Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Saturday, September 1, 1973

Body Types

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends cult enneagram
The enneagram

[ed. - The following is an excerpt from The Fellowship of Friends Body Types Journal published in 1973. It is posted on the Internet Archive. The tone of being "the chosen ones" is already apparent in this early publication.]
General Information

As students penetrate the inner circle of a conscious teaching they will arrive at the emotional verification that they are in a machine, and are surrounded by machines of a body type. As one observes body types objectively, he will find humans are as readily categorized into species as any other form of organic life on Earth. The primary function of these machines is to serve as an organic receptacle for the Earth for celestial influences emitted primarily from the moon and planets within our solar system, and to a lesser extent, influences from the sun and our mammoth galaxy.
Besides serving as a receptacle for celestial influences, body types also in some manner are part of the transmitting mechanism of organic life on Earth to the other heavenly bodies of the solar system. These types, or machines, have one staggering weak spot, which is esoterically known as the "Achilles Heel." The hidden meaning of the Achilles Heel myth is that the machine can stop being a machine by creating a soul, and a soul can be created only by the art of self-remembering.

At one step in a student's development humans will appear to be quite similar. Such a perception is an objective observation as one is seeing humans from the fourth dimension, from which the verification of their almost complete mechanicality can be made. Christ uttered, Let the dead bury the dead, and one can frankly observe that essentially all of the activities of world forty-eight are equally mechanical from the realm of presidents and kings
to that of beggars and thieves.

One of the reasons that we may be at first hesitant to accept body type information is that many people in life with a shallow level of being speak as if they know something about the heavens. As Peter Ouspensky gracefully observed, In reality we know nothing. Astrology, as we meet it in life, is a thread of truth mingled with much imagination and identification. Ironically, they fail to be repulsed by the idea that they have no true identity
and are merely vehicles for cosmic influences.
Man and the animals are merely a passage and channel for food,

A tomb for other animals,
a haven for the dead,
giving life by the death of others,
a coffer full of corruption.
Leonardo da Vinci
The system differs from life in that it teaches the theory of body types as quite unpleasant information if it is correct, as these types are not significantly different from the machines they create, and are as mechanical as the different varieties of these machines that we are surrounded by . . . and isn't it odd that our struggle to awaken has brought us to this observation.

When the subject of body types is presented, it is not intended to be an abstract, dry theory on a lifeless piece of paper . . . It is a vivid, human shattering concept.

(Continue reading at Internet Archive)

"Skeptical Optimist" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 11, 2007:
424 Veronicapoe [post number and blogger]
For those interested, “Body Types Publication” is now online:
Veronica, you’ve done it again. This really took me back. The “Body Types Journal” was the first big publishing project I worked on with Burton. It would have been 1973.

I was recruited in December 1972. When Burton found out I was a writer, from New York, and knew graphic arts, I got love-bombed. Of course, I was already blissed out just from meeting these people, all of whom seemed to actually like me, that the love bombing was almost superfluous.

The first thing I got to work on was the Via Del Sol Journal, which Don Birrell had started. I got calls at work from Burton hisself, inviting me to lunch.

“Hello, Joel?”


“Dear, what are you on?” he would say. My friend and I sometimes showed up pretty high to the meetings the first few weeks.

“I’m not on anything, Robert.”

“Well, we’re at Denny’s so why don’t you come and have lunch with me?”

(This continued daily, by the way, until I figured out the joke, and one day got up my courage and replied, “I’m on the way!” After which, he stopped asking me.)

Needless to say, I was powerless. Stella would have me over to her house, put me between her and Harold, and pin me there for hours, lovingly. They were delightful.

Within a few weeks I had moved into Rosemary MacD’s teaching house and working with Burton on his various projects, trying to understand why he had such a poor command of English, why he needed so much help, but being way too blissed to really worry about it.

The Body Types Journal, by the way, was typeset on an IBM composer, sort of a rigged-up typewriter, but it did the job. I always hated the display face he picked, but there wasn’t much question who’s aesthetic was going to rule.

Thanks again.


"Skeptical Optimist" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 1, 2007:
649 KA [quoting]
Body types is not a new idea at all. Many astrologers have the idea of body types… The study of astrology is incredibly ancient and is very much more involved, subtle and complex than the simple body types. Burton did not do anything but use already formulated ideas.
Yes, and thanks for the Judith Hill reference. I was surprised to find just how ancient this idea is, and I think the earliest reference I found was in Pythagoras!

I was interested in whether Burton had an outline or some practical knowledge from someone else, or if the group had just started with the Rodney Collin material.

When I joined at the end of 1972 body types was a hot topic in the group, but it was 80-90% complete. After a while, I was skeptical that Burton had managed to produce this type of observational material on his own.

This is in response to a question I was asked on Greater Fellowship. I no longer see body types (although it was difficult to re-train myself) and don’t plan on doing anything else in this area. Just thought people who were in before me might have some insight.



"Crouching Tiger" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 1, 2007:
To JoelF post 700 [above]:

A brief note on the Body Types discussion: I have been doing Astrology charts for 25+ years and it was clear when I first joined that the Body types system in the Fellowship was a simplification of Astrological principles – for example 12 Astrological types halved to 6… There are other very basic similarities:

Mars-Venus, Jupiter-Mercury and Saturn-Lunar are ‘behind’ all the signs in opposition, or maximum attraction – Aries-Libra, Pisces-Virgo etc.. Also each element tends to include a family of the same planetary influences – Water= Jovial (Pisces), Lunar (Cancer) and Martial (Scorpio), Air= Gemini (Mercury), Venusian (Libra) and Aquarius (Saturn)….

