While most students have run off to Whistler or Seattle for their President’s day weekend, or were furiously catching up on mid-term projects, or nursing hangovers at some windowed restaurant on Railroad Avenue, I’m sitting on my living room floor, cell phone and tape recorder in one hand, cat cradled in the other, talking to Mary Getten, an Animal Communicator or, rather, she’s talking to my cat. Telepathically. Over the phone.

An Overview
Animal communication is exactly what it sounds like—communication among animals. However, what may not be so obvious about the term animal communication is the mode of which the communication occurs, telepathically, said Getten.
“Animals communicate with each other telepathically all the time. They’re receivers are always on. That’s how they talk,” Getten said in her raspy voice.

Getten first encountered animal communication in 1988, while working at an animal hospital in Sausalito, California. Working with primarily sea lions and seals at the time, Getten became interested in how she could better communicate with the animals in the clinic. She wanted to be able to relay to the doctors at the clinic how the animals felt, where they were hurt, or what they needed. Getten’s interests were answered when she encountered Penelope Smith, a pioneer in animal communication, talking to dogs at a dog walk-athon. Getten began taking communicating classes with Smith soon thereafter.

By 1996, Getten was able to begin practicing animal communication professionally, and now works full-time from an office in her Orcas Island home. Via telephone, Getten speaks to clients about their animal problems, and then communicates directly with their pets over the phone. What makes Getten special, however, is no magical power or inherited trait; it’s just that she is able to tap into her own telepathic ability and converse with animals. Getten is convinced that telepathy is an ability everyone is born with, and with just a little bit of guidance and a lot of practice, anyone can achieve.

“We all get a lot of information telepathically, we just don’t understand it or even acknowledge where it’s coming from,” Getten said. “We’re all wired to do this, we’ve just been socialized out of it.”

In addition to animal communication, Getten also communicates with nature. She teaches workshops about once a year on nature communication. Her ability to communicate with nature has even helper her personal life.

“I was walking through the woods and a tree started talking to me . . . [the trees] started talking to me about a relationship I was in, and they were telling me to leave Bob [Getten’s boyfriend at the time],” Getten said. “Bob was not really happy when I told him the trees told me to do it.”

Getten is also a member of the Fairy and Human Relations Congress. The congress gathers annually, and convenes to do workshops on nature communication and to communicate with nature directly.

“We sit and communicate with the nature around, so the fairies, and the trees, and the plants, and the water, and the rocks. Yeah, you can really talk to anything, anything that has consciousness. And that’s every living thing, really,” Getten said.
Though Getten communicates with all animals and nature, she strays from humans. Citing general disinterest as the main cause of her shying away from the human mind-reading realm, Getten also notes that humans generally don’t allow others into their minds and aren’t as open to receiving telepathy as animals are.
As far as criticism and skepticism from the public goes, Getten is well aware. However, considering the growth of her business over the last decade, she continues to be met with less and less resistance.

“I think there’s been a shift in the whole collected unconscious of people, more people learn about it and it gets easier and easier,” Getten said.

The Process
According to Getten’s website, animal telepathy occurs “mind-to-mind,” and can occur across any distance, which is why Getten is able to communicate with animals from all over the world through the phone. To Getten, everyone is connected through “webs of energy.” When working with a client, Getten feels she is connected to the pet by speaking with the pet owner—she is able to communicate with the pet by using the owner as a sort of intermediary.

“Like I’m talking to you on the phone about your cat, and that’s kind of completing the circuit, like you’re plugging in a cord for me,” Getten explained.

Getten suggests dedicated practice to those who want to re-engage their telepathic abilities. “It isn’t a unique gift, it’s something we can all do. If it’s something you want to do, make a commitment and practice,” she said.

For those interested, she suggests doing exercises with other beginning students. For instance, have one student send the thought of a color to the other student. Have the other student concentrate and try to receive the color telepathically. Also, Getten suggests practicing visualizing or daydreaming oneself communicating telepathically with animals.

“You have to quiet your mind down, just let your body and mind become quiet. You have to know who you’re going to speak to,” Getten said.

However, Getten admits that telepathy is a tricky matter; self-doubt and skepticism are often obstacles for students.

“The tricky part about telepathy is that it’s not something that you can do, it’s allowing,” Getten said. “So it’s actually using your intention to say you’re going to do something and make this connection, but then it’s stepping back and allowing this information to flow to you.”

Once one is able to open their mind and connect, there are four main “channels” in which they might receive information. The first receiving channel is in the form of internal pictures or videos. This is like seeing “snap shots” or watching a video in your mind. The second channel involves hearing, as one might receive information in the form of running conversation, single words or sounds. In the third channel, information is transported through feeling senses; these feelings can be either emotional or physical. Finally, the fourth main channel is intuition, as one may receive information in an instinctual, “gut feeling” way. There are other less common channels as well, for instance some receive information in the way of smell or taste. Most practitioners of telepathy receive information through mainly one channel only; however, one’s dominant channel may change over time (i.e. one that used to receive info via intuition may now receive info via sound).

The Communication
I asked Getten to debunk the skepticism and demonstrate first hand her telepathic skills with my sixth-month-old kitten, Tallulah. Here are the highlights:
Katie Boody: So how does this process begin?
Mary Getten: So it’s basically like a three way conversation, so we go back and forth. And if there’s any behavior stuff that needs to be modified then we might get into a little negotiating. You know, I’ll do this if you do that. That sort of thing.

KB: Well, Tallulah’s pretty small for her age, can you let me know if there’s anything wrong with her, or if she’ll get bigger, is there anything she needs?
MG: Okay, I’m just going to get quiet here for a few minutes while I connect with her . . .(Silence)
Well you know, she feels healthy to me, she feels like she has a lot of good energy. I see her running around just being a little crazy cat. I think that, well, she just said she’s just going to be small, just going to be a small cat.

KB: What do you think her first memories of being separated from her family and coming to live with me are?
MG: (silence)
That’s really cute. Kittens don’t really have a real long memory. She showed me a picture of a black kitten; did she have another sibling that was black? Did you see her brothers and sisters?

KB: Yeah, she had a brother that was black and white.
MG: That’s the one she said she really liked. She was showing me that there was this other black one. And when you first got her she felt a little bit nervous and a little bit like, “hmm, what’s going on here,” but she quickly forgot about everything else and there were all these interesting things to see at your place, so I don’t feel that she suffered long with missing her family. It seems like she adjusted pretty quickly, but she still has that memory of her black sibling . . .