Silver Header Adreserve your ad here
Tonight’s full moon shares a potent point on the sun cycle this year increasing the magnitude of this moment. August 1 is a cross-quarter day, the midpoint between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox. Celtic Lammas, Lumas, Lughnasadh, Lúnasa, and many other names of this celebration of the harvest of 1st fruits…. can you feel it? Change is in the air?! Knowing all of the above, we can expect a super intense time for the inhabitants of our planet. “Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.”
In our circles, this has also become a symbolic time, now known as “The Days Between.” Honoring all things Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995), guitarist for the Grateful Dead, “A band without description, like Jehovah’s favorite choir.” Jerry was the reluctant leader of this “heart of gold band.” Their genre was of their own making, employing a mix of rock, folk, jazz, blues, country, and psychedelic pop, with lyrics like sacred hymns. The best-selling concert band of all time with the ultimate catalog of “red and white, blue suede shoes” Americana, complete with a modern-day gypsy caravan following them around the country. I believe this week will go down in history as an annual spiritual revival.
“Summer’s here, and the time is right for dancing in the streets.” The full moon is always a fertile time for gathering the tribes for festivities. Indigenous traditions are in tune with the orbit of the moon, the sun, the stars, and so on, using their peak phases to mark holy days. Sun and moon cycles were the ancient way of timekeeping, and many people still celebrate every full moon with drum circles, campfires, all-night dance parties, and other rituals. “Once in a while, you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Connections to the natural cycles with traditions rooted in ceremonies that observe the fullness of the moment. Making memories along the way helps us “to live and learn and grow.”
“California, I’ll be knocking on a golden door” The last show on the final tour of the most recent incarnation of the band, Dead and Company, played just a couple of weeks ago, and I sure wish I could have been “somewhere in San Francisco on a back porch in July” near Oracle Park when they did. But I am grateful that streaming shows online is awesome, too. Couch tour for the win! And even now, at the proverbial end, the band and the fans show few signs of slowing down. In fact, during the recent summer tour, I’ve read many mostly positive accounts from mainstream New York Times editorials to local music critics to the online forums of out-on-the-road long-time tour family and even personal reflections from the folks “playing in the band.” Ticket sales in 2023 surpassed any prior tour. Some of the kids I grew up with attended this summer’s shows with their own now-grown kids. “He’s gone,” but a whole new generation is ‘dead to the core.” Join in!
“Fare thee well” Peak experiences, ecstatic dancing, and consciousness-enhancing practices are all a huge part of Grateful Dead culture. After all, they were the house band for Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests. And it’s well documented that Kesey, Robert Hunter, Dick Latvala, and others close to the band participated in MK-Ultra experiments at Stanford in the early ’60s. Whether you’re an OG and saw Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, The Warlocks, or one of the other earliest configurations at Magoo’s Pizza Parlor in Menlo Park, CA. Or if you were one of the hippies who followed the Dead from Woodstock to San Francisco during the Summer of Love. Or, like for me, “The bus came by; that’s where it all began” in the late 80s during their top ten hit “touch of gray” stadium tour days. Or went Furthur, post-Jerry after ‘95 and saw The Others Ones, The Dead, or the many, many side projects like JGB, RatDog, Phil and Friends, Planet Drum, The Trichromes, Wolf Bros, Billy & the Kids, etc., or even if you just saw your first shows on Dead and Company tour over the last eight years. There is something super special about this scene; you must be there to know what it is. “I need a miracle every day.”
“Sunshine Daydream” Cannabis, also psychedelics, and the Grateful Dead have a healthy dose of natural connections. The first I ever heard the term “420” was on the Dead lot, same with blown glass pipes. And it parallels how we got to California. I ran into a high school friend who was on tour in the early 90s while I was doing a summer internship in Chicago. He was with some trippy hippies from northern California. I hooked them up with a place to stay for a few days, and it was the start of our adventures on tour together. They were extraordinary businessmen, making the most of the parking lot scene, aka “Shakedown Street.” Initially, they were importing Guatemalan gear; woven shirts, patchwork bags, and about a million friendship bracelets ($2 or 3 for $5). Later known as the Tie Dye Factory or Tie Dye Mafia, depending on who you ask. It was an easy sell, t-shirts in sizes from 6mo onesies to XXL, organized by six color patterns. Sometimes a dozen of us were spread out throughout the stadium parking, and we sold the brightest dyes on the lot. “We used to play for silver; now we play for life.”
“Let there be songs to fill the air” The world lost them both within six months of each other a few years ago, and I dedicate this article to them. “Thank you for a real good time” Mark and Stefan!! Mentors to many folks on many things, from car parts to cooking to consciousness. Well-educated and street smart. “Having a high time, living the good life” They found friends along the road with their bright colors and benevolent attitudes. “Inspiration, move me brightly, light the song with sense and color” Friends who became family. They are how and why my husband and I moved to California. We moved first to their house in Sonoma, then around the corner for eight years. They gifted us our first cannabis plants, teaching us their cultivation style. Their trifecta chocolate ganache hash shroom truffles were some of the earliest tastes of such magical edibles. The biggest lesson I learned from these beautiful humans was to work together to take good care of the world while focusing on fun! “Oh, oh, what I want to know is, are you kind?”
