An Interview with Ellen Tadd
Ellen Tadd is the author of numerous books, the most recent being The Infinite View. The interview below with Well Being Journal executive editor Scott Miners is also available here in the print or digital edition of Well Being Journal.
WBJ: Good morning, Ellen. Our first question to you is: You wrote in your book about your perceptions of non-physical consciousness, how they are important, and how you started to use them in a therapeutic way. How old were you when you first realized perceptions expanded beyond the five senses?
ET: It started when I was a child. I saw faces in the dark, and I saw light around people. Sometimes I would be in my bed at night, and the room would start to spin, and soon my consciousness would be on the ceiling. Later I talked to people around me to try to understand what was happening, but no one seemed to know what I was talking about. So I kept my experiences to myself, but with no one to counsel with, I started to become afraid. I slept with a light on for many years.
I was raised by my father, who was a physicist. I tried to explain to him what I was seeing by telling him I saw molecules, a word I had heard him use but didn’t understand. He tried to explain to me what molecules are, and then one day he showed me molecules with an electron microscope. It was then I learned I was not perceiving molecules!
I then gradually began to feel anxious about what turned out to be my natural ability to perceive non-physical energies. The watershed event that brought me acceptance of my sensitivity was talking with my mother through an evidential medium awhile after mother died. I was seventeen when she died, and two years later, she returned to give me the gift of rebirth.
My mother had a very difficult life. She suffered with a severe case of MS, and when she came to me from the spiritual world, she told me that she had chosen a very difficult life in order to learn compassion. She said, “No matter how things appear on the surface, if you look deep enough, you will see there are always reasons and justice.” After that experience, it was as if a veil had been lifted, and I started to receive many clairvoyant and clairaudient experiences. I learned that I had a gift rather than a problem.
WBJ: Two questions arise. When your father showed you the molecules under an electron microscope: What was it that you discovered that you were seeing? The second is: What were the circumstances that you experienced in the watershed moment with your mother after she died?
ET: I didn’t know what I was seeing, and I became worried because my mother had been sick for so long that I thought perhaps something was wrong with me. I was ten when I discovered I was not seeing molecules.
WBJ: Then, nine years after this, your encounter with your mother was the first one with a being in spirit where you had no question about what was happening?
ET: Yes. Prior to that, I was afraid of my unusual experiences and would try to ignore them. When I communicated with my mother after she died, I had the help of a trance medium who was my older brother’s girlfriend at the time. As the woman went into trance, I saw my mother’s face superimposed over the medium’s face, eliminating any doubt.
WBJ: Did your mother also communicate information to you, through the medium, that only she would have said or known?
ET: Yes. This medium didn’t know anything about my mother. I went into this experience as a nineteen-year-old skeptic. Just as she began to go into trance, her cats dramatically jumped off their perches and ran into the bathroom, which was a confirmation to me that what was happening was very real.
WBJ: So, in childhood, you blocked out your extrasensory perceptions because you could not validate them with others? You then ignored your perceptions until you met the medium who helped you communicate with your mother?
ET: Yes. I blocked my abilities when I was younger.
WBJ: Then it was after the experience with the medium and your mother that you started to open more consciously to your vision?
ET: Absolutely. I say that my mother gave me birth and then she gave me rebirth, because, after that experience, I began to see the whole world differently. I started to see that everyone was a spirit temporarily on the earth in a human body. I stopped blocking my perceptions. I started to be able to see more and converse with beings in the spirit world, and I also started to see people’s previous lives, as well as my own.
This eventually brought me to deeper questions, such as, “Why are we here?” I began to learn from teachers in the spiritual world. I call these teachers my guides. I also asked myself, “How do I want to use my ability?” My brother was a natural musician, and he had to decide which kind of instrument he wanted to play.
I wondered how I wanted to use my gifts. I decided I didn’t want to focus on giving messages to people from their loved ones who had passed on. Rather, I was interested in communicating with the teachers, the masters, the individuals in the spiritual world who had great wisdom and could help me philosophically understand who I was and why I was here.
WBJ: Was this a rapid progression of events or was it a process of incorporating this spiritual awareness into your life gradually?
ET: It was very rapid. At the time all this was taking place, I was a freshman in college and was studying psychology and philosophy. I remember listening to professors and thinking that what they were teaching paled in comparison to the direct spiritual experiences I was having. So I dropped out of college, which in my family was considered a ridiculous thing to do. My father was a professor. But I was being taught, and I realized I would be getting an unusual education.
WBJ: Do you have a specific example of these spiritual teachings you received?
ET: I had, for example, an experience where I was woken up at 3 in the morning, and there above me was an Asian man in his etheric-energy body. He had so much energy and light around him and was so beautiful, I knew he was trustworthy, loving, and compassionate. That was the dramatic beginning. He would then come to me and give me discourse on the meaning of compassion or the importance of discernment, such as how trust without discernment was dangerous.
