The way students and masters have been treated over the decades are considered to be gross violations of our trust, our civil, our constitutional and our human rights. The amount of destruction Avatar and the Stars Edge Network has caused is immeasurable.
The lack of transparency, compassion, responsibility and shear ignorance of the Stars Edge Trainers, Harry Palmer and Avra Honey-Smith highlights that, in our opinion, their true concern is for their wallets, the need for power and the need for control – not for the well-being of students, Avatar Masters and those who they have held under their wing.
The abuses, transgressions and legalities over the past few decades include:
Misrepresentation of Origin and Credentials
The founder and sole owner of Star’s Edge, Harry Palmer, operated a Church of Scientology Mission in Elmira, New York for 15 years. After he was excommunicated in 1986, he soon introduced the Avatar Course.
At the beginning of the 1970s, there are claims he taught Scientology in schools.
Harry Palmer originally claimed the Avatar course resulted from revelations gained during a prolonged series of “sensory deprivation” sessions in a flotation tank. However, skin experts say he would not have lasted longer than a few days, let alone 8 weeks.
Harry Palmer has known to have lied over and over again regarding his credentials and experience. In the past, he broadly advertised himself as an educational psychologist for many many years. This unlicensed imposture as a health care professional is a felony in Florida and throughout the US.
Harry Palmer never received a degree in psychology, and has never held any credential or license as a psychologist. His college degree was in secondary education, and he was certified in New York to teach high school English.
Harry Palmer’s lifelong education was secondary education, English and Scientology; amongst an avid interest in new age, mind control and a follower of Aleister Crowley (A Magician and The Occult).
The basic Avatar Course contains similarities to Scientology, Raja yoga, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Buddhist meditation, among other practices. Yet the materials are represented as “confidential,” and students are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement that defines them as unpublished trade secrets. This is despite the fact they are not original, in the public domain and have been “published”.
There are claims that Harry Palmer had stated to have received the tools in his backyard by extra-terrestrials and where he had a spaceship. He also has claimed to have received authority by ETs to enact his Enlightened Planetary Civilisation.
In his book Living Deliberately, there is a disclaimer in the front cover that the work is fiction, yet some of the stories are taught as “truth” and “doctrine” within the network.
The disclaimer reads: “Living Deliberately is the first section of a larger body of original work collectively referred to as the Avatar Materials. The characters and events described in the text of Living Deliberately are intended to entertain and teach rather than present an exact factual history of real people or events.”
To date, there has been no confirmation as to where the Avatar Materials really came from, either from Stars Edge or Harry Palmer. This is despite the fact that Avatar Masters are to consider Harry’s text as “sacred” and to have “reverence” for them. The “Tools” are considered fool proof.
Unethical and Illegal Business Practices
Star’s Edge and its licensees recruit students for a nine-day course to become “Masters”, licensed to deliver the basic Avatar Course. The conditions of full licensure are not fully disclosed beforehand.
Successful graduates receive a “provisional license.” They are required to pay internship fees for an indefinite period until they become “qualified” by Star’s Edge. Meanwhile, they are pressured to take successive internships at approx. $800 each (dependent on country)
Qualification requirements are arbitrary and unpublished. The licensing contract allows Star’s Edge unilaterally to revoke any license issued, without explanation or recourse.
Trainers are pressured to fix fees for the basic Avatar Course at the full “suggested” amount. This practice violates fair trade and competition regulations in virtually every jurisdiction worldwide where the Avatar Course is offered by independent licensees.
The licensing scheme is a pyramidal multilevel marketing operation with the primary objective of selling successive courses for the financial benefit of Star’s Edge, rather than providing a viable business opportunity for licensees.
As a result, the vast majority of those who are practising Avatar Masters fail, give up teaching Avatar as a business and go into financial hardship.
Illegal Intern Structure
All Avatar Masters are made to intern at co-operatives no matter what license an Avatar Master receives. These continue until they reach Qualified Master level.
Masters are expected to pay approx. $800 for their intern fee, plus accommodation and airfares. In Australia and New Zealand an Avatar Master can be expected to Intern every 4 to 6 weeks.
The Advanced Intern Program has a variety of levels which is not transparent to new or existing Avatar Masters. This is despite the fact it is the gateway to being a Qualified Master and Trainer.
