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#009 How Sound Can Be Used to Contact the Dead, with Guest: Jude Higgins, Ph.D

Updated: Apr 16

Life with Ghosts | Jude Higgins | Death Doula

You don't get what you want—you get what you need. Mick Jagger also said that. In fact, he sung it. And it holds true as far as after-death communication is concerned. Today’s guest explains more in this wonderful episode. Stephen talks with Dr. Jude Higgins, anthropology professor-turned-death doula and shamanic practitioner. With this interview, Dr. Higgins explains how she uses sound to reunite clients with their departed loved ones. Tune in and learn how you can get the message you need if you just open yourself up to the experience!


Listen to the podcast here

Chat With Jude Higgins, Ph.D.

Anthropology Professor-Turned-Death Doula & Shamanic Practitioner

Our guest for this episode is Dr. Jude Higgins. Before we get started, I need to take a moment to address last month's show with guest June Ahern. I received some emails in response to that interview where either concern or confusion was expressed. One email actually sounded pretty frustrated. It was almost pleading with me to say whether or not June's comments were true.


I think it's fair to say that most of us are much more comfortable knowing when something is true. However, the question was that true presupposes that there's one truth and everything else is false. And here's the problem with that. There is no absolute truth. Because when we talk about truth, we have to consider things like perceptual filters, right? Life experiences, confirmation bias, cultural relativism, which all point to the conclusion that the lens through which we are looking determines what we see and experience.

I want to say that again: The lens through which we are looking determines what we see and experience.


When I was a kid, my mom would confide in me about arguments she had with my father. My father could be a very difficult guy, and my mom needed some help knowing how to communicate in a way that my father could hear her. When my father died, my mom and I found ourselves in conversations with people in my mother's community who claimed to be continuing their relationships with their departed loved ones.


That led me on a journey where, paradoxically, I continued to help my mother communicate with my father. This was all documented in my film Life With Ghosts, and now I'm furthering that same research with this show.

I've lost three more people close to me since my father's passing and based on my research and my life experiences, my truth at this moment is that we can have meaningful, continuous, and even robust relationships with our deceased.


However, my truth is not true for most people, at least not true for most people in American society. It simply does not resonate with people who do not believe such a possibility exists. It turns out that the truth is in the eye of the beholder. Plus, if history is any indicator, where we've continually updated our textbooks to make room for new discoveries, truth is fluid. It's always incomplete until we know more. It's like a work in progress in this way.

Life with Ghosts | Jude Higgins | Death Doula


This is all the way for me to say that I'm curious and open-minded. I'm an explorer of sorts. And if you're listening to me right now, then you're an explorer too. And I for one want to learn about everything available to me. If you've decided to join Gary and me in this exploration, we will share with you as many interesting, credible, and varied voices we can find on all things related to after-death contact.


However, and please heed this warning: Not everything you hear will sit well with you—or with me or with Gary for that matter. But I want to have those conversations anyway. And I want to have those conversations right here, in front of you. And then each of us gets to decide for ourselves what feels true for us.

In sum, Gary and I host this program to be of service to this community. We invite guests to talk about what they understand to be true. We are not going to align perfectly with every guest, and we wouldn't want that. We're still learning. So let's all try to get comfortable with the idea that absolute truth does not exist, not for us humans anyway, and here's what's great about that: For those of you who recognize that there is no absolute truth, there is an opening. An opening for new ideas and new experiences, which is what we're all here for anyway, right? Gary, do you want to add anything to that?


Gary: I think you covered it beautifully. We're explorers. Let's be explorers. We know the afterlife exists. Most of us have done enough looking at that to see that that's a reality. All the other aspects, they're floating out there. There are possibilities. I hold a lot of things as tentative until I learn more. Let's continue being explorers and we'll have a great time.


Stephen: Just to be fully objective, Gary, even your statement that "We know there's an afterlife..." not everybody who's a member of this community believes that. There are some people here just to see what we're doing. It's your truth that there's an afterlife. It might be my truth also, but I'm being very conservative now. I don't want to paint everybody with the same brush.


Gary: What I was trying to say is the evidence is there. There is strong evidence.


