Out of the Woods podcast

Out of the Woods

Molly Frances

Out of the Woods is a podcast for stories about not-quite-cults but not-quite-not-cults. People share their experiences being strong believers in something--a religion, an ideology, a community, anything--and share how they came to realize it was, well...cult-ish. Stories of all kinds of these beliefs & experiences are welcome, with a particular interest in those in the digital world.

11 Episodes

  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Ex-communicated from the cult of toxic social justice with Poplar Rose


    In this episode we talk to my dear friend and former witch colleague Poplar Rose. Poplar and I met in 2017 when we both ran businesses online. They used to write for a site Little Red Tarot and their business was called witch cabinet. Through witch cabinet, they ran a 12-week course on boundaries called Hawthorn Heart. They share their story of being a social justice activist, a witch, and their eventual major fall out and extreme crisis of faith in social justice. As they say, "social justice broke up with me." This came after experiencing two back to back call outs. The stress of these coupled with moving to a plot of land in the forest, exposed to the elements after their shelter fell through, led them to shut down their business for the last 2 years. They share the before, during, and after of this experience, and reflect on what social justice means for them now.There is mention of active suicidal ideation in this episode. --Follow Poplar on Instagram: @poplarroseArticles by Poplar: Why I Stopped Teaching Yoga – My journey into spiritual, political accountabilityExcommunicate Me From the Cult of Toxic Social JusticeInstagram post reflecting on the call outs--Subscribe to the podcast on Patreon!Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Heart-Centered Spiritual Gatherings with Aliza


     Aliza, at age 40, ended up undergoing a series of distressing life events that threw things into disarray. It was at this time, while dealing with the aftermath of bed bugs, she ended up in a  heart-centered, new age spiritual gathering at her mysterious massage teacher’s house. Aliza attended these gatherings as make up sessions for massage school classes she missed while in the midst of all the chaos. Things got peak weird in the group when her teacher’s guru came into the picture. Aliza eventually left the gathering behind, but not before some heartbreak. --Subscribe to the podcast on Patreon!Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

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  • Out of the Woods podcast

    New Age Priestess LARPing & Self-Actualizing with Avery


    In this episode I sit down to talk with Avery, who shares their story about being involved in a new age spiritual cult-y group. They got involved with this cult and felt like after so many years struggling to find solid queer community—that they had found a home. Their story details the ups and downs and struggles of being embedded in such a cultish community, their mental anguish, and their eventual break out into a new life: getting the right support for their neurodivergence, pursuing a degree in STEM, and coming out as trans. --Subscribe to the podcast on Patreon!Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Cancel culture and identitarianism with Clementine Morrigan


    In this episode, we hear from Clementine Morrigan, a writer who has recently started speaking out against “cancel culture.” She started a podcast with her partner Jay, Fucking Cancelled, and published a zine called Fuck the Police Means We Don’t Act Like Cops to Each Other. Clementine shares her story entering and exiting what she refers to in her podcast as “the nexus,” or identitarianism, what Mark Fisher refers to as “the vampire castle,” and what episode 1 of Out of the Woods would call social justice culture. Her story begins with her as a teenager who dropped out of high school because of homophobia, then started attending a queer alternative school in a new city. This is where her entry into social justice & identitarianism began. After years of active alcoholism she got sober, re-entered social justice culture and gradually her career as a self-employed writer creating zines about trauma, sobriety, being queer succeeded big time on social media. This summer, she was, in her words, Fucking Cancelled. We hear her story, but we also talk together extensively about cancel culture, identitarianism, abolitionism, concerns about how this ideology may impact workers, and our desire for a leftist critique of this ideology. --Clementine's websiteClementine's patreonFucking Cancelled podcast (Clementine's co-host & partner Jay has a lot of great essays on their Patreon about the nexus and neoliberal identitarianism) Fuck the Police Means We Don't Act Like Cops to Each Other - ZineInstagram: @clementinemorrigan--References & reading list: Planet of Cops - Freddie deBoer Exiting the Vampire Castle - Mark FisherKai Cheng ThomAdolph ReedLeah Lakshmi Piepzna-SamarasinhaThe Social Justice Industry Isn’t Helping Oppressed People - Jen Pan & Ariella Thornhill on JacobinThe Year of Racial Reckoning and the Dead End of Identity w/ Vivek Chibber - The Jacobin Show hosted by Ariella Thornhill, Jen Pan and Paul Prescod Nonsite.org - Peer-reviewed, online, open access journal. Today, the various theoretical forms of neoliberalism—from the postmodern to the posthuman, from the new historicism to the new pluralism—have become so pervasive that they are nearly invisible. nonsite.org seeks first to make them visible and then to make them less pervasive. Our goal is to criticize what is and replace it with what we think ought to be.—Subscribe to the podcast on Patreon!Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Attending a conservative Christian college & being queer with Gabi


    (This episode includes discussion of suicide) Gabi shares her experience growing up as an evangelical Christian and then choosing to attend a nearby wealthy conservative Christian college. Although she was deeply tied to her faith growing up, and found meaning in it, the homophobic and repressive culture of the school onset not only mental heath struggles but a crisis of faith in her religious beliefs. Gabi reflects on this time in her life and shares what happened after leaving campus and graduating. --Subscribe to the podcast on Patreon!Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Fat Acceptance and the Amberlynn Reid Community with Megan Anne