An Avatar Master could intern for years, even decades, before reaching Qualified Master level. There is no transparency as to why they are “failing”.
Avatar’s internships would be considered illegal in Australia and New Zealand. You should never ever be expected to “pay” for your own Internship.
In our opinion, despite the fact that an Avatar Master is self-employed, due to the nature of the work involved, how often a Master interns and the “benefit” Stars Edge gets out of the internship to their organisation – it is highly likely that all Masters on the Advanced Intern Program would be considered an “employee”.
In our opinion, those who are on the Advanced Intern Program are exploited for free labour (sometimes 80+ hours per week) with very little benefit.
In our opinion, Qualified Masters are exploited for free labour (sometimes 100+ hours per week) with very little benefit.
Coercion and Undue Influence
There is considerable undue influence and coercion used by Avatar Masters and Qualified Masters in both recruiting and signing a potential student up to the Avatar Course.
This undue influence continues on the path of the Avatar student, including the sign up to advanced courses, internships and staying on the path.
In a court of law, it is arguable that a significant amount of contracts made with Avatar Masters and Stars Edge would be void due to the amount of undue influence and coercion the person is subjected to.
Sometimes this undue influence has involved the unethical use of the Avatar tools, exercises, processes and policies – often used for days at a time – to encourage the Master to find a way to the next course. Peer pressure, intimidation and shame are often used as part of this undue influence.
This often involves the missing of important events such as funerals, leaving babies and children at home, hospital appointments, births of nieces/nephews and important business meetings.
This undue influence has encouraged students and masters to get into debt, borrow of Avatar Masters, ruin their relationships with their loved ones, sacrifice their careers, and has led to the absolute exploitation of some Avatar Masters and QMs (some working 100+ hours per week).
Financial Ruin and Bankruptcy
The amount of financial ruin experienced by Avatar Masters is immeasurable and astonishing. A huge number have gotten into considerable debt over the years, often using up all their assets and losing the respect of their friends and family.
The average debt of a new Avatar Master is $20,000. If Interning over a year, this can reach $35,000/$45,000. Some Masters have known to have debt as high as $100,000.
Some ex-members, friends and family members have claimed Masters have gone bankrupt.
Some Avatar Masters have struggled to eat, pay rent/mortgage and been close to homelessness whilst being a practicing Master. Some have had to go on to Government benefits whilst still practicing as a Master and giving the illusion that they are “creating their own reality” whilst on-course. Stars Edge Trainers are fully aware of this deception on-course.
These same Masters have still been encouraged to take out more loans approved by a Trainer, despite their circumstances.
Avatar Masters with existing assets are being encouraged to loan students and Masters money, with the approval of a Stars Edge Trainer, sometimes with the person taking out multiple loans with multiple Masters.
Some of these Masters have been “demanded” and “coerced” by Avra Honey-Smith and her Trainers to “cough up” large sums of money due to transgressions they have committed so this same money can be used to lend to a newly qualified Avatar to “keep them on the Path”. This has amounted to an “obscene” amount of money per Master.
Some Masters have loaned students who are “unemployed” and are from poorer countries in order to attend an Advanced course or stay on “the Path” as approved by Avra and Stars Edge Trainer. Often these loans are never paid back. This financial burden is left with the Master and never ever Stars Edge.
Avatar Masters are loaning students and masters as much as $20k (per student) throughout the period of 3 months. This is in addition to the student/master having other existing loans and credit cards.
A student could spend $20k in as little as 1 month if they are fast tracked through the Avatar Course, Masters Course and Wizards course.
Illegal Practices of Psychological Practices
The Avatar Course uses psychological processes and techniques to break down the student. The process of sharing a student’s whole life starts at the Personality Profile in the Resurfacing Course.
Throughout the Avatar Course, the student will continuously be told to share “what comes up for them” and “their main issues in their life”. This will be solved with a perspective from the trainer or QM, a mini course program, or debugging exercises if the student gets stuck or begins to go psychotic.
Students are expected to go into deep wounds, no matter how painful and shocking. This has included physical and sexual abuse. In these circumstances the student may have to run through the event over and over again for hours at a time (Releasing Fixed Attention) with an unqualified master. Any resistance is dealt with.
