How New Age Conspiracy Theories Became a Health Threat

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By Derek Beres

By Matthew Remski

By Julian Walker

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Conspirituality takes a deep dive into the troubling phenomenon of influencers who have curdled New Age spirituality and wellness with the politics of paranoia—peddling vaccine misinformation, tales of child trafficking, and wild conspiracy theories.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a disturbing social media trend emerged: a large number of yoga instructors and alt-health influencers were posting stories about a secretive global cabal bent on controlling the world’s population with a genocidal vaccine. Instagram feeds that had been serving up green smoothie recipes and Mary Oliver poems became firehoses of Fox News links, memes from 4chan, and prophecies of global transformation.

Since May 2020, Derek Beres, Matthew Remski and Julian Walker have used their Conspirituality podcast to expose countless facets of the intersection of alt-health practitioners with far-right conspiracy trolls. Now this expansive and revelatory book unpacks the follies, frauds, cons and cults that dominate the New Age and wellness spheres and betray the trust of people who seek genuine relief in this uncertain age.

With analytical rigor and irreverent humor, Conspirituality offers an antidote to our times, helping readers recognize wellness grifts, engage with loved ones who've fallen under the influence, and counter lies and distortions with insight and empathy.



MARCH 2020

A friend of a friend is suddenly posting on Facebook several times a day. The mood is a strange blend of terror, belligerence, and sanctimony.

She isn’t scared of a little virus like COVID. Fear of the virus is more dangerous than the virus itself, she says. But new 5G cell towers? These were destroying “our collective immune system.”

She questions the accuracy of PCR tests, and then suggests they are actually causing the infections. One of her posts links to an article on a dodgy-looking alt-health site. You click through but then bounce when you see links in the margins to articles about vaccines and autism, and cilantro curing cancer. The comments in her feed are a dogpile of agitated folks overusing phrases that ping-pong between ominous and ecstatic: “the agenda of powers that be” and “everything is unfolding according to Source.”

Who is this person? She led classes at your local yoga studio. You actually like her. Her classes were helpful during that rough patch in your life. She talked about loving your body and making peace with “what is.” Her voice was soothing. She was persuasive when she criticized “conventional doctors” for not connecting physical health to emotional health.

While your family doctor didn’t ask you a single question before writing you a script for Ambien, this yoga teacher connected you with an herbalist who did acupuncture. You went to two appointments, and they were great: You discussed your dreams while he stuck needles in your back. He talked about chamomile tea and valerian root tinctures, about how deep breathing resets your nervous system.

Now, her studio is shuttered by COVID-19 lockdown. Your friendly yoga teacher seems to have ditched her own breathing exercises in the scramble to keep business flowing. She’s posting at all hours. It is hard to know when she sleeps. She intersperses her red alerts with livestream yoga classes. There’s always a Venmo link in the top comment.

She waves sage around in front of her webcam and asks WHY THE HELL yoga isn’t considered an ESSENTIAL SERVICE since there was NOTHING BETTER FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. The doctors aren’t telling us that, she complains with a knowing smile before stretching into a downward dog. Speaking of essential services, she half-jokes, essential oils were helping to keep her calm and balanced. DM her for details. Thieves oil is an amazing antiseptic, by the way.

One dude who shows up on every thread had recently left an office job to become an empowered men’s life coach. He can’t contain his contempt for people who are living in fear. CrossFitters lament being locked out of their boxes and share shrill articles about vitamin D and kimchi while claiming face masks are petri dishes for bacteria. Another regular is a doula who writes a mommy blog. She shares a paranoid post claiming that toddlers were all terrified of adults in masks. They were forgetting who their mothers were.

And that herbalist the yoga teacher referred you to? There he is, proudly declaring he doesn’t believe in germ theory. Yes—the same guy who stuck needles in your back! “New German Medicine” is now his thing. “Viruses are essential to our evolution,” he announces. “Join me on Telegram for more of the truth they don’t want you to hear.”

The ominous mood is periodically relieved by posts from “holistic healers” who want to reassure everyone that everything is going according to plan. All the fear and uncertainty? Just natural responses to a transformational time. A new phrase starts popping up:

The Great Awakening.

