Article ID: JAF2003LM | By: Lindsey Medenwaldt


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Synopsis

The New Age Movement has made a resurgence in 2020, particularly among those claiming to be spiritual and not religious. We cannot continue to write off the New Age as something of the past. It is in the here and now, and even Christians are being enticed by it. Teal Swan and Chani Nicholas are popular among those seeking spiritual enlightenment.

Swan claims to have endured horrific sexual abuse at the hands of a satanic cult as a child, and she uses her platform to help others overcome their own personal trauma. Recently, Swan has been immersed in controversy, not only because she has no expertise in trauma other than her own experiences, but also because two of her followers reportedly committed suicide after listening to her lessons about how suicide can be a safety net. Swan’s popularity doesn’t seem to be waning, though. She has more than 675,000 YouTube subscribers and almost as many Facebook followers. She’s also the author of five books about self-healing and rediscovery.

Nicholas, who just released her first book, You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance, has one million monthly visitors to her website and recently appeared on the Netflix show Explained: Astrology. She is not only a voice for New Age spirituality, but as someone who emphasizes her feminism and sexuality, she connects with people from all types of backgrounds. The difficulty with Swan and Nicholas is that their mission seems to be pure — to help those who need guidance — but their ideas are dripping with New Age spirituality. Ultimately, according to Swan and Nicholas, our hope is not found in Christ, but in the stars and within ourselves.


 We may be past the “Age of Aquarius,” but that does not mean the New Age Movement has disappeared in the twenty-first century. In fact, it seems to be infiltrating Christianity, and it is possible that some Christians do not realize it. Disturbingly, according to a 2017 Pew Research poll, 26 percent of Christians believe in astrology, 40 percent believe in psychics, and 29 percent believe in reincarnation.1 This indicates that some Christians think that New Age and Christian beliefs can coexist. With celebrities like Oprah claiming to believe in Jesus while saying that he is not the only way to salvation, it is more important than ever that Christians are grounded in truth and can clearly spot and rebuke falsehood.2 By understanding some of the practices and teachings of current New Age leaders, we can prevent the New Age from intruding into our churches and hearts.

Teal Swan’s Haunting TeSTIMONY of Childhood

Teal Swan, born Mary Teal Bosworth, has been making quite the splash in the media, in sources from the BBC to popular Internet sites like The Wrap. Swan does not claim to be a Christian or a member of any religion, but she does involve herself intensely with spirituality. She considers herself a spiritual healer and trailblazer in the realm of personal development, mainly because of her own experiences with trauma. Swan’s testimony of her childhood is about as horrible as one can imagine, from ritual abuse3 to rape, which eventually led to self-harm and a dramatic escape from a cult at age nineteen.4

A Gifted Child

Swan says she was born extra-sensory, with clairsentience (intuitive ability to feel things), clairaudience (intuitive ability to hear things), claircognizance (ability to know of events without being told about them), and clairvoyance (ability to see visions and symbols).5 She claims that because she possesses these gifts, she was often misunderstood as a child.6 By age nineteen, she had seen fifteen to sixteen mental health professionals, all of whom diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder. She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.7

Her parents tried to find her help, and a trusted mentor entered Swan’s life when she was five. Swan refers to him as “Doc,” and she describes him as a psychopath with multiple personalities.8 She says the abuse she endured was not normal abuse and that there was “mind control going on like crazy.”9 Doc allegedly began removing her from her bed at night to take her to satanic cult rituals when she was six years old, and she was forced to participate in or witness various ceremonies, including seven child sacrifices.10 The cult identified Swan as the Oracle and their future female leader, the Pythia.11 When asked why she did not tell her parents about what was happening, she says that she was programmed not to, and if she shared details about the cult with her family, they would be murdered.12

Beginning at around age twelve, Swan says she was pimped out to men at local gas stations. She describes these men as sadomasochistic, noting that they would suffocate her while they were having sex with her.13 This was when she started to view death as freedom. She wanted to die so that she would be free. She began cutting herself around age eleven, and she had multiple suicide attempts before she turned nineteen.14

