Oct 27, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/26/2020

Astrology, Tarot, QAnon, Heaven's Gate

Cults in the Occulture: Astrology
" ... After two years of research I found that astrology is horrible as a predictive tool and totally unreliable reference as to a person's character. Astrologers who know how to read a chart with its thousands of relational aspects can easily get most customers to agree with a reading. It comes down to an influence game. Astrology can effect national decisions. I point to how in 1948 the New Indian government had to consult an astrologer for the auspicious moment when to sign their declarations of independence from Great Britain. After Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, his wife Nancy consulted a celebrity astrology to names dates and times when the president could safely travel, thus causing havoc and unnecessary delays among White House staff decisions."

" ... Until this year, most people had never heard of QAnon. But over the course of 2020, the fringe movement has gained widespread traction domestically in the United States and internationally — including a number of Republican politicians who openly campaigned as Q supporters.

I have been researching QAnon for more than two years and its recent evolution has shocked even me.

What most people don't realize is that QAnon in July and August was a different movement than what QAnon has become in October. I have never seen a movement evolve or radicalize as fast as QAnon — and it's happening at a time when the socio-political environment globally is much different now than it was in the summer.

All of these factors came into play when Facebook decided to take action against "militarized social movements and QAnon."

In the weeks leading up to the ban, I had seen a trend in more violent content on Facebook, especially with the circulation of memes and videos promoting "vehicle ramming attacks" with the slogan "all lives splatter" and other racist messages against Black people.

In explaining its ban, Facebook noted while it had 'removed QAnon content that celebrates and supports violence, we've seen other QAnon content tied to different forms of real world harm, including recent claims that the (U.S.) West Coast wildfires were started by certain groups, which diverted attention of local officials from fighting the fires and protecting the public.'"

"Randi-Lynn thought she was going on a relaxing family vacation to the mountains. Just a few days later, she was hiding in a bathroom and frantically posting on Reddit, asking for help. The headline of her post? 'I think I was brought on a girls trip to be brainwashed.'"

"Heaven's Gate hit just about every bullet point on the cult checklist.

Followers believed that Earth would be "recycled" by the year 2027, and that their salvation was an alien spacecraft travelling closely behind the Hale-Bopp comet, which would transport them to an extraterrestrial "Kingdom of Heaven". Naturally, they had a self-appointed messiah: the former music teacher Marshall Applewhite, who co-founded Heaven's Gate in 1975 with a fellow Texan, a nurse named Bonnie Nettles.

In 1997, the year the Hale-Bopp came closest to Earth, 39 Heaven's Gate members died by suicide in a San Diego mansion that doubled as the cult's headquarters. The suicides are believed to have taken place over the course of three days, with each member discovered wearing identical black outfits, box-fresh Nike Decades and arm bands reading, "Heaven's Gate Away Team". In the months that followed, at least three former members also died by suicide.

Despite this tragic end, there are still people out there interested in joining Heaven's Gate. Luckily for them, the cult's original website is still online – and among all the impassioned literature about the group's beliefs, there's something else prospective members will be happy to find: an email address.

I wondered who, in 2020, would be maintaining the email address for a cult whose members are all famously dead. So I emailed it to find out, asking how many members – if any – are left.

"None," came the reply. "The Group came to an end in 1997. There are no members or anything to join."

So who was I speaking to? "We joined at the beginning, in 1975, and have been with them for 45 years. There are us two here in Arizona and a couple more around the country.''

It turns out these four Americans were instructed to tend to the website in the mid-1990s and have been doing so ever since, replying to emails and taking care of daily legal and archiving issues in the downtime from their regular jobs.

They also all still believe in the group's ideology, and seem keen to promote it, sending me a link to a Vimeo page containing the series Beyond Human – hours upon hours of wide-eyed leader Applewhite and other Heaven's Gate members discussing their beliefs. The last few videos are just Applewhite warning people to save themselves from a soon-to-be-recycled planet.

According to the four remaining followers, people across the globe email asking to join the cult every day. "We have told four today alone that they can't join, because the group ended in 1997," they explained in an email. "We average about five or so a day that want to join.''

The Heaven's Gate subreddit, composed of over 600 members, has also fielded questions from people looking to join the group. One Redditor I spoke to said that the appeal of Heaven's Gate, even post-1997, is "that there are many young people out there, myself included, who are looking for their place in the world, a place to fit in.''

While the group might have been welcoming – so long as you were 18 or over and didn't mind abandoning your entire family and all your earthly possessions – the belief system would likely have been difficult for most to get on board with."

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