“Walk me out in the morning dew” in the Emerald Triangle, consisting of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties, also Sonoma to Santa Cruz to Tahoe, and really all over, especially northern California and southern Oregon. The back-to-the-land movement and cannabis community is a direct offshoot of the counterculture and the ethos of Garcia and the Good Ole Grateful Dead. The band lived in northern California, and Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm / Camp Winnarainbow is still an hour up the road here in Mendocino. Where they continue to be a hippie outpost, housing a commune and organic farm and holding summer sessions for the kids and music festivals for the whole family. I’m sure if we could do a deadhead census, we would find an extraordinary amount of hippies still living and “dancing in a ring around the sun” in this part of the world.
“They love each other, lord you can see that it’s true” Marty and I traveled from Miami, FL to Alpine Valley, WI, in 2002 to see the one Grateful gathering that summer. We’ve known each other since we were toddlers, but we agree we fell in love during those Terrapin shows. And our first dance at our wedding was the Jerry Garcia Band version of “Shining Star.” It may be anecdotal evidence, but listening to those songs over the years feels like sound medicine. To compare it to today’s definitions of psychedelic therapeutics, attending the concerts was the peak experience, and listening to the “bootleg” tapes is part of the integration process. “If you get confused, listen to the music play.” Those tapes can transport you back to the shows. And we now know that music and mind-altering substances can act as a catalyst for neuroplasticity that can open and channel our bodies and hearts, and minds. Loops of literal healing vibrations. “So many roads to ease my soul.”
“Strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hand” Even our side hustle is an online consignment shop selling mostly Grateful Dead and music memorabilia. Although we have also sold a ton of other funky finds over the years, from sports cards and comic books to collections of star wars action figures to vintage lingerie. And we even have a category for Emerald Triangle marketing merchandise. www.ConsciousConsignment.com is our own little corner of “Shakedown Street.” We sell items for many folks intimately involved with the band over the years, from ticket office staff to the management, archivists, roadies, and crew of Grateful Dead Productions (GDP), also other bands like String Cheese Incident, Ben Harper, Railroad Earth, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and, Conscious Alliance, visionary artists, and collectors. “Too much of everything is just enough.” It’s been an awesome way to keep us in touch with hippies worldwide. And to help the folks nearby to find value in their vast collections of concert shirts, posters, backstage passes, and more. “One man gathers what another man spills.”
The connections we’ve made along the way have been nothing short of amazing. For example, Pat Ryan, our old neighbor, was an artist who did some of the Dead’s poster art as well as underground comics and a plethora of pot parodies such as the original “California Homegrowers Association” and many strain labels while it was all still an underground market. He also did some artwork for Martyjuana. Reonegro, a professional graphic designer who illustrated the Grateful Dead backstage pass puzzle art, also illustrated the Martyjuana “Let It Grow” coloring book. When we saw it we imagined the skeleton crew disembarked the Carnival train to work our farm for harvest season. And Susana Millman, one of rock and roll’s most famed photographers, has many iconic images and behind-the-scenes moments captured in her book, Alive with the Dead or A Fly on the Wall with a Camera; she has been to our farm for a photo shoot. We are forever grateful!!!
“What a long strange trip it’s been?!” The full moon can increase the energy of alternative states of mind. Imagination is a portal to possibilities. Music is a key. This moon phase is a good time to tune in to dreams and visions and notice what comes up. What resonates? We can unlock the mysteries within the symbols and patterns contained in the “attics of my life” for creative inspiration. Look up at the glowing orb and revel in the power of the full moon. “Standing on the moon” can be very revealing!” “We can discover the wonders of nature.” The Grateful Dead understood the spiritual nature of the moon & other universal cycles long before I did, as exemplified by their 1972 Egypt eclipse extravaganza. “Maybe you’ll find direction around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet you.”
“Knocking of heavens door” It’s time for a late summer gathering, in community, in the garden, and in the heart. Prune what is not needed, gather blessings, and embrace gratitude. We have come so far, and there is so much more yet to go. “This is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.” Time now to become our wildest dreams! We live our dream when we sing out loud and dance our way along the paths, believing that whichever way they take us is the right way right now. Finding ways to feel good will help us navigate this moon cycle. Sometimes a song can shift us. “Know our love will not fade away, no our love will not fade away.”
(All quotes in this article relate to songs the Grateful Dead sang. Most are written by their lyricists, Robert Hunter or John Perry Barlow, and various band members. But a few are covers, like, Dancing in the Streets, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Morning Dew, Shining Star, and Not Fade Away)
Follow artist Susuana Millman online:
Follow Artist Antonio Reonegro online:
Follow Martyjuana online:
FB @LoveLight Ink