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.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On Robert Burton's hatred of women

[ed. - "Feminine dominance" is a concept introduced by Robert Earl Burton. It is a category of influences that supposedly hold students back, interfering with their spiritual progress. Included in this vaguely-defined domain are traditional or perceived obligations to one's parents, spouse, children, relatives and community (apart from the Fellowship). It is speculated that this evil, "sleep-inducing foe" rose from the abuse Burton suffered as a child. In the early days of the Fellowship, during a self-imposed period of silence, Burton proudly "maintained his work" while visiting his mother who was hospitalized. He refused to break his silence for her. This was an oft-noted example of "work against feminine dominance."']

"Janna" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 22, 2007:
Nuthead #9 [blogger and post number],

About the ball gowns, and Robert’s hatred of women:

I used to work with Nette in 1996, and clearly remember her frustration with those hideous and ugly used gowns that we had to repair and hem before they would be sold for $15-20 to FOF women. Nette thought these gowns were the way the teacher was ridiculing and diminishing women, forcefully making them look exactly as you said:
“The women looked like a group of transvestites at a costume party with the theme of 1950s suburban grandmothers.”
Those gowns were so bad, cheap, disgusting, out-of style, unsexy, gross! Covered with cheap glitter and sequins, they were truly horrible. The colors and styles were disgusting. It made women look like tasteless village peacocks.

And almost every woman had to wear this crap in public as a “gift” from her Teacher, even though she had to pay for it.

Once Nette raised her hands in frustration and exclaimed: Why is he doing this? Why does he hate women so much???

I understand why. Because women are his immediate competitors when it comes to men. Because any of his boys would gladly choose a woman over an old gay – he can never ever win against an attractive woman, and he knows this.

Because he is a jealous self-centered old gay man, that’s why.

He hates women and tolerates them in the school only as a bait for young men to join the school.

At first he was not allowing women to get pregnant and have kids, so they would not be stealing men from him to take care of their families.

To make women look unsexy and unattractive he invented infamous “pant” exercise. Women had to mandatory wear skirts on the property, even if they were working on landscaping and it was clearly not practical to wear a skirt while working. Young attractive women looked like a bunch of village grandmas in those stupid long skirts…

To further make ladies look like hags he purchased those ugly gowns and dressed most Apollo women in them AND made them feel obliged and thankful to him! At every formal event women in those idiotic dresses had to thank and thank their Teacher for his kindness…

Then he came up with an exercise of not coloring aging grey hair for women, so to let them “naturally” age and look old and unattractive. All of the “infra-sex” exercises were against women and their natural beauty.

Then finally he came up with anti-serving exercise in 2006, saying that men shouldn’t serve women at the table anymore, because it is feminine dominance.

He always “punished” women much more severely and cruelly than he did men – sending them away to remote centers, excluding them from school, fining them heavily or taking their “octave” away.

It has nothing to do with anyone’s evolution, it’s simple basic hatred and jealousy.

I can’t believe that women in FOF are still putting up with this crap. Don’t you see this?
[ed. - Also see this post from Janna.]

"aline c." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 23, 2007:
# 18 Janna [referring to above post]

In the 90’s, I lived in Apollo.
I remember seeing that I was suddenly becoming all what I did not want to become:
I got married.
I was not able to use all I learned professionally for several years.
I was no more financially independent.
I was dressed following all the given instructions, which I never liked.
I was obliged to be in a bourgeois mode of representation while living at the same time in extreme poverty.
I had to bear this world of men, taking all the decisions, and power.
No area of personal development possible for me, there.
A vision of nightmare.
When I was a teenager, there were all these movements for women emancipation, I was thinking that the privileges were acquired and not questionable anymore, and that we could think about the “rest”, but unfortunately I am obliged to reconsider this.
The school has brought women back 50 years ago if not more.

"lauralupa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 23, 2007:
Thanks Allan and Another Story [post deleted] for sharing. What more can one say?
Allan, God, I remember so well the shock of first hearing your stories about Robert, the cringing, painful feelings they evoked, the sense of disgust for his pitiful act.
One thing that for some reason really struck a chord was the image of you poor guys religiously studying restaurant receipts, looking for 2006 and 1998 and stuff like that. I saw how he was trying to turn you into little children, lost in a world of dreams, a real form of hypnosis, IMO.
It’s so liberating to find you here, after these years, and to see that we are both now in such a better, healthier inner place, restituted to a world of real possibilities of growth.
aline, thanks for that. I also experienced all of the above. I buffered the whole situation by recluding myself in the absorbing role of newlywed mother, but at one point the whole reality I had created finally blew right into my face. I guess it wasn’t a reality after all. I had been dreaming of being the perfect mother, student and wife, thriving in the face of adversity, and in fact I almost killed myself in the process.
I also could see that I wasn’t the only one, either, in fact so many women and couples were struggling and unhappy. So many affairs and strange pairings, so many break-ups. Also, at times I felt that almost everyone around me was somehow sexually dysfunctional (me included).
The few healthy people really stood out…
So anyway, thank you Robert for castrating our sexual and instinctual lives so that you can swimmingly carry on with yours, thank you for the collateral emotional physical and intellectual damage, we really owe you one, don’t we?
Do you believe in boomerangs? [ed. - Link defunct]

