Re: The Gnostic Movement/Gnosticweb lead by Mark H. Pritchard (Belzebuub)
Date: February 01, 2011 07:53AM
I’m loving all these posts, and feel like telling my experiences with “The Gnostic Movement.” Oh boy, where should I begin…
I can certainly claim the title of the youngest person suckered in by Mark’s program. When I was 12, I was searching google for information on lucid dreaming and out of body experiences, because it was a topic that really interested me and I had already had some experience with lucid dreaming myself. I eventually stumbled across Mysticweb and saw that they were offering a free 9-week online course for astral projection. I decided to sign up, but I saw that the next round of courses didn’t start until September or October of 2004, so I waited a bit. I distinctly remember that the website said no one under the age of 14 could sign up without parental permission, but I lied about my age to join; there didn’t seem to be anything inherently “dangerous” in a course about Astral Projection. I now wonder how many teenagers signed up and how fragile and suggestible their psyches were.
The course started when I was 13. They started emailing me weekly and sending me free pdf files with the lectures and practices (I’m pretty sure the pdfs were a digital copy of Mark’s book “A Course on Astral Travel and Dreams” broken into 18 parts, but I wouldn’t know as I never actually bought the book.) The first week, he told us about some relaxation exercises, dream remembering techniques, and told us to keep a dream diary, which all seemed pretty normal. Like some people said, all the crazy stuff is on the inside of the onion. It did seem a bit unusual that he was using the name of a demon from the bible, but I thought that was just an interesting pen name. He would explain that later.
The next week, he outlined all the “technical aspects” of astral projection. He referred to it as an “inner science” which we have to experience for ourselves. He then talked about how there are seven dimensions which we could travel through: the first three of the physical, the fourth dimension of time, the fifth dimension of eternity, which included the astral and mental planes, the sixth electrical dimension, which included the casual and Buddhic planes, the seventh dimension of spirit, then the absolute, from which everything came. This was the framework he gave us to work with, and I believed it. I believed every word, because I was 13, because I had just left the Catholic church and was looking for something to believe in, and because it all seemed so new and exciting.
After that, he told us seemingly normal things every week. However, there were a few moments where he explained what he was going to cover in other courses: for example, in the fourth week, he talked about subconscious “egos” that roamed around in the astral plane; about how we are all born with physical, vital, astral, and mental bodies, but we could learn to ‘create’ new bodies in other courses; about how he, himself, had surpassed his lunar and solar bodies to create “golden bodies” and how he was working towards creating bodies of light (part of Mark created a “personality cult” no doubt). It was just enough to get you interested in taking the rest of the courses, but not enough to show you how crazy all of it really was. For the rest of the 9 weeks, he gave us exercises like focusing on candles, focusing on the candles, and repeating mantras to get into the astral plane, as well as exercises on how to realize you’re dreaming once you’re in a dream. He explained how it was difficult, and to be patient with the exercises and you will achieve astral projection. The teachers on the mysticweb forum were saying the same thing (I think I only wrote in the forum a few times through all the courses.) Nothing terribly unusual or damaging was presented in the Astral Projection course, though I now doubt the methods actually worked for anyone.
It was next course, called “Searching Within”, that completely f**cked with my head and damaged me as a developing person. By the time I took the course, I completely trusted “Belzebuub” and everything he was saying because it was all so new and exciting. He gave us some crappy self-observation techniques for the first few weeks, then on the third week told us to study Samael Aun Weor’s book “Revolutionary Psychology”. (What he actually sent out was a free pdf copy of “Tratado de Psicologia Revolucionaria”, badly translated by his wife Edith Pritchard) This book is what I’d call the psychological breaking point of the course. If you’re not completely indoctrinated by the time you finish Revolutionary Psychology, then you realize how crazy all of it is and leave. I was, unfortunately, in the former group who cherished every word of the book, even though it opened with a bizarre passage about how Ancient Atlantians studied things and got crazier and crazier as it went along. They later gave us another book called “The Great Rebellion”. By the time I was finished, I believed that there were cities on Mars that Samael Aun Weor ruled over in the astral, that Adam and Eve fell from the paradise of the fourth dimension by having sex with ejaculation, that Jesus married some woman in Egypt and became a god by practicing “alchemy” with her, that the 15th century Alchemist Paracelsus never aged and still lives in a castle somewhere, that for the past million years there were seven races of humans and one of them devolved into ants because they were so unaware of everything, etc. You really have to read some of his books to understand the depth of crazy this will make you believe; it’s worse than scientology.
