Why QAnon Infected The Spiritual and Wellness Communities

Why QAnon Infected The Spiritual and Wellness Communities

Why QAnon Infected The Spiritual and Wellness Communities

We already know how QAnon spread through the wellness industry, passed along by evangelical influencers indoctrinating widespread audiences as explained by this article in Cosmo, but a lot of people are still scratching their heads about why it spread the way it did. Several people have made comments on my social media posts recently that they just can’t wrap their heads around the connection between QAnon and spirituality.

How is it that New Agers, yoga moms, Neo Nazis, Evangelical Christians, and a slew of other unlikely comrades all ended up under the spell of a conspiracy narrative that positioned a man of highly questionable character who clearly suffers from textbook narcissistic personality disorder as both a “lightworker” and the man saving the world’s children from elite Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles?

My minor in sociology is going to get a workout today. Grab a drink, settle in, and allow me to unpack this for you.

First you have to understand the different camps of people who have gravitated to QAnon. Every single person who is a part of the Qult will fall into one or more of the following categories (there may be more, but these are the ones I’ve observed):

  • Newly introduced to spirituality
  • Individualist outlook and political ideology
  • Low capacity for empathy or low emotional intelligence
  • Higher level of narcissistic tendencies
  • Low capacity for critical thinking and discernment
  • Unhealed trauma and poor coping skills

Spiritual Newbs

Spirituality today is more accessible and mainstream than ever before, which has resulted in droves of the “newly awakened” and spiritually curious.

People who are only a few months and even up to three and four years into their spiritual journey are opening up their minds in new and exciting ways, and discovering all kinds of information that’s changing their entire perspective on their lives. Naturally, there’s a certain stage inherent in this where you’re willing to literally consider anything, including conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are not new to spirituality. If you’ve been around long enough, you know that they’ve always been creeping around in the dingy corners, whether it’s lizard people, the Illuminati, or flat earth. There’s absolutely a conspiracy phase that a lot of people go through during their awakening process and not everyone makes it out (more on this in a bit).

Spiritual newbs’ minds are wide open–it’s almost like seeing the world in a whole new light–but they lack the knowledge to own their healing and as such, haven’t done any shadow work yet. Because of this, they have a low capacity for spiritual or intuitive discernment–doubly so if they already have poor critical thinking skills. This combination of open-mindedness and lack of discernment makes them incredibly vulnerable to spiritual bullshit, including conspiracy theories and spiritual abuse.

Learn how to spot spiritual abuse.

We’ve all been there. You’re just starting out, you don’t know anything, and you put your faith in people who appear to have more wisdom or more of a connection to the divine than you do, which makes you highly susceptible to influence by figures of perceived authority, such as wellness influencers, psychics, and channels. Along comes Q, wrapped in flowery love and light, and it’s being peddled by influencers who themselves are still in early the stages of awakening and have prematurely named themselves spiritual authorities, so newbs fall for it hook, line, and sinker–especially if they’re already steeped in individualist political ideology and belief systems, because it’s confirmation bias, right?

Learn how to spot toxic spiritual people.

Additionally, when you first begin your spiritual journey, it can be lonely and isolating when no one else around you gets it, so you search for community online via social media. When you find a group of people who seem to be on the same journey you are, it’s validating! But this also makes one incredibly vulnerable to manipulation by charismatic spiritual leaders and influencers and their flocks of brainwashed, unquestioning followers.

“Come for the sense of community! Stay for the spiritual abuse!”

Individualism: Where Christians, Conservatives, and New Agers Hold Hands and Sing Kum Bah Ya

Q makes itself attractive to Evangelical Christians and conservatives through individualist values and political ideology, which is where you also have an overlap with the popular but misunderstood New Age personal empowerment rhetoric, where one’s inherent worth and goodness as a human being is directly correlated to or evident by their ability to amass wealth and be successful, or in other words their God-given blessings / their hard work that paid off / what they’ve “attracted” into their life through their “positivity.”

Donald Trump is culturally associated with being worthy, deserving, and “blessed” by those who hold individualist values because he’s a billionaire (nevermind that he was born into wealth, or the shady business practices and tax evasion that helped him keep it…). The Q narrative that he’s also an undercover lightworker is the “proof” of his inherent goodness, and his outward manifestations of narcissism are dismissed and explained away as “fake news,” a conspiratorial plot against him, or just playing the part so that he can infiltrate the deep state. Hint: no real lightworker will ever consciously perpetrate acts of abuse. The label we give to people who consciously perpetrate acts of abuse is abuser.