There are no mental health practitioners on course, or anyone qualified in dealing with mental health. If a student has a breakdown they are sent to a mental hospital and often dumped by the Trainers and the Group.
Such breakdowns are ALWAYS passed off as the student’s responsibility. This is despite the fact there is not one person who holds the education or qualifications to make such a claim.
Despite the harm done to students, which has included suicide throughout one course according to one claim, Stars Edge claims no responsibility and believes their “tools” and “processes” to be fool proof.
Psychological processes and accompanied ‘counselling’ is conducted with Avatar Masters throughout their whole time as part of the Stars Edge Network. If a Master has a breakdown, they are often ostracized and blamed for the experience.
Psychological and Emotional Abuse
There have been countless accounts of psychological and emotional abuse in the Stars Edge Network.
Extreme control by Avra Honey-Smith with regards to the QMs and Stars Edge Trainers has been noted behind the scenes at courses such as Wizards.
“At Wizards I experienced bizarre adulation and worship of Harry. I also saw the extreme control and manipulation of Trainers and Masters by Avra.”1
This extreme control, which includes psychological and verbal abuses, has also been confirmed by other ex-members who were higher up the hierarchy (Advanced Intern upwards).
Various mind games and gas lighting techniques used by Avra, Trainers and QMs, start as early as the Avatar Course and are carried out throughout the whole network.
There is the use of psychological techniques and mental manipulation by both the QMs and the Trainers to break down the student throughout their Avatar Course. This is often used to gain control of their experience and steer them in a direction the Trainer feels fit (sometimes at the request of Avra). Students are not made aware of these games which go on behind the scenes.
Shunning, shaming, intimidation and humiliation are used to maintain control of the Avatar Master.
Using confidential material against an Avatar Master is used to retain control of the Avatar Master.
Punishments, including excluding masters from courses, days upon days of integrity work and Avatar “exercises”, and the demotion of the pyramid are often used to control.
There have been claims of relationship control within the Stars Edge Network, with the belief that romantic love and marriage are a lower form of consciousness in comparison to ‘being of service’ to the Mission and Harry/Avra’s agenda.
Often this relationship control is implemented by a Stars Edge Trainer which will be accompanied by a tailored program of Feel-Its, Label-Its and various rundowns, until the Master sees the light and suppresses their true feelings for the sake of the bigger picture and the Group.
It has been admitted by Trainers that feelings such as love can be “discreated” and that the Private Lessons book holds the answers to “relationships”.
Peer pressure and confidential information is also used in this system of control.
Sometimes Avatar Masters have been advised to break up with their partners and to instead get into a relationship with another Avatar Master.
Relationships higher up the hierarchy are at the control and recommendation of Avra Honey-Smith.
Marriage is considered an “indoctrination”, a belief which QMs have even engaged in. This doctrine has contributed to people divorcing post-course.
Students are referred to a section on relationships in Harry’s Private Lessons book, which is taught as “truth”. This book is being used as a type of “bible” within the higher levels of Avatar, i.e. the Advanced Intern Program.
Harry and Avra are seen as “authority” in terms of their advice on who to love and who to have a relationship with. This is despite Harry and Avra’s rocky past when it comes to divorce and relationships. It is important to note they never have married and Avra still holds the surname of her ex-husband – Roger Smith.
Harry Palmer and Avra Honey-Smith have a long trail of abuse with regards to manipulating their members, including their Scientology Elmira days. They have a history of breaking up partners if it does not suit their agenda.
Child Rearing Control
There have been claims that Avatar Masters have been encouraged to keep their children at home, sometimes for weeks at a time, in order to “be of service” to humanity. This has even involved new born babies.
Family life, pregnancy and child rearing are seen as secondary to the cause.
According to an ex-Scientologist (as per an Affidavit) Avra Honey-Smith has in the past encouraged her followers to take birth control pills and dictate their relationships.
Neglect & Minors
There have been claims that parents have been encouraged to just leave their child to “come around” when experiencing severe reactions and a type of psychosis post Wizards. Instead, in our opinion, these children should have been referred to someone who could have helped them, rather than it being passed off as being part of their “awakening” or “entity issues”.
We question whether these parents were ever informed of the amount of hospitalisations that have occurred as a result of the Avatar Course, Advanced Courses and the practices of Stars Edge.
