Podcast Review: Twin Flames – The Story of a Relationship Cult

I always try to remember that most “deep dives” are one-sided. Documentaries, podcasts, and other long-form mediums are typically biased… so now that I’ve said that… WTF?! This group sounds insane! Twin Flames is a podcast about a relationship self-help group that could be labeled a cult. And what’s worse? Their ability to ruin lives reaches far beyond the cult members themselves, all in the name of true love. This is a podcast you won’t want to miss.

Stephanie Beatriz (most notably from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Encanto) hosts Twin Flames and unravels the teachings of Jeff and Shaleia Ayan, the leaders of their so-called “universe.” Going into the podcast, I had no idea who Jeff and Shaleia were or why they had notoriety. Much like Teal Swan, the couple gained fame through YouTube and TikTok. Their outreach encourages their followers to find their soul mate, or twin flame if you will, which, on the surface, sounds lovely. Everyone could benefit from finding someone to love, and if Jeff and Shaleia could find each other, anyone could find true love if they wanted it bad enough. So you can understand why they gained such a passionate following.

We all want love, that happily-ever-after feeling of finding your soulmate. What if someone not only claimed they could help you find that perfect partner, they guaranteed it? Jeff and Shaleia, a young couple famous on YouTube, teach about ‘Twin Flames’ — a deep, romantic connection with your perfect partner in their videos. It’s divine love, you’re designed for no one else, and they’re designed for no one else. But the path to finding your Twin Flame isn’t so simple. Some followers claim they were encouraged to cut ties with friends and family that are holding them back and to claim their Twin Flame by any means necessary. From Wondery, Twin Flames is a podcast about what happens when the quest for love turns into a dangerous obsession. Hosted by Stephanie Beatriz.

The Twin Flames podcast blew my mind. I’m trying really hard to understand how participants kept going back over and over again. Some were asked to change their gender identity, some were encouraged to follow their love interests to other countries, and every time a restraining order was issued, it was a celebration that the program was working. I don’t blame the individuals who fell victim to Jeff and Shaleia, but I can’t say I understand them. Then again, typically, the only ones who understand are the other cult members, which is why I and many others find cults so fascinating. In this case, I can see why people joined; I just can’t see why they stayed. I guess we all want to be loved at any cost. But shouldn’t we recognize the difference between love and obsession?

The podcast’s six episodes are around 30 minutes a piece, each more intriguing than the next. So, if you like a good love cult story, give this one a try!

Listen to the entire podcast below:

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