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Communal Living

photo New Buffalo Commune, Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico, 1967  


Some children of the sixties counterculture dropped out and left the cities for the countryside to experiment with utopian lifestyles. Away from urban problems and suburban sameness, they built new lives structured around shared political goals, organic farming, community service, and the longing to live simply with one's peers.

The Laws lived in several groups of poets, musicians, artists, and idealists. These communities experimented with redefining family structure, the relationship between work and leisure, and the role of their community in the world. Their degrees of success varied, however. Many men and women struggled to balance personal and political freedom with individual responsibilities and commitments, and to develop the farming and building skills needed to sustain the community.


photo Caravan, including Lisa and Tom Law's bus "Silver," en route to Love-In protest at Los Alamos atomic proving grounds, New Mexico, 1968  


photo Horse trainer Tommy Masters teaching Prince to harness, Truchas, New Mexico, 1970  


photo Building the communal house at the New Buffalo Commune, Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico, 1968. The Laws traveled to New Mexico to have their first child at a facility that practiced natural childbirth. They helped build the New Buffalo commune and decided to move to New Mexico to live among a group of friends.  


photo Rick Klein and Steve, Jenna, and Carol Hinton, New Buffalo Commune, 1967. Rick Klein and other benefactors sometimes bought the land and founded communes, enabling members to implement their ideals.  


photo Ben Marcus and Little Joe Gomez of the Peyote Church, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, 1967. New Buffalo Commune members interpreted the ways of nearby American Indians to model a new life of self-sufficiency and tribal community.  


photo Lisa Law writing birth announcements and breast-feeding newborn daughter Dhana Pilar, Embudo, New Mexico, 1967. Lisa Law and Steve Hinton made the cradleboard. Photograph by Tom Law  


photo Miles Hinton, New Buffalo Commune, 1967  


photo Hog Farm Commune members and friends, Spence Hot Springs, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, 1967  


photo Musician, New Buffalo Commune, Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico, 1967  


photo Ken Kesey, aboard his bus "Further," Aspen Meadows, New Mexico, 1969. Author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey and his troupe, the Merry Pranksters, celebrated both spontaneous street theater to engage a mainstream audience and the use of psychedelic drugs.  


photo Indian Sikh Yogi Bhajan teaching Kundalini yoga class, summer solstice, Tesuque Reservation, New Mexico, 1969. As part of a spiritual reawakening, some members of the counterculture rejected drug use in favor of mind and spiritual expansion through yoga, meditation, and chanting.  


We stopped smoking marijuana and started getting high on breathing. Enough of being potheads. Now we could be healthy, happy and holy.

-Lisa Law, 1987


photo Hog Farm leader Wavy Gravy, Llano, New Mexico, 1969. Spontaneity, playfulness, and openness were cherished elements of commune life.  


photo Commune members Laura and Paul Foster's wedding at the Hog Farm's summer solstice celebration, Aspen Meadows, New Mexico, 1968  


photo Barry, Patty, and Ever McGuire with Don and Cindy Gallard watching the sunset, New Mexico, 1967. Barry McGuire, formerly of the New Christy Minstrels, recorded the hit protest song "Eve of Destruction."  


photo Pilar Law and yoga altar at New Buffalo Commune, 1969  


Fifteen of us lived together, one room per family, and a kitchen and a communal room. I can't say that I enjoyed that kind of living. It always seemed that women ended up doing a lot more chores than the men. The men played music, smoked the herb, chopped wood and repaired vehicles. The lack of privacy was a test.

-Lisa Law, 1987


photo Lisa and Tom Law with children Solar Sat and Dhana Pilar on Law farm, Truchas, New Mexico, 1970. Seeking more independence and privacy, the Laws moved into their own house, farmed, and raised animals.  


photo Planting first garden on Law farm, Truchas, New Mexico, 1970  


photo Tom Law teaching beginning yoga to newcomers, Law farm, Truchas, New Mexico, 1971. Following the Life magazine article, a steady stream of pilgrims and the curious visited the Law farm.