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Escaping the Twin Flames: Unraveling the Dangers of a Potentially Harmful Cult

A cult that has been around since 2017 has recently gained backlash with the release of a Netflix docuseries, here’s why…

  The three-part documentary, “Escaping Twin Flames”, dives into the debated truth of Jeff and Shaleia Ayan’s ideas of finding your ‘twin flame’. A twin flame is an increasingly popular ideology that constitutes two individuals being each other’s half, forming a powerful soul connection between them. Contrary to the term ‘soulmates’, the two terms are not synonymous. A twin flame is a deeper term, referring to the personality, state and action similarities in the two destined individuals.

  Jeff and Shaleia met online in 2012 and started a spiritually profound relationship. Soon after, Jeff joined her in Sedona, Ariz., and the two later went to Hawaii. They started a blog on YouTube called “Awakened Intimacy” in 2014, discussing their relationship and providing advice for a younger audience on the search for love and intimacy. This provided a business opportunity for Jeff, but a way for Shaleia to spread her now controversial religious ideologies. 

  They created The Twin Flames Ascension School, referring to themselves as Shaleia and Jeff Divine. The school offers expensive classes called “ascension courses”, linked on their official website, the cheapest one being $111. The classes have different high price points that include Google Meets, Zoom calls, or pre-recorded videos from Jeff and Shaleia and their most devoted members, called “master certified ascension coaches”. The videos are meant to ‘ascend’ relationships and assist members in finding their twin flame.

  In 2020, the couple moved the group just south of Suttons Bay in Leelanau County, MI. They bought a nearly one million dollar home and are working on obtaining large sums of land for all their members. Recent ex-member allegations state they have taken advantage of lonely, love-seeking couples, telling them they were ‘linked with’ and ‘owed’ their other half, according to a deep-dive conducted by Alice Hines, a journalist at Vanity Fair. 

  Referring to themselves and their young daughter, Grace, they dubbed themselves “The Master Christ, eternal ruler of all creation by God’s loving hand.” Jeff individually being, “Father Christ”, Shaleia being, “Mother Christ”, and Grace, “The Princess of All Creation.” 

  In 2020, The Ayans (Plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit against an ex-member, Louise Cole for having “engaged in a purported conspiracy beginning in or around 2019 through their social media posts”, says the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) official website. The documents continue, listing alleged social media accusations against Jeff and Shaleia, which include but aren’t limited to: “promoting isolation and criminal behavior, such as stalking . . . practicing illegal psychotherapy on people . . . engaging in abusive and emotionally manipulative conduct designed to scam students . . . forcing people into unpaid labor . . . violating a person’s privacy by posting intimate details about them without their consent or permission . . . and holding a girl hostage in their basement,” among others, such as copyright infringement. 

  As a response to the social media posts, the lawsuit was filed under the reasoning that, “posts are harassing and meant to spread falsehoods to drive away Twin Flame Universe clientele and believers to the detriment of Plaintiffs’ services.” An extensive investigation presented by Vice Media uncovered ex-members and their past extortion, abuse and overall violations. In a letter written for non-believers, the Ayans said, “We will also pursue you to the fullest extent of the law for your crimes. We will subpoena every single social media outlet for your identities, your IP addresses, your computers and hard drives. Computer professionals with warrants will follow every detail of your digital footprint and collect all of the evidence. Police and detectives will be sent to each and every one of your homes to investigate you thoroughly. We will drag you in and out of court for a long, long time.” The case was later dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. 

  However, this isn’t the only controversy tied to the couple. Hines, the earlier mentioned Vanity Fair journalist, claimed that the Ayans “used mind games to convince Twin Flame Universe members to stalk their exes and pay thousands of dollars for online courses about how to find and secure your twin flame, even if they couldn’t afford them,” in a Business Insider article. The article supports Hines’s findings discussing the ex-members and their past abuse and experience within the Twin Flames Universe (TFU).

  In 2014, Ryan Gosling reportedly filed a restraining order against a woman claiming to be his twin flame. The woman bombarded his immediate family with several emails, and packages, and made an uninvited nocturnal visit at a residence of a family member, reported TMZ, First Post and Entertainment Tonight. On the other hand, a celebrity expressing her support for the movement was Megan Fox, in 2020, saying to astrologer Susan Miller, “I knew right away that he was what I call a twin flame”, referring to Machine Gun Kelly, her current husband.

  The movement continues to gain momentum and cause controversy in Northern Michigan. Today, the group now has more than 67,000 followers (according to their Facebook), and offers courses upward of $9,000. The debate continues with more information coming to light each day about ex-members and their trauma within the Ayan’s Twin Flame Universe. 

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About the Contributors
Ashlyn Cummings, Business Manager
Ashlyn Cummings is a sophomore in her first year of newspaper. She chose the class to expand her writing abilities and try something new. Ashlyn is currently a reporter in the newspaper. Outside of school, she enjoys playing softball, spending time with friends and family, and hunting.
Brody Weston, Business Manager
Brody Weston is a sophomore in his first year of newspaper. He took the class to be able to express his ideas in his school community. Brody is currently a reporter working on stories for the school newspaper and website. Outside of academics, he enjoys reading and exploring the outdoors with his dog, Nova.

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