Learn about individualism and how it shows up in spirituality.

If you read the post I just linked to, it explains how an individualist mentality, when taken to an extreme, is actually a form of separation consciousness. Those who are early in their spiritual journey don’t understand this because, once again, they haven’t been in the game long enough to have the depth of understanding of spiritual principles to recognize it.

Narcissism, Racism, and Spirituality

As I mentioned in the post I linked above about individualism, the further on the scale of individualism one is, the more self-centric they tend to be, and absolute individualism is tantamount to the ultimate narcissism. Does individualism turn people into narcissists, or do narcissists gravitate to individualistic values? Probably mostly the latter, though cultural conditioning almost certainly plays a part.

I’ve written before about how narcissists are attracted to positions of authority where they can amass groups of people to worship them, which makes spirituality a prime target. And a key trait of a narcissist is a low capacity for or total lack of empathy. What do I mean when I say a low capacity for empathy?

I mean that they aren’t able to imagine what it might feel like to be someone else, and as such, don’t have compassion for their fellow man, or feel any sense of social responsibility. The ones who can muster at least some empathy are only able to do so within their inner circle: close friends, family, neighbors. They don’t have the same capacity to empathize with strangers. In other words, they can only empathize with someone when that person’s pain directly impacts them (and their own emotions).

Some of the more extreme Q supporters who are not spiritual (read: Nazis), and even some who are spiritual have a low capacity for empathy and, subsequently, a low emotional intelligence. This low capacity for empathy remains even after they are exposed to spirituality because they haven’t engaged in the necessary shadow work to heal their wounds.

Learn how to spot narcissism and narcissistic abuse.

Many Q influencers exhibit narcissistic tendencies and engage in forms of spiritual abuse, which means that their underlying motivation for sharing the Q narrative is to use it as an avenue to amass power over others and build their narcissistic energy supply. I’ve watched many of them belittle and berate their followers who question why their predictions haven’t come to fruition yet with things like, “Stop whining,” and “Suck it up,” “Either ride it out or cry yourself to sleep,” and “Stop posting whiney bullshit.”

A therapist I follow on Instagram (@Narcissismrecoverycenter) posits that narcissism as a result of attachment wounds is the root of white supremacy. Certainly racism requires a fundamental lack of empathy, which can be present due to narcissism, toxic masculinity, or both.

This is not the first time that New Age thought and mysticism has found itself associated with Nazi-branded fascism. Check out this article by Jules Evans about mysticism within Hitler’s regime.

The Women of QAnon

Those spiritual folks who have fallen under the spell of Q who do have a greater capacity for empathy are lured in by one or both of two things:

  • the emotional charge behind the Q narrative of child sacrifice and sex trafficking
  • the promise of making the world a safe place

I read an article written by a sexual assault counselor who was trying to understand how some of the victims that she worked with could possibly support Donald Trump, considering the litany of accusations against him, including the infamous recording of “grab her by the pussy.” Every single one of the survivors she interviewed told her that Trump made them feel safer.

It’s no secret that women who are sexually assaulted are statistically likely to have a prior history of abuse. Many times that abuse begins at home. It’s possible that a woman who’s been sexually assaulted and feels safe because of Trump’s toxic masculinity tough guy talk likely had a toxic masculine authority figure during childhood and the only thing that makes her feel safe is the idea that there’s a man around who is capable of kicking someone’s ass to protect her. The Q narrative that Trump is kicking bad guy ass all over the world and saving victims of sexual abuse, particularly children, is going to resonate with that unhealed trauma.

People who have grown up in a household with abuse are also less likely to be able to identify abusive behavior in the future, which not only makes them easy prey for the narcissists in the spiritual community, it means that they have trouble identifying red flags when they see them, which explains why these people seem to be blind to the parade of red flag behavior coming from Donald Trump and a large number of Q influencers.

