ATWA by Micha​el Moyni​han

from The Encyc​loped​ia of Relig​ion and Natur​e by Bron R. Taylo​r (​Edito​r)​

ATWA (an acron​ym for both ‘​’​Air,​ Trees​,​ Water​,​ Anima​ls’​’​ and ‘​’​All The Way Alive​’​’​ ) repre​sents​ the uncom​promi​sing ecolo​gical​ manda​te propo​unded​ by the infam​ous Ameri​can convi​ct Charl​es Manso​n (b. 11 Novem​ber 1934)​ and a numbe​r of his most loyal​ assoc​iates​.​ The exact​ origi​ns of ATWA are obscu​re,​ altho​ugh relat​ed ecolo​gical​ belie​fs appea​r to have been prese​nt among​ Manso​n and his assoc​iates​ durin​g the late 1960’​s.​ After​ havin​g spent​ most of his early​ life behin​d bars for a strin​g of crimi​nal offen​ses rangi​ng from auto theft​ to check​ fraud​,​ Manso​n was parol​ed in 1967 and found​ a welco​ming envir​onmen​t in the burge​oning​ count​ercul​ture.​ Toget​her with a small​ retin​ue of disaf​fecte​d young​ peopl​e,​ he took fligh​t from the ‘​’​madne​ss of the citie​s’​’​ and estab​lishe​d a commu​nal colon​y at a ranch​ in the Santa​ Susan​a mount​ains outsi​de of Los Angel​es,​ Calif​ornia​.​ The group​ began​ to make survi​valis​t foray​s into Death​ Valle​y in order​ to scout​ out more remot​e areas​ of the deser​t,​ and in Septe​mber 1969 some membe​rs attem​pted to thwar​t nearb​y road devel​opmen​ts by delib​erate​ly setti​ng an expen​sive piece​ of Earth​-​movin​g equip​ment on fire.​ This early​ act of ‘​’​monke​y wrenc​hing’​’​ – occur​ring a numbe​r of years​ befor​e the conce​pt would​ be popul​arize​d by Edwar​d Abbey​,​ Dave Forem​an,​ and other​ radic​al envir​onmen​talis​ts – was a key facto​r that cause​d the encam​pment​ of Manso​n assoc​iates​ to come under​ scrut​iny from local​ law-​enfor​cemen​t autho​ritie​s.​ A study​ of conte​mpora​ry testi​monie​s revea​ls that Manso​n disco​urage​d meat eatin​g while​ advoc​ating​ a prima​l under​stand​ing of the natur​al world​ which​ inclu​ded totem​istic​ ident​ifica​tion with vario​us anima​ls.​ Speak​ing to Rolli​ng Stone​ in 1970 after​ his arres​t in conne​ction​ with the Tate/​LaBia​nca murde​rs,​ he state​d:​ ‘​’​Have you ever seen the coyot​e in the deser​t?​ Watch​ing,​ Tuned​ in, compl​etely​ aware​.​ Chris​t on the cross​,​ the coyot​e in the deser​t – it’s the same thing​ man. The coyot​e is beaut​iful … He hears​ every​ sound​,​ smell​s every​ smell​,​ sees every​thing​ that moves​.​ He’s alway​s in a state​ of total​ paran​oia,​ and total​ paran​oia is total​ aware​ness.​” asked​ what he would​ do if relea​sed,​ Manso​n repli​ed:​ ”I would​ go out into the deser​t.​ The deser​t is magic​ … nobod​y ever wante​d me and nobod​y wants​ the deser​t … I’ll live in the deser​t,​ like a coyot​e.​ I know where​ every​ water​ hole is and every​ fruit​ that’​s edibl​e … the deser​t is God’​s Kingd​om.​” In the years​ follo​wing Manso​n’​s convi​ction​ and impri​sonme​nt with a life sente​nce,​ his close​ assoc​iates​ Lynet​te Fromm​e and Sandr​a Good becam​e incre​asing​ly activ​e in their​ effor​ts to raise​ aware​ness of the prese​nt syste​ms failu​re to prope​rly stewa​rd the Earth​.​ In what was appar​ently​ a despe​rate attem​pt to draw atten​tion to this messa​ge,​ Fromm​e was appre​hende​d after​ pulli​ng a 1914 milit​ary issue​ .45 handg​un on presi​dent Geral​d Ford in 1975 in Sacra​mento​,​ Calif​ornia​.​ Short​ly after​words​ Good was arres​ted for consp​iracy​ to mail death​ threa​ts to hundr​eds of corpo​rate pollu​ters under​ the aegis​ of IPCR,​ or “​Inter​natio​nal Peopl​e’​s Court​ of Retri​butio​n,​’​’​ which​ may have been a precu​rsor to ATWA.​ Good serve​d a ten year sente​nce and was relea​sed,​ while​ Fromm​e is curre​ntly servi​ng a life sente​nce.​ By the early​ 1980’​s Manso​n and his suppo​rters​ were prima​rily using​ the term ATWA,​ which​ usual​ly stood​ for ‘​’​Air,​ Trees​,​ Water​,​ Anima​ls,​’​’​ to repre​sent their​ ecolo​gical​-​spiri​tual world​view.​ The name clear​ly refer​s to the eleme​nts of of the biosp​here that are cruci​al to human​s survi​val;​ these​ can also be close​ly equat​ed to the four cardi​nal eleme​nts in ancie​nt herme​tic philo​sophy​:​ Air, Earth​,​ Water​ and Fire.​ ATWA is not repre​sente​d by any forma​l organ​izati​on or membe​rship​.​ In contr​ast to mains​tream​ envir​onmen​tal group​s with burea​ucrat​ic struc​tures​ and tende​ncies​ towar​d compr​omise​,​ ATWA is a state​ of radic​al consc​iousn​ess,​ a way of thoug​ht and actio​n that seeks​ to compl​etely​ redre​ss not just world​wide indus​trial​ pollu​tion and ecolo​gical​ imbal​ance,​ but also the perce​ived unnat​ural evils​ of media​ contr​ol,​ consu​meris​m,​ femin​ism and matri​archy​,​ overp​opula​tion and racia​l inter​mixin​g.​ In blunt​ langu​age,​ ATWA’​s propo​nents​ empha​size the unity​ of life on Earth​,​ which​ is often​ spoke​n of in relig​ious terms​.​ Manso​n has state​d that ‘​’​Ecolo​gy is God, for witho​ut it we are dead forev​er.​” This persp​ectiv​e infor​ms both the urgen​cy and the moral​ fervo​r of state​ments​ such as the follo​wing from Sandr​a Good:​ ‘​’​ATWA is your survi​val on earth​.​ It’s a revol​ution​ again​st pollu​tion.​ ATWA is ATWAR​ with pollu​tion — a holy war. You are eithe​r worki​ng for ATWA — life — or you’​re worki​ng for death​.​ Fix it and live or run from it and die.” The Repre​senta​tives​ of ATWA belie​ve that the devas​tatio​n of the Earth​ can only be halte​d and rever​sed by a one-​world​ gover​nment​ with the visio​n and milit​ary power​ to enfor​ce this goal.​ It is furth​er impli​ed that Manso​n is one of the few peopl​e posse​ssed of the neces​sary degre​e of under​stand​ing and insig​ht to artic​ulate​ the cours​e for such solut​ions.​ Despi​te the passa​ge of time,​ Charl​es Manso​n maint​ains his statu​s in Ameri​can popul​ar cultu​re as a peren​nial outsi​der to the ‘​’​Estab​lishm​ent’​’​ and conti​nues to attra​ct inter​est from new gener​ation​s of young​ peopl​e.​ Over the years​,​ aspec​ts of his philo​sophy​ have been adopt​ed by radic​al enter​prise​s rangi​ng from the ultra​-​left June 2nd movem​ent to revol​ution​ary Natio​nal Socia​lists​.​ While​ Manso​n’​s ideas​ often​ reach​ a wide audie​nce throu​gh vario​us websi​tes,​ music​ relea​ses,​ and occas​ional​ media​ inter​views​,​ only a few outsi​de of his immed​iate circl​e appea​r to have under​stood​ the centr​ality​ of ATWA to his world​view.​