Within a few months, the ideas and memes are replicating and mutating as quickly as COVID-19 itself, infecting mutual friends, even showing up in your DMs: “MAKE SURE TO WATCH THIS BEFORE THEY TAKE IT DOWN!” followed by a YouTube link to a homemade video with a weird voice-over and tons of graphics with statistics about… something. You can’t tell for sure because the uploader never linked to sources.

More DMs. Coming from randos, they’re strange. From IRL friends, the messages feel claustrophobic—and coming from family members they’re downright distressing. Mom, why are you sharing this with me?

And just when you think it can’t get any more tense or weird, it becomes clear that many of these posters are either promoting or getting drawn into uncharacteristic political invective. Worse: all of it is trending hard right-wing, just as the 2020 election campaign is ramping up.

Someone you know to be gaga about organic food and ayahuasca posts a sermon from an angel channeler who had a vision that Trump was a “lightworker.” A guy who leads chakra workshops for men (and who once campaigned for Bernie Sanders) is posting about Joe Biden being in the pocket of the Chinese.

The timeline is chaotic, but cryptic hashtags keep it strung together: #savethechildren, #trusttheplan, #enjoytheshow, #WWG1WGA. It’s chilling, because you’ve heard these terms in a news report about QAnon, an online conspiracy theory that was melting brains and ruining families. “Saving the children” referred to the belief among Anons that Elites around the world existed to perpetuate child sex trafficking.

“The show” pointed to their belief that their invisible prophet, Q, was battling said Elites in lockstep with Donald Trump, according to “the plan.” Victory was a foregone conclusion. The weird string of letters was for the rally cry “Where We Go One, We Go All,” which they believed had been embossed on the bell of a sailboat owned by John F. Kennedy, who for some represented the last sitting president to challenge the American political orthodoxy. Other Anons came to believe he would return from the dead.

Your yoga teacher starts looking more underslept on her stream. Twitchier. She starts featuring some guy—probably dating him—who sells supplements and leads seminars on Bitcoin. They publish a couples’ livestream titled “Nothing can stop what is coming.”

What happened to these people, most of whom you knew to be educated, well-meaning, politically liberal (or at least moderate), and generally kind? How, with all their talk about healing and oneness, had they fallen into a rabbit hole of right-wing paranoia scented with New Age candles? Where would it all lead?


If you’ve picked up this book, there’s a good chance that the landscape of our prologue feels familiar.

In early March 2020, a lot of us noticed our social media feeds starting to prickle with uneasy questions. Is this virus thing serious? Should we be canceling that trip? Infection rates of something called COVID-19 were spiking, somewhere. There were x- and y-axis graphs to prove it. The upward line looked like a hockey stick.

By midmonth, the clues and whispers crystallized in a world-stopping declaration from the World Health Organization. The NBA canceled its season as though turning off a light. Schools shuttered and church services were bumped to Zoom. Restaurants closed and the mail ground to a halt. The big box stores scrambled to put spacing stickers in the checkout lines. There was a weird run on toilet paper. Did you have enough flour at home? Alcohol wipes? What exactly were you supposed to wipe down, anyway? What would the children do—and what would you do with them at home all day?

By April, the challenge became balancing doomscrolling with the search for reliable info on what “R-naught” meant. We learned about flattening the curve and how to wash our hands long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Crafters started making masks at home from fabric ends, with pockets for coffee filters. Facebook groups formed to collate the most helpful information about keeping safe or to organize grocery runs for shut-ins. But soon, among the images of hospital chaos in Italy and cruise ships docked like floating leper colonies, an even more curdled version of social media emerged: an antisocial petri dish of rumors and accusations. Are we being lied to, yet again? What are the Chinese up to? Was it a bioweapon targeting Western democracy? Is 5G making us sick? Why are we getting mixed messages about masks?

To be fair: folks prone to conspiracy theories had a lot to pull on when it came to the ragged fabric of public health communications. Introverted policy wonks were suddenly in the limelight, interpreting changing and complex emergency data for a headline-hungry news cycle. They tried their best to thread the needle between this is a dangerous time and we’ll do just fine. But every day, their anxious, meandering, or incomplete statements threw the red meat of controversy into the jaws of the social media beast, fueling the fire of fantasy and paranoia.

