Through the Years | The Sun Magazine
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Through the Years

Stephen Gaskin and Ina May Gaskin

November 2, 2022

A photograph of Stephen Gaskin and a photograph of Ina May Gaskin placed side by side.

Stephen Gaskin, circa 2010; Ina May Gaskin, 2012

Contributors

Stephen Gaskin founded a collective community called the Farm in rural Tennessee in the early 1970s, and it remains one of the oldest such communities in the country. He wrote many books, on subjects ranging from sustainable living to political activism to the use of psychedelics. He died July 2014 at the age of seventy-nine.

 

Ina May Gaskin is a midwife, teacher and author. She helped found The Farm with her husband Stephen Gaskin in 1971. There she created The Farm Midwifery Center, one of the first out-of-hospital birthing centers in the United States.

 

Stephen Gaskin at Monday Night Class, circa 1968
© Photo Courtesy of Book Publishing Company

Tribute

High Times: A Tribute to Stephen Gaskin

excerpted from Monday Night Class

Sixties icon and self-styled “nonviolent social revolutionary” Stephen Gaskin died this past July at the age of seventy-nine. Gaskin was a prominent figure on the countercultural scene in San Francisco in the late sixties and went on to found the long-running intentional community the Farm, which is still thriving in rural Tennessee.

By Stephen GaskinNovember 2014

Stephen Gaskin, circa 1968
© Photo Courtesy of Book Publishing Company

The Sun Interview

The End of a Sixties Dream?

An Interview with Stephen Gaskin

Things did happen. We got out of Vietnam. We made it so that you couldn’t run a racist society separate from the rest of the United States, so that the Constitution reached down into corners of Alabama and Mississippi. We got rid of a President who was a tyrant. We brought new forms of education to other countries through the Peace Corps. There was a tremendous cultural flowering that took place. All flowers eventually curl up. But the significance of the flower is in the seed. The seeds were planted.

By Michael ThurmanAugust 1985
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

This Season’s People

You want your reality just loose enough that you can do a little miracle now and then. But not so loose that it starts getting chancy and problematical for the kids and the folks out on the fringes. It has to be good and solid for everybody.

By Stephen GaskinJune 1977
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Surviving the Symposium

Now, Stephen Gaskin is someone else I wanted to meet. Stephen, around whom more than 500 people have gathered on The Farm in Tennessee, is a spiritual teacher whose emphasis on honesty, hard work, and genuine fellowship attracted me to him a couple of years ago.

By Sy SafranskyJune 1975
The Sun Interview

Thoughts on Community

An Interview with Stephen Gaskin

Each seed, each baby born, each word, each deed, all together now, creating the music of the world.

By Mike MathersApril 1975

© William Carter

The Sun Interview

Oh Baby

Ina May Gaskin on the Medicalization of Birth

There is an energy associated with labor and birth. Birth is holy and sacred. But you have to be respectful of mother and baby, or you’ll miss it. If we come to it with a sense of awe and treat the mother with kindness and respect, birth can be a truly spiritual, empowering experience.

By Pat MacEnultyJanuary 2012
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

True Touch

In the Zen tradition, a line of succession of Zen Masters is supposed to be linked together by transmission of mind — pure thought transferred from mind to mind with no words. I think that with midwives there is a similar kind of transmission of touch.

By Ina May GaskinJanuary 1979
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Natural Birth Control, Natural Birth

Book Reviews: A Cooperative Method of Natural Birth Control and Spiritual Midwifery

I wish I had read Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May and the Farm Midwives before giving birth to our daughter, Mara, at home, not because of the many “amazing birthing tales” (I had previously read numerous accounts of homebirths), but because of the attitudes toward labor and delivery expressed in them.

By Priscilla Rich SafranskyJune 1977
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