Friday, October 31, 2008 and Prather Warriorschool Cult

Yet another web site talking about Prather and his cult

Here is a quick quote from one of the 3 pages

Well, after reading all of that, I wasn't sure I was going to reply-where to begin.

First off, my sometime affiliation/play/involvement with Bujinkan came from one thing and one thing only-the desire to continue to develop my hanbo skills. That said, I have found that some practitioners/teachers have substantial skills, and some only think they do. No matter. I wouldn't call the Bujinkan a cult, though, like a lot of martial arts organizations, it has some cultish elements, and like a lot of organizations that are spread away from any centralized control, these elements can and do blossom into something a little more malevolent, like all the political bickering about who's teaching the real stuff.

As for the "Warriorship" training of Jeff Prather, while I have no first hand experience with it, it sounds a little off, and a little okay. The okay parts, as far as Native American spirtual practice goes might be difficult for some of you to agree with, but here goes.

24 hrs. of fasting is no big deal, and the inipi (sweatlodge) is not particularly difficult-especially for only 45 minutes. Sundancers bind themselves to a tree and dance staring at the sun for four days without food or water . This ritual takes place every summer, all over the west, and a Sundancer typically commits to participating four times. Sundancers-the more pious ones, anyway- usually refrain from sex and alchohol in the four months leading up to Sundance-try explaining that to your white wife. (Never mind getting her to come support the vividly brutal thing that you're doing to yourself as a form of prayer.....)

And, typically, one does go about "asking for permission" and/or "saying thank you" for the elements used in ritual. One doesn't go digging into the earth without asking-and apologizing. That's just the way things are done.

The whole "females preparing and serving" thing is also pretty common to Indian cultures, and doesn't indicate the entire place of women in Indian society. It's worth pointing out that the "Supreme Court" of the Five Nations was composed entirely of women, and their word was final.

On the other hand, the co-option of these rituals and social constructs by various non-Native organizations and movements if troubling and dangerous-where did Mr. Prather learn to conduct the sweat? Was he given permission to pass it on to others? Do they have the necessary skills and training to conduct the ceremony in a physically and spiritually safe manner? What is the leadership role of these women? ALso, the stories of submitting to the leader's will are a big bell ringer-not very Native or denoting of "warriorship" at all.

So, yeah, it's probably a cult-I know nothing of the allegations against Mr. Prather, and have only heard good things about his skills. I don't necessarily think it's a dangerous cult-just not something for the already weak-minded to get involved with.

Mr. Prather might be another story altogether, though. What do I know?

Ad , while it seems kind of hokey, a lot of the statements the writers took issue with are accepted sociological observations: our larger society, while it posesses many avenues for rites of passage, typically lacks organized ones. While a rite of passage might be as simple as having a beer with the old man, taking one's first deer, or getting your driver's license, they aren't necessarily denoted as such.

I think the writers were right to get out, because it wasn't for them, and, as they found out, Mr. Prather might not be such a great guy. But I also think they're a little soft to confuse a 24 hour fast and 45 minute sweat with brainwashing-but hey, I'm a Sundancer, and I drink nobody's Kool-Aid.

As for the whole "warrior" thing, it's also overdone. Who wants to be a warrior? I'd rather just be able to tell a good story now and then.....of course, it depends upon how you define "warrior," and that's probably a whole other thread.
Aaron J. Cuffee

1 comment:

tgace said...

I was involved in this thread. I find the concept of Warriorship and its sociological and psychological effects fascinating. I have a blog going at:

I have a link to your blog there. Its in a post that mentions the cultism that can arise around people who are looking to define themselves as "warriors". Stop by sometime.