Reader: An analogy to the trees of the forest; Vanguard prunes to keep the sapling from becoming a tree

By WIZARD IN THE WINGS110607121144-large

I liken this to an analogy of a tree in the forest.

You were once a strong tree, standing tall in a forest. You were not the most amazing tree. But you were who you were. You’ve been subject to years of environmental influence. You have permanent bends and breaks from environmental influences over the years. Toxic soil, the wind, the occasional fire, animals, they’ve all had influences on your growth.

Then Keith arrives as the chief steward of the new forest, and clears space for a small sapling growing from the base of your trunk. It’s born of you, growing from your own massive trunk. You are essentially becoming nothing more than a nurse tree. We all know what a nurse tree is. The chief steward teaches you that you are the sapling and this is your true self. Then teaches you that you need to focus all your attention, all of your life energy on this sapling. Dispel the tree you once were.

He encourages your sapling to grow, convincing you that you will become this wonderful new species of tree. And your nurse tree (your big tree self) is nearly, weather beaten and unreliable. Susceptible to all the dangers of the forest. He says forget that big tree. It’s toxic and ugly and can no longer support you. But in order to completely rid yourself of your dependence on your nurse, your new sapling self requires special attention according to Kieth. And he will provide.

You wonder if this is true. You fear letting go of the nurse because that’s all you’ve ever known. It feels like a painful proposition so you question it at first. Then you look around and you see that Kieth has successfully cultivated many saplings in other trees all around you. That’s all you can see. All these beautiful little saplings nursing off of the giant trees that have been standing for years. All these little new little saplings Begin to obscure the massive trunks they nurse off of. You see only happy saplings, trees that look just like you, talk like you, think like you, and you think to yourself, look, were growing a forest here. Look at all of us. We’re all going to grow up to be a huge wonderful forest of beautiful trees. We’re going to be the envy of all the other trees in the forest. And the plan seems to be working.

And in the beginning, your sapling is nourished by the stewards of the forest (NXIVM) Fertilized and cleared of invasive species (ideas) that you are told are there to harm you. You become convinced that you are fresh, that you’re good and growing stronger. All the other saplings nursing off their host trunks feel the same. You are going to be a majestic forest, impervious to all that can hurt you.

Soon after, your trusted stewards come through your beautiful forest and cut down all the giant trees you’ve been nursing off of for some time.

One by one the giant trees around you disappear. The branches are cleared first and you begin to feel the warmth of the sun. You’ve never felt this before. This feels like heaven. You feel a breeze like you’ve never felt before.

But the wonderful giant tree that was once you, that beautiful wise tree that has been shaped by years of growth in that forest with all its pain, joy and love is gone too. The stewards have come through and cleared all of these giant trees and unceremoniously discarded them. The stewards convince you that your sapling self is stronger than your toxic host. How can this can be you wonder?

But now you have access to water, to air, and you feel the warmth of the sun. It feels right. You begin to forget all that you were and all the richness that had grown that massive former self.

Now all of you tiny trees stand there, a sea of beautiful little saplings, growing from the stumps of their former selves, intent on creating this amazing forest of newness.

For a while, you grow in strength and numbers. This forest is going to be amazing.

Some don’t make it, and are cleared away in the same way the big trees were.

Others become pet projects of the stewards. Special attention is given to those saplings who need extra help. And they seem to flourish. They’ve completely forgotten where they came from.

Some time later, stewards arrive again to check on the saplings. They convince you that because you are all still drawing from that same toxic soil you began in, you must make a sacrifice by pruning your branches. It will make you stronger if they must cut away the parts of you that they find offensive and not in line (or at cause). After all, growth requires sacrifice.

So over the next several years, the stewards keep a steady agenda of cutting away branches that don’t align with their plan of creating a forest of oneness. A forest where all the trees look, think and act the same.

But you don’t seem to mind at first. You even arrive at a place where when a steward shows up in your neck of the woods, you buzz with excitement. You’re convinced if they just cut away a few more rogue branches you will all grow into this unbelievable forest of fantastic proportions.

This goes on for years.

Then one day you look around and realize that the forest is all the same. The same height, the same shape, the same ideas. You also realize that you don’t seem to be growing as fast as that old tree once did. You remember the one. That beautiful tall tree that was once you with all its interesting experiences in the forest that made it what it was. Full of strengths and weaknesses that created you into that unique tree. One, that, when observed by an outsider, was full of interesting shapes and color and was full of desire and love for the world around you.

But the steward continue trimming back your branches. They have convinced you, your journey to become strong comes at a price.

It must be true because look at all the other wonderful trees around you. They all started out the same. As a tall, beautiful, marvelous parts of nature. And look at them. they all seem to be thriving as tiny trees.

So for a while you continue to pay a price for your growth, allowing the stewards under the watchful eye of chief steward Kieth to chip away at your limbs.

But your still not getting to the forest height you thought you’d achieve. You begin to wonder if you will ever reach the height and strength of you’re almost forgotten former self.

So you ask the stewards for more help. You ask them to do whatever it takes to get you there. The stewards extract more limbs in the name of your personal growth. You willingly oblige.

Some of the saplings, mere shadows of their former selves, believe they are already strong, tall, powerful trees now. Able to withstand all the environment and universe inflicts on them. They don’t see themselves because they are constantly looking upward for the next thing that is going to put them over the top.

