Developing Confidence in One's Visions - Personal Stories

How do we develop confidence that the visions we have from the spirit realm are “real”?

When I first started doing intuitive work, I doubted myself. I was sure that I was just making it up, and that I was telling the same story to each person for whom I did a reading. But then I realized that I was getting very different information for each person, and it was information that I had no way of knowing except through intuitive means.

There were several incidents which were turning points in solidifying the confidence I had in my own abilities. The first was the time I was doing a session for woman (I’ll call her “Emily”.) I told her that she had a picture on a dresser at her home. In my mind’s eye, when I looked at the image on the picture, I saw my own wedding picture with my husband. So I said to her, “Here’s how I interpret this image that I’m seeing. This picture is on your dresser, so I would say it’s not a picture of my husband and myself, but of some married couple that you know, that you would have on your dresser.”

Emily said that the picture was of her father only, not of a couple. Somehow, I was not swayed by her statement. I had confidence in what I had seen: I was adamant that it was a couple. I told her I was sure I was seeing a man and a woman in the picture.

The next day Emily called me. She said, “You know, I looked at the picture, and it’s a double exposure. My mother is in the background as part of the double exposure!”

This was the first time I felt that sense of certainty about an intuitive perception, to the point that I will state to a client that I’m absolutely sure of what I saw. (Or rather 99% sure; one always has to acknowledge a certain percentage of fallibility in anything one does.)

The second incident of challenge and confirmation of my visions happened when I was doing a soul retrieval healing for a client (I’ll call him “Paul”.) A soul retrieval is a classic shamanic healing process in which the practitioner does a meditation, called a “journey”, to find energy (“soul parts”) which the client has lost do to traumatic events in his or her life. In the journey, the soul parts will look like the client at the age that the traumatic event occurred.

In this soul retrieval for Paul, I saw what looked like a hut in the Amazon. Inside, were shrunken heads, and one of these was the shrunken head of Paul! This was a soul part of Paul’s. It looked like Paul was in his twenties at the time the soul part left.

Then I saw a man in a business suit. The name came into my head, “James.” From the quality of this vision, I knew that this James was an actual person who actually knew Paul. The hut in the Amazon was a metaphor, but James was a real personage. One way I could tell that was because James was in a business suit – not part of the metaphor of the Amazonian setting.

James tried to stop me from taking Paul’s soul part, the shrunken head, but with the help of my spirit guides I was able to retrieve the soul part and bring it back to my client.

After I actually do the journey, I usually describe to the client what I saw. I told Paul about this incident with “James,” and asked, “Paul, when you were in your twenties, were you a professional of some kind? Did you go to a ‘headhunter,’ an employment agent, named James, to find work? Did this person do something bad to you – cheat you in some way - that would cause you to lose a soul part?” Paul said nothing like that had ever happened to him.

However, I was convinced, based on what I saw on the journey, that some incident like this had in fact occurred. I said to Paul, “Go home and think about it. I’m sure this happened. You might be able to remember it later.”

Sure enough, Paul called me the next day. He said, “Joan, you were right! When I was twenty-seven, I went to a psychiatrist named James.” I said, “So he wasn’t a headhunter, he was your headshrinker!” We both laughed.

Paul continued. “James involuntarily committed me to a mental institution, and it took me three weeks to get out.” I said, “Well, that’s certainly a traumatic event that would cause soul loss.”

Paul said, “Ever since then, I’ve had a distrust of people. But now that I have the soul part back, I have changed. I can trust people again.”

Hearing about a successful outcome such as this warms my heart. It is always an honor and a privilege to do this work for people, and I have come to trust that whatever healing comes through in a session is exactly what needs to happen, whether it’s apparent at the time or not. But my own humanness enjoys an obvious success.

Not only was this client helped, but in soul retrievals for almost 20 years for numerous other clients, I have been led back to the same “hut in the Amazon”. Invariably, in this place I find soul parts that the client has lost due to a bad experience with a mental health professional: psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, etc. It’s specifically about mental health; it’s not even as general as other types of health care.

These are just two examples of many instances in which I have learned to trust my intuitive perceptions. Since then, I have learned degrees of how to interpret a particular perception as being literal or metaphorical, based on the quality of the vision.

Joan Forest Mage has been practicing shamanic healing since 1995, and teaches a year-long Shamanic Training Program. She is the founder and director of Life Force Arts Center.