By the time I signed up for the third course, “Journey to Enlightenment”, I was completely brainwashed. I had substituted the real world with the fantasy world of Mark Pritchard and Victor Rodriguez. Not only did I believe everything they both said, but I felt guilty for believing everything they said because they constantly repeated “Don’t believe anything. Verify for yourself. Belief comes from a lack of awareness and knowledge.” This is how they con people into thinking it’s not a religion/cult, because they actually tell you not to believe anything but at the same time make you feel like part of an elite group of humanity who has the techniques to dissolve all of your human parts and metaphysically transform yourself into an awakened angel who would live forever in the Absolute. The only people in the modern age who had actually transformed themselves, of course, were “Belzebuub” and “Venerable Master Samael.” (strange, since “Samael” died in 1975…hmmmmm.) They gave everyone new meanings for things, like “ego”, made them believe in Dark Age level science, and made them think “Gnosis” (as defined by Mark Pritchard) was the “only path” to “enlightenment”. They made me feel guilty about having emotions (egos) at all; emotions are negative entities that need to be observed and destroyed from moment to moment then incinerated by the Kundalini and sexual magic. Once the “egos” are incinerated, you free the “essence” inside and become more aware; you gain superpowers like clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, and cosmic intuition.
On the first week of the Journey to Enlightenment course (I wasn’t even in high school by the time in started), we were introduced to Samael’s book “Yes, there is a Hell, Yes, there is a Devil, Yes, there is Karma.” This comprised the “fear” aspect of cults; it was seriously the most terrifying book I’ve ever read. He basically took Dante’s Inferno, put it in question and answer format, then multiplied it by a craziness factor of ten. The gist of it was, we have 108 reincarnations until we fail and go to hell for a ridiculously long amount of time. After being tortured, we get to the bottom of hell and have our egos dissolved by the Serpent of Eden at the bottom of hell, which, in contrast to the “Kundalini” spits our essence out unaware. Then, for a million years, we have to live as a gnome, then a plant, then an animal, etc, until we incarnate as a human again. Then the next turn on the “Wheel of Samsara” begins, and we have another 108 lives to awaken ourselves, create solar bodies, and get off the wheel. If we don’t create solar bodies within these 324,000 lives, we get absorbed back into the Absolute, blissful but unconscious. Once again, I believed every word, and it got me paranoid enough to enslave me to Mark Pritchard’s program. I wish I was making this all up.
I never actually looked at the other 8 pdfs for the Journey to Enlightenment course (thank God.) I “left” the course early, decided I wasn’t ready for it, because I imagined most of the course was going to take place in the 6th dimension and I hadn’t even astrally projected yet. (as I’m writing this, I realize how crazy that sentence sounds, but at the time all this seemed perfectly rational.) In 6 months, I still hadn’t achieved astral projection. I had a few lucid dreams from the finger-pulling technique, but no significant spiritual experiences. I felt like I had failed: it was my fault, I hadn’t done the practices right, etc. This is a common cult practice to shift the blame onto the cult member and make him feel bad about himself.
In the time I “took off” from the course, I decided to read a bunch of Samael Aun Weor’s other books. I found a link online that led me to a bunch of pdf copies of them. I was even studying Spanish to see if I could read some of the originals. The popular myth around Mysticweb/Gnosticweb, circulated by Belzebuub, is that the only 5 Samael Aun Weor books you’re supposed to read are “Revolutionary Psychology”, “The Great Rebellion”, “Hell, Devil, Karma”, “The Three Mountains”, and “The Mystery of the Golden Blossom”. He ordered the rest of the books to be destroyed before his death. Therefore, I was surprised to find that the other ones still existed.