Swan Chose to Suffer for Humanity

Swan believes there is a higher purpose for her having to endure so much pain. Swan claims that before her time on earth, she was an Arcturian (alien) being who entered into “a contract before birth to experience the darkest of the dark.”15 She says she reviewed her soul contracts and realized that she told her Arcturian spirit guides not to intervene, no matter how horrible her earthly experiences were.16 She says she has suffered so she could help humanity overcome developmental trauma, something she claims is an unknown zone in psychology.17

Swan’s New Age Beliefs

God, Oneness, and Truth

Swan does not deny the existence of the divine, which she often refers to as Source. Her view of God is not that He is the personal God of Christian theism; rather, she has a pantheistic view of God — that is, we are God and God is us. For Swan, God is everything, denying any distinction between Creator and creation. She says, “God is omnipresent, omnibenevolent. It is the pure unfiltered oneness that is the universal truth of this universe. God is consciousness. God is energy. God exists both incorporeally and in physical manifestation. It makes up all that is, which means you are God, too, this is why God is often referred to as the higher self.”18 As Christians, we agree that God is omnipresent and omnibenevolent, however, we do not believe we are God. Scripture is clear that we are wholly separate from God, who is our Creator. In Romans 1:25, Paul admonishes the people of Rome for worshipping created beings rather than God Himself. We are created in His image (Gen. 1:27), but that does not make us God.

Swan also denies that anyone needs to believe in God in order to live a fulfilled life. “It does not matter that people know conceptually what God is, or even that they acknowledge that it is,” she says. “A life is not favored or forsaken for belief or lack of belief in it. The omnipresent potential energy which has often been called ‘God’ is a universal, objective truth that is ever-present whether it is consciously acknowledged or not. You are never cut off from it. You are it.”19 This is contrary to Christian teaching, which says one is cut-off from God because of sin and must be reconciled to God through repentant faith in Christ and His death and resurrection (2 Thess. 1:9, Rom. 6:23). God’s grace is given freely, but we must choose to receive it by believing in Christ’s atonement for our sins (John 3:36). Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV).

Swan also believes in oneness between the divine and humanity. Swan says, “But the highest truth of this universe is oneness. There is nothing that is not God. All beings in existence are part of that oneness. Just as illusion and truth are both part of what is real. Demons and angels are both part of God. They are a fragmentation, a division within source consciousness, a fragmentation within the mind of God. They are both God’s children so to speak.”20 These ideas contradict what the Bible tells us about God, angels, demons, and humanity. Some of it even conflicts with what Swan herself teaches about oneness, as in another video she says oneness is not the highest truth of the universe after all.21 To justify her contradiction, she encourages her followers to watch her video called, “Why Are Spiritual Teachers So Contradictory?” 22 in which she explains that it is because spiritual teachers are constantly re-adjusting their views based on their experiences in the multi-dimensional universe.

Scripture tells us that God does not contradict Himself (Num. 29:13), and He isn’t a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). In other words, anyone who professes anything about God cannot contradict God’s teachings. The Bible warns us about false teachers in 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (ESV).

Because God cannot contradict Himself, we also know that Swan is incorrect when she says, “Objective truth is always evolving because Source itself has a subconscious and is always expanding because it is always in the process of becoming more conscious of itself. Source itself is in pursuit of universal truth. The more conscious it becomes of itself, the more the ‘truth of itself’ emerges and therefore changes.”23 But objective truth is, by definition, objective because it is always true at all times and in all places. Further, God does not change (Mal. 3:6, James 1:17). He does not need to pursue truth, because He is Truth.

