50 people. In this photo, Jun and Setsuko are the two people with headscarves. Shu and his wife Kazu, the owners, are on either side of me. Kazu has purple hair and a very small dog in her arms. The other three ladies are part of the café staff.

Shu Café is downstairs from an airy loft that is Shu and Kazu’s home. Next to it is an organic garden where Shu grows vegetables for the café.

The elegant and natural café and residence were designed by Tsutomu Nozaki, the same architect who designed Jun and Setsuko’s ultra-green home, here enjoying a beer with Jun.

An easel outside the main café entrance announces my concert.

A small gift shop inside the café includes organic cotton socks, hand dyed with locally grown indigo and hand-knitted by a 90-year-old resident of Fujino.

Every aspect of the café features local art and organic produce, including the stepping stones at the entrance to the café.

Setsuko and Jun’s neighbor, Aki, one of the first of the audience to arrive, brought her long-out-of-print copies of the 1974 Japanese editions my three children’s books (The Rainbow Lady, The Family of Families, and Sylvie Sunflower) to sign for her and her children.

I met legendary singer/songwriter Ua, who lives in Fujino with her husband and two young children.

I sang and told stories, with the excellent translation of beautiful Yuko Urakami, the English teacher at the Waldorf School to whose 12th grade English class I taught the instant book lesson on September 24th. She also has children who attend the school, and is a close friend of Setsuko’s.

We had a full house, a most enthusiastic audience, except for the children seated in the first three rows, who were outside playing together.

After the show I signed books and CDs, and got my photo taken with lots of new friends. Everyone was so sweet.

In Which My Drawings are Featured in a Coffee Table Architecture Book

spaced out-cover

I neglected to write to you last spring about the publication of Alastair Gordon’s SPACED OUT, Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties (2008, Rizzoli). A gorgeous coffee table architecture book about the wiggy shelters my friends built back in the day, for us, it’s more like a family album. It’s an absolutely fun read/look.

“If you don’t have recourse to memory or the spaces themselves, Alastair Gordon’s crucial new book, Spaced Out, will bring you closer to a time when architecture was expanding its horizons…Architects today have a lot to learn from these hippies.”– Metropolis Magazine (6/18/08)

I was thrilled to have my work included in the book, and curious to see which drawings Alastair would choose include. This color page is from Being of the Sun (Harper & Row, 1973), which I co-wrote with Ramón Sender Barayón and illustrated and designed myself. The illustrations on the facing page are from my first book, Living on the Earth (Bookworks, 1970, Random House 1971 and 2000, Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2003, Echo Point Books and Media, 2021).

Alastair wrote about Living on the Earth with a waggish smile in his voice.

I was honored to be in the august company of environmental-activist designers like the folks at Drop City, an early Colorado artists’ commune, whose geodesic domes made of sheet metal recycled from roofs of cars at the wrecking yard became their signature visual.

I met Paolo Soleri, the architect who designed and was building Arcosanti, back in the 1960s when he did a fundraising talk and slide show at my mom’s house in L.A. As a result, I wrote about Arcosanti in Living on the Earth.

Here’s an interior photo of Soleri’s semi-subterranean home and studio, Cosanti, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I made a pilgrimage to both of Soleri’s architectural wonders in November 2000, during my epic 8 month book tour for the 30th anniversary edition of Living on the Earth and the release of my first CD, Music From Living on the Earth.