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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Fellowship of Friends registers "robertearlburton" domains

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton
Robert Earl Burton in polka dots
[ed. - Six years ago, when this blog was established, I registered the domains "" and "" but allowed the contracts to expire after one year. Now it appears Ezio Luccini of The Fellowship of Friends has registered those domains, in addition to the "" domain, through NameCheap, a Panamanian-based web-hosting service.

Perhaps developed by an "online reputation management" service hired by the Fellowship to do some damage control, the strategy obviously seeks to displace this blog in search result rankings. Such a scheme may however backfire if it results in Fellowship members stumbling upon this blog rather than the Fellowship's (and thus learning the truth about their organization!)]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 3, 2018:
103, 104.

This site [ed. -] was not designed to say anything useful, truthful or profound, which is why it does not. The plan, hatched a couple of years ago, was to flood the internet with pro-FoF sites, so that someone searching for the FoF or for Burton would have a decreased chance of finding this discussion forum ( or the “REB blog” (

As we all know by now, once a fish is reeled in and given their introductory meetings, nothing further is said about Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, or “the 4th Way.” There is not a trace of the G-O system or teaching coming from Burton, Matei, Haven, or anyone else. Instead the gullible fish is taught the real secret of eternal life: orbit Robert Burton forever; mindlessly repeat Burton’s ridiculous “Sequence;” pay, pay, and pay some more; then follow Burton to Paradise.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ames Gilbert's liberation plea

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The "Death-Bed" Edition

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 23, 2017:
To everyone who is currently a member of the Fellowship of Friends.

Of course you have been advised to not read this blog, so I’m almost certainly wasting my time with this appeal. But maybe a psychic vibration will get through, or someone will pass it along…

You have a great opportunity RIGHT NOW to end the madness.

There is some part of you that recognizes that you have been led down a dark and dismal path, no matter how gorgeous the externals, the trinkets and ornaments and endless ‘cultural’ activities, no matter the beautiful surroundings. There is something inside you that recognizes these are masks covering the corruption and emptiness. As Burton gasps his last breaths, the ‘leaders’ he has appointed or who have clawed their way into the limelight are deciding your future. You have become very used to others making the important decisions in your life, but I beg of you now—take back your power and break free of these people and their machinations.

Withdraw your support, leave the organization now, let it wither as it should have done decades ago. Do not accept the claims of the would–be ‘leaders’, why should you? They are just very ordinary people who have been lent spiritual and temporal authority by Robert Burton. Without that, they have nothing, are nothing. Why should you follow their directions? They have spent decades being mere ciphers, mouthpieces for Burton, and every one of them carries very heavy baggage of their own.

They were chosen by Burton for their weaknesses, not their strengths. They were chosen because they were more willing than you to give up their chances for individuation. They were chosen because they are consummate ‘yes men’ and ‘yes women’, not because they have the abilities to manage the organization in the absence of Burton.

Take Dorian Matei, for example. Do you want someone who sells favors for sex to take over your spiritual path? Or Linda Kaplan/Tulisso, do you want someone whose sole moral guidance is, “I was just following orders” to teach you likewise? Do you want those like Steven Dambeck who would do anything that Burton ordered, regardless, without question or compunction or care for the consequences, to act as an example for you? Do you want any of the other slimy sycophants who did whatever was necessary to please Burton to gain ultimate power in the organization? Do you want the weak fools who comprise the Board of Directors, who were especially selected by Burton because he knew they would never take any independent action, to lead you? Do you really want any of these and other contenders for power to take charge of all the things that are important in your life?

You may have believed that Burton was connected to or even represented higher powers, and that those he has selected and groomed to take over have their approval as well. But, look back at the history. Every single person that Burton anointed as a ‘future conscious being’, with the sole exception of Girard Haven, turned out to be a dud. So, do you want someone like Girard to be your leader? Someone who advises you to abandon the idea of verification and instead look for evidence to support received wisdom, you wish such a person to guide you? What does Burton’s sorry record on that score say about his capabilities to choose those who would follow him? Why has he surrounded himself with people that wholeheartedly and uncritically supported his fantasy, and who never aspire to graduate from his ‘school’, don’t even consider it possible? Why do none of them ever stand up to him? When the new management takes over, you will be required to give your unconditional support to people who were chosen for their colossal weaknesses, not strengths. So, don’t tolerate or condone it! Whatever your history in the Fellowship, recognize that it is over. It’s over. The prophecies were false, the signs and numerology were fake, there never was some justifying ‘grand purpose’ to the ‘school’, the whole setup is dead and rotting from the head downwards. C’mon, do you really want to go to any more meetings where the ‘leaders’ mouth yet more platitudes, cherry–pick quotes from dead philosophers out of context, project fake meanings into ridiculous symbology and numerology, claim false connections to higher wisdom, snare you deeper and deeper into the fantasy. Do you want to spend the rest of your lives trying to square the circle over and over again?

