Jenny Boyd’s astonishing life is the thing of movies. Like the time Donovan penned Jennifer Juniper and serenaded her or when she packed her bags for India and headed to the Maharishi’s ashram with the Beatles. Jenny Boyd was a fashion model in “Swinging London” along with her sister Pattie, whose iconic look defined an era. Jenny is a lifelong spiritual seeker, in this interview we will delve into how the power of mediation has impacted her life, we’ll talk spirituality and how we can learn a thing or two from the hippie movement. We’ll discuss Jenny’s recent book release Jennifer Juniper – A journey beyond the Muse…
A journey beyond the Muse with Jenny Boyd
Jennifer Juniper – A journey beyond the Muse is a fast moving story of an extraordinary life of a young, innocent woman filled with the anxieties and dreams, to a girl coming-of-age, a turbulent journey to womanhood eventually defining her true self. This is the kind of book you just CANNOT put down, with rock ‘n’ roll, revelations and cliff hangers galore. It’s a wild ride with a front row seat at some of the seminal moments in the 1960s, the highs, the lows, addiction and heartbreak.
Discovering Spirituality in the Sixties
Jenny is a lifelong spiritual seeker having been strongly influenced by her early years in Kenya, where her parents were part of the British expat community, and where she found her love of freedom, nature and wide open spaces. Her early life in London led her to become curious about spirituality, mediation and Eastern philosophy, whiling away many hours in London’s oldest esoteric bookshop, Watkins. Jenny spent hours browsing dusty old books on esotericism, mysticism, occultism, oriental religion and contemporary spirituality. Watkins Bookshop was established by John M. Watkins, a friend of Madame Blavatsky, way back in 1897.
Q. You spent a lot of time in Watkins Bookshop back when you started delving into Eastern philosophy, were there any stand out books from that time that sparked your imagination?
A. I just remember looking for any books that were of a spiritual nature, sitting in the bookshop and picking out passages that spoke to me, mostly books about Eastern Religions but also about Astrology or UFO’s.
The Summer Of Love
Jenny Boyd was perfectly matched to the spirit of her generation and found herself drawn to San Francisco during “Summer of Love”, making friends with Hippies and Hell’s Angels, rubbing elbows with Jefferson Airplane and Ravi Shankar at The Monterrey Pop Festival.
Q. In your book you describe how throughout the 1960s the zeitgeist shifted from the innocent, light-hearted, carefree movement to one seeking depth and spirituality. What do you think propelled this shift?
A. I think it was a natural shift, probably brought on by smoking pot initially; which often propelled me and others to go deep inside, to have in-depth conversations and to search for meaning in our lives. I was already a thinker from an early age, trying to work out why we’re here, what is God? So I felt quite at home in this shift!
Q. You were drawn to San Francisco when the original hippies were trying to achieve spiritual awareness, creative expression, appreciation of nature, peace and love. I wonder if you have any thoughts on how we can continue the hippie movement in modern day?
We need to be kind to one another, to get in touch with one’s own natural way of self- expression, listen to the small voice within. Be more aware of the food we eat, our environment, and to be grateful.– Jenny Boyd
Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi
Jenny is the younger sister of 1960s model and photographer Pattie Boyd, first wife of George Harrison and subsequently wife of Eric Clapton. During the height of the sixties Jenny travelled with sister Pattie, Donovan and The Beatles on their famous trip to Rishikesh, India to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Q. You mentioned in your book that George Harrison gave you a copy of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Parma Yogananda, whose teachings have played a significant role in your life. Could you expand on that and perhaps share a few specific teachings and how they have impacted your life?
A. ‘Autobiography of a Yogi‘ was very special to me as a teenager, not only because George gave it to me, but also because it was one of those books I always had with me, even when I went to San Francisco. When we moved to Los Angeles during the crazy and exciting Fleetwood Mac times I was inspired to see the Self Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, and it became my sanctuary. I still go there pretty much every year when I’m in LA.
Q. During your time spent in India you had the realisation that the answer to your own quest lay within. Were there any other life lessons you learnt during your time at Maharishi’s ashram?
A. During the couple of months I was at Maharishi’s ashram I felt the power of meditation, especially when I did extended ones. It was so exciting. It was everything I had been searching for through smoking pot, reading books, having meaningful conversations. It was the first time I had felt completely in tune with myself.
Back in London, Jenny ran The Beatles’ first retail store “Apple”, and then her own boutique “Juniper”, with sister, Pattie. Jenny married Mick Fleetwood; they had two daughters, Amelia and Lucy. Jenny accompanied the band from their early gigs together in rural England to Los Angeles as they rose to international fame. The constant touring, coupled with drug and alcohol abuse, led to heartbreak and ultimately divorce.
Fleetwood years, struggles to self-acceptance…
Q. Your journey has been turbulent at times and you discuss your pattern of co-dependence with your sister Pattie and Mick Fleetwood, focusing on external relationships for approval. Do you feel you have reached a place of self-acceptance? For anyone who is struggling with this, what words of advice would you give?
A. Yes I do feel I have reached the place of self-acceptance. Again, it is about listening to that small voice within, go for whatever it is that lights your fire, don’t compare yourself with others, be true to yourself. I find meditation as an important part of my life, practise any kind that feels right for you.
Jenny later married and divorced drummer Ian Wallace. A near death experience while on vacation in Hawaii led Jenny to a new purpose. She earned a Masters in Counselling Psychology followed by a Ph.D. in Humanities, and began to work with the Sierra Tuscan Treatment Center helping other people to find the same peace she now has.
Looking to the future…
Q. You’ve donned many caps over the years Model, Muse, Mother, Doctor, Author! What does the future hold? Are you working on any exciting projects you could share?
A. I am working on something, especially helpful during this lockdown period we’re in, and that is what I hope will be another book. It is a fiction, which I have never done before and pretty challenging but fun. I am working on the story with my 25-year-old grandson who lives in LA, which is such a joy!!!
Jenny Boyd continues to be a sought-after inspirational speaker. Jenny now divides her time between London, where she lives with her architect husband, and Los Angeles with her extended family (including Mick Fleetwood), her children, and grandchildren. To find out more about Jenny’s work head to www.thejennyboyd.com To pick up your copy of Jennifer Juniper, you can buy online at Waterstones.
Special thank you to Jenny for taking the time to share her story and her wisdom.