Death Denial, Super-Powers, and Slave Women: NXIVM Sex Cult (16 Maps of Hell Leftover # 1)

(Some left-over scraps that seem too good for the compost heap. This one excised from Chapter 15 of 16 Maps of Hell)

Masters & Slaves

The degree to which the cultural elite have consciously sought, gained, and applied the secret knowledge of ancient sorcery-based societies—and however effectively or chaotically they may have done so—is unknown. Yet whatever the extent of it, this element seems inarguably to make Hollywood a somewhat conscious continuation of the ancient sociopolitical organization and control, via ritual, ceremony, and magic, which Hayden maps throughout prehistory in The Power of Ritual in Prehistory: Secret Societies and Origins of Social Complexity.

One more example of that strange continuum is the criminal sex trafficking cult, NXIVM. Based near Albany, New York, NXIVM described itself as an American multi-level marketing company offering personal- and professional-development seminars through its “Executive Success Programs.” Allegations of its illicit cult-like activities were circulating in the media for well over ten years, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the rumors and the testimonials fully cohered into confessions and convictions. The condensed version of NXIVM—as of 2020—is that it was, or at least turned into, a recruiting platform for a secret society, variously called “DOS” or “The Vow.” Central to the functioning of this secret society was branding women and forcing them into sexual slavery.

I feel obliged to mention this cult, however briefly, not only as further evidence of this book’s thesis but because, besides a bullet point about Hollywood cults, I haven’t yet written a single word about Scientology. And the parallels between NXIVM and the Church of Scientology are legion. NXIVM featured a 12-point “Mission Statement,” which participants recited, pledging to “purge” themselves “of all parasite and envy-based habits” (known as engrams—or Thetans—to Scientologists). They also pledged to “ethically control as much of the money, wealth and resources of the world as possible.”[1] NXIVM conducted “Intensives” for 12 hours daily for 16 days, at a cost of several thousand dollars per class. Classes were divided into “modules,” such as “Relationship Sourcing,” in which students were instructed to explore the benefits of a partner’s sudden death, and “Dracula and his ghouls,” which discussed psychopaths and their followers.[2] NXIVM members also participated in an “exploration of meaning” that, just like Scientology auditing sessions, involved a senior member delving into their childhood memories. NXIVM branded anyone who tried to impede progress within NXIVM as “Suppressives,”[3] while those who left the cult were said to have undergone “The Fall” and were labeled “Luciferians.”[4] Some members of NXIVM’s inner circle were reportedly taught that, in past lives, they were high-ranking Nazis.[5]

In early 2018, NXIVM founder Keith Raniere and his associate, TV actress Allison Mack, were arrested and indicted on federal charges related to the inner circle/secret society DOS, including sex trafficking. Others in the inner circle were also charged with federal crimes; by April 2019, five (including Mack) had pleaded guilty to various charges. Dr. Brandon Porter, the resident physician at NXIVM, was charged with illegally conducting human experiments. Porter is alleged to have performed a “fright study” on as many as one hundred subjects; one former cult member claimed she was “forced to watch disturbing rape and dismemberment videos” as part of this “study.”[6]

Allison Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering charges for manipulating women into becoming sex slaves for Raniere. Her pending charges on court documents indicate sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion. Prior to the scandal breaking, Mack was best known for her roles in children’s shows and films, most especially for playing Clark Kent’s best friend in the TV hit series, Smallville. As in the case of Gary Goddard—or arch-predator Jimmy Savile—it seems fair to consider how much Mack’s C.V. could have been a significant asset, when it came to luring children into the cult.

One of the primary players in the NXIVM cult was Edgar Bronfman, whose family was instrumental in the rise and rise of Jeffrey Epstein. Edgar’s father was the afore-cited Samuel Bronfman, who the close-reader may recall was one of the pallbearers at the funeral of Leonard Cohen’s clothing magnate grandfather, Lyon. For decades, the Bronfman family ran a Canadian liquor business that was in collusion with organized crime during Canada’s Prohibition (Bronfman’s mob associates included Meyer Lanksy). And like the mob, NXIVM has been called “a dark pyramid scheme that . . . includes human trafficking, forced sex and slave labor, wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, blackmail, visa fraud, child sex trafficking . . . and racketeering.” Its leaders are, or were, “well-connected, backed by millions, and have an army of lawyers. Though, they like to refer to themselves as an executive and group-awareness training organization, spanning 23 states.”[7]

Where the operation diverged from what we normally associate with mob activities, and converged with what is known of Jeffrey Epstein, is in its use of women for the procuring of victims, both of sexual exploitation and blackmail. According to a report in Epoch Times, the name of the secret society offshoot DOS, also known as “The Vow,” is “an acronym for the Latin phrase ‘dominus obsequious sororium,’ which loosely translates to ‘master over the slave women.’”[8] Court documents indicate that DOS operates as a pyramid, with Raniere’s all-seeing eye at the top. All of the participants were said to be women, most of whom were recruited from within NXIVM. There were levels of “slaves” headed by “masters,” and prospective slaves were obliged to provide “collateral” to their masters to ensure they keep whatever they were about to learn secret. Collateral “included sexually explicit photographs, videos stating damning information about themselves or someone close to them, or letters with damning accusations and assigning rights to certain assets. The ‘slaves’ had to provide collateral on an ongoing basis, which was kept in a safe.”[9]

