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Archive for the ‘Ritual Abuse Articles by Svali’ Category

Several months ago, I sent a questionaire out to the professional community to find out the opinions of therapists who work with ritual abuse. I contacted the ISSD as well as several therapists whom I had heard of in the field. Why? Because I wanted a chance for the dedicated professionals who work in this field to have a chance to speak out, and I was also interested in their opinions.

I have changed all names, and used pseudonyms to protect the identities of these individuals and the clients that they work with. But these are very real people, who often work long hours, at times under threat from outside people, to help survivors break free. I cannot imagine a group of people that I admire more, next to the survivors themselves. The therapists who answered live both in the United States, and several countries around the world.

First I asked what percent of the therapist’s practice was ritually abused clients. The answers varied.

Jenny, a female therapist, answered: Yes.I never figured percentages. I saw several clients whom I suspected were RA but they never claimed memories of such.

Fran, another therapist, stated: Ritually abused clients have made up about 10% of my practice in the past six years. I consider it a sub-specialty.

Joann, who works in a group practice, stated: yes – though many only openly admit to being DID Is this your specialty area of practice? yes It is about 70% of my practice and 100% of my partnert’s practice

Alice states: Yes…usually they do not enter my office and announce that, however. It usually unfolds in the course of therapy, or they are referred following that disclosure. DID is one of my specialty areas of practice. It comprises about 1/5 of my caseload…and at one time was about 1/3.

John states: I work primarily in and with trauma survivors, mainly people over the ages of 35 and split about 45% 55% male to female. Yes I see a number of people who were ritually abused. Of those I work with about 30% were classic ritual abuse survivors…

I then asked: Do you believe your clients when they tell you they were ritually abused? If so, why? The responses were very interesting.

Jenny states: I believe that it is possible that RA memories are true. I cannot determine truth for clients.

Fran makes some points about her client’s memories: I generally believe my clients’ accounts of ritually abuse because:

1. I have obtained very convincing corroborating evidence.

2. Their emotional reactions and psychological symptoms make complete sense in relation to their accounts of abuse.

3. In one of my cases, relatives of the ritual abuse victim were incarcerated for multiple counts of sadistic sexual assault.

4. I am a member of a professional co-supervision group in which my colleagues have also obtained significant clinical and corroborating evidence of ritualistic abuse and mind control programming.

5. I am familiar with the professional research and clinical literature.

There are some aspects of some clients’ accounts that I believe may not be completely accurate, due to abuse perpetrated on drugged clients or deception by their abusers.

Joann shares her opinion: Absolutely. Who would make up those stories???

Alice makes a point here: I have never seen anyone I thought was fabricating. I have also NEVER told anyone of my clients that they “met a profile”, nor have I shared any of the “theories” that were prevalent in our field for awhile regarding conspiracy, programming, etc. I treat their memories with respect and, when needed, assist them in looking at the BEHAVIORS of their abusers and how it was abuse, regardless of the belief system. I see DID as an elaborate defense system involving all levels of personality.

John shares his view: I believe that initially they will tell me what it is that they have to to unburden the past. And they will tell me often times from the child’s prospective in an adult voice. It is variation on the truth. it is how they recall it at the time in my office, and it may not even be close to what happened but it does define the starting gate so to speak and it is my job to help work them through their processes not decern the truth of the matter. I am the professional listener not the detective…. I think many of my contempories get lost here.

I think it is important to note here that contrary to what some vocal groups in the media say, these professionals listen to what the client brings into therapy. They are NOT suggesting memories, instead, they are listening to their clients.

My next question was: What sort of groups are your clients reporting that “ritually abuse”? Are these organized groups with a religious/philosophical base, or are they isolated incidences? Have you seen any common denominators between groups, if this is what is reported? Any elements that make individuals or groups different in how they work?

Jenny states: Satanic cults; Christian sects, U. S. Government Are these organized groups with a religious/philosophical base, or are they isolated incidences? Both Have you seen any common denominators between groups, if this is what is reported? Any elements that make individuals or groups different in how they work? Pedophilia, sadomachistic tendencies
Fran shares from her experience working with survivors: My clients report abuse by Illuminati, KKK, and Fourth Reich. My Illuminati victim also reports abuse by national and international governments. None of my ritually-abused clients have single-incident abuses. All endured long-term abuse within inter-generational Satanism. Some appear to be more motivated by Satan-worship, others by obtaining world power. Common denominators: Satan worship is reported by all clients. Disgusting and horribly painful torture is reported by all, and there is consistency in the specific kinds of torture used, e.g., being hung upside down, skinning people alive, use of hooks, and more that I can not recall right now. Differences: Sexual abuse seems to have been more frequent and the perpetrators appeared to have stronger pedophiliac interests in my survivors of KKK and Fourth Reich than the Illuminati survivor, who appeared to be high up in the power heirarchy, where it appeared more specific to particular rituals. Only the Illuminati survivor reported abuse by political figures.

Joann’s clients also have shared with hertheir experiences with SRA: Most are isolated. some are offshoots of other groups (example – Masonic, Greek orthodox, illuminati) All involve abuse though the type varies – sexual, physical, emotional

Alice’s clients have also shared different types of abuse: A wide range of groups from aryan nation stuff ,to christian groups, to ancient fertility stuff, to the “chinese menu” approach. The only thing they all have in common is the abuse of power and children.

John shares his perspective: Variation on a theme of religion, although I have one at the moment that is focused on healing and not religion… oddly enough, and they as an organization are subject too a major investigation by the local Medical authorities/….

