Teal Swan: At the Top or the Deep End?

With over 1.3 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, Teal Swan is one of today’s leading social media influencers. A best-selling author and international speaker, her life’s work is helping people overcome all levels of pain after having transformed herself through an extremely traumatic, abusive childhood. Teal is referred to by her followers as “The Mirror”, a symbolic nickname for the ability she claims to have that allows anyone who ‘steps in front of her to see the truth of themselves and the truth of the universe’.

Teal’s first ‘synchronization workshop’ was held in the summer of 2011 to an audience of about 20 people. Since then, her workshop audiences- both live and virtual- have grown exponentially. She has authored self-help books and a fiction novel, sells her own ‘high frequency’ paintings as artwork and apparel, and has created several of her own oracle card decks. Of her ‘shadow work’ with worldwide audiences, she’s perhaps best known for her transformative Completion Process (and book by the same name) that offers a method for people to heal from the wounds of old and/or current debilitating pain and trauma and reintegrate into wholeness and wellbeing. While Teal has stated the process is something she’s created, there are professionals in the field of psychology who oppose that declaration saying the process is nothing new. In December 2016, Teal founded a retreat center in Costa Rica where followers can enjoy the exotic destination while working out their personal issues.

As her social presence continued to increase and the number of followers rose, she has become a target for haters and continues to stir up controversy particularly from professional, licensed psychologists. While some followers consider her their guru or messiah, Teal’s description on her YouTube Channel and on her website does not refer to her as a spiritual teacher or guru. However, she has publicly stated that she is a spiritual teacher. Whether you believe in Teal and her manner of teaching as spiritual or not isn’t the point of this article. Each reader can formulate their own opinions be it by direct experiencing of Teal’s services, by viewing a good range and amount of her YouTube videos, or by reading her book and finding out first hand if the process is beneficial. This article is not here to tell you it is or isn’t.

This article is another brief case study and a reminder to astrologers that it’s very difficult to determine from a chart where someone is regarding their spiritual development. The best astrological practice that allows you to develop a decent, professional relationship with the client so that you can get to know the individual as a whole being and multi-dimensional person is a practice that is visited and revisited time and again over the course of years even decades. This is the true intent and usage of astrology. That said, even the case studies offered here can potentially fall flat since the data of the famous or infamous natives being observed is strictly from what can be found publicly and not from knowing the natives personally. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Teal’s chart.

Using the birth data of June 16, 1984 Santa Fe, New Mexico at 7:42 am (from Teal’s website) and the Vedic (sidereal) system of Astrology, she has Gemini Rising with the Ascendant ruler Mercury in the 12th House conjunct Rahu and in a Parivartana Yoga with Venus in the 1st House conjunct the Sun.  Let’s break that down:

As ruler of the 1st House/Ascendant, Mercury gives a youthful appearance and demeanor, a certain level of neutrality towards life, great childlike wonder and curiosity, and a sense of humor. When the ruler of the chart is in the 12th House, the native may at times feel unacknowledged or underappreciated. In spiritual people this placement can create selflessness, charitable services, and great compassion for humanity. In the 12th House, Mercury shows a natural ability to speak foreign languages and communicate from or about different levels of consciousness. A professional business in or with other countries is possible. Mercury in the 12th House can cause isolation or imprisonment (physically or emotionally), likely from a breakdown of communication and understanding. I believe (along with her Moon in the 8th) that this Mercury placement gives Teal extrasensory perception and the ‘clairs’ (clairaudience, clairvoyance, and clairsentience), enabling her to tap into different dimensions or possess some level of intelligence about them. With Rahu conjunct Mercury, these abilities are further increased. However, Rahu’s influence on Mercury could also create a lack of understanding in communication, confused or cryptic, symbolic language and a tendency towards secrecy.

Venus on the Ascendant gives a beautiful physical appearance. Venus is in a Parivartana Yoga with Mercury, meaning the two planets exchange signs. Venus is in Mercury’s sign (Gemini) while Mercury is in Venus’s sign (Taurus). This yoga strengthens both planets. However, tying the 1st House to the 12th House by house placement and rulership, this Parivartana Yoga is difficult as the challenges of the 12th House -such as abandonment and isolation- become directly connected to the well-being and individuality of the native. The difficult effects of the 12th House can tarnish the 1st House. Being a configuration in her natal chart, this yoga will be with Teal throughout her life, but I believe this was particularly relevant during her childhood. This 12th and 1st House connection with her Ascendant ruler likely made her feel very foreign and otherworldly, unable to be understood by family and people around her, perhaps with some struggles to communicate what she saw or heard in different dimensions or energies, making her feel extremely alone. And this ties into issues with relationships as well, even as an adult, since the 1st House is opposite the 7th House of marriage and partnerships.

