By Derek Beres, Matthew Remski, Julian Walker

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A weekly study of converging right-wing conspiracy theories and faux-progressive wellness utopianism. At best, the conspirituality movement attacks public health efforts in times of crisis. At worst, it fronts and recruits for the fever-dream of QAnon. As the alt-right and New Age horseshoe toward each other in a blur of disinformation, clear discourse and good intentions get smothered. Charismatic influencers exploit their followers by co-opting conspiracy theories on a spectrum of intensity ranging from vaccines to child trafficking. In the process, spiritual beliefs that have nurtured creativity and meaning are transforming into memes of a quickly-globalizing paranoia. Conspirituality Podcast attempts to bring understanding to this landscape. A journalist, a cult researcher, and a philosophical skeptic discuss the stories, cognitive dissonances, and cultic dynamics tearing through the yoga, wellness, and new spirituality worlds. Mainstream outlets have noticed the problem. We crowd-source, research, analyze, and dream answers to it.

Episode Date
Bonus Sample: Did We Choose to Be the Good Ones?

Kyle Rittenhouse walks away from the courthouse while Ahmaud Arbery's killers were found guilty and "QAnon Shaman," Jacob Chansley, was received significant jail time. Our opinions on each of these cases are likely determined by our political affiliations, which in turn are a reflection of how we think about morality, crime, and punishment.

Julian draws on scientific research into how genetics and the brain shape our politics, thought experiments in moral philosophy, and the work of moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt.

As he questions whether or not any of us have freely chosen to be the good ones, he wonders if a way out of our toxic polarization might be found through understanding the underlying  moral values and emotional reactions that drive one another's political beliefs.

Nov 29, 2021
79: Anti-Hate Work in Canada (w/Dan Collen, Elizabeth Simons, & Morgan Yew)

COVID has been a recruiting windfall for hate groups in Canada, with new alliances and networks forged between white supremacists, xenophobes, and ethnonationalists in the fire of accelerated conspiracism. Joining Matthew to map out this landscape are street-level anti-hate activists Elizabeth Simons, the deputy director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Dan Collen, a researcher with the Neuberger Holocaust Education Center's Online Hate Education and Research Project, and Morgan Yew, a video journalist and DJ from Kamloops, whose coverage of Toronto's anti-lockdown protests has been rich and revealing.

We cover a lot in this one: the “irony poisoning” white nationalist recruiting tactics that target 14 year-old boys, the rogue’s gallery of extremists wreaking havoc at anti-lockdown rallies, racists trying on “sovereign citizen” pseudolaw in the courts, and their craven appropriation of Indigenous rights discourse when they lurch into “Pretendian” territory. We’ll also look at the People’s Party of Canada, and discuss why it is not very smart to write it off as QAnon foolishness.

Content Warning: analysis of hateful views, including notes from a white supremacist recruiting manual that is instructing followers on how to indoctrinate children.

Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Dan Collen’s fantastic articles on Medium:

Morgan Yew’s awesome Twitter feed

Canadian Anti-Semites and Far-Right Conspiracy Theorists Try New Tactic: Aligning with Indigenous Communities 


Learning for Justice | Education Resources

Wisdom2Action – Facilitate Change. Strengthen Communities.

The 519- nonprofit promoting 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion serving Toronto - The 519 - Space For Change - The519

Egale Canada - nonprofit promoting 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion serving Canada Home - Egale

CASSA - Council of Agencies Serving South Asians -

The Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre -

Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice -

Timeline cleanse. Some of Morgan’s video nurturance journalism.

Nov 24, 2021
Bonus Sample: Sam Harris: High-Brow Secular Conspiritualist

Bonus episode, piloted by Matthew.

There is a subtle form of conspirituality that rides on the familiar dialectic of political cynicism and spiritual promise—but it's dressed for a button-down salon dinner in Harvard Square. No crystals in sight, no essential oils wafting through the room. 

Sam Harris isn’t sounding the alarm about the Cabal or the Illuminati: his bugaboos are Islam, or “wokeism,” or “cancel culture.” 

And he isn’t saying that starseeds will save the day, or that a Great Awakening is upon us. He’s not so low-brow. 

His salvation product is meditation, which he says can validate his political insights. And hey, there's an app for that!

Celebrity Crusaders For Empire
Towards a geopolitics of atheism
Why the arguments of the 'New Atheists' are often just as violent as religion
Harris daydreaming about a nuclear strike
Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web
Will the "University of Austin" ever actually exist?
Sam Harris & Charles Murray
Harris. “A Few Points of Confusion.”
Decoding the Gurus: Sam Harris & Meditation is all you need
Gurometer— Kavanaugh and Browne
Buddhist Studies Has a Whiteness Problem
Buddhism, Race, and American Belonging
#BuddhistCultureWars:  | Gleig
Joy Brennan on Buddhism & identity politics
Decoding the Gurus. Interview with Sam Harris
‎I Don't Speak German: 97: Debating Sam Harris
Remski: “I Got Mine-Ism”
"Woking Up" by Eiynah (which Matthew didn't cite NEARLY enough, as he filed before listening to it.)

Nov 22, 2021
78: Society of the Conspiracy

Conspiracy theories flourish during uncertain times. They're always with us, passed down through generations like alternate histories, yet they’re constantly reinvented when collective stress levels peak. Julian reports on the QAnon spin-off group that’s been camped out in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza for two weeks, hoping to catch a glimpse of a pantheon of resurrected dead celebrities. In light of the Astroworld concert tragedy, which killed 10 people, being interpreted as a ritual Satanic sacrifice on social media, Derek wonders if conspiracies are just how we process everything now. Matthew points out the legitimate reasons conspiracy theorists have for their paranoia while warning against the media's tendency to titillate by misusing the terminology of cult research. And he also reads a bit from Paradise Lost. A conversational recap week as we’re working on some Big Shows in the next few weeks.

01:41 By the Numbers

40:30 Satanic Panic in Houston

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Show Notes

Riots, deaths, sexual assault: Maybe Woodstock was always a nightmare

The Bizarre Travis Scott Claims Show That Conspiracies Are Just How We Process Things

TikTok and QAnon Panic Over ‘Satanism’ Conspiracies at Deadly Travis Scott Concert

QAnon’s Refuse to Leave Dallas After JFK Jr. Fails to Appear

Inside The QAnon Cult Waiting for JFK Jr.

On The Ground At Dealey Plaza

Twitter videos/thread on Michael Brian Protzman

What Biden is keeping secret in the JFK files 

QAnon Influencer Recruiting Secretary of State Candidates 

Academic Research on Conspiracy Theories in Times of Social Crisis

Karen Douglas PhD on The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

Nov 19, 2021
Bonus Sample: Privilege in Wellness Spaces

Privilege is often blind and rampant across societies. But is the term also overused? 

In this bonus sample, Derek looks at two examples of privilege in wellness spaces, the danger of its overuse, and a possible reframing of how to approach the topic. 

Nov 15, 2021
77: A Homeopathy Episode So Potent You Can’t Hear It (w/Jonathan Jarry)

To prepare this curative episode, we listened carefully to alternative health consumers for many hours, taking an exhaustive history of life challenges on physical, mental, and emotional planes. We scanned the symptoms against our compendium of disease states and prescribed the precise substances that would mirror them. 

Then, we took minuscule audio samples from our podcasting apothecary — skepticism, melancholy, and empathy. We mixed these, diluted them a thousand times, to the point at which they became completely inaudible. Then we shook them up and down while chanting the spell of this bespoke remedy: Conspiritualitis investigarium.

Please don’t try to turn up your volume on this episode. You can’t actually hear it, and that’s what makes it so powerful. 

But seriously folks. Welcome to our long-awaited homeopathy show — and not a week too soon. NFL’s leading quarterback Aaron Rodgers has just admitted to endangering the entire league by opting to be “immunized” via homeopathy rather than complying with the league’s vaccination requirements. (He’s also a lying liar.) There are reports of homeopaths selling COVID19 remedies — through both small ops in the U.S., and federally-approved dispensers in India, where Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalists mingled sugar pills with astrology to help disguise their negligent pandemic response. 

Derek takes us on a tour through the strange history of this medicine that isn’t there, and interviews Jonathan Jarry of the McGill Office for Science and Society on why it haunts us. Julian contextualizes homeopathy against the broader “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” landscape. And Matthew wonders about the uses of magic. 

02:42 Something's Fishy

12:43 Origin Myth

35:13 An Expensive Problem

1:18:44 Interview w/Jonathan Jarry

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Show Notes

A brief history of homeopathy

Vaccines and Homeopath

Homeopathy: A History

Berlin Wall pills: a cure for emotional trauma – or royal-endorsed quackery?

Jonathan Jarry's homeopathy video

Jonathan's articles for McGill University

Homeopathy And Its Founder: Views Of A British Researcher

MEASURING MYTHOLOGY: Startling Concepts in NCCAM Grant

$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found

Complementary And Alternative Medicine Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Intervention

Worldwide Homeopathy Industry to 2028 - Healthcare Expenditure and Reimbursement Presents Opportunities

Nov 12, 2021
Bonus Sample: Rational Emotions & Poetic Science

Are emotions really separate from rationality? Is trusting science similar to religious faith? Do poetry and mythic archetypes disclose a reality beyond the material world? What might characters like Mr. Spock reveal about logical thinking? 

For this week's Bonus, Julian explores the relationships between scientific and religious world views through the lenses of emotions, metaphors, and the brain. He draws on clips from neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, philosopher Julia Galef,  linguist George Lakoff, biology professor Robert Sapolsky, and neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran.

Show Notes

This Time With Feeling: David Brooks and Antonio Damasio

40/40 Vision Lecture: Neurology and the Passion for Art

George Lakoff - How Does Philosophy Illuminate the Physical World? 

24. Schizophrenia

The Straw Vulcan, Julia Galef Skepticon 4

Nov 08, 2021
76: A Field Guide to White Supremacy (w/ Kathleen Belew)

There is no avoiding the fact that conspirituality plays out against a backdrop of racially-charged politics and the echoes of colonialism. And from the beginning of this podcast project we’ve tackled things like the origins of yoga and wellness being tangled up with European fascist movements and racist eugenics. We’re speaking from and into a culture that is predominantly white, and has the disposable income to afford boutique health ideologies. We know it’s naturally allergic to the project of public health. We know that it ignores the social determinants of health — because if it didn’t, it couldn’t sell its green-smoothie-based hero’s journeys. 

But reporting on race and conspirituality is only going to get harder. In this episode, Matthew reviews a new volume of essays that might help. A Field Guide to White Supremacy, edited by Drs. Kathleen Belew and Ramon Gutierrez, brings together a pile of resources for journalists and policy-makers who want to engage thoughtfully with issues of equality. And he interviews Dr. Belew on best practices, The Great Replacement conspiracy theory, and why there are no “lone wolves.”

In a debrief discussion, Derek and Julian join in to puzzle out the complexities of reporting on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. platforming Black anti-vax activists, how the sources of vax-hesitancy shown by Aaron Rogers and Kyrie Irving might be coming from different places, and how to think empathetically about vaccine hesitancy in Black liberation movements. 

02:41 Introduction

11:40 Interview w/Kathleen Belew

1:07:30 Reporting on Race Issues

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Show Notes

Kathleen Belew

A Field Guide to White Supremacy by Kathleen Belew, Ramon A. Gutierrez

RFK Jr is one of the Disinformation Dozen, and He has actively courted and collaborated with Black communities and leaders

Twitter thread of Barclay's Center protest clips.

The Creator Of 'The Punisher' Wants To Reclaim The Iconic Skull From Police And Fringe Admirers

Kyrie Irving hints at redpilling followers on IG. 

Nov 04, 2021
Bonus Sample: My Religious Attitude Toward Science

Okay, maybe the title is overstated. But, as Matthew explores in this bonus episode: what are the contours of social comfort and habitus — supported by faith and ritual — that haunt any layperson's relationship to science? When the pressure is on, be it acute or existential, do we really display "critical thinking" — or are we really skilled at post-hoc rationalizing choices that embody the social status we wish to identify with?

What are the psychosocial scents that waft from institutional actors vs. influencers, and what does it say about history and personal experience that one or the other is inviting, or terrifying? 

Finally: both Steve Hassan and Lee McIntyre have proposed that careful 1:1 conversations can re-establish interpersonal trust with the indoctrinated. But when we're talking about making vulnerable populations less susceptible to pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, is this really sufficient? Or must we consider broader forms of social atonement, like reparations?  

Show Notes

75: How to Talk to a Science Denier (w/Lee McIntyre)

Sapolsky: Religious Ritual is OCD

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on COVID-19

333,000 children were abused within France's Catholic Church, a report finds

Santa Claus and Dr. Tam have a video chat 

Nov 01, 2021
75: How to Talk to a Science Denier (w/Lee McIntyre)

What happens when a philosopher of science shows up at a flat earth conference to test out his theories about changing people's minds? This story catapults you into Lee Mcintyre’s new book, How to Talk to a Science Denier

As anti-vaccine and anti-quarantine protests flare up around the world, and the pandemic drags us all through financial and emotional destruction, discussing science communication has become more necessary than ever. Mcintyre's 2018 book, Post-Truth, examined the manipulative world of “alternative facts.” As a sort of addendum, his latest charts a boots-on-the-ground course to understanding and engaging with false beliefs. My interview with Lee is the main focus of today's episode. After we run the interview, the three of us will debrief and discuss.

01:36 Introduction

04:38 Interview w/Lee McIntyre

1:04:21 Trust & Communication

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

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Show Notes

Talking to science deniers and sceptics is not hopeless

When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions

Santa Claus and Dr. Tam have a video chat

Oct 28, 2021
Bonus Sample: Charisma & Extroversion

It's been over a century since Dale Carnegie began teaching the importance of extroversion, bringing with it a cultural shift that champions an aggressive social and work style. Gone were the days of championing introspection. 

This week, Derek explores his own relationship with introversion in Yogaland, wondering how a quiet form of self-investigation that often champions the loud and bombastic on social media. The influence of the extrovert has dominated many domains, but none more insidiously than the wellness influencers feigning compassion in an attempt to influence people but not necessarily win friends. 

Show Notes

People Aren’t Meant to Talk This Much 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Oct 25, 2021
74: Elena Brower Could Stop Selling doTERRA

What happens when MLM sales and neoliberal life coaching collide with a yoga charisma that oozes with pseudofeminism? Where do we even begin? Exploitation. Heartbreak. Toxic mimicries of therapy, mentorship, political awareness, and community.

In this investigative report, Matthew digs into the background of a recent article posted to Medium called “Open Letter to Elena Brower.” He interviews the author, Tatum Fjerstad, who Brower mentored from 2014 to 2016, and Liz Fullen, who worked as Brower’s unpaid yoga class assistant for approximately three years. He’ll also play excerpts from a legally-recorded Zoom call in which Brower gives non-consensual “coaching” to a stranger. 

Friend of the pod Dr. Natalia Petrzela joins the story to recount her personal brush with the Handel Coaching Method. Brower is a Handel “expert coach”, and has merged the Method with her yoga training to produce peak cognitive-dissonant messaging: 

You’re fabulous, but you're fucked. You’re already perfect and you know what’s right for you, but you have a lot of work to do, and I can show you how to do it.

Other themes include “performative therapy abuse”, the perils of unlicensed therapy, and how the power pyramids that hide in plain sight may be more vulnerable than we know, especially when we begin to talk about them clearly.

02:15 Introduction

08:54 The Brower Effect

13:23 "You Used Me As a Prop"

35:39 The Oils Coach

57:03 Zoom Call From Hell

1:15:26 Enthrallment is Not Money

1:36:46 Sorry, Not Sorry

1:44:30 Debrief

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

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Show Notes

Open Letter to Elena Brower. CW: spiritual and emotional abuse | by tatum fjerstad | Sep, 2021 | Medium's killer list of research and resources

New Presidential Diamond announcement: Brower

Conspirituality Ep. 4: Racism in Wellness Culture (w/Dr Natalia Petrzela & Dax-Devlon Ross)

Conspirituality Instagram post on "Performative Therapy Abuse"

Yoga Teachers Are Not Doctors, Doctors Are Not Priests

IYNAUS independent investigation of Manouso Manos

The American Yoga ReVolution with Iyengar disciples Manouso Manos and Patricia Walden

“Betrayal of Trust”: 1991 Mercury News Investigation of Sexual Assault Allegations Against Manouso Manos — by Bob Frost

The Yoga Mogul: John Friend, Creator of the Anusara School

Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand • Kelly Diels

Scandal contorts future of John Friend, Anusara yoga

Oct 21, 2021
Bonus Sample: Radical Denial

With a new variant of QAnon circulating through white evangelical churches, protests against masks and vaccines are becoming more aggressive around the world. In Germany, a gas station attendant who asked a customer to mask-up was shot dead this week, and a Maryland man allegedly killed his pharmacist brother and sister in law, believing that they were poisoning people with vaccines.

Demonstrations have turned violent in Australia; in New York, a mobile-free Covid-test site was up-ended. In LA, Beverly Hills protest organizer Shiva Bagheri was caught on video punching a breast cancer patient outside a clinic and harassing parents and kids as they walked into an elementary school, yelling that vaccines are a form of child-rape.

For this week’s Bonus, Julian looks at these developments through the lens of research on radicalization and fascist political movements. While Westboro Baptist Church tip-toes right up to the edge of violence with their hateful fundamentalist activism, the anti-abortion movement has included terrorism in the form of bombing, kidnapping, and murder.

But it’s not all bad news. This episode ends with data from a recent study on what supports de-radicalization, as well as a hopeful personal account of how compassionate online interactions led one woman to exit a hate group she was born into, and advocate now for tolerance.

Show Notes

What does Radicalisation Look Like? Four Visualisations of Socialisation into Violent Extremism

Watch a Beverly Hills Anti-Vaxxer Scream at School Kids Vaccines Are ‘Rape’

‘It’s evil’: Jim Acosta reacts to Trump’s remark during interview

The Link Between the Capitol Riot and Anti-Abortion Extremism

What Do Former Extremists and Their Families Say About Radicalization and Deradicalization in America?

Oct 18, 2021
73: Eating Disorders in Yogaland (w/Jason Nagata & Chelsea Roff)

Meat is toxic. Dairy is toxic. Eggs? As dangerous as cigarettes. Garlic stokes the hormones. Avoid nightshades at all costs. Organic or bust. Eat according to your blood type. Eat according to your chronotype. Cacao resonates with the frequency of the sun, but never, ever add sugar to it. Sugar is toxic. Juice cleanses lead you to your highest self. 

If you’re exhausted already, so are we. This week, Derek anchors our look at how the wellness world disguises eating disorders as purity tests and pathways to “clean” eating. He opens up about his 15-year-battle with orthorexia, an eating disorder he believes to be rampant in yoga and wellness, as well as the broader fitness world, where men hide their own eating disorders with protein shakes and ketogenic fasting. Matthew adds kitchen notes from the spiritual cult front lines. 

Julian talks with Chelsea Roff, founder of Eat Breathe Thrive, about her own struggles with food before discussing her decade of experience working with eating disorder victims in Yogaland. Derek then chats with Dr. Jason Nagata about the challenges of treating boys and men in clinical settings, and what to do about a phenomenon so many suffer from yet so few are able to find a language for.

02:28 Orthorexia in Wellness

57:15 Interview w/Chelsea Roff

1:22:49 Interview w/Jason Nagata

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

This Is What It’s Like For Men With Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders in Teens Have ‘Exploded’ in the Pandemic

Eating Disorders Surged Among Adolescents in Pandemic

Men obsessed with building muscle mass have higher mental health risks

Uncovering and Destigmatizing Male Body Dysmorphia in Popular Culture

Doctors alerted to dangerous dry scooping workout trend

Prospective health associations of drive for muscularity in young adult males

What Is Orthorexia?

Body dysmorphic disorder

Film Theory 101 – Laura Mulvey: The Male Gaze Theory

Oct 14, 2021
Bonus Sample: Talking to Children About Conspirituality

An audio essay loosely based on conversations Matthew has while parenting. Content is possibly appropriate for ages 7 to 11 — although who really knows. The main point is to deflate the media persona and cut back on the cynicism and hot-takery to discuss these things in a way that leaves the door open for growth and hope. Rules: use simple sentences, many examples, frame bad news within good news, and never call anyone stupid. Don’t give a kid a story that has no way out. Don’t people their world with hopeless cases.Questions include:

  • What is a conspiracy? 
  • What’s the difference between a good and bad conspiracy? 
  • So what are conspiracy theories? 
  • Are all conspiracy theories bad? 
  • How can people can believe COVID isn’t real when they can see how many people are getting sick and dying? 
  • Why do conspiracy theorists make things worse than they actually are? 
  • Why would the government cover up aliens? 
  • What is spirituality? 
  • What do conspiracy theories have to do with spirituality? 
  • So if you grew up believing in Jesus, did you used to believe in conspirituality?
Oct 11, 2021
72: John of Fraud (w/ Lisa Braun Dubbels and Mirna Wabi-Sabi)

Whatever one’s conception of “God” is, “John of God” should now be a nauseating name. For decades, João Teixeira de Faria pretended to heal an endless stream of pilgrims to his center in rural central Brazil through the Spiritist practice of “psychic surgery.” In reality, the miracle healing claims worked to cover up an obvious truth. João was sexually assaulting and raping women, in public and in private, likely every day of his “working” life. As he did so, he amassed a vast fortune in affiliate businesses, farming operations, real estate, referral rackets, and sales of crystals and fake remedies.

In this episode we won’t retell this history, now poignantly captured by a new Brazilian-made documentary on Netflix. Instead, we’ll look at how lazy and motivated journalism shook hands with the entrepreneurial New Age to validate and accelerate the absurd claims of a monster. In addition to original reporting on how João made his mark in the U.S., Matthew is joined by former New Age publicist Lisa Braun Dubbels and Brazilian journalist Mirna Wabi Sabi to discuss the globalization of magic and abuse. 

Trigger warnings for this episode: rape, sexual assault, fraud, spiritual abuse.

02:17 John of Fraud

1:16:22 Interview w/Lisa Braun Dubbel & Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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Show Notes

Biles, Maroney, Raisman and Nichols opening statements before Congress

Chico Xavier | Obituary

Is ‘John of God’ a Healer or a Charlatan?

John of God — Skepdic

James Randi ABC comments debrief

The trouble with Dr. Oz

John of God 2006 Atlanta Program

About Heather Cummings

Oprah March 13, 2010: “Do You Believe in Miracles?” (webarchive)

Leap of Faith: Meet John of God — Susan Casey (webarchive)

Part One: John of God: Oprah’s Favorite Ghost-Channeling Rapist Surgeon – Behind the Bastards

Famous Brazilian spiritual healer accused of sexual abuse | 60 Minutes Australia

Celebrity Healer in Brazil Is Accused of Sexually Abusing Followers (NYT 2018)

John of God – OMEGA INSTITUTE • 2014 — program guide

Statement from Omega Regarding John of God Allegations | Omega

Brazilian faith healer now accused of running BABY farms

Oct 08, 2021
Bonus Sample: Flow States & Humility

During Thursday’s episode, Derek briefly described Flow States in the context of a universal form of spirituality. He explores that concept in a little more depth, pulling audio from Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s 2004 TED Talk about the social ramifications of Flow States.

Oct 04, 2021
71: So Do We Believe in Anything at All?

