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emeraldimajia

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some signposts [Dec. 27th, 2010|01:39 pm]
emeraldimajia
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This is my personal blog, in which I write about whatever I want. Sometimes what I write concerns Zendik. But I've been gone from the farm more than three years now, and its presence has faded. So if you've come seeking information about everybody's favorite West Virginia cult (well, not everybody's--I suspect the Hare Krishnas prefer New Vrindaban), here are some signposts:

My writings about Zendik-as-cult are concentrated around December 2005/January 2006; that was when I discovered I'd been in a cult, and began investigating what that meant. Also, in October/November 2005 there are a few entries (private when I posted them, now public) in which I began to admit to myself that I had doubts about Zendik, and maybe didn't want to go back. Those entries afford a peek into the psyche of one who is still a believer, but beginning to break free.

There are, of course, references to Zendik throughout my three-plus years of blog entries, but if you want the concentrated download, feel free to head straight for it.

Now available on YouTube: "The Ballad of Zendik Farm," in which we learn the history of "Larry and Carol," and imagine an alternate universe in which (C)arol comes to her senses. I wrote this song in spring 2008.

Coming sometime, to a book store near you: "Mating in Captivity: A Memoir."
linkReply

Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2008-06-06 02:09 am (UTC)

Thank You.

Emerald, I've been reading over your some of your posts from earlier and post Zendik. I had honestly about forgotten the Zendik encounter until it crossed my mind with the video I had posted. It was March 29th in Asheville NC where that happened.

In fairness I had informed Zendik that I linked them. There has not been a sign of them. As I read through some of your posts I can clearly see the control, the belittlement of peoples Self Esteem. Like the posting of peoples weakness on the refrigerator. And there are more sins than just lying. Like manipulating people. To be honest, the material was a rambling rant and Arol seems to ramble in the one pod cast I've listened to. You are a sweet, yet, cool girl and you can sing pretty good:). I'm glad your out of it. I hope the girl I met gets out of it too. Thanks for your kind response.

Have you heard of Robert Burney? Some of your writing reminds me of him. If not, I think you would like him. I can't agree to everything he say's, but, I can't disagree either. The man is a true freedom fighter.

I've spent enough time and energy learning about them and there is a whole lot more to you than being a survivor. I like what your doing, your interest in Farming and Gardening. It's becoming a dieing thing. Especially a "City Girl" like yourSelf. I'm no Gardener my Self, though I was tempted to plant a few things this year. It would not have been much, maybe a little Indian style garden,a few hills of corn with the beans running the stalks and some squash in between. But, I thought I might be leaving town for a few months.

You area good writer, you relay yourself well, and I hardly notice a typo, LOL. There is a good person in you. Feel free to come on over and (like Cracker says) dance around the camp fire, hang around a while.

Daniel...AKA The Appalachianist.
danconwil@citcom.net

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From: (Anonymous)
2008-06-20 09:04 pm (UTC)

SIGNPOSTS

I'm looking forward to your book, and to the music. You are one fine writer, and person.

Thank you.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-13 09:36 pm (UTC)
www.myspace.com/chronicleofithatsithere

thanks.

Haz
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-14 12:06 pm (UTC)
i'm a zendik and an ecolibrium in the same way i'm a breather or a bather, but i'm not hung up on it. living outside established order equals breathing and maintaining balance. i think it's virtuous to respect someone who helps someone else to learn that, but i'm not hung up on it. as far as i can see it, zendik is just a last name like taylor perhaps but lending coherency and clarity to the culture connected to it that intends to outlive the plague we loosely refer to here as the cult. if there's a conflict in the village or people in the ranks go sour or something, it's not going to make me denounce the zendik ethic and my place within it. i'm still me even if i'm the only good zendik left but i'm not and it's a gay argument anyway. if arol hadn't answered my call and got between me and my mom when i was two i'd be dead so i'll always be grateful for that and all the people she sent between us to help us in response to our collective call. we wanted a place that was real so we agreed to work it out. she was serious about life, so was i, so were the others who picked up our signal. they were there. we dedicated ourselves to processing out of the cult that we created by shitmouthing ourselves soemwhere so we could experience sanity and never return to that godaweful place so naturally i'm curious and to some degree befuddled as to how your journal comes off to me like an aweful relapse on my part requiring goatse. only reason i have to say i'm not physically on the farm at this very moment as much as i might want is the simple base covering issue and no one here ever discouraged me from the importance of understanding that survival is not equal to hiding behind zendik, so as you can see i'm not holding my breath like some stupid failed suicidal bum. my resources might be somewhat minimal at this time but i'm an autonomously active and interested individual and i am genuinely grateful without complaint or self righteousness for your contribution to our cause.
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2008-07-14 03:12 pm (UTC)
Hello Haz,

Thanks for writing. Aren't you the one who drew the picture of the woman with the baby on her back on the "I believe we have undeniably valid grounds for a revolutionary action" t-shirt? What do you do now?