Stephen: The evidence is overwhelming that consciousness continues in some regard. That's what the evidence tells us. Beyond that, we don't know anything. And nobody in human clothing knows anything. This is in response to those emails because to tell you the truth, it rattled me that there are people not understanding what we're doing with the show. Both Gary and I felt it was a need to restate what we were doing. We're not preaching anything. We're saying, “This is interesting, check this out and see if it applies to you.”


Now, it's time to introduce our guest, Dr. Jude Higgins. Dr. Jude Higgins, PhD was a tenured anthropology professor before deciding to dedicate herself to end-of-life work. She has worked with Peruvian and Celtic shamans, as well as the Arizonian Hopi healers. Dr. Higgins is also a clinical chaplain with training that's rooted in neuropsychoanalytic psychotherapy. She now serves as a Palliative Care Chaplain and End-of-Life Doula. Dr. Higgins, welcome to the show. Let’s chat.


Thank you. I'm happy to be here.


You were an anthropology professor for a number of years. Did chaplaincy come next?




Describe briefly what a clinical chaplain is as compared to a regular chaplain.


Because I'm a clinical chaplain, I was trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy techniques. I look at the issues that come up. Are people feeling fear? Are they feeling rage? Are they feeling grief or panic? What are they feeling in their existential angst? I then ask them questions to get to the bottom of that. I don't bring religion into that relationship unless I meet the person where they are.


I meet them from their religious perspective, not my belief system and not my religious perspective. My religion has nothing to do with any of that. I meet you where you are and I listen to you talk about your existential links. When I was in grad school working full-time, my father moved in with me. I cared for him for two and a half years until he passed.


Is that the segue to you becoming an end-of-life doula?


Pretty much.


You went from anthropology to being an end-of-life doula because your father was dying.


I trained in it, and then I assisted a mentor of mine in her death. Long story short, she said, “You should be teaching this. You developed courses for universities. Teach your own course.” I started training end-of-life doulas.

Facilitating Reunions Through Sound

Getting to the crux of it, the reason why I invited you here is you facilitate reunions between the living loved ones and the loved ones living elsewhere, on the other side. You facilitate reunions and you do so using sound. How the heck do you do that?


It's not just with dead loved ones. I take people to non-ordinary reality using sonic induction or a shamanic journey. That is what it's typically known as in anthropological circles. Through certain drum beats at a certain rate of time for a certain length of time, it will change the brainwaves into a theta state and you can have a psychedelic experience.


Many things probably can help you create that theta state, right?


Yeah. Holotropic breathwork can do the same thing. Sitting in a deprivation chamber or a water float tank can do the same thing. It has a funny name. It's called a witch's cradle, but it can be a board that's suspended off the ground and you sit on it. The motion of it being suspended can change and give you that type of non-ordinary reality experience.


Take me through it. Paint the picture for me. I'm a client that comes into your office. I tell you, “I want to reunite with my best friend from childhood. Let's make that happen.” What do you do?


I say, “I don't know if your best friend from childhood is in their ascended state so I can give you an experience where you can have an intention to meet someone who has crossed over. I can't tell you who that will be.”


Are you promising that they'll reach that state or is it a 50/50 thing?


I have classes that are 8 to 10 people at a time. Mostly everyone reaches some type of state. It might not be the state that they desire. I've had people say, “I was suspended in complete darkness and I felt alone.” “I was in this space of darkness. It scared me and I was alone.” We would then integrate that experience and talk about what that means to them and how to integrate it because the experience in this work is the message. You get the message you need, not necessarily the experience you want. It is a spiritually transformative experience, but you don't dictate that. That's all I can say about that. It's not in your control.

Life with Ghosts | Jude Higgins | Death Doula
Death Doula: You get the message you need, not necessarily the experience you want. It is a spiritually transformative experience, but you don't dictate it.


I'm going to agree to your terms. I come into your office. I agree that I can't map out what I want to happen. I have to let it happen. I have to be open to whatever happens. We get started. I'm in a group maybe of 7 or 8 people.


It can be fewer.


I am in a room with eight people and you're making a drum beat. Is that what it is?


It is.


It is also known as binaural beats, which Dr. Eben Alexander and Karen Newell talk about all the time in their books. Before I go any further, Dr. Higgins, was there a time when you felt a little bit worried that you had to explain to your colleagues in the Department of Anthropology what you're doing now? Were you worried about that or did you come and say, “This is what I got going and it's working for me?”


Quite honestly, this is probably my coming out.