Children as young as 6 undertake the Avatar Course, with children as young as 10 committing to an “Enlightened Planetary Civilisation” (they are called “Juniors” in the pyramid structure). These children are often encouraged to attend every course and that the Mission is the most important thing in their life.
These children undergo on a regular basis practices and techniques which encourage them to take full responsibility for “everything” in their life and to internalise everything as being their fault. These include damaging “Scientology” adopted practices, such as Transgressions Kept Secret and a Guardian Heart.
This is extremely worrying as children are very vulnerable to abuse and being misled, and due to these practices, may not have their critical thinking switched on or their intuition active in order to keep them safe. They may also internalise abuse as being their fault.
Similar to Scientology, children have been referred to by Avra as “Small Body – Big Consciousness”. In her past Scientology Mission, she had a complete lack of respect for the needs of children, often referring to them as small adults and sending children as young as 12 out onto the streets to sell Scientology books on her behalf.
Severe Breakdown of the Family Unit
As a consequence of undertaking the Avatar Course, Advanced Courses and committing to an Enlightened Planetary Civilisation, there have been many reports of severe breakdown of the family unit for many Avatar Masters.
This is because family and the home are considered secondary to the cause and there is no respect for a Masters true beliefs and values.
Divorce and Separation
There have been many claims of divorce and separation as a consequence of either a student doing the Avatar Course or in becoming a practicing Master.
Again, marriage is considered an indoctrination in Avatar and relationships are seen as secondary to the cause.
Threats, Smear Campaigns and Fair Game Tactics
There have been various threats made by those who represent Stars Edge against their critics, which can be found on message boards. These have even included death threats.
From our assessment smear campaigns have been run against former critics and disinformation spread in situation reports.
From our assessment, these are part of what is considered Fair Game tactics.
Suppression of Free Speech
Due to the heavy-handed approach by Stars Edge in dealing with their critics, free speech has been significantly suppressed.
Most critics have been threatened with legal action if they speak out. At times, there have been claims that Harry Palmer has stressed that their lives would be “ruined”.
Very important information has been pulled down from the internet by Stars Edge over the decades in an attempt to suppress the free flow of information.
Harry Palmer has accused all those who speak out about Stars Edge and their practices as “Avatar Bashers” and that they are mentally ill. His reference for these claims is The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
However, Harry Palmer has no qualifications in the mental field what-so-ever.
The use of peer pressure has also been used to suppress a critic, including Avatar Masters persuading, manipulating or influencing another Master at the request of a Trainer.
Non-Disclosure of Religious Beliefs
There is no disclosure in the recruitment process or the beginnings of Avatar that there are religious beliefs at its core. These are not disclosed until the Wizards course, when Harry Palmers’ beliefs are more opening expressed and the beliefs of the group become known.
These beliefs include the nature of creation, occult practices and the belief that “entities” are the cause of all of our troubles in the world.
Even then not all of Avatar’s beliefs are fully disclosed until you move towards being a Trainer. The beliefs of extra-terrestrials and a galactic confederation are kept secret for years, sometimes decades later.
In the deeper levels, there is the belief that Harry Palmer has been given authority by extra-terrestrials to enact Avatar and create an EPC (and even a Galactic Civilisation).
At the higher levels of the Advanced Intern Program there is a lack of respect and none belief in conventional medicine.
The beliefs of “Bodhisava”, “reincarnation” and “karma” are also beliefs of the group which are not disclosed. These are not mere beliefs, but are strongly ingrained within the group at higher levels.
Hospitalisations and Suicide
There have been many hospitalisations reported regarding a student or Master’s involvement with the Avatar Course, Advanced course and even being part of the group. There has even been one claim of suicide. These hospitalisations have sometimes resulted in long-term mental issues.
Even so, these are never brought to the attention of Avatar Masters or new students. They are kept “secret” and “behind the scenes”.
All hospitalisations are passed off as the students responsibility and are felt to be a “creation they could not handle”, a “creation they needed to experience” or a “lack of willingness to look at something on course”.
The Avatar tools are considered fool proof and only have dire consequences if not used correctly. This is despite them never being assessed by a professional or having no external enquiry.