Jesus and Lucifer

Swan describes Lucifer as the consciousness of ego and Christ as the consciousness beyond the ego.24 She writes:

There is much talk in Christan [sic] circles about the many disguises of Satan.…But what we are going to have to accept is that the ultimate disguise of Lucifer is as the singular Christ. If someone says, I am Christ, they are actually in Luciferian Consciousness. This is because Christ Consciousness is love. To love is to take something as part of oneself.…Christ Consciousness therefore, is to take all things as part of oneself and to do so with your free will.…If Christ recognizes itself in and of all things in existence, it can no longer recognize itself as a singularity. It would recognize itself (and Christ therefore) in a piece of bread, in an animal and in every other person on the street. To say I am Christ, is to separate. It is Luciferian consciousness in the disguise of Christ.25(Emphasis in original.)

Admittedly, this is somewhat confusing, but Swan is saying that Jesus was Lucifer in disguise because claiming to be Christ (or accepting the title) would be to separate, not to unify, which is in opposition of what the true Christ would do.

This is not what the Bible teaches. Scripture says that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God, who never came into being because He has always existed (John 1:1–3, 14, 18; 8:58; 10:30–36; 17:5, 24). Furthermore, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3 NIV), and “he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17 NIV). As such, He is absolutely distinct from creation — He is indeed a “singular Christ.” Satan, however, is a created and fallen angel (Luke 10:18; Col 1:15–17). The Bible warns that Satan will disguise himself as an “angel of light,” (2 Cor. 11:14–15 NIV), but Paul was talking about spotting false prophets who teach in opposition of Christ, not Satan pretending to be Jesus. Scripture refers to “Satan as a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 ESV), but this does not mean that Satan is Jesus in disguise. Jesus said, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30 NIV), and when responding to those who accused him of being a demon, He challenged them with the proof of His good works (John 10:37–38 ESV). Light cannot exist in darkness and lies cannot also be truth. Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 NIV), therefore, Jesus cannot also be Satan, the father of lies.

Reincarnation

Swan also believes in reincarnation and that she is the re-embodiment of the popular Indian guru, Sai Baba, who is admired by both Hindus and Muslims.26 His goal in life was to end human suffering, and she says that she continues that quest in this lifetime.27 About reincarnation, she says, “There is truth to the idea that you will unconsciously choose to incarnate until you are fully conscious of free will. And believe me, you have no idea what I mean by that yet. And then, reincarnation is something that is either consciously chosen or not.”28 She warns her followers that using karma to explain reincarnation is not fair because people have free will on all frequencies, and doing bad in one life does not mean the person’s next life will be awful because of some kind of cosmic punishment.29

Her views contradict Scripture, which says that we come into existence when we are conceived, not before (Ps. 139:13–16, Zech. 12:1). Only Jesus existed before His birth (John 1:1–3, 14), but He is God, who is timeless and has always existed. Furthermore, Jesus and the prophets taught that it is appointed for people to die once and then be judged by God (see John 5:24–30; Heb. 9:27; see also Matt. 25:31–46; Dan. 12:2).30

The Completion Process

All of Swan’s teachings culminate in what she calls The Completion Process, also the title of one her books. Although she is not a psychologist, she uses this process with all types of people, from children to adults.31 Her book, The Completion Process (Hay House, 2016), is her strategy on how one should heal the traumas of their past, and there are no citations to any outside sources within the text. She says that because of her own experiences with trauma, she is uniquely equipped to help others heal.32 The Completion Process walks a person through their traumas from childhood to adulthood. They are encouraged to imagine they are re-living specific traumatic scenarios, to validate the emotions they feel within the memory, and to then close the memory by bringing themselves back to the safe haven they have created in their minds.33 In the end, the traumatic memory is said to be deactivated, and the person can then move forward to healing and purification.34 Swan’s hope is that the Process will allow people to overcome their childhood traumas by re-experiencing them in their minds so that they can live in the present without the burden of their past pain.35 This Process has become so popular that she offers seminars and retreats to train people to become certified in it,36 even though she has no professional credentials. There is no requirement for a background in psychology or mental health in order to be certified in the Process.

A Controversial Character Cult Leader?

