Discussion in 'Communal Living' started by FREE, May 22, 2004.

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  1. LaughinWillow

    LaughinWillow Member

    I think the "off feeling" has to do with the blatant hierarchy that is displayed for all to see on their site. They glorify Arol (and Wulf, though he's dead) and her family - they claim to be building this natural, egalitarian society where everyone matters, but if you notice, Arol actually has her own house there, which is hilarious. Arol has her own garden. Arol's daughter has her own horses. And now they've got the grandkids of Arol there - and from what I've heard, they won't allow anyone else with children to move in (god forbid anyone take the attention away from Arol's personal tribe for 5 seconds). They claim to have upwards of 50 people there, but as others have pointed out, they have pictures of only those who the group views as "relevant."

    I've already described the nasty way they treated me when I met them. In retrospect, I think it was probably because I was obviously not their type of easy "target" - I'm actually a grown woman with the ability to think critically, looking for a community that fits with my values and beliefs, seeking something other than to be led around by some aging fake "guru" who claims to believe in egalitarianism, then hoards resources for herself.

    I don't think the place is a cult, really - I just think it's a workfarm for Arol and whomoever she deems "important" - and a scam on top of it, because this situation is in direct violation of what they say they believe in.
  2. peacefuljeffrey

    peacefuljeffrey Senior Member

    I have no experience with Zendik except for buying one of their newsprint magazines way back in like '98 at an outdoor festival in West Palm Beach.

    If the scene you and others describe is true, then I don't care what "ideals" they claim to be living by, eating organic food and shit and stickin' it to the new world order and the capitalists or whatever their deal is: none of that is worth a damn to me if the ultimate operating theory of the place is dictatorship. Period. Just how good and idealistic can a "commune" be if underlying it all is still an autocracy?? An unaccountable lord and master of the realm? One whose word is law?

    I mean, the only difference I see between someone like that running a place like Zendik and some Hutu warlord in Africa running some village under threat of AK-47s is the AK-47s! If Arol is running Zendik in such a way that all authority rests with her, and independent thinkers are scorned, shunned, shut-down or outcast, why would this be any kind of good model for how society ought to be? Why would this be any better than Maoist China, with the murder of the intellectuals and educated classes? It sounds more like an exercise in classism and hypocrisy, to me. Does it really operate on an ostensible pretense of "hippie-ism" and peace and love and equality and all that, or is it just another power-trip by someone who simply found themselves able to arrange it?

    Blue skies,
  3. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    I lived at Zendik Farm for two years in the early 1990s (when they were based outside of Austin, TX). The criticism expressed in this thread rings true to my experience with the group. I am looking for other former Zendiks-- I am in bad need of discussing the experience with others who have lived through it.

    I would strongly caution anyone who is going through a crisis or having emotional problems to steer clear of the Zendiks-- they prey on the lonely, the desperate, and the depressed.

    I'll post a brief and shocking account of my Zendik life sometime in the next couple of days.

  4. HappyHaHaGirl

    HappyHaHaGirl *HipForums Princess*

    I had a dream that I went to visit and I took my son and this lady got jealous and cut his face so he would be ugly. It was fucked up. I have the weirdest dreams..... :(

    I want to hear your story. Was it a big deal for you to get out? I met a guy whose sister joined that hippie cult in the big brown tour bus thing and they eventually had to get the goverment to step in and help her escape or something.... it's crazy.
  5. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    Really? Oh, tell me more! Leaving is very difficult. If you own anything, they will do whatever they can to stop you from taking it with you. Cars, tools, even clothing.

    One horror story I personally witnessed: this guy who was a DJ (and made his living spinning at raves) had come for one of their "internships". I don't know if they still do this, but at the time you could pay them $300 to spend six weeks shoveling goat turds. But yeah, they called it an "internship". Lucky you. Anyway, when the guy's stint was up and he was packing his truck to leave, a bunch of the Zendik men confronted him and told him that he had to leave his audio equipment as part of the payment for his stay. He argued that he had paid his $300 and owed them nothing. They persisted. They physically prevented him from loading his truck. A standoff ensued. I think that the Zendiks actually threatened to call the police. It was bizarre. The guy eventually gave up and left with nothing (I forget how long this took, but the Zendiks were hell-bent on appropriating that equipment).

    People who left the group were regularly subject to ripoff. A former boyfriend of mine was kicked out the day after he signed his last inheritance check over to the group. Coincidence? They made over $100,000 off the guy... he'd lived there five years or so, and one morning they just told him "there's a van heading into town on a shopping trip at noon. Be on it." They told him that he could come the next day to collect his belongings-- a bunch of saddle-making tools and a collection of out-of-print blues and jazz records that he had brought with him when he joined-- but when he came back the next day they refused to return the tools and had already sold his record collection to a shop in Austin.