First came the warning about COVID spreading on surfaces. People spent frantic hours disinfecting grocery bags, bank cards, car keys, and door handles. But suddenly, the science changed—or rather, developed—and we learned the term “hygiene theater.” It made a lot of people feel as if they had been silly or neurotic. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci—who’d cut his public health teeth on the AIDS crisis decades earlier—unintentionally contributed to the early confusion. At first he advised the public not to wear masks, but did not disclose that this was based on a supply concern—that vulnerable health care workers must not run out of masks. When the headlines pointed to aerosolization as the primary route of contagion, suddenly masks were essential for everyone. At first, cloth was fine. Then it was blue surgical masks. Eventually, it had to be N95s.

Could you catch COVID outside? At the outset, major newspapers said, “Yes, you can.” Hypervigilant readers rained down a highbrow resentment on spring break beach partiers. Conservatives decried the framing of Black Lives Matter protests as acceptable—even noble—while churches or workplaces were shuttered. Were PCR tests reliable? Accessible? What did “rapid flow” mean, and who could be trusted to explain it?

On the vaccine front, history will show that the COVID response was a wonder of global innovation and adaptation. But the news fog through which it was first told was garbled with amplified panic over exceedingly rare side effects. The mayor of Detroit turned away thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, appeasing his citizens’ inflated fears over the rare incidence of blood clotting as a side effect. Then, Pfizer released a flawed report on vaccine injuries.

It would take many months for it to become clear that each facepalm in science communications—each vague reassurance, each bylaw that restricted employment but failed to support workers edging toward bankruptcy, each whiff of hypocrisy from public officials or opportunism from drug companies—landed on cultural wounds that crossed political boundaries. While well-meaning researchers and scientists were constantly working to keep up with the evolving science and offer the best assessments they could with the evidence at hand, social media was working in binaries to punish anything perceived as flip-flopping. This gave everyone who was already on the edge of institutional distrust a boost of validation, and a broader demographic to engage.

The official responses to the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the opacity of medical bureaucracy. The changing rules, and the jargon they were delivered in, reminded many of every confusing and queasy doctor’s office visit they’d had. Lockdowns reminded some of all the times it felt like the cure was worse than the disease. COVID exposed the craven policies of governments interested in health only as far as it could keep people working. It made many people feel, more powerfully than ever before, that they live in an age in which they are surveilled but neglected, in which they are managed but not heard.

In hindsight, this very real social precarity and sense of institutional betrayal helped to foster an urgent desire for novel answers and individual empowerment. An increasingly anti-social media began to crackle with vaguely connected phrases and memes that were both paranoid and strangely overly confident. People were posting about COVID as if they had better intel than public health officials, a better grasp of the Big Picture. They had a secret knowledge they were compelled to share, even if the details were sketchy. According to them, something far more terrible than a pandemic was unfolding. In reality, the posters argued, the pandemic was a ruse through which governments, Big Pharma, and amoral tech companies could execute ancient plans for world domination. The sacred circle of family and nature—from which health and fulfillment flow—was under attack.

At a certain point it might have clicked that some of these posts weren’t coming from the usual cage-fighting political pro wrestlers. The paranoia had a Goop-y glow. The pandemic had inflamed an obsession with health. Not the public type of health—now caricatured by tedious messages about social distancing and masks—but an impassioned, moralizing fetish for personal health that is preoccupied with low body fat, supplements, positive thinking, sugar elimination, and focus on the soul.

As veterans of wellness and yoga practices and their volatile business climates, the three of us knew the scene and had heard the jargon—just not at this shrill pitch. In fact, conspirituality (as we named the podcast we scrambled together by May 2020) is at least a century old, and we’d been picking at its modern threads for over a decade. In its current form, we see it as an online religion that fuses two faith claims: 1) The world is possessed by evil forces, and 2) those who see this clearly are called to foster, in themselves and others, a new spiritual paradigm.

