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From Source Restaurant to 'Cosmic' Commune

Isis Aquarian tells what it was like to be one of 13 wives in the Source Family.
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Isis Aquarian tells what it was like to be one of 13 wives in the Source Family.

Second in a three-part series.

On Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard in the 1970s, a natural foods restaurant called The Source launched a new way of life for hundreds of people.

Founded by ex-Marine Jim Baker nearly four decades ago, the restaurant quickly drew Hollywood's creative elite; John Lennon, Warren Beatty and Paul Mazursky were regulars. Other young men and women from across the country flocked there in search of something "cosmic," and many never left.

Baker employed an array of long-haired men and women as servers and cooks. Regardless of position, they made the same amount of money.

"There was no hierarchy," a former employee recalls.

Before and after hours, in meditation classes, Source employees were becoming a spiritual family.

Eventually, around 30 staff members and regulars moved into a mansion together in Griffith Park. In their first year at the "Mother House," the family expanded to nearly 200.

Baker, too, was transforming, from his old self to spiritual leader Father Yod. It was the dawn of a new way of life.

In the second part of this series, Jennifer Sharpe explores this transformation.

In part three Wednesday, the Source family reunites.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Jennifer Sharpe
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