“The Jewels to the Sunset.”

Michael A. Krapek

©Fall Equinox, 2011

The Grateful Dead House, 710 Ashbury Street, San Francisco, California. 

With the Haight-Ashbury intersection, compressed and convoluted to face Golden Gate Park.

The Lavender Painted Lady

Although the original Grateful Dead (Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Hart, and Pigpen) only lived at the 710 Ashbury for around two years, it has become synonymous with the birth of the San Francisco counterculture movement on the 60s because this is where the hippies conjured the first alternate reality wave later pronounced by the McKenna brothers as: “Time Wave Zero.”  Not much is known about this transformative time, except for the many varied, almost daily concerts put on by the Dead and their neighborhood counterparts: The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin’s Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service, among others.  They played on the street corners of Haight Ashbury, they played in the Panhandle, adjacent to Golden Gate Park.  They played at The Fillmore Auditorium, where some of the first acid tests took place.  Thus earning Jerry Garcia the moniker, “Captain Trips” for his proclivity to command time and space through endless arpeggio ramblings, sustained measure extensions...seemingly infinite notes pouring on and on in wispy, dreaming succession.  Laced with transcendent lyrical prose by Robert Hunter, the Dead became renowned for their ability to just keep evolving their tune’s tablature, expanding their songs into mile wide jams that unified the senses.  Those bound by convention wondered how they did it.  We, of course, who are members of the “Grateful Dead” know too well the natural system of awareness enhancement that comes with opening the inner door. 

Simply, convention was overcome, replaced by the

“Eternal Sunshine of Infinite Mind.”

“The Jewels to the Sunset”

These jewels were laden out upon the face of “American Wilderness of Mind” in the 1960s to a youth that was completely disillusioned by the empty promises of materialism, the trappings of a nation under siege form within its own boundaries, endless pointless war, insipid violent or drab entertainment, and psychobabble religion that seemed destructive and self serving.  The phrase “T’was ever thus!” is today all too appropriate, in retrospect.  The Hippie counterculture was born, and flew for it’s moment in the Sun, forever pointing the way out of here, for “the joker and the thief,” following “Mimsy through the rabbit hole into Wonderland.”   First the tests were private, then they became a phenomenon.  Creating theaters of expression, Ken Kesey’s “Electric Kool-aide Acid Tests”  were then performed at the Avalon Ballroom.  Owsley Stanley, apprentice chemist to Dr. Timothy Leary, along with “The Merry Pranksters” worked tirelessly to manufacture and freely distribute 10,000 sacramental LSD dragon tabs to the Monterey Pops festival in 1967.  Works by beat poets like Alan Ginsberg and comic books like “Zap!” were published as trip guides.  But it was the transcendent music that evolved the “5 sense prison of mind” out of its box, and coaxed it into the

“Eternal Sunshine of Infinite Mind.”


In the drawing, there are contained many clues to this trams-rational awareness, many jewels to behold:  “Temet Nosce,” from the Oracle at Delphi, “Know Thyself.”  This is the Rorschach AOXOMOXOA, “Within and without beginning or end, forever.”  This is a term extension associated with the Greek Alpha and Omega, “AΩ” seen as “AOM” in phonetic terms, known as the spiritual Amen.  The house front porch brings the letter play into form, with the “A” built around its woody frame.  “Alpha as birth of the life cycle.”  The Cracked Skull logo of Grateful Dead patronage known as “Steal your Face” is off-centered on the street, red and blue lobes, bisected by an alternate white 13 point crosswalk, yielding: the letter “O”.  “O is the cycle center.”  The inverted roof line reveals the great letter “M” against the sunset sky. “OM.”   “Omega ending the cycle in a wave motion.”   “AOM” The long form, AOXOMOXOA, is also written inverted in the trees of the Golden Gate, symbolizing paradise.  A poster of the band members lies on the steps, with “710 Ashbury, 1967” as the title.  Another poster is advertising  R. Crumb’s “ZAP Comix” on the light post.  “Read ZAP, the comic that plugs you in!”   Adding “I see!” says the Flying Eyeball.  Homage to the Album titled “Aoxomoxa” by Rick Griffin is also paid with the egg yolk sun, flanked by many sperm, psychotropic foliage and mushrooms in the foreground.  Esoteric, masonic secrets are also found everywhere in the numbers of objects, the numbers of steps, windows, etcetera.  Overall a vision of unity, brought by near mirror imagery, tracing the sacred geometric, bicameral, fractal

“Eternal Mind of Gaia.”


Aoxomoxoa, and Live Dead by the Grateful Dead.

They were their best as an acid rock outfit,

(when Pigpen McKernon was still alive,) ’67 to ‘70.  The live album added Bill Kreutzman on 2nd percussion.

“Death have no mercy in this land...” Jerry Garcia was laid to rest in 1995.

Having grown to include a score of revolving members, the band still performs as “Further,” led by Bob Weir.

“In the valley of the dark of night, the Ship of the Sun will be driven by the Grateful Dead.”-Egyptian proverb.

(The grateful dead are those passed from this mortal coil who have been given their sacred rights.   For thousands of “Dead Heads,”  LSD allows the death of the self important Ego, and the return to the cosmic bit stream.)

When asking to see Heaven, the pilgrim was first shown a vision of hell.  They were both at once one and the same, except in hell the souls only served themselves, and in Heaven they served each other. -Buddha

710 Ashbury Street, The House of Amen.

A private residence, restored to its jeweled glory. 

All of the beautiful redwood row houses of San Francisco’s gingerbread period are called

“Painted Ladies.” 

With a “touch of grey” I am standing in front of the lavender House of the Dead, the place where the Hippie Counterculture was born on Owsley’s upper floor in 1967, peace.☞

“The truth of the Void.”