By chance, we had the chops to hack into this tangle, and quickly. Derek had been covering the pseudoscience of alternative health grifts as a journalist. Julian was a noted yogaworld skeptic. Matthew had graduated from years spent in two spiritual cults and into the world of anti-cult activism and research. All three of us loved our ragtag chosen family of yoga enthusiasts, meditators, herbalists, organic farmers, and plant-medicine psychonauts. We’d seen the clear benefits of nonconventional and personalized wellness practices in our lives, how nontraditional spiritualities could help mend the wounds left by Big Religion and fill the space where conventional medicine had failed its patients. But we also knew that this culture emerged in an ideological and economic landscape that churned out spiritual junk food, emotional manipulation, and pseudopolitical demagoguery.

We knew of vulnerable people who went to Reiki “masters,” believing that warm hands hovering over their abdomens could heal their diabetes or endometriosis. We knew of drug addicts who had used yoga practice to help create new lives, only to find themselves ensnared in yoga cults. We heard stories about cancer patients on pilgrimage to rural Brazil to undergo “psychic surgery” by John of God, who, by the way, now sits in jail, convicted of multiple rapes.

We also had our own stories.

When Derek was thirty he was having anxiety and panic attacks; over time, they became intolerable. He tried yoga and meditation, and even spent six months on a benzodiazepine. Then he found “Edgar” (not his real name), a homeopath for Manhattan’s jet set. The initial consultation was long and probing, and it involved a series of very personal questions. He would later wonder about the point of this line of questioning—how could it possibly relate to the treatment?—given that most homeopathic products have no active ingredient, and therefore no possible physiological benefit. But he was desperate for relief. He received a series of costly prescriptions for sugar pills with Latinate names. After four failed attempts at finding the right formulation, he lost faith in the treatment and stopped seeing Edgar. His anxiety attacks never stopped.

When Derek was diagnosed with testicular cancer in his mid-thirties, his hometown New Jersey friends rallied around him. But some of his friends and colleagues in the Los Angeles yoga and wellness worlds, where he’d taught classes for years, turned cold, sanctimonious.

“Your cancer happened for a reason,” they told him. They were hinting at the New Age dogma of personal spiritual responsibility, which is used both to explain aberrations that disrupt the idealized world of love and light and to blame people for remaining sick, even when they are chanting all the right mantras. The truth, of course, was that Derek’s cancer had real-world causes. As a boy, he had an undescended testicle that required hormone therapy—a strong predictor for his eventual diagnosis.

Derek also grew up overweight, and the scars of being bullied lasted for decades. In his mid-twenties, working in the wellness industry as a yoga instructor, music producer, and health journalist tilted him toward developing orthorexia, an eating disorder centered on an obsession with “pure” or “clean” foods. It’s a disorder that can lead to malnutrition, chaotic weight fluctuations, and social isolation in the singular pursuit of health.

It took Derek fifteen years to leave the fad diet hamster wheel as he realized that wellness-world fat-shaming was a professionalized and socially acceptable form of bullying. It sharpened his radar for seeing how pseudoscience intersects with ableism to devastating psychological effect. A big chunk of his health journalism went on to expose how wellness influencers—most of them not certified in nutritional sciences—capitalize on bodily dysmorphia to promote certain foods and demonize others (often for profit), while overlooking the reality that many people don’t have access to healthy foods in general.

Julian’s first experience of the yogaworld, at twenty-three, was shaped by his relationship with Ana Forrest, a world-renowned teacher who described herself as the alpha-dog of her tightly knit group. Forrest had a gruesome backstory of abuse and addiction, which she would recount at every sharing circle and workshop. She also had an ever-changing cast of studio managers, employee teachers, friends, and lovers who would fall in and out of favor—with the door locks being changed after each dramatic new banishment. She gave Julian a job and affirmed his gifts, but she also meddled in his personal relationships, and convinced him (along with many in the community) that he must have repressed horrific family trauma memories of the sort she believed her approach to yoga could heal. Disenchanted by how pop spirituality seemed to deny suffering in the name of magical thinking, Julian was captivated by Forrest’s emphasis on facing one’s demons.