Consequences to Mental Health
There have been significant consequences to an Avatar Student or Avatar Master’s mental health due to their involvement with Avatar, the Advanced courses and the Stars Edge Network.
These have included prolonged anxiety, depression, PTSD, severe psychological issues and suicidal tendencies. Some people claim their psyche is still damaged decades later.
Avatar and the Stars Edge Network is psychologically and emotionally abusive and many ex-members have needed exit counselling and/or psychological intervention.
There has been a “recorded” incident of blackmail used by Harry Palmer and Avra Honey-Smith against an ex-Scientologist and Avatar Trainer in 1988.
The blackmail involved the threats of the release of the Trainer’s “ethics folder” which contained overts (secrets) if she did not clean up her act about Harry Palmer. This was after she woke up and decided to leave.
This was confirmed by the police at the time because the typing in the blackmail letter she received matched the typewriter they had in their possession.
There have been claims that confidential material is being used in the higher levels to blackmail and a policy known as Ethics Procedure is being applied with regards to Masters folders and their written up transgressions.
1 to 1 Brainwashing Sessions
There have been claims of 1 to 1 brainwashing sessions being used when controlling an Avatar Master. These have even been to stop someone from leaving the group.
These have also been used to change the Master’s sense of reality and even to convince them that they were the one’s responsible for events which they clearly were not responsible for.
There are claims by Stars Edge that they have an internal accountability body, but many say this does not exist.
Harry Palmer, Avra Honey-Smith and Stars Edge International appear to have no accountability body regarding the operations, management, practices and policies of their organisation.
Lack of External Evaluation
To the best of our knowledge there has been no external evaluation of the Avatar Course, Advanced Course and the processes which are used.
This is despite the harm done over the years, the lack of credible contribution to creating the “tools” and the amount of controversy Avatar has received.
Lack of Transparency
There is no transparency as to the financial structure, company income and operational management of Stars Edge International. This is despite the fact that this organisation has such a huge objective to create an enlightened, responsible and compassionate planet.
Upon recruitment, Avatar Masters and Stars Edge fail to disclose the following to potential students:
- The true origins of the Avatar Course.
- Religious beliefs and occult practices at Wizards onwards.
- Hidden agenda regarding the push for Avatar Masters and QMs to make sure “every student” gets to Wizards.
- Hidden agenda regarding an initiation process at the beginning of Section 3 of the Avatar Course.
- The reality that a huge majority of Masters fail due to the flawed multi-level marketing set up.
- Huge possibility of going into financial debt.
- Abusive activity within the Stars Edge Network, including spiritual, psychological and emotional.
- Non-beliefs of romantic partnerships and marriage (advanced intern program upwards).
- History of hospitalisations.
- History of suicidal tendencies.
- History of mental health issues occurring as a consequence of courses and being part of the Network, such as PTSD, anxiety and depression.
- The true financial structure of the organisation, including how QMs and Trainers get paid and where a Masters Internship fee goes.
- The extreme beliefs of the group higher up, including lack of respect for conventional medicine and a strong focus on entities.
- The need to worship and honour Harry Palmer and Avra Honey-Smith if you have done Wizards and commit to the Advanced Intern Program.
- The expectation that you will need to give up family commitments, time with friends, weddings, births, funerals and even hospital appointments.
- A committed Avatar Master will be expected to partake in psychological abusive behaviour, gas lighting, lying and going against their integrity for the sake of the bigger picture.
- No critical enquiry allowed of Harry Palmer, Avra Honey-Smith, the Stars Edge Network and Stars Edge International. All questioning is considered to be an “integrity” issue of the student/master.
- The fact that many have called Avatar a “destructive and dangerous cult”.
- The organisations use of Fair Game tactics and encouragement of harassment and threats to their critics.
Therefore, it is arguable that Stars Edges clauses and disclaimers are unenforceable due to lack of disclosure.
Lack of Integrity and Ethics
Despite preaching integrity to others, the Stars Edge Network completely lacks ethics, honesty and integrity.
Lies, dishonesty, lack of transparency, holding back information, making up stories, abusive and manipulative behaviour, are all encouraged if it is best for “the bigger picture” and for Harry/Avra’s agenda.
This practice in Avatar is called having a Guardian Heart where you are willing to do anything and go completely against your own integrity and values for the cause.
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