Passionate Journeys

Why Successful Women Joined a Cult
Marion S. Goldman
Women who abandoned career and family to follow the guru Rajneesh provide insights on the universal quest for love and acceptance


Passionate Journeys explores the fascinating stories behind the Bhagwan Rajneesh phenomenon of the 1970s and 1980s, focusing on women who left families, careers, and identities to join the community of Rajneeshpuram. Rajneesh was a spiritual leader for thousands of young Americans, and in rural Oregon his devotees established a thriving community. Marion S. Goldman's extensive interviews with women who participated at Rajneeshpuram provide a fascinating picture of the cultural and social climate that motivated successful, established women to join such a movement.

Passionate Journeys will appeal to specialists in feminist theory and women's studies, sociology, religious studies, American studies, and the history of the Northwest.

Marion S. Goldman is Professor of Sociology, University of Oregon. She is also the author of Gold Diggers and Silver Miners: Prostitution and Social Life on the Comstock Lode.

Praise / Awards

  • "A provocative, timely and insightful window into the world of Rajneeshpuram that allows the reader to see beyond the myths and stereotypes of the religious commune and into the hopes, desires, and cultural forces that led high-achieving women to follow Bhagwan and his vision for the future. Marion Goldman's writing is compelling and accessible and her scholarship is exemplary . . . a valuable and highly significant contribution to the study of gender and new religious movements."
    —Janet Jacobs, University of Colorado, author of Divine Disenchantment: The Failure of Charisma in New Religious Movement
  • "Passionate Journeys demonstrates that the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh were no more deranged than practitioners of many, if not all, religions in their formatives years and that their guru was perhaps no different from the founder of any religion: 'a madman, a savior, a charlatan, and a saint.' It is only our own inability to tolerate moral ambiguity that assigns perfect goodness to certain religious leaders and absolute evil to others. Goldman's book, with its pathbreaking methodology, is a brilliant look at the nature of religious experience and a major contribution to our understanding of so-called cults."
    —Michael Aaron Rockland, Rutgers University, author of A Bliss Case: A Novel
  • "Readable and entertaining . . . Goldman's book pursues one of the most fundamental and neglected questions about religious movements: that they typically over-recruit women from privileged backgrounds. In this instance, why did so many professional women flock to Oregon to devote their lives to a guru from India?"
    —Rodney Stark, University of Washington, author of The Rise of Christianity

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Marion Goldman in The Conversation Link | 4/30/2018

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 312pp.
  • 8 page photo section (14 B&W).
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08844-7

Add to Cart
  • $24.95 U.S.