It turned out that Forrest had been influenced by a hypnotherapist who had guided her to her own recovered memories of awful abuse both in this life and in previous lives. Her unqualified and projective diagnosis of Julian was incorrect and subsequently devastated his relationship with his parents and younger brother for the better part of fifteen years.

In his late thirties, Julian watched a friend and fellow teacher, Psalm Isadora, grow to national prominence on the strength of claiming to have found an approach to Tantric yoga that had completely healed the trauma she sustained as a child in a fundamentalist Christian cult. Isadora had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and was open about believing her yoga had replaced the need for medication. As her star rose she started undergoing multiple rounds of plastic surgery, presenting herself in increasingly sexualized ways, and was cast in a reality TV show on the Playboy Channel.

Isadora was heralded as an inspiring voice for traumatized women, an exemplar of resilience, healing, and empowerment—until she tragically died from suicide at forty-two while trying to kick her Xanax and alcohol dependency. She had gone cold turkey under pressure from a close group of friends, who believed they could support her through it at home. The tragedy dovetailed with a tendency Julian had seen in yogaworld to frame mental illness as either a spiritual gift or something that could be balanced out by enough yoga, meditation, wheatgrass juice, or going gluten-free.

Yoga, meditation, and other practices of self-expression have remained important in Julian’s life. But for him it was clear that the spiritual marketplace, with its charismatic figures and ungrounded philosophies, often created more suffering than salvation. As an antidote, he turned toward science and psychology, and went to therapy. When the crisis of conspirituality hit in 2020, he felt like he had some solid tools to deal with the trauma, and to protect himself from figures who might take advantage of his vulnerability.

Matthew came to the conspirituality beat through the world of cult recovery. The first group he was recruited into, in 1996, was founded and led by the American neo-Buddhist monk Michael Roach. Matthew first went to see him speak in a church when Roach swung through town, accompanied by his entourage of beaming college dropouts, who sat in a circle at his feet. At one point, it seemed that Roach looked directly into his soul (even though the place was packed) as he said: “You’re going to die. What are you doing about it?” Matthew felt something crack inside. He was at a low point: a crossroads in work and personal relationships. Looking back, he was likely suffering from undiagnosed depression. But suddenly, here was somebody—a white guy like him, but in maroon robes out of the Middle Ages—who seemed to be speaking the truth amid all the ennui, cutting through the hypocrisies and dissociations of modern life. This was a person with an urgent message. That’s what Matthew wanted to be.

Within months, Matthew was following Roach around the world, tasked with transcribing and editing his talks for publication. His close attention to Roach’s teachings helped him see something earlier than he otherwise might have. Roach purported to teach a strictly traditional Tibetan Buddhism, rooted in the renunciation of worldly concerns in order to develop limitless compassion. His capacity to recite long passages of Tibetan scripture from memory was impressive. But before long it became clear to Matthew that Roach was also making shit up, branding a strange cocktail of Tantric worship and prosperity gospel hopium. He was clearly chasing big money, proselytizing to oligarchs from Hong Kong to Moscow about how Buddhism offered a pathway to ethical financial success. He was also exploiting his young followers, who were positioned within the group to become teachers in their own right but typically failed to launch. One woman, decades his junior, played the role of Roach’s spiritual partner, which meant eating from the same plate, never standing more than fifteen feet away from him, and eventually living with him for a three-year retreat in a yurt in the Arizona desert, practicing sexual yoga.

Years after Matthew had gotten out, Ian Thorson, one of Roach’s closest disciples, died of dehydration and malnutrition in that desert, just beyond the boundaries of Roach’s retreat center. Helping to break this news as a former insider catapulted Matthew into cult journalism. He published a series of gonzo articles about Roach’s group and his memories of Ian, including details about Ian’s fragile mental health.

It took Roach only two months into the 2020s pandemic to market an online meditation program “designed to plant seeds to eradicate the virus.”

After pulling himself out of Roach’s cult, Matthew was recruited into another. (It’s called cult-hopping, and it happens to people who can’t find a social and psychological bridge back to reality.) This second group, in southern Wisconsin, was called Endeavor Academy. The group’s daily activities revolved around a book called A Course in Miracles—a sort of post-Christian bible for New Agers, popularized by the media magnate Louise Hay and perennial presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson.

