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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Apollo is all a twitter as The Teacher tweets

[ed. - The following refers to an apparent announcement to Fellowship of Friends membership. See also 4th Way Tweets.]

J. D. wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
You too can now own a piece of insanity :
Dear friends around the world, In keeping with Robert’s wish to share his thoughts and travels with students around the world, a Twitter account called LivingPresence has been created. Twitter is free to use and allows instant live messages (“tweets”) of Robert’s observations to be shared with his online followers, as he creates them. These short messages will be sent out by students who accompany Robert on his travels and at Apollo.
To follow the Living Presence Twitter account, go to and set your own Twitter account to be a follower of @LivingPresence. You can choose whether to receive Twitter notifications via your Twitter account or via instantaneous text messages sent to your mobile phone. If you wish text messages, choose “Mobile” options and enter your mobile phone number (Twitter will ask you to validate the phone by texting Twitter as a next step).
These messages are not intended to take the place of the Weekly Notes, but to simply create sparks of light in our daily life…
[ed. - I tried to participate, but was denied "follower" privileges. For a taste of what gems await you, Higher Forces seem to have arranged a little preview of this new Channel to the Gods:]

April 14, 2012. Posted in Sweet Tweets from Robert's Daily Beats

Regarding a one way sign seen from our table: One way -
their way (pointing up, referring to C Influence). Key West, Fl.

Meteor Fragment

April 13, 2012. Posted in Sweet Tweets from Robert's Daily Beats

This meteor fragment used in a piece of jewelry represents
the lower self controlled by the four wordless breaths.

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends Cult Leader hugging young man

April 13, 2012. Posted in Sweet Tweets from Robert's Daily Beats
Photo from Robert: license plate says "hug"

April 13, 2012. Posted in Sweet Tweets from Robert's Daily Beats

Photo from Robert: Sign saying Palm Beach Towers with #44

“It is nice, is it not”

[ed. - No photos were attached to the following:]

April 14, 2012. Posted in Sweet Tweets from Robert's Daily Beats

Everyone must serve the absolute.

But we are the lucky few who have the privilege to serve him consciously.

April 13, 2012. Posted in Sweet Tweets from Robert's Daily Beats

Robert enjoys this medium because it comes right out of the "lovin' oven".

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Maestro Michael Goodwin's baton at rest"

Michael Goodwin, Fellowship of Friends cult conductor
Michael Goodwin, Fellowship of Friends conductor. Photo: Keith Sutter

[ed. - When Robert Burton decided the Fellowship of Friends should have its own orchestra, Michael Goodwin was assigned the daunting task of working with a motley assemblage of musicians and non-musicians alike. Burton personally selected Fellowship members, some of whom had never touched an instrument, for this new vocation. I was one such "victim," instructed to take up the string bass. My musical career lasted about two weeks. Yuba City's Veridian Symphony Orchestra mentioned below is comprised, in large measure, of Fellowship of Friends musicians.]

From the Auburn Journal, February 9, 2012:
Auburn Symphony conductor, 65, dies in car crash

By Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor

The Auburn music community was left dumbfounded Wednesday as musicians and music lovers learned that Maestro Michael Goodwin had died in a car crash Tuesday evening.

“It’s a very devastating blow to the arts community and the orchestra, and definitely the people of Auburn,” said Richard Altenbach, concertmaster of the Auburn Symphony, which Goodwin had conducted since 1995.

Auburn is not the only community in mourning – Goodwin, 65, was also the conductor of the Veridian Symphony Orchestra in Yuba City. Audience members and musicians alike praised the maestro for his dedicated work in elevating the symphony here to the top tier of performance.

To see a video tribute to Goodwin, click here. [ed. - Video removed.]

Continue reading at Auburn Journal.

See also:
Appeal-Democrat tribute

In reference to the Apollo Orchestra, "Jomo Piñata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 2, 2010:

[ed. -  In the material below, think of the Fellowship term "octave" as roughly meaning "project".]
For those interested, Fellowship of Friends letter to membership dated February 7, 1980, regarding the Fellowship’s “Orchestra Octave,” is now available:

“… I have decided to send out a list of those persons currently involved with the octave.
As you may immediately notice, this octave is large. Some persons who have had several years experience with an instrument and have yet to commit themselves to the octave have been listed anyway. If these people truly are unable to resume lessons and practice, will they please write me a personal letter? Our school is successful precisely because it is _ours_. We must use every resource available to us if we are to fulfill the grand aims that the Gods have established for us.
We must realize that a time will come when we will no longer have musical cassettes and stereos to play….” [this, a reference to life after the great calamities Burton predicted: the Fall of California and nuclear holocaust.]