In the popular Netflix show, Explained: Cults,37 author Reza Aslan explains that there is a problem defining the word “cult”38 because “it’s a value judgment more than it is a functional word.”39 Part of the issue is that the Internet is such a pervasive force in our culture, and people can find their community virtually, rather than in person. Swan was highlighted on the show, which said she is one of the new leaders in the social media revolution, using online tools to “attract fervent virtual followers.”40 Swan’s followers are referred to as the “Teal Tribe,” and many of them get an alchemy tattoo that matches Swan’s. Although the show did not go so far as to call her a “cult leader,” they did note that her group possesses some of the markers of a cult, including targeting those in vulnerable states, providing retreats secluded from the rest of the world,41 and a charismatic leader.42

Understandably, Swan has strong feelings about being called a cult leader. She says, “The first thing you must understand…is that I am a personal transformation revolutionary. I am not a cult leader. The Teal Tribe is a shared personal growth community that is based on the material and information I create. Teal Tribe is not a cult.”43 Time will tell whether Swan is leading a cult, but some of the language she uses is alarming, especially concerning suicide.

Suicide: A Safety Net44

One issue that has been most contentious for Swan is her views on suicide because recently, two people who followed Swan have killed themselves.45 Because of her own four suicide attempts,46Swan says, “I get people who are suicidal better than anyone else.”47 What is more disturbing and potentially dangerous is that she tells her followers, “Know that you can always kill yourself tomorrow. In fact, you can always kill yourself in five minutes. What I want you to know is that for now, suicide can be your safety net or your re-set button in that it is always available to you.”48 After encouraging the person to visualize their death and imagine what the scene would look like from above, she tells them to consider the consequences of having to start life all over again: “Death is nothing more than a halting of all forward momentum and from that place, we find we desire momentum. And so, if after death the only place to go from there is towards life once more, why leave? Why not do the most with what we have already built and learned instead of starting over from scratch with a new life?”49 Finally, Swan says, “There are no consequences awaiting those who commit suicide after death.”50

Her views on suicide are consistent with her beliefs about reincarnation. If one believes that death simply brings on another life, her view of suicide as a reset button makes sense. But this is not compatible with Scripture. Suicide is not an unpardonable sin because “no single act is unforgivable. The unforgivable sin is a continuous, ongoing rejection of forgiveness.”51 However, suicide is the murder of oneself, and murder is a sin (Exod. 20:13). Ultimately, our lives have value (Matt. 6:26, 1 Cor. 3:16–17) and should be valued.

Chani Nicholas, Astrologist to the Stars

While not nearly as controversial, Chani Nicholas is increasing in popularity and celebrity status just like Swan. She has recently been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Forbes, and just about every fashion magazine you can imagine. If you have a subscription to Oprah’s O Magazine, you are likely familiar with her horoscope section in the magazine. She was also highlighted in the recent Netflix show, Explained: Astrology, and you may have seen a video released in January 2019 showing Nicholas giving a public astrology reading to popular hip-hop singer, Lizzo.52 Officially, Nicholas has kept her client list private, but recently, she’s been stepping into the limelight to share her astrological gifts with everyone. With one-in-four Christians claiming to believe in astrology,53 it’s important for the church to consider Nicholas’s rising popularity.

At 44, Nicholas, who is Jewish, is taking the astrology world by storm. She’s been in the astrology business for more than twenty years, and more than one million people visit Nicholas’s website monthly to read her predictions, which is not surprising, considering the surge of Millennials who are diving into astrology.54 Nicholas believes that millennials and Gen Z are interested in astrology because they are so driven by what she calls “identity politics” ― astrology is just one more way that people can identify themselves.55 Self-awareness and identity are important to her, and she once noted, “My work — every horoscope, all of it — is just me talking to myself.…I guess I need to always know that I’m not in it alone.”56

