This is the second part of my conversation with Isis Aquarian, historian and archive keeper of the Source Family. This captivating New Age group was the the subject of our 2012 Boone Dawdle film, The Source. You can read the first part of the conversation here. -Dan Steffen
TRUE/FALSE: How did your role in the Source Family evolve?
ISIS AQUARIAN: Father (Yod) told me right away that I was the family historian and temple keeper. I quickly moved into his inner circle and energy, and earned the nickname of Dragon Lady, which I loved for some reason. He said we had both made agreements before this lifetime to support each other on this adventure. I was there to support and help with his evolutionary process and to save the legacy as I/We had done together in so many lifetimes.
Father was married when the Source Family started. We all agreed we were living in and existing by spiritual rules and realms, and not by man’s rules or laws. Father asked for a divorce, and for us at the time that was that. He went on to take 14 other wives, and I became one of them.
The changes were all fast. Father told us right from the beginning that he was going on a journey, and he did not know where it was going to take him, but we were welcome to go on that journey with him. Then it also became our journey.
T/F: Certainly the film would not be what it was without the fascinating archive of audio, film, and photographs you collected. What did you originally envision doing with all of this material? Were there parts of the family’s life that were off limits to documentation?
IA: There was not much that was off limits. I mean we had sex, drugs, rock and roll and then added the mystery teachings, and it was all out front from the beginning. I never really envisioned the end results or any concrete reason or program of what would happen or be done with any of the archiving at the time, I just knew it was important and my destiny and something that had to be done. It was a tribal feeling where all tribes would orally pass it down anyhow, this was just the way I was doing it.
I started shooting photos and recording the 4 am meditation classes with a tape recorder. Father would send these tapes to those who might have missed the class or even send them to some outside the family so they could see what we were into. Sometimes he would even send one to the police chief or the mayor.
One day Father Yod started to wonder if what he was doing and saying would end up as just another church or religion or cult after he was gone. He talked about the dogma of all other religions, and how they all ended up getting off of the main point they originally started out with. He said in old it was passed down orally and tribally so as not to be misunderstood.
One night he had four or five of the brothers take my trunks with my tapes and destroy them all. The next morning when I found out I became unglued. This was the only time in the family that I freaked out; I almost left the family I was so mad.
So, I just took a deep breath and got my tape recorder and sat down for that next morning’s class and started to record once again. He just looked at me and laughed and said “well family, I tried.” In other words, he did his part to clear himself, and I did my part in not allowing it. After that he told me to make sure all the classes were recorded, all of the letters, notes and the like were saved, and all of the photos of the family put in photo albums. Other members of the family would pick up the camera and shoot something, and it would all come back to me.
When it came to using the archive for the documentary, I just wanted to make sure that, no matter whose reality was stated, Father and our adventure would end up being presented and accepted, without being whitewashed, in the highest state of being, as it was experienced by us. I trusted Jodi and Maria (documentary co-directors Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos) enough to do that.
T/F: When the family disbanded after Father Yod’s death, you had to make the radical switch again, back to “under man’s rules and laws”. I am trying to imagine what that would be like . . .
IA: We practiced living other incarnations. We used to remember and at times actually experience or view other incarnations in bits and pieces, so when one ended we knew how to walk into another. However, it was very difficult because it was not of choice, and we were in shock on many levels. It was a form of death for us. Once we were alone and no longer in the circumvent force of the whole it was a brutal realization. There is a missing piece, a hole that has not been appeased. We are still working on it, our thread to Father Yod/Yahowha, what it all meant and still means.
It was not all bad to be back here. Some of us went into professions that aligned with the family teachings such as home birthing and vegan cooking. Some went on to other communes. We had an incredible adventure with incredible people. It was time to grow up and leave the nest for our own destiny.
When the family dispersed people left with hardly anything. Some took a few books and notes, but no one really took anything or thought to ask for anything. They were going back home to another reality and everyone wanted to leave as light as they could. I knew better. The archive was like my baby and it never entered my mind that I was leaving without it. I took the photos, scrapbooks, and personal memories of Yahowha and our journey, and I kept them safe and honored over these last 40 years.
T/F: One of the great things about the documentary, The Source, is how it balances the multiple perspectives of the people involved in this story. What was it like to see these different viewpoints?
IA: When I started doing the book and the documentary it was a shock for me for a long time to find out that not everyone thought like I did or saw things the way I saw them. I am just now coming to terms with it. Each had a part or a role in that play and it was for a reason. We will all go on to another whole set of adventures and maybe some of it with each other again in some form, be it this life or another. I like to say what happens anyhow in this life will stay in this life, kind of like Las Vegas. But for sure there will be a residue of it and threads from it for us all.
I recently said that if I had one wish I would wish that Father Yod/Yahowha would come back just long enough to reconnect with us as a whole and speak now from himself as to what his perspective was and is. No one can really speak for him, what he was thinking, or the why of it. Only he can. When we speak it is only from us and our reality and we all had our own reality.
T/F: Tell me more about the book. What does it cover that the documentary doesn’t?
IA: I started the Source Family book with my source brother Electricity. We originally thought of it as being for the family so that after 30 some years people could have all of the pieces. The first version was called The Legend of Father and the Source Family. About seven years after we began working on it Jodi contacted me. She helped with the editing and we agreed to make a form of the book for the public through her publishing company Process Media called The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, YaHoWha 13, and The Source Family.
The book covers more of the in house daily life things. It has recipes, a list of our family members with the name and number they were given when they came into the family, and a glossary of what we called our Aquarian Source language. It tells of other family members not shown or represented in the documentary. It has more on the children and babies who are not in the documentary, because it was decided that we only had so much time to tell the story, and the children didn’t really remember their time in the family.
I would say the book and the documentary are two different things which complement each other. I love this book and it seems to be getting a very positive feedback.
T/F: Can you describe the experience of sharing the film at the Boone Dawdle?
IA: I was absolutely impressed beyond impressed. The thought and creativity that went into this event meant that by the end of the bike trail hundreds of people were invested in a very personal way in Father Yod and the Source. Then there were the T-shirts and posters and the groupings of actors keeping the ambiance of The Source, and all before the screening even happen! The painting and cut out of Father Yod and his women was my favorite. And to watch everyone line up to stick their face in either Father Yod or one of the women . . . well was just a whole other reality for me. I also loved the group of women in long white gowns with flowers in their hair I called the sourcettes and the guy who was kind of a Jim Baker dude or 70’s hipster. They were totally cool.
By the time the screening took place there was a very personal and intimate energy that I felt we all were somehow bonded with as a whole. This was the first screening out in nature under the stars on a cliff with the river running below. Just when we thought it could not get any better, it did!