We’re grounding down. We’re letting go. We are going deep. We are finding the metta in our meta and tuning in to Source. This week we’ll either answer or transcend the core questions our listeners post in moments of parasocial vulnerability: 

Do you guys believe in anything at all? Are there any wholesome spiritual communities out there? Are all spiritual teachers toxic? 

This four-hour immersive encounter between three white guys is not to be missed! 

(Seriously tho: we’ve got some huge interviews and investigative pieces coming up in the next few weeks, so we’re kicking back a little here to talk basics and regroup.)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Sep 30, 2021
Bonus Sample: Reality Bites: The Tragedy of Magical Thinking

Julian traces the roots of today’s pandemic-era conspirituality back to What The Bleep’s quantum woo, The Secret’s privileged denial and grandiosity, and the dark lessons of why beliefs really matter, as revealed by James Arthur Ray’s deadly Spiritual Warrior Retreat.

Show Notes

Laura Tucker’s response to Nine Perfect Strangers

Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment

Sep 27, 2021
70: Conspiracy Theories Conceal a Burning World (w/ Daniel Sherrell)

Daniel Sherrell is the author of an extraordinary memoir and prayer book, Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World, in which he recounts how, as a climate activist born in 1990, he has fought to manage, digest, and even celebrate the desperate tasks of the only age he’s known: the Anthropocene. The book is his homage to the resources that help him meditate on weaning ourselves from the dissociations of Twitter and doing the hard work of transforming climate grief into climate integrity. 

In our feature interview this week, Matthew sits down with Daniel to discuss the real conspiracy of climate denialism, and how conspiracy theories provide relief to those who cannot contemplate our condition. 

We start the show with Derek’s contemplation of Amitav Ghosh’s “The Great Derangement” and Julian’s notes on climate denialism dwarfing the disinformation we typically interrogate in the wellness world.

01:48 Ticker

46:37 Interview w/Daniel Sherrell

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Show Notes

Warmth by Daniel Sherrell

Sherrell and Dorothy Fortenberry on Know Your Enemy

Why Grief can be Strength in a Warming World | Daniel Sherrell |

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene – Scranton

Laudato si’ (24 May 2015) | Francis

Tucker Carlson on Military Vaccine Mandate

Dr. Wilson (Debunk the Funk) on Mike Yeadon

Big Oil’s War on Science

UCSA Climate Skeptic Disinformation List

The Climate Disinformation Playbook

Desmog Database

Steven Koonin, the “Obama Scientist”

Daniel Sherrell’s Reading List

Ducks, Newburyport — Ellman

The Summer Book – Jannson

Ice by Anna Kavan

The Mushroom at the End of the World — Tsing

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett:  review

The Passion According to GH — Lispector

The Plains: Text Classics, book by Gerald Murnane

Sep 23, 2021
Bonus Sample: Spirit Island No Garbage
Sep 20, 2021
69: Fascism Down Under!!! (w/Dr. Izzy Smith)

This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom rode sane pandemic messaging to victory against the Republican-led recall election by a huge margin. Unsurprisingly, voting patterns perfectly matched the state COVID heat map, with fans of the recall suffering the worst outbreaks. Meanwhile, a strict lockdown in Australia, which is experiencing a Delta outbreak, led to American libertarians and right-wing commentators screaming fascism! We talk to Decoding the Gurus co-host (and real-life Australian) Matthew Browne about the situation on the ground. Later in the episode, Julian interviews another Aussie, Dr. Izzy Smith, about her online anti-conspiracy theory activism and science advocacy.

In the Ticker, Derek looks at JP Sears’s new cryptocurrency grift, which appears to be inspired by fellow Austinite Mikki Willis—who also announced a supplement grift this week. Matthew talks briefly to Toronto video journalist Morgan Yew to begin making sense of the alarming convergence of racist alt-right groups with aggressive anti-mask, anti-vaccine protestors at medical facilities in Canada.

02:14 Ticker

1:21:17 Interview w/Dr. Izzy Smith

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Show Notes

How the media helped fuel the anti-vaxx movement

The Non-Fungible Freedom Column

Atlantic article “Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty”

Josh Szeps Twitter thread response to The Atlantic

Federalist article Pursuing Covid-Zero Has Turned Australia into an Authoritarian State

Opinion | Meet the police chief turned yoga instructor prodding wealthy suburbanites to civil war

Ex-La Habra police chief Alan Hostetter, 5 others charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

When QAnon Came to Canada

Glowing Mama Anti-Masker. Toronto Influencer Socially Toilets in… | by Matthew Remski | Medium

Morgan Yew (@weynagrom)

Morgan Yew interviewing Sarah Choujounian of Canadian Frontline Nurses

Morgan Yew: Plan to “Interview” Racist Anti-Lockdown Influencer Ends in Violence

Who are the Canadian Frontline Nurses organizing anti-vax protests?

Sep 16, 2021
Bonus Sample: Mikki Willis Rewrites History

In June, Planedemic creator Mikki Willis appeared on Living 4D with Paul Chek to discuss what “really happened” at the Capitol on Jan 6. During the long-ranging talk, Willis took some time to attack a VICE News article that we were featured in. Unfortunately for Willis, we have the audio from the Election Night party in Austin being referenced. Derek updates Willis’s memory.

Show Notes

Living 4D With Paul Check, EP 141 – Mikki Willis 2: What’s Really Going On?

The Election Night audio

Leading New Age Conspiracy Influencers Plan Their Retreat to Utopian Lagoon

Sep 13, 2021
68: The Jordan Peterson of Fitness Bros (w/Antonio Valladares)

Paul Chek will tell you how much he’s influenced the fitness industry. He’ll tell you that he popularized Swiss Balls, and about his time working with the Jordan-era Chicago Bulls and then the championship Lakers. The kinesiologist and founder of the Chek Institute, which offers numerous training programs under the slogan, “We teach the science of living well,” claims that he’s always taken a holistic approach to weightlifting and the gym. In fact, the man does not mind telling you how vast his influence is. 

Embedded in Chek’s holistic approach is a penchant for conspiratorial thinking. He trained JP Sears, traded podcasts with biohacker Ben Greenfield, hung with anus sunshiner Troy Casey, and hosted Mikki Willis twice in the last year on his own podcast, Living 4D with Paul Chek. Today’s co-host, NYC-based fitness expert Antonio Valladares, also trained with Chek, but unlike many of Chek’s acolytes, Antonio has used his time and knowledge debunking conspiracy theories in nutrition and fitness, not adding to the fire. 

In this week’s closer, Matthew reviews and contextualizes a Facebook post from the charismatic dissectionist Gil Hedley. Hedley’s post leaned into familiar anti-vax territory. But he deleted it — and, in a positive email exchange, revealed some earnest motivations and empathetic impulses. A good lesson that you never quite know where people are coming from, or where they’re going.

02:25 The Paranoid Mysticism of Paul Chek

53:17 Dissecting an Anti-Vax Post

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Show Notes

Deconstructing Paul Chek

Who is Paul Chek: Holistic Lifestyle Coach

Plandemic Director Mikki Willis Explains His Presence at Capitol Riot — Matthew Remski

About Gil Hedley

Gil Hedley: Fascia and stretching:  The Fuzz Speech

Sep 10, 2021
Bonus Sample: Hollow Men: The QAnon Roadshow Flop

A QAnon-themed Stop The Steal, anti-vax, Covid-denial roadshow came to an untimely end in mid-August with their fearless leader succumbing to COVID pneumonia on a ventilator in Florida. He denied the virus was real until his last breath.

This week, Julian chronicles the 84-stop Arise USA Resurrection Tour led by the recently deceased former CIA agent, Robert David Steele.

Characters on this Ill-fated tour include the aging wanna-be rock star slam-poet conspiracist Sacha Stone, anti-vax Urban Health Alliance leader Kevin Jenkins, cowboy-costumed MC Trent Loos, and a presidential impersonator named Lincoln Bob.

Sep 06, 2021
67: The Promise & Peril of Psychedelics

Psychedelics are all the rage in the investment world, with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into research-based startups in the hope of finding interventions for addiction, depression, PTSD, end-of-life anxieties, and much more. But is it too much? Are we, as has happened with numerous substances in the past, placing too much faith in plant medicine? Will investors expecting a return on investment skew the research? And, more to the point of this podcast, is the burgeoning crop of yoga instructors turned shamans promising more than they can deliver?

With Matthew on a much-deserved vacation this week, Julian interviews Derek about these topics based on Derek’s 2020 book, Hero’s Dose: The Case for Psychedelics in Ritual & Therapy.

In the Ticker this week, Julian looks at the growing list of anti-vax, COVID-is-a-hoax conservative radio hosts dying of COVID. We begin with the obvious: Joe Rogan recently contracted COVID, and admitted to undergoing what might be the most insane drug regimen to date.

10:24 The Ticker

20:57 Hero’s Dose

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Show Notes

Robert David Steele Dies from Covid, While Denying Covid

Anti-Vax Conservative Radio Hosts Dying from Covid

Caleb Wallace, 30-year-old Freedom Rally Organizer Dies from Covid

Texas GOP official who Mocked Covid, dies from it

Hero’s Dose: The Case for Psychedelics in Ritual & Therapy

Sep 03, 2021
Bonus Sample: I Don’t Know Who My Friends Are

After watching the Almost 30 podcast hosts bond over Zach Bush’s Jesus-like qualities, Matthew explores the barren friendship landscape of wellness gigworkers.

From the transcript:

We engage with friendship pornography by consuming attractive images and vicarious sensations of friendship for the sake of pleasure, without having to engage with the complexity of social conditions, class differences, boredom, sickness, or death, and without having to be responsible for the other in any sustainable way.Why is this relevant to conspirituality? Because at every turn on this podcast, we are talking about economies built within demographics sewn together by consumerism. It’s a world in which charisma is the currency and emotions are the commodities. When the influencer sells you on their subscription “community”, they are offering a toxic mimic of friendship — that’s clear… Think of how MLMs co-opt the lingo of “community”, “tribe”, etc, when what they’re really doing is turning every single social interaction within a given demographic into a sales pitch.


About Lindsey & Krista: Almost 30

SoulCycle changed fitness. Its culture and toxic work environment made growth impossible.

The Wellness Pornographers. Gamifying intimacy, abusing public… | by Matthew Remski | Aug, 2021 | Medium

Anti-Vax Doctor Manifests as Jesus. Wellness Ladies Weep with Joy. — Matthew Remski

Aug 30, 2021
66: Spirituality & Status (w/Will Storr)

Spirituality, ill-defined a term that it is, often implies both an emptying out and an addition. What leaves is the vacuous clinging to achievements that are supposedly preventing us from seeing our true nature. What’s granted is a new mindset, a novel way of being, one in which you are at peace with both yourself and the world.

Where does the drive for status play into this quest? As journalist Will Storr points out in his new book, The Status Game: On Social Position and How We Use It, you can’t escape our impulse for achieving status. You can learn to dampen its hold on you, however. Derek catches up with Will to discuss how status plays a role in anti-vax groups, spiritual communities, and political groups.

We start this week with a Ticker by Matthew, who previews a bonus episode on the friendship porn we see on the Almost 30 episode in which the hosts share tears after being snowjobbed by Zach Bush.

02:18 The Ticker

11:35 Interview with Will Storr

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Show Notes

Almost 30 podcast, Ep.451: Dr. Zach Bush on Fear, The Immune System, & The Real Meaning of Life

The Status Game by Will Storr review — how the fight for status defines our world

Aug 26, 2021
Bonus Sample: The Question of Consciousness

One of the most debated topics in spirituality (and beyond) involves the origins of consciousness. Most neuroscientists agree that it’s emergent—the physiological systems of the body create what we call “consciousness.”

Derek revisits his 2018 conversation with Michael Gazzaniga, whose 1961 studies on split-brain patients revolutionized the discipline of neuroscience.

Show Notes

Neuroscientist Anil Seth: ‘We risk not understanding the central mystery of life

VS Ramachandran: 3 Clues to Understanding Your Brain

Decoding the Brain’s Cacophony

Aug 23, 2021
65: Long-Haul QAnon (w/Rachel Bernstein & Jitarth Jadeja)

Santa Barbara surf coach Matthew Coleman murdered his two young children in Mexico nearly two weeks ago. He told the FBI that he was “enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife possessed serpent DNA and had passed it on to his children.” 

Beneath the peak chaos of this story lies a social fabric torn to shreds by QAnon and related conspiracy theories. Marriages are ending, custody battles are raging, and parents and children are negotiating painful silences or estrangements. 

Joining us today as a co-host is Jitarth Jadeya, one of the few ex-QAnon followers so far who has been willing and able to discuss what this fever dream did to him and his family. Marriage and Family therapist Rachel Bernstein, the host of the brilliant IndoctriNation Podcast, also joins to discuss her experiences working with cult survivors and providing recovery resources. 

In this week’s closer, Derek examines the scientific hipsterism of Zach Bush, who has recently co-opted Malcolm X as a posthumous endorser, when Malcolm would have probably hated his gut biome.

2:26 Long-Haul QAnon: panel with Bernstein and Jadeja

1:08:44 Communications: Anti-vax racism

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Show Notes

Surf Instructor Killed His Children and Claimed QAnon Made Him Do It, F.B.I. Says

QAnon: a timeline of violence linked to the conspiracy theory

Former QAnon follower Jitarth Jadeja on “The Takeout” — 2/12/2021

Former QAnon believer says following the conspiracy “was absolutely a drug”

He went down the QAnon rabbit hole for almost two years. Here’s how he got out

How Ex-QAnon Followers Escaped The Cultish Conspiracy Theory

He’s a former QAnon believer. He doesn’t want to tell his story, but thinks it might help.

Rachel Bernstein’s excellent IndoctriNation Podcast

QAnon Casualties on Reddit

Aug 20, 2021
Bonus Sample: Strongman Heroes, Barefoot Science, & Fake Victims

Conspiritualists amp up their victimhood-fetish by comparing anti-vaxxers to Jim Crow-era African Americans and Jews under the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson questions vaccines, bangs the CRT red-scare propaganda drum, and swoons over Hungarian fascist Viktor Orban.

For this week’s Bonus, Julian compares Fox News’s idealizing coverage of Orban to how they treat another famous Hungarian, boogeyman of the far-right, George Soros. He also tells the tragic tale of Trofim Lysenko—Stalin’s “barefoot scientist,” to illustrate how pseudoscience actually flourishes (to everyone’s detriment) under real totalitarianism.

Show Notes

The Soviet Era’s Deadliest Scientist Is Regaining Popularity in Russia

Under fascism, a generation of scientific knowledge was lost in Spain

Hungarian scientists are on edge as country is poised to force out top university

Say it with statues: Brick-and-mortar revisionism in Orban’s Hungary

Orban shocks the world again: He admits to being a Nazi pilot, calling him a knight and a hero

Aug 16, 2021
64: Remembering Guru Jagat: a Panel

With guests: Philip Deslippe, Jules Hartley, Janja Lalich, and Stacie Stukin

We’ve convened an expert panel this week to remember and discuss Katie Griggs, aka GJ. She died in an LA hospital on the evening of August 1st. LA Magazine was the first outlet to confirm the death with the RA MA Institute, which Griggs co-founded in Venice, CA.

The cause of death has not been confirmed, but according to a eulogy film put out by the RA MA Institute, Griggs reportedly broke her ankle in Berlin on July 11th, and on the 15th had surgery to repair it in Los Angeles. Subsequently, she developed a pulmonary embolism, which proved fatal.

In episodes 36 and 37, Philip and Stacie joined me to discuss Griggs’s adopted culture and religion, Kundalini Yoga, and where she stood in relation to the legacy of KY’s abusive founder, Yogi Bhajan. They are uniquely equipped for that background: Philip is an expert in KY history, and Stacie has published excellent investigative work on the #metoo wave that swept through the community to uncover long-suppressed stories of Bhajan’s abuses.

Joining us today to dig even deeper are former Kundalini Yoga student Jules Hartley, and renowned cult expert Janja Lalich. 

In our earlier episodes, we discussed how Griggs went on the offensive in the midst of the Kundalini abuse scandal, publicly attacking Bhajan’s survivors. We also discussed how she quickly pivoted into conspiracy theories about COVID and BLM when the pandemic hit. We also discussed the culture and cultural impact of Griggs’s RA MA Institute.

We continue that discussion in somber tones today. 

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Show Notes

Philip Deslippe’s website

Jules Hartley on IMDB

Janja Lalich’s website and 2021 Recommended Reading List

Stacie Stukin on Twitter

36: Guru Jagat’s Pandemic Brandwash (w/Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin)

37: Guru Jagat Cultjacks Kundalini Yoga (w/Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin)

LA Magazine Griggs death notice

Inside the Dubious World of RA MA Yoga, and Its Girl Boss Guru to the Stars — Cassidy George, VICE

Guru Jagat Dies. A Saint Is Born. | by Matthew Remski | Aug, 2021 | Medium

Guru Jagat Mourned in Person with Breathing Exercises, No Masks — Matthew Remski

(PDF) From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga — Philip Deslippe

Yogi Bhajan Left Generations of Victims of Alleged Sex Abuse in His Wake — Stacie Stukin

Yogi Bhajan, yoga guru and founder of 3HO, ‘more likely than not’ sexually abused followers, says report

Aug 12, 2021
Bonus Sample: Wellness Pornography as Abuse

This past week, Matthew defined “Wellness Pornography”, working from the ideas of C. Thi Nguyen and Bekka Williams in their essay “Moral Outrage Porn”. In this bonus episode, he asks:

  • How do we measure the violence of wellness pornography when it becomes clear that it fuels vaccine hesitancy?
  • When wellness pornographers directly indoctrinate people against public health, are they, like the sexual pornographers eviscerated by Andrea Dworkin, violating civil rights to security and safety?
  • If we start to see the death concealed by wellness pornography, will we also see through the ads for pickup trucks to the ecocide they conceal? Will that help?
  • What will we do with all of this rage?

The Wellness Pornographers. Gamifying intimacy, abusing public… | by Matthew Remski | Aug, 2021 | Medium(PDF)

Moral Outrage Porn — Nguyen and Williams

Kohut and the self-objectAndrea Dworkin’s Testimony to the Attorney General On Pornography (all trigger warnings)

Hunger Strike: Starving Amidst Plenty by Susie Orbach

Aug 09, 2021
63: Yoga and the Jab (w/ Colin Hall and Sarah Garden)

The YogaVaxGate Instagram post turns out to have been a bellwether for the $88B industry packed with science skeptics and spiritual bypassers. When Wolf Terry got trolled for daring to argue in Yoga Journal that getting vaccinated was an act of non-harming, the stormfront was clear. As thousands of yoga studios ponder opening amidst the stop-and-start waves of Delta and beyond, one question dominates staff meetings: “Will we ask our returning clients for proof of vaccination?”

Matthew interviews Sarah Garden and Colin Hall of Bodhi Tree Yoga in Saskatchewan, who made national news when they announced that yes, they would. Bodhi Tree clients will have to show their card; if they can’t or don’t want to be vaccinated, online classes are still available. Simple, right? Not in Yogaland. We’ll be reading from emails describing the backlash — from the absurd to the abhorrent — faced by studio owners who are taking the no-brainer Bodhi Tree path.

In the Ticker, Derek looks at Antisemitism in vaccine disinformation campaigns while Julian checks in with Joseph Mercola, who announced he’ll be removing all content from his website this week. In the Jab, Julian lays out the “base-rate fallacy” anti-vaxxers are using to falsely claim that vaccinations are not helping to stop COVID-19. And off the top, we’ll briefly flag the topic for next week: the sudden death of conspiritualist Kundalini leader Katie Griggs.

02:22 Guru Jagat Dies. A Saint is Born

10:55 The Ticker

48:35 The Jab

55:29 Vaccination Policies at Yoga Studio

1:18:58 Interview w/Colin Hall & Sarah Garden

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Show Notes

How About Not Using the Holocaust to Spread Vaccine Disinformation?

Mob Morality and the Unvaxxed

Inside the Dubious World of RA MA Yoga, and Its Girl Boss Guru to the Stars

Griggs LAMag obit

Matthew: Guru Jagat Dies. A Saint is Born.

‘Bold decisions’: Regina yoga studio cancels in-person classes, calls on others to follow suit – Regina |

Regina yoga studio requiring proof of vaccination to attend classes

Lawyer says yoga studio should be legally allowed to ask clients for vaccination status

Bodhi Tree Yoga, Regina SK

The Most Influential Spreader, Mercola NYT Article

CNBC: 74% Infected In MA Outbreak Were Vaccinated

CNN: Vaccines Alone Are Not Enough

Map of Vaccination Rates correlated

Aug 06, 2021
Bonus Sample: Vaccines Are Not the Holocaust

A recent uptick in Holocaust-related memes around the COVID vaccine is fueling further anti-Semitic thought and behavior. Derek investigates a crop of wellness influencers guilty of this charge.

Aug 02, 2021
62: Manifesting Something Awful (w/ Dale Beran)

The genius parade continues this week with co-host Dale Beran, author of It Came from Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office. All three of us writers are legit blown away by Beran’s layered and penetrating coverage of the chan-verse-to-Capitol Riot pipeline. 

After last week’s journey led by Dr. Annie Kelly through the anti-feminism of the high-testosterone sites that prepped cyberspace for QAnon, Beran takes us deep into the cosplayed souls of the man-child nihilists who created an online politics of chaos, and served it up to the MAGA movement. 

Equal parts deep-internet history, social psychology, and critique of late capitalism, Beran’s lamentation to based and wasted youth still manages to hold out some hope for the future — and we’re going to ask him why.

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Show Notes

The Return of Anonymous

Who Are the Incels of 4Chan, and Why Are They So Angry?

It Came From Something Awful: How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office

Jul 30, 2021
Bonus Sample: Digital Delusions: How conspiracy-fueled political religions like QAnon hijack our brains

QAnon emerged out of a perfect storm of evolving technology, social psychology, and global crisis. But it exploited pre-existing neural architecture already easily hijacked by addictive drugs, junk food, porn, persuasive marketing, and cultish religions. It also relied on how mobile social media, running on cellular and wifi technology, amplifies and speeds up the algorithmic impact of hyper-contagious cultural memes on the material world. Maybe 5G was the real threat all along?

For this week’s Bonus episode, Julian explores our conspiritualist tendencies toward patternicity and apophenia, which can be super-stimulated by well-adapted memes, complex puzzles, and grandiose in-group purpose—and suggests a possible antidote.

Jul 26, 2021
61: From Anti-Feminism to Anti-Vax (w/ Dr. Annie Kelly)

It takes patience, empathy, and a steady hand to paint a detailed landscape of the politics and culture that connect anti-feminism to ethnonationalism to the broader obsessions of conspirituality.

Dr. Annie Kelly’s scholarship in these spaces reveals a network of “subversion anxieties”: that patriarchy will be replaced by social justice autocrats, that the privileged will be brought low, that feminism will destroy hetero freedoms and pleasures, that human bodies will become cyborgs, that collectivism will replace capitalism. As our guest host this week, she’ll be our tour guide through the last decade of hot internet garbage, and explain how she’s kept her manners and wits intact enough to gain the trust of QAnon moms on the front lines of the U.K.’s anti-lockdown movement. We’ll also talk about her new brilliant podcast “Vaccine: The Human Story,” which takes the history of smallpox and its eradication as an object lesson for the COVID era.

On the vaccine tip, our brief Ticker will address how the yoga world showed its anti-vax ass by trolling a Yoga Journal writer who dared to argue that getting vaccinated was a practice of non-violence.

