CW: talk of mental health, suicide, drugs and drug use, cults, brainwashing, and sexual abuse
See if you can guess which quote comes from Teal Swan amongst these cult leader quotes.
"Don't believe for a second that Jim Jones thought that he was causing people harm. He thought that he was helping people. He thought that the only way for them to be free, was to die."
"I want you all to imagine that you're dead. So we're all going to get suicidal for a moment."
"If you remove yourself far enough from the limited point of view of pain, you will see that at the root of all things that are negative in this world is the physical fact that we are all nothing but the victims of victims."
"If you look at the demographic of people who are interested in my type of material - you're working with an unstable group of people. [To suggest I am] responsible for suicide in people who came to me suicidal, that's pretty insane."
Kicker, they're all from Teal
Who is Teal Swan?
There is a lot to talk with Teal Swan. Too much. But I also don't want to give her any benefit of doubt by first prepping you with her life story. We'll get into that later. What I do want you to know right up front, is that I'm angry. I'm angry that the internet has allowed for people like Teal Swan to thrive and flourish; that she can reach as many people as her various social media platforms allow; and that her contrived blend of "spiritualism" and "healing" techniques prey on those already hurting and looking for answers. These type of people are a dime a dozen online, and yet Teal has skyrocketed to fame - because she is attractive, because she is a skilled manipulator, and because she can cold read a room with the best of them.
Teal Swan is a cult leader, and she's dangerous. She's making money off vulnerable people who need the care of doctors and therapists, not a two bit hack who charges hundreds of dollars per ticket to her Synchronization Workshops. She is very good at slapping balderdash together to look like she's a "thought leader", "authentic" and "true".
Or, as her own website states:
She will reflect things about humanity, the world, and the universe that humanity perceives to be positive. But she will also reflect things about humanity, the world, and the universe that humanity does not want to accept, own, or integrate.
Fucking word salad nonsense.
Let's give some facts about Teal and her "tribe" (white women using the word tribe is incredible tone-deaf and cringey):
Her SEO game is strong and her videos target vulnerable people looking for answers. If she is truly some kind of leader or guru, she should be trying to help people get proper medical advice and assistance, not marketing to them. It is, at best, deeply irresponsible.
She refers to herself as the "Spiritual Catalyst" and her ambitions include building a global empire based on self actualization and related concepts.
Teal claims to be "extra-sensory", capable of seeing the truth of the universe and sensitive to different vibrations, and even has a hard time plugging in electronics or anything using electricity because she is typically shocked.
According to Swan, she was abducted by a Mormon Satanic cult as a child, where she suffered years of abuse and was sewn into a corpse.
The therapist (Barbara Snow) who helped her unearth these memories has a troubling history involving similar allegations, and investigators couldn't verify them. Unsurprising, given that they are almost verbatim the same Satanic ritual abuse cult claims that fueled the 1980s Satanic Panic and that have been massively debunked. She also encourages followers to work to recover their own abuse memories. And there's so much more.
She is a fan of "recovered memories" which ties directly back to the Satanic Panic, a book called Michelle Remembers by Lawrence Pazder, and famous cases like the McMarten Preschool Trial. 40 years later, the same tune is still being played, and Teal is getting famous and rich off of it.
At least two people have taken their lives after posting about suicide on Teal Tribe, Teal's Facebook page.
The BBC's Investigation: Casey's Story
The BBC launched an in-depth investigation of Teal back in Nov 2019; the article is called "Teal Swan The Woman Encouraging Her Followers to Visualize Death"
- You can read the entire article in our show notes but here are bits that really stood out to me, and it mostly involves a young woman named Casey.
- Casey, 18 years old, took her own life in 2019. Her mother, Sarah, went looking for answers and began pouring through Casey's social media and internet searches.
- She spotted that Casey had shared her pencil portrait on Facebook with the caption identifying it as Teal Swan, and soon realized her daughter had joined the "Teal Tribe" - a private Facebook group, which means only members can see what is in it.
- Sarah joined the group and was horrified at what she discovered. She read a post by her daughter saying that she had tried to take her own life. The picture with the post was a stock image of a woman holding two fingers to her head like a gun.
- In response, two people, including one of the volunteers that help moderate content in the group, replied with Swan's video entitled "I want to kill myself (What to do if you're suicidal)".
- In the video Swan urges those who are feeling suicidal to seek medical help, but goes on to say that in her experience, for some people, this may not help long-term. She instead suggests that suicide be seen as "our safety net or our re-set button that's always available to us". She argues that viewing it in this way enables people to set the idea aside, and instead concentrate on what they can do to make themselves feel better in the present.
- She also suggests an exercise in which viewers are told to lie down on the floor and imagine their deaths in "grisly detail". Swan argues in the video that by doing so viewers will realise that there is "nowhere to go but back to life... so why leave?"
- She stresses in the video that killing oneself would "create a devastating ripple" for loved ones, and "it does matter if you are here or not here... You don't want to die. What you want is an end to your pain."
- The video was among the top results in a Google search on terms related to suicide when we (the authors of this BBC article I'm paraphrasing and quoting from) viewed it in early November 2019.
- Just two weeks after Casey posted about her initial suicide attempt, she shot herself and died.
Experts on mental health and suicide have raised significant concerns over Teal's teachings. One of those experts is Dr Jonathan Singer, the president of the American Association of Suicidology.
"She's got these ideas that in her mind are only helpful. But for others could be really dangerous."
"What you're doing when you tell somebody to visualize how they're going to kill themselves, is you're telling them to practice in their mind,"
He explains that research shows this type of imagery rehearsal is "a very effective way of improving your actual ability to do something". For example, it is something that Olympic-level athletes use, he says.
"And so to tell somebody to think through how they're going to kill themselves, that's not safe."