To say that all participants were women may be misleading, since children were also “inducted” into the cult. Raniere was accused of having a child “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing one or more visual depictions of such conduct, which visual depictions were produced and transmitted”—in other words, child pornography. Raniere’s co-defendants “were aware of and facilitated Raniere’s sexual relationships with two underage victims.” One of them, a fifteen-year-old girl employed by Nancy Salzman, ten years later became “Raniere’s first-line ‘slave’ in DOS.” As stated, there are many parallels here with how Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation worked.

All of this bleeds into the amazing (childhood) fantasy of superpowers. In 2006, for example, the Church of Scientology opened a “Super Power” training center in Clearwater, Florida, which “uses machines, apparatus and specially designed rooms to exercise and enhance a person’s so-called perceptics.” Ron Pollack, the Founding Executive Director of Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, donated $5-million to the Super Power fund and likened the center to a “trip to Disney.”[10] Another Florida super-power center was opened in 2013, and compared by the New York Daily News to The Justice League’s Hall of Justice”: “Some of the other ‘perceptics’ the programs aim to help members master are personal size, blood circulation, fields/magnetic, sound direction, emotional state of groups, and perception of conclusions (past and present).”[11]

Psychologically speaking, the common denominator linking quasi-spiritual self-improvement cults, sexual domination and abuse, and the childish fascination with gaining superpowers and living an epic life is perhaps the most basic human drive that there is besides sex: the fear of sickness, death and aging:

Superheroes may further alleviate death concerns by promoting symbolic forms of death transcendence. A first path towards symbolic death transcendence relates to the superhero’s supernatural abilities. The natural world is strongly associated with death. . . . By putting the superhero above nature, supernatural powers implicitly suggest that there may be an escape from the naturalness of death. By bending steel with their bare hands, superheroes may bend the natural laws that dictate that life must be finite.[12]

Curiously enough, the plot thrust of the latest, possibly last, Avengers film, End Game (2019), was the heroes’ attempt to travel back in time to restore the present to a better storyline, one in which half the world wasn’t killed by Thanos. The film subconsciously acknowledges that the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is fueled by the will to regress and an inability to face reality (death). And, as we’ll see, the superhero fantasy franchise extends far beyond the parameters of entertainment, into the corporate, scientific, and political universe.


[1] “Former Sex Cult Official Describes Its ‘Evil’ Inner Workings,” by Colin Moynihan, New York Times, May 9, 2019:

[2] “Part 1: Master Raniere’s secret teachings: What students learn in ESP ‘Intensives!” by Frank Parlato Frank Report, June 15, 2017:

[3] “Witness: Raniere bragged of wanting to ‘break’ follower Allison Mack,” by Robert Gavin, Times Union, May 13, 2019:

[4] “How NXIVM Used a Simple Tool to Build Its ‘Sex Cult,’” by Kenzie Bryant, Vanity Fair, June 27, 2018:

[5] “The Heiresses and the Cult,” by Suzanna Andrews, Vanity Fair, Oct 13, 2010:

[6] “Albany doctor allegedly ran sick human experiments for Nxivm,” by Melissa Klein and Isabel Vincent, New York Post, May 5, 2018: To add one more maggot to an already overflowing can, three women and six children slaughtered by a drug cartel in Sonora, Mexico, in late 2019, were identified as belonging to an “outpost Mormon community in Mexico . . . where underlings of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere recruited young women to work as nannies in an upstate New York compound.” “Women killed in Mexican cartel murders had alleged ties to sex cult Nxivm,” by Emily Saul, Andrew Denney and Kate Sheehy, New York Post, November 5, 2019:

[7]“Are Bill & Hillary Clinton Involved with Child Trafficking?” by Corey Diggs, April 11, 2019:

[8] “NXIVM Board Member Admits to Enslaving Woman for 2 Years, Threatening Her With Deportation,” by Bowen Xiao, Epoch Times, April 2, 2019:

[9]“Are Bill & Hillary Clinton Involved with Child Trafficking?” by Corey Diggs, April 11, 2019:

[10] “Scientology to open ‘Super Power’ training center in FL,” Boing Boing, May 8, 2006:

[11] “Church of Scientology’s new $40M center to offer ‘super power’ counseling,” by Nina Golgowski, New York Daily News, Nov 15, 2013: It may come as no surprise to hear that a 2013 lawsuit against the Church claimed that “the Super Power building is really just a scam to make money.” “Scientology Lawsuit: Church Sued For Fraud In Building Of ‘Super Power’ Center,” by Nathan Francis, Inquisitr, Jan 24, 2013:

[12] “The Birth and Death of the Superhero Film,” by Sander L. Koole, Daniel A Fockenberg, Mattie Tops, Iris K. Schneider, Jan 2014:

18 thoughts on “Death Denial, Super-Powers, and Slave Women: NXIVM Sex Cult (16 Maps of Hell Leftover # 1)”

  1. I’m assuming you’ve seen HBO’s “The Vow.” Did you see that as a smokescreen portrayal, hiding the cult’s more sinister aspects that you alluded to here? It seems, as with the Netflix Epstein special, that these documentaries—curiously shot, produced and edited right after the stories break and gain traction—serve to stifle further investigation, and they function as a kind of tell-all, or final say on things.