So what happens if you men and women stop the nonsense right now, individual by individual? Well, it’s certainly a risk, no question about that. You are heading into unknown territory, especially internally. But, nothing stops you folks being a community and supporting each other. I understand—you have friends, family, houses, jobs, commitments. But, you don’t have to lose any of this. You don’t have to stop trying to be present (though you might want to question the techniques you’ve been told to use), you don’t have to cut yourself off, you don’t have to cut others off, and you can learn to make new friends. You can carry on trying to be a decent human being. You can start to forgive yourself for your complicity in the enormous boondoggle. But not if you stay and support another generation of charlatans.

Really, what on earth can Dorian Matei offer? He has nothing but borrowed authority, pat phrases with no meaningful content, and an acquired taste for loud clothing. He wants your money, your adoration and plenty of sex, like Burton. Of course he does, he has spent twenty years or more exploiting the accidents that allowed him to move from Romania and end up in the U.S., with the status of princeling. He has became accustomed to this lifestyle, all courtesy of Burton’s physical desire for him and his own ruthless cunning. But why should you let this continue? Why should you deliver yourself into his clutches? He has nothing of value to offer you, he is empty inside, he has spent his adult years conforming to Burton’s will and giving up all possibilities for individuation and graduation. The same goes to any of the contenders for power.

Do you really want those who pursued ‘consciousness at any price’, but have no idea of value, who think that the ends justifies the means, who are willing to squash their consciences so they could fit in and ascend to the temporal power they so desperately crave, who want you to do the same, who want you to give them unquestioning obedience, your money, maybe your body, and most importantly, your psychological power—do you want such people to control your lives? In a few weeks, whoever is the most ruthless will have consolidated their power, and you will be required to conform to their vision, to pledge loyalty to them in all areas of your life. Is that what you really, really want?

End it now. Take your future in your own hands. Step away, and end it now. For your own sweet sakes, end it now.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 27, 2017:
Seems like Dorian Matei and Sasha Shalapanov, previously both anointed ‘future Man #5s' by Robert Earl Burton, have taken over as front men for the Fellowship of Friends. Supported, presumably, by ‘older students’ such as Rowena Taylor [Renée Taylor], and the Board and Spiritual Council of the FoF.

Last Friday, Sasha ‘led’ a meeting of the faithful, and last Sunday Dorian did likewise.

The words of Sasha Shalapanov (he of the clown costumes) have not yet been relayed to your humble blogger; no doubt they also consisted mostly of similarly vague and soporific generalities. The point—kindly keep the bubble of the joint fantasy inflated with worship and money. But during a vapid monologue lasting 70 minutes, Dorian Matei took incoherence and the very essence of the insubstantial to new levels of vapidity (sample follows).

His performance was apparently highlighted with images of Burton, photos taken that same day. Maybe someone will post them, but my initial impression was that neither Dorian or Sasha grasped any of the essential principles from the correspondence course in Basic Taxidermy that they had obviously ordered and studied in haste over the preceding days. Their first publicly revealed experiment was a sad indictment of both the course ($39.95 including shipping and handling, from the College of Steer Preservation Technology, 44/45 Slaughterhouse Ave., Chicago, IL60618), their own abilities, and the facilities in the Galleria kitchen. So, Big Fail. My objective advice: practice a whole lot on smaller roadkill first.

Dorian started his monologue with the words below. Imagine them continuing in the same vein for the rest of the seventy minutes. No questions, comments or observations allowed, during or after.

Summary: Everything is fine. (Subtext: keep sending $$$$$. Don’t forget the $$$$$. If you forget your ‘teaching payments’, the only alternative is hell.)