02:09 Ahimsa Meets MAGA

12:36 From Anti-Feminism to Anti-Vax

1:24:00 Yoga Journal Replies

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Show Notes

Wolf Terry: Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine Was My Act of Ahimsa

Matthew Remski: How Yoga Journal Set Off an Anti-Vax Backlash

Kelly: Opinion | The Housewives of White Supremacy

Kelly: The alt-right: Reactionary rehabilitation for white masculinity

QAA Episode 110: Mothers For QAnon w/ Annie Kelly by QAnon Anonymous

Kelly: Vaccine, the Human Story

Anti-Vaxxers Could Be Helping Create Deadlier Versions of Covid

Jul 23, 2021
Bonus Sample: Dear Raw Meat Guy

A closer look at the content and constellations of Josh Rainer Goldstein, who livestreams himself eating raw meat.

Presented in three parts:

  1. An analysis of how the content is self-centered, ableist, misogynistic, and contribute to structural racism and epistemological confusion.
  2. An exploration of the deeply Freudian aspects of Goldstein’s account: its frenzied death wish expressed in an oral/anal fetish of raw meat and body perfectionism. The larger psychoanalytic question is: why are these displays gratifying to his followers? What does Goldstein allow them to feel, without shame? Part of it giving absolution for reactionary behaviours that feel good: consuming huge quantities of meat, and fantasizing about being surrounded by dozen babies on a homestead. In this part we also meet Goldstein’s mom.
  3. A letter that confesses how warmly I feel towards Goldstein: towards the understandable needs that get hijacked by the politics he’s gotten messed up in. How can we control what we’re exposed to, after all?


Eating Raw Meat, Dreaming of Fatherhood — Matthew Remski on Medium

Goldstein’s raw lamb mukbang.

You own your land. You defend your land.”

Jul 19, 2021
60: Crypto Dreamin’ (w/David Morris)

Are you crypto-curious? This past year has shown that an increasing number of people are dreaming of becoming crypto millionaires. But what is blockchain and this strange new digital currency and, more pertinent to this podcast, how are conspiritualists trying to exploit it, even when they don’t understand what “it” is? 

Matthew drills Derek, who worked in blockchain for over two years with two different companies, on the basics, before Derek interviews David Morris, the Chief Insights Columnist at Coindesk who also just happens to have a longtime interest in MLMs and cults. Matthew also reviews the 1996 essay, “The Californian Ideology,” the famous 1995 study of the bizarre Silicon Valley-fueled fusion of cultural bohemianism and free-market utopia rhetoric. 

In the Ticker, Julian reconsiders the definition of free speech in an age of digital misinformation through the lens of anti-vax champion RFK, Jr, Vandana Shiva, and returning Conspirituality champion, Russell Brand.

01:46 The Technology Conundrum

22:12 Blockchain Basics

1:19:31 Interview w/David Morris

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Show Notes

The Lesson of Bitconnect: Promoters Can Be Liable

China’s Anti-Crypto Crackdown Is Different This Time

Of Course China Is Anti-Bitcoin: Look What Happened to Jack Ma

Biden’s New FTC Chair Could Be a Big Web 3.0 Ally

23-year old who kept QAnon online

Italy’s Five Star Techno-Utopians

RFK’s Children’s Health Defense article on Brand and Shiva

Seeds of Doubt New Yorker article about Vandana Shiva

Stanford U. Letter on Shiva’s Anti-Science Rhetoric

“Bill Gates Agenda” viral article

Gates New Agriculture Non-Profit

Barbrooke and Cameron, 1995: THE CALIFORNIAN IDEOLOGY

Richard Brautigan, 1967: All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace

David Golumbia, The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism

Jul 15, 2021
Bonus Sample: The Future of Psychedelics

Derek investigates a recent NY Times essay by Michael Pollan as an entry point to discuss big questions in psychedelics and conspirituality: How do we honor indigenous traditions as psychedelics are legalized (and monetized)? What dangers lie ahead as pharmaceutical companies and charismatic influencers exploit psychedelics for profit and power? How can we create psychedelic rituals that suit our current time and societal temperament?

Show Notes

How Should We Do Drugs Now?

Is This Peter Thiel–Backed Startup Trying to Monopolize the Astral Plane?

Jul 12, 2021
59: Is Rudolf Steiner Dead Yet? (w/Jennifer Sapio)

What should a global network of popular and private schools do when faced with evidence that the foundation of their pedagogy was laid by a racist, proto-fascist pseudoscientist? What should they do when it becomes clear that they are evangelizing while pretending to teach secular humanism? These are the sticky questions raised by Dr. Jennifer Sapio in today’s interview with Matthew. Sapio taught for three years at the Austin Waldorf School. She was hired from her secular training, but gradually found herself drawn into what she calls an “inherently racist cult.” Her mentors pushed her towards accepting the 19th-century babblings of Rudolf Steiner, who, among other exploits, read the “Akashic Records” to learn why the spirit world disapproved of vaccines. They discuss the long shadows of racist and metaphysical nonsense that hang over the otherwise wholesome project of Waldorf education. 

In the Ticker, Derek and Julian review a recent episode of Ben Shapiro’s podcast, in which he mutually masturbates with Russell Brand to consummate their brands, but they don’t quite come together.

02:06 Ticker

43:43 Long Shadows over Waldorf

1:12:00 Interview w/Jennifer Sapio

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Show Notes

 The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special Ep. 116

The gun control debate is complex, but there are things we can do

Movement against critical race theory is deeply necessary

Dr. Thomas Cowan: Viral video claiming 5G caused pandemic easily debunked

Dr. Sapio’s Waldorf memoir: Waldorf Schools Are Inherently Racist Cults

Austin Waldorf School, Tuitions & Fees

Prof. Staudenmeier: “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism”

Protesting too much: Myths about Waldorf education

Matthew on: The “Akashic Records” to “Do Your Research” Pipeline

APTN: Residential Schools Archives

NYT: Unmarked Graves at Residential Schools in Canada: What to Know An Overview of the Indian Residential School System

Woops. Rudolf Steiner on Traditional Childhood Illnesses and Vaccines

Jul 08, 2021
Bonus Sample: True Colors

Julian reflects on unchosen racial complicity and how moments of moral courage in the face of oppressive power can reveal one’s true colors. He traces the history of Apartheid as it intersects with the stories of his youth in South Africa.

Jul 05, 2021
58: NXIVM: Recover & Educate (w/India Oxenberg)

How do we avoid being the subject of—and feeding the market for—trauma porn? If anyone knows, it’s India Oxenberg, who in less than two years (while under the unforgiving glare of a media firestorm) went from cult victim to survivor to anti-cult activist. Matthew sits down with her to discuss her recovery journey: learning to box, learning to love food, learning about “the strong yes” from her therapist. They also discuss the behind-the-scenes expertise that went into the documentary series India starred in and co-produced: Seduced

In the Ticker, Derek wonders why wellness influencers are falling back on bad habits as the world reopens while Julian tracks how Bret Weinstein’s cries of censorship exponentially boost the exposure of his anti-vax, pro-Ivermectin science hipsterism.

02:06 Ticker

36:20 Cultish Behavior

51:36 Interview w/India Oxenberg

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Show Notes

How Dangerous Is the Delta Variant, and Will It Cause a COVID Surge in the U.S.?

Sah D’Simone: Transmission Hotline

6 facts about economic inequality in the U.S.

The Pandemic Is Turning the Natural World Upside Down

With almost 50 million Americans traveling on July 4 weekend, you may need to pack your patience

June 28 Ivermectin Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis

Matthew’s Twitter thread on Bret Weinstein and his Patreon cashflow

Slavoj Zizek — Is Jordan Peterson the real Postmodernist?


A Timeline of the Nxivm Sex Cult Case

Judge Says Allison Mack ‘Willingly Enslaved, Destabilized and Manipulated’ Women

Jul 01, 2021
Bonus Sample: A Conspiracy Theory of Everything

Matthew debriefs after the Mike Rothschild interview, looking at QAnon’s “Conspiracy Theory of Everything” as a hyperobject and spiritual dilemma.

Show Notes

‘A reckoning for our species’: the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene

Conversations with Cornel West | Glenn Loury, Cornel West & Teodros Kiros | The Glenn Show

Jun 28, 2021
57: The Storm is Mutating (w/Mike Rothschild)

It’s only been eight months since Q stopped posting, but Mike Rothschild has been able to corral the firehose of data into the first major journalistic study of the fever dream that has tortured millions since 2018. He joins us as co-host this week just as his new book, The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Cult, Movement and a Conspiracy Theory of Everything, drops. We’ll ask him about researching a “conspiracy of everything, what a leaderless cult means, how an online religion worships, and how, amidst catastrophic disconfirmation and deplatforming, we’re seeing new delta QAnon variants emerge.

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Show Notes

The Storm Is Upon Us: How Qanon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything

QAnon Is Not Dead, It’s Evolving Into Something Far Worse

Jun 24, 2021
Bonus Sample: Playing Shaman

The race to capitalize on the world’s wellness needs in a post-pandemic society—well, at “post” as we can pretend to be—was unavoidable. Derek reflects on the continually unrealistic marketing promises being offered by wellness influencers, discussing how we’d benefit from more honest ad copy than the hyperbole attempting to be passed off as destiny.

Jun 21, 2021
56: Critical Race Theory in Real Life (w/Dax-Devlon Ross)

In June 2020, equity consultant and journalist Dax-Devlon Ross—who you might remember from Conspirituality 4 that very same month—published an essay called “A Letter to My White Male Friends of a Certain Age.” In it, he applied his decades of experience as a nonprofit executive and program facilitator to have an honest discussion with, as the title suggests, his white male friends. 

A year later and the book version of that essay, called “Letters to My White Male Friends,” has been published by St. Martin’s Press. There couldn’t be a better time for this conversation, given the heated skirmishes around the meaning and manipulation of Critical Race Theory in our politics. Dax joins this week as a co-host, nearly a year to the day since his last appearance, to discuss the topics in his book, including the many years of lived experiences that cut through the academic rhetoric and political posturing concerning race in America today.

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Show Notes

A Letter to My White Male Friends of a Certain Age (the original essay)

Letters to My White Male Friends

Jun 17, 2021
Bonus Sample: Doomsday Prophecy & Spirituality Porn

Humanity has an apocalypse fetish. But wrapped up In the doomsday death wish is a utopian fantasy of the ascension that comes after a fallen and sinful world is purified by cataclysmic fire. Whether the longed-for intervention is supernatural or extraterrestrial, spirituality porn hijacks our neurobiological wet-ware to bond cults together in a shared and singular climactic focus.

For this week’s Bonus, Julian traces the recurring themes between the 19th-century Great Awakening, the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide, the New Age fascination with 2012, and the QAnon fever dream.

Might our vulnerability to these narratives stem from evolutionary side-effects—which, like the space between medieval cathedral archways that are decorated with ornate trumpeting angels and burgeoning flowers, serve no structural purpose, but somehow draw a hyper-focused otherworldly fixation? 

Jun 14, 2021
55: Games Against Humanity (w/C. Thi Nguyen)

This episode is co-hosted by Dr. C. Thi Nguyen, a philosopher who teaches at the University of Utah. His breakthrough book is about agency in games, in which he shines a light on disquieting aspects of our gamified lives and the question of whether we’re still able to act on our own values. We’ll talk about Dr. Nguyen’s key ideas, all of which are super useful for navigating conspirituality: the gamification of Twitter and other systems of “value capture,” the feeling of knowing something really clearly can foreclose on the desire for nuance, and the pleasures and perils of “moral outrage porn.”

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Polarization or Propaganda? (Boston Review)

Why We Call Things ‘Porn’ (New York Times)

Escape the Echo Chamber (Aeon Magazine)

Why Games are Good but Gamification is Terrible (Conceptual Foundations of Conflict lecture)

Who Trains the Machine Artist? (Daily Nous)

The Gamification of Public Discourse (Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture)

How We Can Understand Ourselves Through Games (OUP)

Group-Strapping, Bubble, or Echo Chamber? (SERRC)

Am I in an Echo Chamber? (Open for Debate)

On gurus and seductive clarity (Decoding the Gurus podcast)

What’s in a game? (Philosophy Talk radio show/podcast)

Games: Agency as Art (New Books in Philosophy podcast)

Cheap talk (Escape the Void podcast episode, talking about clarity porn)

Echoes in the void (Escape the Void podcast episode, talking about echo chambers)

Jun 11, 2021
Bonus Sample: What Will Yoga Do to Our Children?

News from Alabama: after a 23-year ban on yoga in schools, generated by a Republican moral panic, Governor Kay Ivey signs a bill that lets kids do yoga again, but with some restrictions:

“All instruction in yoga shall be limited exclusively to poses, exercises, and stretching techniques. All poses shall be limited exclusively to sitting, standing, reclining, twisting, and balancing. All poses, exercises, and stretching techniques shall have exclusively English descriptive names. Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.”

Those who promote yoga as a universal good will welcome this Indian art form being made more accessible for children in a State with terrible educational markers. Hindu nationalists, on the other hand, may be outraged at a secularized version of yoga, stripped not only of references to Hinduism, but of signs of any type of Indian spirituality. And a lot of white yoga progressives will look at this policy—mostly from the urban North— and worry about authenticity and appropriation.

How will the children feel?

In considering who wins and loses with this new development, Matthew reviews recent U.S. yoga-war history: battles between the Hindu American Foundation and Yoga Journal, the rise of Christian non-yoga-yoga “Praise Moves”, and Encinitas Union School District got sued for allegedly violating the Establishment Clause by contracting devotees of Pattabhi Jois to teach the kids yoga.

It’s not a stretch to see an overlap between this theme and the medical-moral panic over vaccines. In both cases, the focus is on the imagined corruption of children, whether by poison, politics, or inner quiet.

To hear the full episode, support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Alabama lifts three-decade-old ban on yoga in public schools—with a catch.

New study ranks Alabama as 43rd for student achievement, grade of D+

12 Reasons Why Yoga is NOT Good for Christians

Hindu Group Stirs Debate in Fight for Soul of Yoga

Hindu American Foundation: Hindu Roots of Yoga

Shukla’s letter: Is Hindu a bad word?

Explained: The Hindu American Foundation’s defamation case against Hindus for Human Rights founders

Audrey Truschke’s tweet

Over 300 Writers, Academics and Scholars Repudiate HAF’s Attempt to Silence Hindus for Human Rights — Hindus for Human Rights

Detroit’s Satanic Statue Has A Political Point to Make


Jun 07, 2021
54: Māori MAGA (w/ Joe Trinder and Anke Richter)

Matthew sits down, across 9,000 miles of mostly ocean, with journalist Anke Richter and reporter and Māori rights activist Joe Trinder to discuss the mind-bending rise of Māori MAGA in the COVID-free sanctuary of Aoteoroa, aka New Zealand. Led by former blues musician Billy Te Kahika, conspirituality has seeped from music and cultural festivals and straight into national politics, where white supremacists manipulate Māori post-colonial distrust of settler governments to boost vaccine hesitancy and milk paranoia.

In the Ticker this week, Derek dunks on Deepak Chopra’s “Lovetuner” penny-whistle, which will change your DNA for $58 and a few toots. Julian reports on Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying as they drift farther into conspiratorial pseudoscience and advocate for whiz-bang COVID cure-alls over vaccines.

01:48 Ticker

54:06 Interview w/Anke Richter & Joe Trinder

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Exploring the Actual Science Behind Why Music Makes Us Feel Good

Anke Richter bio

Anke Richter on cults

Anke Richter on conspiracy theories in New Zealand

How alternative festivals became platforms for conspiracy theorists

Luminate Festival organisers criticised for promoting far-right conspiracy theorists

Anti-conspiracist campaigners take aim at ‘Mothers for Freedom’ event

The self-proclaimed ‘political prisoners’ in managed isolation

Anti-lockdown group of academics criticised for promoting conspiracy theorists

The scientist and the rabbit hole: How epidemiologist Simon Thornley became an outcast of his profession

E-Tangata The rise of Māori MAGA

Billy TK: False Profit

Sue Grey in the High Court:

on Plan B’s support for an anti-vaccine court case : BioBlog

Former far-Right leader plans leaflet drop of Covid-19 vaccine disinformation

Jun 03, 2021
Bonus Sample: How Many Monuments Must Fall?

Derek looks back at three important historical figures with unsavory pasts to ask the question: who gets to decide who gets canceled, and why?

Show Notes

Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India 

How would Gandhi’s celibacy tests with naked women be seen today?

John Muir Is Canceled. Who’s Next?

Don’t Cancel John Muir

I’m an MLK scholar – and I’ll never be able to view King in the same light

A judge gave a drug dealer a second chance. Sixteen years later, he swore him in as a lawyer.

Sponsored Content: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

The Unbearable Feelings of the Anti-Masker

May 31, 2021
53: Learning Cultish (w/Amanda Montell)

We’re extremely pleased that someone who isn’t a Boomer  — and is younger than us — is making a serious but accessible contribution to this golden age of cult literature. Linguist Amanda Montell joins Julian for an engaging interview about her new book, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, which examines the power of language in high-demand groups, from The People’s Temple to the local Young Living dinner party. In a debrief, we discuss not only Montell’s study, but also our own run-ins with spiritual mumbo-jumbo.

In the Ticker, Matthew wonders what Sayer Ji does when he loses his Facebook privileges and is relegated to the armpit of Telegram. Why, he goes full Satanic Panic, of course!

01:34 Ticker

15:28 Interview w/Amanda Montell

1:17:59 Learning Cultish

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Deplatformed for Anti-Vax Propaganda, Sayer Ji Turns to Satanic Panic Content

Amanda Montell’s website

May 27, 2021
Bonus Sample: Loaded Language & Productive Discussion

For this week’s Patreon Bonus, Julian and Matthew discuss words, world views, and how productive disagreement can lead to mutual understanding. In today’s overheated discourse, social media posturing can make the culture wars feel like pro wrestling and political conversation like tip-toeing through a hair-trigger minefield. While these two co-hosts share a healthy skepticism for conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and New Age grift, some of their underlying philosophical and political beliefs hold interesting tensions. On the table this time: postmodernism, science, cultural sensitivity, Enlightenment values, social constructionism, and grand narratives about the arc of moral history.

May 24, 2021
52: The Clerical Class of the Right (w/Alex Ebert)

This week we learned that Melinda Gates was disturbed by Bill’s men’s-club relationship with Jeffrey Epstein all the way back in 2011. And for fuck sake: when Bill visited Epstein’s Manhattan lair, reports say, he counseled the predator on image rehab while Epstein counseled Bill on his loveless marriage. Are the conspiritualists right, and about what? Matthew will revisit an earlier essay on Gates, and fill in some blind spots. 

Derek tackles the obscene co-optation of trans activism by anti-vaxxers who now pledge to lie about their status by “identifying as vaccinated.” In keeping with our musical theme, Julian reminisces about playing protest rock under an assumed name and the threat of a bomb under the stage during the Apartheid years in South Africa.

In our feature interview, world-weary rock star Alex Ebert—frontman for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros—joins Derek to map out the late 20th-century slide into infinitely co-opted creativity and revolution. They discuss the reasons America could use death rituals, the rise of Trump as the ultimate New Ager, wellness influencers as “the clerical class of the right,” and to ask if critical thinking and open-eyed spirituality are the new punk rock—and for how long.

02:41 Ticker

39:50 Protest Rock

49:46 Interview with Alex Ebert

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

The NYT reported in the fall of 2019 that Gates was a frequent guest of Epstein in Manhattan

A description from Town and Country of Epstein’s mansion

Sources at many meetings describe the Gates-Epstein vibe

Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic

The Gene: An Intimate History | Siddhartha Mukherjee

Inside the Republican Anti-Transgender Machine

Gender-affirming surgery linked to better mental health, study finds

“Identify As” Twitter thread

May 20, 2021
Bonus Sample: No Moral Outrage Porn, No Punching Down

Matthew had a plan for this week — a 4K word essay on what could be learned from studying the content of an outrageously offensive conspiritualist… but then he shelved it. Why?

A last-minute, off-the-cuff discussion on what it means to indulge or not indulge moral outrage porn. What it means to punch up or down, and how we decide. How we might confront an influencer who has managed to monetize mental illness.

Produced with an enormous debt of gratitude to the work of C. Thi. Nguyen.


Moral Outrage Porn“: Nguyen and Williams

Nguyen’s public scholarship on gamification, value capture, narrowed morality, and the seductions of certainty.

Nguyen on the gamification of public discourse

Aaron Rabinowitz on cheap talk

Matthew’s elegy for Michael Stone

May 17, 2021
51: You Can’t Force It (w/Devendra Banhart)

As our access to vaccines eases the pandemic in the Global North, U.S.-based conspiritualists keep riding the wave of covid-denial influence—all the way to the bank. This week, Julian reports that Gen-Z spiritual entrepreneur Jason Shurka has launched a new media hub, The Academy of Divine Knowledge, and affiliating with the predictable rogue’s gallery—Christiane Northrup, Del Bigree, Sayer Ji, David Icke, and Judy Mikovits among them. This confederacy of dunces charges a $33 monthly membership because “33 is a Master Number that holds many divine meanings” that leads to “infinite possibilities,” such as magically draining your bank account. 

Of course, the pandemic is far from over. India is still going through the worst of it, and as Matthew discusses, one reason appears to be the influence of astrologers on Narendra Modi’s decision-making. Meanwhile, Derek unpacks the repeated fat-shaming being done by conspiritualists when boasting of their awesome immune systems. 

In this week’s interview, Derek talks with Venezuelan-American singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart about global music, anti-vaxxers, conspiritualist ideology, and paying $24 for a smoothie in Malibu. Next week will continue the theme, as we look at music’s influence in cult worship and indoctrination, with Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros joining the discussion.

04:06 Ticker

1:06:31 The Jab

1:12:48 Indian Rastas

1:26:00 Interview with Devendra Banhart

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

The Racist and Problematic History of the Body Mass Index

Fat shaming, BMI and alienation: COVID-19 brought new stigma to large-sized people

Fat-shamers have felt enabled by Covid, and it’s hard to fight back

CDC: Obesity, Race/Ethnicity, and COVID-19

The Bizarre and Racist History of the BMI

Uncovering and Destigmatizing Male Body Dysmorphia in Popular Culture

Jewish Star article about Jason Shurka’s “miracle Torah”

Signature Investment Group team page w/Jason Shurka as VP

Matthew on Modi and the stars

The Indian government is cracking down on harrowing news about the country’s COVID catastrophe

The crisis in India may claim as many as 1.2 million lives by August

After the festival ended, a region 1000 km south of Haridwar reported a 99% infection rate amongst the returning pilgrims

Reporting in&

May 13, 2021
Bonus Sample: On the Anxiety of Death

Derek discusses a forthcoming interview with Alex Ebert, which will be featured on Conspirituality 52. They discuss the dearth of death rituals in America. In this bonus episode, Derek meditates and, more to the point, our anxiety around aging, including a modern incarnation of that age-old fear: the quest for perpetual youth through wrinkle-free skin. 

May 10, 2021
50. Sellouts & Zealots (w/ Sheena Sood)

When the drones hum over the improvised cremation grounds of Delhi, what will the conspiritualist see in the livestream—if they even look? Will their Orientalist spell, fixated on fire ceremonies and mantras, finally be broken? In our interview this week, Matthew speaks with sociologist Sheena Sood about the hubris of Hindu nationalism as its yoga-boosting ministers show their pious ineptitude, telling their gasping citizens to stop being crybabies and consider drinking holy cow urine against COVID.

