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Gary “Cody” Johnson

10 October 1939 – 18 December 2011
Renaissance Man and Maverick

Gary Cody Johnson
I am writing to you with both deep sadness and gratitude. Sadness that Cody, my beloved partner in life and in medicine, has passed from this world and gratitude for this amazing being and our beautiful 36 years together. It is my gift now to share with you a brief portrait of his life.

As I began the process of writing his memorial, fearing that putting into words about his passing might signify a goodbye I am not prepared to say, the song Rise by Samantha James began to play on Café Cody, his online radio station ( and I knew it was a message from him. Please take a listen when you are finished reading these words as I feel he was speaking to all of us.

An early life of cowboy ranching and railroading that paralleled in many ways Kerouac’s On The Road, Cody began his life as an adventurer. He played second chair clarinet in a symphony orchestra and played tenor saxophone in a jazz band. Always involved as a conscientious objector, he helped raise the funds that released Angela Davis from prison and he started a free school modelled after AS Neill's Summerhill.

Cody was a man of passion and was driven by a vision that took him to extraordinary places. He was gifted with an intuitive sense of awareness which he generously shared and he dedicated his life to the transformation of consciousness, the conscious evolution of humanity. Gathering people together has been his way of creating change. He was doing this through music when we first met in the 70’s. In the late 60's and 70's music was a powerful vehicle for social, political and environmental awareness and Cody helped plant seeds of change through big musical gatherings with artists like the Jerry Garcia Band, Bonnie Raitt, Blondie, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, and Wynton Marsalis, benefiting groups like The United Farmworkers Association, SolarCal, The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, homeless shelters and food banks. These musical gatherings were celebrations of the shift in perception that was taking place at that time.

Following what has heart and meaning, our work shifted from producing musical artists to promoting teachers of consciousness. Cody had been a long time student of Alan Watts, Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti and our first workshop was in 1992 on Maui with Carlos Castaneda and his party. This was followed by teachers such as Terence McKenna, Stanislav Grof, and Gabrielle Roth. Great Mystery then began presenting conferences and sacred tours in the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Egypt, India, Malta, and the UK under the banners of The Prophets Conference and The Great Rethinking, synthesizing new findings in science with the deeper understandings of spirituality. It has been our honor and pleasure to present to you some of the greatest contemporary thinkers such as Jose Arguelles, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ram Dass, Edgar Mitchell, Andrew Harvey, Starhawk, and Satish Kumar.

You are already legendary in the conference world and you are known for immense integrity.
—Larry Dossey, M.D.

Cody saw the need for people to gather together in local communities and last year we started the Great Mystery Salons, modelled after the salons of old where people come together in someone’s livingroom/salon to explore the current global situation and what to do about it in one’s own backyard.

Author and friend Tom Robbins, shortly after the release of his book, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, said we are “the gypsy campus of Timbuktu U.”. This feels so appropriate, especially now with our Great Mystery Online programs.

What I’ve learned from my moments shared with Cody is that life is sacred and every moment is precious. With devotion and celebration of our life together I am dedicating myself to our work and will continue making Great Mystery and Café Cody shine as a legacy to him. I know this will also be healing for me.

After having a serious heart condition for 13 years, his heart spontaneously healed this past June. Then, when out of the blue advanced cancer was discovered in his liver in mid-November many of you joined me in making prayers for his healing. He felt your love and prayers and received them with gratitude and appreciation. As he was making his transition from our bed at home I could feel his soul being carried on a magic carpet of love as he began his journey into the real "Great Mystery." A few of Cody’s last words before he left this world were...

“Our purpose is Higher Beauty.”

“Tender words we spoke to one another are sealed in the secret vaults of heaven.
One day, like rain, they will fall to earth and grow green all over the world.”

Cody is survived by his brother Michael Johnson, his son Erik Johnson, grandson Carter Johnson, his daughter Stephanie Johnson Aduddell, granddaughter Lillian Aduddell, and by me, his wife, Robin Johnson.

Thank you for being part of this magical journey with Cody and me.


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