Above and Beyond

Sue Farrow's spiritual and paranormal blog

Helen DaVita’s world beyond words

Helen answers my questions about the mysterious art of animal communication

Remember Dr Doolittle? To me he was a magical character, a seemingly normal, intelligent guy who actually talked to animals and – the best bit – was understood!

It was a fictional story, of course, but from tiny childhood I’d adored animals and it captivated me. I was sceptical, but I desperately wanted to believe in that communication. I longed to know what my beloved cat Binkie might tell me if we could actually converse. Later, as my spiritual awareness grew and I came to believe that animals have souls, I began to wonder if such communication might theoretically be possible, though of course not through spoken language, as with the fictional Dr D.

These days there are a number of animal communicators. One of the best known is Helen DaVita, a working medium and tutor now living deep in the idyllic Irish countryside with her wife Jackie and their animal companions. I was curious to find out what had initially drawn Helen to this still rather unusual form of communication.

“I was the annoying child who always asked ‘Why?’ and who never outgrew that trait,” she told me. “Many years ago, after listening to some respected teaching mediums ridiculing the possibility of animal communication and not offering a satisfactory explanation as to why not, I decided to discover the truth for myself.

“I had never once in my life considered that we as human animals would be exempt from communicating with others, no matter who. It had to be potentially possible. The only difference was that as humans, we mostly relied on verbal and written language to engage. Humans have generally assumed a superior intellect and a ‘higher’ soul compared to other animals, and this just didn’t sit right with me.

“With mediumship, I was teaching an energetic and emotional communication, received and thus interpreted into human forms of communication. It became even clearer to me that communication is sentient and totally open to interpretation through the individual human mind. Thus communication from the afterlife was not being transmitted in the same format as it was described/experienced by the medium after mental interpretation. Here was a rationale that inter-species communication could work, because other species think and act on sentient levels too. It made sense to me on all levels.”

Bridging a gap

Helen then set about learning from as many respected animal communicators as possible.”I wanted answers, experience, evidence and truth,” she explained. “The courses themselves were unimpressive, but I participated, observed the teachers and learned a great deal from their skill, passion and dedication. I read every book on the subject and many academic papers too, learning a great deal from eminent scientific minds.

“As someone who has been involved in adult learning for over 35 years of my professional life, I felt strongly that I had a chance to bridge the gap between genuine inter-species communication and offering quality training and education in that area. I knew it would cause controversy amongst my peers – I knew I would need an emotional suit of armour! However, I also knew that if animals were willing and had a need to show they could communicate with humans, I had no right to deny them. They deserved the opportunity to be listened to, if I could find their voice.

“I’m not about communicating with animals that have passed, and giving a message from the platform. That’s not me and I don’t experience such a need from animals in spirit. I prefer to work with animals in this world, as I believe I can potentially do much more to assist. However, sometimes I will connect to an animal in spirit. Just like human animals, they have memories, feelings and shared experiences they divulge, and they can offer this in the usual way I experience my mediumship. You won’t hear me saying ‘Lassie is telling me you’re having a rough time at work and your Nan is fine now’. It doesn’t work like that for me.”

Getting down to basics

So how does this inter-species communication actually work? Is Helen working solely on a psychic level or do her mediumistic faculties enter into the process too?

“Genuine animal communication is not psychic,” she insists. “We’re not reading the animals and this is an area that some who take this path struggle with. In fact, as part of my training technique I spend a great deal of time teaching the difference between psychically reading an animal and actively communicating in real time. It’s a lovely part of the work, as it’s such a wonderful revelation when the student suddenly realises they are truly communicating, not just gleaning or surmising.

“The mediumistic faculties are integral and very helpful. Non-human animals often communicate via images, colours, scents, tastes, sounds, emotions, etc. Most relevant is the ability of the medium to receive the communication from their non-human animal subject via a picture in the mind. Hence clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience are actively engaged too.

“The process is based in the ‘knowing’ that everything is connected, everything is energy – we are all inter-dependent. Much training time is spent learning to become ‘present’ with all aspects of life and with the animal we wish to communicate with. As part of the process we must detach mentally from our ego and something the spiritual philosopher Eckhart Tolle describes as ‘the pain body’. This means we have no expectation; we are not feeling superior or engaged in assuming the animal needs sympathy from us. We are simply ‘holding the space’ equally for the communication to take place.

“Animals feel uncomfortable and won’t communicate if they sense we are not ‘present’ in the moment, if we are over-thinking or have expectation, if they sense we are too emotional about them. We have to ensure from the outset that the experience is as it is and not what we want or expect it to be. Then, through powerful intention and building a positive, non-threatening bond, perhaps communication will occur. The process when achieved is soul-to-soul communication.”

Not many flies and spiders. . . 

But wait! What about equal opportunities? If communication is possible with mammals, doesn’t it follow that it must be possible with other species too? What about the birds, the spiders, the snakes? Do they get to have their say as well?

“Definitely,” Helen says emphatically. “I admit I don’t get a lot of requests for flies or spiders, but I’ve communicated with many species, some indigenous to other continents. There was one super example of this was after I taught a four-day course at the Australian Academy of Spirit. An event which occurred after that course started trending on social media, national and international news, with millions of hits.

“One of the students from Brisbane had hand-reared a parrot named Lola from a chick. Lola escaped and the student was distraught. She called radio stations and shelters, trying to find her. Then she remembered what she’d learned on the course and communicated to Lola to go somewhere that everyone could see her. In that moment, Lola flew into a live TV news broadcast in Australia and would not leave the reporter’s shoulder until she was seen! It was broadcast all over the world. Here’s a link to that moment: https://youtu.be/JglR9kwAQpQ

“I’ve found that birds are quite communicative with humans. Insects and reptiles vary greatly and many are simply not interested – they’re busy just being. However, if you’ve ever had the amazing experience of standing in the ‘present moment’ in the midst of swarming bees, you just know there’s a sentient connection of communication without even trying. You also just know you are safe from harm. My favourite communication is with wild animals. Each time this takes place, I feel I have learned more about life itself and what an honour it is to be trusted by those whose natural environment is often disrespected by human animals.”

