April 25th, 2021
The Guru Magazine
The fast-growing Conspirituality Podcast recently featured a segment on Kaia Ra and Teal Swan on which they relied upon the reporting of Guru Magazine founder Be Scofield. The show, which NXIVM survivor Sarah Edmonson says is her favorite podcast, has garnered widespread attention and has been featured in NY Times, Rolling Stone, BBC, The Guardian, and VICE among others. Each week, hosts Matthew Remski, Julian Walker and Derek Beres discuss conspiracy theories, spiritual abuse, cults, new age gurus, and health misinformation. The show began in 2020 during the pandemic as wellness influencers began grifting people.
In episode 48 of the Conspirituality Podcast “Traumatic Influence,” the hosts discuss Satanic Panics and how new age gurus Kaia Ra and Teal Swan are exploiting trauma to build their spiritual empires. Julian Walker’s quote summarizes the episode: “So here are these two women running entrepreneurial, spiritual businesses based on their branded charisma and fantastical origin stories that then coincide with those gruesome traumas, supposedly leading to interdimensional, supernatural experiences and paranormal abilities through their ordeal.” The episode also features expert analysis from Halah Khouri and Kyra Haglund, both trauma experts.
Listen to the segment on Kaia Ra and Teal Swan here (transcript below)
Listen to the full pocast here.
Rough Transcript of Kaia Ra and Teal Swan Segment of Conspirituality Podcast
One topic we cover a lot on this podcast is how charismatic influence often bleeds over into the presumption of authority on multiple topics. This is of course, especially apparent under pandemic conditions in which self-styled spiritual teachers or alternative healers feel entitled to contradict epidemiologists and reinterpret public health through a conspiracy lens and fringe, medical doctors for their part wax poetic about near-death experiences or endorse alien channels. But what about those alien channels? What about the position of spiritual authority woven entirely from the fabric of algorithmic omnipresence and the also polices of personal mythology? What happens when that personal mythology is equal parts, traumatizing, horror story, and well-crafted credibility marketing aimed at a particularly vulnerable demographic. We’re going to talk about two influencers in this segment. And I should say at the top that we owe a debt of gratitude to Be Scofield for her in-depth investigative journalism in both cases. And we’ll link to those articles.
Teal Swan Video:
Welcome to your physical life, even though you don’t remember it before you came here, you had specific intentions to what you wanted to experience in this life. Some of you want it to taste of true love. Some of you to feel true freedom. Some of you wanted a simple life or else, the little things that matter dancing, you choose the perfect family and the perfect initial experience for this intention you set for this life. You knew all the potentials that would come from choosing those parents, that neighborhood, that culture, that place in that time, when you saw that perfect potential, you took it. You took it because you knew it would be the exact conditions necessary for your own personal expansion. And there is no difference between your personal expansion and the universe is expansion. When you expand the universe expands, when you learn, think universe learns,
All right, so that is tail Swan. She was born Mary Bosworth and has 1.2 million followers on Facebook and over 300,000 on Instagram to quote Scofield. She claims to have suffered 13 years of abuse in a child murdering Mormon, satanic cult, where she was apparently routinely tortured, sewn into a corpse for 12 hours and made to torture other children. Teal also that she’s a multidimensional Arcturian alien working with 11 other aliens in an intergalactic green peace type organization. She says she has x-ray vision and hearing, and that she can inject herself into people’s brain stems with no training qualifications or oversight. Teal has developed her own signature process for healing deep trauma that she calls the completion process on her website. 50 practitioners are shown who are trained in the method. She has also said that suicide is merely a reset button and unsurprisingly has had students kill themselves. Teal invites followers to a $5,000 a week long curveball retreat at her Philia property in Costa Rica. Whereas Gizmodo reported some participants end up never leaving, choosing instead to live there and work for her as completely unpaid volunteers. She also sells to row decks online courses for around $200 each and frequency paintings that she claims are medicinal and will help people to manifest what they want in their lives via energetic entrainment.