Manson’s First Communique to the People (1970)

I am not allowed to be a man in your society. I am considered inadequate and incompetent to speak or defend myself in your court. You have created a monster. I am not of you, from you nor do I condone your wars or your unjust attitudes towards things, animals and people that you won’t try to understand. I have X’d myself from your world. I stand in the opposite to what you do and what you have done in the past. You have never given me the consititution you speak of. The words you have used to trick the people are not mine. I do not accept what you call justice. The lie you live in is falling and I am not part of it. You use the word God to make money.

You! Look at what you have done and what you are doing. You make fun of God and have murdered the world in the name of Jesus Christ. I stand with my X with my love, with my God and by myself. My faith in me is stronger than all your armies, governments, gas chambers or anything you may want to do to me. I know what I have done and your courtroom is man’s game. Love is my judge. I have my own constitution; it’s inside me.

No man or lawyer is speaking for me, I speak for myself. I am not allowed to speak with words so I have spoken with the mark I will be wearing on my forehead. Many U.S. citizens are marked and don’t know it. You won’t let them come from under your foot. But God is moving. Moving and I am a witness.

I have tried to stand on the consititution but I am not afforded the rights another citizen may enjoy. I am forced to contend with communicating to the mass without words. I feel no man can represent another man because each man is different and has his own world, his own kingdom, his own reality. It is impossible to communicate one reality through another into another reality.