Yeah. My colleagues know that I am an anthropologist. In my first year in grad school, I was married and they called my husband and me Dharma and Greg because I've always been more esoteric that way. I grew up in a very gifted family but we never talked about it. I went directly into science. I trained in Evolutionary Ecology. I taught Evolution at the university.


I went to science and tried to hide it but it's who I am. It's how I was born. It's how I was raised. It's my ancestral lineage. It is who I am. This work saved my sanity and gave me a spiritual practice that is so profound and deep. It has empowered me. That's what I think spirituality should do. In my opinion, I think it should empower.

Spirituality should empower.


First of all, I want to congratulate you when you're deciding to come out. I thank you. I'm grateful that you've decided to come out on my and Gary's program. It's very flattering.


I do this work. It's easy for me now because, with the advent of psychedelic therapy, it is very connected in a similar way going to a non-ordinary reality. I help people integrate their psychedelic journeys because I've done this for the past 25 years.


It's a sober psychedelic journey. There are no drugs involved. It's just sound.


Yes. One of my end-of-life doulas made this drum for me. It's made out of buffalo skin. Buffalo is an animal that's connected very strongly to the ancestors. I don't know if you can see it. It has two little scars. They're considered by the drum makers as spirit scars. The animal was injured in life and survived. For me, this is a very special drum because of that. I like the sound of it.


You achieve a theta state with the beats.


You set the intention first.


Do I just say, “I want to connect with my best friend Jeffrey?”


Yes, but first you have to know where you're going. I would take you. I would say, “We're going to go to your sacred garden, and you're going to meet a deceased loved one.” That's how we frame it. If you have an intention to meet your friend Jeffrey, then you can say in your heart or even out loud, “I want to meet Jeffrey's ascended self.” I will tell you how you're going to get there and then I start drumming. The key is to let your ego go to sleep and go with the vision you start to have. People will say, “How do I know I'm not making it up? Is it real or is it imagination?” A shamanic practitioner would say, “Yes.” That's the answer. The more you do it, the more you recognize it is very real for me.

Life with Ghosts | Jude Higgins | Death Doula
Death Doula: The more you do it, the more you recognize it is very real.


First of all, thank you for saying it's for you because now that's a new theme of the show. Everybody's got their truth. In terms of I want to be able to do that at home by myself, can I do that or do I have to have you come and beat a drum for me?


I don't have to beat a drum for you, but I took a training at My trainer is Karen Cottingham. I trained with her. I took multiple classes to learn how to get there safely. I can teach you how to get there safely. I don't teach shamanic journey work. I take you there. If you want to learn how to do it by yourself, you can also read Sandra Ingerman's book but I would caution that you need training.


Maybe people would ingest psychedelics and have their own psychedelic experience. There are safety issues with that, in my opinion. I would want you to be spiritually and physically protected, know where you're going, have your foundation strong, have your journey intention strong, and then do integration around it. There's a process.


How will you spiritually protect me?


I can't spiritually protect you. You spiritually protect yourself.


How do you teach me how to spiritually protect myself?


There are visualization tools that you can use. I do a guided meditation so you go to your sacred cave and find your protection animal. You then take that animal in with you on your first journey.

Working With The Spirit Animal

Dr. Higgins, let me stop you there. Let's talk about the protection of animals because now you got me happy. Now, I get to pick out an animal that I want to hang out with, right?


No, you don't. The animal picks you.


How does that happen? You asked me to wait for the animal and the first kind of animal that comes into my mind is my animal.


Through the guided meditation that I do, yes. In many indigenous cultures in traditional societies, the belief in many of them is that we're born with animal protectors. It morphed into religion. Most people are familiar with a guardian angel. This is a traditional practice so I use indigenous practices. It's animistic in nature. We use animals, plants, and rocks. I have you find a protection animal.


Is it more than one or do I take one with me on my maiden voyage?


On your maiden voyage, I would have you find one. You take that one in and then you can find another one. Many shamanic practitioners don't tell their animals. There's a lot around that. I'm fine telling my animal. When I did my first journey to meet my animal, I was honestly not very pleased. I can say that now because I met a spider that was bigger than a house. I wasn't comfortable with that so it took me about three years to establish a relationship and communicate with that animal. Once you connect, the next piece is to establish a relationship.


Can this be done over Zoom?


I have done it over Zoom, yes.