These guys already have a history within the organization of exchanging favors for sex. My guess is that everything will be prim and proper for a little while, then some nubile young sheep will attract their attentions, and the process of grooming and seduction will continue as before, with nary a bleat of protest from the rest.

Where is Asaf Braverman when you need him? Although Asaf’s smoothly delivered words also dispense received wisdom by the bucketful, and he also mixes short pithy sayings of conveniently dead philosophers—lifted out of context— with his own to imply some non–existent connection or even sanction; which he also plentifully lards with unverifiable claims, he is a model of clarity and wisdom compared to this claptrap. Not that he is immune to the temptations of power either. How long before some pert young follower with plenty of upthrust over there in Italy attracts his attention and subtly conveys that if he seeks comfort, she is willing to exchange a favor or two for more private access to Asaf? After all, his wife is busy with their new child, and will take a while to recover her youthful grace… and in the meantime, how can a little sincere communion behind closed doors, based on their spiritual bond, possibly matter?

Enough from Ames, over to Dorian:

Dorian Matei, lieutenant of Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton as "conscious being"
Dorian Matei (center) performing in the role of a "conscious being"

[ed. - The following is a transcript of the first 15 minutes of the Sunday, July 23rd meeting led by Dorian. The transcript and photos were provided by an inside source who shall remain anonymous, as they are not authorized to speak on behalf of The Fellowship of Friends.]
Good morning. I guess it’s now 2 weeks since this great gift came to us as a school. We are still in the furnace. I was thinking before coming here these words from Bernard of Clairvaux. He says, “The fire that is God. It is indeed a fire that devours, but it does not debase.”
Beautiful image. “The fire that devours, but does not debase.” In fact, it refines and concentrates and purifies.

I was thinking that we will look at our school as the time before this incident happened with Robert, and a time after this incident, marking a great  transition, in a way; and that we…it’s yet to be understood exactly what our school was given, but one feels a very, very powerful gift descended upon us. And related to the subject this morning, I feel that in order for this gift to be received and used, we must do our very best not to attach any positive or negative thought to it.  It’s a little easier to avoid attaching negative attitudes toward it, such as resentment, fear, concern, because these are more obvious, and I think as a school  we’ve done a great job staying away from those emotions. But it is equally important to not attach hope and happiness to it. Somehow when Hydrogen 12 and 6 come, the more pure they descend on us, the more they can change our lives. I had a birthday last week, and this desire came to make a wish, and it was before Robert came back from the hospital; and of course this tendency was to make a wish related to that. I then understood that my wish would stain this great gift, and then I had nothing to wish for.

(Shows 2 photos of Robert taken earlier that morning [ed. - screen shots of video monitor. Filmed inside a bordello?]:)

I mentioned at the beginning that we are still in the furnace, and what I mean by that is part of this gift that C Influence has given us is a very precious and rare substance which we call Hydrogen 6. A shock like this infuses Hydrogen 6 in a school.

This week, especially witnessing Sasha’s meeting Friday, which I thought was wonderful, and I understood that, in a way, the requirement of a host for our events is to be able to address the present moment, and yet it’s a very mystical present moment. It’s a present moment that our whole school experiences. It’s a present moment of the whole earth, you would say, and it’s a present moment that includes what Influence C releases to the school and to humanity in this moment. It’s a very mystical moment once more, and the requirement of a host is to bring awareness to this moment and all of its contents that is happening before our eyes. Only Higher Centers can do that. No intellectual process…we can’t imitate that. To address what is here now. And the “here” is here throughout the globe, in centers, in places where students are alone.

It’s a very mystical year (laughs), and this is the requirement of a host, somehow to bring awareness to that and thereby assimilate the gift that Influence C is releasing right this moment.

It is hard to move somewhere from this place because it’s so beautiful, what we share now.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 27, 2017:
49. Ames Gilbert [above]

I thought it was fucked up when I left 32 years ago…this is unfuckingbelievable. They must have some truly and deeply stupid people making up the rank and file…besides the psychopaths at the top of the hierarchy Clearly, RB has passed his psychopathology down to the little runt mini-RB’s. Then again, they all deserve each other. Now it’s just a wankathon.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 27, 2017:
[Responding to "wallis":]

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling is achieved most of all through the flattery that Robert dished out repeatedly for so many years, and which Dorian and Sasha have now learned to imitate.

