The numbers don’t add up

I refused to enter into the world of these circles, as I had been instrumental in bringing in a friend who eventually lost his $400 investment in another pyramid scam years before. I had pledged to myself that I’d never again be suckered into joining another one that even felt the tiniest bit like the one where my friend had lost his money.

Many years had passed and so many of my friends who I respected and trusted spoke so highly of these “circles” (not pyramids) that the greed bug finally got the better of me and I joined. I was backed by a community member who I also respected and trusted. I went on the calls, participated, while I witnessed that the circle was treading water for a long time. Continue reading

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Wolf Dressed up in Sheep’s Clothing

Before I begin my story, I just want to point out one thing that disturbs me about these gifting circles (and really did before I joined one); that is the groups come across as really cult-like. You ask them questions to which may challenge the structure of these circles, and the answers always seem automated. You get told the same old bull without any real evidence to back their claims. It’s as if the women giving you these automated answers were fed them by the elders, and were told they hold the truth about Circle, not the dozens of articles you have access to online.

yet here you are, probably coming across this website looking for your own answers, and I’m glad. Your personal enlightenment comes hand-in-hand with reality based facts, and no matter what spin these Women’s Circles put on it, there is no enlightenment in capitalising on 88% who will lose their money investing in these groups. The solo mothers who want to fund their children’s education, the sick, the struggling, the naive — they all forfeit the little money they probably don’t have in hopes of creating a better life for themselves, yet there is someone out there, sipping a Pina Colada on a beach in Croatia, $50,000 richer (with positive intent, I’m sure) due to this lie, due to this capitalism. it’s basic mathematics, and I’m not even that great at math. Continue reading

I Gave. I Loved. I Left.

I did it. I had just moved to a new town, and the woman i was living with, someone i thought was totally awesome, hooked me in to circle with the special members only language. I felt special, i felt seen, i felt inspired. i wanted to feel powerful and financially cared for. i wanted women. i stepped in.

i gave half a gift. 2500. i was half backed. i had the money, since my grandmother passed on some cash for my graduate schooling. it felt like a no brainer. i thought id be through in a year.

i circled with my crew of women for 4 years. i only shifted positions as women dropped out. I joined before the big cult frenzy that swept over the west coast. i was in entree for two years. aside from seeing the circle birth as i stepped in, i never saw it birth. my friend and housemate was dessert for 4 years. it was nuts.

luckily for us we were in circle with some of our best friends. as more women dropped out, i called in my friends to the backed positions. eventually i was meeting on the phone 1x a week with my closest friends. i thought it was good. i believed in the power of generosity. We weren’t pushing. we were ‘trusting’

when the frenzy came, circles around me were bursting. i was invited in one month to join 10 different circles. i felt the heat, the lust, the greed, the desire, the hungry ghost in me. i felt anger and resentment for how long id been in an unbirthed circle. i joined two other circles in backed positions, and was hunting. i became a hunter. i felt myself change into something i hated. as quickly as i had joined, i stepped out of the other two circles.

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Good intentions, bad mathematicians, inevitable greed

When I fist heard of the gifting circles, I thought it was a miracle! I was so excited and thought the idea made a lot of sense. My sister was the one who told me about it. She had been gifted into a circle by her friend, and my sister wanted to invite me into one (we are both pretty optimistic trusting people). At the time I was trying to raise money for medical treatment and was unable to work due to being ill. I thought that being in a circle would not only make me money down the line, but allow me to have a group of supportive women to meet with weekly.

The woman who was in dessert at the time I joined seemed incredibly nice. She had already been through several circles and made it seem like a surefire way to connect with other women with the promise of receiving the ‘gift’ at the end of the journey. At the time I thought that the secrecy was because of legal reasons, and to also keep the circles sacred. I ended up paying the full 5k to join because I needed all the gift money to support myself.

For awhile I really enjoyed and looked forward to the calls. I was so excited to tell some of my friends about this because it all seemed really authentic. My friends were very skeptical which initially hurt my feelings, but now looking back I can see exactly why they were skeptical. In theory, the gifting circle seemed like such a good idea… all the women were so kind, the calls were very uplifting, but in reality.. the math just doesn’t work out.

The first circle I was in was dragging on and and on… as I was getting increasingly sick, I joined one of the faster circles that was less money to try and at least make my money back from the first circle I had joined.

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Spiritual Vampire Sisters

I had heard about the Womens Circle for a while, and I began having more and more “friends” call me out of the blue to rave to me about the power of these circles inviting me in. Telling me stories of how it has freed them financially from the rat-race, sharing with me how they paid off their student loans, fixed their car, traveled to Bali and are even saving up to put a down-payment on a house from the gifts they have received. I was skeptical, but as time went on- it seemed that nearly every woman I knew was a part of these circles and I began to feel almost like an outsider for not choosing to join in.