Dr. Higgins, I don't want to put you in the spot. I'm just curious. Right now, there are 253 people in the room. Could you put all of us in a state where we get to meet our spirit animal?


I can drum for you for about fifteen minutes if you like, but I can do a quicker meditation where you can meet your protection animal.


How long does that take?


Ten minutes. I could drum for ten minutes. I can do a guided meditation for ten minutes. I can do whatever you guys want.


I feel like I need a consensus opinion from the audience.


There seems to be a consensus.


We have the consensus. We're going to do this. This is somewhat unorthodox for this show, Jude. We never did this before. We had people go through a meditation with us but this is new in that you're doing a drumming thing or is there a different thing that you do? What do you do exactly?


I'd like to do a quick meditation so you can find a protective animal to take with you when I do.


I'm with you.


Can we do that?


I feel like we have a consensus. I see enough raised hands on my end. Gary, please corroborate this. We're going to spend this time with you but you'll protect us, right Dr. Higgins? You'll do whatever you need to do to feel protected on this journey.


Yes. In the guided meditation, absolutely, and then you will take this animal into the drumming and we'll talk about protection.


Dr. Higgins, the people listening to this on a replay, will they get the same benefit of being able to feel that they're part of the community and they get to meet their spirit animal also?


I sure hope so.


You told me that I'm not going to be able to choose. They choose me, right?


You can choose, but that's your ego. You can do whatever you want, but I would recommend allowing the animal to choose you because I had one client who met an animal and said, “I didn't like that animal. I like unicorns so I decided I wanted to meet a unicorn and I did.” I said, “Of course, you did,” but animals have different properties. The property of the animal is something inside of you that you might need to grow or you might need to understand those qualities and embody them.


Also, animals don't just have good qualities. They have negative qualities too. You want to look at the light and the shadow of that animal to figure out what it's trying to tell you. What's the message it's giving you? Why did you meet that animal? Is it a water animal? Is it a land animal? Is it a bird? Does it tell you that you need a different perspective? Does it tell you that you need to go with the flow? If it’s a snake, do you need to change and step into your transformation?


I'm ready. Let's start the meditation. Gary has a question or something to say.


Somebody has a question. “What does it mean that his friend may not be in an ascended place and therefore may not be able to be reached?” Maybe, Dr. Higgins, you could clarify that.


We’re going into spirituality and I can tell you what I believe. Some people believe the same thing. Some people don't. Oftentimes, if people transition, there has to be a place of healing that they go to in order to heal issues. They might not be able to see you right away until they're healed. I hesitate to speak about my belief system.


Your understanding is your understanding. You're allowed to have that Dr. Higgins.


This is for me. If someone commits suicide, I do not believe they go to hell. I don't believe in hell. I believe that they need healing and that they move on to new lessons.

When someone commits suicide, they don’t go to hell. They need a healing, and they move on for new lessons.


Dr. Higgins, I feel like most of the people who are tuning in to this right now feel similarly. I don't think you're a radical for saying that you don't believe so don't worry. You're in good company. I am eager to meet my spirit animal.


You're going to meet a protection animal.


I'm very eager to meet him or her. I'm ready when you are.


Sample Meditation

I have to read this disclaimer first. The following is a sample meditation for those interested in meeting their protection animal. However, please note that sonic induction journey work is foundational and should be approached with respect and care. For this reason, I ask that you think of this meditation as an introduction to an idea rather than a healing modality. Please discontinue the meditation if you feel uncomfortable or frightened at any time.


We’ll go ahead and we're going to do a meditation. That's all this is. If you have your guides, your protectors, your deities, your angels, and you want to surround yourself with them in that light, feel free to do so. Just go ahead and get grounded. I would like you to close your eyes and focus on the breath at the tip of your nose. You don't need to change it. The way you're breathing is perfect. Don't change it, but bring awareness to it. What does your breath feel like? How does it feel going into your body? Is it warm? Is it cool? What's the air like? What's it like when you exhale?


Just bring awareness to your breath. As you're breathing, I want you to imagine yourself on the beach. This is your own personal private beach. No one else is around. It looks exactly the way you want it to. The color of sand, the size of the waves but you can hear them crashing. You can feel a little bit of salt sting in the air. There's a slight breeze. It is a beautiful day. The temperature is perfect. You can feel that slight wind. The sky is blue. You can dig your toes into the sand and you enjoy how beautiful it feels and how beautiful it looks.