Helen
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-18 09:48 am (UTC)
I hav no idea who did that thing you're talking about, unless I can get away with saying I did it psionically/telekinetically. I saw my name signed to another zendik related drawing about a year ago in a gallery on the site, but never so much as even seen a picture or read anything about who that person is if it isn't me. I've been Haz and also zendik since 1978.. at least that's the last direct map point in my memory of being conscious of it at the moment. I'm waiting for morning so I can call this dude and tell him I want bio text changed on a cd due for mainstream release on copyleft license before the duplicator gets it, and telling you about it, that's what I.. do. Just hangin in and getting by, that's all. I really want to get your input on something here- how is heresy (zendik) equivalent to sanity/coherent philosophy? It seems to me like this schizm in and of itself is the core of the cult. Is it just me or do you see that too? Furthermore, how does an ex-zendik identify themself? As a human? Maybe this is where you ask me if I'm seriously asking myself that question. This post was premeditated years in advance, and I remember reading about it in a book afterward.
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2008-07-18 03:04 pm (UTC)
"How is heresy (Zendik) equivalent to sanity/coherent philosophy?" That's a good question. Usually a heresy manifests as an individual act of contradiction: For example, the Church said the earth is stationary; Galileo (the heretic) said, "And yet it moves." The Zendiks, however, have not articulated what their heresy is--to do so they would have to establish which specific belief of which specific institution they were contradicting. They haven't done that. Instead, they've set themselves up as heretics in a general sort of way, saying, for example, that the larger society practices competition while they practice cooperation, or that the larger society practices deception while they practice honesty. Even if it were true that Zendiks were generally cooperative and honest (which they're not) they still wouldn't be able properly to brand themselves heretics unless they could prove that competition and deception are in fact the dogma that all the world follows.... Yes, I suppose I do identify myself as a human...also as an ex-Zendik...or maybe a Zendik graduate?
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-19 01:24 am (UTC)
proving that deception is the dogma that the world follows wouldn't be a valid act of revolution in my understanding, if i did that i'd be an ecolibrian failure, which might be valid in a scenario where i was learning from it, but otherwise it's clearly a contradiction, a complacency, a lazy irresponsible and cosmically criminal attitude on the part of the claimed zendik or ex zendik or whatever. in other words, it's wrong, and the act of choosing to be wrong would make me a heretic, but just in a wrong way, which i would say isn't valid unless it is for some reason, again. maybe?
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-19 05:09 am (UTC)
maybe Arol isn't the one exclusively in control of who gets to be a zendik and maybe she is. maybe it really is exclusively the individual's call and not a synchronistic thing, even tho that doesn't seem logical to me, maybe it's like that. maybe when I place myself in the position to make a conscious collective decision as everyone in the world, in which Arol is included, which is what i do anytime i do anything at all, maybe no one has a choice but to choose to agree that the decision is valid because it is, and maybe it's an understatement that it's a gay argument anyway. maybe i'm a graduated this that or the other thing at this that or the other given moment when i want or need to be for this that or the other given reason. maybe i'm just here for your company because i like you and anticipate making a new friend in the process of relating to your observation that whole foods groceries is nonsense. tralala, maybe we made it out of the script and actually had a conversation, earlier and later in this comment field, simultaneously.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-26 06:49 pm (UTC)
oh, i remember now. i'm a director. i'm a director and i own a production company, that's what i do now. *shrug* i guess i'm supposed to be wealthy and have a lot of money and something. the company is called harmless junk inc. i'm in such an impoverished condition i'm barely standing tho, in reality, so it's kinda confusing. whoever has my money apparently isn't me. my friends car quit and i'm stranded in bufu now and don't even have a ride to pick up my cds, but life is great. i pace around in this dark empty house i'm trapped in, and sleep, and browse the pbase random photo gallery on the person i'm renting my room from's computer in a circuit that erases my memory so i don't remember anything i do or see. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........................
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-04-23 06:39 am (UTC)