I remember when I got 2 calls in a week to join in from some of my dearest friends. Two women who had completed circle more than 5 times- and assured me that it was safe, secure and that it was going to be the best decision I ever made. I finally decided to join in, and they said that they could “half-back-me if I joined that week”. I gave them my $2500 and then began joining in on the “life-changing-calls”. The first disappointment was the calls themselves. Everyone had raved about how amazing and healing the calls were, but these calls were just a bunch of egos practicing their spiritual-speeches. Everyone claimed to have some Native American roots, everyone was using the same terminology from “shit-new-age-girls-say”, and it felt like a terrible sitcom episode week after week. I only wish I had taped the shit coming out of some of these girls mouths- it’s up there with Keeping Up With The Kardashians. About 3 months into the grueling weekly calls, I got a call from the “sister” on Dessert- lets call her M. M is a professional seductress of sorts and within the hour  check in call- I found myself agreeing to cover the other half of my backing “until 2 of the other girls paid their portion”. I was assured that I would be getting it back in just a few weeks time and that it would speed the circle up which is what we wanted to have a successful circle, right?

I stupidly agreed, and sent another $2500. I had to send blank checks and cashier checks. Had to sign into encripted emails to have any conversations about the money, and still sit through the lengthy, nails-down-a-chalkboard-phone calls. I was shocked that no one else was speaking up trying to at least get some real conversations to take place. Did everyone really want to share again what “What does Sisterhood mean to you?”, and “What is your spirit animal and how does it show up for you?” again and again.

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The Most Powerful Lesson in Opening My Heart

I almost never thought the day would come when I would share my story. There was so much shame and guilt wrapped around this entire encounter that I refrained from speaking of this hurt to even my closest family members.

I was initially invited to join circle by a beautiful soul sister, and when I felt into the energy, I was an immediate No. She was super into it but I just didn’t want to mix a dear sister with the risk of losing so much money. It wasn’t worth it to me. I kept receiving invitations online from sisters, and declining. Until, a couple months later I was traveling across the country, on my last bit of savings and got a call from N. I was so thrilled to speak to this radiant sister (who, by the way, I had only met in online encounters). Her sweet voice and words of empowerment, love, and abundance lured me in. She told me not to speak of circle to any men though. RED flag #1! I should have immediately known that if I couldn’t speak to my friends and family about it, I probably shouldn’t have been doing it.

But I was resistant. I wanted to empower myself and be a part of a circle geared towards spiritual growth. I thought about how wonderful it would be to simply manifest 40,000 in a poof! Was it really possible? She spoke of this as a circle of women redefining reality, manifesting abundance, and working through any blockages to get there. To put it simply, this was a freakin’ EGO party. But my ego was hooked. (ha) And with daily persuasion, (love notes) she finally got me to gift her over $5,000. Continue reading

A $15k “Learning Experience” – Priceless!

By Anonymous

First off, I am SO happy that I did not receive a dime of another woman’s money in a circle.  Knowing I had gained from someone else’s loss would haunt me much worse than the loss I did take. I don’t like being hurt, but I can’t stand hurting others.

I joined a circle after seeing loads of my ‘friends’ having amazing experiences, not just financially, but really seeming to be transformed and empowered in other areas of their lives.  Initially, my intuition said, “Oh Hell Naw”, however, I was intrigued.. It kept surfacing.  “It’s so amazing!”, they would say.

If you know me, I tend to be quite cynical.  Sure, I am also made of rainbows and unicorns, but I go both ways, pretty far on the spectrum.  I am not afraid of shadows, and have plenty of vulture and bone to complement my sparkles. I have often times ostracized myself by being the one to call bullshit, or for standing against injustice.  People don’t always like the honest ones, I have learned. I had been feeling a little on the outskirts and jaded already after leaving some community endeavors after calling out major holes in integrity.

I began to think that perhaps, something was wrong with me.  Maybe I am too judgmental, perhaps I just do not trust enough, and that’s why I end up in situations where I find others out of integrity… It must be my own reflection, right?  Because I am so untrusting, I must attract untrustworthy people in to my life.  It must be my own fault… was the thinking.

I heard of how these circles revolutionized trust, and were apparently renewing and strengthening trust amongst women in the community.  I really wanted that.  I really wanted to experience full trusting and honoring relations with the women in my community.  I really wanted to break through whatever cynicism, self-doubt, or negative beliefs that were holding me back.  I wanted to transform, and the money, was just a symbol.  It was a symbol of trust.  In order to lay down a chunk of cash like that, you have to muster up some major trust (and yes, naivete, for sure, a dash of stupidity, and one lock of sheep’s hair). I had never done anything like this before, as I would normally watch from the outskirts, and miss out on all the fun. I wanted to experience something different this time. I joined a circle, and began the journey. Continue reading