Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: July 22, 2004 10:10AM

I've been thinking over my past involvement with destructive groups, posted elsewhere about The Church of Immortal Conciousness, an Arizona based cult. One of the other groups I was part of was centered on Leonard Orr, a con man of the crazy guru variety.
At the time, this the mid 80s or so, he was based at Campbell Hot Springs, near Truckee California, the closest small town being Sierraville. I had pilgrimaged there after reading some of his books. I lived at the center, it was called something like Conciousness Village, for several months, with my young son.
The place was run down, lodge and small cabins desperately needed repair. I doubt the main kitchen could have survived a health inspection. Electrical lines were chancy, plumbing not all that better. Several folks lived there year round and ran the place. Money taken for day use of hot springs, also various workshops and the like were held.
An incident in particular stands out in my memory. We had been called to a meeting up at the fire pit at a specific time. We all met but Leonard was nowhere to be found. So we did some chanting, much later Leonard finally wandered on in, his pants zipper down, he disheveled. He stated that he was late because of our bad energy.
Leonard then ranted, babbled, stated that he had invented fire meditation and that if he had not, he surely would have killed a client by now, as they were so annoying.
Another incident, a young man had travelled from Sweden to meet the great Leonard Orr. He arrived, as he walked up to the porch where Leonard was relaxing, Leonard asked him......."How much money have you brought me?".
Leonard was good at reading body language and other nonverbal cues. He'd groom folks, for instance with me he out of the blue claimed that I was psychic and spiritual, certainly to give me an ego boost and draw me in further to the group.
He once dictated to me a letter for Sondra Ray, one of his fellow rebirthers, he told her that unless she listened to him and followed certain procedures, she would die.
Leonard told us often that we create our own reality. Something bad happen? Must be our fault. We weren't breathing right, rebirthing enough, eating right, doing enough affirmations.
I witnessed people who were experiencing physical health problems being told that it was all a matter of breathing right, necessary medical treatment was even delayed because of this.
I saw Leonard engage in ripping off workers and explain his deception and sudden refusal to honor agreements as proof that he is a guru, a master, who doesn't need to explain anything to anyone. He is accountable supposedly to no one.
While living there, I fell into an open concrete pit that was along a well traveled path. The worker was tired and had not left the pit properly lit. I broke ribs and damaged a knee, later needed surgery. Leonard had one of the guests who supposedly was a nurse look me over, they decided I was fine, I was not able to break out of the group mindset and insist on being taken to hospital.
Campbell Hot Springs is now known as Sierraville Hot Springs and looks to be owned by different folks. Leonard Orr is still active, he travels round the world and looks to be making good money. And what would he say about any criticism of him? Why, it must be our birth trauma. If we had rebirthed enough, we would know he is a master, and we would also never die.

Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 22, 2004 11:18AM

its a classic--you can use it to excuse anything.

If you want to understand how charismatic leaders 'tick' get and read 'Prophetic Charisma' by Len Oakes. He studied 20 charismatic cult leaders, after having spent time as a disciple of one.

Oakes described how one of these leaders handled a health department inspector--he dazzled the guy with BS, knocked him off balance with verbal judo and talked his way out of the whole mess.

There's a first rate article by Temerlin entitled 'Psychotherapy Cults: An Iatrogenic Perversion' pages 131-141 of 'Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice Volume 19 Number 2. The article gives an excellent overview of how these leaders and groups 'tick'.

Good that you escaped!

Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: Concerned Oz ()
Date: July 22, 2004 04:26PM

Seeing Orr's name and Rebirthing triggered me back to 1991-2. I heard him speak in Sydney about this time at a Rebirthing Conference held in an auditorium at the Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, Sydney, (nothing implied here just coincidental).

At the time I was heavily involved in an LGAT and was receiving weekly rebirthing sessions, of which I had 11.

Orr convinced me that there were Gurus in the Himilayas who had lived on breathing air without food for 600 years. Looking back I wonder how I believed this and still went to Church each Sunday. My LGAT opened me up to all things being possible, (including UFOs), while putting to rest any discernment.

Rebirthing - My eleventh session was horrifying. I'm a little nervous mentioning this as it is quite embarrassing. I was in a tank of water with the Rebirther, (therapist), under water floating on my back with a snorkle to breathe. From recall, I had to breath according to a certain pattern, similar I guess to Yoga. The breathing tended to activate the unconscious mind [u:8c00415e3a]and at the time[/u:8c00415e3a] I thought I was obtaining clarity. In this session, I felt an evil come over me and I jumped out of the tank and threw up violently. The evilness I have only experienced once before and that was using a Scientology e-meter.