    Of course, if you want to remain in their group you have to be able to accept these things. You have to force yourself to feel okay about them, to believe that the Zendiks are in the right. Otherwise, how could you live with them? When I saw these kinds of things happening I quickly buried my objections. After all, who would want to get on the bad side of such people?? Especially if you're totally dependent on their acceptance in order to get your next meal. They do NOT allow their members to keep cash, bank accounts, property, automobiles, etc. If you have a penny in your pocket it is frowned upon as evidence of your lack of commitment to the group. If you don't want to be kicked out you must hand it over. They tell you over and over again that they are the only viable alternative community in existence, so why would you ever even consider living anywhere else? They just pound it into you.

    I now know that they are completely full of crap. Too late, of course, but better than never.

    And now they're moving AGAIN??? Hmm... their reason for leaving Texas is highly suspect, and there's no way in hell they are covering their expenses through sales of their 'zine, even with occasional contributions from Shey's rich parents. Their little salesmen might bring in fifty bucks each on an average day (and this can only really be done on weekends), and even if they can fit ten of the little buggers into their bus... well, you can do the math. Did I mention that they eat only organic food? That they feed a large herd of goats, several horses, dozens of cats and dogs, and a lot of chickens? Simply buying in bulk can't explain it.. something fishy is going on.

    Okay, enough for now. It's way past my bedtime.

  6. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    Holy shit.

    I just noticed the guns in the margins of their website artwork. On their "portal" page or whatever you call the smaller-sized "enter" window. It's fucking freaky.


    Holy fucking SHIT.
  7. HappyHaHaGirl

    HappyHaHaGirl *HipForums Princess*

    That is really weird.... :eek:
  8. Alison

    Alison Member

    Yes, I'd say that was mighty weird to put guns hidden in the margins. So I guess thats how the mentality runs there, since Arol has to approve everything, and approved that.

    Did you also notice when you look closely at that swirly color globe thing it looks like some sort of reptile embryo developing inside it. See the face and eye towards the left, and rest of the shape of the part of the face you cannot see is perfectly synchronic with the part you can see.
  9. FREE

    FREE Member

    thats pretty crazy stuff,i had the chance to hang out with some of the zendicks this weekend,they stayed over at my pad while they did their vending stuff and i had no trouble out of any of them,they seemed more down to earth then i thought they would be,the only thing was that they were way to nice ya know.
    they did only eat their own food though,i went shopping to buy them all kinds og veggie rabbit food cause i thought that was thier thing but they didnt touch any of it and were talking about eating meat while they cooked,they seem harmless to me,and pretty damn cool at that
  10. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    I don't see the lizard embryo thing, but there is a silhouette of a person (standing) and a dog (sitting at the person's feet) in the top right half of the globe, just above the lettering. I've stopped looking for other things-- it creeps me out too much.

    Yeah, they're capable of playing nice if it's in their best interest-- when they're talking to the media, recruiting people, selling their merchandise, crashing on your floor, etc. Wanna see them bare their teeth? Just make a serious criticism of Wulf's "philosophy", or contradict their belief that the Zendik way is the only way. Watch the eyes glaze over. Hear the well-practiced (memorized) nonsense roll out the mouth like a boulder to crush you.

    Try it! You won't like it!
  11. cobcottage

    cobcottage Member

  12. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    Maybe. He thought that Zendik was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. You aren't allowed to live there unless you make a lifelong commitment to their group (like getting married instead of just moving in together). The Zendiks treat you like you're dipped in shit until you've established a history of following their orders. Then you rise in the hierarchy. They back off a fraction of a centimeter. Give them everything you own and they know that you're serious. You'll get to move up to the second level (dipped in vomit).

    The highest you can get without being related to cArol is "dipped in piss".

    But, hmm... he could prove that he was under the influence of the group when he signed the checks, which may or may not have any bearing in court. I don't know if he's done anything about this. We haven't been in contact for years. And it happened in the late 80s/early 90s.

    The thing that really kills me is how they managed to rip off so many of the apprentice/intern people outright. By sheer physical intimidation. This is what makes them dangerous to people outside of their group.

    Safety tip: before you drive your car to Zendik, have its ownership transferred to your mom.
  13. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member


    Part 1, in which a very young Red Lentil receives her first zendikian mindfuck via poorly illustrated propaganda and cannot help but come back for more:

    I first heard of Zendik Farm in 1989, when I bought their 'zine off a "road warrior" in San Diego...