My next question was: Have you ever seen evidence that seems to corroborate client’s stories? Such as bruising/evidence of abuse physically; or testimony of siblings or family members? Threats against yourself from outside members of the group?

Jenny states: 3 clients of different age groups naming same group leader spanning a period of three decades. Also naming same ritual sites. To my knowledge these clients, being in different generations had never met each other.

Fran has also seen corroborating evidence: I have seen corroborating evidence, including mutiple survivors identifying the same perpetrators, and incarceration of perpetrators.I have had numerous phone hang-ups, for periods a few a day. I had one call at midnight – a woman’s voice

said “She’s dead you know, you killed her”. Nobody I know died.
Joann states: Such as bruising/evidence of abuse physically; (physical pain or sensitivities – ie body memories) Changes as a result of access by others including family members(this may be done knowingly or unknowingly). Threats against yourself from outside members of the group? No threats – just being followed

John has received threats because of his work with survivors: By the time that I see people generally speaking the abuse has long since stopped, but I have seen scars that seem to corroborate clients stories. Yes I have had death threats by the acting out brothers of three young ladies who came in for help. Their old brothers who now live as hermits in the bush, threatened to shoot both me and them if and I quote: Anymore talk of this sexual abuse thing keeps going end quote

I want to thank the courageous professionals who shared their opinions in this article. Part two will include: healing from ritual abuse, what helps and what doesn’t.

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*Important note: This article does not, and is not meant, to take the place of work with a qualified therapist, which is essential to healing from severe trauma. The comments in this article are in general terms only, and are only opinions.*

Healing. That is the goal in the journey of healing from abuse, and I have a confession to make. The question I asked therapists in this article was totally self serving. I really wanted to hear what they had to say on healing, what helps, and what doesn’t. As a survivor, I was extremely interested in the answers.
Each therapist was careful to say that they were speaking in generalities, that each client is different and unique. That each person’s healing will following the path best for them. But there are some excellent insights that they shared from their observations over the years, and I felt that this deserved an article of its own.

The question I asked was: Which factors have you seen in clients that help them progress in their healing process from ritual abuse? Which factors have you seen that tend to retard progress? (I know this is a complex question, just a few key elements)

Ritual abuse often makes the survivor feel they are worthless, or have no rights. Jenny had some thoughts on this topic:

Aura of spirituality; sense of humor, lack of feelings of entitlement, strong support system Which factors have you seen that tend to retard progress? (I know this is a complex question, just a few key elements) Opposite of the above

Fran had comments based on many hours of work with her clients. Her response shows her commitment, and her client’s commitment, to the healing process:

Factors that facilitate progress:

1. Patience by the therapist.

2. Hard work, journaling, art, between sessions.

3. Having a greater purpose of helping others

4. Having helpful, loving, and protective support persons.

5. A religious base of hope and protection.

6. Valuing both their own knowledge and the suggestions of the therapist.

7. Crying, grieving.

Factors that retard progress

1. Maladaptive relationships

2. Being re-accessed or abducted.

3. Substance abuse

4. Over-dependence, looking for the perfect new mother.

5. Lack of support persons

6. Lack of a religious support network and belief system.

7. Lack of looking inward for answers, over-reliance on the therapist

8. Resistance to crying.

Those who have been ritually abused have often had negative spiritual experiences. Joann shares her perspective that includes her belief system:

Which factors have you seen in clients that help them progress in their healing process from ritual abuse? strong Christian beliefs, strong desire to heal, submission to the healing process Which factors have you seen that tend to retard progress? denial, unwilling or unable to commit time or money, fear, trust issues, emphasis on presenting alters rather than on programming/structures/systems , lone ranger counselors who burn themselves out

Survivors of ritual abuse have often had a multitude of painful betrayals in their lifetime. Alice shares her thoughts on this painful topic:

It always helps to process betrayal…all the betrayals from spiritual to parental. It also helps to label specific behaviors as abuse in the framework of healthy parenting and group dynamics.Sometimes clients have difficulty with their corrupted belief systems as regards themselves…i.e.- “I have no soul”

Survivors of ritual abuse often have difficulty trusting others, and John shares his perspective on this issue:

What helps the most is the solid listening and them coming away from session after session with a strong sense of being listened too. The second mostimportant eliment is to treat the presenting problem properly and that is usually a deep seated depression that masks itself in some other format. ODD or BiP or BPD etc. and to gain releif here and build trust over time….

One of the facinating things that I have found is that in the fourth or fifth year of treatment sometimes the depth of the dissociative aspect jumps out and you have alters in your office who have watched you for a very long time and they can finally trust you to share. I had one lady who had been treated for 8 and half years before I got to her and it was late in our third year when I meet the first alter. The Alters knew the truth of what happened to her and it was ritual abuse by her mom. It went on every day and on several occasions nearly resulted in the clients death, and all this happened per age three. Mom later confirmed this. I had used the principal of the ISH and garnered its support in the healing and the client now 39 has her child back, is holding down a full time job, is in a relationship that she is happy with and is clean and sober drugs and alcohol 6 years..She is on Rx for her depression and probabily will be all the rest of her life… but she is having one now.

I found these responses helpful and insightful. These are caring people, who have invested hours and hours into helping survivors in the often painful, but also rewarding, journey of healing. The fact that they took time from their busy practices to share some thoughts is awesome, and I appreciate and thank each and every one. In my thoughts, these people are heros, along with the people that they help. Ritual abuse is one of the most traumatic abuses to heal from, but the therapists and survivors discussed in these articles are doing just that. Healing.