One of the major Astrological systems of house division was created by Ptolemy, an Egyptian surprised he hasn’t been ‘claimed’ as a School member yet! However Astrology does in my experience allow for much more nuance than Body types – it’s easy to see several people who don’t obviously fit the given types readily, but are shoe-horned in anyway, like it or not…

"Veronicapoe" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2007:
For those interested, “Ain’t Love Gland – Excerpts” is now online:

"Skeptical Optimist" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2007:
632 & 633 Veronicapoe

Veronica, thanks for the continued posts to the Esoteric History Archive. Where the hell are you getting this stuff? I remember the Cessna days when JimC was getting his pilot’s license so he could fly Burton up to the Nut Tree. Anybody know where he is? He’d probably get a kick out of this pic. In the early days, Jim knew where “all the bodies were buried.”

I’m also fascinated by the “Ain’t Love Gland” excerpts. I would have liked to have this when writing “Body Types.”

Also on body types, does anyone know whether this idea was used in Alex Horn’s group? Or did Burton start only with the descriptions in Rodney Collin?


"Joe Average" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 30, 2007:
Body types- there are hints of this in Horn’s “The Fantastic Arising of Padraic….” in the form of specific planetary gods hovering over the other characters. Horn appears to have synthesized his game from a much deeper and wider read of the pulse of the “age of Aquarius” than did his ambitious tennis bum student. Horn’s writings show him quite capable of synthesizing and expanding on existing ideas, such as the good foundation formulated by Collin, who in turn drew heavily on Dr. Louis Berman’s “The Glands Regulating Personality” (downloadable free from the Gutenberg Project Collin had the integrity to acknowledge his sources. Berman’s book, by itself, is more than enough to serve as the heart of the theory, with Collin’s interpretations of it and Gurdjieff’s veiled references to 12 body types serving to sanctify its lineage.

Those who joined in the first few years of the school could speak to this much better, but I got the impression that the body types system was fairly well developed quite early, which implies it was lifted wholly from prior sources. Given how tenaciously RB modeled himself on Horn in his first years and his own inability to create anything systematic, it is not as likely to have come from a different source. Pure speculation, of course.

[ed. - The following are excerpts from a relevant discussion on the Greater Fellowship website.]
"Yes, the body type information was already being taught when I joined in 1971. I met RB in the summer of 1970, and the basic knowledge was being disseminated then. We were told that RB based these teachings on Rodney Collins' work. When I lived in Carmel in 1972-3, a book fell on my head from the rafters of our rented house. Inside: "our" body type information -- exactly. The book was published in Europe about 1500, I can't remember precisely, just that the body type info that we used was presented in this (reproduction of an) ancient book. RB didn't concoct body types as we know them, and neither did Collins."
From Greater Fellowship website:
"I have old copies of the 'Body Types' pages drawn by Harold Wirk, and the info. therein. I'm sure you already have them, and not much changed during the next 25 yrs.... I'm pretty sure that this information was given to the first students in 1970... I knew about the idea of Body Types as a child of 14 yrs. in 1970 before we purchased the "farm"; Via Del Sol, Mt. Carmel, Renaissance, etc...6 meetings a week in my home those days in Pleasant Hill, CA. We gathered together in Carmel and Lake Tahoe for retreats before purchasing the farm in 1972, and taking up residence on 7/2/72. (Not 7/4/72, as is the official property anniversary) Also, we worked at the MacDonald Farm in Vacaville before and during the closing of the FOF property." From Greater Fellowship: "Author: Berman, Louis, M.D. Title: The Glands Regulating Personality Also, the Berman info. His was a very interesting book, which lost favor along the way, possibly because his 'scientific data' was based on a lot of emperical observations, made a looong time ago. This book is where statements like 'solar types are like big tadpoles' originated." " This URL has some interesting tidbits. Sorry, I just don't remember the author's name of the old book. Some folks later told me it was Jacob Boehm, but I've never been able to find the book again on the web or at a library... "
[ed. - See references to Aurora by Jakob Böhme on Wikipedia] 

"Wouldnt You Like To Know" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 26, 2009:
Concerning body types, here is a book that was especially of interest to the medically oriented in the Fellowship: The Glands Regulating Personality By Louis Berman. M.D., Associate in Biological Chemistry, Columbia University; Physician to the Special Health Clinic, Lennox Hill Hospital. (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1921, pp. 300. Full title: The glands regulating personality: a study of the glands of internal secretion in relation to the types of human nature. Complete book on Google Books:

"Wouldnt You Like To Know" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 26, 2009:
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing Website (PEP-Web) Abstract and/or review. From: (1923). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis: The Glands Regulating Personality: By Louis Berman. M.D., Associate in Biological Chemistry, Columbia University; Physician to the Special Health Clinic, Lennox Hill Hospital. (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1921, pp. 300.

"Wouldnt You Like To Know" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 26, 2009:
The Glands Regulating Personality By Louis Berman. M.D. Buy it on Amazon:

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