(There is also a discussion concerning this topic on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, commencing at post #187)

[ed. - During the year following Michael Goodwin's death, Robert Burton made the following statements.]

"Robert's Thoughts" from Propylaia
[ed. - Link no longer valid.]

We are working with the greatest shock our school has ever received, because Michael was rooted in the heart of the school.

Like you, I could not have anticipated that Influence C would remove such a vital and important part of our school.

Michael‘s passing has left an unprecedented vacancy in our hearts—he was so involved and committed.

As we work with this shock, we can see how much Michael gave to the school.

Leonid observed that Michael was at the hub of the cultural octave of the school.

Michael helped shape Apollo into what it is today. I am not thinking in terms of a replacement for him—we must all step in to share the load.

One is struck by how completely Michael utilized this lifetime in preparation for the next. He did not waste any time during his life, using every moment for presence and for our school.

With Michael we see how much love and dedication a person is capable of giving to the school.

Michael was always in a state that showed he was deserving of this gift.

One of my favorite impressions was seeing Michael study in the rose garden.

I spoke with Michael last week and he reminded me that his mother‘s dying words when she was eighty-six were: "Was this all it was for?" For Michael it was the opposite: it was certainly all for this.

This shock is a tragedy, but that is how Influence C work, and how we reach Paradise.

The best way to work with this shock is to confront it with acceptance.

One gains relativity quickly by remembering the suffering that so many other dear students have undergone.

This shock is necessary to make our soul more bent. Milton said, "My soul more bent/To serve therewith my Maker."

I can see that we are all literally being created by this shock.

Michael‘s death is such an impossibility, and yet we must live with it until the passage of time quietens the shock.

Michael's death certainly proves that anyone can be called at any time.

It seems that Michael is going to leave a bigger scar on all of our hearts than anyone else before.

Michael‘s shock is reality, and the fact that we are escaping is reality.

This shock is part of the payment that enables us to go deep enough to escape.

The aim of this shock is to help us all to be more serious.

We are making preparations to never die.

Presence lives on after sequential death.

We are all queuing for immortality.

Students completing their roles make a sacred payment for us, too precious to waste.

Michael Goodwin was called upon to make this precious payment for all of us.

Michael’s final offering was laid upon the altar of conscious freedom. It was not an unconscious sacrifice—the shock was designed to strengthen the higher mental center in us.

Michael made every effort possible to pioneer culture at Apollo.

Michael—the one who gave the most, amidst so many who gave so much.

After seven days of working with the shock of Michael’s sudden death, I can now say that through transforming suffering, we “right the unrightable wrong.”

Michael‘s sudden passing reveals what life on earth is. It makes self-remembering more urgent.

The shock of Michael Goodwin’s death has visibly changed us.

Many positive shocks are occurring in the school now as a result of Michael Goodwin’s death. We are capable of more efforts as a school.

We receive many extreme shocks like the deaths of Abraham [Abraham Goldman] and Michael, to prepare us for the Last Judgment. We must prepare—we must use these shocks.

If you do your work it works. Michael was a necessary payment; it is the nature of evolution.
Truly God has shed his conscious grace upon Apollo.

One often sees angels in a painting around a figure, however you now are the ones the angels are helping.

Fairy tales do come true and this is happening to you. Some enchanted evening you will meet a stranger, this will be the presence of your own soul.

Many positive shocks are happening now in our school as a result of Michael’s death. We are capable of more effort.

Death is something we all must pass through to enter Paradise.

If there is life before death, there is life after death. Very few people have conscious life before death.

The shock of Michael Goodwin’s death released a great deal of effort throughout the school and I do not think it is going to diminish.

The shock of Michael Goodwin’s death has an ongoing effect on us.

I find that I am becoming more and more focused on helping my students. This has always been true, but now there is more urgency because we do not know how much time there is.

I feel I may have entered the last decade of helping you escape. Even so, it is uncertain how much time we have left.

Michael established a cultural momentum (especially in music) for the civilization that is at Apollo now and the civilization to come.

By returning to classical music and dance, we are supporting Michael Goodwin’s efforts to establish a cultured Apollo.

This year was about reaffirming what Michael Goodwin gave us: conscious love, extra effort, and high standards in the culture of Apollo.

The death of Michael Goodwin is a payment that will forever change our school.

Michael Goodwin is a perpetual gift to our school.

It has been quite a productive year for the Fellowship of Friends because we transcended the very difficult shock of Michael Goodwin’s completing his role. This has been a catalyst for lifting Apollo to his special ideals.