“Students” are flattered that they are in the presence of a divine God/Goddess in human form; that they are, without fail, headed straight for Paradise; that their “Work” is proceeding wonderfully (“Keep doing what you are doing.”); that a host of angels hovers continually above them and Apollo; that they themselves, and each one of them, are “Conscious Beings.”

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 28, 2017:
Insider, # 52 [above],

You said, “…and each one of them are ‘Conscious Beings’.”

Is that right? I had no idea that there had been such major ‘grade inflation’ since I left.

During my extended stay in the asylum, my impression was that: at the introductory meetings we were Man #1, 2 or 3, and that at the moment we made the commitment to seriously ‘working on our selves’, we became provisional Man #4s. But at the same time, it was implicitly as you say—write the checks and you are assured of ‘becoming conscious’ in this lifetime or the next. Burton claimed the extraordinary ability to foresee who would became conscious, and seemed very attached to the idea that his ‘school’ would produce 7 ‘conscious beings’. And in the case of Miles and Girard, he informed them that they had actually become Man #5s (I guess they missed out on the thunder and lightning stuff). To his credit, Miles declined the honor and said, in my hearing, that nothing had changed. Not so Girard, however; he told me that there were ‘certain indications’ that he was conscious. Burton was certainly, irrefutably wrong with his choices, wasn’t he? So, why would the present inhabitants of the asylum particularly believe that a couple of gits (who happen to have met Rowena T.’s meticulously researched and Burton’s personally verified standards of sexual endowment and elastic morality) are actually angels masquerading as men?

So now everyone who writes a check is ‘conscious’? Wow! According to the Fourth Way ideas, that state is ‘crystalized’ and relatively permanent. So anyone could join, achieve that state as soon as his/her check clears, then sever relations—and they’ve got what they came for, huh?

If this whole sorry saga isn’t a prime example of the commodification of spirituality, I don’t know what is.

P.S. When JC died, it is claimed that there were earthquakes and the curtain (wall separating the main temple from the ‘Holy of Holies’) in the Temple (of Solomon) was destroyed.

One version: “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Since Burton has advanced from merely being “the brightest light in 2,000 years” to having the Absolute “perform an act of humility for him”, maybe we can expect something momentous akin to the oft–predicted Fall of California upon his death, huh? Something considerably more suitable to his great standing than a comemorative earthquake or two. However, California is particularly noted for its dearth of saints, so maybe deceased celebrities of Hollywood will have to be substituted instead.

Will Leonardo [da Vinci, Burton's personal "guardian angel"] shed tears? I doubt it, and I certainly won’t.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 28, 2017:
57. Ames Gilbert [above]

Yes, it’s quite true. For many years, Robert’s events have been providing the weekly fix for his followers addicted to flattery. He constantly reminds them (lest they should forget) that “You are all Conscious Beings.” And people then smile, as if to prove Robert correct.

Actually it makes perfect sense: Would The Absolute visit Apollo (not once, but twice) if there was a chance he/she would encounter a non-conscious being while strolling the grounds?

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 29, 2017:
Insider, #60 [above],

Thanks for the confirmation.

I’m actually shocked. I thought it must have been a misunderstanding, so I had some fun extrapolating what that might mean, expecting to be corrected in due course.

Now I’ve slept on it, I can see that I’ve had a major attitude shift. It is much more obvious to me that the large majority of folks who remain are really, really happy to be there, so I’m wasting valuable time in appeals like above and other efforts. Bruce is right to write the whole bunch off, and say they have attracted and deserve their fates.

Following this train of thought, I guess I see a division line; pre–blog and post–blog. Post–blog plus, say, a couple of years. Pre–blog it was very hard to find out much about the Fellowship of Friends, especially if you were doing due diligence and were thinking of joining. Post–blog, there really is no excuse for anyone, inside or out, to not to know what is going on, at least in broad strokes. I don’t know if the young men in Burton’s never-ending parade of fresh meat have been warned or can be warned. I’ve been told that nowadays many of them do have an idea in advance and accept becoming part of Burton’s harem as the necessary price to escape their situation (usually economic) in eastern Europe, Russia, or South American countries. In other words, they are willing prostitutes and know the deal. And any present member of the Fellowship of Friends, male or female, is an accessory and a pimp.

