(12 April 1952 – 25 March 2020)
Zeno was a California girl, born in the San Francisco Bay area and coming of age during the Summer of Love. She loved to dance and studied philosophy at Humboldt State University. In 1977 she gave birth to her daughter Divo.
She told of a dream she had that led to her finding herself in Pune just a week after. She received sannyas from Osho in what must have been one of his last sannyas darshans in late 1980. He gave her the name Vedant Zeno.
She arrived in the Zurich commune in 1982, happy to also meet up with Maitreyi whom she had met in Pune. She arrived together with Divo, who in a short time mastered Swiss German and became part of the commune kids.
Anugraha remembers Zeno striding across the courtyard with a basket of laundry on her hips. “Just the way she walked…” For a long time Zeno was the laundry mama, where Anugraha also worked. “It was very nice to work with her, quiet, as well as with deep sharing, laughter and tears,” she writes. “Zeno was a very open woman with a wonderful heart and an ‘American’ sense of humor. She was down to earth, focused, and at the same time very warm and flowing.”
Zeno spent some time in Rajneeshpuram and then returned to Switzerland to work corporate jobs. Upon Osho’s death in 1990, she met Chaitanyo, who at the time was publishing the Swiss sannyas newsletter. The Samadhi issue prompted her to call him. They met. They fell in love. They moved in. Together they continued with the newsletter, attempting to broaden its appeal beyond sannyas.
After their house in Switzerland burned down in 1992, they moved to Taos, New Mexico, where they published an alternative monthly magazine, the Taos Time.
In 1993 they met Ra Uru Hu and the Human Design System and subsequently became Ra’s representatives in America. For the next seven years, they organized annual workshops, created teaching and study materials, published newsletters, books and CDs. Zeno was the dean of the Human Design School, traveling the country to give classes and organizing the analyst certification program.
In 1999 they separated from Ra, disappointed by his guru attitude. With Chaitanyo’s help, Zeno passionately set out to clean up and preserve the original Human Design System and ultimately came to call it Zen Human Design.
That same year she experienced the first symptoms of the fateful illness that would increasingly dominate the rest of her life, although it took years until she finally received the diagnosis of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. The “progressive” part meant that it was always downhill, slowly at first, more relentless later, but never any plateaus or even improvements.
Through it all, she remained upbeat and hopeful, trying all kinds of potential remedies, diets, exercises, supplements. By 2009 she needed a cane, a year later a walker, and by 2012 an electric wheelchair. Her legs would no longer receive nerve signals. At that time it also became noticeable that her power of speech was diminishing, a tragic realization for someone who liked to talk. She set out to record her entire knowledge of the original Human Design as long as she still could. These online classes, her legacy, are still available on Zen Human Design’s website.
For a few years it was still possible for her to live at home, with the help of a handful of paid or generous people who dropped in to help with various tasks. Taking a shower, shopping, cooking, eating, laundry, one by one she lost her ability to accomplish. By 2017 she was almost immobile and moved into a care facility in Taos. With her open, kind, loving, accepting manner, she quickly made friends with aides, nurses and other patients, even though unable to move from her bed.
“It could be worse. At least nothing hurts,” she would say for years when confronted with people’s pity. Unfortunately, it did start to hurt in recent months, as her legs cramped up and no medication was able to help. When in January she fell out of bed during a bed-bath and broke her left knee, nothing but permanent morphine doses could provide relief. She rapidly deteriorated within weeks, her voice barely a whisper, her body frozen, small, twisted, skin covering bones.
Chaitanyo wrote, “Last Wednesday night, soon after dark, I was sitting on Zeno’s bed, snuggling up to her ravaged body, placing my palm on her desiccated chest to feel her shallow, rapid breath. As I brought my head next to hers and whispered words of love in her ear, with a little moan she let go of her last breath.”
Text and photos thanks to Chaitanyo and Anugraha; thanks for alert to Maitreyi
Beloved Zeno, you are always in my heart. It was a great joy and warm and loving experience to work with you in the Commune. And there was such a sweet incidence with Divo in the very beginning of your arrivals when we got to know each other. I bent down to her and she stretched up standing on her toes, putting her arms sweetly around my neck, saying: “Anugraha, I love you”. You are always in my heart as just love ❣ May you be in great peace and joy in freedom 🧡 I love you 🦋
Although I had not been in contact with Zeno since I returned to the UK in 2013, in the past I had been with Zeno in Los Angeles and Taos, New Mexico. Zeno had done my Human Design chart and I had done her Colour Palette. Zeno was a very intelligent woman, full of enthusiasm for life. She was a master at Human Design, she even did my then boss’s chart (Robert Redford). When I gave it to him and he read it he wanted to meet Zeno because he was so impressed, He said, “How could she possibly know these things about me when I have never met her?”
I loved Zeno’s voice and her way of speaking, and I loved her spirit. I didn’t know until last year that she had MS.
My heart goes out to her daughter, Divo, and her beloved Chaitanyo. Zeno will never be forgotten, her spirit lives on in my memory heart. Fly high beloved Zeno…