Opinion: The Twin Flame Game – How one couple set fire to the concept of soulmates with an elaborate scam
In Ancient Greek mythology there is a theory that each individual is created from ‘two halves of one soul’, and the split pneuma would navigate life living in separate bodies – forever searching to reconnect with their ‘missing half’.
‘Split soul theory’, as it is known, was then absorbed into Roman mythology after its Greek origins, and has been seen in The Egyptian Book of the Dead and Ancient Tibetan texts. The romantic concept has time travelled under a range of guises from Zeus to Zoomers – and is now colloquially known as ‘Twin Flames’.
If you thought the idea of soulmates was romantic, Twin Flames are purported to be soulmates on steroids. Not only does the union promise the best sex of your life, but it is also the roadmap to one’s spiritual life purpose. When you meet your ‘flame’ you are strapped into a rollercoaster ride of love, running and chasing, separating and eventually re-uniting in a glorious wave of glitter, godlike ascension to the mystical planes of enlightenment and cherubs with harps (or something like that).
An argument exists that the idea of Twin Flames glorifies the cycle of abuse, with the ‘runner/chaser’ dynamic, the ‘arguments with your mirror self’ and the ‘more enlightened twin’ fighting for the union to work, whilst the other – apparently ‘terrified of the intensity’ seeks to flee from the relationship. Far from being celestial - some who admit to finding and then losing their ‘twin’ may be stuck in a delusional self-imposed relationship hell where they find themselves stalking the guy they had a quick fling with at the office party.
Symptoms of meeting your Twin Flame include; feeling you have met the person before, being inexplicably drawn to a stranger who isn’t your usual type and having a love at first sight moment when you least expect it.
It certainly sounds more enticing than a life spent trying to re-kindle a deadened sex life, a routine trip to Tesco on a Sunday morning, or arguing over bills.
However, since the age of the internet entrepreneur, the historical notion of split soul has been capitalised on by self-proclaimed gurus who claim to have contact with the divine, and of course, for a ‘reasonable fee’, the average Joe can jack into this mystical hotline and find their Twin Flame.
A Netflix documentary released this month entitled ‘Escaping Twin Flames’ takes a deep dive into how one couple took the idea of the ideal and used it to fund their lavish lifestyle.
Founders of Twin Flames Universe Jeff and Shaleia Divine(yes really), from Michigan – preyed on vulnerable victims to create an elaborate network of ‘coaches’ and ‘expert classes’, sucking thousands of dollars from their devoted following. The pair, who say they are indeed Twin Flames, started their own journey with YouTube tutorials about how to get rich with online marketing and soon realised that romance was their most lucrative source of income.
Jeff claimed he had contact with God, could pair up Twin flames and at one point claimed to be the living incarnation of Jesus. Victims spoke of being allocated into the ‘divine masculine’ and ‘divine feminine’ and were paired up with their ‘flames’ – who mostly just happened to be part of the online group. If they dared to question the founders, they were accused of having ‘spiritual blockages’. One woman was told to practically stalk a man at work with the persistence of a ‘honey badger’.
She was continuously told by Jeff that she should ‘get her man’ and that she was ‘too much in her masculine’. The woman then started to wear dresses, put on lipstick and would send long, heartfelt messages to her workplace friend who at first kindly rejected her advances and then outright called her deluded by the end of it – leaving her heartbroken.
Jeff encouraged people to chase their Twin no matter what, one incident even resulted in a restraining order. When that didn’t work, members were conveniently matched up – even if they expressed no attraction to one another. Jeff and his wife were seen bragging about their hot tub, pool, expensive car and mansion – hardly in alignment with the Christlike image he wanted to project.
Many examples of verbally abusive behaviour have been seen on the team’s online meetings and former members said their self-esteem and bank balance had been torn apart by Jeff and his schemes.
Twin Flames Universe have denied all allegations of exploitation and abuse, but the documentary has cast doubt among the Twin Flame community and the former members have alienated potential love interests and friends with outlandish behaviour such as stalking and harassment.
So what does this mean for the idea of soulmates as a whole? Are Twin Flames nothing more than a caustic abstraction rolling out fortunes with all the equivocate of a pay-by-minute psychic? Did it take another internet scam to unveil the more sinister side of a conception that gave millions of people hope that a spiritual, all-encompassing love does exist?
Isn’t love what makes our hamster wheel existence all worth it? The fact we give time to make money, and once we have enough money our wrinkles and walking sticks signal there is no time left? Does that guy exist – the one who will say yes to an impromptu trip, build me a bigger bookcase when I insist I just NEED the latest Lucy Cooke release, try weird and random foods with me, leave me in solitude just because he knows I love it?
More importantly, could he love the darkness – the anxieties, the days where I don’t want to get out of bed, the fact that after four glasses of Merlot, I could potentially be more cutting than a sushi knife? Will we fall in love at first sight? Is there some guy out there who’s randomly drawn to me and has no idea why? Or is it all a pile of cultish, new-age nonsense?
Because after watching that documentary – the next time I catch eyes with an interesting stranger, or feel a surge of unexplained attraction, I might think twice, or thrice before building our imaginary shared vegetable plot in my mind.