haz you've been had

hey, its elliott. i lived underneath you in bastrop. try to get past the head trip and look at the damage we caused by not fighting those bastards harder. think of allen and all those thirteen year olds having unprotected sex with people in their seventies who were telling people AIDS couldn't kill a zendik. that place was packed with paedophiles. the whole thing was so an old man could get his rocks off and steal money from teenagers scared of the world. its just a matter of time before the internet cleans the earth of those evil head cases.
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2009-07-20 10:49 pm (UTC)

Re: haz you've been had

I never lived in Bastrop.
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From: (Anonymous)
2015-09-14 03:00 am (UTC)
Come live in Portland with Sam Zendik on the south shore collective!
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[User Picture]From: ephraim_oakes
2008-07-29 04:15 am (UTC)
Hi. I believe I met you some years back (2001, i think) when some friends and i took a road trip to zendik on our spring break from college. In the meanwhile i did a two year stint at a non-culty intentional community, but the bizzareness that was my week at zendik definitely was not forgotten.
I hope it's ok if i friend you.
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2008-07-29 01:59 pm (UTC)
Of course it's okay if you friend me--the more friends, the merrier. I'd be curious to hear about both your impressions/memories of Zendik, and your experience at the non-cult commune. Which one was it, and how was it? I'm quite fascinated by the idea and practice of communal living in general.
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[User Picture]From: ephraim_oakes
2008-07-30 06:44 pm (UTC)
My impressions of Zendik were very heavily filtered through the experience of being on a road trip with a bunch of good friends, dealing with a bunch of gender-identity bullshit and processing a lot of that with said friends, and that being one of my first exposures to rural life and manual labor, all of which were pretty emotional in mostly positive ways. Also, i didn't yet have any point of reference for intentional communities, since it was the first one i visited.
Off the top of my head, on the positive side, i can remember being impressed that the zendik could get by financially with such minimal participation in the outside economy and totally enamored of the satisfaction of simple, physical work. on the negative side, i was totally weirded out by the whole zendik ideology/philosophy, by what i saw as pretty overt misogyny, and by the looming presence of charismatic leaders. more neutrally i was a little bewildered by some of the economic choices (why raise peacocks, but not chickens, if you're gonna eat a lot of eggs?; what were the horses doing to be worth the time and labor invested in them? for examples) and by some of the more innovative aspects of the social structure (the explanation we got of the dating dynamics was pretty amazing). It was clear that, as a community, zendik was very comfortable with hierarchy, which i knew wasn't my particular cup of tea, but i figured that folks who lived there must have been ok with it.

A few years later, i ended up moving to Twin Oaks in VA. I lived there for about two years before leaving to go to grad school. I have a lot of thoughts about Twin Oaks, but on the whole i think it's a really remarkable institution. As far as communities go, it has pretty minimal ideology, but a lot of internal bureaucracy (which i think is one of the keys to why it functions so well and has stuck around for 40+ years). They basically picked one thing to be committed to (building an egalitarian socio-economic system where everyone's labor gets valued equally and everyone benefits from roughly the same standard of living) and figured out a way to do that really well. It's certainly not perfect, and in some regards it's just been plain luck that has keep things going, but i'd definitely recommend visiting to anyone interested in community.

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From: (Anonymous)
2011-12-13 04:10 am (UTC)
hey i just left a 6 month love affair with a member of zendik and now i'm working on moving to twin oaks! i'd love to hear from you your view of the two.
thanks.
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2011-12-14 04:32 pm (UTC)
I've visited Twin Oaks twice, both times as the guest of a member (which means I never had the three-week prospective- member experience). My basic impression of Twin Oaks is that
it is in fact a community, not a cult. It's democratically run, and the rules by which it's run are written down. However: Their governing process, like any governing process, is open to abuse. Also, certain individuals do manage to accrue substantial unofficial social power, while other less socially adept individuals end up getting demonized. Also, the relative isolation of the place contributes, at times, to an us-against-the-outside-world mentality.

I won't go into my views on Zendik here, since I've already done that in detail in my Zendik FAQ and in other posts on this blog. If you have specific questions about either group, feel free to ask, and I'll answer to the best of my ability.



