Shift Your Spirits

Clairaudience: I hear more than voices

Episode Summary

Clairaudient phenomena I experience...

Episode Notes

I share my perceptions and concepts as a way for you to compare them to your own.

To de-mystify psychic phenomena and experiences.

To embrace not only the ways in which you might recognize yourself in what I’m describing, but also the ways in which in you’re different.

Talking about it can help others locate it within themselves.


An Angel at My Table film about Janet Frame

Frances film about Frances Farmer

The Hours film partly about Virginia Woolf

Iris film about Iris Murdoch


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Doing what the voices in your head tell you to.

It’s THE #1 disparaging joke you hear all the time that might sometimes be referring to phenomena we would categorize as clairaudience.

So, har har.

In a lot of cases, hearing voices is synonymous with the absolute deepest depths of mental illness. It was the one thing through my teens and twenties that kept me from ever, ever acknowledging the psychic phenomena I experienced.

I feared being committed against my will. I don't fear it so much lately but it's still a fear that I can access if I needed to. Like, I could drag that out and be like, yeah, I remember what it feels like to worry about that and I can see how I can put myself in a situation where everything could go horribly wrong.

It's more of a horror movie screen playing out in my mind than actual real anxiety. But when I was younger, there was definitely a real fear.

And then growing up there were all these movies about voices and craziness, and a lot of times they were about authors. There was a movie in 1990 called An Angel at my Table that was about the New Zealander poet Janet Frame who was committed at the time that she won her country's highest literary honor.

Obviously it's been 30 years since I've seen that movie, but there are a few images that haunt me. Like, I remember them bringing her a volume of her work that had just been published in hardcover and wanting her to sign it, to autograph it. She was heavily sedated in a mental ward and didn't really.. it wasn't even conscious of the fact that her book had just come out and that was like, the first time she held it. And it won the equivalent of a Pulitzer or a Booker.

And there was another scene where they put her in a padded cell and she literally writes poetry on the walls of the padded cell. That's how much she needed to get those words out.

And then there was a movie Jessica Lange starred in in the 80s about Frances Farmer, who was famously lobotomized basically for being too willful and outspoken for a woman in the 1950s. She was sort of a political activist I guess, or would've been by today's standards.

Nobody plays crazy like Jessica Lange, by the way. I mean it's a great performance.

But yeah, that feeds into all your horrors about being committed against your will, medicated, and then it all unravels, right? You lose your agency. You literally lose your rights as an adult.

Of course, Virginia Woolf, who is one of my hugest literary heroes in the whole world, who was famously so depressed for so long that she finally walked into the river with stones in her pockets. Gotta been hearing that story since I was in junior high school. And it's been dramatized in a lot of different places and shared and reshared.

Most recently, Nicole Kidman's performance in the Hours, which is an incredible performance and a great movie. But again, all this stuff about these people going nuts, especially writers.

After I watched the movie Iris, which was Judi Dench starred as Iris Murdoch who lost the faculty for words. She was technically suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's, so it wasn't craziness necessarily, but they did very distinctly dramatize the fact that this woman who was known for her phenomenal vocabulary literally lost her ability to access words slowly and was conscious that it was happening to her as an author.

This is like the worst horror ever. I get it. It's Sophie's Choice. It's these amazingly emotionally triggering dramatizations that happen in movies, but I just, at that point, was like, you know what? I'm never watching another movie about an author suffering from mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, nothing.

Just forget it. Ever. Why are there so many of those anyway? There are too many!

But back to hearing voices.

Conversing with them. Listening to what they say. Talking back to them. Asking them questions. I do it in my car all the time. We stare at crazy people who do it in the streets who are homeless and obviously suffering maybe from schizophrenia or something like that. It's something that we've all witnessed.

I doubt I look anything like that in my car. As a matter of fact, I think I probably look like I'm just talking on hands-free. But I am aware of the connection there.

It does always make me wonder, well who are they talking to? What are they saying? Because it depends on which voices. They do seem to be arguing and there are combative situations going on so that is not what we practice around here, as far as accessing clairaudient intuition, chanelling, automatic writing, mediumship. All these things are not about screaming at invisible assailants.

Hearing voices and doing what they tell you to do could be a really helpful thing. Again, depending on the voice:

Some of those are accessible by anyone. Some of them are deeply woo woo. And none of them are crazy, by the way. None of those things are mental illness, and I honestly today don't fear that if I went to a therapist and spoke to them the way I'm speaking to you right now that I'd be committed.

I think we'd have an understanding about the phenomenon that I'm talking about. And I would have no problem placing this within a purely clinical context and talking about archetypes and programming and kind of the different channels of the mind and consciousness. It doesn't have to be woo woo for me. Or it can be.

Sometimes it depends on who I'm talking to. I'm not going to correct anyone who tells me that their message came from their guide or from one of their guardians or someone who tells me it comes from a muse.

I never question how other people choose to label their voices but I do like to offer the concept of labelling and categorizing and analyzing to everyone and I offer my own little compartmentalizations for people to borrow and use as a starter kit if they're new to this.

Then there are those external voices that become programmed as your own. Those are the really troublesome ones. They're just as insidious as invisible people who are following you and out to get you.

They're dangerous because they're something that you heard, that you picked up from someone else and took on, and have been accessing and repeating on a loop, on an internal mental loop, for so long that you probably have forgotten the original source, the voice itself has morphed over time to impersonate your own inner voices. Like, your own internal voice of yourself.

Negative, self-sabotaging critical voices, someone telling you about yourself you chose to believe.

