Former member of Circle for Investigation of Gnostic Anthropology Aust (CIGA) and Gnosis in Australia
This is my honest personal opinion from personal experience. Others may have had more positive experiences, you are free to seek these too before forming an opinion.
As a former member of this group, I want to warn others to how I saw the practices of this group. This group presents its self as a non-profit cultural educational organisation, but I have come to the opinion that this is merely the public face and behind this mask it is a controlling autocratic group that uses fear and guilt to manipulate it's members.
I lost many years to this cult (I now refer to my time in this group, 12 years in total - as the "lost years") and only now am I able to think clearly and start to make sense of what happened to my mind while part of this manipulating coercive group.
1. Their view is that the world is corrupt and being run by evil forces and black magic. Their group are the only ones that can help humanity. The founder and guru / master of the group is Samael Aun Weor, who is said to be the earthly incarnaration of the Archangel Samael. He is meant to be the Avatar, Savoiur and Christ of this age or era. He wrote over 60 books, all of which are dogmatic, beyond question and taken as gospel by his followers. The group worships him and other masters as Gods on earth and no-one dare questions the authority of his teachings. Other authors are said to be not as "awakened" so his books are the only ones that contain the true teaching.
2. Marriage outside the group is not encouraged. Marriage within the group is consided to be more pure.
3. Encouraged not to have too much social life outside the group, this is not spoken about openly but subtlety encouraged.
4. Their group is the purest, all others have gone off the track or are referred to as failed groups, splinter groups etc.
5. They are the keepers of the true way, or have the only direct link with the source of light and wisdom.
6. Suggested not to work too much, part time or non-professional work is preferred so as to put more time and energy into the group and its causes.
7. Academic or artistic study at university is not encouraged, better to put more time into the group than "waste time" on personal ambitions and career goals.
8. Encouraged not to have children, again so more time can go into the group to spread the teaching and help other people.
9. The group Hierarchy rewards sacrifice that members make with "promotions" more responsibilities or more involvement in the inner workings of the groups. They are seen to be more "awake" or conscious.
10. The classes are all run by donations, but there is a lot of pressure to spend money and savings on attending retreats, international congresses, publicity, advertising etc.
11. There is no openness in group meetings for constructive criticism or debate. The group and the hierarchy are never wrong, the groups decision makers cannot be criticised.
12. They feel that they are a chosen select few working for the greater good of humanity, all personal interests or feelings are then suppressed. We are reminded of the great sacrifice and commitment that the group's leaders must make, and that they know better, so we should listen to them and not question authority. Again putting aside "gut" feelings or that something's not right here, eg. "What would I know, these people are better than me, they make greater sacrifices"
13. There is no democracy in meetings, and if there is it is only at face value. Any descent or criticism is treated with indifference, coldness and silence.
14. There is influence from the superiors on where other instructors should live and move to, so as to open more groups in different parts of a city.
15. A person's own gut feelings and personal views are suppressed in favour of the group's cause.
16. Ex-members are referred to as failures, that they did not work on themselves properly, that life or their spouse/family pulled them away, that they worked too much at their job. Contact with ex-members is looked down upon. Once someone leaves the group, the group no longer has any contact with them or any mediation for why they left. The group is never at fault.
17. There are seeds of fear implanted in the minds of members that bad things may happen if they leave the group. That there is black magic working on them, or that bad karma will fall upon them.
18. Members or students are taken aside and spoken to in private by the instructors, to correct their behaviour, their lack of attendance, seriousness, or other less serious matters. The student is intimated, ambushed and sometimes subtly bullied and made to feel like they are in the wrong and that have forgotten the group and the great cause.
19. Advanced students are expected to attend a minimum of twice a week, and take part in other external activates, if they don't they can be asked to leave the group, or they are subtly ostracised from the group. There is a subtle group "shunning" that goes on when someone is not putting in like they should. This mainly comes from the instructor's not so much fellow students.
20. The teachers/instructors use techniques to raise money like saying that the more money you donate the more karma you will pay and therefore be better off and be closer to the teaching.
21. They also say if you are having personal problems with the teaching, you need to go even closer to the teaching and attend more classes. Any doubts or skepticism's are due to ones own ego or black magic. Its is never because there maybe something wrong with the group or its leaders. Even if there is something wrong with its leaders it's still your problem, as you have to get over it. The group is never at fault; the problem always lies with the individual.
22. This group presents itself as a benign cultural "educational" meditation group, but behind this mask their main objective is to recruit more members to be part of their bizarre occult rituals and the worship of Samael.
CIFS has helped me in contacting others who also have been effected by CIGA and other Gnostic cults.
This page is about groups, organisations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form.
But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful.
Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing.
An account from one person must be read as that; ideas could have been taken out of context or have been misunderstood.
Also, practices may change over time, or between one centre and another.
CIFS encourages readers to research widely before forming an opinion.
Information from one single source would need to be judged against other sources and one's own personal experience.
Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organisation or person on this page is not necessarily meant pejoratively.