While at Endeavor, Matthew watched “Gloria,” who was in her sixties, wither and die of aggressive cancer because the group’s ideology valued miracles over medicine, and because Charles Anderson, the dry-drunk ex-Marine spiritual leader, pretended he could heal disciples with his “energy.” Matthew never knew Gloria’s real name, but he knew that the group leaders didn’t even notify her children when she stopped eating, or when she collapsed for what turned out to be the final time during an ecstatic prayer session.

Matthew got out of Anderson’s cult in 2003. Having strained his family connections and stalled out on his university prospects, he wound up hanging around the yoga and wellness world as a gig worker for another fifteen years. It felt safer for a while. But over time, it became clear that the dynamics that could crystallize into the brick-and-mortar cults he’d been caught up in—dynamics such as deception, hype, and charismatic leadership—were common throughout the yoga and wellness world. The industry was decentralized and baldly entrepreneurial, but it functioned as a petri dish incubating clumps of high-demand groups.

Although we came to this project from different angles—cancer, deaths, cults—one thing we all shared was the whoosh of riding yoga’s economic boom as young gig workers in the aughts. It’s given us a felt sense of how the current explosion of conspirituality is wedded to the drivers of the wellness economy.

As an online religion, conspirituality today is not just a set of ideas that people come to value in their quiet and humble hearts. It is generated and circulated by virtual churches, revival meetings, and séance sessions in the form of small-group courses and mastermind Zoom meetings. How these religious networks function is inseparable from their means of support. The line between virtual worship and the e-commerce that drives it is very hard to find.