I think what’s so incredible about that opening clip, which I just, uh, ripped from the home page on YouTube for teal Swan is that it’s really, she she seems the, the, the entire text is offering this faux empowerment slash agency. You knew what you were destined for, you made these choices. Um, and, and yet there’s a real blade in there because, uh, what an incredible kind of influential induction into her mastery, her knowledge of what you’re all about, right? Like she’s using this second person intrusive omniscient, um, like the, the claims, I mean, she’s not, she’s not, um, she’s not saying anything negative or unappealing in that opening pitch, but she’s also establishing absolute dominance over, over listeners, emotional moment.
Yeah. Absolute dominance. And I am in touch with this higher truth that you have not grasped yet. Uh, and, and grasping it is the way towards your healing and your freedom, even though the way toward your healing and freedom is actually recognizing the ways in which you were helpless in the face of unbearable suffering. Right.
Matthew:Right. Now, correct me if I’m wrong. But her completion process involves digging deep to find and release suppressed memories of past abuse. Is that the sort of keynote?
Yeah. So the gist I’ve gotten of it is it’s, it’s uncovering suppressed memories, and it also involves a kind of group therapy process. That’s similar to something I’ve seen called constellation therapy in which different members of the group will find themselves imagining how your, how your family members may have treated you and acting that out for you in this kind of live in the moment, intuitive group, uh, uh, drama, psychodrama. Um, but in this case, they even go so far as to say that they’re actually channeling or being possessed by the, the family members and the abuser.
That’s right. I mean, I think it’s really important to note what I prepared for the segment is a little bit of a backstory for how teal Swan is carrying on a theme that it looks like she directly inherited from the satanic panic catastrophe of the eighties and nineties via her therapist, uh, who is a woman named Barbara Snow. Um, snow was at the center of Utah’s satanic panic scene in the eighties, provoking several investigations with her very contagious accusations, which were a times leveled against dozens of men in Mormon communities. Um, now chief deputy you of Utah County attorney, uh, Wayne Watson witnessed one of Dr. Snow’s interviews and felt that she was pressuring children into disclosing abuse, that they originally denied. One girl even testified that she felt that snow would not let her end the interview unless she launched an accusation of ritual abuse. And this scans against stories from that time of therapists, intrusive therapists actually offering candy, or, you know, um, you know, uh, ice cream to children that gave them the correct story as well,
Julian:All as, uh, uh, police interview techniques that tended to be overly enthusiastic. And they’re leading the kids toward what they wanted right
Now. One of snow’s cases got all the way to the Utah Supreme court, which reversed the abuse conviction that had come from snow’s, uh, testimony. And, and they really threw snow’s credibility into the trash sheet by, by noting the following. So this is a quote from the transcript, um, from the court, from the court ruling, uh, she, she made bizarre factual correlations between, or no, sorry. There were bizarre factual correlations between, uh, the many cases she was involved in and the case resulting in the defendants trial that, uh, they all involved a neighborhood sex ring of from three to 22 families. They all involved members of the same church, including a significant number of religious leaders. They all involve satanic rituals and neighborhood sex parties. And in all of the cases, the children taken to Barbara Snow for counseling, uh, having turned, identified other children and adults in the neighborhood.
In addition, the affidavit claims that several nearly identical allegations exist in several of these cases. And three of the cases allegedly include prominent reference to playing with consuming and bathing and human excrement, uh, pictures drawn by some of the children in treatment with Barbara Snow in two of the cases are claimed to be identical. Uh, there’s men dressing in women’s in the stories, the use of costumes and masks were described by children. And two of the cases in three cases, the children described large groups of adults congregating for the purpose of abusing children and so on and so forth. I won’t do more of the details. You get the picture, because what we have is a kind of story machine that this person is at the center of.
