DKITYTI: Channelling spirit guides in Ubud

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Bali offering

“We are delighted to be invited here today,” says a small Indian woman who reminds me of the witch in Brave. She’s mischievous, and even though her eyes are closed, I can sense the twinkle behind her lids.

This woman doesn’t exist in physical form. The voice is coming from an American lady, sitting cross legged before me, eyes shut with a faint smile across her lips.

The voice I can hear is different to the one that spoke to me when I arrived – more nasal and a little higher pitched. Since starting the session, she’s entered a different frequency and become the witch of my mind’s eye.

My analytical mind is struggling. What on earth is going on here? Is she pretending? Who are these spirits she speaks of? Is this possible?

Confusion aside, the advice delivered is good. Live in the moment, pay attention to the now, learn to listen to and understand your body. She gives advice on possible future paths, and encourages me to reframe my concerns: “Think about who you want to be, not what you want to do.” I like that. Her words are insightful and encouraging.

An unexpected experience

But where do these words come from? When I arrived at Jana’s house, I thought I was going to an energy healing session, but she thought I’d booked for channelling. I asked which one she recommended and she said she felt drawn to channelling for me that day, so in the spirit of Don’t Knock It Til You’ve Tried It, I went for it.

The channelling Jana provides is different to the work of mediums who contact people who have died. Instead Jana is in touch with spirit guides who she believes have never had a physical form. She’s developed a relationship with these guides and is able to impart their wisdom to her clients.

While in the session, it reminds me of counseling I’ve been to before, but where the therapist has been given free reign to divulge their opinion. In my previous counseling, the therapist said very little beyond questions and the odd suggestion that prompted me to discover myself. I’m quite sure the more traditional method is more beneficial in the long-run — empowering you to know yourself — but it’s interesting to be given an hour’s worth of advice and opinion, especially when it’s good.

Camouflage buddha in Ubud

The higher self

Another way that Jana describes the spirit guides are as her higher self. This is something I can understand better than the idea of individual characters existing in a different realm. Steve is Buddhist and while I’m not comfortable assigning myself that label, I’m sympathetic to most of its teachings, and I understand the ‘higher self’ to be akin to our ‘Buddha nature‘ — our true wisdom stripped of all the trappings of the ego and its habits. When Jana channels, she believes she is channeling a part of that wisdom.

I wonder how she got into this after working in corporate New York for many years at The New Yorker and other top publications. She said she was drawn to it. She believes we’re entering an age where women are waking up to their true potential, leaving their offices and seeking something new. She studied with various teachers and did a counseling program called Helix, and through practice and meditation, began to connect with her spirit guides. Eventually, they started to speak through her and led her to the work she does today.

It’s the spirit guides and the voice that stump me. If I take away that part and am left with a woman who, through study and meditation, has uncovered elements of her true wisdom (a wisdom that is common to us all) that she then shares with others, I can accept it. It makes sense to me. But when I think about the identifiable spirits and the voices coming through her, I get a little miffed. It’s not to say I don’t believe it, I just have no experience of such a thing, and without proof, it’s not something I can readily accept.

Angry mask face in Ubud

What can it all mean?

I’ve since done an intuition workshop with Jana (more on that soon) and something she said stood out. One of the students was questioning where intuition comes from, and Jana acknowledged there’s no definitive answer. Everyone has their own understanding of it. In the same respect, she can’t definitely say where the information imparted in her channelling sessions comes from, but if it’s useful to her clients then that’s enough.

I did find the session useful. The little witch had a lot to say and I enjoyed her manner. Moreover, I like Jana. She’s a warm and seemingly grounded person, and whether or not the advice came from her, the witch, her higher self — or indeed all three — I’m happy I went to hear it. Does the rest of it really matter?

Have you ever been to a channelling session? Do you have spirit guides? Do you think it’s all nonsense? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

This is part of the Don’t Knock it Til You’ve Tried It series.

16 thoughts on “DKITYTI: Channelling spirit guides in Ubud”

  1. I’ve never been, but I’m definitely open to it! I think connecting with your intuition is SO important.

  2. I love the ‘don’t knock it til you’ve tried it’ series. I’m probably guilty of judging things before I’ve given them a go, so really admire you for giving things a try. And you got to meet a witch, now thats not a every day occurrence.

  3. It’s really interesting to hear about your experiences so far, I wish more people were willing to investigate things for themselves and come to their own conclusions rather than just denouncing anything that cannot be rationally explained. I’m looking forward to reading all about your next encounters!

    • Thanks Sophia. Although I’m guilty of cynicism myself, it also really riles me when people outright denounce things. That’s one of the motivations for this series.

  4. Kudos on your courage and open-mindedness. Most of the experiences you mention in this lovely series tend to tickle my gag reflex, but you manage to convey them in a graceful and non-judgemental fashion. Personally, I tend to disparage spirit guides and such as noisy distractions standing in the way of a silent truth, but most of the time I have no idea what I’m talking about, so there’s that too… Whenever dealing with these issue myself (surprisingly often for an avowed cynic), I’m constantly reminded of a question Virginia Wolf writes in “The Waves”: “what is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing?” I think we’re all trying to find the answer, but are still unsure of where to look.

    • That’s a beautiful quote. I’m enjoying exploring all the ways people try to get to that answer. More and more, I think the answer lies in mindfulness.

  5. Sometimes I think, only in Ubud. This is really interesting considering the last week I have had here, with Tibetan bowl meditations, numbness in my body, purification ceremonies, cremations, visits from “spirits”, acupuncture, energy cleansing, and comments from people that my eyes have changed. Yep, only in Ubud. Blog will be forthcoming.

    • I look forward to hearing more about it! I must say though, I don’t agree that it’s ‘Only in Ubud’. We’re been to a few similar places along the way – Vilcabamba, Capilla del Monte, Totnes and I imagine there are plenty more!

  6. Maybe it’s the use of the word ‘spirit guides’ but this reminds me of the book ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’. A friend had it lying around, I picked it up and was intrigued. The idea of reincarnation, spiritual contracts between people, soul mates, masters in another realm. It’s fascinating to consider although ‘I don’t know’ is the closest I can come to an answer for it all.


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