What about when other supposed zealots show their sell-out colors? Austin’s biohacking guru, Aubrey Marcus just sold his hipster supplement company to Unilever, of all companies. Derek breaks down the insanity of the COVID-contrarian set taking the buyout from the big-Ag, big-Pharm mack daddy. Julian looks at how, in the very same week, Marcus’s biz partner Joe Rogan, excuses his vax-hesitant comments by admitting he’s a moron. But isn’t the joke on us?

Priests and punks, preaching spirit and stockpiling cash. When will this be over?

02:21 Ticker

31:03 The Jab

37:03 Agni Burns

1:01:28 Interview with Sheena Sood

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Super-spreader events in India

Maha Kumbh Mela 2021

Oxygen express trains in India

Waiving Vaccine Patents at the WTO

Anti-Vax Firebombing in Italy

Aubrey Marcus announces Unilever sale

Art of Manliness Podcast #93: Total Human Optimization With Aubrey Marcus

A British Skin Care Brand Pressured Asian Influencers To Promote Its Skin Whiteners. They Fought Back.

Unilever South Africa to pull all TRESemmé products for 10 days over racist ad

World must tell India’s government to stop religious gatherings during COVID

Oxygen Express trains deliver supplies as India hit by covid-19 surge

US supports vaccine patent waiver proposal at World Trade Organization

Government funding of vaccine development

Italian police arrest two anti-vaxxers for fire bombing of vaccination hub

Richard Davis on Thoreau, the “yogi”

Hearts and Minds Documentary: 

May 06, 2021
Bonus Sample: The God-Man & His Enabler: How Ken Wilber Got Adi Da All Wrong

By the 1990s, the sadistic cult leader who claimed to be God on Earth had already fled the United States to avoid a stack of lawsuits and potential criminal charges. Even still, highly influential spiritual intellectual Ken Wilber was calling him the “greatest living realizer,” privately saying he was “happy about how many people had found their way to Adi Da through reading my books.”

Wilber later modified his model of stages of spiritual development to try to account for supposedly enlightened beings who were awful people. In this week’s Bonus episode, Julian recounts this story of a sociopathic holy man and his brilliantly naive enabler—which culminates in a wickedly illustrative thought experiment!

May 03, 2021
49: Tik Tok Fulfillment Center (w/Abbie Richards)

On the road to the screen, a rich story can flatten into propaganda. On the road to the influencer economy, a complex teaching can degrade into a conspirituality meme. As the Oscar glitter fades, we look at how Amazon could never have signed off on a real nomadland story any more than Gaia TV could have ever done justice to the spiritualities it exploits. 

In the Ticker, Julian looks at new research into correlations between huffing essential oils and seizures. Matthew looks at Miami’s Centner Academy’s announcement that they’ll fire vaccinated teachers—and wonders whether Kelly Brogan and Christiane Northrup sending kids and grandkids to this elite private school has something to do with it. In the Jab, Julian reviews the state of the nation re: vaccines, and offers three key principles to inject into conversations with the hesitant.

Our interview this week is with TikTok anti-disinformation activist Abbie Richards, whose “Conspiracy Pyramid” and tea-time QAnon explainers have gone viral on the next-gen platform. Matthew talks with Abbie about her process, challenges, why she hates golf, and what GenXers (and older cohorts) should keep in mind when they wonder if the kids are alright.

02:58 Ticker

35:16 The Illusion of Nomadland

1:12:16 The Jab

1:22:41 Interview with Abbie Richards

2:12:56 Interview update

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Jim DeFede breaks the Centner Academy story

Centner’s Medical Freedom from Mandated Vaccines (disinfo warning)

Biscayne Times profile of the Centner’s: The Privileged Class

Tour of the Centner’s Miami penthouse

Preethaji and Krishnaji, proprietors of O&O Academy

Krishnaji’s culty dad, Kalki Bhagavan: Mystic and the moolah

‘It’s Baffling’: Parents Confused After Centner Academy Announces They Won’t Employ People Who Have Been Vaccinated

The Case Against Nomadland

What Nomadland Gets Wrong About Gig Labor

Amazon’s Minimum Wage Hike Comes With Cuts To Other Compensation

“Strategic Transparency”: Ann Gleig. “From Sweeping Zen to Open Buddhism: Sex Scandals, Social Media, and Transparency in Western Buddhism” for Buddhism in the West Group. American Academy of Religion, Denver, November 17-20, 2018 (forthcoming)

Abbie Richards

Apr 29, 2021
Bonus Sample: Post-Cult Shame

Survivor shame over what has been lost, and how one has been complicit.

Apologist shame: turned inside out and externalized as aggression.

Popular shaming, which tries to deflect attention from how close to home cultic dynamics really are. 

In the cult landscape, shame is a common denominator. In this contemplation, Matthew unpacks various aspects, with help from the writing of cult theorists and recovery counselors Alexandra Stein, Daniel Shaw, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi. 

Music: Spiegel im Spiegel and Pari Intervallo: Pärt


Primo Levi: The Drowned and the Saved

The Relational System of the Traumatizing Narcissist — Shaw

Rachel Bernstein’s “One More Thing” at the end of Betrayal and Power w/ Nitai Joseph, former Hare Krishna — S4E5.

All of Rachel Bernstein’s IndoctriNation podcast.

What’s Behind the Blowback You’ll Get When You Engage Cult Members

“Deception, Dependence, Dread of Leaving” — Langone

“I Got Mine-ism”

Selected Bibliography:

Ainsworth, Mary D. Salter. Patterns of Attachment: a Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Routledge, 2015.

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. Penguin Classics, 2017.

Freyd, Jennifer J. Betrayal Trauma: the Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse. Harvard University Press, 1998.

Freyd, Jennifer J., and Pamela Birrell. Blind to Betrayal: Why We Fool Ourselves We Arent Being Fooled. Wiley, 2013.

Hassan, Steven. Combating Cult Mind Control: the #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults. Freedom of Mind Press, 2016.

Kramer, Joel, and Diana Alstad. The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. North Atlantic Books/Frog, 1993.

Lalich, Janja, and Madeleine Landau. Tobias. Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships. Bay Tree Pub., 2006.

Lalich, Janja. Escaping Utopia: Growing up in a Cult, Getting out, and Starting Over. Routledge, 2018.

Langone, Michael D. Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. W.W. Norton, 1995.

Lifton, Robert Jay. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: a Study of “Brainwashing” in China.W.W. Norton, 1961.

Miller, Alice, et al. For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2002.

Oakes, Len. Prophetic Charisma: the Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities. Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Shaw, Daniel. Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.

Stein, Alexandra. Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in Cults and Totalitarian Systems. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.

Apr 26, 2021
48: Traumatic Influence (w/Kyra Haglund & Hala Khouri)

Teal Swan’s suicide-teasing trauma pseudo-therapy has cast a spell over millions. Kaia Ra is an up-and-coming contender, selling divine jewelry and a channeled text about how to transcend QAnon-type nightmares. Both claim to be survivors of long-term Satanic Ritual Abuse and alien ambassadors. Both have capitalized on the chaos of 2020. 

We discuss the trend of trauma exploitation, Satanic Panics throughout the decades, and social media entertainment finding cover through the pretense of therapy. Then we’ll hear from the pros: licensed psychologists Hala Khouri and Kyra Haglund join Julian to discuss the importance of trauma-informed yoga and cases of abuse in wellness spaces.

In the Ticker, Derek examines the snake oil of Luke Storey, Julian reviews the “Health and Freedom” conference recently held in a Bible college in Tulsa, and Matthew worries about QAnons in Toronto who have started speaking in tongues. We’ll also discuss a new phenomenon amongst anti-vaxxers: “Reverse Contagion Anxiety”, which leads them to believe that merely being around vaccinated people will make them infertile or re-organize their DNA. (We can only hope.)

CW: Audio clips from Lin Wood and Kaia Ra describing sexual / satanic ritual abuse of children in the context of QAnon mythology (Wood), and personal origin story (Ra).

02:24 Ticker

44:58 The Jab

47:14 Traumatic Influencers

1:26:30 Interview with Kyra Haglund & Hala Khouri

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Luke Storey wants to sell you a pyramid scheme

Electromagnetic Fields & Parental Panics: A case study in how science can bring comfort

Reporter Sean O’Shea gets yelled at in tongues

Sgt. Brown gets suspended for hugging anti-maskers

When QAnon Came to Canada

@selfhealingmama Chloe Angeline with a dire womb-warning

Christiane Northrup as Vaccine Lysistrata

Gizmodo investigative podcast series on Teal Swan

Backstory on Barbara Snow

Affidavit: Snow threatens family members, trashes house

Snow testifies that she’s a terrible court expert

Remembering Michelle Remembers

Be Scofield on Teal Swan

Teal Swan via the BBC

Swan via OZY


Apr 23, 2021
Bonus Sample: Vanillaroma

We don’t get “well” until everyone has an opportunity to tap into the resources needed to live. This week, Derek reads a 2006 essay from one of his closest friends, Dax-Devlon Ross, about being pulled over twice in the same stretch of NJ highway in a manner of minutes—all due to an air freshener dangling from his rearview mirror.

Apr 19, 2021
47: Is An Ethical Cult Possible? (w/ Jamie Wheal)

How do we tease apart the gold from the dross? What can be salvaged from a subculture marred by charismatic con-artistry, power abuses, and the toxic ingredients that lead to conspirituality? Founder of the Flow Genome Project, Jamie Wheal joins Derek for a wide-ranging interview about his new book, Recapture the Rapture. Following up on his Pulitzer-nominated bestseller, Stealing Fire, Wheal makes an ambitious argument for a dazzling renewal of meaning and mystery through sacralized biohacking. Rapture can be recaptured, Wheal argues, through awe-thumping music, blessed sex, moderate psychedelic use, and conscious community, or as he puts it “ethical cults.”  After the interview, we’ll discuss.

In the Jab, Julian looks at clotting issues and emerging reports of vaccine impacts on women. In the Ticker, Matthew reviews the NY Times investigation of Alan Hofstetter’s wife and her January 6th adventure. Derek covers conspiritualism in fitness bro culture while Julian reports on Christiane Northrup’s latest junk science infomercial.

02:06 Ticker

31:36 The Jab

36:49 Interview with Jamie Wheal

1:56:32 Interview Discussion

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

New Jersey gym owners offer free membership to those who don’t get COVID-19 vaccine

What We Know About Ian Smith, the New Jersey Gym Owner Defying Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Orders

Anti-mask gym fined

Fitness centers are struggling to rebound from the pandemic

A Teacher Marched to the Capitol. When She Got Home, the Fight Began.

White women’s role in white supremacy, explained

Recapture the Rapture — Jamie Wheal

Cult Dynamics 101: a primer

Hypnotic Da Free John — Svengali of the truth-seeking set (San Francisco Examiner, 1985)

Guru hit by sex-slave suit (San Francisco Examiner, 1985)

Original Oregonian investigation into Osho and Rajneeshpuram

Apr 15, 2021
Bonus Sample: Gaia & The Map to Nowhere

With over a half-million paying subscribers, Gaia is the world’s largest spiritual media streaming service. Have they have played a role in redpilling the Q-Age demographic? With a little help from Ken Wilber, Lewis Carrol, Jorge Luis Borges, and Jean Baudrillard, Julian maps out their landscape of ascension narratives, UFOs, cryptozoology, conspiracy theories, channelers, and yoga classes. He also tells the story of being part of the early LOHAS social media website they gobbled up in 2007.

Apr 12, 2021
46: Back to the Vax (w/Lydia Greene & Heather Simpson)

Our EP10 guest, Center for Countering Digital Hate founder, Imran Ahmed, has been bringing the heat. His “Disinformation Dozen” white paper made a huge splash, prompting a conference call with Nancy Pelosi’s team ahead of their biannual grilling of Zuckerberg and Dorsey. Ahmed’s paper spotlights the fact that 65% of anti-vax content originates from just 12 social media figures. Conspirituality superstars Sayer Ji, Kelly Brogan, and Christiane Northrup hold positions 8, 9, and 10. Ahmed wants them deplatformed—and he’s making it happen. In response, the Dozen are raising money and having themselves caricatured as superheroes.

Who have they been deceiving and emotionally abusing? This week Matthew interviews Heather Simpson and Lydia Greene from Back to the Vax, an anti-disinformation think-tank they founded after fleeing the online cult of anti-vax propaganda. In their first interview together, Simpson and Greene recount how mother-centered anti-vax social media spaces drew them in and exposed them to all manner of anxious conspiracism—and what it cost them to leave. They’ve got a very clear message about how public health communications can meet this entrenched challenge.

In the Ticker, Julian tracks the Dozen’s emerging strategy, Derek finally addresses the English elephant in the room, Russell Brand, and Matthew takes an early look at the big reveal of Cullen Hoback’s Q: Into the Storm on HBO.

02:43 Ticker

1:12:54 The Jab

1:18:18 Interview with Lydia Greene & Heather Simpson

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

What “Causes” Covid? The Virus or The System?

Decoding the Gurus: Russell Brand: Spiritual Transcendence and Anarchic Revolution is Praxis

Mike Rothschild on Hoback’s Q: Into the Storm

Episode 136: Into The Storm feat Cullen Hoback by QAnon Anonymous

I’m Cullen Hoback, the guy who made that QAnon series on HBO Max. AMA! : television

Rothschild on the HBO reveal: Ron Watkins QAnon: The Truth Has Always Been There

Back to the Vax

Lydia on NPR: She Resisted Getting Her Kids The Usual Vaccines. Then The Pandemic Hit

Heather on CNN: Why this former anti-vaxx influencer is getting the Covid vaccine

Apr 08, 2021
Bonus Sample: Pray & Work

Matthew offers a meditation on Brandolini’s Law — “the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it” — and accepting the hopelessness of altruistic reporting, whether on disinformation or climate change. With a haunting clip from ex-journalist Dahr Jamail. Also: a memory of visiting a Benedictine monastery, where there were no screens, and where the ancient rule understood that because work is never done, it only becomes sustainable through contemplating time itself. 

Show Notes

Primer on Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)

Brandolini’s Law

Cuomo covers up nursing home deaths

Sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo

Dahr Jamail and Barbara Cecil on Last Born in the Wilderness

Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac

Apr 05, 2021
45: Theatre of the Transferred

Conspiritualists hide their grifts in mantras. MLMs market themselves as communities, while cults preach freedom. When a research firm spotlights Sayer Ji as a disinformation super-spreader, he calls them a hate group. When Lil Nas X spins a catharsis of gay-goth dreams, he embodies MAGA disgust. It’s an age of misdirection.

It’s also an age of transference. Living and breathing people become memes. The impulse to communicate gets devoured by the need to perform. Drives to justice adopt dominant affects.  Real conspiracies get overshadowed by myths. We’re keeping ourselves very busy while the world burns.

This week we’re releasing a bonus episode into the wild that speaks to a small wedge of the transference game. Matthew contemplates what it means, in both helpful and unhelpful ways, to be named as or reduced to “cis white men”, and how important issues can get lost in the dead zone between culture wars and cults.

Both conspirituality and social media influence are driven by the hot take, the keyword, the avatar, and the speed of emotional reactivity. And cults are glued together by intense, non-negotiable emotional demands on participants. So far we’ve shown how all of these elements degrade our chances to evaluate evidence and resist being conned by charismatics or cult leaders. Our hope is that we contribute to a slower and open-ended exploration of how to balance the rhetoric of social change with the nuance of interpersonal empathy.

In the Ticker, Derek looks at the retraction crisis plaguing scientific research. Julian watches Lil Nas X lap-dance through the MAGA homo-pocalypse. Matthew looks at a new cult scheme for recruiting anti-vaxxers, while the Jab examines the conspiritualist love of contrarian experts with scientific credentials but no evidence for their claims.

04:25 Ticker

22:09 The Jab

28:35 Theatre of the Transferred

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoes’ trolled some Christians. But ‘Montero’ is about more than that.

Lil Nas X’s unofficial ‘Satan’ Nikes containing human blood sell out in under a minute

Long-retracted papers are still cited in major journals

Retracting publications doesn’t stop them from influencing science

The ex-Pfizer scientist who became an anti-vax hero

A rare clotting disorder may cloud the world’s hopes for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Marketplace attended a COVID-19 conspiracy boot camp to see how instructors are targeting vaccine skeptics

ContraPoints on Cancelling 

Robin diAngelo defining “white fragility

“Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege Knapsack

That time I didn’t 

Apr 01, 2021
Bonus Sample: The Role of Intuition

Social psychologists and evolutionary psychologists have been studying the origins, neural networks, and role of intuition for decades. Wellness influencers cling to the belief that intuition is a mystical force. Derek looks at the research while celebrating the importance of this hard-won skill.

Mar 29, 2021
44: Netflix & Pill

It was inevitable: QAnon has stormed HBO. Less inevitably, Conspirituality Podcast has been invited to an academic conference Down Under. In this episode, we’ll review how the first two episodes of Cullen Hoback’s “Into the Storm” lands, and wonder about what happens when conspiracy movements come under big-screen and academic scrutiny.

Cullen embedded within the labyrinthine Q-world for almost four years. He globetrotted, gaining incredible access to a network of social avoidants and keyboard warriors. His sympathy is both touching and problematic. Our own embedding in the wellness world — sixty years between the three of us — hasn’t been quite so weird or dangerous. But it does raise a similar question: how clearly can we see the conspirituality of the world we’ve worked in for so long? As Cullen tries to draw out the humanity and intentionality of the QAnons, how are we understanding — or missing — our own subjects? Then there’s the question of impact. Will America understand itself more clearly after Cullen’s work? And where will the scholarship on conspirituality go after we dump our research on that conference table?

In the Ticker this week, we review the new Lululemon mat, report on how Imran Ahmed’s team at the CCDH identified the social media Disinformation Dozen and succeeded in partially deplatforming conspiritualist power-couple Sayer Ji and Kelly Brogan. In the Jab, we’ll be looking at the woes of Astrazeneca Covid vaccine as they approach applying for FDA approval.

02:38 Ticker

27:20 The Jab

31:05 Netflix & Pill

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Lululemon gives the yoga mat a clever makeover

Lavrence and Lozanski on Lululemon’s neoliberal schtick

Workers making £88 Lululemon leggings claim they are beaten

CCDH’s “Disinformation Dozen” Report

Matthew’s thread on Zen and the Art of the Q-drop

On Psychological & Influence Ops in the Info Age: Q in the Crosshairs (CW: disinformation site)

Hyperobjects: ‘A reckoning for our species’: the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene

First we take Deakin, then we take Berlin

Mar 26, 2021
Bonus Sample: This is NOT Just a Drug!

Julian recounts the wild and touching journey of four close friends in a self-directed spiritual group therapy session—super high on Ecstasy.

Content Warning: this story includes accounts of traumatic events.

Mar 22, 2021
43: How to Redpill a Yoga Podcaster

Back in December, a certified anesthesiologist named Dr. Madhava Setty posted a long critique of our podcast to the New Age website Collective Evolution. While cordial and apparently well-meaning, Setty’s essay failed to quote a single episode. Setty filled in his own blanks with outright misrepresentations, leading with: “Matthew, Derek and Julian… assume that there are no large conspiracies in play in our world at this time. To state it flatly, to them the idea of a large conspiracy is so preposterous that they cannot even see that they are making an assumption when dismissing the possibility.” 

There’s no planet on which any of our episodes have said anything of the kind. In fact, we’ve repeatedly affirmed the opposite: that conspiracy theories and conspiritualists that monetize them exist because real conspiracies traumatize people. Tuskegee happened. MKUltra was real. #savethechildren took hold in part because Jeffery Epstein’s network has not yet been fully understood or prosecuted.

Setty is so well-mannered and convincing, however, that New Age influencers who might be feeling a little defensive about how the yoga and wellness world has shown its ass in 2020 have welcomed his dulcet tones with open arms. In one appearance, he guested on J. Brown’s Yoga Talks podcast, and provided a master class on how to lead an anxious and altruistic yoga devotee into conspirituality. 

We didn’t respond to Setty’s initial essay because there was nothing to respond to: he didn’t offer any data. But now we think it’s worth examining in detail how, in real time — and before he winds up on Joe Rogan — he seductively spins together theories about divine consciousness, 9/11, COVID, and how everything is not as it seems.

In the Jab, Julian reviews the scare-mongering of the newest seemingly-qualified anti-vax doc, Geert Vanden Bossche. In the Ticker, Derek looks at the empty religions of Instagram and the truth seekers of tomorrow—and today.

03:08 Ticker

12:43 The Jab

17:26 How to Redpill a Yoga Podcaster

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Who is Geert Vanden Bossche?

Dr. Mobeen Syed on Vanden Bossche.

Dr. Zubin Damania on Vanden Bossche.

America Without God

The Empty Religions of Instagram

The Truth Seekers Are Coming

Madhava Setty distorts our podcast content

Madhava Setty redpills J Brown in real time

World Trade Center 7 Report Puts 9/11 Conspiracy Theory to Rest

The Vaccine Race — Meredith Wadman

Mar 19, 2021
Bonus Sample: “CIS White Man” Means So Many Things

This episode follows up on earlier discussions on the podcast about how we manage privilege. Our exploration of cancel culture — specifically that part of it that is really a form of horizontal violence — isn’t motivated by any shift to the right, but by a desire to unpack the rhetoric, jargon, and performative behaviours, that, so often in the reductive rhythm of social media, serve to shut down learning, and polarize progressives that might otherwise work together.

Here, Matthew focuses on how a rhetorical device in social justice relates to our project: what it means, in both helpful and unhelpful ways, to be named as or reduced to “cis white men”.

Reduction and essentialism are key aspects of the meme-ification of our politics, and potent weapons in the arsenal of conspirituality. None of the influencers we study on this podcast would have gained their social power without labelling and essentializing their opponents in black-and-white terms, without taking black-and-white positions on things like vaccines, big Pharma, and whether or not a person is “awake”.

Both conspirituality and social media influence are driven by the tag, the hot take, the keyword, the avatar, and the speed of emotional reactivity. And cults are glued together by intense, non-negotiable emotional demands on participants. So far we’ve shown how all of these elements degrade our chances to evaluate evidence and resist being conned by charismatics or cult leaders. Our hope is that we contribute to a slower and open-ended exploration of how to balance the rhetoric of crucial social change with the nuance of interpersonal empathy.

Show Notes

ContraPoints on Cancelling 

Robin diAngelo defining “white fragility

“Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege Knapsack

That time I didn’t get shot

Minimization as a patriarchal reflex

Cedric Michael Williams on DiAngelo 

Daniel Bergner on DiAngelo 

Tada Hozumi, Selfish Activist

Log the Fuck Off, Jacobin

Mar 15, 2021
42: Deradicalizing From Digital Hate (w/Caolan Robertson)

Imagine that you’re 25 years old. You grew up Irish, gay, and online. When the Orlando Pulse massacre explodes, you go to YouTube for the news. You watch Milo Yiannopolous and Gavin McInnes fake-kiss in front of the police-taped club and say that the Muslims are coming to kill all gay people. YouTube’s algorithm spins you downward into anti-Islamic content. Before long, you’ve left your marketing job with a mission: to make slick propaganda videos for some of the most despicable alt-right ghouls on the planet. You believe they’ll stand up for you.

How did you get here at such a young age? What does it feel like? If you have a change of heart, if you want to fight back against your old life and its consequences, who will believe you? Should they believe you? How will you help them believe you?