Yeah. Happy to find, you know, the guardian featured our podcast last week, which was awesome. But one awesome thing about the article was that they also featured Esther Perel, who I’m a big fan of her book and her podcast. And I just have to say, I think we’re going to have to do an episode that I mentioned before about sex and about our hangups with sex. Because one thing that kind of, we talked about religion underlying a lot of the themes, but sex comes up time and time again. And this whole idea of, of child trafficking compared to our, what very American, very Western issues with sexuality, I think is a piece of this story that we have to look into. It’s every time we’re coming across these figures, it has to do with sex in some capacity. And I want to, I want to dig into why that is more, um, th this is a perfect example of that. Um, Barbara snows clearly just absolutely obsessed preoccupied, looking, looking forward in every single kid that comes her way. I’d be fascinated to know, you know, professional opinion on her, if anyone’s ever, ever formed one. Well, uh,
She helped convict a guy named Arden Brett Bullock of child abuse. And when he appealed, uh, the judges did not side with him, but they noted snow’s tactics, um, that she even testified this, this is from her own testimony, that she was quote very aggressive, uh, in questioning of children, that she was quote relatively indifferent to what would happen to the perpetrator and that she did not approach interview sessions, quote, with an open mind, but as an ally for the child unquote, and that she did not see herself as a fact collector like the police, uh, Dr. Snow also testified extensively about her interview techniques, and she acknowledged that she did not record her interviews with the children, take notes or write reports following the interviews, uh, snow admitted that her own integrity was the only way of verifying what had happened during the interview sessions. So similarly, the defense team emphasized contradictions and inconsistencies in the boy’s testimony, including the fact that one of the boys had retracted an allegation of abuse as being untrue.
Julian:Can I just say here, I think, I think we’re in such, we’re in such tricky territory, right? Because there, there is the reality that her horrible trauma happens and that there is, there can be a secrecy and denial and all sorts of stuff going on, right. And dysfunctional families and in toxic communities, but really this kind of, of outlandish, uh, these sorts of outlandish narratives and this kind of going in saying, you know, satanic ritual happened. That’s not a question they will. The question is how, and by whom, right. This way of approaching, it actually gets in the way of, of people who really have been terribly traumatized from getting help and being believed.
Absolutely. Um, now the cops even busted, uh, snow for this because during one of the numerous investigations that she was involved in, uh, this is from the Chicago reader, quote, Utah police deliberately fed her false information to see if her suggestive interviewing techniques were influencing the children’s allegations. Soon enough, this information appeared in the answers of the children she interviewed. Um, but she also ripped up her own family over this stuff. Uh there’s um, there were documents obtained by, uh, the publication gray faction from the Utah department of professional licensing, social work board. Um, snow was providing services to two of her own family members, a sister in law and her daughter, uh, and had been treating family members for at least 15 years, which is a huge boundary issue. Um, this treatment included hypnosis, which led to the supposed recovering of repressed memories of abuse by, uh, the, her, her brother, uh, the father of one of the children involved, uh, and the allegations were never evidenced, but, um, she, she, this led to an incident in which snow ended up violently confronting her family members smashing through her brother’s house with a baseball bat.
Um, there’s also a familiar tie in here that snow alleged that, uh, her family members had been subjected to military tested, uh, programs. So there’s shades of MK ultra as well. Um, snow’s professional board put her license under probation, but as of 2018, her record comes back clean in a license search. Um, now w all of the reports that I just quoted from are only accessible through the Wayback machine, which makes me wonder how powerful swans tech presence actually is because it’s very strange. That’s such a prominent figure in a celebrity influencers life, uh, is now, you know, big stories about her are actually now buried. And I’ve got to, you know, sort of preliminary takeaways, which is that, uh, you know, psychology and psychotherapy as disciplines have a lot of repair work to do following the satanic panic era. And I’m really glad that, uh, we have holla and Kira on a little bit later to discuss how they’re dealing with that because history repeats, uh, with terrible therapeutic interventions.
Um, you know, we have to remember that this whole thing in the eighties was kicked off by Lauren’s pastor. Who’s the Victorian psychoanalyst who helped us client Michelle invent a completely false story about satanic ritual abuse, which was memorialized in a book called Michelle, which he and she wrote together. Um, and you know, I also think that, you know, if this is, if this is deep in swans background fit, uh, there might have been a sense of validation that, uh, came through snow’s credentials and her sizable influence in this movement. Uh, and, and the, the influence on people’s internal lives and personal histories, uh, that, uh, Swan has now, however, uh, is of a magnitude that snow couldn’t have dreamed of. Um, it used to be that, you know, pseudo therapists like snow had to work really hard to spread these McCobb fantasies. They had to write books, they had to get themselves into news articles.
