Screwed Up

Spirituality and Toxic Marketing, with guest Ash Riley

November 4, 2021

We sat down to chat with business expert Ash Riley on spirituality and toxic marketing, ethics, trauma-informed messaging and so much more.

Who hasn't seen a wellness influencer market themselves as being a "six-figure coach" or a new ager selling a pricey service they claim you could afford if you just asked "the universe to manifest the money" for it. These tactics are often employed by spiritual practitioners who use the Law of Attraction (LoA) as a way to manipulate vulnerable people into buying their services, and/or by spiritual practitioners who are new to spirituality. The latter often have no business training, but will be encouraged by "pop" spiritual coaches to start selling their services out of a sense of having to fulfill a God-given purpose. Some spiritual practitioners also often engage in aggressive marketing out of a need to survive. The entire spiritual business model is rotten, according to our guest, and based on deceptive, capitalistic models. 

We invited Ash Riley to discuss with us the ways in which spiritual entrepreneurs can create conscious and trauma-informed, compassionate businesses that are no longer based on deceptive marketing tactics. Ash Riley walks us through what led her to create an online community to support professional spiritual entrepreneurs who want to align their spiritual business with their core values. 

About our guest

Ash Riley holds a B.A. in Journalism with a concentration in Strategic Communications and a minor in sociology. She is a business and marketing expert whose professional career spans nearly two decades, including four years as a business consultant for early stage tech startups.

She's also a modern-day mystic, intuition development mentor and blogger who writes extensively about marketing and spiritual ethics on her blog, In My Sacred Space. Her writing advocates for a science-based, socially responsible, trauma informed spirituality.

She recently launched an initiative to inform spiritual practitioners about toxic marketing practices in the wellness industry and establish a new paradigm for conscious business. 

Here is the episode rundown:

  • Channeling Erik and the beginning of Ash's spiritual journey
  • Why does spirituality have such a big toxic marketing problem?
  • What made Ash Riley leave spirituality, then come back
  • How marketing's history is rooted in trauma
  • Why spirituality shouldn't be your only source of income at first, or come from a place of need
  • Dr. Lana re-tells us the story of how a charlatan once used the LoA to manipulate her into buying her services
  • What is trauma-informed marketing, and how can spiritual practitioners apply it?
  • How to stay authentic and true to your values in your spiritual marketing strategies
  • Why spiritual practitioners should be at the forefront of the world's rising social awareness and no longer make excuses
  • Dr. Lana explains how there needs to be more access to resources and knowledge from the mental health field to engage in preventative work
  • Ash's Encyclopedia of Spiritual Terminology and Meanings

For links and references mentioned in this episode, please visit our website at

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