1. About the guide

Each section has to be followed in order. All the preparatory steps must be completed before the "philosophy" steps.

If you have any questions as to *why* a step exists, first check the FAQ then do some research. For example, "Why practice an art?" To keep the step-by-step guide brief, I don't go into explanations of each step. You can click on the "why" button after each paragraph for an explanation, some with references.

2. Important preparatory steps

Practice an art. Whether it.s music, painting or writing, you'll need to be well versed in an art for the oracle to emerge. Well versed does not mean "good". It means you do it a lot. If you can't do this, don't bother trying, it's one of the most important parts. You need to keep doing this the whole time. Don't stop it for anything. Your art is personal and should not be some sort of expression of your cult philosophy or doctrine.

Learn to cook dozens of healthy and inexpensive dishes from scratch.

Develop an "escape route". You need a plan to "get away" from the town you live in and the life you're leading. Lots of people hate cult leaders and prophets of any kind, the more honest ones seem to get it the worst. If you have a family (many cult leaders did!), then the escape plan should include them too. Learn how to change your legal name, pick a place you want to live when you retire, etc. Write it all down. Don't worry about money, you'll have plenty when it's over... hopefully. Just don't skip this step... it's not optional or something you can do later.

Clean up your taxes as much as possible.

Write a will.

3. Develop the philosophy:

You have a personal philosophy already. You have needs, hidden desires and beliefs. You have a unique perspective on life and the meaning of things and your role in the world. Know this.

No matter how dark or crazy it may seem... you need to know your true philosophy... not some watered down version and not something someone told you or you read about. None of these beliefs or desires has to be strongly held! Even a "whim" can be added to a cult philosophy. But the important thing is that it has to be "true". Cult leaders are not, at least in the beginning, direct liars... people see through lies too easily. Write truth, say truth, live truth. It won't work any other way.

Some aspects of your philosophy or world-view will be too personal to talk about. Create symbols and metaphors for your darkest secrets, or for things that, perhaps, you wouldn't want to reveal to others about yourself or your motives. You can use the phrase "obligate transcendence" instead of "sex".... for example.

Use your art to express this philosophy. Rely heavily on metaphor & symbolism.

Begin to write down as much as you can about your philosophy or ideas. Remember to use the metaphors and symbols somewhat consistently. Self-reinforcement is important. This, like your art, is an ongoing project. Important: if your "art" is fiction writing, you've got twice as much writing to do. Philosophical writing is different than creative writing. Keep them separate.

4. Spread the word

After all the preparatory steps are complete, you'll already have an idea of how to begin spreading the word. Your ego is steadily growning and your friends and loved ones should already know you're up to something. You may want to follow your own ideas at this point, but stick to the plan... ok?

Start holding weekly informal backyard potluck picnics. Invite single neighbors, preferably those without cats. Don't invite friends or acquanitences or people who knew you well "before" you started this path. The form and structure of the party should be one that makes *you* the happiest. Ask people to bring food *you* like. Importantly, don't cook any food yourself. Carefully ask each person to bring enough for themselves and a few others....like any other potluck. Assign someone to drinks. There should be enough for everyone, and no one needs to know you didn't cook. Again... don't cook or bring any food.

Never talk to people one on one. Always talk to people in groups of at least 5, meeting people in the eye as much as possible when doing so. You can, of course, address someone ... as in "please pass the salt". But only do that if there are at least 4 people watching you. If you really need to, you can do something to attract attention first (cough, wave your hand... whatever), then ask for the salt.

If you're talking about philosophy, don't ever climax or resolve what it is you say. You can build up to something... but then stop. Beat around the bush or refuse to talk ... whatever you feel like... but don't climax. Climax in a cult speech is like climax in sex... it pretty much ends it. You want to keep the "dialogue" open. This doesn't apply when asking to pass the salt... obviously.

At each gathering, ask people to "come together" when you begin speaking. Tell them some of your philosophy, but not too much. Just a few sentences. Some things you've been thinking about. Never read from a paper... never memorize.... just say what comes to mind in the moment. Don't get carried away ... just a few sentences! Remember, this isn't stuff you made up... it's real and it's personal.

Some people will identify with you, or will somehow be moved, or will want more. Some people won't.

Keep a list of people you invited. Grow the list. Remove anyone from the list who is disruptive or who attracts more attention than you. This part has to be pretty impersonal. People who don't want to hear your weird lectures won't come back, and they'll drop off fast... so keep inviting new people.

You must carefully observe your OWN reactions to the "gatherings". Don't worry so much bout how other people react... worry about how YOU react. Don't invite people who make you feel shy, or uncertain or too emotional in any way. As you gain experience, you'll find that fewer and fewer people intimidate you and you can accept more and more into the group.

After at least a dozen people are "following" you, it may start to feel meaningless. You may feel disgust for those who listen to you, this is natural. It will become apparent ... that's OK. But continue refining philosopbhy, etc. Deepen and obfuscate your metaphor.

Continue to practice your art.

Remember, there are no one-on-one encounters allowed of any kind. It will get harder. People may visit to talk, or call to go to a movie. Show your art or read from your writings, whatever you want, but NEVER do anything unless at least 3 or four people are watching yout.

5. Get out

You're well on your way to forming a cult. Now it's time to walk away from it! This is the most important step. Don't skip it.

Do you really want all these people who you have no respect for following you around? Walk away now. Stop asking people to come by. Focus on your job ... go back to hanging out with people you like. Whatever.

If the parts 1-4 were done right...it's too late. You'll actually be surprised how easy it was. This "retreat" will actually cause the cult to grow stronger.

When you stop having your meetings, your followers will ask why. Ask them to give you money to get invited to special meetings or for special research... whatever ... you need lots of it! At this point you should be half-hoping that they will go away or laugh at you... but they'll give it all and it will freak you out. You'll say absurd things at these meeting to scare people off and end it.... but it won't work.

This is a gradual, natural process with 3 parts. You allow yorself to become addicted to your growing power while slowly withdrawing from contact with others and increasing your fear and disgust of your followers. (Now's where the cooking comes into play... told you so!). Don't push one of these too far (too much power grab, too much fear, running away too soon, etc.). Let yor own emotions guide you. Try not to think too much about ong term consequences at this point.

Don't tell anyone about this document... they might get really upset. Cult followers have been known to kill their leaders. Don't play games at this point or try to say it was all a joke. If you've gotten this far, you know what I'm talking about.

Creepy people you don't know will start showing up wanting to talk to you. Frightened of what they might do, you'll no longer be able to admit it was all started as a lark. But again, never talk without at least a few people around. Now, it's as much for safety as anything else.

And besides...they pay you right? You've accumulated hundreds of thousands in donations at this point. The money's worth it. But the more they pay you, the more they expect, and the angrier they will be if you let them down.

Congratulations....you've started you're own cult! Did you remember that escape plan from section 2?