“Brotherhood of The Sun”: Commune Living

When I first encountered the photos of “Brotherhood of the Sun”, I was completely taken. Taken by the sheer magnitude of happiness and honesty. You really can see it… honesty and happiness that is. You feel it in your bones. Every photo made me smile high with personal thoughts of who I was looking at. I found myself just staring…dreaming…smiling. It’s the little things… always the little things. Today, they come by way of Mehosh Dziadzio, both his words and exquisite photos. From 1972-1979, Mehosh lived on a commune, documenting the life and culture of that particular time. My mother lived on a commune in her 20s as an artist and singer. I grew up in her arms listening to tales and stories and meeting her crazy hippie friends that would roll through our lives from time to time. “So and so is staying for the summer”…she would say… ” so and so has decided to move in with her kids for a bit.” I grew up with 3 older brothers and HEAPS of aunties and uncles. It’s a beautiful experience to see these photos come alive with what I imagine my mother’s life looking like before I was born. It gives a certain peace to who she is, and how her calm loving nature never wavers. I hope you find as much light, love, and inspiration in these photos as I have.

Mehosh says….

“Back in the seventies I lived on a commune for seven years. My job was to document the various aspects of our lifestyle and share it with those who may have been seeking the same, by taking a slideshow on the road to college campuses and New Age expositions. At its peak, the community reached a population of around 350 men, women and children. This album is dedicated to premise that it is possible to live together in peace… Now, more than ever does this concept seem more relevant and necessary, if we are going to continue to thrive on this planet Earth.”

“We called ourselves the Brotherhood of the Sun….” 

Mehosh Commune

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“The dream of living simply and naturally, rising with the sun, retiring when it fades, observing seasonal changes, planting, reaping, flowing with the poetry that is nature, was a dream shared by many of our generation…”

mehosh commune

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Picture 26

“Collectively we represented a great variety of occupations, from cowboys to sailors, blacksmiths to weavers, store keepers to bee keepers, shepards to truck drivers and mechanics to shoe makers, just to name a few.”

Picture 31

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Picture 10

Picture 24

Picture 46All photos copyright Mehosh Dziadzio

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Hemingway
8 years ago

I got super excited and happy when I saw these images. I’ve long believed in the power of communal living, and these pictures clearly show what’s possible when people are willing to live with positive, shared intention. Thanks for posting!

8 years ago

Two years ago I was researching communes to seriously consider the life change… until I saw a picture where everyone had to shave their heads because of lice. :( This looks more like the commune I wanted to be a part of!

jessi
8 years ago

pure beauty

emma
8 years ago

these photos shine…. such beautiful happy people living a life they have chosen.

8 years ago

Lol Amanda! Yes, this commune looks much more inviting!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/EarthChildArt?ref=si_shop

September
8 years ago

This is amazing! My aunt lived in a commune when she was in her twenties, and my Mum has always been a hippy, so I’ve always been interested in communal living.

8 years ago

As part of a year of volunteer service, I lived in community with eight other volunteers where everything from soybeans to stipends was shared. Our goal was to explore the values of simple living, spirituality and social justice as realised through communal living. I was forever amazed by our power. One person often falters when trying to accomplish something alone, but together nothing is daunting. What we lacked in cash we made up for in collective creativity. It altered my perception of reality. I am forever enamoured with people who choose to live with intention, so I am very grateful to have learned of Mehosh’s experience. I have written about people whom I feel make modern lifestyle choices that share similar sentiments (including the author of this post!) here:

http://girlfromthehillcountry.blogspot.com/2013/09/life-on-purpose-study-of-integrity.html

Thank you for the constant inspiration. xxo

christina
8 years ago

beautiful.

bill smith
3 years ago
Reply to  christina

My sister was a member fo the Brotherhood during the early seventies. When I visited it was wonderful and hugely successful. However a few years later, like so many communes, it became a cult. It’s founding father became a god who needed armed protection and had sex with younger members his dark secret. He destroyed a beautiful thing.

Michael Gross
8 years ago

Wow! I just came across these photos yesterday and it sure brings back very moving memories. I lived at Sunburst or Brotherhood of the sun back then, from about 74 to 79 and I know these people. I forget their names except for Rick and Walley but their faces are etched in my memory. This was a very special time in all of our lives, such awakening, such love. We were all very fortunate to have had this time with each other. I have not been in contact with any of the people I knew there since that time. I was married there to a girl named Lora, we left in 79. I will most likely get in touch with Mehosh soon but I was inspired to send you an e-mail. Thanks for posting this and all the very best to you and yours.

With Love,

Michael

Earl
7 years ago

Trying to reconnect with former Brotherhood member Mess, he was injured from a Horse kicking him,
he was like a brother to me in a former life. Can anyone remember him or contact him ?