They had to tour go to conferences. They had to brief law enforcement. They had to do that all in real life. It’s a lot of legwork. Uh, and if teal Swan wants to do anything approaching this kind of intrusive, um, suggestion of, uh, what may be traumatizing everybody in the world, you know, she has YouTube to waive all of those barriers, barriers away. Yeah. And so, so just to, to bring that back around, this is the therapist that we’ve been talking about for the last few minutes, uh, Barbara Snow, who teal Swan saw in her early twenties. Right. Uh, and, and, and, you know, we have reason to believe that this is, this is sort of the impetus of her origin story. And now the approach to quote unquote therapy that she has developed called the completion process
Kaia Ra Video:
Journey began very young, a very young age, the first 18 years of my life. I was a, but this is harder than I thought. The first 18 years of my life, I survive systemic rape and torture, which, uh, led to experiencing multiple near death experiences, uh, to date, I’ve been able to count at least 13 that occurred before the age of 16 years old. And in those near death experiences, I was brought into the light. They returned to the light from which we come, I was given teachings and instructions from wonderful beings of light and love that prepared me for my life mission.
Okay. So our next trauma queen is called Kaia Ra. She’s much newer to the scene with only 15,000 followers on Facebook and 17,000 on Instagram, but her digital marketing game, which kind of, kind of belies that, that very soft and kind of shy, a voice that you may have been hearing is next level, her website is a polished and frictionless branding and sales machine. It’s organized around brilliant of her image
And personal mythology via a book called the Sophia code, which is described as a divine movement of feminine empowerment, sweeping the planet on the website. There are recorded key code initiations and higher self activations for sales, singly, or bundled. And then there’s the collection of jewelry that matches the key code initiation. So when I say brilliant marketing and branding, I really mean it can be defined. Key code initiation is the, so is it like cryptocurrency? Kiko is the highest I can tell is it’s, it’s a recorded, uh, sort of mantra or channeled intonation that she’s doing to help you to resonate with whichever of the different frequencies you’re wanting to, to bring into your life right in there. And they’re all sort of named after different deities and, and claim to have different types of positive effects. Are they actually die? Are they diagnosed? And then, and then prescribed, like, do you, is there a key code selector or a domino self-selected self-selected yeah, it really seems like Kaia Ra has a more millennial approach in her web design aesthetic.
Whereas a teal is very closer to gen X closer to my era, and just looking at them like very clean lines on Kaia, uh, and that’s appealing towards a younger demographic, perhaps. So even though the numbers are heavily skewed towards teal, I can see kayak getting a lot more traction, uh, as the years.
Yeah. I see teal as having sort of cobbled something together, ad hoc over time. Whereas Kyra emerges as the finished product. Like here’s the book here are the key code things here. Here’s the jewelry, here’s the whole, the whole product. So let’s go on with this. The jewelry are also matches the keycode initiation. So you can buy conveniently the piece of jewelry with the inscription on it. That’s infused with the, with the Ascension codes. It runs anywhere from $111 to over $1,500 per piece of jewelry. They’re each described as having been charged with various codes and each claims to be therapeutic in some specific way.
Speaker 1 (19:57):
Right? And so they say things like clearing suicidal thoughts, or lifting traumatic imprints, clearing patriarchal religious programming, or regulating emotional swings. So by the jewelry where the jewelry and it’s the cure for what else? Yeah. Then, then come the mystery school courses, a Stargate one is $444. So they all have these numerologically kind of auspicious prices. Stargate two is $777. Then there’s the psychic development training, which is the same price. And the spiritual mentorship program is $1,333. A couple of other packages had no listed price. You can only imagine that means they’re quite expensive, but there is a button for you to speak to a team angel. If you want to find out more, now I can hear some people saying, so watch she’s running a business, she’s offering your standard spiritual coaching style of courses and merchandising like anyone trained in this marketing model would, and that’s correct, but here’s where this kind of stuff gets super sticky for me, just like teal, this newer, aspiring spiritual superstar has a, awful origin story closely woven together with her claims of paranormal abilities and other worldly identity.
And this is incidentally also where I part company with the, who are we to say forced non-judgment that many feel the need to extend to anything that sounds sort of spiritual, right? Why? Because the hyper traumatized paranormal origin story is the spiritual influencer version of having a PhD. It deliberately creates the beyond heroic survivor divinely, ordained, or authority halo effect. And it’s also a kind of trauma bonding with people who have this story inflicted upon them. Kira claims in a YouTube video to have grown up in a military based satanic sex trafficking ring in which she was subjected to rape and torture watched countless other children be killed and apparently died herself. As we heard multiple times surviving only by the grace of the ascended masters and the angelic beings who saved her, which one is then left to perhaps wonder why didn’t they intervene any sooner?
