This week, Netflix released a new docuseries about the Twin Flames Universe cult titled Escaping Twin Flames. This comes after Amazon Prime Video’s own Twin Flames docuseries, Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames Universe, which premiered last month. Many are asking, do we really need two docuseries about this bizarre cult? And the answer is yes, obviously. We can’t get enough! After all, we got multiple docs on both Fyre Festival and NXIVM. And while the Amazon docuseries is a great primer on the Twin Flames Universe, Netflix’s series reveals how the cult has expanded in ways you wouldn’t expect.
“Twin Flames” is a term used to describe a deep, spiritual love between two people. It was only a matter of time before someone monetized it. The Twin Flames Universe (TFU) began with Jeff and Shaleia Ayan (the couple have gone by many names, but they used Ayan in this series). They opened a school where, through expensive classes, people could achieve a “harmonious union” and find their twin flame. According to former members, the TFU shifted into a cult where the Ayans acted as the “gods” of the students. The appalling behavior of the Ayans was exposed by multiple articles, reports, and complaints filed by families of students.
A cult of cash and control
There is a lot of new information to unpack in Escaping Twin Flames, but one big thing stood out to me. The Ayans are trying to expand their influence and monetary gains by opening up more companies that may not seem like they are affiliated with TFU. They opened up the Church of Union to skirt around paying taxes or paying for labor. There’s a video clip of Jeff Ayan saying he can avoid paying employees this way and just rely on volunteers. TFU members are pressed to volunteer their time on top of paying for a membership. The Ayans don’t hide the wealth they’ve acquired as “gurus.” In many videos, they show off their sports cars and their large home.
More surprising are their forays into video game development and cooking classes (because even cults have to diversify in this economy). Yes, some online cooking classes you signed up for might unknowingly support a cult. I guess you can never be too careful on the internet. The “Divine Dish” program began as another paid program for members of TFU. This also allowed the Ayans to control the diets of their students, all from the comfort of their living room. However, the classes are easily accessible for those not in TFU. Nowhere on the site does it make clear the affiliation to the Ayans or TFU. The website touts the meal plans as being “Food For God-Conciousness,” whatever that means.
Do they know what they are eating?
In addition to not having any credentials to be counselors or therapists, Jeff and Shaleia Ayan are also not nutritionists. They claim the meals were created by “Chef Jason” (no credentials listed) who teaches the online classes. Those classes range from $49 to $99. After a free trial of meal plans, they encourage you to sign up for the $100/month subscription. This also gives members access to the Facebook group to share how “good” the food is.
During Escaping Twin Flames, one former member of TFU talks about the meal plans. She says all the food is carb and red meat-heavy. The point is to make you “feel heavier” so you can stay present in your body. After being on the diet for about 7 months, she approximated she had gained 70 lbs. Many of the other members had also gained significant amounts of weight and developed health problems like diabetes. I don’t care if people eat junk food, but it is not right to market something as “balanced eating” when it clearly isn’t. The Ayans are using any avenue they can to make a buck off of unsuspecting people online. Just remember, next time you buy on the internet, make sure it is cult-free.