Some time later that year I experienced the Kundalini when I woke up in the middle of the night. I did find out there was a connection between the Kundalini and Yoga but I had never practiced Yoga. It was not until October of 2003 that I made the connection between the Rebirthing breathing and invoking the Kundalini:
Refer: [www.kundalini-gateway.org]

My understanding from a Christian perspective is that the Kundalini is not an awakening of psychic energy but rather an encounter with a demonic. This theory more explains my experience as the energy force appeared to come from outside of myself rather than generated from within. It also left or exited the same way. The Kundalini was definately not generated from within me nor put to rest within me as suggested by the new age articles I have read on the subject.

In short, I recommend to say away from Leonard Orr, Rebirthing and the Kundalini, not to mention LGATs and Scientology e-meters. I'm a much happier person now in mainstream society.


Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: July 23, 2004 05:12AM

Wow, thx for the rebirthing info.
I had heard of Leonard Orr, and rebirthing, but had never really thought about it, or known anything about it.
These expose's are invaluable.


Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: July 23, 2004 06:07AM

I'm looking over his web site and I can provide some translations for Leonard-speak:

[i:6c5dab18fa]"Leonard also plans visits to yogi masters in Badrinath and Bombay. There will probably be more events and excursions scheduled once we get to India. As always, traveling with Leonard is an adventure, not a packaged tour. Leonard moves according to his guidance and his program is flexible. However, training dates are definitive."[/i:6c5dab18fa]

Leonard will do whatever the hell he wants, he doesn't need to consider those who have paid to take this journey with him, for he is better than you all. If you expect schedules and honesty and professionalism, think again. Your expectations are a sign of your need for more rebirthing sessions, you are strangling the energy of the group, probably because of your own birth trauma. Breathe and be youthed.
You should be grateful for this opportunity to be with him. Everything he does is to assist your healing. So what if he doesn't speak for long periods of time, so what if he mumbles, so what if he turns and walks away while you are in mid sentence. He's a holy man.
Oh and there are rumors that he sometimes outright abandons program members in far off countries, without making sure they are safe and secure and healthy and able to get back home. But they just don't understand. They are still in their death mentality. Feel abandoned when Leonard simply disappears on that world tour while in Poland, India, Australia? Feel left behind and traumatized because you spent all that money and you are suddenly all alone in a country you are not familiar with? Why, once again, that is your birth trauma. You create your own reality, so if you don't like this one, create another.
Note also that we said the training dates are -definitive-. Not definite.

[i:6c5dab18fa]"Spontaneous hyperventilation is nature’s way of teaching people that they need to learn Rebirthing-Breathwork. Soon after Rebirthing became a successful nationwide movement in the 70’s, I was invited twice by doctors to lecture at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda on the subject, "Rebirthing – the Cure for Hyperventilation". "[/i:6c5dab18fa]

It is a perfect con, convince people that only I know the truth about something as basic as breathing. Just nod and smile as I lie lie lie. Aren't you impressed that I created a nationwide movement? Aren't you impressed that doctors invited me -twice- to give a lecture? I am a man with a plan, a man with the key to unlock the mystery of what everyone else calls a panic attack.
Don't pay any attention to the fact that I am a consumate bull shit artist. Besides, that is just another sign of my superiority.

[i:6c5dab18fa]"The three basic causes of death are:

emotional energy pollution
poor diet.

Therefore, to master death you have to do three things:

Master the idea of physical immortality, which involves living from Spirit, our natural divinity.
Unravel our own death urge, which we received from our parents and encourage all the people in our environment to do the same. Learn how to keep our energy body & emotional mind clean and balanced through spiritual purification practices.
Learn the power of nutrition and fasting and the other simple and pleasurable habits that give us body mastery. Becoming a vegetarian is basic! "[/i:6c5dab18fa]

Most everyone is freaked out about death and everyone has to breathe, so I've nearly cornered the market here with this one. A perfect set up. Because if you die, I can always say you did it wrong, you didn't listen to me, you didn't give me enough money, you didn't rebirth enough, and you had bad vibes.
If you live, and notice that I've screwed you over, well, I can always blame your parents. They caused your original birth trauma and if you don't do as I say, your death urge might just kill you. Can't say I didn't tell you so.

[i:6c5dab18fa]"Our organization has to keep our priorities right. We have to carefully and sensitively maintain an organization that is not lost in techniques, human power games, emotional problems – including birth trauma, parental disapproval syndrome, death urge and greed - in any way that consciously or unconsciously causes us to lose the Power and Presence of God. Organizations are created by their members."[/i:6c5dab18fa]

And our organization is all about control. No room for doubts, discussion, independent thinking. You dare question and we'll shame you back into smiling submission.