So, can any competent medium learn to form a communication link with animals, or is it a very specialised ability?

“Yes,” says Helen. “It should be easy if they’ve developed their mediumship well, have an awareness of the power of the human mind, understand telepathic messages and also have the discipline to become the right energy and emotion for the process to work. I believe it’s innate in everyone, not just mediums. Many of my students have absolutely no interest or belief in the afterlife – but wish to communicate with other animals.

Into the lion’s den

“The more I travel, my interest in indigenous cultures and their relationships with animals confirms that animal communication was perceived as unquestionable from the dawn of time.

“A couple of years or so ago a documentary was aired. It showed African tribesmen walking amongst a pack of lions who were feasting on their latest quarry – and taking part of the kill away from them to feed the village! In order to do this, the men had to psych themselves up. They had to have an energetic power about them which the lions would understand. Part of this process was for the men to be bold, but another part was communicating the intention that they would not take so much that the lions would go hungry. Communicating gratitude was also involved. Gratitude for the lions’ trust and for helping to feed the village.”

Working with vets – and a glowing testimonial 

Veterinary surgeons spend years in training – their course of study is even longer than that of ‘human’ medics. Interviewing Helen, I wondered how these highly trained scientific minds would cope with the still rather off-the-wall notion of communication. I asked if she had ever been invited to assist a vet in determining an animal’s problem.

“Yes, many times,” she told me. “For example, I received a request from Barbara regarding her beloved cat, who couldn’t use one leg. An infection hadn’t responded to treatment and the vet reluctantly decided the best course would be to amputate. For obvious reasons Barbara was keen to avoid this and asked for more time to make a decision. With the blessing of her vet, she contacted me. We had never met before.

“The cat made clear to me that there was a small fracture higher up than the infection site, and that this was the root cause of the problem. The vet agreed to x-ray but nothing showed up. Then she operated to see for herself – again nothing showed up. Faced with the prospect of amputating, the vet agreed to incise far higher than she thought could possibly be causing the problem. Then. . . she found it! Minor surgery was required and the cat lived with all four legs intact.

“This vet came to my Arthur Findlay College course in December last year and stood in front of nearly 60 students to tell this story. I had no idea she was there until she made herself known to me. We had previously made contact only via email.

“On another occasion I was asked to communicate with the pet dog of the chief vet in charge of the endangered ‘Big Cat’ breeding program in Europe. It went very well and resulted in a much happier understanding between dog and carer. Sometimes the animals just need to be heard!

Into the mainstream?

Many veterinary practices employ a number of associated professionals – physiotherapists, behavioural therapists, dental specialists – as part of their team. I wondered if Helen could envisage a time when the majority of vets would also accept and welcome animal communicators?

“My work and my own pets have brought me into contact with many vets. In discussion about communication I have only ever received great interest and encouragement – and on several occasions an admission that they do this themselves. I’ve come across many vets and practices that welcome animal communicators. In fact, many of my students are themselves vets and associated therapists.

“Employing animal communicators in a practice is not something we hear so much about publicly. However, it’s common to find teams of professionals which include animal communicators in many arenas. For example, at the invitation of Cathy Collin, I spend time last year at ‘Hippolysis’ – an Equine Assisted Therapy Centre in Greece – where I taught a course in animal communication. Hippolysis was founded by Dr Niki Markogianni, a respected neurologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She is an awesome advocate of therapeutic practice between humans and other animals.

“As a result of my training course at Hippolysis, Niki gave all her volunteers the opportunity to attend and learn to communicate with the horses sentiently. The weekend was life-changing for many of us and it was a celebration of how similar, inter-dependent and relevant our therapies and practices are when we work together.”

I don’t feel like talking today. . .

Most of us know that on rare occasions an experienced medium is unable to form a link with a particular human sitter. I wondered if there had been an animal with whom Helen felt unable to link?

“It isn’t that I can’t make a link – it’s more often that the animal just doesn’t want to communicate at that moment. It’s like us, really – we have days when we just want to switch off. I respect that immensely and it shows I’m not subconsciously psychically reading the animal. I can psychically read an animal any time, but that’s not genuine communication.

“Recently a lady from abroad asked for a communication with her dog, but the dog simply didn’t wish to communicate. I tried a week or so later and it was happy to do so. It’s such a lovely way to work – when we communicate I know it’s with mutual respect.

“What I love about animal communicators is that we help each other and don’t compete. If I’m having trouble gaining the trust to communicate with an animal, I have no problem asking a colleague, and vice versa. It’s rare, but it’s sometimes happened and this is what we tend to do. It’s a non-competitive family and very supportive.

Raw beetroot, anyone?

And finally – an unashamedly nosey question. Of all the animals Helen has been asked to communicate with, is there one that has given her particularly unusual information?

“There are many wonderful examples, such as the cat who communicated that its favourite food was raw beetroot and it wanted more! Particularly memorable was a wild fox in Holland who communicated to me from the forest. It was trapped and its cubs were starving. We managed to persuade the farmer to find it and free it. Fox and cubs all survived.

“Pets who are nearing the end of physical life often surprise me with their requests, such as which vet they want to assist them, or which tree they want to be buried near. In every case where an animal agrees to communicate, we are listening with our heart, learning about our amazing world and realising that we may only be human after all. But all is deeply connected.”

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

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