How to Eat Chocolate

by helenzuman, September 29, 2021 in General

I still remember, in my early twenties, eating a large bar of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate one night when I was home alone, and then puking it up into the toilet. Back then, I had no standards for the kind of chocolate I ate, and used chocolate as an escape. (As a kid, I ate […]

Why My Chocolate Is Awesome

by helenzuman, September 24, 2021 in General

This is Holy Crack! You can buy it on Etsy, at Chocolate Church. It’s awesome. Here’s why: It’s made of the highest-quality ingredients—the kind that both nourish your body and help regenerate the web of life. The cacao is raw, organic, direct trade, and imported by a company just across the Hudson River from the […]

The Art of Making Money

by helenzuman, September 20, 2021 in General

If I had to choose one thought that’s governed my relationship with cash, throughout my past, I would go with “It’s hard to make money.” Meaning, the things I have to do to make money are hard, as is the process of finding or developing new income streams. Recently, when I hear Stacey Boehman (of […]

The Cult of Busyness

by helenzuman in Cults, General

Back in 2011, I signed up to write a column for the Carroll Gardens Patch. Each month, I was to turn in a five-hundred-word story, with photographs, then promote the hell out of it through my personal networks. My pay? Fifty dollars per column. At first, I was just thrilled that I was getting published. […]

What Is a Sex Cult?

by helenzuman in General

If you google the term “sex cult,” you’ll find plenty of supposed examples—including, most notably, NXIVM, the Rajneeshees (profiled in Wild, Wild Country), and the Children of God. What you won’t find is a definition. No one—not even Wikipedia, or the Urban Dictionary*, or dictionary.com—seems to know what it means. Is it a cult whose […]

Can I Trust You with My Teeth?

by helenzuman in General

About seven and a half weeks ago—the day I discovered that Vice UK’s ten-minute video about my Zendik story was on its way to going viral—I started feeling intense pain in my teeth. Checking my trusty Prescription for Nutritional Healing for an entry on toothache, I found only an entry on tooth decay: according to author […]

A Word That Signals Warning

by helenzuman in Cults, General

This year, the Communal Studies Association awarded Mating in Captivity the 2020 Timothy Miller Outstanding Book Award—and sent me a beautiful wooden plaque, handcrafted in Amana, Iowa, which now hangs to the left of my desk on my (wooden) studio wall. In addition, they asked me to record an acceptance speech, to be aired at their […]

Top Ten Cult Books

by helenzuman in Top Ten Cult Books

During my twelve-year quest to complete and publish Mating in Captivity—my memoir of five years, post-Harvard, in a cult with a radical take on sex and relationships—I read many, many cult memoirs. Plus a number of cult-related self-help and narrative non-fiction works and a few cult novels. Nowadays, I still read cult books—just not as […]

How the Medicine Wheel Kitchen Restored My Faith in Community

by helenzuman in General

More than four years ago, when I first stepped into the Medicine Wheel kitchen, at Earthaven Ecovillage (in Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA), I was not feeling bullish about community. I’d tried that, right? At Zendik. (Yes, Zendik was a cult—but I’d found it in The Communities Directory!) And it hadn’t gone so well. No, I […]

A Message for the Harvard Class of 2020

by helenzuman in General

More than twenty years ago, as I was nearing graduation, I instigated a protest against Harvard’s commencement speaker, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Not because I vehemently opposed his politics, or anything specific he’d done, but because he was a banker. Who I expected would bore the hell out of me with some sold-out […]