Nicholas refers to her brand of astrology as “astro-political self-help”57 and says that “horoscopes themselves are like a gateway drug. Obviously, they’re not going to be incredibly specific because I’m writing one horoscope for one-twelfth of the population.”58 With her new book, You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance (HarperOne, 2020), Nicholas is hoping to shine a light on how astrology can improve everyone’s life. She writes, “This book is offered to you in the hope that it will validate your deepest desires and dreams for your life while challenging you to accept the responsibility of bringing them into being.”59

A Spiritual Start

Despite Nicholas’s celebrity status, she remains private on many of her personal experiences. That said, she has talked about how she got her start in astrology publicly. Nicholas’s gateway into astrology happened when she was twelve and her father married a woman whose mother was a Reiki master.60 In what Nicholas calls “a bonding experience,” her whole family got a Tarot card reading from Taina Ketola, a renowned Canadian astrologist known for her work in Third Stage Astrology. Her grandmother gave her Ketola’s book, The New Astrology: Sun Signs (Sure Seller, Inc.: 1994), and Nicholas’s passion for astrology was solidified. Her family also used to do Tarot readings at the dinner table, and Nicholas says that she studied Reiki61 with her grandmother for twelve years.62

Nicholas became passionate about the stars because she felt like she could learn more about the people she loved by knowing their signs.63 She never thought astrology would be a career option for her, though. Nicholas says she did not think astrology was a credible job choice, but she says that “the planets had a few ideas. …they were getting louder and more domineering, waking [her] up terrified in the middle of the night.”64 She dropped out of three master’s programs before giving into astrology as a career.65 She began studying astrology with popular astrologist, Demetra George, and with that, accepted her role as someone who would read the stars to help others find their purpose.66

YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS

Nicholas knows astrology is not particularly specific, but she is trying to change that with her new book, which is meant to be a companion piece for her website, chaninicholas.com. The hope is that the reader will go to her site and get a birth chart (a free service) and then use the book to learn even more about who they are.67 She says, “Your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky the moment you took your first breath. It marks your arrival here on earth; a celestial blueprint, if you will, that holds the keys to living a life of purpose.”68 The birth chart goes all the way back to the minute someone was born, making it more suited and accurate for a specific person. The tools she offers will, she says, “anchor your understanding of yourself, your life, and its meaning, and aid in your ability to love and accept yourself as you are. Understanding our astrology chart is the doorway; the effort to move through it is our own.”69

Once a person has their birth chart, they can use Nicholas’s book to unlock the keys associated with the sun, the moon, and their ascendant (motivation) planet sign to gain more insight about themselves, hopefully leading the person to accept themselves for who they are.70 Like Swan, Nicholas is interested in using her skills to help people heal. She writes, “Your astrological makeup is a neutral reflection of your life, much like a mirror. Only the person looking at the reflection judges it; the mirror simply reveals what is there. Astrology reminds us that we are exactly as we are supposed to be for good reason. On purpose and with a purpose that we must live out if we want to feel any kind of fulfillment.”71

INSPIRED PLAYLISTS

If you listen to Spotify, you may have stumbled upon one of Nicholas’s astrologically inspired playlists. In 2019, Nicholas teamed up with the popular music streaming service to create cosmic playlists, which are curated monthly, musical horoscopes.72 Nicholas won a 2019 Webby Award for Best Influencer Endorsement,73 so her Spotify lists are popular. The playlists are designed around the astrological signs, and each list has a variety of music genres featured. Nicholas says that she hopes people will use the playlists for “inspiration, reflection, or for [their] own personal dance party.”74 This is just one more way that the message can seep into our daily lives without us realizing it. Be watchful (1 Pet. 5:8 ESV) because the enemy is sneaky in his tactics — do not let him prevail (Eph. 4:27 ESV).