  • “Packed with surprising insights and no-holds-barred takedowns, this is a forceful exposé.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “No one knows the explosive intersection of spirituality and extremism better than the authors of Conspirituality, who have been inside these groups and lived to tell about it. In their strongly argued new book, the authors look at the charlatans, conspiracy theorists, and con men of the wellness world—and what we can do to stop them.”—Will Sommer, author of Trust the Plan
  • Conspirituality brilliantly exposes the fusion between conspiracy theories and wellness while emphasizing the ‘con’ aspect at the heart of both. Truly, there are grifters and scammers everywhere in this world, and the authors have their number, revealing their psychological tricks and how they exploit the pain and trauma of their marks. And far from seeing themselves as too smart to fall for this nonsense, the authors mine their own experiences in cults and coercive movements having seen them from the inside.”—Mike Rothschild, author of The Storm is Upon Us and Jewish Space Lasers
  • “Intelligent and compassionate, Conspirituality is full of insight rooted in direct experience and rigorous analysis. The authors are deeply familiar with and curious about their subject. An essential and unique book that captures both the yearning for and devastating effects of conspirituality as a phenomenon and way of life.”—Julian Feeld, cohost of the QAnon Anonymous podcast
  • “A thoughtful, deeply empathetic exploration of an often-disturbing convergence. As fear, paranoia, and suspicion continue to seep into the New Age health and wellness worlds, Remski, Beres and Walker are uniquely well-positioned to be our guides into the ‘sparkling but flimsy’ answers that conspirituality represents.”—Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies
  • “A fascinating, straightforward, well-researched, and sobering unpacking of the complex history, and present-day phenomena, of distorted beliefs within New Age yoga and wellness spaces.”—Seane Corn, yoga teacher and author of Revolution of the Soul
  • “A wild and impassioned ride through the recent history of the wellness-based conspiracy movement, some of its most unsavory characters, and many of its victims and survivors. Full of heart, honesty, and immediacy.”—Dr. Theodora Wildcroft, author of Post-Lineage Yoga
  • “This is a book for right now! So timely. So needed. Conspirituality takes us on a fascinating, engaging, and empathetic journey through the many ways in which harmful pseudoscience and misinformation has seeped into our world—including into a host of unexpected places like alternative schools and, yep, yoga studios. The authors provide a compelling argument as to why the toleration of conspiratorial rhetoric closes minds and erodes critical thinking. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious—and we all should be!—about the history and the social and cultural forces behind our current pseudoscience-filled mess.”—Timothy Caulfield, author of Relax
  • “This rigorously researched book will help future generations, or alien overlords, make sense of this bizarre and confusing moment in human civilization. Beres, Remski, and Walker have established themselves as authoritative chroniclers of conspirituality and its key figures. They are consummate tour guides, revealing all the threads of eugenics, fascism, cultism, moral panic, and magical thinking that came together to form a strange tapestry that now influences mainstream policies and institutions and fuels our culture wars.”—Jennings Brown, journalist and host of The Gateway and Revelations podcasts
  • “An urgently needed, compelling, and accessible analysis of the deeply troubling proliferation and promotion of conspiracy theories within contemporary spirituality and wellness culture. Combining cutting-edge critique with empathetic context, the authors identify the real threats of conspirituality to societal bonds, public health, and participatory democracy.”—Ann Gleig, associate professor of religion and cultural studies, University of Central Florida
  • “This is a groundbreaking and beautifully written roadmap into a topic that is so multifaceted, internally diverse, and consequential I would not have trusted anyone to write it except these authors. The book benefits from their years of immersive experience and deep research on conspirtitualist milieus. A masterful job.”—Amarnath Amarasingam, School of Religion, Queen’s University, Ontario
  • “An eye-opening dissection of the historical roots that gave life to this modern hybrid of grand conspiracism and spirituality, accompanied by lyrical portraits of this mad, mongrel philosophy’s biggest influencers, Conspirituality makes sense of humanity’s latest brain fart with compassion and exhaustive scholarship. Beres, Remski, and Walker have earned the mantle of torchbearers against conspirituality, illuminating the disturbing crevices of this befuddling movement and helping the rest of us understand, through impeccable prose, what is fueling the world’s strangest fever dream.”—Jonathan Jarry, MSc, science communicator, Office for Science and Society, McGill University
  • “Over the last several years as we doom-scrolled social media, watching the weird unraveling of the wellness community into a conspiratorial freak-out, the Conspirituality podcast’s deep-dive analysis was a salve. In their book, they go a step further, providing important context and histories, positing maybe the great awakening was realizing these beliefs were lurking beneath the surface all along.”—Stacie Stukin, journalist
  • “The space of conspirituality in recent years has become an intricate and confusing web that stretches from crystal healers and vegan yoga practitioners to QAnon influencers and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. With this book, the authors combine their years of experience and research to provide a detailed analytical map of this influential contemporary phenomenon. It is rigorously researched, deeply empathetic, and at times intensely personal.”—Chris Kavanagh, associate professor of psychology, Rikkyo University
  • Conspirituality is full of personal stories, deep dives into the history of naturalist conspiracism, and an analysis of how conspirituality is shaping our modern world. It balances the need for understanding and compassion toward victims of these cult mentalities with concern for the harms of conspirituality and the need to stem its growth.”—Aaron Rabinowitz, PhD candidate, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, and host of the Embrace the Void podcast
  • “Beres, Remski, and Walker manage something remarkable: with erudition and a wealth of experience, they expose treachery and danger hiding in places few expect it. And yet Conspirituality is as noteworthy for its captivating storytelling and whit. The result is a book that feels like both a responsibility and a pleasure to read.”—Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, author of War for Eternity

On Sale
Jun 13, 2023
Page Count
384 pages

Derek Beres

About the Author

Derek Beres is a multi-faceted author and media expert based in Portland, Oregon. He has served in senior editorial positions at a number of tech companies and has years of experience in health, science, and music writing. Derek taught group fitness at Equinox Fitness for 17 years, where he also created Flow Play, an innovative program at the intersection of music, neuroscience, and movement. Derek received his degree in religion from Rutgers University in 1997.

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Matthew Remski

About the Author

Matthew Remski is an author and freelance journalist, with bylines in The Walrus and GEN by Medium. He’s published eight books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Threads of Yoga: a remix of Patanjali’s Sutras with commentary and reverie. His most recent book, Practice and All is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, and Healing in Yoga and Beyond has earned international praise as a groundbreaking resource for critical thinking and community health. He lives in Toronto with his partner and their two sons.

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