False Intuition

One of the more bizarre aspects of QAnon is the number of psychics and channels claiming to be receiving intuitive information about Trump being a lightworker (I was just sent another last night). Remember back at the beginning of this where I said that not everybody makes it out of the conspiracy phase? A lot of the so-called psychics and channels that are peddling Q information never grew beyond this phase of their spiritual awakening (and some are just delusional narcissists).

Here’s why:

There’s a certain lack of groundedness (root chakra issues) at play with individuals who’ve fallen into the Qult which makes them extremely susceptible to fear–that lack of safety I talked about just a minute ago falls into this category. Without doing the appropriate shadow work to heal the trauma behind these blocks, these folks never develop discernment in the spiritual sense. This major lack of discernment (third eye block/imbalance) renders them unable to see things clearly or think critically. I’ve noticed that a certain subset of Q supporters seem to have a very weak capacity for abstract thought. They can’t seem to get beyond the details of the conspiracy narrative and see the real big picture (great video about abstract vs. narrow thought here).

The Venn diagram of conspiracy theorists and ungrounded spiritual folks who lack discernment heavily overlaps in one area specifically, which is a propensity for apophenia. Apophenia, also known as magical thinking, is the tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things, or see patterns in random data. You’ll see people in the spiritual community attributing spiritual meanings to all sorts of very common, explainable, ordinary things, like insisting that lens flares are actually spirit orbs, which is, once again, indicative of that lack of critical thinking and discernment.

Learn how apophenia plays into QAnon’s alternate reality.

Because none of these people have engaged in any in-depth amount of shadow work to heal their trauma, and subsequently, shed old belief systems and programming, they’re not truly what we might call a “clear channel” or fully in tune with their intuition, which means they can’t discern the difference between apophenia or their ego and actual intuition, and any information they may intuit will be filtered through their twisted belief system–including their political ideologies and individualistic values, as well as any mental or emotional illnesses.

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 7 of Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith that discusses this:

The sixth chakra is where our capacity for discernment lies. A healthy sixth chakra (Third eye) not only accesses psychic realms, but also enables us to discern Truth.

 

Excess energy in the sixth chakra happens when energy is withdrawn from the lower chakras. Without the grounding that brings limitation and simplicity, a person can get lost in the boundlessness of the upper chakras and have no way to sort it out. They may over identify with archetypal energies and have too little personal ego to balance it. One may think they are Jesus, Cleopatra, or the next president, but have little awareness of their effect on their closest friends. The archetypal fantasies are used to buffer the weak ego and bring feelings of importance and power. They may discover some element of their past lives, and then attribute every current problem to unresolved issues from this memory.

 

As I do psychic readings in my own work, I am constantly amazed and shocked by the power some people give to a psychic reader. I am usually tipped off to a sixth chakra excess when the person sits down and tells me with wide-eyed seriousness every detail of a former reading as if it were gospel. The sixth chakra is wide open, without discernment or discrimination. It is important to remain open to psychic, nonrational input, but equally important to rationally sort through it. Lack of discernment reveals poor sixth chakra boundaries, which allow it to become overloaded.

 

This is not to deny the possible value of intuition, past life memories, precognition, telepathy, or any other psychic arts. With sixth chakra excess, however, the ability to discern truth from fantasy becomes impaired. The universality of the sixth chakra opens to the vastness on the astral plane where anything goes without the testing ground of the lower chakras. This is a dangerous state.

 

The absence of energy in the lower chakras makes it easy to come and go from the body and so this person may indeed be receiving psychic input. This does not mean that all their input is accurate however, or that the perceived patterns are getting integrated into consciousness. Such people can often become “channelers,” people who have the ability to leave their body and let other entities come through them. Opinions on the value of channeling vary from person to person. Whether the information channeled is from a separate, discorporate entity, one’s unconscious or higher self, or subject to the whim of the imagination, there is no doubt that in some cases, accurate information can come through. As with any psychic activity, there must be a testing ground that sorts through what is said with discrimination. The excessive sixth chakra wants to bypass this process.

Note: When she talks about ego, she means the ego in the psychological sense, not the typical sense in which spiritual people talk about the ego. Learn more about that here.

According to the author, upper-chakra imbalances are a result of lower-chakra imbalances. Think of the chakra system like a house, where the root chakra is the foundation. If the foundation is off, the whole house is wobbly. Our most basic survival needs and fears are governed by the root chakra, and our emotional center is governed by the sacral chakra, which is where the bocks and imbalances from emotional abuse largely lie.