Christians and Astrology

Although by many astrologers’ own admission, astrology is not scientific, people are still drawn to reading the stars. A horoscope section is a regular column in most major newspapers, and even former president Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, who were professed Christians, were known to consult with an astrologist when they had to make difficult decisions.75 The Bible tells us that seeking wisdom from astrologists is nothing new (Isa. 47:13, Dan. 2:10–11, Acts 19:18–20); indeed, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9 NIV). However, the practice is condemned as “detestable to the Lord” (Deut. 18:10–12).76 Isaiah says,

All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!
Let your astrologers come forward,
those stargazers who make predictions month by month,
let them save you from what is coming upon you.
Surely they are like stubble;
the fire will burn them up.
They cannot even save themselves
from the power of the flame.
These are not coals for warmth;
this is not a fire to sit by.
That is all they are to you—
these you have dealt with
and labored with since childhood.
All of them go on in their error;
there is not one that can save you. (Isaiah 47:13–15 NIV)

Other verses warn against astrology and sorcery, too (Lev. 19:26, Dan. 1:20, Zech. 10:2). Christians should not entangle themselves in astrology and instead rely on God. Our identity is found in Christ (John 1:12, Eph. 1:5), not in the stars.

 

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE: GENTLENESS AND RESPECT

Although Swan and Nicholas both hope to help others, Christians cannot join their tribes or promote their teachings. Instead, we should offer truth, spoken in love, so that we can stamp out lies. Test the sprits to see if they come from God (1 John 4:1 ESV), and if they do not, firmly reject them. But our response must be with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15 ESV). We should pray for Swan, Nicholas, and their followers. They are lost, and we should show them the love and kindness of Christ and help them realize that the Lord’s purpose will always stand (Prov. 19:21 ESV). Perfect peace is found in Him (Isa. 26:3–4). Finally, do not be tempted by these spirits (Matt. 26:41 ESV). Put down the horoscope and pick up the Word of God.

Lindsey Medenwaldt is Executive Director of Mama Bear Apologetics, and she speaks and writes primarily about world religion and how to talk with those from other worldviews. In addition to a Master’s in Apologetics and Ethics from Denver Seminary, she has a JD from St. Mary’s School of Law and a Master’s in Public Administration from Midwestern State University.

Notes: 