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*Important note: this article is not meant to be therapy, or to replace therapy with a skilled and qualified person, which is essential in healing from severe trauma. These are only the opinions of a survivor. Trigger warning: mentions cult abuse, dissociation, and trauma*

In order to survive ritual abuse, a child will often learn to dissociate, and dissociate heavily. The child has undergone some of the most horrific abuse humanly imaginable, and most find a way to cope. One of the ways that is encouraged in certain groups, such as the Illuminati, is to create an elaborate defensive system. In psychological terms, the child fragments, then fragments again. Eventually, the child has polyfragmented.

What is polyfragmentation? The term comes from the root poly, meaning many, and fragments. In complex polyfragmenatation, the survivor will have not only alter systems, but hundreds or even thousands of fragments, isolated parts of their mind created to do a job, and do it well and unthinkingly. Often the job is one that would be abhorrent to the main personality or presenting system. The further away from core beliefs, the greater usually the dissociation and fragmentation that must occur. In other words, a LOT of trauma has to happen to make a person do something that they really don’t want to do. And the person has to feel very far away from themselves as well when doing it. The cult will purposely try to create a polyfragmented system for this very reason. The person is more dissociated from themselves, and is often easier for them to control.

How are polyfragmented systems structured? These are individual, and will vary from not only person to person, but also with the group the person belonged to, the trainers, the abilities of the child, and tasks involved that the child must do. There is no “cookie cutter approach” in most cults to creating polyfragmented systems, but there are certain characteristics that are common.

What might a polyfragmented system look like? I will share some based on my memories as a trainer in this group, plus insights from my own healing process.

1. Protectors: these are parts that were created to do the jobs that had to be done, and saved the life of the young child. Cult protectors had to look mean and scary, like the child’s perpetrators. They also become perpetrators when the child grows into an adult, since they have no choice. They can be ruthless, angry, or may believe that they are demons. Some growl, some hiss, some believe that they are powerful animals. And all were a little child who was asked to do the unthinkable, forced to act in ways that he or she didn’t want to. They laugh at vulnerability, and trust no one. And with good reason, based upon their experiences in the cult. With therapy and time, they can also help keep the person safe from their perpetrators, as these parts will “kick butt” if they feel threatened.

2. Intellectuals: the cult WANTS intellectual alters who can observe, go between systems, learn information quickly and download it to outsiders. These might be recorders, computers, scholars. They may know several languages, and versed in different philosophies. Brilliant, cognitive, they often believe that they can outwit those around them, including therapists. But they also know much of the life history that the others don’t, since they rarely have strong feelings. These parts can “read the life history” without a tear or emotion. When they are out, the person appears “flat” to say the least, in psychological terms.
3. Denial people: these are intellectual, and are created to deny that anything bad ever happened. Life was wonderful, the parents perfect and loving, and the suicidality and PTSD symptoms are just strange artifacts without “any reason,” according to these parts. A person can have a full blown abreaction, and five minutes later, a denier will come out and say it was all “made up.” They are often afraid of punishment if the person remembers, and have severe trauma motivating them.

4. Controllers/head honchos/”top dogs”: these are the system leaders. They know what is going on at all times in their system. In a military system, it might be a general, in a protector system, the most powerful protector; in a metals system, the platinums, or in a jewel system, the highest jewels, such as diamond, ruby, or emerald. Usually there are several leaders in a system that share the responsibility. They can also become invaluable helpers over time if they choose to give up cult loyalty.

5. Child alters: these want praise from the adult leaders, and often come out for rewards, or sweets. They will report on others inside unless they can learn that it is safe to NOT do so, since they are motivated both by fear of punishment, and wanting praise from those above them. They are also often the “heart” of a polyfragmented system, and can feel love, joy, or fear and trembling. Often, they want hugs and to be told that they are “okay”.

6. Punishers: why wait for an outside person to punish you if you can create someone inside to do it first? Children will often identify heavily with their perpetrators, and if the punishment is severe and frequent, they will internalize the perpetrator to try and keep themselves “in line” and avoid punishment externally. The cult will capitalize on this, and often trainers will leave as their “calling card” an alter named after themselves. This one will be an internal trainer, or punisher, or enforcer. Their job is to keep things in line, and will often try to sabotage therapy. They are often fearful of external punishment if they don’t do their job. Internal punishers will also activate self punishment sequences inside (such as flood programming/ suicide programming, or other self harm sequences) if the person begins breaking away from the cult and the old rules. These parts may take time to conivince that they can change their old way of doing things, since they were often accountable to the outside handler/trainer if things weren’t kept in line.

7. Feeling alters: the feelings were overwhelming and infinitely traumatizing in childhood. It threatened the child’s survival and sanity. The solution? Parcel them out over several internal parts and/or fragments. Divide the feeling up so that it feels more manageable. Feeling alters often get locked away inside, and when they come out in therapy, the feeling may hit “full force” at first. A child alter may come out screaming, or terror stricken, or wailing in uncontrollable grief and pain, until they are grounded in the here and now. Often, feelings were heavily punished in the cult, so it was psychologically necessary to bury them deeply within the psyche in order to survive. These parts may be very separated from the parts that know what happened to cause the feelings in a highly fragmeneted system, so that the feelings seem to come out of nowhere, without any cause. With time and healing, they can hook up with the intellectuals inside who observed, and other parts who went through the same trauma, giving meaning to the feelings and helping to resolve them.
8. Internal councils: most cults have leadership councils of some sort. And many people internalize them inside. It’s another example of internalizing perpetrators, and these have a vested interest in “keeping things in line” until they realize that they can leave the cult and be safe. Then, they can become an immense strength for healing. A personal may have a local leadership council internalized, or spiritual councils that represent outside people, such as an internal druidic council or group of ascended masters that help run things inside.