The valu
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[User Picture]From: upaya
2008-08-23 09:42 pm (UTC)
Hi, I stumbled across this blog and find it fascinating! I talked with a few folks from Zendik back when they were located near Austin. I've always been interested in cults and the politics of cults, but never been part of one, except for the whole Christianity thing when I was a child. I am eagerly awaiting your book! Adding you to my friends list if you dont mind.
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2008-08-25 10:24 pm (UTC)
of course i don't mind. and thanks for introducing yourself.
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[User Picture]From: marvelhill
2009-05-12 02:01 am (UTC)
hey helen. i remember you fondly from a short stay at zendik in 2001 when i was just 16. i left with a person who was asked to leave because he was gay and they claimed it would not be appropriate for him to stay because he would not fit in sexually. that was just one of many strange and controlling things that happened during that time. just wanted to say way to go and express my support for you. i haven't read all of your blog; i am about to. i'm just really glad you are sharing your experience on the internet because i'm sure it will help alot of people. bless ya!
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2009-07-20 10:51 pm (UTC)
Hey marvelhill, thanks for reading, and writing. Glad you found your way over here.
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From: ex_katieste
2009-07-04 05:40 pm (UTC)
I have never before heard of zendik, where have I been? I plan on reading the rest of your blog entries now but thanks for posting such a personal adventure that I'm sure will be able to help many others.
http://www.dynastyirondoors.com/
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From: unrezerv3rdname
2009-07-17 03:21 pm (UTC)

Regarding Zendik.................................................................

Yes- I do have much id like to share regarding Zendik Arts Farm.

Unfortunately due to the many time consuming trials and tribulations i experienced with the "become a member" register form that was nesc for me to post.- I do not have the time nor the energy to do so right now . Microsoft strikes again. Oh how they do excel at making simple tasks absurdly difficult. I shall certainly return.There is much that i have wanted to express regarding all things Zendik but had no venue until i accidently found this blog entry or whatever it is a few days ago- So for now, all i find myself able to say is.....

W.O.W.~~~~~~>(its an insider/outsider joke)
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From: unrezerv3rdname
2009-07-17 07:45 pm (UTC)

It this thread still active?

I just noticed that with the exeption of a few posts including mine- most are 2008. I have much that i have wanted to express ~~~>some ideas, assessments,experiences,etc and perhaps even have some kind of interaction/dicsussion with others on the subject/topic- Zendik.
However if this thread is dead.....
???????????
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2009-07-20 10:34 pm (UTC)

Re: It this thread still active?

I suppose it is, since you and others have posted to it recently. I myself have (obviously) not been posting much of late, but I do read and welcome all commentary.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-08-19 01:19 pm (UTC)

Re: It this thread still active?

What ever happened to Shey?
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2009-08-24 10:51 pm (UTC)

Re: It this thread still active?

Anyone looking for information about particular individuals who once lived or still live at Zendik should send email to madgelma@hotmail.com.
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[User Picture]From: mamagotcha
2015-01-07 04:30 am (UTC)

Re: It this thread still active?

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From: (Anonymous)
2010-01-20 01:25 am (UTC)
The place sounds truly horrible. Thanks so much for getting the the word out there - we almost went there because we're looking for an intentional community to live in. What scares me is that I'm very open and could probably become involved in a place like that quickly. It's easy to see it's a cult after reading your posts.

May you continue to grow from the healing you're going through and also may you continue to help others! What you're doing is very important.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-11-12 09:55 pm (UTC)

Remembering

I remember you I was there in 2003. It was amazing to me that people who had all of the answers to society and how they could live a life that would change it, would be so opposed to inviting very many new people there. I remember they had a special shelf for the people who lead this precarious cult for their special foods. Arol did not take a liking to me at all. I remember us all sitting on the porch having lunch when a friendly lady stopped by to check out the farm. She made a comment that pissed Arol off and from that point forward during her stay no one was very open with this woman, except me. I thought the ideas they had were fantastic, but it was only really for the selected few that belonged. I would love to check out your book. Please send me an e-mail with that information. I always think about Zendik and what happens to a person when they decide to leave, how they integrate back into society. I am glad to see you made it out and putting this information out for others.
earthluna@yahoo.com
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From: (Anonymous)
2015-09-14 02:57 am (UTC)

Sam zendik seen in Portland oregon

The cult still lives on!
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