By Robin Solomon
Morningland name: Rana-Lei
In 1978 I lived across the street from Morningland. Prior to finding Morningland I was failing college – drinking and drugging a lot. I had lived with my parents until I was almost 19 years old. My parents were members of a family oriented cult themselves. I am a ritual abuse survivor and for years had been taken to cult rituals. I left their home and become involved with someone who was into “black magic.” I was taken to a black mass and repeatedly raped by several people. So comparatively speaking when I happened across Morningland I felt “safe.”
My first “unsafe” experience was when I was about a year or two into discipleship. I was told by this man that he was being trained by Sri, and that I was just a lower level disciple and had to obey him. I don’t know how to say this but to just say this – I was raped. I choose not to say who it is – because maybe he’ll join our list one day – and no matter what, we were in a situation where abuse of power was commonplace. After this happened, I felt so afraid and felt because I was the woman it was my fault. I never told anyone about this until twenty years later.
At one point in my discipleship we were told to write healing testimonies. I wrote about being obsessed about the occult. When the Healing Books came out it read that I had been possessed. I even heard Patricia say I had been possessed. I do not believe this was every true. I have been and can be spacey – but I have a disassociative disorder – which is not possession. I have never been possessed – abused yes – but not possessed. I remember reading the testimony and thinking well maybe I was possessed and didn’t know it.
Morningland was the family I never really had. In 1979 I became a disciple. Several years later I became a Harijan and was a couple with someone who was also a Harijan. I was in this relationship for about one year or so. We broke up the relationship in front of Patricia and Kamazi One and a few other of her guards. I was told that he wanted to leave the relationship. I said ok and we went home. He wanted me to have sex with him and I said no. The next morning he told me he was leaving Morningland. About one week later, Patricia told me I had to throw myself at this person and have sex so he would stay at Morningland. I was told it was my fault he was leaving because I refused to have sex. I felt very confused about this – after all we were no longer “together.” For years, after leaving Morningland I would run this scene in my head trying to figure out if I misunderstood something – I didn’t get what I had done that was so bad. I did what Sri asked me to do and lived with this guilt until last year when I was able to make amends with this person. Though, he didn’t want to talk about the past, I did apologize for hurting him. It wasn’t until then that I was able to go on and start forgiving myself. After he left Morningland, I fell from grace or that’s how I felt. I remember being and feeling on the outside of the ashram all of a sudden no one wanted to have anything to do with me. I felt that the higher ups held me responsible for this person’s leaving. I was even asked by someone what did you do to him? I remember being a nervous wreck most of my last years, I got so bad I began stuttering and had a hard time putting a simple sentence together. I would try to talk myself out of feeling this way, but was consistently full of fear.
Eventually, in 1983 I was taken with others to one of the storefronts outside the building and put on sabbitical. I remember feeling so fearful. What do I do now?
My life has taken a lot of twists and turns. I began using drugs and alcohol a lot. I worked 60 hours a week – and did a lot of damage. I attempted to mend things with my family which never really worked out. I’ve strugged with anorexia and bulimia, and self mutiliation. Though I’ve hestitated to tell my story – I know it’s not that unusual. I share some of my struggles afterward, because maybe someone also had/have these issues and may be too ashamed to come forward.
Due to my own pride, I never wanted to connect with anyone from Morningland until I got my self together. Several years ago I had a nervous breakdown and got into therapy. The best thing that happend for me was finding an incest group. Today I am still in a womans support group which I find very helpful. I don’t drink or use drugs and got involved with support groups regarding this area. I’ve found a place for myself thru writing and performing poetry which has helped me to express my feelings and connect with others.
Two years ago I came across Morningland on the web while at a coffee house. I read several people’s stories and knew one day I would one day reconnect too. I wasn’t ready yet and I didn’t have my own computer.
I’ll end with this, the best part of Morningland for me was all of you. I appreciate all the support you have given me this year that I have reconnected with you.
Well this is it for now.