9. Sexual alters: created to handle the overwhelming trauma of early childhood sexual abuse, they took the feelings it was too painful for a young child to understand. Some had to learn to enjoy the abuse, or pretend to, and were heavily rewarded for this response.

10. Amnesic alters: these are known as the “front”, the “clueless ones”, “those who don’t know anything”, etc. These have the job of not remembering. Otherwise, as a child, they were heavily punished. Usually, they are very glad to not remember anything, and the other parts who were abused at times envy them or dislike their “protected life history.” This can create a lot of intrasystem hostility or warfare, until the amnesic parts begin accepting that abuse did occur. Reminding abused parts that the amnesia saved the child’s (and their life) helped my system with this.

11. The workers: these do the jobs of daily life, and usually are part of the presenting systems. These take care of the house, got married, take care of the children, and may hold a highly responsible job as well. These are the competent parts created that hide the fact that the person has undergone a lifetime of traumatic abuse and degradation. These parts can also be a great strength, as they share that life can be good with other more traumatized parts inside.
12. Hosts: there may be a “day host” (see presenters), a “night host” for the cult, or hosts for various systems or times in the person’s life. Occasionally, the survivor of severe generational cult abuse may find to their dismay that a greater portion of their life was invested in and given to cult activities than day ones, and the “night host” is stronger than the “day host”! This happened to me. Fortunately, my “night host” was the one who left the cult, so she had plenty of strength and pull to give to staying safe and away from the group. I also had a “host” that had handled the summers spent in Europe, during those times in childhood, and a “hidden host” who never fully presented to protect herself from others (she manipulated the presenters to sit in front of her, telling them what to do). Each person’s system will handle this task differently. In general, the greater the trauma, the greater the distrust of outside people, and the more likely that the host will be a facade, or heavily protected.

13. Core splits: can be created from severe and psychologically threatening very early childhood trauma. This used to be done intentionally by some cult groups to create larger and more dissociated systems.

14. The core: this is the original child, the one who created all of the others inside. The child’s systems will depend upon the traumas and the creativity of the original child, as well as her need to protect herself from the abuse of others that might have destroyed her. In some systems, the core will be very young, or an infant, if the abuse was extremely early and severe. Core issues surrounding her will usually involve parents or parental figures who caused severe trauma. This might include abandonment, torture, or other forms of cruelty to a young child.

15. Function codes, access codes, halt codes, system codes: these are fragments that might be put in to do certain jobs, and are created to only do that job when called out by triggers such as letters, numbers, phrases, or other auditory stimuli. These are created with deep trauma and are very intentionally done by perpetrators.

16. Spiritual parts: these may have a variety of beliefs that cover different spiritualities internally. There may be one over-riding spiritual belief for the system, or several. For example, a spiritual system created by the cult may include aspects of Luciferianism, druidism, Temple of Set teachings, Ancient Babylonian mystery religions, etc. The host or presenters may have a completely conflicting religious belief system, and there may be hostility between the parts that hold opposing beliefs. In my own life, my presenters were strong Christians, and this gave the stability and comfort needed to bring healing to the parts inside. It also opened the way to begin forgiveness, one of the most difficult and important tasks in the healing process.
This has been an overview of just a few of the types of personalities that might be found in a complex polyfragmented system. It is important to be aware that each person is unique; that many people will have coped with trauma in their own way. This is not meant to say that every cult survivor has all of these personalities, but are one survivor’s opinion based upon her experiences and memories. My hope is that this article will help to educate others about this issue.

Copyright 2000 – Svali

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Survivors of ritual abuse come from all over the world. This is not a phenomenon limited to the United States or Europe.

John, a survivor outside the U.S., shares his process of remembering: I did not always remember. As with many sexual assault survivors and because of the violence and threats done to them, I was not able or allowed to remember. In 1974 I was 16 and I saw the movie, The Exorcist. It triggered an uncomfortableness and because of the brainwashing and lies “my family would be killed” I couldn’t get consciousness and clarity. I ran away though on this subconcious and yet still powerful fear. I then got brainwashed again and it blotted out all my memory and the abuse that was happening then. In 1992, I met a ritual abuse survivor in an incest survivors group and after about six months of listening to her, I realised that I had been, and was then also being, ritually abused. The brainwashing was so strong that it took six months of listening to another survivor to assist me to have consciousness and clarity.

Abigail is another survivor who has always remembered some things: We always had part memories indicating such, though we didn’t know what to label it, i.e. going to grade school and then my father would show up with an excuse to take me out of school. He would take me to the grocery store he worked at and sit me in the cooler room to sort numbers for pricing. Even though it was very cold in that room, he would tell his co-workers that I was sick and he was taking me to the Doctor. We would leave at noon time and then there would be no memory for the next 3 days. I know it was 3 days because the note my mother wrote for me to give my teacher always said that I was absent with a 3 day flu. Other things were almost life-long inexplicable fears and reactions to things that are otherwise pretty much commonplace. Still can’t light a match but do ok with a lighter. The fear with an unlighted match in my hand is overwhelming panic and terror feeling very young. There are many others, too long to list here but they are this specific rather than general. Definition of ritual abuse came later in adulthood during a support group for sexual abuse survivors. We, as a group of survivors, were reading and working out of a book together. There were lists for identifying sexually abused girls and boys and then a chapter and list for identifying ritual abuse. All our fears were listed, our reactions, our body pains. All never had explanation before were now explained within the context of ritual abuse and as things fell into place, things began to make sense. Our reaction to this was more, “Oh no, no, that can’t be so!” then it was the “Ahhh, now it makes sense.” For us, memories have surfaced more in an age-based chronological order with only few exceptions, i.e. related issues at a later age.