Although Venus gains some strength through the yoga with Mercury, Venus is combust, ‘burnt up’ by the Sun, which weakens Venus. Astronomically speaking, this means Venus in its orbit as viewed from the Earth was positioned too close to the Sun at the time of birth, rendering Venus ‘invisible’, hidden behind the light of the Sun. Astrologically, this means that having fun, seeking pleasure and enjoyment in life is like a deer in the headlights, blinded by either her own self-importance and purpose, or by her father or another father-like authoritative figure. Venus combust is challenging for personal relationships and marriage, creating a lifelong struggle with feeling unloved or not recognized enough and having to learn to balance self-importance and ego with the partner due to the innate result of the combustion because the Self (the Sun) will always outshine the relationship. When operating from a higher, spiritual level, the Soul (the higher meaning of the Sun) keeps pleasure-seeking Venus to a minimum, restricting relationships through difficult trial and error so that Teal remains focused on what she (her Soul) is here to do. That doesn’t mean she can’t have relationships. Teal has been married multiple times (and divorced as many times). But as long as she continues to elevate her Self above her partner(s), as long as the Sun (ego) shines powerfully and blocks the longing of Venus, personal relationships will be hard to sustain. And since the 7th House is also the house of professional relationships, similar issues can involve co-workers (and we see this played out through her long-time personal and professional relationship with Blake—you can research more about that at on your own).

In addition, Teal has a strong (retrograde) Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 7th House of marriage, adding confluence to the challenge of relationships. With Jupiter, she has a natural tendency to play teacher and guru with her partners, making it difficult to just ‘be herself’. Learning how to “leave work at the office” is vital to a healthy relationship for both partners. The shadow side of a strong Jupiter is fanaticism, control, and manipulation, believing they know it all.   

The Vimshottari Dasha timeline shows that Teal was born at the end of the Sun mahadasha and a few months after her first birthday, she shifted into the 10-year dasha of the Moon. The Moon is the mind, the emotions and feeling nature. It’s our ability to love and be loved, our receptivity, intuition, and emotional heart, our ability to be vulnerable. Teal has Moon in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, which due to Saturn’s nature, can create an aloof person with cold or rigid emotions. Children need a stable homelife and steady emotional support to feel protected and loved. Moon in Capricorn may lack the emotional support, suggesting a mother that is too strict, traditional, or conventional to express a warmer love for a child who is unorthodox and free-spirited. This doesn’t mean Teal wasn’t loved but it could show that the kind of love she needed was difficult to get. This Moon in Capricorn is fertile ground for depression, feeling the burdensome nature and heaviness of Saturn and its placement in the 8th House, a Dushthana house of suffering, further indicates that the child during this time in life would learn at an early age how to deeply bury their emotions and perhaps get good at putting on a ‘cold front’. Saturn also rules anxiety, worry, and fear which would’ve been underlying the overload of emotions that at such a young age may not have found a healthy outlet during Teal’s childhood.

In Teal’s chart, a strong Mars (retrograde) is conjunct Saturn, ruler of the Moon. Saturn itself as a natural malefic is doubly strong (exalted and retrograde). But violence comes through Mars, especially physical harm, sexual abuse and rape as Teal states in multiple forums and interviews she had endured starting at the age of 6, and we see in her natal chart that Mars aspects the Moon (dasha ruler at this time), suggesting violence (even orchestrated violence with Mars’ connection to Saturn—which could support her claims to have been ritually abused for many years by a cult). Mars and Saturn occupy the 5th House of games and creativity. And while Mars aspects the Moon (her mind and emotional state), that neither Mars nor Saturn aspects her Ascendant (overall well being and physicality), has she been honest about her abuse claims or are they an exaggerated product of her mind and imagination?

Mars’ aspect to Teal’s Moon shows harm to her emotional state but also agitation of the mind and a mind that would be difficult to settle down, particularly in childhood, if/when underdeveloped. Yet since Mars is conjunct doubly-strong Saturn, Saturn’s influence can help still and focus the mind, giving a certain level of control (Saturn) of power (Mars) over the mind. She could certainly learn how to control her mind (and her emotions). If careless or reactive, this combination can hurt her relationship with her mother or her relationship as a mother. Saturn and Mars are in the 5th House of children, it’s possible that there’s some strain or challenge to her relationship with her son as well. They would have to learn how to set healthy boundaries and be aware of avoiding pushing each other’s buttons.

But her Saturn-Mars conjunction with Mars aspecting the 8th House Moon from the 5th House is a powerful combination for teaching students and clients how to courageously face their (particularly emotional) issues -giving Teal a platform to (be expected to) push their buttons, which she does in structured processes in order to help them emerge transformed and empowered. She warns people quite openly that her methods are not for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart. She shows, by example, that it takes guts to face what holds us back, what we unknowingly (or knowingly) continue to let hurt us or keep us stuck and limited. Looking beyond the haters and concerned psychologists, there are many people who have found Teal and her methods rewarding and helpful. Mars also aspects her Mercury/Rahu in the 12th, giving her the courage to carry out her calling and bring her experience and techniques to a global audience.

