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emeraldimajia

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Sex, Money, Mind Control: The Zendik FAQ [Dec. 27th, 2011|05:00 pm]
emeraldimajia
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Yes—as of July 2018—the Zendik FAQ is still here. But, before you read it, I'd like to offer some context.

I posted this FAQ nearly ten years ago, when Zendik was still going strong and I was hoping to curb its abuses by providing detailed information about how its particular brand of mindfuckery worked (I pretty much ignored Zendik's positive aspects, since you could hear all about those from any current Zendik, or read about them at zendik.org). Since then, Arol has died, the Farm has dissolved, and each of us who lived there has gone about composting her Zendik years in her own particular way.

I am choosing to let this FAQ stand, as a historical record. However, I no longer consider it my most illuminating, or nourishing, account of life at Zendik. That honor goes to my memoir, Mating in Captivity (She Writes Press, 2018), available here, at many libraries (if yours doesn't have it, you can request that they order it), and wherever books are sold. In the book I tried, per Tristine Rainer's advice, to "tell the whole truth, with love"; many years of turning my pile (far more fragrant and fertile now than it was in 2008) made that mission possible.

One more thing: If you've found my FAQ by googling "zendik," after meeting someone who used to live there, please do not use it to dismiss that person, or her intelligence, or her unique experience. We Zendiks were, and are, a wildly divergent band of highly idiosyncratic badasses. We moved to Zendik in hopes of doing something beautiful, while escaping the everyday catastrophe of business as usual. As I've said elsewhere, Zendik harbored some of the smartest, boldest, kindest, imaginers and creators I have ever met. Most of us have gained significant wisdom and insight from our Zendik (mis)adventures.

Okay, on to the very vintage, yet potentially still useful, Zendik FAQ.
Click here for the Zendik FAQCollapse )
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Comments:
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-10-23 10:26 pm (UTC)

They were in NYC today

My friend and I went out to lunch and on the way home my friend noticed this very tall, long haired good looking guy holding up the t-shirt. She had had a shit of a day so asked about it cause she liked the saying. He told us it was an artist community in WV. I'm an artist and I gave him my card w/my artwork on it. Yikes!! Now they have my phone number and email! As I walked away something didn't seem right to me so I started googling.... Thanks for this blog. Cults make me so angry. I had a friend start into to something called "Personal Dynamics" years ago and I worked tirelessly to get him to stop taking the programs. He did after two, but refused to believe he had been changed by it. He most certainly was. You're doing a great service by writing this blog and your book. I wish you much success!
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-10-23 11:12 pm (UTC)

I love it!

I lived there for 2 years in the late 90's. Almost everything you've posted, I've experienced first hand. Wulf was an arrogant asshole, Arrol is nothing short of a self-absorbed bitch, Fawn is boring and everything she says sounds scripted, and Zoe has a bad case of Napoleon complex. I'm still not sure why stayed as long as i did. I guess their "deprogramming" was working it's magic. I must make mention that living there changed my life for the better. I really got to know myself. Then I realized that they wanted to change the things about myself that I recognized as good and natural. That's when I bailed. Not to mention, being gay there was a direct route to self-loathing.
On another note: Everyone who lived there at the time always talked about how incredible Zendik music was and how great a singer Wulf was. Their music is CRAP and Wulf sings like a dying goat. Nez had horrible delusions of grandeur, and was marginally talented at best. I always hated Zendik music and got alot of shit from other Zendiks for feeling that way.
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From: (Anonymous)
2016-10-08 12:11 am (UTC)

RE: I love it!

Maybe we were around at the same time. I performed with Fawn when I was 13. Not many are talking about the California days! Guess we are getting older! I never lived their permanently but it was my weekend hang for awhile, especially preparing for the dances. Thank god I was never swayed! Kids not being able to call their moms "mom" bothered me at 13!

