Fireworks Over Philly

Greetings from PA, where I’m attending the International Cultic Studies Association Conference and celebrating my freedom! In 2012, I celebrated with ICSA in Washington DC. Seems right somehow, right blog monitor?

Nothing makes you appreciate the meaning of democracy than leaving a cult. I hope that the rest of you are celebrating your freedom, too. And, blog monitor, I hope that, someday, you, too, taste the sweetness of a “school”-free life. 

The Trump Cult

If you can defend ripping kids from parents, you are in a cult.

In May, 2017, I posted this: Gaslight, USA! Today’s Trouncing –Your  Healthcare. 

In the post, I quoted cultic studies guru, Robert J Lifton: cults see themselves as “ … agents ‘chosen’ to carry out the ‘mystical imperative’… which must supersede all  decency or immediate human welfare. Similarly, any thought or action which questions the motives of the higher purpose is considered … backward, selfish and petty in the face of the great overriding mission.”

Today, the Daily KOS posted this: Trumpism is a Cult. You may be interested in reading it. I suspect it will ring familiar.

Gracious! Post CD Release …

Good Morning Readers —

This sincere thank you is a bit belated, but I want to acknowledge you for making my Cult Confessions CD release party at The Burren a fabulous night! Who knew that cults could be so much fun! 

If you weren’t able to attend, but want the album, you can purchase it HERE.  CD Baby is distributing it both as a digital download and the physical CD.

If you contributed to the Indigogo campaign, I’ll be sending you your swag in the next couple of weeks! I promise, I haven’t forgotten those of you who signed up for The Neurotology Special, or The Exclusive Inner Circle … you may have forgotten, but I have not.

There’s more anti-cult campaign to come, especially now that our White House is bursting with Trump sycophants and our president is, himself, a sycophant of his daddy, Vladdy Putin. Who knew I’d be trotting all this out at the same time the Republican Party morphed into an all out Trump cult. Sad.

But I will stop my rant — for now — have to get ready for work. Thanks, again and I’ll be back soon!

xo, GSR, aka, ERF


The Best Definition of a Cult: Evil Posing as Good

Once I heard International Cultic Studies Association’s Executive Director, Micheal Langone, call social parasites and scavengers like “school” evil posing as good. He was presenting at a conference on spiritual abuse. I was struck by his succinct elegance.

Today’s best example of evil posing as good has to be a fucked up group called Nxivm, headed up by a sociopath named Keith Raniere. He was recently arrested and charged with sex trafficking and racketeering. If you want to understand the worst of the worst you can read this New York Times article about the damage perpetrated by Nxivm: The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment.

A number of ex-“school”-mates and readers have brought both this group and this article to my attention, asking me to post about it. I am quite fortunate that my misadventure was silly in comparison. School inflicted its share of damage, for sure, but just enough for me to wake up and get the fuck out, so I could recover, vowing, never again: cult lite, as my dear friend, and ex-classmate, 007, like to call it. But I’m trotting out my little tale, in part, to expose the deception and the damage it inflicts and groups that do far worse.

One of the ex-Nxivm members interviewed in the article –who was led into a ritual by other members who neglected to tell her that she was about to get branded … yes, branded — said … ” … Nothing was what we thought it was.” That’s right. All cults trot out some bullshit because no one joins cults. They are always the antithesis of what they claim to be.

Here’s another tidbit from the article: “Breaking down identity was only the first part of Nxivm — replacing your identity with another, or ‘replacing data with data’, in Nxivm speak, was the second part. As Nxians erased their fears, they began doing what they truly wanted to do with their lives (or perhaps what Raniere or high-ranked members wanted them to do)…” My bets are on the latter.

Multipurpose: 1. “presentations/lectures” 2. CD release info 3. music sample …

Hi Readers – this a quick one for some nuts and bolts:

1-The “lectures/presentations”: “school”/the study/the-cult-with-no-name often recruits by recycling “lectures/presentations”. A generous reader provided some titles & topics carousel-ed through the merry-go-round. If a “friend” (old or new) randomly floats a vague invite to a thing addressing an esoteric topic … if they can’t provide basic details: where, when, who, what … if your friend tows you to a hotel conference room. If the presenters provide zero info on who they are, but aggressively insists that you fill out a contact card, beware & hold on to your wallet! The following topics may indicate cult recruitment:


Apparently “school” uses and claims other people’s research. Given that “school” claims its ideas — i.e. The Image result for the fourth way bookFourth Way — are an “…ancient, oral, teaching passed down from teacher to student …”, that ” … you won’t find anywhere else …” this is no big surprise.

2-Questions about the Cult Confessions, CD Release, on Saturday, June 9 — some are asking how long the show will be. So FYI, The Burren Backroom hosts LOTS of music. Me and The Lied To’s have the room from 7-9; at 9, we are ushered out, as another band starts its show. The last time I was there, the demographic shifted considerably between the 7 p.m. show and the 9 p.m. show 😉 Just sayin’. Long story short, we aim (cough) to be efficient!  On at 7, off before 9 to say hello, sell records, pack up and clear out. It’ll be fun and quick 🙂 Hope you can join us! Here’s a coupon code: 24HOUR for a discount. Buy your tickets HERE.

3- Here’s a song for your perusal: Some Bridges Should Burn (this one is cathartic!)


