A third person has died as a result of James Arthur Ray's The Secret-themed retreat and sweat lodge outside New Age Mecca Sedona, Arizona, on October 9.
Liz Neuman, a 49-year-old Prior Lake, Minnesota, woman, was in a coma since that date and succumbed to multiple organ failure October 17.
Neuman was one of Ray's converts and was the leader of an affiliated "Journey Expansion Team" in the Minneapolis area.
It is also being reported that people have become unconscious at previous sweat lodges conducted by Ray and that emergency medical responders were called to a sweat lodge in 2005.
A Philadelphia blogger, Cassandra Yorgey, has had contact with survivors of the deadly retreat. According to participants:
- immediately upon beginning the retreat, all participants shaved their heads
- participants were encouraged to go without sleep
- one game participants played involved Ray playing the role of God. He would point to a participant and that person would have to fall down and play dead. They would be covered by a blanket, and if they moved, another person would "die." (One of the saddest aspects of this was that Kirby Brown, the 38-year-old woman who died in the sweat lodge, was reportedly holding herself and crying after this particular "game.")
- prior to the sweat lodge, they had been dropped off in the desert for 36 hours without food or water. Ray and his staff did not participate.
- after this 36-hour "fast," they came back to a buffet breakfast. Within an hour of returning to the Center, they were taken to a group meditation and then to the improperly-constructed, overcrowded sweat lodge.
- once in the sweat lodge, "[Ray] not only encouraged participants to stay and push past physical discomfort, he also actively dissuaded people that wanted to leave. The phrase “push through your threshold” was repeated often by James Ray. If participants didn’t make it to the door fast enough they had to wait for the next round. James Ray would slam the tarp shut shouting “Too late! Door’s shut!” and as he was sitting directly next to the door he was escalating it into a physical confrontation...playing off something we are trained from birth to avoid. Throughout all this, James Ray is speaking words of encouragement. He speaks of how throwing up is good and actually purging...and explains that passing out is common...He encourages people who find it too hot to bury their faces in the dirt, because it was cooler...Participants who expressed concern over others were told time and time again to focus on their own journey, and not to interfere with another’s."
Sounds as if it's straight out of the "New Age Cult Leader 101" handbook.
Again, this entire incident is a perfect example of the complete disconnect from physical reality that is preached by the proponents of this garbage.
There is an utter lack of regard for the requirements and necessities of physical life, and those physical requirements and necessities are often looked upon distastefully, merely as pesky, unenlightened throwbacks to "push beyond." People are frequently talked out of their personal boundaries, concerns, physical limitations and comfort zones.
Our bodies tell us when something is wrong, but you see how people are being encouraged to listen to a supposed guru over their own physical bodies and over their own intuition and personal discernment.
As always with this stuff, there is a dangerous lack of balance - preaching limitless expansion, exponential growth and zero restrictions. Jupiter without Saturn. Pisces without Virgo. Scorpio without Taurus. As students of astrology know, that just doesn't exist.
And you can see the result of that imbalanced ideology when followed to its inevitable result.
I've been writing for so long about the dangers of setting up the master/student hierarchy, especially spiritual hierarchy, as we move from Piscean Age to Aquarian. I've written extensively about the dangers of The Secret and its ideology and self-declared gurus. And I'm disgusted that it has been allowed to go to such a ridiculous extreme that people are losing their lives by putting their faith in these charlatans.
It's my birthday today. I was born during Saturn's last transit through Virgo, a month before the Jonestown Massacre, when 909 people committed mass suicide or were shot and killed by followers of Neptunian utopia cult leader Jim Jones. My Sun has progressed to just after the day of the massacre, which was November 18, 1978. With a Pisces South Node in the 8th House, I'm so aware of the abuses of these pseudo-spiritual self-declared gurus and their misuse of energetic dynamics.
And I think, do we really need yet more lessons on this subject? Apparently so. Because James Arthur Ray and his ilk are cut from the same cloth.
Jupiter was stationing direct in Aquarius at the time of the deadly sweat lodge, conjunct Black Moon Lilith, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius. And here you see the dark side of this Pisces-to-Aquarius transition, the aspects that have been glossed over and the abuses of the constantly-promoted "limitless expansion" dogma.
Remember all those Taurus-Aquarius squares we experienced as Saturn turned direct in Virgo in May? Those squares were about not just leaping into the possibilities of the "Aquarian future" without first taking into consideration the physical requirements and necessities of our lives on Earth. Respecting those aspects of physical life and working within those grounded, earthly limitations and boundaries. REAL physical law, not the segmented, incomplete, only-what-suits-you version of reality preached in The Secret and most New Age dogma.
New Age astrologers have focussed almost entirely on the vision and the idealism and the grand possibilities of the Aquarius triple conjunction. But here we see, with the help of Saturn in Virgo opposite Uranus in Pisces and Black Moon Lilith in Aquarius, the work that is left to be done, the details people have skimmed over, the necessary perspective we must develop before moving forward into a real Aquarian future. If we don't learn the lessons of the Piscean past, we carry the same problems and abuses of humanity forward.
And speaking of Aquarius, particularly the use of technology...
The Twitter updates Ray was making during the time frame when the deaths occurred were very telling:
"JamesARay: is still in Spiritual Warrior… for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?
JamesARay: Day 5 of SPW. The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next."
Ray actually deleted these tweets, but they were somehow recovered.
You can see Ray's complete disconnect from any sort of responsibility or care for the victims as he continues his money-machine speaking tour as if nothing even happened. Are these the actions of a truly wise spiritual leader? No. They're not even the actions of a decent human being.
It's all very disgusting to me, and again, I sincerely hope this man is held accountable for his actions.
There was a quote in one of the CBS stories from Joseph Bruchac, a man who wrote a book on Native sweat lodges, about how with that many people involved and without breathable fabric covering the lodge, all the people inside would be fighting for the same oxygen.
And I thought, that's what happens when the pyramid scheme starts to run out of steam.
Everyone starts off high on a blast of pure oxygen with dollar signs in their eyes. And the people at the top of the hierarchy who got in at the beginning of The Secret pyramid scheme made off like absolute bandits. Multi-millionaires. They all got a piece of the pie, selling books and videos and classes and seminars and sessions and retreats and guest appearances to the masses.
(The other people behind The Secret book and video include Rhonda Byrne, Rusty G. Parrish, John Assaraf, Michael Beckwith, John Demartini, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, Joe Vitale, Lisa Nichols, Marie Diamond, John Gray, Esther Hicks, Jerry Hicks, Mike Dooley, Bob Doyle, David Schirmer, Marci Shimoff, Lee Brower, Hale Dwoskin, Cathy Goodman, Morris E. Goodman, John Hagelin, Bill Harris, Ben Johnson, Loral Langemeier, Denis Waitley, Neale Donald Walsch, Fred Alan Wolf, among others.)
And so did the other people who started selling this delusional ideology before anyone had really heard of it. People have built entire careers on this shit. They all hitched their wagons to the momentum and the money rolled in.
But then, as is inevitably the case with pyramid schemes, things start to run out of steam. They run out of people who are going to hop on the bandwagon. They run out of converts. Their critics start to get louder. And the air starts to get stale. Things start to degenerate. And finally, the oxygen high starts to wear off.
The people at the bottom of the pyramid scheme realize that they aren't going to get rich like the people at the top did. It turns out they're just the ones who made the people at the top rich.
And eventually there is not enough oxygen to continue the scheme. Reality...real reality, not the Neptunian-delusional, solipsistic version preached about in The Secret...sets in.
I just hope three dead and two dozen injured is enough of a reality check.