No Mad Living
by Jan Svante Vanbart

This is the sto­ry of ”The Illu­mi­na­ted Elep­hants”, a modern rebel tri­be and their kalei­dosco­pic adven­tu­res whe­re they meet exci­ting peop­le and disco­ver ama­zing pla­ces. They learn about arts and crafts, about ritu­als and tra­di­tions. With their avant-gar­de thea­ter plays, they also — with humor and seri­ous­ness — spre­ad the vision that it is pos­sib­le to live in har­mo­ny with natu­re, a wise alter­na­ti­ve to the many, often devas­ta­ting life­sty­le that cha­rac­te­ri­zes Wes­tern culture.

IMAGE: eight of The Illuminated Elephants lying with there heads together
Eight of The Illu­mi­na­ted Elep­hants i a circle

NO MAD LIVING is a sequel to Jan Svan­te Van­bar­t’s pre­vious book Vi drog – jor­den runt med 68-gene­ra­tio­nen (Wahl­ström & Widstrand 2005). It also begins with a sum­ma­ry of the jour­ney that began in 1973 at the legen­da­ry artist com­mu­ne ”Dra­ka­byg­get” in nort­hwes­tern Skå­ne — through Euro­pe and Asia, via Austra­lia — to Mex­i­co, whe­re they arri­ved in April 1975.

Now they tra­vel up to the US and then back to Mex­i­co. The book is divi­ded into for­ty-seven chap­ters with hea­dings such as ”Hai­ti Babas Died Here”, ”Soma”, ”A new Base”, ”The White Mountains”, ”The Tuc­son event”, ”Nihe nahu­ko pue­blo” and ”Hue­hue­coyotl”.

Alt­hough ”The Illu­mi­na­ted Elep­hants” is always on the road, their stay is some­ti­mes a litt­le long­er. As a rea­der, one may for a whi­le think that mee­tings and disco­ve­ri­es do not appe­ar to be coin­ci­dences. Pro­bably their spe­ci­al appli­cant is a com­bi­na­tion with the invi­ting open­ness they encoun­ter. After all, it is the 1970s that are often cha­rac­te­ri­zed by “pea­ce, love and understan­ding”. New worlds, spi­ri­tu­al and some­ti­mes psyche­de­lic expe­ri­ences, do not frighten them but pro­vi­de inspi­ra­tion to move on to a goal that will even­tu­al­ly emer­ge in clarity.

IMAGE: Faces and bodies projected with psychedelic patterns
Faces and bodi­es pro­jec­ted with psyche­de­lic patterns

About Jan Svante Vanbart »

IMAGE: The Illuminated Elephants reach the place where they establish the ecovillage of Huehuecoyotl
The Illu­mi­na­ted Elep­hants når plat­sen där de eta­ble­rar eko­byn Huehuecoyotl

The trip ends on March 6, 1982 when The Illu­mi­na­ted Elep­hants reaches the loca­tion in Mex­i­co whe­re they establish the eco­vil­lage of Hue­hue­coyotl. But they don’t stop. Invol­ve­ment in the envi­ron­men­tal and “alter­na­ti­ve” move­ments, regu­lar trips and other groups that visi­ted them, has con­tri­bu­ted to more eco-vil­la­ges in the region.

”To be continued!

BILD: Omslaget till 'No Mad Living' av Jan Svante Vanbart

FP–145 • ISBN: 978–91-88765–20‑8

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Excerpt from No Mad Living