Ian, an eleven year old child, shares his experience: I always knew I had inside people. I could see them and talk to them. One time, I remembered something, and two nights later, one of my inside people told my leader that I remembered, it was an inside kid who “squealed” on me. They hit me, and then they shocked me, yelling at me I was to never remember, ever, or it would be worse for me. They then made me run, shooting bullets over my head, and laughing. I was really afraid then, when I first remembered again, when I got away from them. I was sure someone was going to come and get me, or hurt me. In fact, at night, I need someone with me so I can fall asleep. Night is the worst, because that is when we would go to meetings. Daytime is great for me.
Svali also remembered gradually: I had struggled with depression all of my life, but without a reason. I was labeled “endogenous” depression. My ex-husband and I entered marriage counseling for conflicts. One day the therapist told me, “Won’t it be good when the tremendous guilt that I see in you is gone.” Guilty was out then, and I ran to a corner and crouched, saying “But if the guilt is gone, then I will be gone.” I then had a spontaneous memory of being hurt. The counselor had no idea what it was, and neither did I. That night, when I got home, while washing the dishes, I remembered my father abusing me. I ran into my bedroom, stuffed a pillow in my mouth, and screamed as the memory came out. The rage, the hurt, the pain were all there. As time went on, other memories came forward, all spontaneously, usually at home. I had always remembered my family’s dysfunctionality: that my stepfather was an alcoholic, that my mother would beat her children, that my sister and brothers and I all tried to commit suicide many times growing up. They had to cut my 8 year old brother down when he tried to hang himself. But other things I had blocked, because it hurt too much until I felt safer and was older, able to deal with it.

Frank remembers: I knew I was different. I would find things in my room that I had never bought, or would wake up in a strange city with no idea how I got there, would find out I had a job for several months, a bank account, a girlfriend! I moved around a lot, was afraid to get close to anyone, or they would find out my “secret”. But one day, I was in drug rehab several years ago, and it happened. My grandfather, one of my biggest perpetrators died, and I had flashback after flashback about him. I was given his masonic ring, and just looking at it, I remembered more. I went into therapy, and right away inside people came out and started talking. They figured that once he was dead, it was safe to talk.

Alex, a survivor from the West Coast, shares: I had no idea that it was happening until last year when I started to remember. I’m over 50, so there’s a lot to remember! I don’t talk about this with my family, I don’t want to hurt them. I have all of this stuff about my life growing up that makes sense now. I always knew my family wasn’t normal, that things weren’t right. I always had a lot of rage, I would throw things against the wall and scream and yell without knowing why. But now, I’m finding out where the rage came from. I am getting better now, and feel better than I ever had in my life, because before all that rage was bottled up inside, and now it is getting released and healed. Someday I will tell my sister, because I want her to get out too, but it isn’t time yet. I need to heal more.
As clearly illustrated by these accounts, many survivors HAVE remembered some things all of their life – or had indications that something traumatic happened. Others have progressed through a more gradual process of remembering. All, however, are courageously working at dealing with some of the most overwhelming abuse that a young child or adult can experience (and still survive): Ritual Abuse. I am greatly inspired by their courage and honesty in sharing here.

copyright 2000 Svali

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Part one: **Important: part of this article contains discussion of survivor memories. If you are a survivor of ritual abuse, please be aware that reading about it may be triggering, and do not read if you become uncomfortable** A significant aspect of the ritual abuse subject is the testimony of survivors – those who are seriously engaged in the healing process. The uninitiated reader can scarcely begin to comprehend the journey upon which many such people from around the world have embarked. They are all ages, both male and female. They are working hard at exchanging old belief systems for a different world-view and an entirely new way of life. This is the first in a series of articles based on survivor responses to a questionaire I distributed.
All quoted passages herein have the express permission of the respective survivor and, for obvious reasons, I have substituted pseudonyms in order to protect their true identities. These are, however, very real people and each has a genuine story to tell.

Memory retrieval is a strenuously debated topic. There are groups (well chronicled in the mass media) who assert that repressed memories cannot be accessed as an adult, while other groups or professionals argue that yes, it is possible and does in fact happen. I thought it wise to go to the source – the survivors themselves – and discover what their first-hand experience has been. They know best how they remembered.

My hope is that upon experiencing what is shared here, you will be inspired by their sincerity, truthfulness and conviction. These are NOT people “fabricating memories” as is sometimes alleged. Several people have always remembered at least some of their abuse. These are people whose determination to escape from an abusive environment (both receiving abuse and inflicting it upon others) has cost them dearly. They are paying a very high price for living in a culture which continues to wallow in a state of collective denial. Here, survivors speak out on how they remembered:

Joanne, a survivor of generational abuse, states: I was about 12yrs old when I realised what was going on wasn’t “normal” but I never came out and said anything, I was the typical abused kid who acted up, but no-one would believe me when I first tried to say anything at the age of 16yrs. The memories, well some I have always known, generally the more traumatic the event the better recall of them that I have, although there are still some major injuries that I remember having but can’t recall what lead up to the injuries, I know when and where they took place but as to what precipitated the actual injury, I don’t remember.