In this moment, you recognize that you're in the perfect environment because there's a beautiful ocean in front of you, and behind you is a beautiful forest where your sacred cave is. You decide to go visit your sacred cave, and you stand up and you put your things on your chair, whether it's a towel, a book, or your sunglasses. You know everything will be safe because it is your personal beach. You decide to take off your sandals and walk through the sand barefoot.


It's a little hard. It's hard on your calves, but it's not far. You walk behind you and you see the path coming right out onto the beach, and you step onto it. The path in the forest, the soil is so moist and soft. It's lined with little rocks and you step in and start walking down the path. It squishes under your feet and you can smell the humic-rich soil and the temperature changes when you go into the forest. It's a little bit cooler, but you can see the light shining through the trees and you keep walking.


You know your sacred cave is up ahead. It's a little bit hidden with big roots in front of it, but you keep walking. You know you're going to find it. Off to the side you see it, and you walk up to it. You know it's your sacred cave because there's incense burning on one side and sacred water, crisp, clear cold water in a bowl on the other side. You put your sandals down and you bathe yourself in the incense smoke as a protection. You drink some of that sacred water. You might want to pour it over your head and you step into the cave. It's even a little bit colder, but it's not too cold, and it's beautiful.


The entrance is huge. It is your personal sacred cave. It looks exactly as you imagined it would. You can see in the back there's a fire burning, and it has a spiral staircase. You decide to take it down to the bottom chamber to meet your protection animal so you spiral around and around and around. You're going lower and lower and lower. When you step off the last step, the chamber opens up. It's as big as the first chamber.


You notice little arched doorways all the way around you, 360 degrees around you. The doorways are dark. You can't see what's in them but you know, from one of those doorways, your protection animal will emerge. You stand in the middle of that lower chamber, and you ask to meet your protection animal. When it emerges, you're going to ask it, “What information do you have for me?” Take a moment, stand in the middle, and call your protection animal to you.


Tell your animal, “Thank you.” Tell your animal that you'll see them again. Start winding up the staircase, up and up and up. Keep going up and up back to the main chamber. You can still see the fire burning in the back. Walk toward the front. As you step outside, it gets a little warmer. You can feel it on your skin. Bathe yourself again in the incense smoke. Drink some more of the water. Put your sandals on. Start walking down that mossy squishy path. Still seeing the light through the trees, feeling a little bit warmer, thankful that you met your animal.


Walking back to the beach. The minute you step on the sand, you can feel the warmth of it. You take off your sandals. You walk barefoot back to your chair and pick up your things. Sit down. You start to dig your toes into the sand, feeling the cool underneath the warmth. Taking a deep breath, hearing the crash of the waves again. Bringing your awareness back to the breath at the tip of your nose. Notice whether your breathing has changed. It didn't need to. You're still breathing just perfectly. When you're ready, go ahead and blink open your eyes. There you go.


First of all, thank you, Dr. Higgins, because I found that first very relaxing. I thought your descriptions were great. I've done meditations like this before in terms of somebody guiding me through it. Right now, you're my favorite because I like the squishy moss. I like the descriptions and you also have a nice voice. I have a couple of questions. They might not be questions on behalf of everyone, but I would like to be all-inclusive. I'm including myself in this example. For those people who felt like they were seeing an animal they used to own, they were seeing a family member, a former family member. Is that a common thing, Dr. Higgins, or is that ego? Do those people want to see their old dog?


I would never tell anyone they saw the wrong animal or they saw an animal because of ego but I would say, “How did that animal make you feel?” If it was a beautiful reunion with an animal that's crossed over, that is your fur baby, absolutely go with it. That's fabulous.


Thank you. That helped and I'll tell you why. I'll get back to that. Gary, remember that it put a pin in something. I want to get back to what my animal was but to stay on course, for those people who have had something completely out of the ordinary that they wouldn't have thought of in a million years like an alligator as their protection animal. Is there any symbolism you would ascribe or you would say, “No, the person who has the vision is the best judge?”


In journey work, one of our mantras is GTS, and that means Google That Stuff but we don't usually say stuff. Google it. Google totem, animal, alligator, and find out what it means. The point is not to have the journey and connect. The point now is to establish a relationship. What does that animal's message for you? What is it telling you? What does it mean for you? Alligators can be fiercely protective mothers. What is the energy of the animal? That's what you're trying to establish a relationship with.


