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 now the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.") While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

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

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fellowship of Friends traveling show

[ed. - From RAHM Metaphysical Exploration Group.]


“I already knew that behind a thin film of false reality, there existed another reality from which for some reason we were separated.”  Peter Ouspensky

His search for the miraculous led Peter Ouspensky, a brilliant Russian mathematician, to George Gurdjieff, a Russian-Armenian mystic who expounded a new approach to spiritual evolution based upon the ancient “wisdom teachings” of the Sufis, Christians, and Hindus.  As a result of their fateful encounter, Ouspensky underwent a profound and radical transformation of his inner being, eventually translating his experiences into a practical system of spiritual development especially suited to Western minds, which he called “The Fourth Way.”  Intended to be practiced in daily life rather than in special situations, it contains at its heart the timeless concept of “self-remembering” - the Self remembering its divine origin, which has been veiled by a multitude of both inner and outer forces.

Gurdjieff insisted that you must “remember yourself, always and everywhere” and, in fact, all religions and esoteric traditions are focused upon this single idea: the burning quest of a man or woman to reconnect with the divinity within.  This search has been represented in fairytales, myths, symbols, parables, and works of art throughout the ages, but however different their outer form, all sacred teachings agree that without special and prolonged work on oneself, that divinity remains veiled.

What is this work?  What are the obstacles?  How can we lift the veil? What is awakening, and how can it become more than just a word in a book?  Is there a way to reach a state of consciousness that remains unaffected by events, time, or even death?

We will explore these ideas through examples drawn from the great spiritual and artistic traditions, as well as by sharing practical exercises and techniques of self-study.  In the end, we will see that the miraculous is closer than we think.


Judith Grace Bassat has been a student of the Fellowship of Friends, an esoteric school of the Fourth Way tradition, since 1976.  She has directed centers in New York, Paris, Nice, Milan, Rome, and St. Petersburg, as well as the central headquarters in Northern California, where she now lives.

Judith works as both a writer and editor.  For many years, she was editor of the Italian art magazine FMR, and translated several books into Italian, including Wendigen.  Her book, Goodbye My Fancy, about the last months of Walt Whitman’s life, was published in 2003.  She is also a poet and a playwright, with two produced plays The Conference of the Birds and Goodbye My Fancy, based upon her book.  In addition, she publishes a weekly esoteric newsletter The Apollo Miracle.


Michael Golding has been a member of the Fellowship of Friends since 1986.  He has directed centers in London and Moscow, as well as the central headquarters in Northern California, and has also lived in New York, Paris, and Amsterdam.  As a member of the Fellowship Council, he has visited over 40 centers worldwide, leading meetings and workshops and counseling students on an individual basis.

Michael received his education at Duke, Oxford, and the University of California at Irvine, where he received the prestigious Gellman Founder’s award.  He began his career as an actor, appearing in numerous Off-Broadway shows and playing Romeo for a Joseph Papp production of Romeo and Juliet

In the late 1980’s, Michael turned to writing, and his first novel, Simple Prayers, was published in 1994.  A national bestseller, it has been translated into ten foreign languages and Martin Scorcese is executive producing the film version.  Benjamin’s Gift, his second novel, was published in 2000.  His translation of Alessandro Baricco’s stage play Novecento opened the 2002 Edinburgh Festival and his screenplay adaptation of the best-selling novel Silk, starring Keira Knightley, was a featured selection at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival.





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