When you think about the sorts of traumas inflicted socially (poverty, racism, misogyny), they mostly affect the root chakra where our sense of safety and ability to meet our basic survival needs is housed. Generational trauma (sexual abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse, parental narcissistic abuse) mostly affects the sacral chakra which governs our emotional regulation, boundaries, and relationships with others. It’s really no wonder we have a very large group of millions of people who end up projecting their own unhealed trauma onto the world around them, manifesting in a lack of discernment and critical thinking.

It’s also not a coincidence that sufferers from many types of mental illness have also experienced trauma and are drawn to New Age mysticism. I’ll be covering the undercurrent of mental illness within the spiritual community and how that shows up in a post in the near future.

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

All of this unhealed trauma that is likely evident in those who follow Q also means that many of them have unexamined coping mechanisms resultant from said trauma.

In general, there are very poor emotional coping skills exhibited among adherents of QAnon, and it’s even worse for the ones with low emotional intelligence. Their untrained, unhealed nervous systems have been overwhelmed by the stress, fear, and anxiety that has come with a global pandemic and precarious economic situation, so their unhealthy coping mechanisms are to:

  • look outside of themselves for a sense of safety (looking for a savior)
  • deny the reality in front of them (self-gaslighting, a symptom of prolonged exposure to psychological abuse)
  • and delusion (as an avenue to insulate them from having to sit with and experience uncomfortable emotions)

Throw in a highly charged election rife with disinformation and you have a recipe for disaster. These people were attracted to the Q narrative because it gave them something to focus on other than their own feelings of powerlessness and lack of control. It made them feel like everything was going to be ok, because someone else had it under control. The Qult provides all of the material necessary for one massive act of spiritual bypassing.

Overall, 2020 was the perfect storm of a lack of discernment and critical thinking skills, unhealed trauma and spiritual bypassing, an openness to be led and a desire for a savior, spiritual naivety, and an individualistic culture that left millions of people incredibly vulnerable to the Q narrative. If you’ve managed to make it out of 2020 without falling into conspiratorial thought processes, congratulations! You’re a (mostly) stable, balanced, grounded human being!

The Big Reveal

I’ll be completely honest, I’d never even heard of QAnon until early 2020. I spent mid 2017 through February of 2020 in a cocoon. I didn’t even start blogging again until March, after having been silent for an entire year while I was taking care of my own mental health. I never even noticed a single influencer talking about it, mainly because I can smell spiritual bullshit from a mile a way and I never follow those who speak it.

QAnon gave us a gift, though. Back in summer of 2018, I wrote this in an instagram post:

Since the August 21st solar eclipse, there’s been a lot of triggering events in the collective that are systematically dismantling the world as we know it to make way for rebuilding new paradigm. This particular one has to do with spirituality. It kind of reminds me of Revelations when it talks about the false prophets. This energy, to me, feels like the fall of “false spirituality.” That could mean religion and other institutions, but I’m really feeling that the way it’s going to hit the New Age community is that people who have prostituted spirituality, bastardized spirituality for personal gain, are going to fall hard.

 

People are going to begin to see through the bullshit. This means anyone who isn’t 100% authentic in how they are presenting themselves to the masses, anyone who is peddling trite spiritual platitudes as a way to build their social media following or sell their wares–people are going to start to see through them.

 

I saw it like a wave…. one wave hits the beach and as the next wave comes in, it pulls the first one back and away. This upheaval makes way for the ones who have been standing in their authentic selves and their truth to come forward into the mainstream. The new wave of authenticity overtakes the old. It felt like someone or maybe more than one big name person was going to have a very public outing. A fall from grace type thing. Or, I don’t know, maybe it will be many, similar to the #metoo wave.

 

However it shows up, that feels like the theme, and it’s all related to us individually during this new moon because we’re establishing firm foundations around what we believe in, from a spiritual standpoint. It’s almost like, “This is my truth. This is what I’m carrying forward.” And that declaration allows the people on an individual level to be more discerning with where they seek their spiritual nurture. For current practitioners, it feels like a call: bring yourself into alignment. Bring yourself into authenticity. Deal with your shit… or else.

Now we know exactly who was in alignment and who wasn’t. The false prophets have been revealed, all thanks to QAnon.

