For ten years of my life, I wore orange as a disciple of the notorious guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho. I met Rajneesh in India, and when he moved to the United States, I followed him to participate in constructing the city of Rajneeshpuram on a hundred-square-mile ranch in Oregon’s high desert. The commune was my home until its collapse following an FBI raid in 1985. I was on security duty the day of the raid and my utopian bubble burst when they uncovered evidence that our cult had perpetuated the largest bioterrorist attack in modern American history. (Portrayed in the 2018 Way Brothers hit Netflix series, “Wild, Wild Country.”)
My memoir, A Slice of Orange, covers what led me to join a cult, how I recovered from the psychological devastation – and the many joyful times in between. My journey there and back led to a career as a trauma therapist, and a life-long fascination with the psychology of persuasion.
I was born in Rugby, England, and my family moved to Montréal, Canada when I was a child. I traveled to England to study Drama and English at Bristol University and lived there until my interests in psychology and spirituality led me to India. I am now a writer and psychotherapist based in San Diego, California.
A lifetime of chronic illness, a recent bout with cancer, and my years as a somatic therapist have led to the creation of Plant Talk - When the Tree Hugs You Back which helps readers access nature's support for sickness and suffering.
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Nicola Ranson is a somatic psychotherapist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and English from Bristol University, England, and a Masters in Social Work from San Diego State University in California. She was on the adjunct faculty of National University’s Counseling Psychology program for approximately seventeen years. She was a winner in the San Diego Memoir Association’s competition in 2019 and 2020, and in 2022 the screenplay she co-wrote for “Tattooed Trucks of Nepal – Horn Please” won “Best Script” at the Sicily Art Film Festival. Publications include “Shaking the Tree: Brazen. Short. Memoir”, the Journal of Expressive Writing, The Mighty, Stage Directions, Somatic Psychotherapy Today, and Advanced Computer Entertainment.
Nicola Ranson lives with her husband, film-maker Ron Ranson, in San Diego, California.