  1. Claire Gecewicz, “‘New Age’ Beliefs Common Among Both Religious and Nonreligious Americans,” Pew Research Center, October 1, 2018, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/01/new-age-beliefs-common-among-both-religious-and-nonreligious-americans/.
  2. For an overview of New Age beliefs, see Lindsey Medenwaldt, “What Do New Agers Believe?,” Mama Bear Apologetics, November 29, 2018, https://mamabearapologetics.com/what-do-new-agers-believe/; and Elliot Miller, “The New Age Movement: What Is It?,” Christian Research Journal, Summer 1985, Christian Research Institute, https://www.equip.org/article/the-new-age-movement-what-is-it/.
  3. For more on ritual abuse, see Bob and Gretchen Passantino, “The Hard Facts About Satanic Ritual Abuse,” Christian Research Institute, https://www.equip.org/article/the-hard-facts-about-satanic-ritual-abuse/; and Bob and Gretchen Passantino, “Cult Mind Control,” Christian Research Institute, https://www.equip.org/article/cult-mind-control/.
  4. Swan briefly describes her childhood in the introduction of her book, The Completion Process: The Practice of Putting Yourself Back Together Again (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2016), xi–xv.
  5. Open Minds, season 8, episode 21, “Healing the Subconscious Shadow with Teal Swan,” hosted by Regina Meredith, on Gaia Network (Prime Video), May 18, 2017, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  6. Open Shadow: The Story of Teal Swan, directed by Paola Marino (2016), featuring Teal Swan, https://www.gaia.com/video/open-shadow-story-teal-swan, 10:28 to 10:54.
  7. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  8. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan; Open Shadow, https://www.gaia.com/video/open-shadow-story-teal-swan, 12:19 to 12:39.
  9. Open Shadow, https://www.gaia.com/video/open-shadow-story-teal-swan, 2:42 to 12:49.
  10. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan. Swan filed a claim against “Doc,” whose real name has not been publicly released, in 2005, but no charges resulted. Charles McCollum, “Editor’s corner: Claims of local torture cult got this editor’s attention,” Herald Journal, March 27, 2011, https://www.hjnews.com/opinion/editor-s-corner-claims-of-local-torture-cult-got-this/article_401a99ca-581b-11e0-baa4-001cc4c002e0.html.
  11. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  12. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan; Open Shadow, https://www.gaia.com/video/open-shadow-story-teal-swan, 12:55 to 14:02. See Bob and Gretchen Passantino, “Cult Mind Control,” https://www.equip.org/article/cult-mind-control/.
  13. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  14. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  15. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  16. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  17. Open Minds, https://www.gaia.com/video/healing-subconscious-shadow-teal-swan.
  18. Teal Swan, “What is God,” accessed February 21, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/what-is-god/.
  19. Swan, “What is God,” https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/what-is-god/.
  20. Teal Swan, “Integration…The True Mission of God,” accessed February 21, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/integration-the-true-mission-of-god-r247/.
  21. Teal Swan, “Oneness is Not the Ultimate Truth of the Universe, December 2, 2017, video, 3:42, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo2JW7kN5DI.
  22. Teal Swan, “Why Are Spiritual Teachers So Contradictory?,” November 15, 2013, video, 14:52, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCMBMQjjD7I.
  23. Teal Swan, “Objective Truth (Do We Create Our Own Reality?),” accessed February 21, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/objective-truth-do-we-create-our-own-reality-r348/.
  24. Teal Swan, “The Lesson of Christ and Lucifer – Integrate Your Ego,” accessed February 21, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/the-lesson-of-christ-and-lucifer-integrate-your-ego-r342/.
  25. Teal Swan, “The Lesson of Christ and Lucifer – Integrate Your Ego,” accessed February 21, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/the-lesson-of-christ-and-lucifer-integrate-your-ego-r342/.
  26. Gabriel Kundalini, “Teal Swan on Her Past Life as Sai Baba from India,” accessed February 28, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuMr2BrIuyM.
  27. Kundalini, “Teal Swan on Her Past Life as Sai Baba from India,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuMr2BrIuyM.
  28. Teal Swan, “Karma (Does Karma Exist or Doesn’t It?),” accessed February 22, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/karma-does-karma-exist-or-doesnt-it-r347/.
  29. Swan, “Karma (Does Karma Exist or Doesn’t It?),” https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/karma-does-karma-exist-or-doesnt-it-r347/.
  30. See Douglas Groothuis, “The Reincarnation of Reincarnation,” Christian Research Institute, January 16, 2020, https://www.equip.org/article/the-reincarnation-of-reincarnation/.
  31. Teal Swan, The Completion Process: The Practice of Putting Yourself Back Together Again (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2016), 4.
  32. Swan, The Completion Process, xiii.
  33. Swan, The Completion Process, 193–94.
  34. Swan, The Completion Process, 194.
  35. Swan, The Completion Process, 11.
  36. See “Philia Costa Rica,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://philiacenter.com.
