It is an odd thing for the person who is the object of a call-out (that’s me) to offer a breakdown of it but this is the weird world I am in where I’m a ‘leading expert’ in the field of speaking about call-out culture and its relationship to collective neuropsychological phenomenon and also a public victim/survivor of it.
What I am going to allow myself to do today, amidst the activation I can feel throughout my entire body in discussing the subject, is to model analysis that tracks the underlying psychological structure behind Energetic Justice’s (EJ) call-out of me and offer my best take of what is going on, especially in regards to Kelly Germaine, who is the director of EJ and principal writer of the call-out against me.
Diving in, an important first point is that Kelly has a deep background in white imperial Christianity and cult-like organizations that have formed around that. In part, she understands her professional work itself as a crusade against this, with racism, particularly anti-Blackness, as a major sign of the evil in these white Christian spaces.
Kelly admits, in her very own words, on a podcast recording with @molefrances Out of the Woods Podcast, which got shelved later, that she has a co-dependent addiction to fixing cultic people and spaces because of her early experiences. This basically means that she is admitting to having very strong triggers around these issues.
(A full recording of her episode can be found here.)
Kelly’s admittance about her triggers is highly relevant as it is obvious in her own writing about her experience with me that she has a hard time differentiating between triggers and reality. Below is a direct quote from the Energetic Justice call-out letter about our work together:
There are a few strange things about this statement because:
1. Kelly kept accessing me for information and camaraderie, in a para-pedagogical dynamic where I am a field leader, and she is mostly a follower for at least a year after our sessions. This is evidenced in the fact that she hired me as a keynote for Energetic Justice’s first publicly accessible course.
2. If there was so much discomfort, this doesn’t align with us having had multiple group hang-outs for two years since that course, which included casual drinks i.e. “happy hour cocktails” with colleagues. In fact, her comment, “[o]ur concerns currently include instances where TH stated they felt like they were on a date during professional sessions they held with EJ Leadership”, probably refers to one of these hangouts.
3. I know that Kelly considers herself ‘harmed’ in these sessions from a Facebook exchange but even if I said exactly what she is saying I said, that is still her being triggered. They don’t constitute harm by any stretch of the imagination. (And obviously, I didn’t say those things. Her characterizations are like an evil villain’s bizarre speech and so far from my actual voice on my actual public writing on those exact subjects.)
The above points show that Kelly has a lot of confusion in her system about tracking threats in her environment and accurately tagging what is perceived and what is real.
This is highly concerning because if Kelly can’t track the difference between triggers and harm in herself she most likely cannot do it for others, especially when she is hearing stories that push her buttons around sexual harassment and cult dynamics.
Further, given that Kelly is a devout follower of #Metoo as she professed herself, we can expect her to have shared her perceived experiences of me with her clients and students, which she refers to as her ‘community’ in this letter.
The kicker here is that Kelly and I share ‘community’ with a crossover of clients, students, and colleagues. I know at least one former friend and one former single-session client of mine to be behind this letter.
Here is why this matters:
1. Mercedes Grant, the former friend, who is also a signee of the EJ letter, would have heard non-substantiated claims about my alleged behavior through two common acquaintances, one of which was a former collaborator Mara Cur, who went around spreading rumors about me to her community without actually doing any checking-in about the validity of them whatsoever. Mara is documented lying about significant details around the claims. You can learn more, here.
2. The former single-session client, who has essentially weaponized their privileged confidentiality, self-reported to me they experienced transference during the session we had. I explicitly referred them to another practitioner and that I did not experience any similar feelings during the work. What I did was basically the complete opposite of the predation of clients.
Kelly, being in a power position in regards to these people, particularly having certified Mercedes in their program, would likely, at minimum, have affirmed any conflation between triggering and harm these community members may have in regards to me, and at worst may have shaped their perceptions of reality through the logic of #Metoo approaches to trauma counseling.
Next, having established the innate vulnerability of this letter and Kelly’s conflation of triggering and harm, I want to discuss what is it that she can be projecting?
Well, projections don’t happen on a single layer and she can be projecting a myriad of things such as her own histories of cult abuse and sexual trauma. I want to focus on one particular trajectory though that relates to Kelly’s psychological scaffolding deeply rooted in white Christian theology.