I’ve already written extensively about the dangers (and narcissism) of pre-enlightened wellness influencers as well as spirituality for profit and both of those certainly play a heavy part in this. I didn’t think it was necessary to repeat it, but I will leave these posts here so that you can also read them:

Materialistic Spirituality
How to spot a spiritually immature wellness influencer

Breaking the Recruitment Cycle

In the marketing, branding, and sales world, we have this concept called a sales funnel. The top of the sales funnel generates brand awareness. The channels that bring people into the top of this funnel are TV, news, and social media. Once someone is in the funnel, you then target them with more niche messaging (via email, follow-up ads, etc.), usually via some kind of storytelling that connects one of their needs/desires to your brand. This storytelling continues throughout the funnel until you finally drive them to the bottom where they commit and make a purchase or become a client.

This is the same formula used by terrorist organizations and cults to recruit members.

Learn the tactics white supremacists intend to use to recruit disaffected Trump Supporters.

As I’ve laid out in this post, spiritually unsound influencers and evangelists in the wellness community are serving as top-of-the-funnel recruiters into QAnon. The middle of that funnel serves to radicalize them, and at the bottom of that funnel is fascism, white supremacy, extremism, and acts of terrorism. We have a collective duty and a personal responsibility to get the misinformation in the spiritual community under control.

So, as a community, where do we go from here? How do we expel the darkness?

The good thing about spirituality is that there is no central governing authority to attempt to exhort control over everyone as a group, as with say the Catholic church. Spirituality places you as the central authority, by telling you to question everything, use your intuition, and take what resonates and leave the rest.

The bad thing about spirituality is that there is no central governing authority to control the people who are clearly out of control or suffering from mental illness from naming themselves a spiritual authority and doing harm to the people who come under their influence. At least churches have a hierarchy that’s supposed to address those things (though much of the time, they just cover it up…).

Since we have no centralized, singular authority or governing body, we’ll just have to work on our collective the same way we work on ourselves. Through shadow work–as a community.

We confront our darkness, we shine light on it, and we integrate it instead of looking the other way. The radicalization is already in progress, but we can start to counter it by becoming aware and evangelizing counter-messaging, and by shutting down those people at the top of the funnel doing the recruiting.

We confront and shine light on it by acknowledging the shit show that is the wellness industry and the role that it has played in facilitating the current state of America. We stop running away from conflict and pretending it isn’t there, even if it means calling someone out on their on their abusive shit (you can also just post my spiritual abuse article as a comment. *shrug*)–or calling someone in who just doesn’t know any better.

 

Everyone has heard of call out culture, and you’re probably aware of the backlash and counter movement of “calling in”…

Posted by In My Sacred Space on Saturday, January 16, 2021

We hold ourselves (and each other) accountable: we speak up when we see someone abusing their power, we are careful of the people we support with likes, follows, and shares. If something feels off, it probably is. Do your own shadow work instead of your own research. Become trauma informed. Go deep with spiritual knowledge and integrate it before becoming an evangelist. Maintain skepticism! It’s healthy!

We integrate it by educating our community about the shadow of spirituality: the narcissistic cult leaders and their followers, the self-serving, for-profit wellness influencers, the mentally ill or ego maniacal psychics and channelers, the spiritual abuse tactics. All of it.

If you’re an influencer or practitioner of any kind, make it a point to consistently share educational information regularly and give it a platform. We cannot stay silent on this any longer. We have to make a declaration about what we stand for.

Share the shit out of information that can educate others about cult recruitment tactics, abuse and trauma, shadow work, spiritual abuse, and any other aspect of toxic spirituality.

The more aware we are of ourselves as a community, the less likely this stuff can continue to exist and spread to new people.
For those who may have already been recruited into the radicalization funnel, awareness of these tactics is likely not going to steer them away. By this time, it’s too late. If you have a close personal relationship with someone who has been recruited into QAnon (or some version of it), you’ll find some helpful tips in this interview with cult expert Steve Hassan.

I also HIGHLY recommend reading this Vanity Fair interview.

Xo,

Ash

 

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to get ass-kicking inspiration delivered to your inbox.

New to Spirituality?

Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.

Have You Been the Victim of Spiritual Abuse?

Have You Been the Victim of Spiritual Abuse?