Today Matthew asks Caolan Robertson these difficult questions. After years of being the PR man for people like Tommy Robinson and Laura Southern, Robertson has shaken it off and started to collaborate with other ex-alt-right members on a deradicalization project called Future Freedom.

In the Ticker, Julian reports on the new QAnon variant infecting telegram, Sabmyk. Matthew reviews how Christiane Northrup and a Gen Z priestess in a Greek eco-fascist group flip their positive orientalism on its head to diss the Dalai Lama for getting vaccinated. Derek looks at one of the strangest grifts around: pet psychics.

02:51 Ticker

34:50 The Jab

42:00 Interview with Caolan Robertson

1:40:55 Interview discussion

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

What Do Dogs Really Think? Pet Psychics Are Standing By

The Sabmyk Network: How a mysterious disinformation network is hijacking QAnon – HOPE not hate

What is Sabmyk? QAnon Followers Targeted By New Messianic Mythology

Also: QAnon was big in Iran

The Dalai Lama Gets A COVID-19 Shot And Urges Others To Get Vaccinated

Aeifaron on Instagram

Sofia Katsaiti aka Sofia Tara on Instagram is very worried about the Dalai Lama’s vaccine

Aeifaron looks like a totally normal eco-fascist group

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes Brazil variant in lab study

Future Freedom project on NBC

Caolan Robertson on Twitter

Future Freedom Community

Mar 11, 2021
Bonus Sample: Cats and the Meaning of Life

Humans will never be cats. In his new book, Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life, the philosopher John Gray argues that we can learn a lot about how to live from them—namely, how to calm our anxiety around existential distress. In this sample of a Patreon bonus episode, Derek shares what he’s learned from his three cats, as well as how Gray’s advice applies to the conspiratorial-minded (i.e. metacognition gone awry).

Mar 08, 2021
41: Snark Tank

Two episodes in our catalog haunt this podcast. In episode 6, Steve Hassan advised listeners to treat people under the undue influence of QAnon and conspirituality with welcome and respect. Castigation won’t work. Shame will make things worse. He told this story about how his elderly neighbor brought him homemade cookies when he finally returned home after years in the cult of Rev. Moon. No questions asked—just cookies.

But in episode 10, Imran Ahmed pointed out that any engagement of disinformation peddlers is actually a win for them because it boosts their visibility. His strategy—and he has the data to prove it works—is to block, isolate, and clear the public space for content that is actually helpful. Where Hassan offers an open hand, Ahmed says, “Talk to the hand.”

We’re nine months on from those interviews. Are we living up to either of them? Are we isolating and deplatforming propagandists? Are we adding good vibes to the scene and leaving the door open for earnest people to be forgiven? Or does the frustration of the content trend us towards cynicism and snark? A recent Instagram thread by dedicated listeners really brought the point home for discussion.

In the Ticker, we cover the whitewashing of global cuisine by wellness influencers, bauhauswife’s upleveling of COVID denialism with yellow journalism, and Target-store QAnon vandal Melissa Lively trying to make amends-with-benefits for past outbursts. In the Jab, Julian looks at the facts around the PCR test. (Hint: it works.)

02:35 Ticker

21:23 The Jab

25:54 Snark Tank

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Lost in the Brine

A Death in Yolande Norris-Clarke’s Free Birth World

Kelly Brogan ditches her psychiatry cred with COVID-denialism

Who wants to eat magic dirt from a COVID minimizer?

Melissa Lively un-cancels herself from QAnon

Bauhauswife free births the news in Canada, from Costa Rica (video)

Bauhauswife free births the news in Canada, from Costa Rica

Mar 05, 2021
Bonus Sample: Stranded On The Lifeboat: Escaping The Large Group Awareness Cult

One-hundred-and-twenty seekers filled the LA hotel ballroom. We sought the life-changing experience that could only happen by holding in our pee, being religiously on-time, and taking full responsibility for creating the lives we said we wanted, but hadn’t achieved… yet.

Mar 01, 2021
40: White Supremacy: Grift and Gravity (w/Michelle Cassandra Johnson & Daniel Lombroso)

Around 2015, the alt-right movement erupted online to both provoke and monetize MAGA momentum and distort and defame the real-world progress symbolized in Barack Obama and agitated by Black Lives Matter. Young white supremacist poster-boy Richard Spencer and edgy internet crypto-racists like Lauren Southern, Mark Cernovich, and Gavin McInnes led the viral charge, racking up subscribers while lining their pockets on the side. Daniel Lombroso of The Atlantic embedded with their ilk from 2016-18, collecting enough footage to release the award-winning documentary, White Noise. Julian sat down to talk with him about the movement, and about making this film while Jewish.

Was any of this a surprise to anti-oppression activists on the ground? Not according to Michelle Cassandra Johnson, author of Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World. While the white supremacy Lombroso whistleblows is spectacular and absurd, the white supremacy Johnson and other justice activists feel in their bones has been a centuries-long war of attrition against equality. Matthew sits down with Johnson to discuss how the yoga and wellness worlds in particular are (and are not) responding to the intensification of both calls to justice, as well as the blowback.

In the Ticker, we wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow’s new long-COVID Goop merch—and her “longer-term detox” that includes selling Goop-approved $500 blankets and $8,000 necklaces—heralds a dawning era in high-end disability consumerism.

02:52 Goop There It Is

14:40 Interview with Daniel Lombroso

51:49 Fear of a White Planet

1:18:38 Interview with Michelle Cassandra Johnson

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

It took a year, but Gwyneth Paltrow figured out how to exploit the pandemic

Gwyneth Paltrow Is Selling Vibrators

Healing My Body with a Longer-Term Detox

The NHS dings Gwyneth’s long COVID cures

Lauren Southern hides the face of her biracial baby

Daniel Lombroso’s White Noise

Southern Poverty Law on Cernovich

Southern Poverty Law on Southern

Richard Spencer, white subsidy sucker

Michelle Cassandra Johnson’s website

Michelle Cassandra Johnson’s TedX talk at WakeForestU

Excerpt from Skill In Action, ed 2. Due out November, 2021:

Life and Death

Our natural state is that of feeling our breath flowing in and out, deeply and fully. And yet, we are in a time where people are struggling to literally and figuratively find a way to breathe. Dominant culture asks us to disconnect from our humanity, our bodies, and our wholeness while buying into a narrative which states some of us are meant to

Feb 25, 2021
Bonus Sample: Anti-Masker at the Skating Trail

One of the precious bright spots for our family in this long dark winter of COVID has been outdoor skating. Other than the walking trails, it’s the only thing that the city has kept open. I take our boys, 4 and 8, while my partner is working. The older one has developed a speed-skater’s stride. He’s not crossing over yet as he turns, but he’s close to it. The younger one has amazed us all with learning to glide easily in this, his first winter on skates…

As per the city regulations, we stay masked and distanced as we’re lacing up, and while skating. But two weeks ago, an anti-masker started showing up, and openly ignored the attendants who asked him to comply.

This audio essay is about all of the feelings that came up for me as I a watched this unfold, tried to intervene, and tried to make sense of it all for myself, and the boys. — Matthew

Feb 22, 2021
39: How to Talk about Conspiracy Theories (w/Anna Merlan)

What are we learning about conspiracies, conspiracy theories, and those who hold them? How are we maintaining our optimism that facts are real, that they can be discovered, and shared? How will we continue to communicate with those who are confused? In this episode, we continue our rich conversation on the proximity of conspiracism and spiritual paths and the ways in which we fall into and climb out of fever dreams. 

In the Jab, Julian looks at concerns about vaccines and pregnancy. In a Ticker segment, Matthew ponders the British Wheel of Yoga’s “neutral” stance towards the COVID vaccine, and how it unintentionally welcomes conspiratorial thinking. 

Republic of Lies author Anna Merlan sits down with Derek to discuss the process of embedding with conspiracy consumers and peddlers, and the challenges faced when reporting on them. Discussing the interview, Julian uses the ideas of George Lakoff to think about containment and reframing. Matthew looks at how yoga and wellness influencers can play both sides of the consumer/peddler coin through the paradoxical private spectacle of social media.

03:00 Ticker

14:14 The Jab

37:57 Let’s Talk Conspiracies

56:20 Vax Confusion

1:08:07 Slow Down

1:12:54 Interview with Anna Merlan

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

‘I Miss My Mom’: Children Of QAnon Believers Are Desperately Trying To Deradicalize Their Own Parents

British Wheel of Yoga indulges vaccine “neutrality”

Dr. Victoria Male on vaccines and pregnancy

Anna Merlan on the Austin Influencer Movement

Anna Merlan on PBS’s Open Mind

Yoga podcaster J. Brown expresses doubts about COVID and the vaccines

Charles Eisenstein is turning to fiction

Abbie Richards and her Conspiracy Chart

Feb 18, 2021
Bonus Sample: How to Debate on Social Media

The medium of social media is both relatively new and socially challenging. But this doesn’t mean we can’t have healthy debates. In this sample from our Monday Patreon bonus episode, Derek investigates three areas of research about how—and why—we need robust and progressive debates on our platforms.

1. Your brain on political arguments.

2. How to become a master negotiator.

3. Can social media be fact-checked? A new study offers one way of doing so.

Feb 15, 2021
38: Natural Hopes, Natural Fallacies (w/Drs Juniper Martin & Adriana Berusch)

Many of us came to yoga and wellness spaces to heal or flee from the alienation of modernity. We wanted something untouched by our cities and factories and labs; something that reminded us of a world we never really knew. “Nature” was in such short supply that we had to invent it to colonize it anew, in exotic lands and mystical beasts: the deer whose antler gave longevity, the cow whose milk strengthened our family bonds. How many of us knew that our fetish for the “natural” could lead towards a consumerist cul-de-sac or fascist ideology?

In this episode we contemplate the meaning, practice, delusions, and hypocrisies of the “natural.” Derek talks to “Sea of Shadows” director Richard Ladkani about how the hunt for Traditional Chinese Medicine remedies has devastated the ecology of Baja California. Julian thinks about the disenchantment of the lab coat and how it drives so many to the warm regard of the “natural healer.”

To find out more about how some practitioners of complementary medicine are attempting to bridge the evidence and ideological gap with conventional care, Matthew interviews Naturopathic Doctor Juniper Martin and fourth-year student Adriana Berusch Gerardino about their efforts with the Naturopathic Alliance to dispel COVID misinformation and to challenge racism in their profession.

02:51 Ticker

29:39 The Jab

33:10 Natural Fallacies

1:22:15 Dr. Ha

1:27:21 QAnon Anonymous

1:38:48 Interview with Dr. Juniper Martin & Adriana Gerardino

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Gina Carano fired by Lucasfilm (and publicist and agent) for antisemitic Q-Trump social activity

RFK finally gets deleted by IG

Turn Off Your Mind, Relax—and Float Right-Wing?

Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine

QAA shines on with Episode 128

Dale Beran’s extraordinary book It Came from Something Awful

Decoding the Gurus launches the Gurometer

Shouting out to Katya Weiss-Anderson of Kumbaya Confessional

Chinese gov and state media boost TCM COVID treatments at home and abroad

Article: Acupuncture Doesn’t Work

Dr. Lad’s kindly but rather banal Ayurveda advice re: COVID (August)

Daniel Moerman, medical anthropologist, on “meaning medicine”

Feb 11, 2021
Bonus Sample: The Devil & The Arrow of Time

In this sample of our weekly Patreon bonus episode, Julian travels back in time to the 80s. He finds that when it comes to the fear of diabolical evil, the appeal of conspiracy patterns, and the missionary zeal of cults, everything old is new again. 

*Content Warning: Briefly contains one disturbing account of ritual abuse and one reference to suicide.

Feb 08, 2021
37: Guru Jagat Cultjacks Kundalini Yoga (w/Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin)

Today we forge ahead with part 2 of Matthew’s interview with Kundalini Yoga scholar Philip Deslippe and journalist Stacie Stukin on the tragic past, chaotic present, and future relevance of the cult of Yogi Bhajan. Matthew looks at Guru Jagat’s (Katie Griggs’s) pseudo-Tibetan mystical poem dedicated to her ex-con mentor, Harijiwan (Stephen Hartzell), whose current wife, Mandev, is about 30 years his junior and makes RA MA propaganda films. Will RA MA survive lockdown with COVID-busting mantras? Will Yogi Bhajan’s crimes be washed away by the ringing of the RA MA gong? 

We know by now that cults never let a good crisis go to waste. We’ll also examine how, when there are no global panics for cults to monetize, it’s up to the leader to create one. With RA MA we see the cycle go intergenerational as it cultjacks Yogi Bhajan’s legacy of fantasy and paranoia.

For the Ticker this week, Derek and Julian review Bill Maher’s platforming of Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying as they trot out vax-doubt and the Wuhan lab conspiracy. Julian will cover breaking vaccine news — especially on Phase III data! — to keep you inoculated against your alt-wellness news feed.

02:33 Ticker

30:44 The Jab

41:00 Interview with Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

A Campus Argument Goes Viral. Now the College Is Under Siege.

The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next

Decoding Bret and Eric Weinstein via Decoding the Gurus

Moderna vaccine complications are rare

Astrazeneca Phase III looks good

Pfizer and BioNtech Phase III results

Adenoviral vectors

NYT on Astrozeneca

CDC Vaccine contrast/compare

The Pfizer recipe

AP on the “lab release” theory

Fauci dunks on Trump’s lab release babble

Lab leaks and conspiracy theories

NY Magazine on the lab release story

From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga” for Sikh Formations by Philip Deslippe (2012)

Feb 04, 2021
Bonus Sample: Michael Roach Meditates COVID Away

Episodes 36 & 37 cover how Guru Jagat (Katie Griggs) and her Venice Beach RAMA Institute have pivoted in the COVID era to a new area of focus: anti-lockdown, anti-“woke” rhetoric, anti-masking, and anti-vax propaganda. As the center of her own weather system in the wider Kundalini Yoga / 3HO cult, this serves Griggs in a number of ways, from driving engagement to obscuring 2020’s revelations of just how criminal her umbrella organization is.

Cults will never let a good crisis go to waste. Back in the summer, Matthew noticed that Michael Roach, who led the cult he was recruited into from 1996-99, also pivoted to COVID content. He does it with a lot more credibility than Griggs does, but in some ways, this makes it even more obnoxious. In this bonus episode, Matthew analyzes his late-summer “Love in the Time of the Virus” content as a retread of what he’s put out there for more than 20 years now.

Sinking into Michael’s vibe again after all these years brings up old questions for Matthew around earnestness and delusion, altruism and manipulation. It makes him wonder whether a cult’s dogged fixation on doctrine can sometimes be an artifact of the leader’s arrested development.


Nina Burleigh’s profile in Rolling Stone

Scott Carney’s investigation of the death of Ian Thorson (originally in Playboy)

My own somewhat cranky review of Carney’s work

Feb 01, 2021
36: Guru Jagat’s Pandemic Brandwash (w/Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin)

What happens when a charismatic yogalebrity rises to prominence in LA’s fashion and wellness scene, gets exposed as an inheritor of a notorious cult, and then gets sideswiped by a pandemic? Meet Katie Griggs, aka “Guru Jagat,” who, instead of reassessing her channelled “downloads” from the charlatan rapist Yogi Bhajan and lending a hand to public health, has chosen to boost her online game with COVID contrarianism and by platforming David Icke. 

Our guests this week are Philip Deslippe and journalist Stacie Stukin. Philip’s penetrating and bulletproof research into the dodgy history of Kundalini Yoga and its criminal founder Yogi Bhajan shook the modern yoga world in 2012. Stacie’s 2020 LA Magazine feature investigation into Kundalini corruption and abuse gathered decades of buried evidence. Together they paint a lucid, non-sensationalized picture of how a high-demand religious group navigates new opportunities for manipulation.

The larger picture is that COVID has been a challenge for the brick-and-mortar assets of cults, which, like every other business, rely on pedestrian traffic and the “retail space” of ritual conversion. But in other ways, COVID is the best thing that could have happened to cults. 

Kundalini Yoga was built on promising perfect health, the conversion of fear into love, and a golden age free from atheistic biotech. For people like Griggs—and her ex-con mentor Harijiwan—COVID is an opportunity to hide dirty laundry and market the same empty promises with heightened panic and passion.

02:52 Jagat’s Pandemic Brandwash

1:21:56 Interview with Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga” for Sikh Formations by Philip Deslippe (2012)

Yogi Bhajan Turned an L.A. Yoga Studio into a Juggernaut, and Left Two Generations of Followers Reeling from Alleged Abuse” by Stacie Stukin for Los Angeles Magazine (2020)

Yogi Bhajan, yoga guru and founder of 3HO, ‘more likely than not’ sexually abused followers, says report” by Philip Deslippe and Stacie Stukin for Religion News Service (2020)

Text of Katherine Felt’s 1986 lawsuit against Bhajan for assault, battery, false imprisonment and more

Text of Pamela Dyson’s 1986 lawsuit against Bhajan for assault, battery, false imprisonment and more

“Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan” archived here

Be Scofield’s work on KY/3HO

Pamela Dyson’s memoir, White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan

The Facebook group that supported Dyson’s memoir, and became a meeting place for KY / 3HO survivors

Kelly Brogan’s self-serving review of Premka

Matthew on Brogan’s co-optation of Premka to market conspirituality

Jan 29, 2021
Hearing Voices, Seeing Colors, & Fighting Phantoms

We decided to release this Monday patron bonus episode publicly after receiving a great response on Patreon. Julian draws heavily on the work of neurologist and author V.S. Ramachandran in an attempt to explore Conspirituality after the Capitol insurrection. How might an understanding of synesthesia, epilepsy, super-stimuli, hyper-reality, and fascism help us make sense of the overlap between the QAnon fantasy timeline and real world blood and guts?

Jan 26, 2021
35: Séance Science (w/Susannah Crockford)

Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States yesterday, proving the long-awaited QAnon prophecy false. It’s the perfect time to talk about where mystical or deceptive knowledge comes from, how it works, and what happens when it fails. We may never know who Q was, but we can take a close look at a core feature of conspirituality technique: the transmission of secret knowledge. 

Welcome to our channeling episode.

Today we discuss three Q-adjacent channellers: JZ Knight, Lorie Ladd, Elizabeth April, and also Paul Selig. What do they say they’re doing? What does it sound like? And where can we go to figure it out? 

Derek looks at consciousness studies through the lens of Rodolfo Llinas, Stanislas Dehaene, Michael Gazzaniga, and other renowned researchers. Julian reviews the philosophical arguments of Daniel Dennett and Susan Blackmore. Matthew plays angel’s advocate and interviews Professor Susannah Crockford about her anthropological fieldwork amongst the New Agers and channelers of Sedona. TL;DR: “There’s never a single answer for anything.”

In the Ticker we look at a tragic anti-vax related father-son murder-suicide in California, anti-vax groups grifting PPP money from the feds, and the Anons, exiled even from Parler, suffering from the collapse of their dream of a Great Awakening. 

03:28 The Ticker

27:37 The Jab

32:58 Conscious Consideration

1:02:47: Seance Science

1:45:07: Interview with Susannah Crockford

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Father-son murder-suicide over anti-vax stress

The Trump administration bailed out prominent anti-vaccine groups during a pandemic

Scientists Investigate Spiritualist Mediums: Why Some People Report “Hearing the Dead”

Hydroxy-pusher Simone Gold arrested for part in Capitol Siege

QAnon will be scrutinized by National Intel Agencies

Parler refugees prepped for Doomsday

QAnon implodes online

QAnon admins nuke then restore threads

QAnauguration meltdown

Argentino and Amarasingam on QAnon prophecies failing

Kevin Roose’s excellent profile of QAnon “meme queen”

More from QAnon Casualties

JZ Knight chann

Jan 22, 2021
34: Insurrectionist Influencers (w/RP Eddy)

It’s been eight days since the Capitol was ransacked by a mob of MAGA supporters, Proud Boys, ex-military with tactical gear, and Nazis wearing disgustingly anti-Semitic t-shirts. The death count is six (for now), with a second police officer dying by duty-related suicide on Saturday. As more footage streams in—and the FBI says there’s still more to come—it will get uglier. 

So what have our conspiritualists been up to? We’ll run it down this week. Quick story: not a single one has walked back any of their bullshit in the aftermath of the Capitol siege. Some have doubled down. 

An unmasked Mikki Willis was involved in the siege as a “journalist,” giving an impassioned anti-vax, pro-liberty speech at a sideshow MAGA event in which he called the ransack that he had just taken part in “beautiful.” Christiane Northrup cheered on the alt-health berserkers during the end of her water fast. Zach Bush took to Instagram to sermonize, saying, “Just as viruses do not take down healthy humans, revolutions do not take down healthy governance.” Lori Ladd spoke in radiant non-sequiturs.

Amber Sears announced she was “preparing for civil war” while her husband JP whined about free speech as his Parler account got nuked and Trump got booted off of Twitter. Meanwhile, Kelly Brogan said nothing publicly about the Capitol siege that we could find, but cashed in on the vibes with a bloated essay on “spiritual warfare.”

We also learned a lot about Jacob Anthony Chansley nee Angeli, the Q-shaman, and his interdimensional conspirituality performance art—as well as his three-day jail fast that was resolved after a sympathetic judge guaranteed a Whole Foods delivery. 

Derek interviews RP Eddy, CEO of strategy and geopolitical intelligence firm, Ergo. Eddy previously served as Director at the White House National Security Council under Bill Clinton, Chief of Staff to US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Senior Policy Officer to UN Secretary Kofi Annan. He shares his thoughts about the current state of national security.

03:15 Insurrectionist Influencers

1:17:15 The Jab

1:20:11 Interview with RP Eddy

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Susannah Crockford on the Q-Shaman’s spiritual potpourri

Matthew’s Twitter thread on Q-Shaman fasting

COVID and tribal elders

Eugene Goodman’s fateful genius

Christiane Northrup’s prosperity gospel affiliate

Northrup as Auntie Good Death

Lorie Ladd everything is all good but difficult something something

Widely-circulated DM about ST cancelling JP Sears

What looks to be an email to JP Sears’s list, disclosing threats of violence against his family. (FYI: link goes to a FB post by a right-wing “news” group.)

Amber Sears preparing for civil war

Mikki Willis’s

Jan 15, 2021
33: Manipulating the Hero’s Journey

Christiane Northrup addresses her followers as “angel warriors.” JP Sears counsels his supplement customers to never “outsource their own truth.” Mikki Willis says he was once a “hero of the left”, and now tells audiences that he’s willing to die for the truth of his message. It’s all very grand, and it doesn’t come from nowhere. Trendy spiritualities of the privileged and disconnected have always focused on the heroic triumph of the individual, which has made them easily co-optable by the right.

But what is a real hero? Joseph Campbell contextualized their journey as a ritual of selfless wandering, undertaken on behalf of the community. The concept of the monomyth, which Campbell defined as the Hero’s Journey, has stages, and they have influenced popular culture in profound and, at times, troubling ways.

In this episode, we’ll look at how certain influencers confuse heroism for megalomania and forget that heroes and their societies are interdependent. Derek and Julian measure some of the usual suspects against Campbell’s ruler while Matthew asks questions about what makes a theory vulnerable to distortion. 

In The Jab, Julian looks at the three top questions vaccine-hesitant folks have about the mRNA vaccines currently approved for COVID. In a closing essay, Matthew reflects on a space where the painful splits of conspirituality might be calmed: how the home hospice can bring together public health and private spirituality.