Particularly, you can see through Kelly’s work and writing around Celtic mythology, Black Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, that she is critically obsessed with renegotiating her ancestral animist with her spiritual roots in white imperial Christianity.
An interesting piece here is the difference between Kelly and I’s work in terms of how we understand the energetic/nervous system, in a context where she actually learned about the concept of ‘anti-racist energetics’ through my early writings and seminars on how whiteness resembled the effects of trauma on the energetic body.
In my practice, I focus on the concept of Hara, the abdomen-pelvis center of the body as the main place for cultivation. In my teaching, I tend to continue to reroute focus from other spiritual somatic centers to the belly. On the other hand, Kelly’s Energetic Justice program works through the Three Cauldrons of Celtic animism (which I believe I introduced her to in the first place) that resembles the Taoist three Dantian system. Hara corresponds to the lower Dantian in the Taoist system and The Cauldron of Incubation/Warming in the Celtic system.
While I do think mind, heart, and gut are all very important, I tend to stick to the gut as the main place to work with because we are so depleted of it as a post-colonial society. It would take years of work to get our gut microbiomes and gut-brains (the enteric nervous system which is the anchor of the rest-and-digest parasympathetic branch of our autonomic nervous system) back online to a sufficient level that it is suitable for us to really work on anything else. Basically, my motto is ground, ground, ground, and then ground some more.
On the other hand, the EJ program works quickly through The Three Cauldrons in a matter of months and then certifies people in a basic competency for doing ‘anti-racist energetics’. It is also relevant that their training programs end in the heart, The Cauldron of Motion, given the heart as the center of being is a distinctly Euro-Christian somatic sensibility that informs white culture’s equation of compassionate emotionality with moral virtue.
On the other hand, there is almost always a caution within Asian alchemy schools of cultivating the Heart center too quickly. It is usually said that it is better to spend time in the Lower Dantian / Hara and tend sparingly to our hearts over time. Related to this, the Cauldron of Motion, the heart, is also the center of the up-regulating sympathetic nervous system. My understanding is that it is important to keep cultivating our sense of grounding before we can set our system off into mania.
So from my standpoint, I see fractals of Kelly’s fear of resting in sensation and over-identification with her emotionality also in the work of EJ, which also, in turn, reflects the tension between the sensual earthy nature of animism, couched in Hara, and the repressive nature of white imperial empathy-laden Christianity, anchored in a somatic sensibility that equates heart-centeredness with moral goodness.
Noticing this fractal becomes even more interesting when we look at how this all may relate to the ‘pelvic’ nature of the actual cult of Jesus. In her book, Dancing in the Streets, Barabra Ehrenreich describes the cult of Jesus as one that takes after Dionysian cults of the ‘orient’, where feasting, singing, and dancing were likely a major feature. It was only in later adaptions of the cult of Jesus by an imperial church that the ecstatic animist nature of Christianity got suppressed, resulting in pews that constricted movement during worship.
This may sound like hyperbole but what I sense in Kelly’s psychological structure is a fear of sensual pelvic masculine sexuality as embodied by what is essentially an erotic animist Jesus that takes after the early Dionysian cults of the ‘orient’. So it seems that Kelly herself has come to embody the white church’s own fear-based repression of the sensual animal (male) body in her personality and this has played a major part in why her behavior is so fractured in regards to myself, quickly going from adoration – we only had cocktails with tons of laughs on a multi-way zoom call in the spring of 2020) to abject contempt.
I find it to be no small trickster gag that her trigger around me saying the gathering feels like a ‘date’ was exactly from a distinctly Dionysian ritual of merry drinking (I think I had one glass of whisky while eating cheese and pepperoni sticks).
My current sense is that this activation was at least partially ignited by the George Floyd protests where the intensity of white saviorship rose to a fever pitch in our cultural landscape. In fact, you can see her evidence of doubling down on her proximity to Blackness all over her letter, where the logic is as simple as Tada is a bad person because they offend Black people.
The irony here is that it seems her very fear of me comes from her own embodied anti-Blackness, which of course comes down to the very white fear of Dinonysian ecstasy, sensuality, and movement.