    Surprised this was edited out of the book as it seems to coincide with your thesis so well. But great to read nonetheless and makes me excited to hold the thing in my hands, when it’s ready.

    • i didnt watch the show as I’d already moved on by then, and for the reasons you state, that the art of cover-up through apparent reveal has become SOP lately and Netflix is a leading practitioner. Ergo, I prefer my fiction to come dressed as fiction, not as fact.

      It was edited out because it was TMI & what dragged the book down and kept it from taking flight was information for information’s sake. The edited excerpt represents the focus of the book but not the style…

  2. I’m not a Scientologist but I personally found that the comparisons to Scientology diminished the value of this article. To me, you might as well say that psychoanalysis is a sex cult. It felt a bit “reds under the bed”. Otherwise I really enjoy the originality of your writing and the topics that you take on.

  3. Do you have anything on the asexuality[and thus total reliance on self-flagellation and group policing] of Hubbard’s mythology versus the master-slave sex hierarchy in these other groups? Read that Hubbard had a personal female guardian spirit and wrote affirmations for himself to incorporate his own puerile sex fixations like masturbation. Besides his own marriages of course. He seems as repressed a homosexual as Tom Cruise.

    Is the purely Masonic foundation of bigamist Mormonism and the totally sexless Scientology(fiercely isolationist private resource hoarding) what distinguishes it from these crass industrial mecha-pimps like Epstein and Raniere(satellite hedonism and sub-operations of the elite superculture)?

    On the other hand, Did Epstein donate to or get involved in any pyramid marketing schemes?

    Have you looked into the serial killers of the 20th century as breakaway CIA murder cults? Smiley Face Killings, The Finders, et cetera.

    Charles Manson (and his cult control) is like a homunculus of these other figures or something. He mentions a brush with Scientology

    Thank you

    • the serial killer – narrative/psyop & actuality – & its close correspondence with the phoenix program is a key coordinate in 16 Maps of Hell, with special focus on Manson, Mindhunter, and the Atlanta child murders; the Finders get covered in Prisoner of Infinity. Not sure I am qualified, or currently tapped in enough, to answer the other questions.

      • thanks for writing my Christmas list figuratively and literally
        this stuff is 1000X more compelling than navigating the daily MSM Maoist disinfo minefield and I’ve found that it makes me incredibly unhappy to do so unlike the 20th century cult supersphere as described above which isn’t personal-political

        in your own work at least
        you’re really plumbing the demonology of our civilization here and fishing out archetypes
        like macro-meta depth psychology of our intelligence state for truthers
        do you have a reading list

        • sounds like you may be new to this hub CK? If so welcome & curious to know how you stumbled or ambled in here.

          As for a reading list, not really, as I am not sure how much books assisted in the developing of a cartographic toolset – certainly few that were once formative would still have a special place on my bookshelf. Some that spring easily to mind are Kalsched’s Inner World of Trauma; Mogenson’s A Most Accursed Religion, Brown’s Life Against Death; Dostoyevsky’s Crime & Punishment; C S Lewis Perelandra trilogy. It’s almost a random list, & none of them info-based, barring some case studies in Kalsched’s book. But they give context for information to land and take root in, which is far more essential to, and starkly lacking from, this field, IMO.

          • 2. That’s perfect
            As far as reading list go it doesn’t derail my agenda at all to receive a list of ostensibly off-map works which nonetheless shape your perspective as a researcher;
            really i’m looking for ways to think more than mere contextual sources
            otherwise I would be on visupview
            or secretsun but I don’t enjoy being condescended to

            1. No I’ve been here before but with a different avatar and without much in the way of crystallized ideas

  4. It never occured to me that the Epstein shenanigans could have had cultish organisational structure. It seemed to be a straight foreward Deep State operation. On second thought, blackmail, although probably sufficient, might not be enough to keep everyone in line. If more information eventually surfaces and it turns out to be in line with some of this mystery religion psychotic noncesense, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

  5. Hi Jasun, Picked up your latest book yesterday and began the last chapter, as usual for me at least. Go figure. I am excited to get down to the business of ingesting it.
    Given my history of being used in a coven/cult/church/death defying existence I wonder still, why it is that I “need” to understand the mind of these maggots. What exactly was it that they got out of torturing and killing kids.
    I may never know.
    I’d like to pick up a copy of Vice of Kings if you have any left. You can’t leave town without me loading up.


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