02:34 The Conspirituality Ticker

37:09 The Jab

43:06 Manipulating the Hero’s Journey

1:51:10 Home is Where the Hospice Is

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Jake Angeli, “Q-Shaman”, describing his New-Age services

CNN on Angeli, “Baked Alaska” and Barnett

The Q shaman — conspirituality runs riot on Capitol Hill

Barnett and “Save Our Children” event in AR in October

JP Sears echoes a justification for ransacking Pelosi’s office

Anti-maskers Storm California Mall, Harass Shoppers and Refuse to Leave

Why Lisa Guerrero Abruptly Ended Interview With Anti-Mask Wearer

Tommy John Sr. hospitalized for COVID

Dr. Tommy John denies his father hospitalized with COVID has COVID

(Tommy’s follow-up post shows his son (?) playing a video game in a COVID-denying t-shirt. Low engagement.)

Trump spews Q garbage in call to Georgia

Prosecutor: Wisconsin pharmacist thought vaccine was unsafe

Blueprints for “vaccine microchip” will make your Fender wail

Cherokee Nation

Jan 08, 2021
32: Both Sides Pt 2: Healing & Sense-making in the New Year (w/Charles Eisenstein)

A rough tally of our labor from the inception of this podcast in May puts us at over 1,100 hours of treading water in the content sea of JP Sears, Mikki Willis, Christiane Northrup, and the rest of the gang. Are we getting our bearings yet? Will we see land soon? 

This episode is centered on Part 2 of Matthew’s discussion with Charles Eisenstein — a bellwether for the possibility that wellness and spirituality culture can communicate clearly about conspirituality. In the discussion and analysis that follows the interview, we look at who gets to say what and from which platform, what it means to be brave versus what it means to be evidence-based, and whether South Park really did predict the Trump-Biden choice.

In the Ticker, we’ll peek into the bizarro world of Guru Jagat, run down what anti-vaxxers believe about ingredients, ogle at Michael Flynn’s QAnon merch shop, and dive into Lori Ladd’s recent video where she rallies the troops after a revelatory nap. In The Jab, Julian unravels the facts around the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Finally, in a New Year’s Eve closer, Matthew wonders, from the quietude of a recent home hospice experience, about how we might be able to slow down.

Happy New Year, dear listeners!

2:39 The Conspirituality Ticker

56:26 The Jab

1:09:53 Interview with Charles Eisenstein

2:10:45 Post-interview discussion

2:35:04 If Conspirituality is mostly online, is there a way out?

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Guru Jagat camp grace talk

Weaving Dharma Art: Guru Jagat x Mandev

Mandev’s Yogi Bhajan propaganda film put out to counter abuse testimony

Harper’s profile on Jagat (pre abuse scandal)

Deslippe rocks the Kundalini backstory

An Olive Branch’s independent investigation into KY and 3HO historical abuse (an initial effort)

Harijiwan’s hagiography of Bhajan via Mandev’s video skillz (one example)

Harijiwan, “toner bandit”

@ramawrong’s excellent IG feed

Phil Good Life discloses three mental health related hospitalizations

Here’s How the Anti-Vaxxers’ Strongest Argument Falls Apart

Why the Government Pays Billions to People Who Claim Injury by Vaccines

Vaccine Court: The Law and Politics of Injury

Majority of anti-vaccine ads on Facebook were funded by two groups

Anti-vaccine leaders targeting minority becomes growing concern at NYC forum

Kelly Brogan

Dec 31, 2020
31: Bro Science: Anti-Vaxxers (w/Jonathan Berman)

As two coronavirus vaccines roll out we’re being flooded with more disinformation than ever. Wellness gurus are cashing in on home-made “natural” remedies by spreading unjustified fears about this vaccine, and vaccines in general.

This week, we look at Dr. Christiane Northrup’s “line in the sand,” Mikki Willis revealing that he recently helped out the kids of Covington High and Kyle Rittenhouse, JP Sears getting retweeted by Donald Trump, and the QAnon breeding ground that is the MMA. During The Jab, Julian looks at the newly emerged Covid mutation and investigates whether it nullifies the vaccines.

For the main discussion, Julian and Derek sift through the piles of vaccine and health propaganda spread by Robert F Kennedy, Jr and Zach Bush on a recent Instagram Live. Derek interviews Jonathan Berman, author of Anti-Vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement, about trying to build a bridge. Finally, Matthew reports from a family hospice experience on the generosity, discipline, and grace of frontline health care workers.

3:15 The Conspirituality Ticker

51:10 The Jab

53:24 Bro Science and Anti-Vaxxing

1:38:19 Interview with Jonathan Berman

2:21:09 Notes from Hospice Care

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

The Coronavirus Is Mutating. What Does That Mean for Us?

The Duesberg Phenomenon

Mikki Willis at the Red Pill Expo

My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines

History of Polio

The Denialist Playbook

Pharmacies Partner With HHS to Provide COVID-19 Vaccines

Dec 23, 2020
Bonus: Solstice Light in the Man Cave

This episode dropped for our Patreon supporters on the darkest day of the year. We’re unlocking it as a holiday gift to all of our listeners.

In this meditation, Matthew reflects on the roots and implications of “blazes of light” that punctuate the speech of both spiritualists and conspiritualists, from the spaces of patriarchal religious ritual to the claustrophobia of the manosphere. One key question: How does the manosphere shape conspirituality and its emotional disorders?

This is a tour through the trance states that charismatic men love and manipulate—how they carry streams of emotion that can never be transparently shared. Matthew investigates the means by which the podcast format squeezes entranced speech into a man-cave so that the speaker can be endlessly extroverted, but also self-protected, and mostly unaccountable.

It is an ethereal and frictionless technology, imposing no limits on the impulse to hold court or to dominate. It allows Alex Jones, Jordan Peterson, Dr. Tommy John, JP Sears, and many others to create limitless self-centered content with almost no feedback. The lack of reality-checking makes their discourse aggressive, but it’s also tragic to watch men believe they are forming relationships while they talk into the void.

No solstice bonus wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the light, however. Matthew climbs back out of this episode with some good man-news about his podcast colleagues, the Mandolorian, and the possibility that his own boys might grow up differently.

Show Notes

Jordan Peterson weeps over individualism.

Instagram isolation curated by Dr. Tommy John

JP Sears plays toady to Tim Kennedy’s alpha-fashy rant

Kennedy implies he’s helping disappear protestors in Portland

Dec 22, 2020
30: Are There Really Two Sides? (w/ Charles Eisenstein)

Who gets to take up space in critical times? How do we orient ourselves toward expertise? In a culture dominated by “experts” on social media, do charismatics outperform fact-checkers? 

This episode marks a milestone for our podcast, as Matthew interviews Charles Eisenstein, whose essay “The Coronation” has cast a long shadow on our ongoing critique of how New Age and spiritual spaces interact with public health. It’s a respectful but robust conversation about the limits of what laypeople can know about science and journalism, the intersection between conspiracy theory and myth, what the word “narrative” really means, and whether activism on the left and conspiracy theories on the right can be equally misguided. The conversation ran long: we dish up and comment on the first hour here.

In the Ticker, we cover Gaiam TV—Netflix for the Q-adjacent—and JP Sears keeping it classy by using the birth announcement of his son to punch down at trans people. On The Jab, Julian reports on Robert F Kennedy Jr’s role in flooding social media with anti-vax ads, and targeting propaganda at minority and immigrant communities, to their detriment.

2:47 The Conspirituality Ticker

25:03 The Jab

31:05 Interview with Charles Eisenstein

1:24:32 Post-interview Discussion

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Suzanne Humphries on Rational Wiki

Why Dr Suzanne Humphries, an anti-vaccine activist, is lying to you about measles

JP Sears’s transphobic post

JP Sears’s squat workout / Bill Gates post

Overlap between conspirituality and anti-trans politics

Invite from the “Awarehouse”, oh and this one too

Why this mainstream yoga site is now a hub for QAnon influencers

A Thrive interviewee regrets his participation

Bell’s Palsy, Allergic Reactions, and Deaths in Covid Vaccine Trials

Funding for anti-vax ads on Facebook

RFK is very concerned

The Coronation: Eisenstein

The Conspiracy Myth: Eisenstein

The Banquet of Whiteness: Eisenstein

Dec 17, 2020
29: Bro Science (w/Dr. Dan Wilson)

Here’s an episode that’s been micro-brewing for a while: Bro Science: where conspirituality meets the manosphere. 

We’ve even got a working definition! Here’s a taste.

Bro Science is junk science spewed by men who believe their charisma is a substitute for training. It brags, mocks, overreaches. It’s self-serving and self-interested. It can carry hints of toxic masculinity: entitlement, unearned confidence, no qualms about taking up space, repressing emotion or hiding it behind humour or grandiosity. It preaches individualism and self-sufficiency from the lonely triumph of Bro.

We’ll listen to some top “Bro scientists” to see how bro-ness reduces, minimizes, and mocks science. We’ll listen to pearls of bro-dom from JP Sears, Kyle Kingsbury, Aubrey Marcus, Sayer Ji, Toronto’s very own BBQAnon, Adam Skelly, and Zach Bush, doctor to the bros. 

Dear listeners: you might feel at the end of our tour like you need a coffee colon cleanse or testosterone nootropic. But we’ve got something better: an interview with Dr. Dan Wilson, who does the opposite of Bro Science. He’s a molecular biologist who by day works in the lab at Carnegie Mellon University, but by night crushes out Dr. Wilson Debunks the Funk videos, cutting conspiritualists down to size. 

2:20 The Conspirituality Ticker

18:02 Phase Angling

39:10 The Purge

54:59 You’re More Powerful Than the Universe

1:13:02 The Jab

1:15:02 Interview w/Dr. Dan Wilson

2:15:57 Bro Science: A Manifesto in Progress

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

The Lonely Descent into QAnon, Pt 1

Analysts create AI tool that can distinguish between conspiracy theories and real conspiracies

Former Israeli space security chief says aliens exist, humanity not ready

In 2020, Disinformation Broke the US

BBQAnon thinks he knows something about PCR tests

Public Health Ontario: false positivity rate is 0.01%,

Sayer Ji geeks out with Michael Sandler

Sayer Ji’s GreenMedInfo cherry-picks a vaccine study report

Here’s the actual source that GMI distorted

Dr. Maria Sundaram Twitter thread on how to talk with vaccine-hesitant people.

Covid-19, Remote Work Make Austin a Magnet for New Jobs

What is phase angle?

Dr. Dan Wilson’s Debunk the Funk channel

Dec 11, 2020
28: Resurrection of Jordan Peterson (w/Jeff Brown)

This week we inaugurate “The Conspirituality Ticker,” a weekly bullet-point rundown on the ongoing pandemic of influencers who spread medical misinformation to sell disaster spirituality. We’ll also continue with “The Jab”, our segment on conspirituality-driven vaccine hesitancy.

The big news this week is the resurrection of Jordan Peterson. After surviving a medically-induced coma in a Russian rehab facility, and then COVID on top of that, Peterson has re-emerged, weakened but resolute, as both hero and provocateur. The announcement from Penguin Canada that his new book of another dozen self-help rules prompted Penguin employees to protest their involvement in an emotional town hall.

In this episode, we’ll dive into Peterson’s imaginarium. We won’t totally discount his button-down commonsensical advice, but we will explore how it has lent intellectual support to the alt-right. Is he a conspiritualist pioneer as he wars against the Neo-Marxist Cabal and dreams of a Jungian promised land? Matthew will add a view from Peterson’s hometown of Toronto, where the messianic prof has been open about his ambitions in right-wing Ontario politics. Julian interviews dissociation debunker Jeff Brown, who champions “enrealment,” and has a heartfelt critique of what he calls the “new cage” movement.

02:21 Conspirituality Ticker

27:22 The Jab

36:35 Jordan Peterson Reborn

1:16:18 Interview with Jeff Brown

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

JZ Knight Called for ‘Military Coup’ After Biden Took Lead in Presidential Bid

Defiant Night: Hundreds Gather at Pier Bowl for Mask-Burning Rally

Toronto public health shuts down Etobicoke restaurant for allowing indoor dining in defiance of COVID-19 measures

Adam Skelly’s GoFundMe

Skelly hauled off by the po-po

$15,000 Fine After Secret Hasidic Wedding Draws Thousands of Guests

Splitting 5 to 4, Supreme Court Backs Religious Challenge to Cuomo’s Virus Shutdown Order

Supremes’ opinions

Canadian Bar Association on c16, which Peterson didn’t understand

Peterson co-presents with Proud Boy founder Gavin McInnes

Peterson boosting Tanya Granic Allen. (Matthew neglected to report that Peterson raising Allen’s profile helped make her kingmaker in the ON Conservative leadership race. She threw her votes to Ford, promising Catholic support. He then rewards that support by reinstituting a sex-ed curriculum for public schools that was written before the internet.)

BBQAnon twe

Dec 04, 2020
Bonus: Yoga Teachers Are Not Doctors, Doctors Are Not Priests

Do famous people become famous for staying in their lane? Do some find fame by carving out a lane that never existed before? What is the disruptive promise of charisma in this wellness space, which draws consumers burdened by a double disillusionment? They arrive, disillusioned by conventional medicine and conventional religion. What can the charismatic influencer offer them, and how do they do it?

In this last free bonus episode, Matthew explores the charismatic logic of wellness, in which yoga teachers can become famous by playing at being doctors,  and doctors can become famous by playing at being priests. Starting with the strange tale of BKS Iyengar (and how he stretched his way into all three roles through sheer will), this journey will lay out how the basic schtick of the 20th-century the wellness personality has primed the ground for our current explosion in conspirituality.

Matthew will look at how MDs like Tom Cowan, Kelly Brogan, Christiane Northrup, and Zach Bush all run the “Iyengar Arc” in reverse. Where the yoga master was unschooled in medicine, these doctors are unschooled in spirituality. But that doesn’t stop them from pretending to be experts in a weird cocktail that fails both. In their aspirations to spiritual leadership, they each screw the pooch. Cowan ends up shilling for Rudolf Steiner, who knew nothing about viruses, and even less about how not to be a racist. Brogan thinks that Kundalini Yoga is “thousands of years old” even though it was invented by a sociopath in the 1970s. Northrup seems to think that angel channelers are qualified to tell people how to live. And Zach Bush recounts a mystical experience to a group of retreatants in Italy, in which he became a sardine, and realized he wasn’t afraid to die—partly why he uses Reiki instead of pain medication when he’s on the hospice shift.

Ultimately, the “charismatic collapse” between doctor and priest distorts medicine and makes spirituality banal. Perhaps if we see this clearly, we’ll look for better leaders.

For future Bonus Episodes, please become a patron.

Show Notes

Iyengar’s Light on Yoga wiki

Foucault’s Les Mots et Les Choses wiki

Brogan’s Vital Life Project

Anne Cushman interviews BKS Iyengar for Yoga Journal, 1997 

About Siddha Yoga 

Tom Cowan’s disciplinary rap sheet

Cowan’s disinfo vid

CBC debunks Cowan

Dr. Wilson Debunks the Funk out of Tom Cowan

Brogan hypes Cowan’s banned book

Rudolf Steiner: “The Mission of Folk-Souls,” 1910

Brogan pitching Own Your Self while “reviewing” another book

Brogan’s “A Message to Help Dispel Fear” (by suggesting COVID isn’t necessarily real)

Brogan’s “Vital Mind Reset” program, only $997 US

Philip Deslippe

Nov 30, 2020
27: Finding Meaning (and Laughs) in Crisis (w/Alex Auder)

Though we’re all staying put this holiday season, we continue to super-spread our conspirituality vibes. This week we’re fielding listener questions for our first-ever non-Patreon AMA. During this episode, we’ll be talking about our own spiritual beliefs, finding meaning in crisis, Matthew being canceled, and more.

For a holiday treat, Matthew interviews friend of the pod, the fabulous Alex Auder, about what it means to satirize free-birth influencer @bauhauswife, who’s putting the fash back into fashion.

02:50 Up For Belief

22:25 Hey House

44:55 Eulogy for an Elegy

57:02 Interview with Alex Auder

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

Four Quartets — TS Eliot

Is Stephen Mitchell a translator? He “translates” so many languages!

Then there’s Jan Van Buitenen, the unknown

Matthew’s elegy for Michael Stone

Nov 25, 2020
Bonus: Diversity Has Always Mattered

Diversity has lost some of its strength as a term in our bifurcated world, and yet in nature diversity has always mattered. Our apprehension of using the word points to our further alienation of nature—and ourselves. Derek discusses the power of diversity in three realms he has spent decades studying: international music, fitness, and psychedelics. He also contemplates why diversity matters when considering the growing influence of conspiritualists.

Nov 23, 2020
26: Return of the Repressed, Or The Drugs Paula White is Not On (w/Brian Muraresku)

Trump’s personal pastor Paula White seizes the podium to speak in tongues and prophesize that angels from Africa will certify her master’s electoral victory. Evangelical Kenneth Copeland laughs maniacally at the devilish proposition that Biden has won. They both yearn to squeeze some drop of ecstasy from the husk of conservative politics. How much of the emotional terrorism rolling through these times is the return of the repressed?

In our weekly reporting, Derek looks at Australian chef Pete Evans and his nostalgia for fascist mysticism, hidden beneath green shakes and doTerra downlines. Julian covers Dr. Northrup’s latest viral science fictions, as well as the bizarre Nazi comparisons trending on conspiritualist pages. Matthew looks at nested repressions returning with a vengeance: QAnon resurrecting the Satanic Panic, Bill Gates as the return of the vampire, and the strange new phenomenon of the Aggro-Spiritual Boss Babe Rage Witch, whose coin seems to be on the rise just as the Mark Walsh Spiritual Pick-Up Artist currency tanks. He also considers distinctions between canceling and punching sideways, picking up from last week’s episode.

Then, in a rich interview with author of The Immortality Key, Brian Muraresku, Derek explores the ancient psychedelia of Christianity, both forgotten and repressed, and hopes for its return, as it would probably make Paula White and Kenneth Copeland chill TF out.

03:32 Confessions of a Nazi chef

36:37 The Jab: Northrup returns

52:56 Speaking in tongues

1:14:43 Interview with Brian Muraresku

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Pete Evans says COVID-19 isn’t contagious

Pete Evans fined $25,000 by Therapeutic Goods Administration over coronavirus claims relating to BioCharger

Controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans canned by Seven Network

Healing hubs, a ‘sacred geometry hub’ and solar-powered cabins: Inside the new hippy commune promoted by Pete Evans where people pay to live off the grid in ‘earth ships’

Pete Evans, Truthseeker

Pete Evans shares the Nazi symbol, Black Sun

Christiane Northrup’s Nazi tweet

Northrup’s COVID vaccine interview

COVID-19 Vaccine To Alter DNA? 5 False Claims By Christiane Northrup

Nazi comparison misusing Shulman’s quote

Friday takeaway: Flu shots

No Time To Be Nice: Now Is Not The Moment To Remain Silent

Paula White / Eminem mashup

Kenneth Copeland

Nov 20, 2020
Bonus: Digital Soldiers, Purity Tests, & Word Magic

As more of the world has gained access to mobile internet, populism, and the perception (rightly or wrongly) of government, corruption has steadily increased. But what is “populism?” How do populist ideas on both the Right and Left identify “the people” and their enemies? With the size of the online megaphone and Balkanized social media audiences, what role does the word magic of emotionally-manipulative language play in perpetuating division, even when claiming to do otherwise?

Theme music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Vox Eu on mobile internet, populism and government confidence.

Steve Bannon’s far right “school of gladiators for young populists in Italy.

Populism is Morphing in Insidious Ways via The Atlantic.

Coleman Hughes review of “How To Be An Anti-Racist” and open letter To Ibrahim X. Kendi.

John McWhorter’s review of White Fragility.

In Defense of Looting —one author’s controversial opinion via NPR.

Nov 16, 2020
25: Waking Up from Cancel Culture (w/Clementine Morrigan & Jay from F*cking Cancelled)

On Election night, Mikki Willis, JP Sears, Del Bigtree, and the conspirituality glitterati gathered in Austin for a prayer meeting for Donald Trump. Willis pitched his new documentary and complained about Marxist professors pied-pipering children towards BLM before a new-age preacher sold allotments in a new alt-health ranch community in Texas. Derek covers this ultimate reveal of the conspirituality grift: predict the apocalypse, then sell off-grid cribs on a five-acre manmade lagoon. Fill the swamp, indeed.

Meanwhile, Julian covers the election of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn, QAnon arrests in Philly, and the shitstorm of irate comments against YogaGirl as she stands up for decency.

The election over, our critical work continues. How do we keep it on target? How do we make sure that we don’t become so cynical—or so attached to the process of criticism itself—that we can’t find solidarity? And how do we look for solutions while enthralled by social media, as opposed to being invested in society?

Last week, our guest Tada Hozumi spoke about “clean blows” in politics and justice work, arguing that dignity and nobility in conflict depend on good faith and better will. As we survey the bloody post-election landscape (especially in progressive and wellness spaces), we have to dig in, especially if we’re going to enter the conversation over situations like The Embodiment Conference.

Our guests this week are Clementine Morrigan and Jay from Fucking Cancelled. Matthew will be asking them about the work that the digital Left can do to foster solidarity, loyalty, and freedom. It’s an important conversation because we have to assume that some of the redpilled were already being pushed out the door. Why? Because among the woke-ish, it can be easier to fight each other than to punch up and get things done.

04:30 Black girls are welcome to be president

17:25 Satanic poetry

50:36 F*cking cancelled culture

1:16:11 Interview with Clementine Morgan & Jay

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Audio from Mikki Willis and Joyous Heart speaking on Election Day in Austin (original video was taken down from Facebook):

Yoga Girl boosts Black girls as President on Instagram

My Dark Journey Into the Soul of a Model Young Republican Candidate

QAnon goes to Washington: two supporters win seats in Congress

Armed QAnon follower arrested in alleged Philly convention center threat linked to far-right Va. senator

Karl Marx: The Fiddler

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand

Clementine Morrigan on Instagram and her website and Patreon

Fucking Cancelled on Patreon

ContraPoints on Cance

Nov 13, 2020
Bonus: Sh*tposting and The Embodiment Conference

Mark Walsh, the proprietor of The Embodiment Conference, was recently challenged by cultural somaticist Tada Hozumi in an Open Letter, penned by Hozumi in lieu of accepting the invitation to speak at the Conference. Hozumi proposed that Walsh look more closely at the exclusionary economy of his ambitious project — specifically, at how it centers white men as the heroes of the somatic techniques that colonialism handed them. The letter, dignified and sincere, offered a concise and workable framing of a fraught issue. Walsh did not respond directly, but on his personal Facebook shitposted about being oppressed by “c*ntery” of social justice “twats.” 

Those familiar with this aspect of Walsh’s online persona were not surprised. He has openly risen to market dominance in the online somatasphere as a kind of Black Belt culture warrior, a Jordan Peterson in a jock-strap. In this bonus episode, Matthew reviews some of Walsh’s past online hits as a case study of how the wellness world can confuse acting out for freedom, somatic dominance for discipline, and allow charismatic men to weaponize unhealed wounds in the name of authenticity.

Theme music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Open Letter to Mark Walsh and The Embodiment Conference

The Embodiment Conference and “somafascism”: commentary from Ben Spatz

Mark Walsh to 2020 TEC invited presenter (the audio is from 2019)

Statement: We need to divest from Mark Walsh and The Embodiment Conference

Yes, Mr. Walsh, there are Black people in Hungary. One of them was born there, in 1980, and is now an MP.