    YouTuber Megan Anne shares how, upon discovering Tess Holliday, she became a believer in the fat acceptance movement. After receiving news that she was on track to develop fatty liver disease at age 21, she made the decision to leave the movement behind and pursue weight loss surgery. She has since lost 115lbs and quickly gained a large subscriber base on YouTube after posting her video, My 315lb Life + Why The Fat Acceptance Movement Kinda Sucks. Suffice it to say, she is out of the woods.However, that's not the only cult-ish community she left behind. Megan also discusses her involvement in the Amberlynn Reid community, in which she would watch commentators reacting to (or perhaps more accurately: hating on and bullying) the controversial YouTuber. She has since spoken out against the community, in a recent video, The Amberlynn Reid Community + Why I Stopped Watching.YouTube: Megan Anne Instagram: @heylooksitsmeganPatreon: https://www.patreon.com/meganannesayshelloEtsy/Merch Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeStation---Megan's Videos:My 315lb Life + Why The Fat Acceptance Movement Kinda SucksThe Amberlynn Reid Community + Why I Stopped WatchingMy 115lb Weight Loss + Why Fitness Influencers Kind of SuckYouTuber Obese to BeastObese to Beast (John) response to Megan's videoVirgie Tovar's video No I Won't Cut You a Smaller Slice of Cake Glitter and Lazers YouTube Channel
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Leftbook, safe spaces, and trigger warnings with Skye


    Skye reflects on their experience in "Leftbook," a constellation of leftist Facebook groups that were popular around 2016-2018. They started out in a group called "political aesthetics escape pod," and eventually became tied up in a group about mental illness and trauma. It was in this group where they encountered a militant approach to "trigger warnings." Follow Skye on Instagram @buttrepreneur --Suggested reading to learn more about Leftbook Leftbook: Destroying the Leftist Movement in AmericaFacebook’s 'Free Emotional Labor Club' Is Ready for Your QuestionsOn Authoritarian Social Media: Political Aesthetics Escape Pod ExemplifiedLeftbook Comments Over Photos Of Revolutionaries--Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Living at anarcho-primitivist protest sites, getting sober, transitioning, and entering queer social justice community


    Felix McLean begins his story by reflecting on his time living at anarcho-primitivist protest sites in the UK. Although he found the community unlike anything else he has found outside of the sites, he made the decision to leave after a series of site evictions and realizing that he needed to medically transition--something that sort of doesn't neatly fit into the anarcho-primitivist worldview. He quickly got involved in queer social justice spaces, and eventually got sober. Felix shares all of this and more in this 4th episode of Out of the Woods. Follow Felix on Instagram @soccermomzen-----Felix's suggested reading: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (guaranteed to make people fall in love with nature) Days of War, Nights of Love by Crimethinc (general anarcho stuff) Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (a kind of anti/post civilisation novel) -----Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Growing up Baptist; coming out as queer, non-binary, and polyamorous with Ky McGinniss


    Ky shares their story about growing up Baptist in a family that was not only deeply integrated with a local Baptist college where their father taught in the seminary, but had ties to prominent Evangelical figures. They reflect on learning how to read the Bible starting at age 5, learning about the end of the world, and constantly asking questions.When they really sat down and tried to understand why their faith was so ardently against lgbtq people, their entire worldview began to crumble. After trying to explore different theologies, they eventually made the decision to leave behind Christianity--as well as black-and-white ways of thinking. Now, Ky is living life no longer identified as a Christian and openly non-binary, queer and polyamorous. Follow Ky on Instagram on @floweryspacepunkTo read an in-depth documentation of Ky's crisis of faith in Christianity, as well as a recent reflection "On Comfort," check out their blog at http://dangerouslythoughtfulblog.wordpress.com/-----Ky's Suggested Reading & ResourcesEvangelical info: Dare to Discipline by James DobsonCompetent to Counsel by Jay AdamsOther information: Behind the Bastards PodcastIrresistible Revolution by Shane ClaiborneExecuting Grace  by Shane Claiborne The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr (Didn't reference this but it was super formative)Strange Rites by Tara BurtonThe Liturgists Podcast The History of The Christian Church Podcast by Lance Ralston-----Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on Out of the Woods? Email [email protected] 
  • Out of the Woods podcast

    Shame, punishment & social justice culture with Kira Rosen


    Kira Rosen shares her story of separating from punitive online social justice culture. She recounts how the concurrent experience of her escalating bipolar disorder symptoms and a dysfunctional intimate relationship forced her to confront the reality that the shame and punishment normalized in the culture was unsustainable for her. Follow Kira on Instagram @kira.rosen.7----[Kira's suggested reading]Brene Brown: Her work on shame and connectionClementine Morrigan: Clementine's writing on shame, attachment theory, trauma, queerness, cancel cultureKai Cheng Thom: Book (mentioned in the episode) I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World, on critiques of social justice culture specifically within the queer communityMolly-Margaret Johnson (Not active online currently):  Molly-Margaret’s work on queerness, communication, boundaries, relationships, healing, and handling harm IG @bearherbert_: Work on race and capitalism, perfectionism, shame, handling harm, attachment theoryIG @andrearanaej: Racism, performative activism, handling harm, complex view of relationships----Follow the podcast on Instagram! @outofthewoodspodDo you have a story you'd like to share on OOTW? Email [email protected] 

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