Spiritual leader Teal Swan has become an internet celebrity. But there is an opposition growing against her claiming that her teachings are harmful and her following on Facebook called Teal Tribe has cultish elements. Understanding both sides of the story is the intent of this article, so that resolution between them might be reached.
Spiritual teacher Teal Swan has taken the internet by storm. Her Facebook group Teal Tribe has over 22,000 followers and she commands a following of over 50,000 on Instagram.
Photo Credit: https://tealswan.com/about-teal
But her teachings have sparked controversy. FB Group Truth Tribe and Instagram Group @QuestionTeal have emerged.
“Tealers,” as members of Teal Tribe call themselves, have felt aggressively attacked by these “haters” and are skeptical of any material published about Swan. For their sake, I state my intent directly: To explore both sides of a controversial issues as objectively as possible.
In her book Shadows Before Dawn, Swan alleges that for 13 years she was ritualistically abused by a man Doc and his Satanic coven, but that at age 19, she escaped and found an old friend named Blake Dyer who helped her heal.
Photo Credit: https://crystalsofcompassion.com/2016/03/01/book-review-shadow-before-dawn-by-teal-swan/#jp-carousel-373
She states, and Dyer confirms, that she was born with extrasensory abilities which remained present but not fully actualized for many years. With the birth of her son Winter, however, she began to embrace her abilities in order that she might nurture those within her son.
As she began her spiritual journey, she discovered that she must first heal from the trauma she faced during her long years of abuse. This evolved into a new healing modality she termed “The Completion Process.”
Tealer since 2012 Stevan states that this process and Swan’s teachings helped him discover an awakening that “allowed me to have a second chance at living life HAPPILY.” He states:
“[Swan] helped me mend the wounds that were soo [sic] deep within my soul that I alone could not overcome. She showed me to dive into my fears instead of running from them. That I was made to SURIVIVE and not only survive but to one day THRIVE.”
Tealer Cady says that “[Teal] tribe is where I go when I am elated or miserable and I want to share it with someone, but I know I won’t find the support I am looking for anywhere else” while Aleisha says that she goes there to connect with like-minded souls.
Some, however, have been banned from Teal Tribe for raising concerns about Swan and her teachings. Others have left voluntarily. Agnieszka, former member of Teal Tribe, says, “I left because I didn’t want to be in a place where people get silenced for voicing their concerns, asking questions, and being critical.”
Other concerns have emerged and sparked claims that Teal Tribe contains cultish elements. In 2014, LaVaughn, who had begun publicly speaking out against Swan since 2013, wrote an article in which she claimed that Teal Tribe contained cultish elements including Swan’s “charismatic leadership,” a sense of family belonging, love bombing, and lack of fiscal transparency.
Photo Credit and link to LaVaugn’s article: http://www.celestialhealing.com/2014/02/breaking-teal-spell.html/
These claims spread and in December of 2014, Swan responded with an article entitled “Cult or Movement” noting that the definition of a “cult” is subjective, that a cult is not necessarily negative, and that we should be more concerned about the harm a spiritual or religious group is causing harm, not its cult like status.
When asked whether Teal Tribe was a cult, Tealer Rahaf notes that “from an outsider point of view” Teal Tribe may look like a cult because some “think Teal is like a holy person,” but she also notes that this is a minority.
Tealer Joanna states:
“Every time there is someone whose ideas and teachings are drastically different from mainstream perspectives they get called a “cult.” It’s kinda whatever [sic] at this point. Every group starts to qualify as “cult” when you start breaking down the definition. At some point, one has to make their choice based on whether it’s helpful or harmful to THEM as an INDIVIDUAL.”
Self-identified “gay spiritual seeker” and member of Truth Tribe Justin Luria offered his opinion of Swan and her teachings.
Photo Credit: http://www.healingforgrounding.com/about/justin
He first became aware of Swan in early 2015 and was “to see a younger person on YouTube talking about good topics like the shadow and spiritual bypassing,” but was skeptical of the “hypnotic setup she had.” Lastly, he states that he felt “disappointment, as she was seeming to fall into some traps of misunderstanding or limited understanding of the topics she was talking about.”
It was not until 2016 that Lurie publicly spoke against Swan. As a fellow spiritual teacher, he was reluctant to speak negatively about her but found the Completion Process dangerous and possibly harmful.
He goes further and states that she does not offer an adequate amount of time to fully teach people how to practice trauma or memory repression therapy. This lack of training is dangerous because attempting to access repressed memories can “rewound” individuals causing more harm than healing. Even with his experience, he still refers those with serious trauma to “more experienced practitioners.”
He is not the only one who has expressed concerns. The State of Utah filed a citation against her for practicing psychiatry without a license in the state. She was cited and charged to pay $500, which was never paid.
The Completion Process has led to positive results for many. Swan’s teachings and presence have helped foster a community full of authentic expression and shared vulnerability. Her work is inspiring but possibly dangerous.
She has become an idol to many and cultish elements have emerged within her following. When writing this article, I posted a rough draft on Teal Tribe in hopes that others would help correct factual errors. Dyer contacted me and later left the conversation without warning. Another administrator Graciela Hernandez then contacted me telling me to remove the draft as it was emotionally harmful to Swan.
Swan refused to reply to this article. The following day, however, a video appeared on Instagram where she mentioned a negative article that had been written against her and how she was becoming desensitized to the negativity.
The inaccessibility of Swan and the defensiveness of her entourage is alarming given the cultish elements that have been alleged. This forces me to ask a deeper question: What would a cult on Facebook look like and has Teal Tribe reached a cult-like status?
Answering these questions is impossible without both sides engaging in constructive conversation together. Hostilities and refusal to hear the other side must desist for a fuller dialogue to take place. Swan and the Tealers as well as the Truth Tribe “haters” must set down their aggressions and come together for a momentary truce to address this controversy and put it to bed once and for all.