Shannon Wells
7 years ago

I miss sunburst so badly. Everyday since leaving. Too bad it fell apart. I’ve tried to find other one but none are the same. Where can I live? I don’t like city living!!!!

judith matthews
6 years ago

I lived at Sunburst from 75 to 80. The pictures not only showed me what we had but also what we lost. I have from time to time wondered what might and should have been but was never realized. It was truly unfortunant how everything went down and that the masses left to better serve the few. Sunburst was such a blessing for me- I was socially awkward and it also didn’t help that my family showed me their own special kind of cruelties and I also had no place to go- no sense of belonging. I will always be grateful for the love that was given so freely and completely to me ,the understanding and of course the patience needed to help me be more trusting of people. Thank you to all my brothers and sisters. OH and Earl if you are still looking for Mas – last I heard he lived in Bishop Ca and owned a leather shop. Judy Wren

John Barrychuck
6 years ago

It’s so good to see the faces and the names of people I remember,and still hold close to my heart.We truly had something special,all brought together to share a new awakening in our spirits.A great time of healing for many of us who were broken.I came to Sunburst in 1973 till 1979, I was 16 when I joined.I so much miss that lifestyle and have never found anything to fill that void since I left.It’s very hard to find people to talk to anymore about what we shared,I miss all of you so much..my true brothers and sisters in the sun….John

Donald Murphy
5 years ago

Michael Gross l remember Lorain throwing a cantaloupe at you and hitting you in the nuts at the Isla Vista store. It was a beautiful time in our lives.

Jon Bjornstad
4 years ago

Seeing these helped me understand how I’ve become what I am. My father brought me there when I was 8 in 1976. We spent the summer there with me often living away from him but always paired with a gal my age, one of the great friendships of my childhood, can’t remember her name, maybe Janet. We left without saying goodbye to my friends, Laurn, Corn and many others when Norm said we had to go for comment my father made about his growing opulence. It was a wonderful moment in my youth that has resonated eversince. Thank You, all of you who contributed to that sense of well being.
Jb

Patric Alan
4 years ago

Yeah, Back in 1975 to 77, I used to drive my step van (with big rainbows painted on both sides) up from LA every week or so, to Santa Cruz and beyond. They called me “the Bible Bread man”, because I would distribute the organic products made by the Garden of Eatin’ (Bible Bread/pita, chapatis, corntillas, etc.) visiting all of the natural food stores and co-ops, dropping off their orders on the way. On occasion, I would drive over the mountain from Santa Barbara, visiting the Sunburst commune, and buying several cases of 1/2 gallon and quart size Thompson Grape juice. What reminded me of this, was tonight I was drinking from one of those very 1/2 gallon jugs of juice, which I found in storage. I’m happy to say that, after more than 40 years, it still tastes as sweet and fresh as it did when I first bought it!!!

J.L.
3 years ago

Im caught being amazed at some of these comments about the joy that this place brought to your lives. My wife was dumped here when she was 6 years old. It would have been 1976, and she lived here for 3 years. Her memories vary, but a lot of them are traumatic. She was beaten for not brushing her teeth and when she was starved a few of them got together and went to the corn field to steal and eat corn raw due to being so hungry. She was rescued by her grandmother in 1979. Particularly sad to hear from her is how she would wait by the gate every day for her mother to come and get her. She never did.

Brian Begley
2 years ago
Reply to  J.L.

Dumped where? I was in sunburst in 1976 and no one was beaten and no one was hungry

Patric Alan
2 years ago
Reply to  J.L.

Yes, its a shame, but all of these conditions of happiness and of suffering can and do, and perhaps, always have, coexisted in all the various kinds of societies established by ‘human’ beings. These things can only be altogether eliminated by teaching and helping one another to live in harmony with the plan that has been given through our Lord and Saviour, and Krishna, and Buddha, and others that have been sent over the Millennia, to help mark the true path and show us the way back to the presence of our Heavenly Parents. We can achieve these goals only by learning to become like Them, one step at a time, for we are all children of the Most High.

Kyle
3 years ago

My name is Kyle and my wife and I with our two year old son Leo are just looking for a place to start new!!!! We both have great jobs my wife Colleen is in the medical field and is soooo sick of how it’s not for healing people it’s all about getting money threw the insurance companies so the give everyone false diagnosis to get more money!!!!! And I’ve been in construction since I was 15 years old and it’s always just trying to give false diagnosis To peoples homes to make more money and we are just sick and tired of the hatred and the need for more!!! But we find ourselves doing the same things just to get by because the bills keep coming, the rent keeps getting higher and it seems like no one can get ahead without being a greedy asshole!!! I’m not sure where I’m going with this or who or what I’m talking to but we are looking for a change!!! ✌️

Leela
1 year ago

My dad lived there for years and years. ❤️