Ellen, another survivor, did not dissociate her memories: I was in a cult which started in 1994 evolving from alleged apparitions of Mary in this area of the country. These apparitions, called Our Lady of Light, I now believe to be luciferian in nature. There was a visionary who claimed to be receiving messages from Jesus to renew the Church and the world with a particular emphasis on the priesthood. A Jesuit theologian became the spiritual director of this group through messages from Our Lady of Light. I was deeply involved in this cult from it’s inception in 1994 until I was able to escape in June of 1998. I am not DID; but was well on my way by the time I left. I remember feeling as if there were 2 different realities while I was in that cult……… I dared not remember my former life……….. but glimpses would come through at times which I would quickly shut down. It was not until after I left that cult and began healing and studying that I came to the realization of the symbolic satanic rituals involved in this cult. The understanding would come little bits at a time. The depth of the evil was so intense that I could only have tolerated little pieces at a time. If I would have come to a full understanding immediately, I do believe that I would have shattered or died. I knew that I had to keep battling for the truth. It was through the struggle to sift out the truth from the lie that I came to the understanding of the nature of the evil of the group.
Children as well as adults have remembered abuse: Vicky, a 15 year old, shares: I had bad dreams at night. I would dream that I was going somewhere and things happened, but the next morning, everything was normal. I didn’t really start remembering until I went to be with my Mom, when she got out, and it was safe. They don’t let you remember, you get hurt if you do. I didn’t want to get hurt. I started remembering, and inside people started sharing stuff. But most of the time, I try to ignore it. I’m busy at school, and being a teenager. It happened, but I try not to think about it. Except at night I get scared because then I can’t help but think about it. That’s when my Mom and Dad would wake me up, they were all cold and impersonal, and get me and my brother out of bed to go to a meeting. I have trouble sleeping at night, I keep waking up all night to make sure I’m safe and at home even now.

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Before I address survivor’s stories in later articles, I believe it is important to understand how groups that ritually abuse operate. Cults can be abusive or non-abusive, and there are many fairly benign cult-like groups that exist today. But for the purposes of my article, I want to look at cults that abuse, specifically, in the sense of ritual abuse.

What are the characteristics of an abusive cult? There are many studies that have defined controlling cults. Dr. Margaret Singer, Phd, U.Ca. Berkley, has written one of the definitive articles on cults that employ mind control and their characteristics (1).

She states that thought reform, as employed by controlling cults, involves the entire anthropological/social spectrum of behaviour, including language use, social environment, and influence of the leader and peers on the member. This often involves attacking the person’s self concept.

I would like to take the six conditions that she has identified as being pre-requisites to exerting mind control, and compare them to experiences of survivors in ritualistically abusive groups. The two correlate completely.

1. CONTROL OVER TIME : this is Singer’s first condition. The cult group must get some of the person’s time, as much as possible, and have the individual think about group idealogy. Survivors report spending time during the week in contact with the cultic groups that abuse them. Contact is by phone; by verbal discussion, or going to meetings. Survivors state that group meetings often occur weekly, monthly, or as frequently as two to three times a week for intensive training sessions. The group that I was involved in (the Illuminati) met two to three times a week for normal teaching times, and had large group meetings on a monthly basis (“ritual times”) as well as leadership meetings once a month to plan the activities for the next few weeks.

2. CREATE A SENSE OF POWERLESSNESS Most groups involved in ritual abuse do this to the nth degree. Through pain, degradation, tying up victims, and experiences created to show there is “no escape” from infancy on, the victim of cult control soon comes to believe that he/she is trapped, can never break free, and should just “give in” to what is asked of them.

3. MANIPULATE REWARDS, PUNISHMENTS, EXPERIENCES IN ORDER TO SUPPRESS OLD SOCIAL BEHAVIOR BEHAVIORS REWARDED: Participation, conformity to ideas/behavior, zeal, personal changes BEHAVIORS PUNISHED: criticalness, independent thinking, non-conformity to ideas/behavior From earliest childhood in generational ritual groups, to later childhood or adulthood in other groups, the use of rewards and praise, as well as punishment have a name: training. Cult type groups believe strongly in the use of praise if the person does well, including merit badges, ceremonies of reward, and high status if the person conforms to the expected behaviour, and severe punishment, even death threatened if the person refuses to perform. Often, abusive and coercive groups will take this concept to its outermost extremes.

