By Barbara Janelle M.A.


We encounter a range of understandings of time in interspecies communication. By and large, animals live in present time. Trees, particularly very old trees, present time as a continuum. Rocks hold history. And as communicators, we dip into a field of information that holds past, present and future in this and other lifetimes. Are there other aspects of time that we encounter in communication with other forms of existence? I hope that this article encourages discussion in the family of interspecies communicators.




In communication with very old trees like sequoias and redwoods, I encounter a stream of time, open and undifferentiated: a consciousness of “Earth-Planet Time.” The events that interest humans have almost no meaning within the context of this stream of time.


“All is.

Our being holds the wholeness of being

Flowing always,

stillness not”


These trees do not speak of this year or that. There is an uninterrupted flowing awareness of time. When I ask about their awareness of human time, I get a sense of brief, swift motion. I find it very difficult to access these beings because they do not step out of the flow of time to pause and talk.


Trees that live for decades or a few centuries are much more accessible. Their sense of seasons is more apparent. They too hold a strong awareness of continuum and frequently do not differentiate between being tree form and being soil. And yet they can offer humans the experience of seeing and accessing our own lifetime. I have often been invited to explore my own life patterns and history when asking these kinds of trees for advice.


A large, old white pine once showed me that


Time is music that flows uninterrupted.

There are no separate pieces, not even days and nights.

All is part of what preceded and what comes next

– a NOW without beginning or ending,

energy-matter ongoing

in a stream of NOW.” (1)


Another kind of time experience that I frequently have with trees is that of becoming very aware of present time and place. I think that this has to do with their great ability to strongly ground a person, support the integration of spirit and body and bring us into present time.




Rocks hold history. I have often lain on large rocks and closed my eyes and watched a “video” of something that has happened in that place. In Iceland, I watched lava flow, all heat and light. In Holland, I saw the members of an ancient human community in daily activity. In Maine, I saw a Native American pause on the rock I was on and I felt that I knew him even though his pausing there happened two centuries earlier


A large rock once said to me,

All time is here

Time becomes solid in your world.” (2)


As I think about this, I realize that humans tend to understand time as the space between events. We anchor time with events that bring us into a more present moment.




For the most part, animals live in present time. Human beings have a more complex mental framework that entertains concepts of past, present and future time, and relative time too. These are mental constructs and in this sense, animals and humans live in different universes. In telepathic communication, we meet in the shared experience of present time.


When a human says to a dog, “We will go for a walk in an hour,” the animal hears this as “We will go for a walk Now.”


This difference in understanding time can become a problem when, for example, a human says of the animal that was rescued and has lived in her home for years as, “My cat was abused before I rescued her.” The cat hears “I am abused Now,” and can be quite confused by this! When a human tells history over and over to an animal, the animal hears it as current happening. Past and future events have little meaning to them.


Living in the Now. A dog explores a field full of pocket gopher holes but there is no regimented pattern to this exploration, nor a sense of checking here first and then there. Instead the animal’s movement is directed by scent/taste, sound, movement/sight, the tactile feel of the ground, vibrational awareness of the earth felt through the feet and body, and a world of vibration/color/motion of which humans are only dimly aware. An animal goes where it feels interesting or right to go now.


Animals do plan things out in very short time periods. For example, I watch my cat Machu Picchu plan the route he will take to get to the top of the bookcase. However, an hour from now, or tomorrow or yesterday has little or no meaning for animals, unless we embed those words in a framework of images and feelings.


When I go out to the grocery store, library, etc., I tell my animals that I am going out, I will be a few hours, I will be back (and I give them a job to do while I am gone: “Keep the peace and harmony in the house.”). On one hand it makes little sense in the light of what I have just written to say, “I will be gone for a few hours.” However, as I say that, I feel the passage of time and see the change in the light conditions of the day as it approaches the time when I will be home. My animals get these images.


When I leave on a long trip, I repeat the basic information, “I am going, I am coming back, I will be gone ten days.” I see this in my mind as a passage of nights/long sleep periods. Then I focus on the job that they have while I am away, “Keep the person who is looking after you happy. Make him/her smile. Keep the peace in the house and in the yard.” This does seem to reduce anxiety on the part of both my animals and myself!


Body Time. Animals know when it is dinner time. Animals are accustomed to sleeping and waking at certain times, eating at certain times, and doing a range of things at specific times. These are habits, engrained in the body. An animal does not say. “Gee, it’s five o’clock and dinner time is approaching.” Rather, the stomach feels empty. The light is such, and the late afternoon smells and sounds are such; all contribute to the move to search for dinner. This has more to do with body-felt sensations than it does with mental constructs of time.


The Information Field


In a communication session, an animal can give very immediate information about who it is and its present life, but it can also lay open a field of information about its current life – past, present and future, and about alternative lives.


In communication sessions, I am frequently asked about the animal’s former life before coming to this person. I go into the animal’s information field searching within specific time parameters: I want to see your life before coming to your present person. I scan for images, feelings, sounds, etc.


Yesterday a woman asked me about the earlier life of her cat who came to her through a rescue organization. Upon dipping into the animal’s information field, I saw and felt two elderly people and a very quiet home. I saw and felt the cat being passed into another person’s hands and leaving the home. During the period between leaving that home and arriving in the home of its current person, the cat was always handled gently, cared for and fed well. There were always people around the animal. There were feelings of curiosity and a wishing for information about what was happening on the cat’s part, but there were no feelings of fear, aloneness, or stress.