Mark Walsh documentation

Nov 09, 2020
24: Body Politic Recovery (w/Tada Hozumi)

This week could have been worse; what comes now must get better. If we’ve learned anything over these six months, it’s that QAnon is to conspirituality as Trump is to the political status quo. We can debunk or vote out the fever dream, but the virus will remain. 

In our first post-election episode we take stock of work yet to do. Derek checks in on QAnon mysticism. Julian speaks on the populism and language games that horseshoe right and left together, and how strong communities cannot afford horizontal violence anymore. We review a new podcast out of Montreal that studies “The Nexus” — the toxic intersection between identitarian activism, social media, and cancel culture.

Matthew crystal-balls the precarious future of post-COVID yoga, and interviews cultural somaticist Tada Hozumi on why Andrew Yang offered attachment politics, decolonizing wellness, and WTF is going on at The Embodiment Conference. “The future of global embodiment,” Hozumi says, “is also the future of global politics. Because the mind always follows the body.”

03:07 Numbers are hard

20:02 How did we get here?

38:21 Walk in the park

1:01:10 Interview with Tada Hozumi

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

Sapolsky: Religious Ritual is OCD

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst — Robert Sapolsky

Most Yoga Teachers are Not Online Producers. They Have a Deeper Gift, and Now Is the Time to Trust It.

Dr. Northrup continues: now the conspiracy is electoral fraud

Fucking Cancelled podcast

Molly Meehan’s  5-part “zine”.

Molly’s podcast: “Out of the Woods”. 

Exiting the Vampire Castle by Mark Fisher (who tragically died by suicide after a lifelong struggle with depression).

Open Letter to Mark Walsh and The Embodiment Conference

Why I, as a therapist, support Andrew Yang

The Ritual As Justice School

Whiteness as trauma in the body

Nov 06, 2020
Bonus: COVID Fatigue & Empathy (w/Dr. Ali Haider)

Derek talks with Dr. Ali Haider about being on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Dr. Haider is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University Medical School. He received his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Dr. Haider is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Echocardiography, Nuclear Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, and vascular ultrasound. He is well versed in all aspects of cardiology, and his areas of interest include coronary angioplasty and interventions, and the treatment of peripheral vascular disease as well as structural heart disease.

Theme music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

Doctor Responds to COVID Over-Diagnosis Claims by White House

Ali Haider on YouTube and Instagram

Nov 02, 2020
23: Election Resilience (w/Hala Khouri, Lissa Rankin, and Tara Stiles)

When we started this project six months ago, we could feel the cliff-edge of the election on the horizon. We could sense that our footholds of community, reasonable conversation, and consensus reality were eroding. As veterans of spirituality and wellness spaces, we’ve always known that the reality has never lived up to the hype. But the intensification of conspirituality themes, incubating during lockdown into the peak fever-state of QAnon, has made this period especially demoralizing. What do we need now, on the eve of uncertainty? What will we need going forward? 

This week, we take some time to explore thoughts and feelings about this menacing week, and how we’re contemplating and committing to the long haul through our work, relationships, and self-care. We’re joined by special guests Hala Khouri, Tara Stiles, and Lissa Rankin, who all offer their wisdom.

02:25 Growing up under apartheid

19:15 “Spiritual” self-care

35:20 The weight of the moment

58:13 Interview with Hala Khouri

1:19:31 Interview with Tara Stiles

1:35:46 Interview with Lissa Rankin

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Lissa Rankin takes a stand with Rebekah Borucki

Heal at Last: the nonprofit aimed at democratizing healing

Alchemizing Uncertain Times Through Writing

10 New Age Beliefs We Need To Debunk If We Want To Be Social Justice Allies

The Psychology Of People Who Believe Conspiracy Theories

Mind Over Medicine — Lissa’s book

QAnon’s Predictions Haven’t Come True; So How Does the Movement Survive the Failure of Prophecy?

The Republican strategy for every Supreme Court nominee: Hide what you believe

Oct 29, 2020
Bonus: Hay House & New Age Jesus

Coming off of Conspirituality 22 with Rebekah Borucki, Matthew casts a wider net over Hay House’s cultural influence in two parts: a brief survey of some of their top authors, and then an examination of a root text in the Hay House world: A Course in Miracles.

ACIM’s corrupt and emotionally manipulative philosophy is the basis for the work of authors Marianne Williamson and Gabby Bernstein, overlapping almost perfectly onto “The Work” of Byron Katie. Louise Hay, for one, was fond of quoting it. Matthew proposes that A Course in Miracles is the unacknowledged in-house bible for Hay House. He has a lot to say about it as a former member of a cult called Endeavor Academy in Wisconsin Dells, which used A Course in Miracles as its core text, and primary tool of psychological abuse.

Theme music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

Louise Hay quotes A Course in Miracles

Wayne Dyer quotes A Course in Miracles

How Byron Katie emotionally dominates

Bryon Katie on feeling God as babies die and how Hitler maybe brought people to enlightenment (pp. 37-39)

Julian’s open letter to Northrup

Jivana Heyman on Louise Hay (and more)

Louise Hay and AIDS

Applying “The Work” of Byron Katie to the Pandemic

At the heart of ACIM’s influence on New Age wellness is the absurd contempt for the process of becoming sick expressed by “Jesus” in Lesson 136

Letter from Centre for Science in the Public Interest to the FDA detailing Joseph Mercola’s fraudulent COVID cures

An early marked version of A Course in Miracles

A history of A Course in Miracles editing

Oct 26, 2020
22: Racism & Fraud in New Age Publishing (w/Rebekah Borucki & Dr Jay Mohan)

Author and publisher Rebekah Borucki joins the Conspirituality team as our first co-host for this episode. She’s got a story to tell: the culture of her publisher, Hay House, was so resistant to taking a position on the racist attitudes of some of their leading cash-cow authors that she ditched her contract and her job with the company as a diversity mentor.

We’ll be talking about the money and politics of New Age media, as well as editorial standards, ghostwriting, cult apologetics, and the responsibility of publishers to deplatform authors that are hurtling toward QAnon. New Age media isn’t all love and light—it’s a pathway into consumers’ vulnerability, and sometimes a recruitment gateway for cults. 

Also this week: Derek interviews Dr Jay Mohan on his gruelling COVID front-line work as an interventional cardiologist in a Detroit suburb.

02:13 Get Your (Hay) House In Order

1:14:24 Interview with Dr Jay Mohan

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show notes

Rebekah on toxic White Women Wellness

Rebekah on the silence of Hay House authors

Rebekah on leaving Hay House

A Critique of Abraham Hicks & the Law of Attraction

Celery Juice: The big problem with a viral Instagram ‘cure

Oct 22, 2020
Bonus: A Letter to a Friend in a Cult

More than 20 years ago, Richard Vaughan wrote Matthew a very kind and perceptive letter, asking him to reconsider whether his participation in a Buddhist cult would forever alienate him from the real world, and his real friends. Matthew reads this letter here.

It’s on his mind not only because there are so many people who are now struggling with having lost friends and family members, but also because Richard—only 55, and a hero of Canadian queer literature—has been missing for a week.

Show Notes

N.B. writers and LGBTQ community ‘very worried‘ about missing mentor Richard Vaughan

The Seven Good Reasons Why the Boys in the Band Could be a Musical or, I am the Dollar in the Dolorosa

QAnon Casualties

Oct 19, 2020
21: Om-ed and Dangerous: Militant Wellness (w/Sarah Hightower)

We still can’t believe alt-health Bali retreat rockstar Sacha Stone called for the “evisceration” of public officials last week. Are conspiritualists really crossing over into militancy? Are the products of wellness so boring, and are the markets so saturated, that messianic influencers have no choice but to up the ante? Stone’s recent interview guest, Christiane Northrup, recently invoked the sacred power of the Sheriff as the highest law in the land for anti-lockdown folks who believe they’re being oppressed. That argument was first made by the white nationalist Posse Comitatus in the 1970s — the seed group for many of today’s militias.

This week, we investigate the means by which religious cults and conspiritualists rattle sabers and poison people. Derek reviews Japan’s AUM cult as a prelude to Julian’s riveting interview with AUM expert Sarah Hightower. Julian reports on the Northrupian intersection between militia movements and alt-health ideas of “sovereignty.” Matthew discusses violence in ISKCON as the Hare Krishnas parade mask-free through Glastonbury.

02:15 The Cult of AUM

20:53 White Supremacy in Yoga

36:05 Stardate Northrup

55:02 Krishna Kovidiots

1:03:42 Interview with Sarah Hightower

1:26:28 OK Qpid

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

Rajneeshee leaders take revenge on The Dalles’ with poison, homeless

Cult Leaders & Psychopaths: Power Beyond the Grave

We Need to Talk about the Rise of White Supremacy in Yoga

Epic Yoga San Clemente

Alan Hostetter playing a singing bowl in a Trump t-shirt

Reddit thread on Q Casualties Dating App

Sex and Death on the Road to Nirvana

Amy Coney Barrett uses her children in different ways

What the Second Amendment really meant to the Founders

Oct 15, 2020
Bonus: The White Yogi, The Brown Activist, and the Evil Billionaire

Who’s right, who’s confused, who’s noble, who’s the bad guy?

Nothing exists in a cultural vacuum. The emergence of yoga as a hugely popular and lucrative phenomenon in the West is no exception.

In this bonus episode, Julian discusses a recent article that was posted, and enthusiastically liked, shared, and commented upon in sincere solidarity by yoga folks contributing to the conspirituality zeitgeist.

This despite the article being written by a respected brown scholar and activist and posted by an earnest white yogi—and being about a billionaire with some questionable history.

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Oct 12, 2020
20: The Second Wave: Pastel Q Goes Undercover (w/Ben Lee)

The reality of a second COVID wave started back in the Spring. Now that With over half of American states are experiencing increased cases, the conspiracy theories are surging. At least 32 White House staff and allies, as well as the president and his wife, have tested positive, likely originating in an unmasked close-quartered super-spreader Rose Garden celebration of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barret.

As Trump poses for wheezing conquering hero propaganda following his questionable return from Walter Reed, another type of second wave is being led by brandwashed conspiritualists. Yoga and wellness loyalists are pushing back against criticism of their use of Q hashtags while reveling in mask opposition, anti-vaxxer agendas, and a distorted slacktivist approach to child trafficking that forms the foundation of QAnon. Pastel Q is surging.

This week, Julian investigates the terrifying Line In The Sand online conference, which featured friends of the pod, Mikki Willis, Zach Bush, Christiane Northrup, and many others. Matthew focuses on the chaos of charismatic leadership, weighing Trumpian tactics with the likes of Chogyam Trungpa and Yogi Bhajan. Derek explores the importance of creativity in the time of quarantine, leading into his interview with musician and former cult member, Ben Lee.

The entire crew also discusses Yoga Journal following the lead of the NY Times and Rolling Stone by reporting (and then bearing the backlash) on yoga community leaders taking a stand against QAnon—and getting trolled by Q devotees in the process.

03:30 Reclaim Your Lives conference

33:02 Mistaking chaos for power

54:39 Future Self Summit

1:10:49 Yoga Journal on QAnon

1:21:25 Interview with Ben Lee

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Julie Salter describes Swami Vishnudevananda, abuser.

NewEarth Haven bio-resonant investment pitch

Trump Supporter Wears ‘COVID Diaper’ to Prevent Coronavirus Farts

Episode 94: The New Age to QAnon Pipeline by QAnon Anonymous

The Case against Swami Rama of the Himalayas

Future Self Summit

Reclaim Your Lives Conference

Leaders in the Yoga Community Speak Out Against QAnon

Oct 08, 2020
Bonus: Bullying Gates, Bullying Biden: The Conspiracy of Male Violence

Bill Gates is unknowable—except to close and estranged friends, family members, his therapist if he has one. His empire sprawls; his philanthropy is tangled. He’s clearly not any one thing. But what is the one thing conspiritualists fantasize him to be? What archetypal role does he play for those who hate him? 

In this meditation, Matthew zeroes in on the briefly-mentioned biographical datum that Gates was bullied as a boy to unfold his symbolic power as neuroatypical scapegoat. If we listen carefully, he argues, we’ll hear something very high-school-ish, laced with homophobia and latent violence, in the lazy defamations slung at Gates. 

Is it a surprise that Trump graduated from the New York Military Academy in 1964—the same year that a horrific hazing incident cost several administrators their jobs? Is it a surprise, given what we saw in that so-called debate, that Trump’s school had written hazing into their cadet manual? No, it’s not. And when Biden pauses and smiles, and shakes his head, and his gaze falls, is he remembering what it was like to have had a stutter in an all-boys school? 

We spend a lot of time on this podcast unravelling the shoddy thinking at the heart of our conspirituality and political landscapes. These 24 minutes tackles primal cruelty that is up to men to address—if they can remember it, and challenge that sad assumption that it’s simply the way of the world.

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Oct 05, 2020
19: Hurtling Into the Q-Hole (w/Mike Rains)

Thirty-two days out from the election and every hour reveals another layer of intensity. The more widely conspirituality and QAnon spreads, the more normalized mundane political violence becomes.

In this episode, Derek looks at how the virus of conspiracism is now overtly threatening the basic premises of voting, as Emperor Trump projects a fiction about electoral fraud, even as he loses his clothes. Matthew looks at a crucial part of this normalization: how Q himself, whoever he is, is now brandwashing, advising followers to abandon familiar Q-words. How then are resisters like Seane Corn to address this brainworm as it shape-shifts, co-opting the visuals of wellness and even the jargon of social justice? Julian steps back for a broader look, reviewing the pod’s discoveries and themes so far, and visualizing where they might lead.

We interview Mike Rains, one of the brave moderators of the 25K member subreddit QAnonCasualties, who has a lot to say about what the Q-hole feels like when it rips up hearts and homes.

Show segments

03:12 This Week in Conspirituality

56:26 Interview with Mike Rains

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Q suggests going stealth


Donate via QanonCasualties SubReddit to a real charity that does real work to help combat child trafficking

Insights into the Personalities of Conspiracy Theorists

Why Do Some People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

People Drawn to Conspiracy Theories Share a Cluster of Psychological Features

Oct 01, 2020
Bonus: Demons in QAnon & Beyond (w/Professor Jonathan O’Donnell)

For our inaugural bonus episode of Conspirituality Podcast, we feature a single interview: a deep dive into the demonology of QAnon and Xtian evangelicalism with Dublin-based Religious Studies scholar Jonathan O’Donnell (pronouns: they/them). 

O’Donnell took Matthew through a tour of modern demons: how they show up and how believers relate to them. They also explore the amazing world of “spiritual warfare handbooks,” which have a history in US evangelicalism, are bestsellers in Q-land, and in some ways resemble new-age self-help manuals. They discuss prophecy, speaking in tongues, and the impacts of demonology on marginalized identities. 

Professor O’Donnell specializes in American Religious and Cultural Studies, with a focus on the religious right and systems of dehumanization. They study Islamophobia, antisemitism, transphobia, and religious nationalism. Their current research analyses the relation between evangelical demonology, authoritarianism, and “post-truth politics” in Trump’s America.

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Sep 28, 2020
18: From Psych Meds to Red Pills (w/Jules Evans)

Some wellness influencers offer compelling critiques of Big Pharma, factory farming, and psychiatric malpractice. What happens when their arguments become honeypots for snake oil? In this episode, Derek provides an overview of modern pharma practice and its discontents. Julian delves into the muddy culture of yoga and antidepressants—the bad advice, the stigma, the magical thinking. He also reviews the latest Q-adjacent content of Canadian self-help celebrity Danielle LaPorte, and checks in on Kate Northrup’s interview with Zach Bush.

Derek and Julian interview Matthew about his recent feature investigation on conspirituality power couple, Dr. Kelly Brogan and Sayer Ji. There’s lots of material that didn’t make the final copy, like how Brogan’s conspirituality could endanger the mental health of her online clients, and how her usage of Kundalini Yoga as a supplemental therapy is riddled with false historical and medical claims. Also: why didn’t Sayer Ji denounce QAnon when given the chance?

Finally, Derek digs into the podcast origin story with an interview of Jules Evans, who helped “conspirituality” become an almost-household term.

02:56 This Week in Conspirituality

19:54 Inside Kelly Brogan’s Covid-Denying, Vax-Resistant Conspiracy Machine

1:17:04 Interview with Jules Evans

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Inside Kelly Brogan’s Covid-Denying, Vax-Resistant Conspiracy Machine

Popular Health Guru Sayer Ji Curates the Scientific Literature with His Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy

Matthew’s review of Brogan’s “review” of Yogi Bhajan survivor Pamela Dyson’s memoir

From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga

Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes: A Case-Based Guide to Critical Thinking in Medicine

An Olive Branch Report on Yogi Bhajan, the abuser

White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan

Trump Claims He Invented the Term “Fake News”—Here’ s an Interview With the Guy Who Actually Helped Popularize It

Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content

Episode 198: The Solution to the Pandemic You Won’t Find in the Mainstream with Zach Bush, MD

COnsp!racy Theory” labelling can block critical thinking — Danielle LaPorte

Conspirituality’ — the overlap between the New Age and conspiracy beliefs

Why are conspiracy theories rampant in the ‘wellness’ industry?

Sep 24, 2020
17: The Politics of QAnon Spirituality (w/Seane Corn & Jared Yates Sexton)

At this point, we can say for sure that American spiritual and wellness communities are not only vulnerable to conspiracy brainworms but they’re actively hosting and spreading them. Seane Corn joins us to discuss what to do when QAnon rhetoric and hashtags co-opts lurches through yoga communities.

But is this really unexpected from a historical point of view? Our second guest, cult researcher and historian Jared Yates Sexton joins us to talk about his new book, American Rule. He discusses the longstanding conspiracies that have influenced America since its very founding as well as the chronic problem of American exceptionalism.

We all add in our own reflections on 9/11: how close to home it came, how one of us was in a cult when it happened, and how we learn and manage fear.

03:31 This Week in Conspirituality

29:19 Interview with Seane Corn

1:05:16 Interview with Jared Yates Sexton

2:15:03 Fatherhood & Fear

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Thread on Pastel QAnon

The Birth of QAmom

Wellness Influencers Are Spreading QAnon Conspiracies About the Coronavirus

Seane Corn’s anti-Q post swarmed by QAnons

Inside Kelly Brogan’s Covid-Denying, Vax-Resistant Conspiracy Machine

The Brightest Stars Shine In The Deepest Dark

Sep 17, 2020
16: So You Want to Save the Earth? (w/John Roulac)

Yoga-crazed Hindu nationalists murder Muslims for eating beef, believing that the cow embodies the religious gift of India’s soil. American white supremacists chug gallons of local milk to prove their lactose tolerance and their claim that they alone should occupy the Global North. 

Extreme examples aside: it’s clear that key elements of the alt-right and the New Age agree that the Earth is sacred. Bountiful and healing, the Earth preserves everything lost to industrialization, Big Pharma, and globalization. Home is where the soil is. But whose home? Who’s welcome here? Who can afford it? Who’s allowed to own it, and who has to slave-labor on it? For all the supposed concern for ecology, why aren’t we seeing conspiritualists and QAnon devotees marching against carbon emissions, celebrating the carbon drops of lockdown, supporting the migrant workers who pick their arugula, or starting community gardens in their food-desert cities? 

This week Matthew reviews the soft-fascist “blood and soil” themes of conspirituality culture. Derek gives some background and context on the romanticization problem with agriculture. And Julian looks at the quasi-scientific premises and promises that podcast fave Dr. Zach Bush offers in response. We also bring you an interview with farming activist John Roulac, who’s incensed at how conspirituality is ripping up progressive foodie movements. In a recent article, he called out his old friends and associates (like Mikki Willis and Christiane Northrup) for what he calls their “body-snatching” beliefs. Matthew closes with a view from Manitoulin Island.

03:20 This Week in Conspirituality

1:05:20 Interview with John Roulac

1:43:13 Grief & Silent Fire

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Is the Wellness Movement Being Tainted by QAnon and the New Age Right?

John Roulac tangles with Mikki Willis

John’s projects: Kiss the Ground | Nutiva | Rebotanicals

Matthew’s feature on Pattabhi Jois, yoga guru and serial sexual abuser

When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers

A reflection on the lasting legacy of 1970s USDA Secretary Earl Butz

Why factory farms are a “perfect storm” for disease pandemics

Brian Rose on Zach Bush

Our COVID-19 Assumptions Are Wrong — Zach Bush

Zach Bush promoting Alan Jones

The Dangers of Snake-Oil Treatments for Autism

Why White Supremacists Are Chugging Milk (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed)

Sep 10, 2020
15: Tantra: Sex, Death, & Chaos (w/Alex Auder)

For decades, Neo-Tantra has focused on sex workshops and orgasmic bliss, overlooking the fact that the Kama Sutra is effectively a patriarchal instruction manual as well as Tantra’s grassroots origins in the lower castes in Indian society, which were responding to lofty metaphysical ideas with practical rituals everyone could partake in. From that perspective, a modern industry marketed with Shiva-Shakti figurines is yet another example of capitalist yoga in a privileged society. 

Derek opens this week discussing a redpilled-lite video by Danielle LaPorte, while Julian discusses an intensely personal story related to Tantra; he also explores the role of the Aghoris. We break from Tantra talk during Matthew’s interview with Alex Auder, a veteran yoga instructor who uses comedy as a relief mechanism from the QAnon craziness in the yoga world. Matthew ends this week’s episode with a reflection on his history with Tibetan Buddhist Tantra, and how he sees echoes of its archaic elements showing up, in undigested form, in the QAnon imaginarium.

03:15 This Week in Conspirituality

1:06:46 Interview with Alex Auder

1:46:48 QAnon & Tantric Meditation

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

Danielle LaPorte’s video

How tantric sex trains people to have more intense orgasms, and why it’s so controversial

The Mysterious Death of a Tantric Sex Guru

Sex Messiah: A Tantric Odyssey

Not for the Faint of Heart: The Aghori and Their Unorthodox Path to Enlightenment

Reza Aslan (almost) loses his head

Yoga: An Evolving Story Of Cross-Cultural Innovation

Julian Feeld at the Hollywood Blvd QAnon rally

Sep 03, 2020
14: The Problem with Revelation: Psychedelics and Conspiracies (w/Lorna Liana)

This week we announce and discuss a refinement in our podcast’s direction. Real talk: conspirituality has clearly become both a front and a gateway for the fever-dream of QAnon. As mainstream news outlets wake up to the sordid reality that independent journalists have been tracking for two years, we find neither stream truly conceptualizing answers or methods for recovery and healing. Going forward, we’re going to concentrate not only on critique, but also offering solutions.

Our guest this week is Lorna Liana, publisher of Entheonation. She tells Matthew about the insurgence of conspirituality in the plant medicine and ceremony world. Some neo-shamans, she says, are redpilling plant worshippers during vulnerable states. Julian and Derek chime in with their own experiences of psychedelics.

06:40 Psychedelic Evolution

35:35 Interview with Lorna Liana

1:16:00 Interview discussion

1:50:33 Rocket Fuel for the Mind

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

What Are the Coronavirus Risks with Ayahuasca Ceremonies?

Can Ayahuasca Protect You From Coronavirus?

Is Tobacco Antiviral (& Can It Treat COVID-19)?