4. MANIPULATE REWARDS, PUNISHMENTS, EXPERIENCES IN ORDER TO ELICIT NEW BEHAVIOR Models will demonstrate new behavior Conformity: dress, language, behavior Using group language will eventually still the thinking mind I will discuss this from the point of view of my experiences in the Illuminati in San Diego, Ca. Again, “training” in the Illuminati and other highly controlling groups (outside people call it “programming” ) is meant to create behaviour that helps the group to continue. The goal is a member who is absolutely committed to the group; who never questions leadership, who strives to excel, and who scoffs at the weak. Weakness is the displaying of emotion during ritual events; the refusal to perform an act, or the inability to keep up with others in the group during activities. “Weak” members are brought forward, and punished in view of all. During military exercises (the group had a strong military basis, with forced marches at night, and mock “battles” and “hunts” ) if a member did well, they were highly praised and rewarded. This could be being excused from a difficult maneuver, or sexual rewards, or moving up in status at the next award time. Members were highly conscious of their standing in the group, and were constantly seeking to “move up.”
5. MUST BE A TIGHTLY CONTROLLED SYSTEM OF LOGIC There must be authoritarian leaders in control, who inspire confidence and punish questioning behaviour. In San Diego, as well as several Illuminati groups that I belonged to across the country, the leadership looked like a “pyramid”, with the top person being head of “leadership council”, then a group of two “advisors” below him. Below these two were six administrators who coordinated finances, meeting times, and running the groups logistically. Below them were six head trainers. Underneath were the “sister groups” of about 50 members each, with priests/priestesses, and others. All aspired to a leadership role, to being allowed to move up the rigid hierarchy. Questioning of leadership was unthought of, and considered quite dangerous. From earliest childhood on, members were taught that seeking to leave, or questioning the group’s philosophy, would mean isolation, beratement, punishment, and possible death, with “deaths” being staged to convince children of this reality. Survivors of groups outside the Illuminati have also reported similar activities to control members, with a hierarchy of leadership and leaders being given the right to severely punish or discipline nonconformers.

6. PERSONS BEING THOUGHT REFORMED MUST BE UNAWARE THAT THEY ARE BEING MOVED THROUGH A PROGRAM TO MAKE THEM DEPLOYABLE AGENTS

A person is hard to manipulate if they KNOW they are being manipulated. That is why techniques used by ritualistically abusive groups are often based on a sophisticated knowledge of human behaviour and psychology. The member’s peers including family, closest friends, and spouse are ALL members of the group in generational cults. These people all reinforce for the member that the group is good; has the member’s “best interests” at heart, no matter how abusive the behaviour. That they want to “help” the member. Trainers and behaviour programmers also use these techniques, including “bonding” with the victim, convincing the victim that they “care for them” , that “no one else could possibly understand them the way their ‘family’ (the name the Illuminati go by) does”, etc. As a former trainer in this group, I used those phrases frequently during sessions. At one time, I even believed them myself, until I began questioning what I was doing (this will be the focus of another article: why I left). Surrounded by members who all dress alike, act alike, the person in an abusive cult will often question themselves instead of the cult group, if they question at all. After all, in generational cults, this is the ONLY reality the person has known, from infancy on, and not everyone questions what happens to them.
In later articles, I hope to be able to incorporate survivor accounts of the types of groups involved in this kind of abuse. On a personal note, the group that was involved in my ritual abuse was known as the Illuminati, although day to day they called themselves “family”, “the Order”, or “the Society” depending on the circumstances. For thirteen years, at times my abuse occurred in a Masonic temple in Alexandria, Virginia and some of the abusers were Masons, although most of the membership of that group had no idea that some of the members were using the temple for that purpose. All Masons are NOT abusers, most are not, but SOME in my experience were members of the Illuminati and abused me in that context. I was also abused in a small abandoned Baptist church in the country in northern Virginia. One of the abusers was a deacon in a local baptist church. All Baptists are NOT abusers, but in this one instance, some members of the local church were members of a group that abused during the night hours.

In the daytime, these people were respected members of the community, churchgoers, and appeared benevolent. This shows that a person’s daytime “persona” can be quite different from how they act at night or in a different setting. All of the members of the group that abused me were generational themselves, and had been abused in the same way when they were children. This shows how the cycle of abuse, if not healed, will continue generation after generation in some families.
References: (1) Singer, Margaret T. “Conditions for Thought Reform

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** If you are a survivor of ritual abuse , please be in a safe place before reading the following article, as it mentions groups that practice ritual abuse as well as the historical groups that they are descended from. **

In this article, I will be discussing ritual abuse in a historical context. Later articles will share about ritual abuse from the perspective of its effects on the survivor as well as significant others.
1. Ritual abuse: modern hysteria or ancient practice?

Ritualized forms of abuse have been practiced since the dawn of human history. Violence in the name of a religious or ideological belief is not new; it has been practiced for thousands of years.

Here I will discuss a few groups that have been documented as practicing secret, esoteric, or abusive rites to place modern ritual abuse in a historical context. Please be aware that this is only some of the documented ritualized abuse that we know of from ancient until modern times, and is by no means complete.

The ancient Assyrians and Phoenicians worshipped the sun god, Baal, who they depended upon for the continuance of their crops. The antiquity of the worship of the god or gods of Baal extends back to the 14th century BCE among the ancient Semitic cultures. Worship of Baal extended from the Canaanites to the Phoenicians who also were partially an agricultural people. Baal, the sun god, was fervently prayed to for the protection of livestock and crops, and the rites also included animal and human sacrifice.

Another co-current deity was Molech, whose rituals were also costly to human life. (excerpted from Alan G. Hefner).

Many of these rituals were adopted by the ancient Hebrews, as mentioned in the Bible (Leviticus 20 and 2 Kings 23) These rituals were carried out for over a thousand years, both openly and secretly.

Ancient Babylonia also practiced Mystery Religions, which involved worship of the sun god, and sacrifices to this deity.