Have You Been the Victim of Spiritual Abuse?

The term spiritual abuse refers to any attempt to control or hold power over another person using religion, faith, beliefs, or spirituality.

Often employed by cult leaders, spiritual abuse comes wrapped in spiritual words, phrases, and rationales, and can use any tactic employed by any kind of abuser, whether it’s shaming, shunning, physical abuse, gaslighting, harassment, humiliation, or other forms of psychological abuse. The end goal is to instill fear in the victim as a means to condition them for manipulation and control.

  • Shaming instills fear of being a bad person and low self-worth, which makes the victim more reliant for validation from the authority figure
  • Shunning instills fear of abandonment
  • Physical abuse instills fear of physical repercussions
  • Gaslighting instills fear and doubt of one’s own thoughts and emotions

Examples of New Age spiritual abuse include:

Cultivate or exploit their victim’s naivety in regard to spirituality.

 

Use spiritual concepts about unity to justify silencing victims.

 

May use spirituality to imply or explicitly state that if dissenters understand spirituality differently, the difference of opinion is actually a product of fear, being less enlightened (when it’s actually the abuser whose understanding is based in fear and lack of spiritual understanding), or not having the same level of divine connections that they do, or that other, contradictory sources of information have been “hijacked by dark forces.”

 

Flex their alleged knowledge of spirituality to position themselves as more enlightened than other teachers who contradict them.

 

Exploit spirituality to make the victim feel like they are responsible for their own circumstances because the victim is spiritually immature. They may accuse, berate, critique, attack, belittle, condemn or guilt trip the victim.

 

The abuser often paints themselves as a martyr while simultaneously positioning the victim as the wrongdoer in an attempt to undermine the victim’s credibility while emphasizing their own.

 

Exploit spirituality to minimize or shift the blame for their behavior, such as claiming that the victim is simply projecting, or justify silencing the victim as “setting boundaries.”

 

Exploit spiritual concepts and practices for financial gain.

 

Use tantric practices or sexual healing as a cover to attempt sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault.

 

Over inflate or lie to the victim about their abilities or how they are regarded by the New Age and wellness community, isolating them from possible sources of support and reinforcing their own superiority.

 

Exploit spirituality to gaslight, dismiss, or invalidate a victim into ignoring the abuse with platitudes such as “what you focus on, you create,” accuse them of having a victim mentality, label them as not being “awakened” or calling them a sheep.

 

Attribute accusations against them to the work of evil spirits, negative entities, Satanists, or the deep state.

 

Use fearful predictions or prophecies that are always just around the corner to instill fear and obedience in followers. When predictions or prophecies don’t come true, there’s always an excuse and another prediction/prophecy to once again keep followers hooked and afraid to leave.

 

Use fear-shaming as a means of gaslighting and manipulation. In other words, the abuser shames the victim’s common sense beliefs and actions claiming that they are acting from a place of fear in instances where fear is not an actual motivator.

 

Use the community to protect the abuser, and isolate the victim. The abuser may have a large group of loyal followers who will attack, dismiss, and ostracize the victim for pointing out the abuse or questioning the abuser.

 

Socially isolate their victims by eroding their trust in other people, and their own discernment, and limiting their access to or eroding their trust in outside information, or support, or both.

 

Use evil spirits or negative entity attachments as explanations for the victim’s accusations or behavior when the victim’s understanding contradicts fear-based information, such as telling them that their own intuitive information is actually coming from a negative entity or dark energy.

What constitutes a cult?

Cult behavior can occur within a well-defined group of people, or loosely across disparate groups of people. It can appear in internet communities or within groups of people who gather regularly face-to-face.

One of the main indicators of a cult, beyond all of the spiritual abuse tactics listed above, is that it either actively or passively recruits individuals through the use of what is known as love bombing– appealing to a person’s sense of brokenness or loneliness by, at least initially, providing praise, a sense of community, and otherwise manipulating the person’s desire to feel special and understood. Once the individual has been successfully integrated into and the community, the abuse and dependence conditioning begins.

The second defining trait of a cult is that there is often a pyramid structure with a singular figure of authority at the top. This authority figure, the cult leader, will often claim to be special in some way themselves, and present themselves as the sole person who has access to some kind of truth, a way of living, or a divine being, and that truth/way can never be questioned. They may present themselves as a channel, a psychic, a spiritual teacher, a prophet, a social media influencer, a self-help guru, a business, or government figure–any sort of position of power that can be wielded over a group of people.

