The hubris of Maren Altman: Thoughts on the hyper-commercialization of astrology and spirituality, predators and exploiters hiding in plain sight, and how practitioners, believers, and non-believers alike can protect themselves and reject exploitation
In the spring of 2017, at least from within my own bubble, I saw an emergence of spiritual and astrology discourse on twitter. Accounts who had been tweeting about this for a while began to see their audiences grow, because mainstream audiences were beginning to ~awaken~.
Since twitter enjoys significant participation from users in the US, this may have felt like a sudden movement due to the frustration caused by a regime change that most people simply did not see coming due to the ‘echo chamber’ effect of social media.
As a consumer, what should you avoid? certain red flags that I look for aside from Pluto, Saturn transits.
Who are they as a person, values?
Would I feel safe talking to them?
Are they charging a fair price?
Are you able to measure quality of their info against others’?
I’ve only had two bad experiences, and both of those people were soon exposed, by others or themselves. Trust your intuition, just because you want to support an astrologer for whatever personal reasons doesn’t mean they are worthy of your support.
I saw someone say they didn’t want to talk about this person during black history month. I can understand this sentiment. At the time of writing this thread, I knew she was anti-indigenous, but then I saw some information that suggested her anti-indigenous sentiments were also
weaponized against people of my ethnicity. So I hope that gives me enough locus to talk about it, because I do not hope for any south asian person to give attention, money, etc. to this person, and would rather they follow bipoc astrologers who are ethical.
Also, personally, I don’t want to wait until march before I say my piece and bring more light to this, when the idea is to deplatform such exploiters. She can continue practicing for all I care, but I do not wish to support this person in any form, not even with a follow, and
I will do my part to inform others. They can then decide for themselves whether they wish to continue. My advice to white practitioners who want to be ethical?
If you sell a product or service that borrows from indigenous cultures, stop. It’s bad enough this person was selling
Yoga classes where she would “blast hip hop while shouting Sanskrit”. WOW. I cannot even begin to explain how horrible and insulting this is to south asian culture. I will not speak for black culture but I have a feeling some black friends might feel uncomfortable about this.
You’re not selling yoga. You’re selling a gentrified pilates-hybrid exercise format. Even worse, you’re mocking your *teacher* (who I am assuming is a south asian bc why tf else) and posting it online for clout. If you know anything about Indian culture this is TABOO and cursed.
I cannot even begin to unpack how f*cked that tweet is, and how offensive it is on so many levels. Maybe another day.
So, if white spiritualists want to know where the ethical line is drawn for the next step, refer bipoc practitioners (without some skeezy affiliate nonsense).
*refer bipoc practitioners for potential bipoc customers. If your bipoc customers insist they would prefer your services, then sure. Just inform your potential customers that they have other choices and let them choose. Applies more to spiritual services bt somewhat for astro
Focus on selling to other white people first. God knows white people need to connect with their spirituality so that we can get out of this collective mess. Bipoc potential customers let’s do our research and vote with your wallets, attention, and engagement.
Also, think long and hard before you co-opt Vedic, African, or other indigenous forms of astrology or divination as a service you can capitalize. You’re playing with things that have existed long before your own ancestors were around. not saying don’t study Vedic. Know the diff
Also calling out twitter for the choice they make when they endorse such personalities. I understand that press visibility makes it important to verify certain users who receive attention, bt someone who has access to PR resources without being newsworthy clearly doesn’t need it
I’d also like to call out @annairrera @tomwilson1983 @KTHeaney for not critically analyzing this space, for jumping on the opportunity to interview a career-building late-stage capitalistic white face because it would allow you to show your editor that you’re ahead of the game
But sure, the glamor sells (she knows it, it’s obvious with one look at her videos and image) so it’s an easier pitch. your coverage has been lazy and sloppy, erases the work of bipoc and elders in this space, AND continues to help the privileged build more privilege.
I love my Gen Z friends and fam but I do not get this internalization of hyper capitalistic bs that some of you have embraced as a response to broader millennial values. Also, Gen Zers, beware of the predators in your own generation that are ready to leverage existing capital
and resources to exploit your time, money, and attention. Don’t be naive. If you want a better world you need to stop worshipping these people. She also loves El*n M*sk who is just modern-day Christopher Columbus who thinks that working in an important sector makes him god.
People excusing her while calling her intelligent and smart? Stop.
Intelligence is neutral. you’ll never find a villain (whether IRL or in fiction) that isn’t intelligent. Let’s stop glamorizing it since it also has ableist undertones even if we don’t intend to support that.
It also creates a hierarchy of worth and types, is reminiscent of IQ bs. You’re defending/excusing someone not only rich enough to hire legal, accounting, and marketing services (this is why she “came out of nowhere”) to then charge people $300 for natal chart readings and $1200
for an annual membership to content, but someone who is now catering to/following unsavory ppl to make money off them through cr*pto and financial astro. The traveling salesman has found a new town. Charging that price (ever actual experienced astrologers more accessible) says
two things - that your services are accessible only to those who can afford them, in this case, very rich people, OR people not informed enough to know there are better prices from more experienced professionals elsewhere. That tells me that your services are deliberately
inaccessible to less-privileged people and/or you would not think twice before taking advantage of someone since your value proposition is unclear and unquantifiable. Also, the content mimicking the whole ‘millionaires don’t use astro, billionaires do’ reeks of classism when
pricing services predatorily. The worst parts/forms of psychologically-manipulative marketing blended with the worst values/personality/personal branding and a complete lack of ethics (plagiarizing from+erasing black astrologers, charging unjustifiably exorbitant fees)
recommending bipoc astrologers who are NOT some anti-indigenous racist who also capitalizes on and mocks my native culture while also stealing from black astrologers and discrediting them @jessicalanyadoo @iJaadee @AstroCounselVik @TheMeccanism @PeoplesOracle are all legit
Anyway between all this and then her endorsement of Marilyn Manson and sh*t like this which she apparently keeps tweeting every year, I’m done. My mom checked in with me and I was literally the “not now sweaty, mommy’s cyberbullying racists” meme.
She got a bit concerned (lol moms) so I gave her the cliff notes. She just said ok and let me be. (South asian kids know lol) Miss Miss Altman, I’m hoping the ethers don’t rock your shit for exploiting+disrespecting poc culture and that you truly wisen up if you intend on
making money from being a public figure as ‘Maren Altman the expert astrologer’. I thought twice about making this thread. But you’ve made very conscious choices, that’s been apparent for a while, and you clearly have a lot more privilege than others which gets mistaken for
Qualities that we all unfortunately ascribe too much value to. I have to laugh. Also, being verbose doesn’t mean sh*t. many things she says can also just be “predicted” by anyone closely following the news and applying historical perspectives + critical thinking skills. :/
When I saw she was launching a SaaS company for spiritualists I was like welp is it not enough to exploit general public that you now need to exploit other astrologers/spiritualists and take their hard-earned money to provide something that already exists out there? yuck
yeah. us INTJs are not claiming all three. not going into it rn but idolizing Nietzsche signals smthing v UGLY. Also, LOL as a mercury-uranus person myself, can’t even imagine thinking like this. I’d rather continue to work on speak more slowly so I can communicate better 😩
Continued here
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