    (flashback harp sounds)

    I was 15 years old and had just spent half a dozen years being molested by a sibling. My parents didn't know that this had happened. I was socially stunted, depressed, angry, insecure, naive, idealistic, totally disillusioned, and cute. In otherwords, I fit the Zendik recruitment profile perfectly.

    The artwork and writing in the publication meshed comfortably with my psychic state-- doom and gloom, apocalyptic and angsty. The writing was cynical and death-obsessed, with vague allusions to what a better world might require, and vague threats against the state (which made them seem like badass militant leftists, which was cool). I'd never seen a 'zine before, and the thoroughly unprofessional look of the thing was deeply appealing. I read it over and over, approaching its alien tone and mysterious invented terminology with the same affected attitude of reverence with which I had approached the Bible as a child (I'd rejected christianity years earlier, with good reason).

    Of course, nothing I had read in the magazine stopped me from attempting suicide later that year. I swallowed insecticide pellets (if only they'd taught Kafka in junior high!). Needless to say, it didn't work. I spent a couple of days throwing up, told my folks that it must have been stomach flu, that something was going around at school. That first night, while we were sitting watching TV together, my dad flipped to a movie in which Sissy Spacek (who looks just like me) was making complicated preparations for her own suicide (putting the bills in order, cleaning the gun, etc.) while her bedridden mother shouted objections from the next room. I kept thinking "He knows. My dad knows. He put this movie on to let me know that he knows." He didn't know.

    My kitschy fascination with Zendik turned into fanatical obsession immediately following the suicide attempt. I secretly swore that I would try to kill myself again if I didn't make it there by the time I turned 18. I firmly believed that there were only two options: Zendik or death. The Zendik literature introduced and perpetuated this fatalistic perception. This "choice" I had to make. I was ripe for the picking. They pulled me in.

    I subscribed to their 'zine. I mail-ordered books and buttons, even their famously crappy music. I had never been exposed to philosophical inquiry, social criticism, political theory, or communalism-- so I didn't know that Zendik wasn't actually giving me these things. What's more, the Zendik "philosophy" clearly expressed that all non-Zendik ideas were irrelevant, guaranteeing that I wouldn't go elsewhere for my "Truth". I shut my ears to other voices.

    I made some small lifestyle changes, trying to be as "zendik" as I could while I waited for the opportunity to move there (I had to finish high school first). I started dressing like them (or so I thought), started quoting Wulf, tried proselytizing. The Zendik literature offered no clear picture of what Zendiks actually did, so there wasn't much that I could do to emulate them. I went to school (sometimes) and did typical teenager stuff. The Zendiks were responding to my letters, inviting me to visit them. My folks were warming up to the idea. Suicide was no longer on my mind, which was a huge relief. I was confident, feeling for the first time as if I had a future. I had something to believe in. It was great.

    Two years later, on the anniversary of my suicide attempt (what a coincidence!), my dad put me on a plane to Austin (Zendik Farm was located near there at the time). I had $60 and a small suitcase. I don't know how my dad felt about this. He knew that I was excited and serious about Zendik, that's for sure. They had spoken with him on the telephone, reassured him that I would be safe. If he thought that the group was harmful he wouldn't have let me go...


    Dramatic sudden ending! Part two coming soon!


  14. Oooh Ohh! This is great! I can't wait. :p
  15. HappyHaHaGirl

    HappyHaHaGirl *HipForums Princess*

    I know! Come on, already! :D
  16. m6m

    m6m Member

    Red Lentil,

    I love your style.
    And as cute as Sissy Spacek too?!?

    I ran into a Zendik cadre in SoCal around the late (I thought it was the late '70s, but it might have been the late '80s now that I think of it).

    I do remember clearly that it was a young pixie of a girl with dark hair and dark eyes dressed in green fatigues.

    She gave me a copy of their 'zine' which I scanned immediately, because she was interesting.

    But reading between the lines, I could easily detect Wulf's reactionary mental prison.
    He was so trapped in the ubiquitous death drive Funeral March of Hierarchical Civilization.

    Fortunately for me, I had grown up in Frisco in the '60s.
    So I have absorbed all the counter-culture trends.
    That helps me to quickly know the difference between image and substance.

    Can't wait to hear the rest of your story!!
  17. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    Hey, I'm glad you guys are interested in this stuff. I'm finding it extremely difficult to write about what happened to me at Zendik-- there's just too much to say about it, and the experience left me with a full set of ptsd (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms, which make my memory a dangerous place. It just takes some time to sort through.

    Here's some more of it:


    Part 2, in which a still very young and newly bald Red Lentil receives a new
    Zendik identity in exchange for control of her mind.

