The Story of The Source Family Birth Rope, as told to Boing Boing by Isis Aquarian in Hawaii

[Boing Boing Video Link.]

"The Source Family" a documentary by Boing Boing pal Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos, tells the story of Father Yod and his Source Family, a radical, utopian social experiment that emerged from the Los Angeles freak scene in the 1970s. You can download it on Amazon or iTunes, and it's a terrific film.

Isis Aquarian, one of the Source Family members featured in that documentary, sat down with Boing Boing at her home on the island of Oahu to share a special artifact from the Source Family treasure chest. It is the "Birth Rope," a handmade rope on to which were tied the names of each child born into the flower child cult—including Isis' own daughter Saturna.

In our video above, Isis references a mugshot of her. It was taken by Hawaii police when she was arrested for not turning over a fellow Source Family member's body to authorities when he died. The group believed in natural ceremonies for both births and deaths. That police photograph is below.

Video and stills in this post of Isis and the birth rope at her home were shot by, and told to, me. I had a beautiful time visiting her and other Source family "children" in Hawaii earlier this year.

The Source Family had a rock band, and you can listen to their funky love jams here.

More on the Source Family documentary here. This Boing Boing video clip is not part of the documentary. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2013.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2013.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2013.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2013.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2013.

Photo: Mugshot of Isis Aquarian, from her archives.

Photo: Xeni Jardin, 2013.


  1. The Source Family has been getting a lot of press these days, mostly because of the documentary.

    Folks like these make me wish we could go back to the time when the word “cult” could be used in a non-derogatory way.  They were definitely a cult, and while they were definitely a bit strange, they seemed pretty benign. It would be useful to have that connotation of the word back, but I guess one could always back-apply “happy mutant!”

  2. I like this idea. Too bad I’m the last family member. My rope would just be… a rope. I could do it with deaths though! But that would take a looooong time.

  3. Xeni thank you so much for this interview on one of our important
    family practice and teachings…this was not a planned or rehearsed interview
    and so that made it all the better to see how well it came out.     Regarding
    the word and meaning of CULT…this is one of those words that we are trying to
    amend and restore back to its proper meaning….CULT MEANS CULTURE it is ones
    life style  of choice…only in America did and does it have this negative
    meaning attached to Europe it is understood and accepted as being ones
    culture or way of life… was the whole Manson Family that branded it…it
    was as simple as that…the media at the time did not have a title for a lot of
    what was happening within the 60 and 70’s  nor was it really understood
    (outside of those who were living it and understood what was happening)
     so the branding of communes and hippies and the like needed a buzz word
    and somehow it ended up as Cult…as in the dark side, satanic in nature
    etc….like I said it all stemmed from the Manson happenings.  We as a
    generation back them, were heading into the cosmic light and living it…so of
    course the polar opposite will always pop up -so it had to be the
    darkness…..but the trick is the overcoming and the balance of it all.:))    Isis


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