I’m on a lot of paranormal New Age and UFO junk mail lists and I receive all kinds of catalogs about those topics. The other day I received something called the "Avatar Journal." It’s all in color, printed on slick paper. Not a cheap job like some of them are, instead it is very glossy and professional.
Avatar promises to fix your life. They’re international, with Avatars and Wizards all over the United States (only one in Oregon, plenty in California) Australia, Europe.
Avatar seems to be a blend of New Age and business/corporate stuff. The "Journal" talks a lot about compassion and going green. Their main point is to "build a new self."
I’d never head about them so I did a little internet search. I found this article by someone who took one of their seminars:
According to the writer, many Avatars have a background in Scientology. I wasn’t surprised at that, since I got a heavy "Scientology vibe" from what I read in the journal.
Getting involved in Avatar is expensive. The more you go up their levels, the more money it costs you. The article gives a total of over twelve thousand dollars. My favorite offering is at the Wizard level: Section V, extrasensory abilities. You have to complete the Avatar Master course first. The extrasensory ability course teaches about "Leadership and civilization management." You will then be able to:
". . . understand and manage creation. The ability to operate from the viewpoint of the higher self. The ability to transform civilization."
I’m not knocking this; if people want to spend their money on things like this, what do I care? I admit however that promises you can "transform civilization" as well as "manage it," scares me, but there are others who’ve been doing this same kind of thing for a long time, and no New Age cult-like program that comes along is going to change that.
You can become a transformer of civilization with the powers of ESP for a commitment of thirteen days of your life. And seventy-five hundred dollars.
Another interesting article is by a German who was involved with Avatar in Germany.The entire site is interesting, with many articles on Avatar, Scientology, cults; some of it pretty chilling.
I’m not one of the so-called Anonymous people who find a self-righteous satisfaction in harassing Scientologists. I’m no fan of Scientology either. But something about one frenzied mob demanding the censorship of another mob gives me chills.
Thirty-plus years ago, when I first my husband "George," he was just finishing up EST (Erhard Seminar Training.) I asked him about that; he said it helped him, but after he "graduated" he decided to go on to the next level, where he quickly became aware of the control factor. He was aware of this before, but not as strongly. Once you’re sucked in enough to want to move through the levels, the controls tighten.
George told me that one of the things they did was to get you to do stupid things that were demeaning. It’s not to break down any preconceived ideas in order to awaken you and birth you into a new spiritual and psychological you. It’s a classic form of mind control. Needless to say, George got out and did not continue.
I was involved in a "cult" when I was a teenager. I had no problem with the teachings or practice, and I experienced many times over that it worked. The problem were the people running the thing. Control, control, control. Telling me I had to get my family involved or it wouldn’t work, if my family or friends tried to stop me, that shows they’re on a bad path, and I need to leave them if necessary. Literally trying to break into my home to get me. Separating men and women from each other. We did the thing where we stood outside grocery stores and handed out literature. If we didn’t, we couldn’t reach enlightenment, because our souls weren’t vibrating at the right spiritual level. Typical of all cults: you’re in peril not only here and now, but in the afterlife, unless you do what they tell you to do.
And either they didn’t bother to translate the text they were holding up as the thing that had the power to change your life -- as long as you did everything they said it told you to do -- or they had, but weren’t going to share it with anyone because it didn’t say that at all. Guess what happened? I found the translation, and it was beautiful. And had nothing to do with what they were trying to pass off as the truth. Which made them really mad when I tried to let them know that. (I had that same trouble in Catholic school, always wanting to argue with their flaws in logic. Hey, for a ten year old, I did what I could. Like: "Couldn’t Jesus just burn up the devil or something instead of tempting people and playing with their heads?")
What motivates people to get involved in things like this? Lots of people have been trying to answer that question a long time. For myself, it was a combination of youth, classic American dysfunctional family and chaotic crazy-making childhood, rejection of the hypocritical dogmatism of Roman Catholicism but still desiring a spiritual system. Plus, I like ritual and theater, all that incense and bell ringing and chanting was very pleasant. I appreciated the aesthetic of having a little box/altar with flowers and fruit. I got out of it after a couple of years for a few reasons, the main ones being they scared me, and I didn’t like they hypocrisy. It was the same hypocrisy that I saw in other religions.
I don’t make apologies for that, I was young, I’m from L.A., and hey, at least I got to wear what I wanted; no boring dun-colored sack dresses or shaved heads for me!
There can be positive things about going through these kinds of groups. For both myself and for George, we did receive personal benefits from our experiences. The negatives of course are believing every word they say, and getting sucked in. In other words, turning all of your power and beliefs to something else. And in some cases, as we know, that ends in tragedy.
There’s another issue too, and that’s money. George said it cost about $500.00 for him to take the EST training, which was a lot of money thirty years ago. It’s a lot of money now, at least for some of us. That’s the problem I’ve had with a lot of these seminars and group things, including some of Shirley MacLaine’s workshops she’s done in the past. If you’re middle or upper class, you can afford this stuff. If you’re not, you’re screwed, Enlightenment is only for the washed masses, it seems. I have a lot of problems with that. (Maybe it’s because the really disenfranchised can see through the bullshit a lot more readily than predominantly white, middle class participants.)
Anyway, looking forward to what my mail will bring me next!