This is also a good reminder because I felt like I already covered this at the top of the show. It's very personal to the individual. Is it safe to say that all spirit work is very personal to the individual? You can't ascribe symbols to everybody. Everybody has their own.

Life with Ghosts | Jude Higgins | Death Doula
Death Doula: All spirit work is very personal to the individual. You can't really ascribe symbols. Everybody's got their own.


The thing that I think for me is the most detrimental is people hear shamans say, “Your animal is a tiger.” No. You find your own animal and it's very personal. Oftentimes, I think the reason people don't tell is because it is so personal and it diminishes the sacredness and you don't want to diminish the sacredness just like when you have what some people call a coincidence, which I don't believe in but if some people have a coincidence and they tell people, they're like, “Nice coincidence. That's great.”


It diminishes the sacredness of that experience. When you have a coincidence, it's not just about, “My mom left me a feather. She told me I would find feathers when she was thinking of me from beyond.” It's not just that. Then you sit down and say, “Mom, what's your message to me right now? What's the meaning of this feather? What are you trying to tell me?” You go deeper into the experience. You don't just take the coincidence and then it's over. It's a process of connecting, communicating, and establishing a deeper relationship. It’s the same with your animal.


I have my protection animal, and now I'm ready for the next leg of my journey. Is it safe to say I want to ascend or is it a parallel path?


We're going down.


What do you mean we're going down?


This journey work in a traditional indigenous belief system that was based on animism where everything has spirit like rocks, trees, rivers, and animals. From what we know, there are three levels. The lower world, the middle world, and the upper world. They don't have significance in terms of lower-world bad or upper-world good. It's not like any type of religion like that. The lower world holds different energy and different animals. It's lush.


The middle world is different. The upper world is different. We're going to go to the lower world to find your animal. It is very safe. We'll put your protection around you. You'll take your protection animal and you can have the potential to meet an animal. The problem is we have to put our egos to sleep. That can be difficult because we get all in our heads, “I don't want to go there. That's not safe.” That's ego. “I'm not going to have a journey. I'm not going to meet anything.” That's ego. “Their journey's going to be better than mine.” That's ego.


The experience you have is the message that you need even if you fall asleep, even if you don't find an animal, and even if you're suspended in darkness, the experience is the message. It's telling you something. The important aspect is the integration of the message. It doesn't mean that you'll never have an animal. It doesn't mean that you'll never find an animal. It means that right now there's something about being suspended in darkness that's important for you to process or integrate. It means if you fall asleep, you probably need sleep.

The Next Step

Do I have my protection animal? I'm trying to get to the next step. What happens then?


I'll tell you how to get there and we're going to go.


Are we still journeying?


Do you want to? I thought you wanted me to drum for you. I see what you're saying. I'll tell you the next step. I have people start on a plateau as high as they can see, all the way around them, 360 degrees. Your head's in the clouds. You're starting on the plateau, and you're going to state your intention. “I'm journeying to the lower world to meet my power animal.” You say it a few times. You turn your vibration up. You protect yourself energetically.


You make that statement and then as I start drumming, you're going to jump off that plateau. Some people are uncomfortable jumping. They like to create a nice little walkway path. I've had some people bungee jump. I've had some people zip line. I've had some people create an elevator or whatever it is in your imagination, the way that you can safely go down, you want to go down to the lower worlds.


I get my protection animal first, and then after that, I get the other animal.


Your power animal or your totem animal.


Is this an all-animal journey? Do I get to meet any people?


I do animals first so that I can connect people with an animal that they can take with them or two animals that they can take with them so they're completely and always protected.


It's very important for the client to feel that they have protection. That's the purpose of this exercise.


It helps the ego go to sleep. The ego protects us. The ego is our limbic system. We have had it evolutionarily for a few million years. It protects us. The ego thinks death is real. In the spiritual world, death is not real. The soul knows death is not real. The problem is there's a conflict in the body so we have to put the ego to sleep. Sometimes people will even create a little couch with a pillow and a blanket. “Ego, lay on this couch. Go to sleep. I'm going to do this journey. I'm very safe. I'll be right back.”

The ego thinks death is real. The soul knows death is not real.