[ed. - Less than two years after the school's founding, Robert was teaching the following:]

From the Via Del Sol Journal, October 26, 1971:
"For women, watch the hens on the farm - no insult at all intended - just observe a female species, wants chicks...after raising a brood, they're right back at it again."

"What holds most women back from evolution is that they are more attracted to males and children than to their selves."

"Mauretania" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 5, 2007:
On the subject of misogyny:

Does anyone reading this have any direct knowledge about how the skirt “exercise” started – the first time?

When it was first instituted, there was NO Rose Garden for anyone to be sighted in, so the story about RB propositioning a masculine looking woman there is suspect – unless that was what brought about the second imposition of this lifestyle rule.
The first time that was handed down as an exercise was about 1980 or 1981. It was in place for several years, perhaps through the 80′s. It came back for a time in the 90′s. At the point RB declared pants to be an acceptable nuisance, it was always accompanied by the statement that “Nothing is being given, because nothing was taken away”.

"Laughing Love" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
Hello All.
Feminine dominance.

The term is so insulting.

Please, anyone, remind me of what this precisely means.

Camille Paglia wrote a book called “Sexual Personae” which describes, through a historical analysis, the theory that, indeed, females are the dominant sex, although they seem otherwise.

In one section of that book, she describes the Greek’s homosexuality and the deification of the “beautiful boy”. (There were no morals relative to homosexuality and it was an intrinsic part of the culture.)

Nevertheless, she theorizes that this arose out of fear and rejection of female power, which is unrecognizable as power in a male dominated culture.

Relative to this is the current trend in fashion (which is dominated by gay males) who prefer a thin, almost male females (small breasts, no body fat).

I recommend her book. It is very detailed and quite long, but very enlightened.

I remember hearing the term “feminine dominance” and, since it was not described in my prospective student meetings, was completely confused.

I’ll theorize that “feminine dominance” acknowledges that female power exists and rejects it outright, or, at best, attempts to avoid that evil with every ounce of one’s soul.



"Veronicapoe" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
77/Laughing Love

On the origin of “Feminine Dominance” as applied in the Fellowship of Friends.
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:171-189 (1994)
Veronicapoe’s editorial comments, which are speculative and which are not part of the original abstract, appear in brackets:

The Role of Mother-Son Incest in the Pathogenesis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D. and Stuart W. Twemlow, M.D.


Psychoanalytic case material is presented to illustrate how mother-son incest may be involved in the pathogenesis of a particular subtype of narcissistic personality disorder. Male patients with this disorder have a grandiose view of themselves ["I am the avatar of the age"] as entitled to occupy a special position with others, combined with a paranoid tendency to anticipate imminent betrayal. The enormous guilt related to perceived oedipal transgressions leads these patients to fear retaliation from an enraged, vindictive, and castrating father ["C influence is going to expunge humanity] at any moment. In addition, these men often feel that their special role vis-à-vis mother is a precarious one contingent on doing her bidding. [i.e., "being under feminine dominance."] Hence, they also live in dread of an impending disaster involving either abandonment or humiliation by their mothers. [Ergo, why "feminine dominance" must be "overcome" in order to "evolve."]

"Laughing Love" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
To Veronicapoe (78)

Thank you for your response. I always appreciate that you ground yourself in research.

My general sense is that the fellowship is a misogynistic organization. (That means that it dislikes and/or fears females.)

The very idea that they disdain feminine power rather than embracing it is pretty old fashioned. (Right, the 18th century aesthetic.)

How could any female conscionably be a part of this type of organization?

The whole idea that women must wear skirts to meeting (is this still true?) is completely bizarre.

I wonder if there are any lesbians in the fellowship. I doubt it.
What is the male to female ratio?

The very fact that the term “feminine dominance” is negative, and that it is a concept to overcome, is very telling.

What is “masculine dominance” and is that a concept that is encouraged toward one’s flight toward consciousness?