You know, I I’m, I’m kind of mind blown by. It’s also a kind of trauma bonding with those people that she inflicts the story upon. I didn’t resonate with the fact that part of what’s happening with these disclosures and confessions is that she becomes somebody that the follower has to take care of. And, and they, and part of taking care of teal Swan or Cairo, even though the events, this kind of invulnerability, because they’ve transcended this horrible story, is that you, you couldn’t possibly question where they’re coming from, right. I mean, not only, not only is there the sort of general sort of, um, uh, cultural law around, we have to believe what you’re saying about what happened, but also because you’re saying what you’re saying, I have to do what I can as a follower to help you continue in your process of projecting this invulnerability. I hadn’t really clued into that, that the followers become caregivers that way, because if they were to turn away, if they were to turn away and just say, uh, you know, I don’t actually, I don’t actually resonate with that. Uh, it would be a stunning sort of failure of empathy would not. It was like, but don’t you care? Don’t you care about what happened to her? Don’t you care what to all of these other people who have disclosed what they have to disclose in the company of Kyra, right?
Yeah. And if you don’t, that could, that could also be your denial, that you’re not willing to face the terrible, hidden truth about yourself. It’s, it’s so layered because she’s simultaneously inflicting a story upon you that is traumatizing, and that might resonate with whatever you have going on. Um, and she’s being the authority figure who claims to have broken through, into some sort of divine, uh, regulatory knowledge about reality and about you, right? And then she’s inviting you to project your who to child onto her and feel protective of her.
Matthew:That is incredible. What an incredible, not it’s amazing. Yeah.
Yeah. And in a way, it’s, it’s almost a logical end point of this kind of social media culture of, you know, more authenticity and more vulnerability is the way to connect.
Well, that’s the word when I’m watching Kaia, like she embodies vulnerability. She does not have a strong presence when she’s talking. It’s very neat compared to teal who is just like, she’s up there and she’s like, this is the truth. And you can’t even question it. Whereas Kai is a completely different take. And that, like I was wondering why, because we’re so accustomed to more authoritarian figures in the delivery, which teal has, and I was wondering why Kaia was getting so much traction with her delivery, but I think Matthew just kind of framed that very well.
Kaia Ra in the preface of her book, unpacks her origin story further in ways that echo the dark fantasies of the Q Anon tale of elites, maintaining power and wealth through satanic grapes, ceremonies and Masonic temples. But it turns out, and this is going back to Be Scofield’s excellent reporting the family and friends who knew her growing up as Colleen Santoro know nothing about any of this. And the brother who shared a room with her for a few years, says their childhood was a blast. Be Scofield also interviewed her sister and uncle who just can’t imagine where she came up with this alternate history, her book, The Sophia Code recounts, how one night in Sedona, a visionary experience described in quantum psychedelic detail left Colleen ordained as the leader of something called the Sophia dragon tribe. A group of ascended masters who just so happened to have their name under copyright owned by Kaia Ra. So here are these two women running entrepreneurial, spiritual businesses based on their branded charisma and fantastical origin stories that then coincide with those gruesome traumas, supposedly leading to interdimensional, supernatural experiences and paranormal abilities through their ordeal.
