About the author
A Bit About Sylvia...
Sylvia Anderson was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, where her mother, father, and conservative uncle looked after her. In her childhood, she never really quite felt like she “fit in” with everyone else… So, once she turned 18, she moved to New York where she got a job and started on her journey of discovering what else was out there, outside of her hometown in small town Connecticut. During her time in New York, she made friends with a group of people who were into poetry, books, intellectual discussions, spirituality, anti-war, and creativity (a group known today as the Beatnik Movement, which took place in the 40’s, 50’s and on through the mid 60’s). This is when she finally felt like she “fit in” somewhere. What a relief, and what a miracle!
In New York, she got really into jewelry making and at some point, even owned two bead shops during her time there. Another big life event that occurred during this chapter of her life was a birth she gave to a sweet boy who she named Todd. And while she was a single mother, she cared for and loved her son so very much!
In the mid-60’s, word was going around about a “happening” in San Francisco and Sylvia wanted to learn more about it! So, in 1966, she packed up all her belongings, sold her two bead shops, and drove her and Todd cross-county to find out. Little did she know, her life would change immensely from this move. She fell in love with the openness of the people’s hearts here; there were so many beautiful souls coming here seeking connection, harmony, peace, love… It was all so beautiful. So, she fell deeply for this culture, the Hippie Movement and all it encompassed. Here, LSD became her sacrament and her consciousness expanded beyond words or belief.
In the “Summer of Love”, in 1967, she gave birth (an at home birth!) to a beautiful daughter who she named Gentle. And about a month later, she and her little family moved on from the San Francisco area to look for a piece of land to settle on and be with community. For a few years the three of them hopped around from commune to commune, but in 1970, they eventually settled on “The Farm” in Tennessee (one of the biggest communes in U.S. History). Gentle, who now went by Mary, grew up there from age 3 to 16. It was a very unique and different upbringing than most, with most everything on or coming from the land and little to no exposure to modern living. What a time!
After some time on ‘The Farm’, the government came in and enforced the commune to change the way they were doing things there… and this made many of the residents leave, including Sylvia. She did not like the way things were changing there, so she decided to pack up and find home elsewhere. After leaving ‘The Farm’, she made her down way to Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and settled there for the last several years of her life. It was a beautiful and serene place to be, and Todd even bought a 23-acre property out there as well in 1996.
Sylvia was a soul that was cherished by so many! During her time in San Fran, she was referred to as “Big Mama” in the newspaper for having a generous heart and for fostering all beings who crossed her path and needed a place to stay. She was always so generous, always cleaning, cooking and sharing space with others. Sylvia saw herself as an embodiment of the “Earth Mother” archetype, and so she nurtured all beings as if they were her own. She read books to all the children and held teen nights for those around. She especially loved connecting with those in their 20’s and providing a space where they could come to learn about spirituality, the Truth, their callings, and their path… Everyone who has met or interacted with Sylvia has always had good things to say…
She was and still is, a light and guide for many. What Sylvia left with us is such a gift - a magical, mythical story that's embedded with so much depth and wisdom... A book that speaks to the heart, awakens one to the Truth, and weaves together teachings from all sorts of cultures with an emphasis on Indigenous wisdom. Being that her grandfather was an Iroquois man, she felt a strong connection to the ways of the natives. Symbolia encompasses so much, and it is a blessing that Sylvia was able to complete and publish the book before she journeyed on.
Her Life Experiences
Year of 1932
Year of 1951
Year of 1962
Year of 1966
Year of 1967
Year of 1967
Year of 1970
Year of 1984
Year of 1996
Year of 2008
Year of 2011
Born in Hartford, Connecticut on July 2nd, 1932.
Moved to New York, worked several different types of jobs and at some point, started up two bead shops. She also got involved with the beatnik movement during her time here in the 60's.
Gave birth to her first child, Todd Anderson on November 8th, 1962.
Moved cross country to the Haight Ashbury district of San Fransisco in the 60s during the whole Hippie Movement. She was referred to as "Big Mama" in the local newspaper due to her kind-loving spirit and because she offered up her pad to anyone who needed a place to crash.
During the summer known as the "Summer of Love" in San Fran, she gave birth to a sweet daughter, who she named Gentle Mary Anderson on September 3rd, 1967. This was a very "out there" at-home birth.
Moved out of San Fransisco because the CIA brought in Heroin to the scene and things were changing for the worse. So, thereafter, she decided to live in various different communes all along the West Coast, including a commune in N. California known as "Wheelers Ranch".
Moved onto and lived in community on one of the biggest, most well-known communes in the U.S - The Farm, in Tennessee. This commune had about 1,200 people living there when Sylvia first arrived with her two children. She raised her children here and the commune had its own health clinic, school, food grown on-site and everything. It was a very alternative way of living. She lived here about 14 years, until what they call the "turnover" when the cops came in and changed things.
Moved to Nevada County and lived in several different houses and communities. This was the case for a little over 10 years.
Todd Anderson, Sylvia's son, bought a beautiful 23-acre piece of land out in Nevada City and invited Sylvia to live there. She lived here for many years. This is where all of her grandchildren remember visiting her, all good memories and fun times. This piece of land cradled her and held her for the last several years of her life on Earth.
Officially published Symbolia after decades of writing it. A beautiful story and reflection of Earth but with symbolic terms and names. A mystical journey similar to Narnia, but with its own spin, of course.
Passed away in a Nevada County Hospital on July 24th, 2011.