I read his books “The Power of Mantras”, “Revolution of the Dialectic”, “The Revolution of Beelzebub”, “The Perfect Matrimony”, “The Mysteries of Life and Death”, “The Message of Aquarias”, “Manual of Practical Magic”, “Christ Consciousness”, “Treatise on Theurgy”, “Introduction to Gnosis”, “The Book of the Dead”, “The Greater Mysteries”, and, the one I went back to most often, “Fundamental Education”. The books, as with all his books, had a weird assortment of the occult stolen from a bunch of other religion and repackaged as “Gnosis”. But mostly, it had his own crazy original views (which were very repetitive) on how the world worked that, at the time, I believed he had gained knowledge of from the Astral.
After reading through the books, I quickly realized what the “errors” Samael that caused the earlier books to be “burned”. He was completely misogynistic! Here’s a passage from Fundamental Education:
“A father and mother should understand the difference between the sexes…
It is necessary for parents as well as teachers of schools, colleges and universities to
worry more about bringing to a woman the femininity that corresponds to her. It is
stupid to militarize women, to force them to march with drums and flags through
the streets of cities as if they were males…
In a truly cultured and civilized society a woman does not need to work outside her
home in order to live. This thing about working outside the home is cruelty of the
I really couldn’t believe my eyes after reading that. It was the breaking point that made me stop reading Victor Rodriguez and go back to the gentler things that Mark Pritchard was saying. In 2007, after some time off, I decided to start over, reenroll in the astral projection course (now on Gnosticweb), and renew my dedication to “the esoteric Path”.
By the time I went back, the courses had changed a lot. Instead of the pdfs, they presented the course in a video format and let you buy the books as a supplement. They also had “chats” on Skype with the teacher after the lecture, and you could talk to Belzebuub on Sundays in a question and answer session.
So, I retook the astral and searching within courses, finally completed the Journey to Enlightenment course, and by the time I was 16 I was just a member of the “Open Course” option because there’s not much left to do unless you want to be a teacher (which I didn’t.)
WHY I LEFT
Leaving Gnosticweb was a gradual process...in March 2008, I decided I was going to take “another break” from the courses and ego dissolving practices for a while. It had been four years and I still hadn’t astrally projected. I decided since I was so young, I always had time to go back and “pursue the path.” I never did.
I just gradually fizzled out of the mindset Mark Pritchard indoctrinated me with after I had some time to get away from the material and look at it objectively. I feel like I’m finally free from it today, after 7 years of believing it to some extent. And boy, was it crazy when I finally realized what I had been doing to myself. I only regret that I hadn’t quit sooner.
After 5 years or so of being intensely involved with them, I feel like I know more about the philosophy behind Mark’s work than most of the instructors do. It became my “new reality” for so long before I finally broke free. I never talked to anyone I knew about being enrolled in these programs or reading these books. I still haven’t told anyone in person. I’ve never been to a study centre, and I’m glad I’ve never taken a teacher course after some of the horror stories I’ve read on here about people who have taken it. I always imagined the teacher courses would take place in the astral realm; I guess I was completely wrong. I now doubt, like others, that Mark himself even knows how to Astrally Project.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Mark Pritchard is a liar and a scammer. No one should trust him. As for “Samael Aun Weor” I believe he was a megalomaniac who actually believed everything he preached; otherwise, I don’t think he would have written over 60 books. I think he might have been a schizophrenic. All his books sound like the mutterings of a mad man.
The only exercise in the courses that actually worked for me was the exercise for week 1 of the Astral Projection course on remembering dreams. I can remember 4-9 dreams a night; I’ve even remembered as many as 18. However, I doubt the mantram “raom gaom” had anything to do with me remembering them as much as thinking really hard about them and writing them down. The rest of the techniques are complete garbage, and the program does not work. Mark Pritchard is a liar who poorly designs courses on Astral Projection to get people hooked into his philosophy. I don’t know how the new courses at Gnosticawakenings work, but stay as far away as possible.
I will comment in the next post about the most damaging aspect of the course, which I feel needs a separate post…