Symbolic Rituals - ancient rites
Ryk, if you are still out there...
I think the reason the effects are so long lasting and "hair-raising" is that in Joyspring and Inquest in particular (second level courses) they use elements of ancient symbolic initiation rituals. They combine that with the more modern brainwashing techniques discussed generally in this forum and the cult books.
Every known culture, throughout remembered history, has had 'extreme' rituals of one kind or another, for initiation. Usually for young (adolescent) boys and girls, to initiate them into adulthood - and to imprint the rules and values of the tribe or culture onto the participants, so that they can fit into the community and be useful in it.
The most worrying aspect of this is that the rituals are symbolic - beneath rational thought - and very dramatic and emotive - in the past they had to be very powerful to maintain the culture and rules, particularly where there was no literacy.
I have not read anything of this aspect in any of the literature on cults, or on this forum. Some describe modern rituals of the cult, but dismiss them as not very important, or as shallow things specific to the cult.
Over time I have come to realise that it is the elements of ancient ritual that are the most destructive and powerful and long-lasting. Everything else is window-dressing or a hook to get people into more courses. These 'modern' aspects are also very strong, based on sophisticated and subtle brainwashing techniques developed in recent times in the military, in psychology studies and in in marketing studies. I am not dismissing them. They are bad enough.
The ancient ritual elements are far more frightening because they have stood the test of time, world-wide. They have survived because they are effective. That is thousands of years of 'experiment' and 'empirical evidence' as opposed to the last 100 years or so of fairly narrow insights (eg Freud and his small set of clients in Vienna) and some military-industrial experiments.
I think the problem with recovering from cult experiences is that the symbolic, unspoken, ritualistic, metaphorical, poetic, dramatic and emotional elements are not attended to.
Ryk - for an example - you remember what your life contract was (the words) and what they SAID about it... but how much attention have you paid to the ritual and unspoken elements of it?
If Joyspring is like Inquest, then on the first day you are given a "bad name tag"... then emotionally bludgeoned with that tag for a few days, by trainers as well as other group members. When you 'get' your life contract - they take your bad name tag off. Do you remember that? That is approximately followed by a death ritual / funeral march with emotive music, to go with your contract, and some kind of love-bombing or other great approval all round.
I think the act of putting the name tag on, then abusing throught that tag, then removing that tag in the midst of a dramatic emotional experience - the symbolic action of what is done with the name tag is as important (or even, more important) than what you consciously and verbally remember - the words of your contract.
That whole episode is a life-death-rebirth ritual, probably stolen from several ancient rituals and adapted to the purposes of the lgat (ie profit).
There are hundreds of small symbolic things going on all the time. As an assistant you see a lot more of the details of them, but the explanations for them are pretty shallow (clear the energy, blah blah)
Maybe what I am saying seems obvious, but I haven't read anything that helps me with this element. Not shallow modern newly-invented rituals, but the use of ancient proven rituals.
I have thought about the 'flashbacks' I have had and have been able to tie them all back to symbolic things that were DONE, rather than what was said.
For example: in the first course there is the 'nothing' game, at the end of which you are 'enlightened' (shocked and dissociated) and then you blow out the candle at the door. I don't usually use candles at home but I got some for my birthday, and started lighting a candle if I woke up in the night, just to sit for a while without too much light. Then, I'd blow out the candle, go back to bed, and have Quest nightmares.
Another odd thing is posters. A while back I put some posters up in my house, kids' stuff. It made me feel queasy. Later I took the posters down to paint the wall, and that made me feel a whole lot better, but also with sweating and shaking going on. I realised it was to do with putting up and taking down the life contract posters, at Quest.
I'm finding that tracking down of symbolic and metaphorical things quite helpful, so I thought I'd write it down here to maybe help other people, and also find out whether anyone else has paid attention to all these non-verbal elements.
If anyone does remember any specifics of these non-verbal ritualistic elements, please do write about them.
Sane again (I wish I could also say this with conviction)
Thanks so much for the research done and posted here. I have been off-line for some time and am really grateful to see that the conversation carries on.
It has been since 2003 for me- and the freakin memories remain- many times brought on by a song they played during one of the games. I have indeed not given much attention to the rituals and the unspoken elements of it. Come to think of it- the deep meditative state and ensuing bliss went something like this:
Silence hovered around me for lenghts of time, whilst digging as deep as I could to open up to the "inner voice", simultaneously seeing others make their "breakthroughs" and going to the front to confront their destinies. Then, my body started shaking uncontrollably- first from my hands and feet, and later from inside my guts, and I moved forward, against the will of my body, towards the "contract board". During this time, I could not utter any words, and a sense of utter bliss came over me like waves, consuming me. Then I stepped up to the "contract board", where I wrote down my life purpose, saying it out loud (with difficulty, I remember). It felt very frightening! Then followed an invitation by the facilitator to step forward and into it, followed by the knowledge (mentioned afterwards) that I will regret it severely if I dared turn my back on my life contract. After stepping forward, my body could take it no more and it felt like I was going adrift, going up into the air. An emotive song followed (Nature boy, by Nat King Cole), kind of confirming "who I am"- (in this case "I am caring") and I woke up, being carried and cradled by the assistants and stroked and "loved". I assume this is the love bombing that you mentioned.
The "bad name tag" also happens, very much like you described it. I remember the words very clearly and today, it fuc....ing still pisses me off.
The candle ritual are also done in very much the same way. I remember one night soon afterwards, my wife ran a bath for me, and put a candle on the side of the bath. This simple thing had such impact, I felt extremely emotional and vulnerable in that bathtub. I have forgotten about that until you mentioned that ritual- and it makes so much more sense now. I also recall the Kundalini ritual, where we were subjected to a strange spell of sounds whilst "vibrating" your body as feverishly and fast as possible. Then there was the anger game, where you could hit a pillow on the floor and spit you poison against whatever you needed to- typically people who hurt you in your past. During this game, I unleashed everything inside of me, and ended up bruising both my hands. If and when I remember more details, I will write about them again.