Plant Ceremonies and Your Safety in the Midst of a Global Crisis

COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset

A Neuroscientist Explains What Conspiracy Theories Do To Your Brain

The Danger of Manipulative Love-Bombing in a Relationship

The Certainty Bias: A Potentially Dangerous Mental Flaw

Dopamine, cognitive biases and assessment of certainty: A neurocognitive model of delusions

The Dopaminergic Midbrain Encodes the Expected Certainty about Desired Outcomes

Aug 27, 2020
13: Religion Can Be A Dangerous Verb (w/Dr Theo Wildcroft)

Dr. Theodora Wildcroft joins us again to take us through the basics of contemporary Religious Studies. She discusses how the discipline approaches issues of ritual, value, meaning, charisma, and role-playing, while also leading us through the process by which objects, places, and people become sacred. Spoiler: it’s more about what we do than what we believe.

Wildcroft also dissects the chronic problem of conspiritualists weaponizing myths of rebellion and recovery.

Matthew gives a brief rundown on the trainwreck of Mikki Willis’s “Plandemic 2,” and also talks about the Q-map as an artistic (if delusional) landscape of comfort and connection. Derek contemplates the chemicals we don’t question while putting onto or inside of our bodies, while Julian homes in on one particular chemical: the pyramid scheme propped up by Big Essential Oil.

02:25 This Week in Conspirituality

1:01:04 Interview with Theo Wildcroft

1:51:59 Interview discussion

1:58:50 The Q-Map as Mandala

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

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Show Notes

The QAnon map

How to spot a conspiracy theory – Expert guide to conspiracy theories part one

Mandala Offering – Ring Set Version

Lotsawa House: Mandala Offering

Deep State Mapping Project

Was Lewis Carroll a Pedophile? His Photographs Suggest So

Travis View on Twitter

2019 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report

Risk Associated with Bee Venom Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Class Action: Young Living ‘Nothing More Than an Unlawful Pyramid Scheme’

Multi-Level Vaccine Refusal

Very simplistic visual example of how conspiracy theories can become transnational

Deconstructing the placebo effect and finding the meaning response

The Placebo Phenomenon

The Women Making Conspiracy Theories Beautiful

Aug 20, 2020
12: So You Want To Stop Child Abuse (w/Regan Williams & Dr Theo Wildcroft)

Last week, we started to explore how the real issue of child trafficking is being weaponized by bad-faith actors. This week we’re joined by two experts that explain the overt and subtle impacts involved.

Regan Williams, CEO and founder of Seen & Heard, a nonprofit that provides youth in foster care with professional and personal development via the performing arts, offers a ground zero perspective of trafficked children and teens (and the people that actually care for them) being made even more invisible by conspiratorial clicktivism.

Religious Studies scholar and trauma-sensitive yoga consultant, Dr. Theo Wildcroft, joins us from England to discuss the consequences of trauma histories being hijacked for political and emotional manipulation. She offers insight into the mythic elements of conspirituality-to-Q that cannot be ignored if we want to understand how trauma is both stored and resisted.

On This Week in Conspirituality, Matthew considers the absurdity of David Wolfe accusing the medical community of not doing anything about cancer. Julian investigates anti-Semitic blood libel themes in QAnon and Derek discusses the chronic dangers of seeking utopia.

06:53 This Week in Conspirituality

54:12 Interview with Regan Williams

1:14:37 Interview discussion

1:18:27 Interview with Theo Wildcroft

2:04:42 Interview discussion

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

To report abuse/neglect, call the child abuse hotline: 800.540.4000 (LA county) / 800.422.4453 (National)

Epstein is a real pedophile. Why are QAnon and Pizzagate so focused on fake ones?

The Dark Virality of a Hollywood Blood-Harvesting Conspiracy

Just how anti-Semitic is QAnon?

QAnon isn’t newly anti-Semitic—it’s always been that way

Q supporters are incorrectly doxxing journalists who report on QAnon as Jewish

Nearly 600,000 people have voted for candidates who support QAnon

Here are the QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2020 

QAnon Supporter Who Made Bigoted Videos Wins Ga. Primary, Likely Heading To Congress

Prominent Republicans back a conspiracy theory-promoting congressional candidate in Georgia

Argentino on Qanon’s spread to 71 countries worldwide

Trump is a lightworker sent to destroy all of the systems of the Cabal

Contrary to Lorie Ladd’s claim that Trump is the only President to ever address trafficking

The 25 women who have

Aug 13, 2020
11: Cults and Disaster Spirituality

Two of this podcast’s hosts have been involved in destructive cult dynamics. Matthew’s three years with Michael Roach and three years at Endeavor Academy are at the root of his cult research and journalism. Julian’s six years in the inner circle around what he describes as Ana Forrest’s incendiary and manipulative approach to yoga left him with repressed memories. Those experiences also left his family deeply scarred by some of the same Satanic Panic themes prevalent in the QAnon movement. His ongoing work advocating for critical thinking and community health is part of his recovery.

Derek describes himself as being “cult-adjacent”—not uncommon for a lifelong wellness industry professional. In this episode, he’ll interview Julian and Matthew about their cult experiences, the recovery process, and cultic dynamics in modern yoga, Buddhist, and New Age communities informing the growing field of conspirituality.

They’ll also discuss cultic organizations being ideally positioned to sell “Disaster Spirituality” (props to Naomi Klein) in times of crisis. Cult leaders understand the power of charisma, the attractiveness of transcendental ideology, and what it takes to make vulnerable people feel like every question is answerable with jargon, intrusive eye contact, and deeply deceptive shit. Matthew will ground the discussion with a synopsis of cult research, basic concepts, and useful definitions.

03:30 This Week in Conspirituality

43:10 Cult Histories

1:17:40 Cult Research Framework

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

The David Wolfe video about pedophilia and Trump

United States of Conspiracy | PBS documentary

QAnon Casualties: stories on Reddit

Steven Hassan’s “Influence Continuum,” which is helpful for assessing the health of influence

Great podcast about James Arthur Ray and the question of undue influence

Tony Robbins’ PR defends him when people are injured at his firewalking events

Excellent podcast series on Heaven’s Gate

The conviction of Keith Raniere

Peter Georgiades on the legal barriers to cult litigation

Daniel Shaw on “Traumatic Narcissism

QAnon Anonymous covers emerging diversity and fronting tactics at a recent Hollywood Blvd “Save the Children” rally

Wayfair conspiracy theorists are overwhelming the National Human Trafficking Hotline

Review of how the Satanic Panic of the 1990s set the child abuse movement back in terms of resources and understa

Aug 06, 2020
10: The Anti-Vaxx Agenda (w/Imran Ahmed)

A recent report by the UK’s Center for Countering Digital Hate found that anti-vaxx organizations reach 58 million people on social media. The total amount of money spent by anti-vaxx groups and advertisers targeting their followers on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube is roughly $1 billion. The majority of the money funding the most prominent anti-vaxx groups is by just two men: osteopath Joseph Mercola and fund manager Bernard Selz. All of this makes you wonder: Why is so money being used to target anti-vaxxers? 

Derek interviews Imran Ahmed, founder of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, about how anti-vaxx leaders and groups are using social media to target and recruit followers. The stakes are higher than ever, as the vaccine argument has transcended autism and is threatening to endanger public health during the pandemic. 

Julian considers the vaccine fears of parents as well as the shadow of the Tuskegee Syphillis Study, and how anti-vaxx alliances are targeting black communities, which could be a disastrous Trojan Horse for COVID-19, while Matthew serves up his This Week in Conspirituality segment in the epilogue, looking at how the leader of the high-demand group he was indoctrinated into over 20 years ago, led by Michael Roach, is rebooting old content as a COVID-era grift.

02:32 The History, Facts, and Fears of Vaccines

1:01:48 Interview with Imran Ahmed

1:33:40 Disaster Spirituality

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

History of Vaccines

A History of Measles in the United States

Measles Cases and Outbreaks

MMR Vaccination | What You Should Know

Mercury, Vaccines, and Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories

Aluminum in vaccines

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines

CDC Global Health – Polio – Our Progress

Christiane Northrup: Triangulation, regret, Gardisil, civil disobedience

How the Public Learned About the Infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Anti-vaccination leaders fuel black mistrust of medical establishment as covid-19 kills people of color

The Anti-Vaxx Industry: How Big Tech powers and profits from vaccine misinformation

Michael Roach pitching “meditations designed to plant seeds to eradicate the virus”

Registration page for Roach’s program

Sex and Death on the Road t

Jul 30, 2020
9: Ableism in Conspiracy Theories (w/Jivana Heyman)

Percolating alongside racism and classism, one of the most pernicious subtexts of conspirituality propaganda is ableism. Proponents spout accusatory mantras like: “You have an immune system!,” “You’d have nothing to worry about if you were vegan!,” and, of course, “Living in fear is the real cause of disease.”

Not only do these ideas have nothing to do with virology, they also condemn everyone who is immuno-compromised, living in a food desert, or managing trauma to the margins. COVID-19 has exposed the ugliest secret of wellness culture: the glorification of the self over concern about the community.

None of this is news for disability activists. In this episode, Matthew interviews Jivana Heyman, founder of Accessible Yoga and longtime AIDS activist, about walking the anti-conspirituality line between yoga and public health. Heyman also reveals how the past and present intersect in Tony Fauci, a leading figure in AIDS research during Reagan’s tenure who is now being muzzled by Trump.

In This Week in Conspirituality, Julian looks at the fear of death through the lens of Ernest Becker and Joseph Campbell, Derek discusses free speech after Twitter removes 7,000 QAnon accounts, and Matthew tries to empathize with the “awakened” aspect of conspirituality, i.e., What have they woken up to?

02:25 This Week in Conspirituality

42:23 Interview with Jivana Heyman

1:35:52 Interview Discussion

1:44:44 Closing Thoughts

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

A Force In The Universe: Brad Ramsey

Advanced A Asthanga practice video with Pattabhi Jois

The Prophecies of Q

Twitter Removes Thousands Of QAnon Accounts, Promises Sweeping Ban On The Conspiracy

What Does Free Speech Mean?

As Predicted: Parler Is Banning Users It Doesn’t Like

Statistics & Information on Childhood Sexual Abuse

Matthew’s tribute to Jivana Heyman

Jul 23, 2020
8: Taking Dr. Christiane Northrup Seriously (w/ Professor Jacqueline Antonovich)

As Christiane Northrup’s social media feed descends even further into the delusional zone — this week she retweeted explicitly identified QAnon content — we ask Professor Jacqueline Antonovich of Nursing Clio about the history of charisma, magic, and entrepreneurship in women’s wellness. When asked if she was surprised by Northrup’s conspirituality spiral, Antonovich was clear: “Not at all.” She carefully unpacks why.

We also look at the role of media in conspiritual thinking and discuss Northup’s enthusiastic endorsement of the movement to “make Americans free again” by becoming single-issue voters—the issue being vaccines.

01:33 This Week in Conspirituality

36:23 Interview with Professor Jacqueline Antonovich

1:41:27 Interview Discussion

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres)

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Marshall McLuhan | The medium is the message

How Can the Press Best Serve a Democratic Society?

In 1947, the press reported on the Hutchins Commission report

Trump, QAnon and an impending judgment day: Behind the Facebook-fueled rise of The Epoch Times

Trump’s New Favorite Channel Employs Kremlin-Paid Journalist

Hundreds of hyperpartisan sites are masquerading as local news. This map shows if there’s one near you.

Make Americans Free Again | The New Normal: Citizens In Charge

Jacqueline Antonovich | Nursing Clio

Northrup’s retweet of a QAnon account boosting the red shoe conspiracy

Gilman’s “Yellow Wallpaper

Ricki Lake’s “Business of Being Born

On Lydia Pinkham

On Mary Putnam Jacoby

Sarah Swedburg on Louise Hay

How New Age Guru Louise Hay Harmed a Generation of Gay Men

Jul 16, 2020
7: Doctoring COVID: Christiane Northrup’s Great Truther Awakening (w/Britt Hermes)

OB/GYN Dr. Christiane Northrup has been a giant in women’s healthcare advocacy for decades. She has persuasively argued for lower-intervention childbirth, an end to circumcision, and policies that place family unity at the heart of health care. She’s known and loved for challenging her medical training with faith-based values and an intuition framed as feminine (if not feminist) and “sovereign.”

Northrup draws on astrology, feng shui, chakra theory, and “vibrational” healing as modes of resistance to what she sees as medical patriarchy. This resistance began seamlessly intersecting with COVID trutherism in April, when she started posting daily Facebook sermons to her half-million followers. The series is called “The Great Awakening” — a phrase first used to describe 18th-century American spiritual revival movements, but was recently co-opted by QAnon conspiracists to describe the inevitable triumph of Trump over the Deep State.

Northrup’s sermons, combined with her posts of Plandemic, Tony Robbins interviewing anti-vaxxers, and a podcast with “Andy” Wakefield in which she called COVID a “flu” and expressed concern about Bill Gates taking over public education, give a rich glimpse into the seduction of conspirituality in the hands of a wellness matriarch.

Most recently, Northrup has strengthened her alignment with QAnon by posting a trailer for a follow-up to a key recruiting video. With up to a dozen QAnon supporters running for office in November, Northrup is positioned to nudge middle-class white wellness women with money into a cult that believes Trump is a messianic figure.

This week’s interview is with Britt Hermes, who earned her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University in 2011. After three years of practice, Hermes left the profession to became its most vocal public critic. We asked her to weigh in on women’s wellness in the pandemic and the appeal of Dr. Northrup.

03:27 This Week in Conspirituality

18:11: Doctoring COVID: Christiane Northrup’s Great Truther Awakening

51:48 Interview with Britt Hermes

1:10:58 Interview Discussion

1:18:58 Closing Remarks

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem (Duke Schommer + Derek Beres).

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Pharmaceutical Ethics and Grassroots Activism in the United States: A Social History Perspective

Just 50% of Americans plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s how to win over the rest

To celebrate the Fourth, Michael Flynn posts a pledge to conspiracy group QAnon

How New Age Guru Louise Hay Harmed a Generation of Gay Men

How the ‘Plandemic’ Movie and Its Falsehoods Spread Widely Online

How Oprah helped spread anti-vaccine pseudoscience

QAnon conspiracy theory followers step out of the shadows and may be headed to Congress


Jul 09, 2020
6: Grappling with the Cult of Trump (w/Steven Hassan)

Manipulation Infatuation

It can be as hard to talk with your well-meaning yoga-world friend about their COVID-conspiracy beliefs as it is to talk with a family member about their devotion to Donald Trump. This isn’t an accident — but it’s not exactly by design, either. Both figures can seem trapped in filter bubbles of jargon that hypnotizes and cancels critical thinking.

In this episode, we talk with pre-eminent cult researcher Steve Hassan about his new book, The Cult of Trump, and explore the overlaps between the cults of personality that destroy political, wellness, and spiritual cultures. We discuss changes in cultic technique in the age of lockdown, and how best to maintain contact with a person transformed by manipulation. The interview with Steven begins at the 37-minute mark.

Support Conspirituality on Patreon

Show Notes

Troy Casey video

UFO Conspiracy Theorists Offer ‘Ascension’ From Our Hell World for $333

The Prophecies of Q

How the ‘Plandemic’ Movie and Its Falsehoods Spread Widely Online

Anatomy of Delusion: How Otherwise Conscious People Descended into the Darkness — Stephen Dinan

Shift Network courses

Matthew on the Shift Network

The Cult of Trump Media Page

Steven Hassan’s BITE Model

Influence Continuum

I Am Not Your Guru” — Tony Robbins documentary

Hacking the Consumer’s Brain” — Moran Cerf

Jul 02, 2020
5: Disease as a Metaphor (w/Maggie Levantovskaya)

Immunity Community

Conspiritualists are compelling for numerous reasons: they’re charismatic; they claim to transcend polarized politics; they claim to speak the unspeakable in a quest for hidden truths. It makes sense that a key rhetorical instrument in their toolbox is poetry.

“The real virus is fear” is a unifying metaphor for conspiritualists, but there are others. In conspiritual-ese, the immune system is like the Christian soul: eternal, perfect, and solitary. Masks are signs of submission that symbolize the suppression of free speech and even slavery. Public health departments are bureaucracies of death. Vaccines are poisons designed to demand compliance. Vaccinators are Satanic agents compelled to enter the sacred space of the body — especially the child’s body — in order to possess it.

In this episode, Derek (cancer survivor), Matthew (pulmonary embolism survivor), and Julian (Lyme disease in remission) discuss the function of the beautiful and delusional metaphors of illness and transcendence in conspiritual-ese, applying the discoveries of Susan Sontag and Eula Biss. Maggie Levantovskaya, an Adjunct Lecturer at Santa Clara University, discusses her essay, “My Disease is Not a Metaphor.”

Show Notes

My Disease is Not a Metaphor” — Maggie Levantovskaya

Don’t Thank Me for My Sacrifice” — Maggie Levantovskaya

Resilience and Possibility Conversation with Zach Bush MD

Mary Baker Eddy: American Religious Leader

The Science of Mind — Ernest Holmes

The Trouble With Medicine’s Metaphors” — Dhruv Khullar

Travis View on adrenochrome

Internalised Ableism: The Tyranny Within

Ableism and internalized ableism

Will you Go with a War-Cry or a Whimper?” — Ben Ralston

On Immunity: An Inoculation — Eula Biss

Bali yoga retreat angers many after lying about mass gathering of chanting foreigners

Jun 25, 2020
4: Racism in Wellness Culture (w/Dr Natalia Petrzela & Dax-Devlon Ross)

Blinded by the White

On one hand, we have the CEO of Crossfit tweeting that “Floyd-19” is the real problem. (He got canceled.) On the other, COVID-truther psychiatrist Kelly Brogan is using Hopi mythology to support the fantasy of a Corona consciousness-awakening — while the Hopi themselves live within the Navajo Nation, which has the highest infection rate in the country.

WTF is going on with white wellness people?

For this episode, we’re joined by New School historian of American fitness, Dr. Natalia Petrzela, who sheds light on the historical links between physical culture and racism, and Dax-Devlon Ross, an anti-racism and civil rights educator, on what white wellness ideology does to Black people. 

Show Notes

Dr. Petrzela on Ahmaud Abery

A Letter to My White Male Friends of a Certain Age — Dax-Devlon Ross

Glassman’s FLOYD-19 tweet

Buzzfeed covering Glassman’s Zoom

Dr. Petrzela tweeting on McFadden and Sandow

One City’s Struggle to Police the Police — Dax in The Washington Post

Kelly Brogan using “sovereignty”

Kelly Brogan appropriating a Hopi text

Something we didn’t cover: A Wisconsin “I Can’t Breathe” workout

A BUNCH of white spiritual dudes claiming that the “I can’t breathe” protest chant is a spell to program people for slavery to the Deep State. They advise taking strong action with deep breathing exercises and antidote mantras.

Sovereign Citizens Movement on Southern Poverty Law Center

Ben Ralston on “sovereignty”

Ralston on protests

If you have the spoons, you can wade through the comment section on the Yoga Alliance BLM post and comment thread

Pueblo women in New Mexico using “sovereignty” for solidarity

Léolo (1992) 

Jun 17, 2020
3: Why Are Spiritual People Vulnerable to Conspiracy Theories?

Correlation is not causation

Right-wing conspiracy theories are being marketed in wellness communities as a form of spiritual freedom. While pattern recognition is an essential survival instinct, it’s being exploited during a time of a global pandemic, governmental collapse, and social paranoia. Tragically, so-called spiritual leaders are trafficking in propaganda while advocating for individual sovereignty.

We also discuss the history of and science behind 5G and vaccines.

Show Notes

Ivanka Trump’s graduation speech to Class of 2020

Can a Vaccine for Covid-19 Be Developed in Record Time?

Louis Pasteur, from crystals of life to vaccination

The 5G Health Hazard That Isn’t

Jun 11, 2020
2: Conspirituality in Zach Bush and J.P. Sears

Earnest Truther, Funny-Man Truther

To the layperson, Dr. Zach Bush’s vision of a resurrected microbiome as being the answer to modern illnesses sounds appealing. His basic argument: we’ve been weeding ourselves to death, externally and internally, depleting the biodiversity of our soils and bodies. He seems to have done typical clinical work (in mostly private settings) in internal medicine, endocrinology, and hospice care. But with no publications or experience with epidemiology, why is he being tapped by anti-vaxx activists to speak on COVID-19

Perhaps because when he runs up against the limit of his knowledge, he offers spiritual sermons. J.P. Sears does something similar, though from a different direction, without being signal-boosted by anti-vaxxers. Sears’s deeper colors show when he reaches the limits of his satire: he’s a life coach medical libertarian who’s willing to cherry-pick data and mock concerns about the immunocompromised in support of…we’re not quite sure.

Show Notes

Zach Bush interview with Del Bigtree

Zach Bush monologue with Rich Roll

JP Sears videos: Media | Response to Media | Blue Pill People

JP Sears’s podcasts: Tim Kennedy | Viral Video

Summary of Santa Clara study cited by Bush and Sears

Sayer Ji’s Instagram meme

Tim Kennedy and waterboarding

Jun 04, 2020
1: Coronation for Whom?

Tracking Eisenstein’s Arguments, Influence, and Networks

Barely two weeks into various stages of lockdown around the world, New Age philosopher Charles Eisenstein published a 9,000-word essay on the meaning of the pandemic. He summed up his core theme with deft wordplay at about the 7,000-word mark. After suggesting that the global crisis afforded a kind of transformative opportunity, he writes

“Now the question arises: Initiation into what? What is the specific nature and purpose of this initiation? The popular name for the pandemic offers a clue: coronavirus. A corona is a crown. ‘Novel coronavirus pandemic’ means ‘a new coronation for all.’

What was so captivating about this essay that Jack Dorsey tweeted it to the 4.5M followers on his platform? What are Eisenstein’s premises, credentials, rhetorical techniques? What are his connections to medical libertarianism, and how does he manage to endorse conspirituality while seeming to deconstruct it?

Show Notes

The Coronation — Charles Eisenstein

CORONATION UNVEILED: A Critique and Cure for Charles Eisenstein’s Fairy Tale Pandemic Essay — Jack Adam Weber

Daniel Pinchbeck’s response to The Coronation

The Conspiracy Myth — Charles Eisenstein

Covid-19 Is A Rehab Intervention: Charles Eisenstein | Rich Roll Podcast

Charles Eisenstein / Sayer Ji discussion

During COVID-19, Charles Eisenstein Invites You to Think Deeply About His Awesome Writing — Matthew Remski

Transformational Weight Loss — Charles Eisenstein

May 28, 2020
0.2: The Kelly Brogan Effect & Red Pills

Conspirituality started with Julian and Matthew as guests on Derek’s EarthRise podcast. We’re reposting these episodes for you to hear the origins of this project.

In episode 0.2, we discuss suspect medical claims made by Kelly Brogan and Sayer Ji. We also talk about Julian’s new essay, “The Red Pill Overlap.”

Show Notes

The Red Pill Overlap

Why We Stay Asleep When COVID-19 Is Trying To Wake Us Up

What Mandatory Vaccination and the 5G Rollout Have In Common

May 21, 2020
0.1: Conspiracy Theories & Cult Dynamics

Conspirituality started with Julian and Matthew as guests on Derek’s EarthRise podcast. We’re reposting these episodes for you to hear the origins of this project.

In episode 0.1, we discuss the anti-vax propaganda film, Plandemic, as well as the intersection between conspiracy theories and cults. We also talk about the “red pill” video by comedian JP Sears.

Show Notes

7 reasons to be very wary of “Plandemic”

What It’s Like To Believe Everything the Media Tells You: JP Sears

Blue Pill People: JP Sears

May 14, 2020