There may be intermediate authority figures in the cult hierarchy who disseminate the cult leader’s philosophies and teachings, and also serve as evangelists and recruiters. These intermediate authority figures gain power by serving as mini-cult leaders to their own groups.

As you may have noticed, many organizations operate under the cult pyramid structure, including businesses and religious organizations, and not all of them engage in [all of] the abusive tactics mentioned above. The defining trait of a cult lies in its underlying motivation: to recruit, manipulate, extort, exploit, and control.

 

Spiritual abuse is rampant within the spiritual community and is a key indicator of cult classification. Spiritual abuse is being used by adherents of Qanon and other cults to keep people in the fold “trusting the plan.” Please consider sharing this information, especially with anyone who is new to spirituality, in an effort to raise awareness about spiritual abuse.

SHARE NOW:

SHARE  SHARE
Xo,

Ash

 

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to get ass-kicking inspiration delivered to your inbox.

New to Spirituality?

Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.

Why QAnon Infected The Spiritual and Wellness Communities

The Shadow of Spirituality

The Shadow of Spirituality

Now that adherents of Qanon have stormed the Capitol building and four people are dead…(my former yoga teacher, who fancies himself a Q influencer and “spiritual AF” was there), where do we, as a spiritual community, go from here?

Is spirituality going to be so tainted by association to conspiracy theories that people turn away? Or will the rest of us finally start to speak louder than the noise?

I talked about this with friends privately early on in the year. I pointed out that Q was recruiting and radicalizing in the same way as a terrorist organization and I had a really awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had an inkling of it when my step daughter was threatened by one of her own family members on social media with, “bow down to Trump or be killed.” When some guy ran a train off the rails in California in an attempt to smash the navy hospital ship back in the spring, I knew we couldn’t keep sitting on it and saying nothing.

I watched the media sit on it though, and then ridicule it, and then slowly, but far too late, finally become alarmed by it. I watched spirituality and wellness influencers stay silent, or worse, perpetuate it, until some of them finally came out and made a statement. For a while there I felt a bit like Chicken Little screaming about the sky falling and no one was paying attention. Well, they are now. But they had to be pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed until the monster that was created was too big to be put back in its cage.

The backlash from these events is likely going to be mighty in a variety of ways, but I am right now mostly concerned with the lane we are in, which is spirituality and wellness. Or should I say unwellness, because that’s what this obsession with Q is tantamount to.

It’s hard for me to blame (some of) the mob–you know, the subset that aren’t white supremacists wearing Camp Auschwitz hoodies or waving confederate flags–when I know that they’ve been gaslit by an overt narcissist for the last four years and by Fox News for far longer than that. You reap what you sow, and a certain handful of elected officials had to lay in the bed they made for themselves. I don’t think they liked it very much.

I don’t have a patriotic bone in my body, I couldn’t give two shits about American pride. What I do care about–what I hold sacred–is spirituality. And just like every cult and charlatan that has exploited the spiritually vulnerable, Qanon is a dark stain on the fabric of “love and light.”

But I am angry. Righteously angry. Mostly with the “influencers” in the wellness community who have enabled this with their silence or otherwise perpetuated it with their blind nationalism and blatant disregard for the spiritual principles they purport to uphold. They are hypocrites, and in an ironic twist of fate, also the very herd (nae, cult) of sheep that they pride themselves in being apart from.

Qanon has risen up to embody every single element of spirituality’s shadow, and holy shit is it ugly.

As members of the spiritual community, not only do we have a responsibility to ourselves to do our own shadow work, we have a responsibility to expose the shadow of our collective, and right now, today, that means all of the conspirituality bullshit, the anti-science attitudes, the whitewashing of spirituality, the exploitation of trauma for profit, the mental illness, the spiritual bypassing and gaslighting, the cults, the sexual harassment, the bullshit psychics and channelers who are doing nothing but operating from their inflated ego, ALL OF IT.

I don’t know how anyone can call themselves an intuitive or claim to be energetically sensitive and not feel how twisted and off the energy of the Qanon collective is.