"Reality Check" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 2, 2007:
I neglected to mention that the morality of the ‘inner circle’ trickles out into the “School” in other ways. My ex-husband (who dropped me like a hot potato when I announced that I was leaving the FoF) had previously been sexually propositioned by one of the more prominent married male members of the FoF team of what I shall refer to here broadly as ‘health care workers’. My husband had found work during the week and began commuting from what was then still called ‘Apollo’ now ‘Isis’. The kind gentleman mentioned above, had offered to lend his home as an overnighter. He insisted, ever so graciously, that my husband could sleep in his bed (I don’t think he expected that I would be accompanying my husband at any time); he probably would not have left his TV set right next to the bed with a video already inserted into the cassette slot. The subject of the video was gay sex. I felt uneasy, as I began having suspicions that there was an agenda behind his offer, but gave myself or should I say, him, the benefit of the doubt. Like all ‘good students’, I said to myself, “Oh, well, whatever he wants to do in his private life, gay videos or whatever, that’s his business. He probably left the video there by mistake, anyway.”

However, the second time this happened . . . the floodlights came on—and did not go out. I won’t go into the rest of the story. Suffice it to say that this story is not concerned with some abstraction such as ‘sexual activity’ or ‘sexual morality’. Nor does it concern the natural human fact of sex or sexual orientation. This is rather a real story about a real person (you can multiply this many times in the FoF) attempting to take what ‘belongs’ to another (whether the other person consents is another issue–here I’m speaking about the personal responsibility of the active force). This surreptitious (and sometimes not so surreptitious) taking is ‘stealing’, ‘adultery’ or, if you don’t like these ‘uncool’ words, just say, downright selfishness, betrayal and treachery.

So, selfish me, I didn’t like not having been consulted first about any feelings I might have regarding this blatant (and supposedly secret) proposition to my husband. But wait: I should ask myself: should I be consulted at all? I’m just a machine. What do my higher centres care about that? It’s none of MY business, right?? How dare I be so ‘mechanical’, so ‘identified’ as to have an opinion on the matter at all? How coarse and unconscious could I be? Have I learned nothing? How unloving, ungenerous and ‘sexually hung up’ I am. I should be ashamed of my ‘lower self’ and get back to self-remembering . . . and the orgy, at once! Remember, “Keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.” “Lie back and think of England.” “If self-remembering doesn’t make you happy, nothing else will.” Should these not work, I might further mollify myself (and my fellow students’ consciences–and the perpetrator’s) by keeping my insubordinate jaw from flapping unceremoniously and committing the capital sin of ‘negativity’ and ‘gossip’. I might advise myself, as a previous contributor to this blog would seem to recommend, that I should not observe and judge others, but rather look into myself and see what is wrong with ME.

Supposedly sexually liberated female students: Do you understand that when RB seduces your boyfriend or your husband (even on your honeymoon that you planned to spend together at Apollo/Isis) from you–you who would purport to have ‘the heart and stomach of a king’–with mere material bribes and empty promises of heaven, that aside from the grand ego trip he enjoys for himself–and the emasculation of your supposedly ‘strong’ ‘significant other’, that RB does not LOVE you in any way whatsoever, but is in fact displaying the most profound disrespect and disregard for you and your existence? How’s that for women’s liberation? But no, you may think it’s all right. You may bask in it. Or you may push it below where it can’t hurt you. One lovely student I knew, when I had got up enough courage to ask her how she felt about what her husband was doing (he was a long-time traveller with RB), abruptly replied: “We don’t discuss it”. A couple of years later she had a serious nervous breakdown. That’s what keeps it rolling along. Either do not discuss it or convince oneself that it is acceptable, or–much better–that it is noble, beautiful, ‘conscious love’. If that interpretation is what really pleases you, go ahead. But obviously, I don’t recommend it. Nor do I tolerate it.

 "Ill Never Tell" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 23, 2007:
16 Janna [above]
Also, regarding: ‘I understand why. Because women are his immediate competitors when it comes to men.’ This very issue is the reason why certain women in the Fellowship of Friends were PERSECUTED FOR LIFE by Robert Earl Burton and his minions of flying monkeys. One of them you know personally, Janna. I do not name names so that the innocent are protected – which includes me not revealing who I am. But, just one transgression in this area of depriving Robert Earl Burton of his prey was sufficient to black list a woman for life; talk about account keeping – Robert Earl Burton is expert in this area and does it with secrecy – all the while imploring his followers to drop accounts (and their pants).

Don’t forget the beautiful soprano singer A. M. that Robert Earl Burton put out of the Fellowship of Friends when it was found out that she got into the harem – not just ruined for life, but all future possibilities of evolution (including beyond this lifetime) disrupted and/or denied (according to Fellowship of Friends doctrine) as punishment. And, this was regardless of how much Robert Earl Burton cherished her, long sought after, singing capabilities. [Such singing capability has not appreciably been seen in the Fellowship of Friends since then, except on rare occasions (and at considerable expense), as a sort of Karmic debt incurred.]