[i:6c5dab18fa]"Philosophers teach with words; yogis teach with Energy - positive Life changing seeds of Energy that go on healing us forever. I've been this kind of yogi for over 30 years - even before Babaji made me aware of it. And Babaji gave me many new powers. I still don't understand them all. I just watch them work with a sense of wonder."[/i:6c5dab18fa]

When I say for 2 thousand dollars you will get a private session with me, I don't mean I will necessarily have to be present. I teach with energy, I can guide you without needing to be in the room. One of those new powers Babaji gave me.


Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 23, 2004 10:32AM

a fellow named Andre van der Braak spent 11 years as disciple to guru described as harsh by many people. He describes all this in his memoir
Enlightenment Blues:My Years With an American Guru

According to van der Braak, at one point his Guru became pissed off at how ego fixated his disciples were, so he sent them off to do rebirthing sessions. I cant remember how many such sessions van der Braak put himself through, but he did lots of them.

He never speculated whether all those sessions had any role in making him stifle his many, many doubts for those 11 years.

Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: July 23, 2004 12:21PM

fellow named Andre van der Braak spent 11 years as disciple to guru described as harsh by many people. He describes all this in his memoir
Enlightenment Blues:My Years With an American Guru

According to van der Braak, at one point his Guru became pissed off at how ego fixated his disciples were, so he sent them off to do rebirthing sessions. I cant remember how many such sessions van der Braak put himself through, but he did lots of them.

He never speculated whether all those sessions had any role in making him stifle his many, many doubts for those 11 years.

I'll add the book to my list of books to read, lots of great suggestions in these forums.
I looked at Andrew's webpage briefly, it's quite slick, and he's packaged the same ol' same ol' in modern buzzwords and spin. Yuck. I'm not able to even tolerate much reading of the site, gives me a headache, all the double speak.
In my experience, many authoritarian New Age leaders do network and borrow from each other, even rip each other off and repackage, also they pull in any stolen "exotic" cultural claim and reference they can.
Leonard Orr has taught many people his stuff, some of which he has taken from other spiritual systems and cons. One of his many students were Stephen and Trina Kamp. While I lived at Leonard's place, the Kamps came to do a workshop which I attended. I later ended up joining their destructive group.

Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 23, 2004 09:32PM

here is another book--its called People Farm, by Steve Susoyev. There's some stuff about it on this thread


Given what you've been through, you may find People Farm a huge eye opener. There was a wilderness facility where people lived in Spartan conditions (food however was excellent!) and basically became toys for the leader and his consort to play with. Then they'd go places like LA, Beverley Hills, Santa Barbara, book rooms at good hotels, dress up in high fashion clothes, drive expensive cars and peddle their stuff at the Human Potential venues. The book is worth getting just for the descriptions of the hustling that goes on behind the scenes in various New Age/Human Potential conventions.

(Warning: there are some horrifying descriptions of mind gaming that escalated to non-consensual sex. If you're traumatized in that area, proceed with caution and make sure you have support--or know when to put the book down and go for a walk)

Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: geoffreydfalk ()
Date: April 17, 2005 10:05AM


Orr convinced me that there were Gurus in the Himilayas who had lived on breathing air without food for 600 years.
In Pola Churchill's [i:392a3456a3]Shiva Mahavatar Babaji,[/i:392a3456a3] Orr had this to say regarding Paramahansa Yogananda's "immortal Himalayan master," Babaji:

"Babaji has had many bodies throughout human history. He can appear to you in any of them, or all of them at the same time. I have friends to whom Babaji appeared in many bodies as a parade. This appearance enlightened them. Since meeting Babaji in Herakhan in 1977, Babaji has appeared to me in many forms—as a woman on a bicycle in Poland, as a bum in Washington DC, as a bird, as a snake....

"Babaji is the Father of Jesus Christ."

Leonard Orr and Rebirthing
Posted by: Wiser Aussie ()
Date: December 29, 2005 12:51PM


I'd read about 'Breatharians' in the Survival Into The 21st Centrury by Viktoara Kulvinskas many years ago when I was studying alternative lifestyles.

Apparently there are people who live on oxygen alone. Their belief that oxygen has all the nutrients to sustainlife. It is done in slow and progressive stages over many years.

1. Cutting our meat and animals products from diet.

2. Eating only raw vegetables, fruits and their juices.

3. Fruit only.

4. Gradually fazing fruit out of diet.

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