How not to start a cult
No-one joins a cult. People fall in love with what looks great to them. But now #MeToo has arrived in the spiritual world and on the festival scene. Shamanic schools and yoga gurus are being called out for alleged abuse or creating a cult. How can they do better – and how can we help that process to create more awareness around manipulative dynamics? Based on my bestseller “Cult Trip” and my personal experience with many new-age and neo-tantra schools, as well as the work of Lissa Rankin, Wilrieke Sophia and Rupert Allison, I’ll offer insights from my cult research that can help a deep dive into self-discovery become safer, more ethical and fun. I’ll talk about how to spot coercive dynamics and red flags in workshops and how to resist group-think when you get hooked by a “tribe”. And as a facilitator, how to “cult proof” your group and understand the pitfalls for spiritual/sexual/self-help teachers so you don’t end up being called a dangerous guru. Stay for a book signing afterwards at yet to be decided time at the merch tent (update soon) – copies of “Cult Trip” are for sale there throughout the festival!
Anke Richter is a cult journalist, co-founder of FACT Aotearoa and foreign correspondent. Her latest book, “Cult Trip: Inside the world of coercion & control” became an instant bestseller. It gives cult survivors from Centrepoint to Gloriavale a voice and also follows the writer as a semi-professional cult tourist through the neo-tantra world.
While her investigative work exposes sexual abuse, Anke’s path is truth and reconciliation. The German-born author is passionate about stopping harm and creating safer spaces for the conscious scene.