In Europe and Indo-asia, the ancient Druids also were known to engagein human sacrifice and rituals before the coming of Christianity to the areas occupied by the celts in Europe and Britain. Caesar commented upon this practice:

“The whole nation of the Gauls is greatly devoted to ritual observances, and for that reason those who are smitten with the more grievous maladies and who are engaged in the perils of battle either sacrifice human victims or vow to do so, employing the Druids as ministers for such sacrifices…”

(Gallic War, 6, 16)
By the medieval ages, Christianity had entered Europe, and groups were formed who practiced rites that were the antithesis of the organized religion of the day. Many of these groups claimed roots founded in the rites of the ancient druids and Canaanites. The Knights Templar were one such order. They were founded by medieval lords and barons to protect pilgrims who visited Jerusalem, which had been captured during the First Crusade. They were also quite wealthy,and financed the leading kings of Europe at the time, creating the modern banking system of lending at interest. They were disbanded in the early 1300s by the Pope and the King of France because of fear due to their power,as well as their esoteric religious practices. The Knights Templar began corrupting their Catholicism, and incorporating elements of mystery religions, which included rituals with candles around the body of a young virgin, and homosexual practices. They also began summoning demons during these rituals. Although officially disbanded, the Templar knights continued practicing their rites in secret, founding the thirteen orders, each with their own symbol.

Rosicrucianism. This group was publicly founded in the 17th century in Germany, supposedly by an individual in a novel known as Christian Resenkrutz. The order was based on the traditions of the “Rose Cross” order. This group emphasized the need for “enlightenment” through following certain spiritual principles,and had both a public and covert philosophy.

Meanwhile, in South America and Mexico, the Incas and Aztecs were also performing rituals which involved tbe taking of human life. This has been documented in the annals of the early Spanish conquerors.

Up until modern times, esoteric, hidden practices have continued around the world. Brutality, and sacrifices in the name of religion are not limited to one locality or one time in history.

In Africa, ritual murder is still ongoing, and has been extensively documented. (see articles by Oke(1989) for more information. In Thailand, India, and Malaysia, sacrifices and rituals are still conducted, similar to those of ancient times, and has been documented in articles by Newton (1993) and Constantine (1995).

Modern Europe has also reported incidences of ritual murder in recent years (see articles by Newton, 1993a for discussion of cases of ritual murder that have been convicted in Dusseldorf and Spain).

In strife-torn Peru, human sacrifice remains a daily fact of life, dating back to the time of the Incas. For some practitioners, the ritual offering of human lives is believed to insure bountiful crops, control the weather, and prevent such natural catastrophes as floods and earthquakes. These rituals, called “paying the earth,” are also employed by wealthy businessmen, including mine owners and beer distributors,to insure continued prosperity.

In neighboring Chile, human sacrifice is such an established tradition that the courts recognize
“compulsion by irresistible psychic forces” as grounds for acquittal in cases of ritual murder. (Tierney, 1989)

There is much, much more evidence of documented continuing ritual sacrificearound the world. It would take a strong denial system to refute both the historical and circumstancial evidence that ritual abuse has been a reality throughout the ages, and continues to be until this day.

Why am I sharing about the history of ritual abuse? One of the things that often perplexes survivors of ritual abuse is the denial with which their memories or accounts are often met. They are told: “ritual abuse is a modern-day witch hunt,” “Things like that don’t happen in this day and age” (as if man’s entering the Industrial Revolution changed human nature), or “I don’t believe you.” Comments like these can be devastating both to the survivor of ritual abuse, who often WISHES the memories were not true, and the family and support people for the individual, who know the individual, and that they are NOT lying.

Comments like these only reinforce what the individual was told by the cult group: “If you tell, no one will believe you,” or “You will be laughed at, or shunned.” The survivor courageous enough to not only remember, but then disclose their abuse, will be faced with a society that often appears in denial. “Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?” the survivor wonders, as they share the atrocities. “Why isn’t it stopped?” “Why do more children have to be hurt?”

Societal denial is complex. People often do not want to think about or hear about painful topics. Thirty years ago, teenage girls who shared that their middle class father was sexually abusing them were told that they were “lying”, or worse, “delusional”. Twenty years ago, medical professionals who suspected that battered children were being seen from not only the poverty levels of society, but also the middle class and well to do, were told it wasn’t possible. Society closed its eyes to the facts before it, until enough people finally came forward and disclosed.

Hopefully, placing ritual abuse in a historical context will help the reader see that:

Ritual abuse is NOT a “new” phenomenon, or a modern day “hysteria”

Human beings have been capable of great cruelty throughout the ages, and to believe otherwise refutes the historical record.

Those who are abused tend to abuse. Why would this well known psychological fact be different in the context of familial, generational ritual abuse? Where the abuse has been passed down for generations, in a codified manner?

That ritual abuse is occurring around the world. It is NOT a phenomenon limited to the United States, or to people “recovering memories” in therapy. Newton, Ryder, and Lockwood (“Other altars”) have resarched and proven this.

My hope is that at the least, this article has helped raise some questions about a topic that is often overlooked and misunderstood. – Svali

References: Crowley, Aleister, The Book of Lies (Weiser, 1988)

Howard, Michael The Occult Conspiracy (1989)

Shaw, Jim and McKenney The Deadly Deception (1988)

Ryder, Daniel ;article: Satanic Ritual abuse: The evidence surfaces: …(1999)

Newton, Michael: Excerpt from essay published in the Journal of Psychohistory 24 (2) Fall 1996,”BLOOD ATONEMENT” IN 19TH-CENTURY AMERICA

Out of Darkness:Contoversy over satanism and ritual abuse ;Sakheim, Devine (1998)

Smith, Margaret; Ritual Abuse; (1993)

James, Simon: The World of the Celts (1993)

The Book of Illumination (age unknown)

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