The stewards have them convinced they are better than they’ve ever been. And they keep those small trees focused on the idea of a “forest”. That the idea of that majestic forest is the prize. And it’s attainable if they just stick with the plan. Ignore any trees who think otherwise.

You grow along, trying to ignore the suppressive trees around you who try to convince you you’re wrong to question. They implore you to listen to the stewards. Trust in the program. But something isn’t feeling quite right. You cannot help but wonder why your real growth is not happening the way you thought it would. The stewards try to convince you that a punishing pruning is for your own good and if you don’t do it you will never be strong.

One day while questioning your stunted growth, without thinking you happen to shift your gaze from the prize and you look down. To your amazement you realize something you’ve long forgotten, that your roots are still firmly planted in that old stump of your former self. You’d forgotten that, because it’s been drilled into you that all of your focus must continue looking up to your chief steward. All of your focus has been on following his advice. Cutting your limbs and keeping you stunted with the promise of massive growth.

You also begin to realize that you are still subject to all the toxic soil, wind, occasional fire, and animals, that had influenced the amazing that former self. Your giant tree self that has become an all but faded memory. And your new young roots are still firmly planted into the roots of that former self, drawing from the same universe, exactly they way you have always drawn from it. Only now you are small, and broke. You realize that because you are nowhere near your size or strength of the former you, that you are being weakened by the toxicity of an environment that you haven’t naturally grown accustomed to because you’ve been taught it was wrong, and are being led to believe by the forest stewards that it’s your own fault for not listening to them.

Eventually, a few of the small trees begin to recognize the truth. That for all the nurturing, encouragement, the constant pruning (the actual cost of the growth) they are still roughly the same size they were when the giant trees were cut down.

All perceived growth has been a mind trick played out by the chief steward to keep you in line. Keep you paying. Keep you submissive.

The forest never had a promise to grow. The forest was simply used to enrich the lives of the stewards. It was a grand experiment in manipulation, bent on exploiting all of the resources your beautiful forest had to offer.

But you realize now that you are in fact that same old stump. You are that tree. You’d lost sight of the fact you are still standing in the very same spot you’ve always been. And sure. It feels like you’ve grown. You’re alive. Your are present. But you are small. And you’re never going to realize your maximum height because you’ve been fooled into believing that in order to grow, you must be chipped away at. A very counter intuitive approach.

But the truth is, you have only ever been you. You have always been a product of the forest you began in. And that forest can be a beautiful place if you simply let yourself grow and work with that environment. And especially if you don’t let the stewards manipulate you into believing that what they are doing to you is in the name of making you powerful. Because they will never let you grow powerful. They will always keep you stunted and compliant.

And when you do that, and learn that all you ever had to do was open up to the possibilities around you, that the once toxic ground you once grew in can actually be fertile ground if you learn to let the universe guide you. If you are willing to let it, will provide.

And only you can can grow into that beautiful tree alone.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • I grieve for my former self that was cut down. Grieving takes time.

    Hard too is recognizing the lack of conscience the present members feel for the trauma and heartache some of us who left are experiencing. People who were our closet friends, therapists, confidantes for years and years suddenly could care less. “You feel harmed? You object to what is happening here – fuck off”. Worse still, instead of compassion and concern, willingness to discuss why we feel so harmed, we are faced with vitriol and horrible disparaging things said about us – lies – by our former closest friends to discredit our feelings. As if the consensus is “you were my friend for years, now I will tell everyone you are evil, and were evil all along” rather than address your heartache. All the while our former friends are posting happy joyful gleeful posts on social media. Like LOOK HOW HAPPY WE ARE!!!! #Belly laughs, #nourishment, #chosen family, #so much joy!!!

    What kind of person does that? What would it take for me to do that? I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine discarding a years long good friend because they felt traumatized by something that happened to them in NXIVM. Was it all for show? Were our friendships one big fake lie? How could you not care? Do you care about anything?

    Is that who you are now? A person who doesn’t care when dozens and dozens of people leave NXIVM in protest? Some with PTSD? And your response is “oh I am having so, so many belly laughs of joy and happiness in the face of your despair” HAHAHAHAHAHA. Everything is so funny and joyful and good. You are angry? You are mad about your brand? You are permanently physically scarred and as a result you feel betrayed? BELLY LAUGHS! BELLY LAUGHS!

    For those who don’t understand what I am saying, please read the June and July instagram and twitter accounts for Allison Mack and Vany Huber. They’re shocking.

    Utterly shocking. Conscienceless.

    • Allison Mack’s ramblings on Twitter and Instagram are such con jobs of fake nonsense. She used to post less frequently, a daily tweet or Instagram post every so often, but ever since the DOS revelations came to light she’s been on overdrive to fake how awesome and joyous and beautiful, blah blah blah, her cult friendships are with Nicki Clyne, Lauren Salzman, et al, and how great her fuck buddy mentor VanDouche is and how everyone should have a mentor. Gee, I wonder who she got that idea from.

      I do feel sorry for her though because all of this is the fake fuck VanDouche’s doing. Many struggling actors would love to have the career she had, and now she’s just wasting her time being manipulated and used by a ball-less, facade of a man, and his minions.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083