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From: (Anonymous)
2010-12-03 05:18 am (UTC)
Hi, I study cults and mental health hoping to specialize in helping ex members of destructive groups. You should send this information to Steve Hassan to post on his site of resources. Also, I am curious to know how many people live on the farm at one time. Thanks
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-12-03 11:27 pm (UTC)
Hi, I study cults and mental health hoping to specialize in helping ex members of destructive groups. You should send this information to Steve Hassan to post on his site of resources. Also, I am curious to know how many people live on the farm at one time. Thanks
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[User Picture]From: emeraldimajia
2011-01-10 12:53 am (UTC)
Right now I'd guess there are 20-25 people living at Zendik. In the past there have been up to 70 (or so). I don't have the time right now to fill out the "submit group information form" on Steve Hassan's web site; it seems, though, that most people needing access to the information in my FAQ would have a fairly easy time finding it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-02-14 08:11 pm (UTC)

Zendik in February

Found your FAQ very interesting, along with many of the comments. We were at the farm yesterday to collect a hog we'd purchased and found the 15 or so folks we came into contact with very engaging and friendly (heard no 4 letter language at all). They offered us tea, coffee and chocolate bread (which was delicious) and our 8 year old daughter played with two of the children present in the kitchen while we talked "hog" with Erim and Vong, cabinet decoration with some of the women (didn't get their names), heritage turkeys and geese, and the baby lamb in the kitchen. I asked how many people lived there and was told 20 including the kids. I joked once or twice about just staying and got no response. Had never heard of Zendik so googled it when we got home.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-03-22 07:57 am (UTC)

Thank you.

I'm not sure when or where I first found the zendik magazine, but I was about fifteen, maybe sixteen, when I started reading it. And man, did I read it. Cover to cover, over and over and over. It really struck a chord with me, the revolutionary attitude, the member's pictures and testimonials. One of them was yours, I think.
I still have problems with authority now, but at the time they were exacerbated by high school and Zendik Farm seemed like my personal utopia, a place to work, and hone my art. I started telling my family I wanted to go, and was so obsessive, my dad checked it out online.
This happened before this blog, and other ones describing it as a cult were big, so he gave his approval. Luckily, I still had to finish high school, and life distracted me from my ambition to go.

I graduated from high school at nineteen, it took me an extra year to get the credits. By that point I had decided I had to prove I was better than the school, and my previous slackerhood had been my choice. I didn't have a job, I had just lost contact with a roommate, and I was back at home wondering what to do with my life, when it hit me. Zendik Farm. It was far, but not unfeasibly far from Maine. I googled it, and one of the first pages was yours.
If you hadn't made this, I can't imagine the mistake I would have made. My life sucked for a little while anyway, but now I'm twenty three, in a Creative Writing program in an art school in Santa Fe, and my first semester I had a 4.0 GPA.