Let me make sure I understand, Dr. Higgins. Things have to make sense to my left side as well as the right side of my brain. The purpose of this is to first make the client who's going on this journey feel very safe and secure. Guided meditation is part of that. In terms of the voice, the cadence, the drumbeat, and all that. The whole purpose is to get the ego to go to sleep.


For the ego to go to sleep, you have to feel very safe. Your protection animals help you get there. You combine it with the power animals, they help you get there also. Are there more animals that I have to meet to make my ego go to sleep and get to the next step because eventually, I want to meet Jeffrey? I want to say hi to Jeffrey. I want to understand how long of a journey this is. Is it like the Wizard of Oz where you keep on picking up strays along the way?


I love your left brain, but I'm going to ask you to detach from it for a second because you want a linear recipe for this work. “I want to see Jeffrey and I want to see him now.” I would say if we're talking from a spiritual perspective, the universe and spirit know what you need far better than you do, so you don't get what you want. You get what you need.

Spirit knows what you need far better than you do.


Mick Jagger said the same thing.


I love the Stones. You don't get what you want ever in journey work. It's important to be able to first connect and then establish the relationship. This is not a process that, “I'm going to do this and this and then this.” There's no finish line to spiritual work. There's no finish line to holistic healing ever. It continues and continues but once you connect with your animal, then what I suggest before another journey is to establish a relationship. What is this animal right now trying to tell you to help you in your life?


Why do you think it's important for us to have spirit animals instead of other kinds of representatives? Is it because we can attach a personality to them? What's the purpose?


They're representative of your personality, quite frankly. They're representative of you. Their qualities are qualities you have that you may not recognize. It's not just about animals. I take people to meet their totem animals, their sole purpose. They can find their personal star, they can explore their secret garden, and they can meet their higher self. They can journey to each chakra and determine what animal resides in each chakra. They can journey to the elements and tell them what fire means to them right now.


It does not sound science-y at all to me.


It's not.


However, you're a scientist.


I am.


You're an anthropologist.


I have a foot in one world and a foot in the other.


You talk about chakras and spirit animals. I'm not saying you're a woo. I wouldn't put that label on you, but it's approaching that realm and that’s okay if that’s what you are.


This practice is for personal empowerment. This is spiritual personal empowerment. You are not giving your power away to someone else. This is a direct revelation from the divine for you. That is radical when you talk to a religious person. This is a direct revelation for you, your spiritual growth, your empowerment, and your personal authority. Do you want that? Maybe. I don't know.

Life with Ghosts | Jude Higgins | Death Doula
Death Doula: This practice is for personal empowerment. This is spiritual personal empowerment. You are not giving your power away to someone else. This is direct Revelation from the Divine for you.


It's all about getting to know me better.


It is and getting to know your ancestors. It’s getting to know your support system. Many people feel alone. If I walk to my car at night, it's a very different experience for me as a woman. I take my power animals. I take my big grizzly bear. I take that grizzly bear energy, I embody it. I walk to my car with my bear and that is a very different feeling than not having my bear.


I'm about to let Gary take over, but I want to ask you one question I want to get back to the question I had earlier. In my situation when I was envisioning a protection animal, I saw the German shepherd that I had when I was between the ages of 5 and 10. My relationship with my dog was complicated. It strikes me as funny because most people love their dogs. They can't get enough of their dogs. They are dog people.


I had a love-hate thing with that dog. The dog was so protective. It was rather vicious to everybody outside the family. That was a dog that came to me and I was like, “What's your message,” because I had a weird attitude towards the dog because she scared my friends. The dog let me know that she was waiting to play with me.


Who else have you had a similar relationship with and was it around the same age? There are hundreds of thousands of open-ended questions to ask you. I'm not trying to get at something specific, and I'm not trying to tell you this is your uncle.


You have to fish for the information from the client. You have to give them some help in terms of getting it out of them.


I would ask you an open-ended question.


That was pretty open. I feel like I have the answer. I'm just not going to share it here because it's private.


How did it feel in your body when you met your dog? Where are you holding that in your body? You can go to somatic stuff. You can go to relational stuff. You can do all of that with this tool. You can also do it yourself.


I found that very interesting and compelling. I didn't know anything about your work before. Now, I do. Thank you very much. Since you do practice over Zoom, is it a good idea to have people or give people information or give out information so people can reach you?


I would love to. My end-of-life website is

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