Hope to see you! Have a lovely day, ERF




Cult Confessions in the Somerville Patch

Now that I’ve put on the ex-cult-member-poster-child cape, and created this artistic anti-cult campaign, I have to promote it. Churning out the material was my recovery — it’s what I did, as catharsis, to understand my bizarre and surreal 5-year misadventure. I’m wired to process experiences this way: through writing, songwriting & presenting.

The next level is activism and advocacy. During the creating part, I didn’t think too much about p.r. Needless to say, it’s a double edged-sword. It’s hard enough to promote an artistic endeavor, but promoting yourself as the anti-cult, ex-cult-cog poses another layer of challenge. SO a dear friend penned and distributed a press release for me. The Somerville Patch tweaked and posted it. When I saw it published, on a site that wasn’t this blog, I thought, “Oh my gawd, it all sounds so dramatic!

Let’s start with the title: Cult Escapee Performing Somerville One-Woman Show. Sometimes my fellow “disgruntled ex-students” and I call ourselves “escapees” with a little bit of snark;  most of us, essentially, walked away from “school”. Concluding that a group is a con-jon and flipping it the middle finger is an escape of sorts. But there’s a serious bigger picture: beyond my ridiculous foray, I now know people who did, literally, escape cults — run away with nothing, no money, no destination, leaving behind family, friends & kids. It’s hard to believe that this happens, but I’m certain that as I write this, someone somewhere is struggling with such a decision and its implications: stay or go? There’s no short way to describe all the levels of pain involved in such a decision. I was lucky to have been in cult lite — I did not experience the worst in cult-i-ness.

Okay, and then there’s this: “She will perform her one-woman show Saturday, June 9 at 7 p.m. at the Burren, 247 Elm St. The show will coincide with her CD release, and she will perform alongside acoustic duo The Lied-to’s.”

Lemme correct one miscommunication: this June 9th gig is the CD release, not the entire one-woman musical; that is still in the writing/editing process. Some of you have slogged through several private 3-hour pilots with me. (yes, blog monitors, many folks do know about the invisible world. Truth is, it never was invisible) I promised myself that I would’t put any of us through that again! At this gig, I am singing the songs, with the help of my good friends, The Lied To’s, Susan Levine and Doug Kwartler, who will open the night as special guests — if you love great songs, smart lyrics and beautiful music, you will LOVE The Lied To’s! Allow me to provide one sample of this amazing duo.

I admit that I am biased, because Doug & Susan are dear friends. But if you listen to their music you can assess their talent level yourself 😉 Doug produced Cult Confessions, the CD, at Hollow Body Studios, which I’ve renamed Kwartler Magic, because when he’s in the room, I magically become a better musician. I’m thrilled to say that he and Susan are going to be my band, as I trot out the soundtrack to my cult lite tale. And I’m going to have a couple of other surprise musical guests 😉 More to come on that!

So, Dear Readers, please consider this my personal press release — yes, to be transparent — it’s marketing! And I hope that you can join me, and The Lied To’s, and my mom (yep, mom’s coming) at The Burren in Davis Square, Somerville, on June 9th. Buy your tix here and use the coupon code, 24HOUR, for $2 off the price. If you come, please introduce yourself to me!




Some choice words about Gurdjieff …

Recently someone posted this video in a comment. I thought it deserved more prominence. Sam Harris is an author, philosopher, neuroscientist, critic of religion, blogger, and podcast host of Waking Up. Until now, I’d heard his name but knew nothing else about him. He addresses a range of human experience: spirituality, morality, neuroscience, free will, and terrorism.

He is traveling the world giving talks to sold out theaters, and such. He also has some choice words for Georges Ivanoff Gurdjieff, whose ideas are the basis of the “teaching” “school” trots out. If you listen to the YouTube video — which I recommend, highly — you’ll hear the following:

” … the roll of guru seems to attract more than its fair share of narcissist and confidence men … this seems to be a natural consequence of the subject matter … one can fake being an enlightened adept … GI Gurdjieff set the standard, here … he was the classic example of the gifted charlatan; he managed to attract a wide following of smart, successful devotees.”

FYI, devotees include: Georgia O’Keefe,  J.B. Priestly, René Daumal, Katherine Mansfield, Aldous Huxley, TS Eliot, Frank Loyd Wright.

“Gurdjieff taught his followers that the moon was alive. That it controlled the thoughts and behaviors of unenlightened people. That it devoured their souls at the moment of death. He used to make visitors to his chateau in Foutainbleu spend long days digging ditches in the sun, only to have them immediately fill them in again and begin digging elsewhere… I’m confident that if I were to teach a similarly insane doctrine, all the while demanding painful and pointless sacrifices from my students, I wouldn’t have a friend left on earth by the end of the week.”

I remember the first time “school” started trotting out this crazy shit about the moon. In a rare, courageous moment, I told my class, “You have no idea how absurd this sounds to me.” My teachers smiled at me in that patronizing way … the one that says, ” … you’ll get it when you’ve been doing The Work long enough.”

Long enough = til death do you part, $350/month, plus all of your un-schooled family & friends. That is the nature of the beast. It’s how every cult works. So … as Nancy Reagon used to say about drugs, “Just say no … ” I’ll amend that slightly: say, “Fuck no.”