Beware the “Spiritual” Cult Syndrome #cults #spirituality #thelabyrinth

We’ve all heard about the dangers of gangs and cults, but it is alarming how prevalent and insidious the cult-like syndrome is. I’m writing this post because I have fallen prey to it one too many times and I know so many others who have as well, many of whom are completely unaware that they are willing victims of this dangerous power-play.

My latest episode involved joining a group of “spiritual” practitioners and healers several months ago. A group that was not a cooperative, but an oligarchy. Mind you, there were red flags from the start (one that I could not ignore was the tagline of being “highly enlightened,” which goes against the heart and feeds only the ego. I do not personally believe myself to be “highly enlightened,” rather I learn in every moment) but I chose to ignore them because of my ego, as well as my idealistic heart. Despite all that I disagreed with, I really and truly wanted to help others, especially children and teens and thought I had found a venue to do so.

As I became enmeshed in this group, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the imbalance of energy that it was creating. Not only was it creating a financial drain (in the requirement of a membership fee that provided no return in the form of clients), it created an overarching energetic imbalance. Although I didn’t want to admit it until it became glaringly obvious, I realized the system I had bought into was more about feeding the ego than the soul. No one wants to believe that about a “spiritual” cult group. Yet it happens all too often.

Many of us have heard stories in the news over the years about dangerous cult-like groups and the horrors of what happens to their members. There are numerous cults who claim religious devotional ideals but corrupt the minds and bodies of their members due to the abusive nature of the ego. I was an unwilling victim of the Hare Krishna cult when I was two-years-old and the story is told in my memoir, A Girl Named Truth

I was also the more willing victim of my family (cult), which is also told in my memoir. A strong statement, perhaps, but when we look closer at how our family units influence and shape us, we often find cult-like parallels and behaviors. Often, as children, we are completely unaware that there is a gross imbalance of power, and sometimes dangerous abuse occurring, because we so very much want to be loved and accepted. This desire can continue into our adult years, even when we should know better because there is a part of us that believes we need to continue to prove our worth.

Whenever there is an imbalance of power driven by the ego, individuals can become subject to a cult-like situation that can be damaging and sometimes dangerous to their wellbeing. It can happen in religious groups, spiritual groups, family units, schools, the workplace, etc. and there are usually some common themes which should trigger red flags.

One or a few people placed in a position of power/authority over others will often use this power to take advantage of you. This can include asking for services without reciprocation. (The leader of the “spiritual” group I was recently a part of would often ask for free services from the practitioners in addition to the payment of their membership fee. This is a gross imbalance of power and energy.) In corporations, sexual harassment and assault often occurs from misuse of power/authority due to hierarchical structures. “Favors” are requested from individuals who believe they deserve these favors because of their “position” in our life. In families, children are all too often abused sexually and physically because of the belief from their caregivers that they are subordinate.

What is, perhaps, most disturbing about this behavior is that it is often completely justified by the perpetrators. Some of which are completely unaware that they are doing anything wrong. In their egoic minds, it is justified. Why? Because we seem to be conditioned to believe that imbalance is acceptable. That there is a hierarchy to our worth as individuals and that it is okay to be above or below another. Not so. This needs to change.

Unfortunately, we see it all too apparent in our political systems. Dangerous misuse and abuse of power leading to harmful consequences, yet we continue to enable it. Why? It’s a tricky question, but when we look closely at ourselves and our vulnerabilities we may come to learn that there is a self-worth issue that needs to be addressed and healed. It can become a (sometimes painful) opportunity to heal and grow ourselves. When we heal the energetic vulnerabilities within us, we are less likely to attract those who tend to abuse and steal our energy and rob us of our self-worth.

I believe our individual and collective history repeats until we decide to heal and evolve individually and collectively. The inner tends mirror the outer, and vice versa. We are a funny race, as humans. We tend toward the belief of superiority and inferiority in our own cultures, but also when we compare ourselves to nonhuman beings such as animals and plants. The irony in this is if we want to ascribe to the belief of superiority then we are naively fooling ourselves. Nature knows better than we do that the web-of-life is about balance and cooperation. If we just watched and listened to what is occurring both within and outside of us, we would come to see this more clearly. We would see that when we struggle, so do those around us. The planet is in crisis, and so, I believe, are we. Our egoic minds struggle to hold onto the false belief that we are greater than others, when in fact, this division only breaks the One Light that threads through all of us. The light that is Life itself. When will we learn?

One of the driving forces behind this concept led me to write my newly released book, The Labyrinth. It is written as a young adult book, with its six teen protagonists, but it is not intended to be limited to this audience. I have, and continue to learn, from the characters in this book series, which I am calling Warriors of Light. Characters who must face their darkness to repair the light within and without. I still hold a crazy vision that unity can one day be achieved and that the broken lines of light in Earth and within Us, can be repaired into wholeness once again. That one day we may look at each other and see ourselves mirrored back, and the look given and returned will be filled with love and only love.

The Labyrinth by Alethea Kehas
Meet Aponi, one of the six warriors of light in The Labyrinth.

18 thoughts on “Beware the “Spiritual” Cult Syndrome #cults #spirituality #thelabyrinth

  1. Pingback: Beware the “Spiritual” Cult Syndrome — Not Tomatoes « strangegoingsonintheshed

  2. Superiority and inferiority are seldom matters of perception or belief, though. Some such situations have been structured, often wrongly. Others simply are. In humans this can get confusing because superiority in one field compared with peers can be countered by inferiority in another compared with the same peers. A fascinating and complex subject.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In the 1990s, I was approached in the street by something similar, and completely threw them with my answers to their two important questions about myself. It later transpired that they drained you financially with their ‘self help’ must-haves books to make you feel good about yourself, when they were the ones putting you down in the first place. They were exposed some years later .
    What were the questions?
    If I could be anyone in the world, who would I be?
    to which I replied myself.
    The second was
    If I could have any job in the world what would it be?
    and my answer was the one I currently had.

    I should point out that I had just rebuilt my life from having a breakdown, and loved the job I was doing as it was all figure work, something I’m good at and enjoy .

    Hope you are doing OK now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you saw them for what they were right away. It can be complicated, I think​, when the people/person organizing it thinks they have the best intentions, when, in fact, they are living out of the ego. All’s well now, I think. I just had to remind them to stop charging me the monthly payments. 🙂


      1. If you’re in the UK and payments were made by direct debit, you should be able to get the money back as they have claimed it in error. Your bank should be able to advise you as my banking days were almost 20 years ago.
        Just a thought……………….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wishing you all the best and sad for you to have been trapped so often in that situation you describe. It can be difficult to stand up for yourself against manipulators and you are learning this in order to help others learn to do it also. Please consider putting together a workshop based on your experiences and pass on what you have learned. It sounds as if you could do this and it would make you feel good about yourself as well. I’ll be happy to help any way I can. Blessings, Tasha Halpert

    Liked by 1 person

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