Anyone who has not been actively educating themselves about or addressing these issues within the spiritual community is partially responsible for the culture that lead to what happened at the U.S. Capitol and is still happening online right now. And I include myself in that because I didn’t start speaking up about it loudly enough until a couple of years ago.

The people involved with these events will experience the consequences for their actions in the coming weeks and months, but this is a wake up call to America, and also, especially to the spiritual community, and it is a mirror of who we are as a collective right now.

The people who did this, and those who enabled the spread of this conspiracy cult–that is the dark side of spirituality. It is what manifests when you bury your head in love and light.

What’s important for us now, as a community of alleged lightworkers, is to walk our fucking talk and make ourselves accountable for ensuring that this never happens again.

That means doing our own shadow work. That means educating ourselves about the shadow side of spirituality. That means truly…TRULY… doing the very thing that we always say we’re proud to do, which is looking within and doing the work.

When I sent this message out via email, I immediately had multiple people respond with, “What about Black Lives Matter and Antifa?” and “Not everybody who opposes electoral fraud is a Q follower.” Diverging from the point and deflecting the conversation is an avoidance mechanism, so let me bring the conversation back to where it belongs:

 

What does Black Lives Matter and Antifa have to do with spiritual people spreading conspiracy theories and perpetrating acts of terrorism? Black Lives Matter and antifa aren’t running around fawning over a narcissist, praying for secret arrests and executions without a fair trial, living in a conspiratorial delusion, and attempting to overthrow the entire fucking system of democracy–in other words, exhibiting incredibly spiritually unwell behaviors that our out of integrity with spiritual values while simultaneously claiming to be spiritually enlightened.

 

Do you get it now? The problem is the climate that promoted these actions and that it’s being done in the name of spirituality by people who claim to be promoting “consciousness” when there’s nothing conscious about it. It’s not only about the boots on the ground. Black Lives Matter and Antifa did not create a culture of spiritual bypassing so profound that its led millions of people into a total delusional divergence from reality. 

 

Furthermore, I’m white. Black people aren’t my community. I have no right to critique the (perceived) actions of an oppressed people that I do not belong to, particularly when I am a member of the group that has oppressed them. I’m not a member of Antifa, either. I don’t have an audience with those people. But I am a member of the spiritual community, and when I see a culture of hypocrisy in my own community, you’d better fucking believe I’m going to say something. 

 

With regard to the second point, I don’t think everyone who opposes electoral fraud is a Q follower. I do think the people wearing Q t-shirts and hats and walking around with Q signs inside the Capitol building are Q followers, as well as Jake Angeli, the guy wearing the buffalo hat who’s face is literally everywhere, or the “Q Shaman” as the media is calling him since he gave a televised interview in 2019 proclaiming himself so.

 

But that’s also beside the point. The point is that the spiritual community has enabled and allowed the rapid spread of a conspiracy narrative that eventually made its way to the mouth of the president of the United States, creating a cycle of disinformation that feeds into itself. Whether or not people there protesting voter fraud were Q followers is irrelevant since the entirety of the voter fraud narrative was spurred by Q. They’ve been manipulated (or as some would call it, “mind controlled”) whether they are aware of it or not.

 

The wellness and spiritual communities gave Q its mainstream power, Q then generated an election fraud narrative which led to those events, which means the wellness community is partially accountable for those events.

Let me be clear. Conspiracy theories existed in the spiritual community long before Q. Most of the theories promulgated by Q have actually been around in the spiritual community for years. The Q “phenomenon” enabled those narratives to be woven together and mainstreamed, creating one giant massive conspiracy narrative. (I highly recommend reading that last link on a game designer’s analysis of Qanon)

I’ve always said that you can count on me to be the asshole that tells you need to hear and not what you want to hear. And if any part of what I just said makes anyone reading this feel defensive, then you’ve got some work to do. I challenge you to sit with your uncomfortable emotions, and instead of projecting, dismissing, and bypassing, DO THE WORK.

I intend to do everything in my power to create the educational resources necessary for this process and to make the connections between what we do spiritually, as a community, and how it affects the world around us. I hope you’ll do your part by learning and sharing.

Xo,

Ash

 

Enjoy this post? Subscribe to get ass-kicking inspiration delivered to your inbox.

New to Spirituality?

Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.