A movement centered around self-forgiveness and redefining words, marked by its unique use of an “Interdimensional Portal.”

Desteni is a controversial group that emerged online in 2007, founded by Bernard Poolman in South Africa. The movement gained attention through the online dissemination of videos and writings, primarily focusing on messages delivered by Sunette Spies, who is referred to as “the Portal.” Spies claims to channel various entities, including historical figures and interdimensional beings, offering spiritual insights and guidance on self-improvement and global issues.

Bernard Poolman, the group’s founder, has been a polarizing figure, with some of his more controversial views including the publication of material where Adolf Hitler is portrayed in a positive light after undergoing a process of “self-forgiveness.” The group has also faced criticism for its use of copyrighted material related to Osho, leading to legal challenges that resulted in the removal of certain content from their platforms.

Desteni’s teachings encompass a wide range of topics, from personal development to cosmic revelations, often blending elements of New Age spirituality, occultism, conspiracy theories, and self-help advice. Central to their philosophy is the concept of “self-forgiveness,” through which individuals are encouraged to transcend their limitations and negative behaviors to achieve a state of higher awareness and unity with all existence.

The group operates several websites and online stores, such as Eqafe, where they sell recordings of Spies’ talks, personal interviews with the Portal, and artwork purportedly infused with spiritual significance. Critics have labeled these activities as exploitative, questioning the validity and ethicality of the information and products offered.

Desteni advocates for a societal overhaul based on principles of equality and sustainability, proposing systems like the Equal Money System and the Living Income Guaranteed. These proposals aim to redistribute resources and opportunities in a manner that ensures a dignified life for all, challenging existing economic and political structures.

The movement has a dedicated following, known as Destonians, who engage in practices aimed at personal and collective transformation. These include specific breathing exercises, participation in online courses for self-improvement, and communal living arrangements at the Desteni Farm in South Africa. The Destonians employ a unique lexicon and participate in activities designed to foster a sense of community and shared purpose, although these practices have also been scrutinized for cult-like characteristics.

Despite facing significant controversy and criticism, Desteni continues to attract a global audience, with its leaders and members advocating for radical introspection and societal change. The group’s blend of spiritualism, activism, and online entrepreneurship illustrates the complex and often contentious nature of modern new religious movements​​​​.

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