While her abuse reportedly began at age 6 under Moon dasha, her 10-year Moon dasha shifted into the 7-year Mars dasha. This means that the abuse likely got worse and, with Mars in the 5th House of creativity, she may have found new ways at this time to avoid or cope with the abuse before finally becoming free of it. During this timeframe she was likely engaged in sports. Soccer has been mentioned in interviews and this fits since Mars rules sports, occupies the 5th House of sports, and aspects the 12th House of the feet.  However, because natal Mars also aspects her Moon in the 8th House of transformation and scandal and the 12th House of isolation, when she shifted from Mars into the 18-year period of Rahu dasha, Mars’ effects didn’t just disappear.  Although the violence and sexual abuse may have ended at this time, Teal will always have Mars aspecting her Moon in the 8th House and Mercury/Rahu in the 12th House. It was during Rahu dasha that her desire emerged to communicate to the world and be present and seen. Most of her rise in popularity and exposure has taken place during her Rahu mahadasha, which ran from 8/14/2002 through 8/14/2020.

Since May 2022, the documentary The Deep End has been available to stream on Hulu. The film was a three-year process where Teal invited the film crew to basically follow her around on a daily basis with the understanding that the film would document the benefit of her work; this included an investigator hired by Teal to offer a full and transparent report. According to Teal, what she got instead (and what all the viewers got instead) was a chopped up, edited, scrambled deception of the time the crew spent with her, cut and pasted into a 4-part series of “entertainment” and not the truth of what occurred during filming. Since the film aired, she has countered with social media messages explaining how the deception occurred and has asked the crew repeatedly to show all of the footage. #ReleaseTheFootage

On a side note, I wanted to share from my own experience how the media can switch things up without prior knowledge and without verbal or written permission. Several years ago, I was selected for a photo shoot and interview for a two-page spread for a health magazine. I had a fantastic time during the shoot, to the point that it made me wonder if I had missed my calling. (I haven’t.) The interview was conducted separately in two sessions. I truly looked forward to the published piece but when the magazine came out on the newsstands available for viewing about three months later, I was kind of disappointed. While the interview in the main narrative was pretty accurate, the headline they created was nothing I had said, yet using it as the title of the piece, they made it sound like I had. The article was about indoor fitness, particularly walking, and the title they dreamt up for it was “Indoor Walking Changed My Life”. What?! Ridiculous. Anyhow, my point is that this kind of (unprofessional/unethical) behavior probably happens more than we realize and having experienced a small dose of it, I can’t disregard Teal’s claims about being deceived.

Through all of this, we see how Mars and Rahu are playing out in particular. Mars’ shadow side brings out bad behavior, deceitful interactions. Rahu’s shadow side cares more about trends and popularity then truth.  When filming began three years ago, Teal was either running Rahu/Moon or Rahu/Mars and either timeframe would’ve been ripe for deception, for feelings being hurt and being tricked. But whose side is the deception stemming from? The film crew to Teal and her followers and audience, or Teal to everyone? Perhaps a mix of both? It’s hard to know anything with clear certainty when Rahu is involved. The natal Rahu/Mercury combination in her 12th House suggests misleading information would likely be dealt with at one time or another and she’d be directly impacted (as a victim? or responsible for?) due to the Parivartana Yoga through Mercury’s connection with Venus and the Ascendant.

In 2019 and 2020, transiting Rahu was in Gemini conjunct Teal’s Ascendant (and 1st House Sun-Venus). Teal has been quite open about enjoying the attention of being in the spotlight and on stage, so it’s possible that Rahu’s influence on her Sun (which represents the Self and ego) tempted her and the documentary offer was too good to pass up. She must not have realized she was being misled, unaware that the film would be quite different than what she thought she’d signed up for. The 12th House also represents secret or hidden enemies and Rahu often clouds or confuses the issue, so it’s pretty clear that the whole situation wasn’t clear to her, if the deception was from the film crew as she states. It’s possible that the Parivartana Yoga of Mercury and Venus made her vulnerable to the deception. By that I mean, if her Sun alone was on the Ascendant, I believe she would’ve had more tenacity and self-reliance to insist on having the final say before anything was aired (fueled by the Sun and self-preservation) and insist on having it down in writing in a legal contract or the deal is off. That she didn’t do this is quite surprising and a lesson Teal will have certainly learned from. Teal is young, still in her thirties. If she had the will power and inner resolve to overcome horrific childhood abuse, she should be quite capable of overcoming the misrepresentation of a large media incident. She certainly has what it takes to move forward and the world will probably continue seeing much more of Ms. Swan, like it or not.


Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at renatembell@aol.com

Photo of Teal Swan courtesy wikipedia; Image of Teal Swan’s Vedic Astrology birth chart by author who is a licensed user of Shri Jyoti Star software

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