From now on, I’m going to concentrate on emphasizing the connections between the Fellowship of Friends and any offshoots for anyone doing due diligence. At this time, the most important offshoot, in my estimation, is Asaf Braverman’s creation, Beperiod. I assume that Asaf spent the last ten years accepting Burton’s assertions that he, Asaf, was already ‘conscious’, without much protest, right? If he accepted that assertion as fact, then he is irrevocably flawed and ditto any of his ‘teachings’.

Anyway, Insider, thanks for helping chip away at my unwarranted naiveté and idealism. And Bruce is probably slapping his forehead and saying, “Duh!” for the nth time!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Robert Earl Burton undergoes cardiac procedures

In Robert Earl Burton's absence Dorian Matei leads Fellowship of Friends meeting at Apollo, Oregon House, CA
Dorian Matei (center) informs Fellowship members that everything is fine.

[ed. - An individual who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of The Fellowship of Friends provided the photos and information for this article. The insider reported that, on the morning of Sunday, July 9th, Robert Burton was unexpectedly unable to lead a scheduled meeting at the Fellowship's Apollo Festival Hall ("Prytaneion"). Sitting in for Burton, Dorian Matei (pictured) began:
"Good morning, and everything is fine. Robert is fine. Uh, he uh, he wanted to be cautious with his, um, health and balance, and he decided not to come to host the meeting this morning. But he is fine.

“Interesting situation. In a way, I am grateful we are here to experience this.”
The emergency care of a conscious being calls for extreme measures, and the disregard of lowly, sleeping "life people," as Burton recounts in his latest book:
"Only this ordeal could bring out the conscious love that has come forth. On July 10th...I went to see Gernot Mueller, a student who is my physician. He said, 'Let's call an ambulance because that is the way to bypass everyone who is waiting in the emergency room; the ambulance goes to the head of the queue.' I said that was fine, and we took an ambulance fifty meters from his office to the hospital." - Robert Earl Burton, Fifty Years with Angels.

Burton would be admitted to hospital the same day, undergoing tests that determined he had blockages in his coronary arteries. On July 11th and 12th, he underwent surgeries to place stents in two of the arteries.

Sasha Shalapanov, Robert Earl Burton's companion, Fellowship of Friends
Sasha Shalapanov. Everything is fine.

On the 12th, Sasha Shalapanov led a meeting at the Festival Hall, during which was shown a brief video of Burton in a hospital recovery room.

And today, Rowena Taylor (Renée Taylor), Dean of the Fellowship Council, and Greg Holman, President of the Fellowship of Friends, issued a very upbeat (no pun intended) statement to the Fellowship congregation, the gist of the message being:]
Robert is home and hopes to lead events in the near future. Meanwhile, our school spirit is strong. At Apollo, in the week Robert was away in hospital, students gathered together even more frequently to share energy and provide emotional support to one another. Meetings were held as usual and work at the Theatron [ed. - being restored primarily for tax-exemption classification] continued at a good pace. Robert has asked various students to step up to lead meetings and events, and everyone is responding.

Shocks help us in interesting ways. It is a time of energy and renewed sense of direction. We also have a renewed appreciation for one another, and for the being of the school. It was heartening [ed. - No pun intended?] to see that students immediately met the shock of Robert’s illness from higher centers and the kings of centers, rather than the queens. [ed. - Which conscious follower verified this?] We have been able to see what we have, and what we are. We see more clearly that each of us must work to co-create the school.

The Fellowship organization includes a Board of Directors that helps to govern our infrastructure, meeting regularly to assess needs and priorities. The Council maintains links with our worldwide centers and helps our teaching reach students and prospective students. [ed. - "Please trust us."] We are working to publish a new website [ed. - Yet another?] on Robert and our school, and will share it with you later this month.

Thank you for keeping the flame of presence alive as we continue as a school and fellowship of friends.

[ed. - If Robert Burton's prediction is correct, once he shuffles off his mortal coil, a Fellowship Council, Board of Directors, and website may be unnecessary.]
"One positive aspect about the completion of my role, that is, the dissolution of this body, is that I feel I will be able to communicate to students information I could not give them here, particularly about their next roles." - Robert Earl Burton