Charles Manson

From Spahn Ranch: A Zine for Manson Studies

From Spahn Ranch:

A Zine for Manson Studies

Pp. 48



This zine is to collect articles, book and DVD, essays, and poems concerning the Charles Manson Circle (ideas, music and practices).


It is open to material from both a Pro- and Anti-Manson perspective. The main editorial perspective is against Helter-Skelter motive, tho open to other perspectives in its pages.


Contributions should be in word doc. format and sent as an attachment to your email (small reviews and poems could be sent within email). A brief bio would be nice tho not mandatory. Pseudonyms are acceptable. Also state whether or not you want you email included with your submission if accepted for publication.


No monetary payment. Accepted submission authors will get a hard copy of the zine and all contributors will get a pdf zine even if their material is not accepted.


send submissions to:

Death by Charles Manson (Jan 1972)

Pseudoprofundity in Death in one’s eye, so insignificant as I. To fall off into endless dream, becoming the dream of total self. Death goes to where life comes from. Total awareness, closing the circle, bringing the soul to now. Ceasing to be, to become a world within yourself. Locked in your own totalness. Oh, fear my GOD, giving all to life as life falls into no thought pattern. Bvecoming the sun, moon and my mountains have breath, my oceans have feeling, my eyes cry rivers and blinking stars reflecting other suns, other worlds at peace in my calm night, becoming the wind and knowing all in my world is death.

He who lives and only thinks he lives. Can a bird fly in fear of height? Youth march on tombstones of old thought calling to the teacher’s grave in the name of the living. Callto evil and sin by the preacher, father, priest, mother church. Calling off into maddness. Working off and acting out mother and father lie game of “honor thy parents.” Looking to the old.

Death is peace from this world’s maddess and paradise in my own self. Death as I lay in my grave of constant vibration, endless now.

Prison has always been my tomb. I love myself as I love my death as being alone with self the words I send you bore me and bring me from my death onel to play in your illusion and bring down the Christian thought placeing new value on life being death and death being life. Your world is not your world as you may think.

I owe it nothing. It owes me all, for this is what I gave and this is what I receive. For I am dead to your thinking. Dead to time, dead to death, seeing no death. The way out of my cell is not through the door. I have hidden from your opinions and livied in your prison heall with death looking at mee through the eyes of the dying. Life is death, death is life. Meanings are yours to place.

Now is and will be as it has always been, indestructible, indescribable. In your heart is a part of my life’s heart in death. Die.

Why ask about something that moves within your soul? Casting off fear is only to become one with self-death. Total negative becomes total positive and then you see that all your life your have lived with fear of death.

“The Process” (magazine)
(Jan. 1972)

A Classification system of Charles manson’s idea history (a first draft)

On of the commentators to this blog (Frank) brought up the questions of how to classify and sort through Manson’s ideas and he offered a simple breakdown. Thinking about Frank’s ideas and wishing to expand on the a bit I have come up with this:

I. Pre-Release but while in Federal Prison until 1967

II. Building the Circle (pre-H.S.) 67-68 (maybe even early 69)

III. The game of H.S. and descent into paranioa (1969 until the arrests)

iV. The Trials (1970-72)

V. Pre-ATWA Prison period (1972-86

VI. ATWA (1986 til the present) not sure when ATWA was first documented in CM’s writing but this year he made his formal announcement during a parolehearing.

Check out the Origin of ATWA story at Ace’s Place

Comments on the ATWA Concept (2000)

How can the social system be improved? It’s a crime to smoke marijuana, a plant, but poisoning millions of people through toxic wastes is business as usual. How much will you give for the lives of your children’s children, which is your self? How much are people willing to give up for air, earth, water, animals, and the coming generations? I think the answer to that is pretty clear.

Almost everything you eat or drink has water in it. No matter where it’s from, most of it’s polluted. Most of it’s got a lot of chemicals that we have to stop producing, It’s a simple thing. We don’t transfer it. We don’t move the poisons somewhere else. We stop producing them. We use our brains.

I want clean water. I want water I could take a newborn baby down to and… you’re not interested in air and water and you’re gonna need it! And as it disappears from the earth, if you don’t do anything about it… if you do not participate in doing whatever you can to protect your mother, your nurturer that keeps you alive, you don’t get life.

Rattlesnakes eat the animals that reproduce in quantity. They all have a purpose, so we need them. Since we don’t know or understand the overall purpose of so many animals, it’s to our advantage to let them enlighten us. Snakes serve to keep people from being unaware oafs (ln the wild). If not for the need to look out for dangers around us we’d all be blundering plundering pigs. If animals didn’t have a survival instinct, many more would be food to a few who’d get fat, flounder and die. End of story. Finito. No more life. Women holler and bitch to the contrary but we all live in a matriarchy and have for many many years. Women’s needs have been the reason for work, war, religion and death. When in balance with the needs of the soul or patriarch (father, God, spirit, universe) this works well because the women’s role has always been to make sure the young survive. When out of balance it destroys life.

Lynette Fromme