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.")

But 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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wild, Wild, Wine Country

Renaissance Vineyard and Winery ephemera by Jenny Eagleton

[ed. - The title of the article is a reference to Wild, Wild Country, a recent TV series about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) and the founding, and eventual demise, of his Rajneeshpuram compound in Oregon. At the same time that Rajneeshpuram was coming under scrutiny, The Fellowship of Friends also found itself in the spotlight.]

Wild, Wild Wine Country (excerpt)
by Jenny Eagleton
May 30, 2018
Meanwhile, what’s left of the team at Renaissance is keen to sell off their old bottlings, which means there are deals aplenty for wine drinkers. You can pick up back vintage bottles of Renaissance at fantastically cheap prices, but the bottles can be variable, especially those oaky monsters from the Karl Werner years. Far better are his wife’s wines, beginning with the 1989 vintage, but it’s the wines from young Gideon Beinstock beginning in 1993 that should attract the most attention. At the moment, the winery is in the process of having many of their wines re-corked for stability, which is exciting for consumers.

These wines are special. They express not only the severe terroir of Yuba County, but something much more: an encapsulation of wine as a product of spiritual devotion, of the intertwining of religious truth seeking and winemaking. Here, the spiritual and the oenological combine in a way that feels similar to the Georgian monastery, or Nicolas Joly and his church of Biodynamics, but on Californian soils. An expression of the failures and excesses and glorious risks of a certain strange corner of the world at the apex of the 20th century. Wines of presence made all the more beautiful by their unusual backstory.

“These are the real cult California wines,” my host joked, and I laughed, but those are his words, not mine.

[ed. - For a related story, see: "Aaron and Cara Mockrish: Frenchtown Farms, Yuba County, California"]

1 comment:

  1. Your website was enormously helpful in understanding the way the Fellowship works. Thank you!