There was a ten-year period where other guides in the spiritual world also trained me. At the end of each day, they would have me review my day and would show me how to correct many of my thoughts, words, and actions. They were intent on teaching me how to actualize my spiritual nature in the world. I received a very rigorous training, and after that ten-year period, I started teaching students what I was being taught.
WBJ: Would you say you had a passionate desire to learn?
ET: Yes, but I didn’t see myself as a teacher. I was just hungry for answers to my questions. I grew up with a mother who had been beautiful and a star athlete, and I watched her deteriorate into someone who couldn’t move or speak. I wanted to understand and to know if there was any meaning or justice to life. I was too sensitive to just go off and have a career without a deeper understanding of life’s meaning. So my first desire was just to understand for myself.
WBJ: Do you think your desire to learn opened your spiritual channel more?
ET: Yes, although to me one of the most interesting questions is: “What is destiny and what is choice?” I meet people in spiritual circles who say that you can create your own reality, and others who say your life is destined. I have been taught and have experienced that life is a combination of both. Some people have more destiny, and others have more choice, depending on their life lessons. I feel that this aspect of my life and learning from the spiritual beings who have helped me has been a destined thing. It really came to me.
WBJ: Can you give an example, because I think many readers will be asking at this point, “Do I have a lot of destined things or do I predominantly have to make choices for my life?”
ET: I wonder how I can answer this in a succinct way. It’s complex, but as people review their lives, I’m sure many can remember experiences when they thought they were going to go down a certain life path, but then circumstances that were beyond their control moved them in another direction.
In my book, I give the example of my brother, who applied to all Ivy League schools and was shocked when he wasn’t accepted. He finally went to study at Oberlin, and this influenced his destiny to become a musician. So, sometimes people experience what seem to be barriers, but what I’ve been taught is that the obstacles often keep you from going down the wrong road.
WBJ: I can think of a personal experience, where I was going down a particular path, and I was in a motorcycle accident that completely changed my life.
ET: Exactly. That’s a destined event. Another example is when a person is waiting for destiny to unfold, and nothing seems to be happening. Here the lesson is to initiate and not wait.
WBJ: That’s a good point. You can’t make destiny happen, but you can make choices that expand your life. I had no control over the drunk driver who drove his car into the traffic in front of my motorcycle and stopped. When the motorcycle impacted the car, I flew through the air, and I thought that was the end. I remember being on the hot asphalt, unable to move. My leg was broken, I learned later, and I was in shock. Several men who had seen the accident stopped and held me up off the pavement. When I was recuperating after returning home from the hospital with a cast on my leg from hip to toes, I found a magazine that my younger sister had placed on the coffee table. I was 21 at the time. The magazine was about death and dying, and I devoured it, because I had thought I was going to die in the accident, and I began to wonder about life in a new way. I made many positive changes in my life after that time, including fervently seeking to know who we really are beyond just human physical beings.
ET: Yes, and this is the reason the question that most fascinates me is: “What is destiny and what is choice?” They do intermingle. It’s like the current of a river. The current varies in intensity. When it is “big” destiny, the current is so strong that you cannot swim against it. “Little” destiny has a strong current, but you could swim against it by choice, although you’ll see it’s not the best direction. Then there are times where the current is very still, and you can choose to go in any number of ways. It has to do with the Source of this energy that’s guiding each of us.
WBJ: Understood. What do you advise clients who are just beginning to be interested in expanded perceptual awareness?
ET: There are three fundamental spiritual tools I teach. The first is meditation, which is quite popular now. But it means different things to different people. To me, it means being able to still our brain chatter at will to listen very deeply. I don’t teach meditation as a relaxation exercise, but rather as a way to access a deep level of stillness and listening. All of us are spirit, and when we still our preconceived notions, we access this deeper part of our identity.
I don’t advise anyone to just believe what I’m saying; I want to facilitate direct experience for each person. I believe that experiential knowing is the only way to feel certainty. Meditation is a potent way to have direct experience.
The second tool I use is the activation of the third-eye chakra. This eye is located in the middle of the forehead, and it is the center of focus and concentration. Just as meditation is deep listening, the function of the third eye is deep looking. My guides have taught me that when we go deeply into anything, we access the spiritual level, because it’s always beneath the surface, so this is a matter of cultivating depth. Because we live in a very fast-paced culture, there’s a tendency for us to operate mostly at a superficial level. We need to slow down to go into depth and focus and listen.
When we are trying to do too much, we tend to be superficial about it all.
ET: The third tool is positive attitudes. Attitudes are a combination of thoughts and feelings. When you sustain positive attitudes—and I don’t mean candy-coating things and pretending they are great when they are not, but genuine positivity based in spiritual principles—that positivity helps connect you with the spiritual level of life. The spiritual level of life contains all the fundamental principles that hold life together. That is the definition of positivity.
WBJ: When you mentioned cultivating depth, it brought to mind the idea to read between the lines. You might be reading a wonderful philosophical viewpoint or something a spiritual teacher or scientist wrote, and have insights that go beyond the words due to intuition.