  37. Explained, season 2, episode 1, “Cults,” aired October 18, 2019, on Netflix, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NWIfiV1_XQ.
  38. Because the Teal Tribe isn’t Christian, it wouldn’t fall under the standards of a theological cult, however, it is practicing a false religion and spirituality, which means it could qualify as a sociological cult. For more information on the definition of a cult, see Hank Hanegraaff, “What is a Cult?,” Christian Research Institute, October 15, 2010, https://www.equip.org/bible_answers/what-is-a-cult/, and Hank Hanegraaff, “What is a Cult?,” Christian Research Institute, August 22, 2014, https://www.equip.org/broadcast/cult-qa/.
  39. Explained, “Cults,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NWIfiV1_XQ.
  40. Explained, “Cults,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NWIfiV1_XQ.
  41. Swan offers retreats in the U.S. and Costa Rica. See “Philia Costa Rica,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://philiacenter.com. Each suite is designed around one of Swan’s original frequency paintings. “The vibration will work subliminally on your guest to catalyze desired changes. Both the door and duvets will carry the vibration.” “Rent – Philia,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://philiacenter.com/rent/.
  42. Explained: “Cults,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NWIfiV1_XQ.
  43. Teal Swan, “Is Teal Swan an Online Cult or Not?,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/is-teal-swan-an-online-cult-or-not-r373/.
  44. Each page of Swan’s website, https://tealswan.com/, states: “If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger – don’t use this site. These resources can provide you with immediate help (click here).” The link leads to a list of emergency hotlines, including 9-1-1 and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  45. See Lebo Diseko, “Teal Swan: The Woman Encouraging Her Followers to Visualise Death,” BBC News, November 23, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50478821.
  46. Teal Swan, “Suicide — What to Do if You’re Suicidal,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/what-to-do-if-you-re-suicidal/.
  47. Teal Swan, “Teal Swan’s Stance on Suicide,” August 13, 2018, accessed February 24, 2020, https://tealswan.com/teals-blog/teal-swans-stance-on-suicide-r565/.
  48. Teal Swan, “Suicide — What to Do if You’re Suicidal,” https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/what-to-do-if-you-re-suicidal/.
  49. Teal Swan, “Suicide — What to Do if You’re Suicidal,” https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/what-to-do-if-you-re-suicidal/.
  50. Teal Swan, “Life After Suicide,” accessed February 23, 2020, https://tealswan.com/resources/articles/life-after-suicide/.
  51. Christian Research Institute, “Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin,” January 10, 2011, https://www.equip.org/bible_answers/is-suicide-an-unforgivable-sin/.
  52. “Chani Nicholas Forecasts Lizzo’s Big Year,” accessed February 22, 2020, video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbRDGLeuG2k, 0:46.
  53. Gecewicz, “‘New Age’ Beliefs,” https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/01/new-age-beliefs-common-among-both-religious-and-nonreligious-americans/.
  54. Chani Nicholas, quoted in Julie Beck, “The New Age of Astrology,” The Atlantic, January 16, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-new-age-of-astrology/550034/.
  55. “Chani Nicholas on Astrology + Cosmic Playlists,” RUSSH Magazine, September 26, 2019, video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af2Q7_6liVA, 2:03 to 2:15.
  56. Jazmine Hughes, “Your Favorite Internet Astrologer Wrote a Book,” New York Times, January 4, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/style/chani-nicholas-astrologer.html.
  57. Chani Nicholas, You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance (New York: HarperOne, 2020), 6.
  58. Explained, season 1, episode 14, “Astrology,” aired August 8, 2018, on Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/title/80216752.
  59. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 7.
  60. Neve Be, “Chani Nicholas,” Babe Squad, http://babesquad.com/chani-nicholas/.
  61. For more about Reiki, see Sharon Fish Mooney, “Reiki: With Minds Wide Open,” Christian Research Journal 29, no. 6 (2006), https://www.equip.org/article/reiki_with-minds-wide-open/.
  62. Be, “Chani Nicholas,” http://babesquad.com/chani-nicholas/.
  63. “Chani Nicholas on Astrology + Cosmic Playlists,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af2Q7_6liVA, 0:09 to 0:40.
  64. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 5-6.
  65. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 6.
  66. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 6.
  67. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 11.
  68. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 9.
  69. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 11.
  70. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 11.
  71. Nicholas, You Were Born for This, 10.
  72. “Cosmic Playlists on Spotify,” accessed February 22, 2020, https://chaninicholas.com/x-spotify/.
  73. “Cosmic Playlists on Spotify,” https://chaninicholas.com/x-spotify/.
  74. “Cosmic Playlists on Spotify,” https://chaninicholas.com/x-spotify/.
  75. Explained: Astrology, https://www.netflix.com/title/80216752.
  76. Divinization includes astrology, which attempts to receive counsel or secret knowledge through symbols, omens or other occult means.