Animal Speak

Africa’s San Bushmen and other indigenous peoples have always insisted that they could communicate with the natural world around them – and so can we all, according to animal whisperer Anna Breytenbach who will lead an Interspecies Communication workshop at Findhorn during June 2011.


Anna Breytenbach

Funnily enough we can thank Hollywood for popularising the idea of interspecies communication, especially in the wake of wide-screen blockbusters like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. But how ironic that humanity’s disconnection from nature is so pervasive that many of us only entertain the possibility of other levels of perception — and communication – while sitting indoors, wearing 3D glasses!

Of course, interspecies communication isn’t new to moviemakers and more than any other film it was The Horse Whisperer of 1998 that lent credibility to the concept as celluloid hero Tom Booker, played by Robert Redford, helped heal a seriously injured young girl and her psychologically-scarred horse.

At Findhorn, with its emphasis on co-creation with nature and going within to access our inner wisdom, the concept of connecting with other life-forms is widely accepted and respected.

“Interspecies communication is not a gift,” training facilitator Anna Breytenbach insists. “It is a natural ability that everybody has and is simply a matter of getting in touch with our intuition and accessing something that isn’t part of our everyday five-sensory reality.The First People and indigenous tribes like the San Bushmen and Native Americans NatureLand137were easily able to communicate telepathically with all of nature and didn’t consider this unusual. Every person in the tribe had the ability to connect in non five-sensory ways with their surroundings; to know from the animals where they were, which was a good animal to hunt, or which plants would be medicinal, toxic or nourishing.”

While formalised interspecies communication courses are relatively new in many countries, the benefits are increasingly being appreciated by wildlife managers, conservation officials, environmentalists, veterinarians and other caring individuals and groups. Interestingly, some birders are beginning to connect with what the birds are saying, appreciating that our feathered friends are the journalists of the outdoors with a story to tell anybody who stops to listen.

Between June 25 and 27, Anna will lead a three-day workshop at Findhorn where participants will also connect with plants at the individual and collective level, understanding their relationships and roles with other aspects of nature.

AnnaBreytenbachElephant1“I’m not teaching people anything new," she says. "I’m merely helping them remember what’s already within them and I think that it’s important to again experience a deep connectedness with nature. When we experience a direct empathetic connection with another being we’re much more inclined to understand the perspective of that being and the challenges it faces, particularly at the hands of humans and what we are doing to this planet.

“Interspecies communication brings about mutual understanding and respect along with the possibility of co-creating solutions for even the most tricky situations where wildlife and humans come into conflict.”

My own curiosity about the subject was aroused when I faced possible death after being charged by eight elephant in the wilds. Terrified, I hid behind a tree and attempted to silence my ragged breathing and slow my hammering heart as the enraged animals trumpeted their fury and tusked the ground just metres away. With a determination born of pure terror I attempted to communicate telepathically that I meant no harm — and gradually their emotions subsided and they moved off and began foraging. Imagine my gratitude when I learned subsequently that the same animals had already killed two local villagers in separate incidents, and have killed again since.

So it was a somewhat surreal moment when I found myself surrounded by a dozen of these giants recently at South Africa’s Knysna Elephant Park, having signed up for an animal communications workshop with Anna. She says the same techniques apply whether connecting with wild animals, or domestic or habituated ones.

IMG_2869Her services range from helping pet owners and the dogs or cats in their care to better understand each other, to being called upon to calm a wild creature that has been rescued or is being rehabilitated. “In these situations wild animals are incredibly stressed at suddenly being in confined surroundings with all the human noises of people, cars and machinery.” Her role then is to calm the animal with reassurances that the people are there to help, while explaining what is required of them, particularly if medical intervention is necessary. In the wilds communicators can assist by warning of impending danger like the presence of poachers and can even suggest — through mental imagery — possible safe escape routes.

Anna maintains that communicators can be especially helpful in enhancing relationships between medical professionals and their animal patients, be they wild or otherwise. "For example, vets can find out directly — from the horse’s mouth, so to speak — what the animal’s experience of their pain or discomfort is; where in the body it occurs; what might have caused it; and even what might make it better. KidsElephantThis is immensely helpful to medical professionals who otherwise have to rely on observation and other diagnostic measures alone.”

Her goal is to mentor many more communicators to help resolve the challenges of living harmoniously with animals and soon her work will be known to a wider audience through a documentary film by the Natural History Unit Africa.

Anna Breytenbach is a professional animal communicator who has received advanced training through the Assisi International Animal Institute in California and has been practising for several years in the USA, Canada and South Africa with domestic and wild animals. Her goal is to raise awareness and advance the relationships among human and nonhuman animals, on both the personal and spiritual levels. As a Reiki practitioner and master training facilitator (holding a degree in Psychology) she is able to guide participants to rediscover and develop their natural senses so that they deepen their connection with all species in an honouring manner. You can read more about Anna and her work on her website.


  • Sit quietly and calm the mind to access your subtle intuitive senses.
  • Set an intention to have clear communication and visualise establishing a telepathic connection with the animal.
  • Send your message, be it a mental image or silent words, trusting that it will be received.
  • Observe any subtle impressions or feelings which can be an answer in the form of mental images, emotions, physical sensations, words or thoughts.

Geoff Dalglish

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