ET: Yes, and that insight is activated through depth. Deep focus can also be known as the “zone” that athletes describe. When athletes get in the zone, they experience oneness. They no longer are concerned about winning or losing, and they perform at their best because they’ve moved into that spiritual positivity.
WBJ: I heard a story that one way Albert Einstein would enter the zone was by putting his head on his desk and relaxing, so that he would fall asleep with a problem he was trying to solve. He held a pencil in his hand, so that it would fall onto the desk when he entered the zone of sleep, and often he would have an answer when he woke up. It was as if he accessed an expanded part of self that had the answers.
ET: That’s a wonderful story. My father told me similarly that he would begin a new research project by lying in bed listening to classical music, which he loved, and it would inspire him. I believe it brought him into a state of meditation and positive openness, and then ideas would come to him. He told me he knew the ideas weren’t his ideas, but that they were being given to him. Once he received these thoughts, he would go to the library and research them He said these were always his best creative ideas.
WBJ: It’s important to focus on how to bring this spirit and soul part of ourselves more into our everyday lives as it will help you create a more peaceful, compassionate world at least for yourself and those in your sphere of influence. Do you do one-on-one counseling with people to help others understand the three tools?
ET: Yes, I do one-on-one counseling, and I teach classes as well as do speaking engagements.
WBJ: How do you work with someone individually?
ET: I do not do traditional therapy. When I first start a session with someone, I look into their hand. Very soon after my spiritual awakening, which started with the experience with my mother, I learned that when I gaze into a person’s hand, my clairvoyance activates. I start seeing pictures of that person’s previous incarnations. So, when I sit down with someone I don’t know, I look into their hand, and I see visions.
I see a number of lives, and I look for strengths and weaknesses; I am looking to see who the person is, why they have incarnated, and what they are here learning and offering. I give them an overview of their soul’s evolution. After the overview, I assess their present questions and concerns and answer them, and then I teach them how to activate the third eye.
I want to show people that when any of us live life focused in the gut area, which is a predominant habit in our culture, we end up perceiving through the lens of our preconceived notions and past habits, and, as a result, we are not as able to actualize our best self or perceive from a place of spiritual wisdom. The way I work is not like the traditional therapy model. That is too slow, and I don’t think it’s the most helpful.
I’m interested in encouraging people to change that model because in the typical counseling paradigm, people are living their lives in the solar plexus, the gut, and are processing from that perspective. When people move to the third eye, their whole perception changes. Complicated issues can become much more simple and often are no longer problems, or the clarity emerges that makes it more obvious how to navigate a challenge.
WBJ: The third eye is associated with the pineal gland, the endocrine gland in the middle of the brain, and many spiritual traditions say that this is the gland of spiritual vision and understanding.
ET: My guides say that everyone has a spirit, a soul, and a personality. The spirit is a spark of the God Force that exists in everyone, and is the only constant. Everyone has a spirit with an individual emphasis, such as wisdom, creativity, or power. The soul is the container of the spirit; it allows the spirit to have individuality and animation. The soul is more complicated because it contains all our past life patterns—traumas, talents, and skills that have accumulated through all of the many lives we’ve lived.
There’s also something in the soul that I call “first error.” This is the original attitude that was not in harmony with our spiritual nature. It’s the beginning of the karmic snowball.
When we incarnate, we are guided toward parents who bring up both our spiritual nature and our first error so that we can evolve and grow.
Over the soul is our personality, which is influenced by genetics; conditioning from parents, society, and education; past life influences; and the qualities of our spiritual essence. My guides say that fulfillment happens when the spiritual essence manifests at our personality level. You are here to know that whether you are recognized for who you are—which is a wonderful being of light—or not, spirit sees who you are! Just let that be enough.
WBJ: It seems that this decade, which we are experiencing collectively, is calling all of us globally more and more to bring our connection with our spirit, that harmony and peace, to our everyday lives and express it more often, because there are stark contrasts between the peaceful and the fearful. There are those who revere life and those who seemingly have no regard.
ET: Yes, I think so. For example, I’ve been doing this work for forty years, and I was trying to get my new book published for awhile. My guides always answered my question about timing by saying, “We’re holding you back; we’re holding you back.” Then, when the book actually got published, it all went very fast. I thought, “Isn’t it interesting that now is the time they want this book out?”
I feel that part of our world circumstance is worsening, and people will either go to the side of the spiritual perspective or go to the side of fear. The challenges in the world are pushing people to ask deeper questions. I think it’s a time when people are ripe to look for and listen to a deeper message.
WBJ: It seems that, with all the challenges in the world, in order to walk peacefully through the chaos, you will have to choose to be aware of guidance from your spiritual self.
ET: As my guides said, “You won’t be able to ride the fence anymore.” 
Ellen Tadd’s new book is The Infinite View: A Guidebook for Life on Earth, Penguin Random House, 2017; see more at http://ellentadd.com.