They become superhuman and are recognized cosmically as having a singular divine mission that you can be a part of for a substantial fee. And here’s some quotes from them on the pandemic. So here’s teal from March 15th, 2020. So early on, she has a YouTube video with over 400,000 views. And here’s a quote. I pulled out fear of COVID-19 is rooted in narcissism. She asks, “do you see the danger of being controlled by someone specifically telling you what to do and what to think for their own self-centered motives governments and many companies have many different motives. The reaction people have to COVID-19 has the potential to kill so many more people and destroy so many more lives than the, and he or she does air quotes, organic virus itself.” Uh, Kaia has been a lot more circumspect. Again, she’s clever about her branding or more sort of more savvy, but she’s, so she doesn’t really reference the pandemic directly though under a recent post from just, uh, last month with a striking graphic that explains how your sovereignty is the checkmate to get off the chess board. She says, in a comment, “let’s be honest. There wouldn’t be a full blown covert global war of annihilation. If our collective light, wasn’t an atomic bomb waiting to go off inside the matrix. Today, I turn to chapter 13 of the Sophia code.” So she opened her own book for a reminder “of how powerful we really are. Even as the media continues to divide and program millions into submission,”
Quick, shout out to the guys on Decoding the Gurus since there was a mention of Sedona, which I know they’re a big fan of on their last episode, they reference how it’s, it’s a spiritual vortex. And it just seems like so many of these figures, it’s like, that’s there. Some part of the origin myth has to happen in pseudo that’s the pilgrimage, right? That’s their visit to, uh, to the Holy city desk. What’s really tricky to
About Kaia Ra is an a specifically in relation to the fact that Be was able to get some interviews is that the Kafka trap is so easy for her to spring, which is that friends and family members who express disbelief at her childhood account, um, can be instantly said to be deniers suppressors, conspirators, right. And she’ll be appealing to a very real phenomenon, not just of hidden institutional abuse, but also just human secrecy in general. But one interesting thing that I pulled out of the Wayback machine is that at least as late as 2010 Kaia Ra was not referring to any of the ritual abuse backstory in her bio. Um, so this leaves questions. I mean, it could be said that, you know, perhaps she hadn’t remembered by that point, she wasn’t ready to disclose those would all be fair. Uh, but I just want to throw that out there, but the same themes, uh, come up in so many of these stories, uh, vast childhood absences, uh, military figures controlling the scenes.
Um, there are Masonic temples in this one. It w there was a lot of Mormon stuff in Teals, uh, story. Um, but as you started to point out Julian, there’s a real paradox between the depravity of these stories and the meticulous style and Verve with which both of them are put together. Uh, it’s almost as if I think you described it as the sort of PhD of the, the trauma influencer, it’s almost as if the more abject the story, the more glorious the recovery. Um, it feels like almost like a charismatic calculus that, that to hit bottom, to be brought to absolute nothing to be degraded in the most, um, horrible way to endure peak humiliation is a, is a prerequisite for elevation for Ascension. And I think this is often true of cult leaders. It was definitely true of the two guys that I was with.
And I wanted to point out that, um, Len Ochs, who did the sort of, one of the only, uh, sociological studies of cult leaders by interviewing a couple dozen of them actually, uh, in a book called prophetic charisma from the nineties, he describes a five-part pattern that we can also see operating here, which is that there’s this sense of, of early life being sublime and blessed. And, you know, the person knew that they were envelops in light and they knew that they came from another place. And then there’s an incubation period, uh, filled with trials and trauma and austere study. And then there’s some kind of awakening to what later comes as a mission. Uh, and then as he describes, uh, each one of them goes through some kind of fall from grace, but in general, this flip back and forth between, uh, this is how devastating my life is, and this is how much heaven I can offer you.
The whole scene is like really bipolar, right? Like grace comes through disgrace, um, that, you know, you break down to break through. And so I’m really glad, like I listened to your interview with, with [Halah Khouri and Kyra Haglund] and that they emphasize the slowness of, of real recovery, the imperfection of real recovery, that there’s no, uh, silver bullets ever to resolving, uh, childhood, uh, adverse experiences and trauma. Uh, and I just, you know, think that the, that the wellness world in general is very vulnerable to this, this bipolar, both promise and threat. That’s very black and white. It’s, it’s almost like custom made for this you’re in, or you’re out, uh, you’re going to live or die. And this is the sociality that you’re going to live with in, in cults. You have to be all in, or else you are in the outer dark.
I, I want to be clear about what I think we do, and don’t know. We don’t know what happens to the girls, formerly known as Mary and Colleen Santoro. They may have very real painful traumas. They may have experienced some kind of mental health crisis or have as yet undiagnosed psychological disorders. We don’t know. We know in both cases that there’s no corroborating evidence for any of the bizarre ritual abuse, origin stories, as was the case during the satanic panic period, to which this harkens back, we don’t know if the placebo effects of Teal’s magical paintings or Kaia’s Ascension code infused jewelry has provided some solace and hope for someone who then later went on to seek real therapy that has probably happened. But as Pearl clutching the controversial as this will be to say, for reasons, I may never fully understand. We know that these women are not aliens.
