Ferguson, Marilyn 1938-2008 (Marilyn Grasso)

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Ferguson, Marilyn 1938-2008 (Marilyn Grasso)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 5, 1938, in Grand Junction, CO; died October 19, 2008, in Banning, CA. Journalist, publisher, editor, lecturer, and author. Through her writings, Ferguson wove diverse threads of belief into a fabric that grew stronger with the addition of each new believer. She drew her threads originally from the scattered counterculture groups of the 1960s, which were immortalized by the musical Hair, defined in song lyrics as representatives of "the dawning of the Age of Aquarius." In the late 1960s Ferguson became interested in scientific and semi-scientific research related to the exploration of human potential. Her studies of psychology led to an interest in neuroscience, then hypnosis, extrasensory perception, memory, and meditation. Supporting herself with short stories and poems published in mainstream magazines like Cosmopolitan, Ferguson collected her research until she acquired enough notes to fill a book, The Brain Revolution: The Frontiers of Mind Research (1973). The book attracted many like-minded readers, and she created the journal Brain/Mind Bulletin as a forum for their thoughts. These readers, it turned out, shared a multitude of other interests. In the early years of the twenty-year lifespan of the Bulletin, Ferguson collected notes on these presumably disparate interests, which ranged from holistic medicine to alternative childbirth practices, biofeedback techniques, spiritual introspection, dream research, environmental protection, and far beyond. At some point, and perhaps through her own efforts at synthesis, Ferguson came to believe that this aggregation of beliefs constituted a "movement." She called it a "conspiracy," in the sense that this broad spectrum of seekers for enlightenment had begun to breathe as one, as she explained in her next book, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (1980). Ferguson's conspiracy continued to expand as its members, once confined to the margins of society, moved relentlessly toward the center. The movement, which eventually absorbed farmwives, evangelist pastors, politicians, physicists, and people from many other walks of life, came to be known as the New Age, and Ferguson was sometimes credited as its founder, as a leader of the consciousness revolution. In 1980 Ferguson launched a second journal, Leading Edge, to address social transformation through relatively concrete avenues such as politics and business. She added the lecture circuit and the seminar to her venues for communication, and she continued to write. Her message was unfailingly optimistic and, not surprisingly, drew criticism from more traditional respondents. Yet when her future finally arrived and her last book, Aquarius Now: Radical Common Sense and Reclaiming Our Personal Sovereignty was published in 2005, many of Ferguson's most fervent dreams had already come true. Some of her most revolutionary ideas had become guidelines for the ordinary life. Ferguson's other books include Marilyn Ferguson's Book of Pragmatic: Pragmatic Magic for Everyday Living—Ten Years of Scientific Breakthroughs, Exciting Ideas, and Personal Experiments That Can Profoundly Change Your Life (1990).



Chicago Tribune, November 4, 2008, sec. 1, p. 23.

Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2008, p. B11.

New York Times, November 5, 2008, p. B14.

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Ferguson, Marilyn 1938-2008 (Marilyn Grasso)

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