    I forgot to mention that I had shaved my head bald (to the skin) a couple of weeks before leaving for Zendik Farm. I've got photographs, can't look at them. I'd used sideburn clippers (a tiny electric razor, about an inch wide). It was a patchy shave, so I finished the job with a disposable safety razor. Shaving cream on my head. I got some razorburn. I looked like a chemo patient.

    I don't know why I shaved my head. My folks were also baffled. I wore a hat all the time and when I walked down the hall at school the kids yelled "Uncle Fester" and "Sinead O'Connor" and "Kojak".

    None of it mattered. I would have a new life soon.


    I was picked up at the Austin airport by two Zendiks (Ev and Trebor) in a primer-grey van. It was dark when we got to the farm. Jinn (the Zendik girl who had been my pen-pal) gave me a little tour of the place, and I was taken into their office to fill out some paperwork. I signed something, don't remember what it was. They asked me if I had any money, and I gave them the sixty bucks my dad had shoved into my hand as I'd lined up to board the plane. The money had been his way of saying "sweetie, I know you're convinced that these people are your friends-- but if you need to get the fuck out in a hurry, this will help". Adios, caution. I was serious. Zendik or death. I handed the cash over.

    I had a first impression of the place, and quickly buried it. Zendik or death. But now I can speak my mind:

    I found the Zendiks seriously intimidating. They were humorless, cold, unwelcoming and detached. Casual (spontaneous, non-preachy) conversation was frowned upon. If you engaged in frivolous conversation-- which is what I (like any teenager) did most of the time-- somebody would yell "Elevate!", which meant that you had to either shut up or start talking about Wulf's "philosophy". Usually we would just shut up.

    I was given one of twelve bunks in the oldest, most run-down house on the property-- a two-room wooden shack we sometimes referred to as "the slave quarters". The structure was over 100 years old, made from split logs, uninsulated. Light shone (and wind blew) through some of the spaces between these boards, and if you pressed your face against a crack you could actually see outside. This is the house where all the new people and visitors stayed, with a couple long-term members mixed in to keep an eye on us (be our Zendik role models) or as an indication of their low status-- rank was indicated by where you lived, and the quarters got better as you got closer to Arol's inner circle. I come from poor rural folk, so I was comfortable with the "rustic" accomodations-- but I soon longed for a bunk in the main house, which would be granted to me as soon as Arol and her cronies decided that I deserved it.

    Little did I know that my new Zendik friends were pulling me along a well-worn path of.. well.. mind control.

    I'm not kidding! The BITE method of mind control describes the Zendik indoctrination process perfectly:


    The first thing they tackled was my wardrobe. Somebody actually sat down with me and sorted through my suitcase, telling me what I could and couldn't wear. Silkscreened t-shirts were forbidden. Goodbye Led Zeppelin! I was given silkscreened Zendik t-shirts to wear. Did I mention that Zendiks live in physical isolation from the rest of the world (with the exception of magazine-peddling excursions)? My new Zendik shirts would only advertise Zendik to Zendiks.

    My lack of hair was another problem: I was to wear a head covering at all times. The "aesthetix" administrator (I'm not kidding-- there was always someone to report to, or someone to report) found me an acceptable hat. The one I'd come in with wasn't "funky" enough or something. I keep thinking of the Dead Kennedys song "California Uber Alles"... "it's the suede-denim secret police.. they have come for your uncool niece..". I was also instructed on posture, told to always wear a bra (Keep 'em pointin' toward the TruthWay, girls!) and told to wear clothing that would hide my little pot-belly (at 5'5" and 119 pounds I was far from fat).

    By the end of the day I looked like everybody else (whereas in my old Deathkultur life I stood out in a crowd). "So this is HONESTY, eh?"

    More to come..
  18. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member

    Uh.. okay, as usual, the link doesn't work. So go to www.ex-cult.org , click on "general information" at the top, and then click on "mind control- the BITE method". It's totally fascinating. Actually, their whole site is totally fascinating.

    www.trancenet.org also has an excellent FAQ about cults and people who join them.

    It's essential stuff to know if you're looking for a community to join. The warning signs of totalism are easy to spot if you know what to look for.
  19. mikey

    mikey Member

    As you may be aware, Zendik recently sold their land in North Carolina and moved to West Virginia. What you may not know is that in their five years on the farm near Ashville, they managed to get subdivision approval for the property. It can now be subdivided into 14 tracts and is being developed as Panther Creek Farms, an expensive yuppie country estate subdivision near the Lake Alger Marina and the Brights Creek golf community. Here's a link to the relevant article.
    Real estate speculation can be even more profitable than hustling magazines to naive teenagers.
  20. Red Lentil

    Red Lentil Member


    That makes me sick.

    And it explains a lot.

    What a bunch of scumbag hypocrites. Zendik Ecolibrium my ass.
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