They’re not in contact with interdimensional beings. They don’t have any paranormal abilities. We also know that they are each training, others to make similarly authoritative claims about how to heal trauma and awaken spiritually. And so that cycle continues. And I want to just mention here by way of closing for anyone interested, there’s a brilliant book from 1996 by Donald call shed we’ll link to it in the show notes titled the inner world of trauma archetypical defenses of the personal spirit I’ll call shed is a young Ian who uses myths, fairytales object relations theory, and about 20 years of case histories to explore the relationships between unbearable trauma and psychiatric delusions, whether or not teal and Kaia are sincere in their origin stories. I would argue that at the very least there are potentially leading those captivated by their charisma in the opposite direction of healing and living in the real world.
I just want to come back for a moment to what I’m describing as this bipolar calculus at play in the charisma that Swan and rah shine brightest in relation to how low in Dante’s hell they’ve journeyed. But I also think it’s worth bringing up the mechanism with which this is revealed, which is confession. Um, that clip we played of Cairo really nailed it down. And I want to listen to just the first few seconds of it again.
Kaia Ra Video:My journey began very young in a very young age, the first 18 years of my life. I was a…this is harder than I thought.
Okay. So you hear that pause. That’s the pause of confession and disclosure. And I think that’s as much the, a part of the induction into her group as her actual story is it’s. I don’t think it’s just the story that’s important, but it’s the trial of speaking it aloud in a, in a ritual format. So Kaia Ra confesses and reveals and discloses, and she has to do it over and over again. And that pause signals that a secret is on the threshold of being revealed. And I would say that she’s successful as a leader, to the extent that she sells the moment of revelation. The problem is, is that a secret can only really be disclosed once. And so it makes sense that more secrets have to emerge. And in Kaia Ra’s case, we know that the details escalate and here’s where I’ll just point back to that advert from 2010, where her bio doesn’t say anything about her SRA past, as I said, maybe she wasn’t ready to disclose it. Maybe she hadn’t remembered it. We don’t have to insinuate that she made it up in order to track the escalation. However, because once you confess something and the confession wins you followers, where would it stop? Like, why wouldn’t you keep confessing or digging deeper, and why wouldn’t confession then become a kind of labor.
And wouldn’t those following. You also need to confess in order to gain social status. And all of this takes me back to some of what Michelle Foucault says about confession in the history of sexuality, uh, in the first volume. And I can’t say that I understand Foucault or even really like him. Uh, I don’t really think anybody understands him. And also, I also want to say that there’s a recent article interviewing guys storeman and we now know for sure that Foucault knew all about the power and domination. He wrote about firsthand as an abuser of boys. So citing him, uh, to me, I I’m feeling ambivalent. It’s feeling more and more like citing Hannibal Lecter on diet or something like that. But anyway, here he is. He says, “we have singularly become a confessing society. The confession has spread its effects far and wide. It plays a part in justice, medicine, education, family relationships, and love relationships in the most ordinary affairs of everyday life.
And in the most solemn rights, one confesses one’s crimes, one’s sins, one’s thoughts and desires one’s illnesses and troubles. One goes about telling what the greatest precision, whatever is most difficult to tell one confesses in public and in private to one’s parents, one’s educators, one’s doctor to those one loves one admits to oneself in pleasure, and in pain things, it would be impossible to tell to anyone else the things people write books about when it is not spontaneous or dictated by some internal imperative. The confession is rung from a person by violence or threat. Western man has become a confessing animal. Our society has become obsessed with the infinite task of extracting from the depths of oneself in between the words of truth, which the very form of the confession holds out like a shimmering mirage.”
You know, Foucault died of HIV AIDS in 1984, but I doubt that he would have been surprised by the ruthless acceleration of confession, which now appears as gig work, something to be monetized, especially in a post-industrial influence economy, in which people are reduced to buying and selling their internal lives to each other, whether they’re real or fantastical.
So I think that what haunts me most about Swan and RA is that they are products of and facilitators of a zone in which confession and disclosure operates in an anti-fibrotic way. Uh, like there might be an impulse to disclose the inner self out of a yearning for healing and for community, but in the landscape that those desires are commodified in and the inner life with all of its scintillating shame, it becomes the currency of influence.