Sometimes, when I access the information field about an animal’s earlier life, there may be feelings, images and sounds that speak of difficulty, stress, and even abuse. It is usually the case that the animal simply wants this to be heard/seen/acknowledged so that it can be released. In dealing with the human, I emphasize the fact that attention should be given to the animal’s current happy life rather than focusing on the past which would only bring it into present time for the animal.


In working with an animal, I will occasionally get images and feelings of future experiences. A Sharpei once showed me herself in the spotlight receiving a lot of wonderful attention. Her person thought this was impossible, but within a year, the dog was appearing in major photo advertisements.


Sometimes, the timing of future events is a little fuzzy. I was asked about an upcoming litter of puppies and saw pictures of several of the pups becoming wonderful service dogs. The litter that came was very small and there were no service dogs in it, but the next litter had many puppies, several of whom became amazing service animals. This taught me to double check on the time period that I was accessing.


Occasionally, an animal’s current experience is very strongly related to an alternate life experience and the animal will present that time period so that it can be released. A therapeutic riding horse that had great difficulty being in a field with other horses, showed me pictures of being chased and killed by another horse, obviously not in this lifetime. I explained that in this life, in this current place, the horses were gentle and being with them in the field was safe. The horse released a great sigh. Within two days, the horse was comfortably out in the field with several other horses.


Relative Time


We have the possibility of stepping into other time periods to bring healing, that can then affect present time. When we understand that this moment is the composite of all moments, that everything is happening simultaneously, then it is quite easy to sidestep into another time period and bring healing.


Healing Past Experiences. I do this in two ways: first by energetically brightening it and filling it by love, and secondly through a simple form of soul retrieval.


An example of the first approach is the way I addressed my cat Nikolas’ earlier life. He was trapped as a feral kitten and raised through the Humane Society’s Foster Program. He was very ill and every time a human picked him up, he was examined and given medication. When he came to me he was quite terrified of people. I went into mediation and held Nikolas’ early months in my mind and heart and asked that they be filled with love and brightness and that Nikolas and all the people involved be filled with love and trust. I watched as these images brightened and I saw Nikolas relaxing and becoming steadier. This was an important step in helping Nikolas relax in our home and begin to trust us.


I use a simple form of soul retrieval when an animal’s behavior changes drastically as the result of a particular event or over a specific time period. A client in Bahrain had shipped her Great Dane from Britain to Bahrain by air. Before it left Britain, the dog was happy, liked everyone and enjoyed riding in the car. When he arrived in Bahrain, a matter of a few hours later, the dog was afraid of moving vehicles and tall dark men. This continued to be the state of the animal even after being in Bahrain for several weeks. I recognized that something traumatic had happened during the trip that a part of the animal was still trapped in that experience.


I asked the animal’s person to join me in going back in time so that we could accompany the animal on its trip. We watched in our minds and hearts as the dog was driven to the airport – happy and delighted with life. We saw the dog entering the crate and the crate moving on a conveyer belt. At the same moment, both of us heard a very loud noise (as if something large had been dropped in the metal hanger) and saw the dog panic. At the moment the sound came, there was a tall man standing in shadow near the crate.


We came out the experienced and discussed what we had seen. We recognized that the dog’s spirit had been affected by this and that part of the being was still trapped in the panic of the event. We moved back into the experience, again seeing the dog arriving at the airport, happy with life. We talked to the dog about the feeling of groundedness and connection to its body. Then at each step of the journey, we reminded the animal to “Stay steady, grounded and fully integrated with its body.” We emphasized this when the moment of the loud sound came, and we saw the dog stay grounded, integrated and breathing through the event.


The next day, the dog showed no more trauma, nor fear of tall, dark men. Car riding became a joy again.


Setting Up Future Experiences. A client told me that she and her husband were moving to China for a few years and she asked me to help her dog, Gus, prepare for a flight from Detroit, Michigan to Shanghai, China. I used a combination of holding the journey, the animal and all the people involved in my mind and heart and asked that it be filled with light and that all the people and Gus be filled with love. Then I talked Gus through the visualized journey, reminding him to stay grounded, integrated and steady, each step of the way. I also gave Gus the additional job of making everyone he saw smile, and maintaining harmony wherever he went on the trip.


The dog’s person wrote this to me, “Gus arrived home this evening Shanghai time safe and sound. He came in the house like he never skipped a beat, checked out the place, scuffled with a few of his toys, drank a ton, ate, showered and is now resting snuggled between us.


We created a little ‘scene’ at the airport. A few hundred Chinese gathered around to witness our reunion. It was spectacular. Gus is an amazing dog.”


Conclusion. Through interspecies communication, we have the possibility of exploring many different understandings of time and perhaps expanding our own awareness of the meaning of time.




1. Barbara Janelle, “The Stream of Now,” Embodiment of Spirit: Learning Through Therapeutic Touch and Interspecies Communication, Self-published, 2003


2. Barbara Janelle, “The Large Rock,” Species Link, Issue 44, Autumn 2001. Also in Embodiment of Spirit: Learning Through Therapeutic Touch and Interspecies Communication.


BJ/July 2009