It seemed like the end of a typical reiki attunement: A group of women wearing yoga pants and flowing floral skirts, gathered in a healer’s home after a course in the alternative therapy of balancing chakras, clearing auras and transferring energy.
But it was the early days of the pandemic and COVID-19 was spreading fast. The women in the room stood so close that their bodies touched. No one wore masks.
Kathleen Abraham, 61, saw that the Facebook photo of the group had been taken in the Orange County home of one of her dearest friends, a woman she had known for 15 years who had helped her recover from breast cancer and introduced her to the world of New Age spiritualism.
Weeks later came another jolt. Her friend announced on Instagram that she had been red-pilled, a term used by QAnon adherents to describe their conversion to belief in the conspiracy. Another old friend, Abraham’s first reiki master, was also growing more extreme, writing that the COVID-19 pandemic was a conspiracy and face masks were toxic.
QAnon’s conspiratorial belief system has now pulled in at least a dozen people in Abraham’s spiritual social circle, including two of her closest friends and two friendly psychics who always claimed the booth next to hers at New Age trade shows.
“I realized that I had to release them with love,” said Abraham, an energy healer and certified crystal practitioner from Trabuco Canyon. “It’s hurtful — it’s a deep, painful heart hurt. It’s just really…