I finally feel that I'm in a place with like-minded, but not closed-minded people, working on my talents and most of all, improving as a person. I'm seeing new places, meeting new people, and living a life I can be proud of. I realize I'm really laying it on thick now, but you saved a life, and I'm not exaggerating.
I can't thank you enough, and I'm sure if my friends and family knew how close I was to throwing my life away on a cult, they'd thank you too.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-11-06 02:31 am (UTC)
I used to be part of a committee that managed donations of money, products, etc. when I worked for a corporation in the home decor industry. We were contacted by Zendik Farm (this must've been shortly after the move to W. VA) and asked to donate products to them. Not knowing anything about the organization, several of us checked out the website, which at that time was full of information about beliefs, pictures of members and their kids, and generally putting out the "Life here is all sunshine and roses" vibe. Despite the less-than-mainstream philosophies, it seemed relatively harmless, but we still sensed the cult lurking beneath. That was years ago, but it crossed my mind again today, and when I looked up more information about the group, this was one of the first pages I found. I'm so glad that we did not make any kind of donation. I am, however, haunted by the thought of those pictures of seemingly-happy children on the website back then; hearing all of this about the reality of ZF definitely raises concerns as to their well-being. Glad to hear that you broke free and are using your experience to help others.
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[User Picture]From: xallanthia
2012-01-31 11:11 pm (UTC)
I realize this is old but I wanted to say thank you for the information you give here. I haven't read it all yet but just what I did is... wow. I'm interested in Zendik because I grew up across the street from Erim (though of course that wasn't his name, then) and every so often I google him (both "erim" and his old name) hoping that he might have got away.
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-02-26 06:24 am (UTC)
Very nice writing. Thanks for telling the truth. I can verify what you say. I lived at the farm in Texas for awhile and was asked to sign a contract that, in effect said "after you've been here a certain amount of time, everything you own becomes community propery". I did not stay that length of time.... I was an Audio Engineer and owned a lot of really expensive sound equipment. They wanted it for their band so they kept it, citing their contract, leaving me destitute and used the guns you mentioned to force me to leave. I called the cops in Bastrop but was given the runaround. I was told that by the cops that Arol was a member of the Chamber of Commerce! I don't know how that translates to what they preach about "checking out of the DeathCulture" but seriously! Beware this group at all costs!
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-04-20 02:58 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to mention 2 very different (or so I have heard) communes or intentional living communities. Twin Oaks in Virginia and The Farm in Tennessee.

I have heard wonderful things about these 2-but have no firsthand knowledge.

Thanks so much for this informative website!
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From: (Anonymous)
2013-02-04 05:59 pm (UTC)
Looks like ZF has officially disbanded.
"Sorry to say Rachel but we have officially disbanded. Lots of internal issues that could not be resolved. But the good news is a small number of us may be starting up a new collective in the near future! Friend Peiro Mele for more info if u are interested. Take care "

Looks like the Cosmic Pizza Delivery Service has delivered some Karma.
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From: pointy_end_77
2013-03-10 07:09 am (UTC)
Helen,

The first time I ran across Zendik Farm was in the early 90's in L.A. I was going into a small health food store after work, still in work clothes (slacks, dress shirt, tie), and some hippie kids handed me a Zendik magazine. I was intrigued by the message though Wulf ranted a bit incoherently. Bonus: there was a rant about the evils of neckties. "The hippies were judging the heck out of my tie" I thought indignantly. "They are too judgmental." LOL, I had just joined up with my own cult full of judgmental attitudes. The cult you are in is never a cult until you leave it.

A couple of years later our group move out of L.A. (cult drama!) and wound up in Austin, Tx, It surprised me when I saw a Zendik booth and a local farmer's market. The market, amusingly, was run by a woman in our own cult. LOL again.

I believe you wrote in response to one comment that you would be interested in reading stories about other groups, so check this out:

http://afterthetruth.blogspot.com/

Enjoy,

and congrats on your escape and reconstruction.

With love,
Pointy_End_77
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From: (Anonymous)
2013-04-12 12:55 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this description of Zendik Farm life. I remember them selling zines at UT in the eighties, and seeing Wulf and his creepy huge wizard hands on cable access.

Obviously a cult, I feel sorry for people who are lost and looking for a better way and end up in a situation like that. Never let someone disabuse you of your sense of self for a sense of belonging. You are better off alone in a wilderness.
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[User Picture]From: electrosoundwav
2013-05-01 07:47 am (UTC)
I remember y'all used to come through Greenville, SC a decent amount in the late 90's. Even though a lot of us were into what y'all said you were into, none of us ever went any further than buying bumper stickers. Thanks for this faq and I'm glad you got out.
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[User Picture]From: justhumbs
2014-06-17 12:06 am (UTC)




"Rows Of Teeth In Succession- The Royal Procession.
Feed On The Tale- Empowered.
Their Place In The Queue-
Folded Over- Taffy Blue ...
Until Ivory Meets Ivory- In A Dragons Smile.
Yet The Scales Have Fallen- All The While.
Have Tickled The Conscience- Of The Smallest Child ..."
Cosmic Dot Era-

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