Gavin Arthur was the great-grandson of U.S. President Chester Arthur. At the age of 19 Arthur read Eduard Schure’s The Great Initiates (1912) which set him on the occult path, with astrology being his main course of study. In the 1950s a Jungian psychologist asked Arthur to cast her patients’ horoscopes to help her analysis with her practice. Arthur, being a counselor at the San Quentin Prison, like Carl Jung, began to include astrology in his counseling work. Arthur became a major force in the Haight-Ashbury Counterculture scene in San Francisco by the early ’60s, whose big success was the prediction of President Kennedy’s assassination before he was elected President, along with popularizing the dawning of the Age of Aquarius which he believed would arrive in 2260. Gavin believed that the planet entered a new age of consciousness in 1940 and the Uranus-Pluto alignments (1962 – 1972) in the mid-sixties would usher in a “cosmic consciousness” that would accelerate the general spiritual evolution of the planet.
Starting A Peaceful Celebration
Gavin Arthur advised the San Francisco Oracle that the planetary alignments on January 14th, 1967 at 1:00 PM PST at Golden Gate Park’s Polo Field would the most propitious date and place starting to promote a peaceful celebration that would communicate and celebrate personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness, the use of entheogens to induce spiritual awareness and transcendence, and radical liberal political consciousness. The Human Be-In was announced on the cover of the fifth issue of the San Francisco Oracle as “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In”. The Human Be-In was announced on the cover of the fifth issue of the San Francisco Oracle as “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In”.
Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out
The event included Timothy Leary in his first San Francisco appearance, who set the tone that afternoon with his famous phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out”, and Richard Alpert (soon to be known as “Ram Dass”), and poets like Allen Ginsberg, who chanted mantras, Gary Snyder and Michael McClure. Other counterculture gurus included comedian Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Jerry Rubin. The Hell’s Angels, at the peak of their “outlaw” reputation, corralled lost children. Music for the event was provided by a host of local rock groups including Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service, who had been staples of San Francisco’s The Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom since February 1966. Also, “Underground Chemist” Owsley Stanley provided massive amounts of his “White Lightning” LSD, specially produced for the event, as well as 75 twenty-pound turkeys, for free distribution by the Diggers.
-Ins: Nonviolent Protests
The mainstream media were stunned by the event as over 30,000 young people from all over America descended on the Haight-Ashbury area and showed up at the Be-In. Soon after every gathering was an “-In” of some kind. Just four weeks later was Bob Fass’s Human Fly-In at JFK Airport in New York, then Emmett Grogan of the Diggers inspired Sweep-In in the Lower East of Manhattan. This was followed by Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In comedy television show began airing on NBC just a year later on January 22, 1968. This was followed by the first Yip-In (on March 21, 1968 at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, New York); the Love-In (a public gathering focused on meditation, love, music, sex and/or use of psychedelic drugs on April 14, 1968 at Malibu Canyon in Central Los Angeles, California); and the famous two-week Bed-In (starting March 25, 1969 at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam) hosted by founding Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono — gatherings intended to be non-violent protests against wars, and experimental tests of new ways to promote peace.
Counterculture Surfaces, The Summer of Love Begins
The counterculture that surfaced at the Human Be-In galvanized an anti-authoritarian movement which encouraged people to question traditional modes of authority, with regard to civil rights, women’s rights, consumer rights. The Human Be-In also help spur the alternative media movement that helped define the counterculture’s radical political opposition to “The Establishment” with the proliferation of underground newspapers and radio stations.