In response to this BBC investigation, Facebook closed down the Teal Tribe closed forum, telling the BBC that:
"In consultation with suicide and self-harm prevention experts, our policies allow some content which expresses an intention towards suicide or self-harm as an opportunity for someone to respond to what may be a cry for help. However, we do not allow content which directly promotes or encourages suicide or self-harm."
But then of course, some of the former Teal Tribe members have set up a new Facebook group called "Phoenix Tribe." While it is not administered by Teal Swan, at least one senior person from her management team is a member, and the BBC article authors witnessed people talking about feeling suicidal, with no helplines offered from other members.
Making a Prophet(Profit)
And of course, like any good huckster, she sells her services, "lessons" and more at a premium price. I went on her e-shop and noted a few fascinating products:
Self-Love E Course by Teal Swan
Originally $199.99, it's now $149.99 and you get
- 11 video lessons with internationally recognized transformational revolutionary Teal Swan, also known as The Mirror.
- 11 Exercises that actually help you create change in your life and the way you feel about yourself.
- Guided steps to create a life where low self-esteem is replaced by knowing your self-worth.
- An in depth understanding of where self-hate comes from and how to cultivate self-love instead.
- A structured experience with steps that, by committing to, will begin to create a lasting change in your life.
- A private community of others on the journey towards self-love.
Not your speed? How about a "Blue Ray Self Love Grid Onesie"
- Self Love, The Arcturian Blue Ray Transmission The exact image of the vibrational Arcturian broadcast of "self oriented love". One healing modality used by the Arcturian race is Blue Ray healing. This transmission is one such healing frequency within the modality of Blue Ray healing. »»» Frequency Paintings by Teal Swan are energetic patterns that are a part of pre-manifested reality that then translate into your physical experience when you spend time near them! A frequency art product is homeopathic in nature and causes the person(s) around them to entrain with that particular frequency, or even multiple frequencies should you want to work with several. They are excellent to sit with in meditation, to have in your living space, and to wear with you throughout your day (the people around you will also get to benefit!). «««
- This product is hand made and made on-demand. Expect delivery to US in 11-23 business days (international 14-33 business days).
Oh, and if you didn't guess it already, Teal also claims to be an Arcturian, a part of an extraterrestrial race
Arcturus is one of the most advanced extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy. It is a fifth dimensional civilization, which in reality is like a prototype for Earth's future. Its energy works with humanity as an emotional, mental and spiritual healer. Their total focus in every aspect of their society is to the path of God realisation. The Arcturians teach that the most fundamental ingredient for living in the fifth dimension is LOVE. They teach that negativity, fear and guilt must be overcome and be exchanged for love, light and truth. The Arcturians work in very close connection with the Ascended Masters. The Arcturians travel the universe in their Starships, which are some of the most advanced in the Universe. The Arcturian society is governed by what they call the Elders, the Arcturian Central Conclave. These beings are revered by the people of Arcturus for their advanced knowledge, wisdom, and extremely high vibrational frequencies. The higher the vibrational frequency, the closer one is to love and light; the closer one is to Spirit. The Arcturians are most gentle, loving and non-judgmental Beings. There is also no sickness/dis - ease on Arcturus, it was eliminated centuries ago.
And Let's Do One More..
For $269, you get the Sexual Healing Course with Dr. Laura Bermann and Teal Swan
It's for anyone from sex abuse victims to those that want to reconnect to or improve their relationship to sexuality.
- Want to learn how to heal unpleasant or traumatic past sexual experiences?
- How to let go of sexual guilt or shame?
- How to set boundaries?
- Make sense of gaslighting?
Then this course is for you.
Sexual abuse and sexual trauma can be defined as distress that is sexual by nature, when there is no resolution.
Around 30% of women have been sexually abused and traumatized, and more and more men are coming forward today as well.
These are just the reported cases, but unfortunately the true number is unknown.
By adding an "expert" with Dr. Bermann, this lends an air of credibility to Teal's nonsense. This is incredibly damaging and irresponsible, and yet someone with name recognition like Dr. Bermann has signed up for it and plastered her name on it.
I haven't even gotten to her "Frequency artwork" which claims to provide benefits to those who are just around it!
To understand more about how this form of artwork functions, it is important to understand the meaning of the word "vibration". Everything in the universe is made of energy that vibrates, and everything that vibrates imparts or impacts information. The amplitude and frequency of energy is what determines how (in what form) that energy will express itself. We call this a "vibration". Teal is able to perceive information beyond the normal physical senses and create paintings that mimic the vibrational rather than physical (manifested) level of a subject.
By focusing on these frequencies and having them in your living space, they will cause your energy to "entrain" with and "resonate" at the same frequency and amplitude of the vibration that they are created to convey. And in turn, aid you to amplify and manifest the presence of the subject matter in your life.
Y'all, I cannot tell you how much I wanted to scream digging into all of this.
So, once you have your expensive e-course and your frequency artwork pendant, you can go troll through her hundreds and hundreds of videos. I tried to watch the latest one about "family" and it was....nonsense. Make it ten minutes and see if you don't bang your head into a wall. And this is a personal note, but I'm having trouble understanding how so many people think she's amazing - I see a pretty young woman whose stilted way of talking and fake laugh remind me of people like Alex Jones - hucksters, born and bred and happy to milk people out of their money and set their sanity on edge.
There's so much more, but I can't get into all of it or we'd never be done here. Two things I highly recommend - The Gateway podcast from Gizmodo, and the Oh No Ross and Carrie Podcast where they went to a Synchronization workshop with Teal. Hear it in Teal's own words. And see how easily she can sway people into thinking she's some kind of thought or spiritual leader, when she's actually a wannabe cult leader looking to make a quick buck.
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