You may have chose to believe it because you didn't know any better, or you were a child, or you were bullied, or you were afraid. There are a lot of different reasons why you would choose to take that on. But it is a choice, even if it was kind of forced on you.

And it is something that you can get rid of later. If nothing else, you can learn to access and acknowledge, okay wait a minute, where's that voice coming from? Who is that? That sounds like something my mother said to me a really long time ago.

Oh yeah, I remember now where that came from, therefore when I hear that come up again, I can dismiss it. No, not listening to you. I know who you are. Sit down and go shut up.

So there's all of that, within the concepts of clairaudience and hearing voices.

There's also a question of internal source versus external. For the sake of separating what comes from within versus what comes from outside… I use a big box for the voices coming from within. To me, it's all a bit like being logged onto some network of information.

It’s different than the voices I might create. For instance, the notes I’m writing down here to speak to you from, the character dialog in fiction, although sometimes, some of that is a little bit channelled in a way that overlaps and many authors will have the experience of having books dictated to them or have fictional characters they invented take over on the page and run the story.

And there's a spectrum of how that's viewed. A lot of creative people who don't view that as a psychic phenomenon nevertheless still view it as a magical creative experience. And a lot of people will acknowledge that happening to them and simply think of it as a profound mystery of the artistic process.

I know Alice Walker famously said that the Color Purple was dictated to her. She heard the voice of that character and basically transcribed it. And I have that experience writing character. Sometimes that's the initial impulse to write fiction.

To give an example of this internal versus external thing, so there’s a song you’re humming this morning because it’s been used on a commercial you keep seeing on TV. T-Mobile or whatever has had this commercial on for a month and you've heard it every day and now you're singing it in the shower. That’s external. You can identify where that came from.

But then there are songs that come untriggerred, unbidden, they surface from the subconscious like this silent Spotify within your brain. The Spotify radio station that's on shuffle and it pulls things up that are stored in the mind. But it's still coming up internally. It's not triggered by something external like hearing it on the radio.

You may not have heard it in years.

Actual real songs I'm talking about, from artists who created and recorded them externally. At some point you have downloaded them. Maybe you burned the album out on repeat when it came out years ago and you haven't heard it in a long time but sometimes it might resurface. One of those songs will come to you.

I do read that experience these as intuitive. Just the same way that you read a feather on the ground, or a number on a license plate, or a digital display, or finding a playing card on the ground and interpreting it as a Tarot message. All those kinds of things.

I read music that comes internally that way, especially snatches of lyrics because you'll notice when this happens, when you get like an earwig, a song stuck in your head that came from nowhere, it's a particular snatch of lyrics that is looping. It's not the whole song from start to finish, intro to fade out. It's usually one or two parts that you keep looping over and over again.

So one of the best things you can do is either stop and really speak those words outside the melody as if it is just a message written down on a piece of paper, or actually write it down and see it in print. They look different on paper. They sound different when they're spoken not sung, and sometimes that will help you have an aha moment about what is that saying?

Sometimes it's really literal. I keep saying this thing to myself over and over and over again, and I didn't realize it's a message!

Now where it's a message from... Maybe it's your guides triggering it. Maybe it's your Higher Self pulling it out and waving it in front of you. Maybe it's some other kind of mechanism. Maybe you've been asking a question and it's your subconscious just kind of retrieving that from some internal library and presenting it as an answer, but it comes in the form of music.

You know, music happens in a different part of the brain than spoken language and reading and all that kind of stuff. We listen to a lot of music and we learn a lot of music by heart in a way that people used to learn and recite poetry.

You watch those historical films and TV shows and there are people wandering around in the garden reading from a book of verse and they can recite this stuff off the top of their heads and I always thought, damn!

But I think the modern equivalent of that is me being able to bust out a Missy Elliot rap from 2004 at any given moment just because I've heard it a million times and it's stored in my brain, right?

So it's kind of like that.

So the first thing you want to do is say, hey, you know what? If this was a telegram, is it a message? And maybe the next thing you ask, what emotions come with that song? What emotions are attached to it? What feelings is it invoking or dragging with it? Maybe it's the context of when the song first entered your consciousness. Something about the time and place of your personal history. What was going on in your world when that song came out, that kind of thing?

So maybe the message isn't the song. Maybe the message is about you returning to something from that time period. Was there something going on then that you need to reconsider, pull back out, reconnect with.

I remember as a kid or maybe a pre-teen or something, overhearing adults talking about Barbra Streisand claiming that she hears music. I don't know if this was being repeated anecdotally, or if there'd been some 60 Minutes interview or something had happened at that time that they were talking about it. I just remember overhearing it.

I understood that what they were saying was that she had made some claim that she hears music within. Psychically. Internally. Of course, even though she’s a vocalist, she’s not necessarily a composer right?

I don't even know that she writes a lot of her music necessarily. I think she is primarily a vocalist, but claims to hear music all the time.

Now I am neither a singer or a composer, but I remember when I overheard that, my first thought, because I heard the adults’s wonder and the skepticism and how intrigued they were by the concept, the judgments there were probably all varied and mixed, but I remember wanting to say “I hear music too.”

But I didn’t.

Because I feared what that might be admitting to.

And at the time, you have to remember, for years, as a teenager, you’re hearing things like this and thinking, “OH SHIT. What if I’m insane? What if these are early stages of what we see with the person arguing with the invisible assailant on the street?”

It's kind of not unlike being gay. The psychic closet.

As a really young child, I would get up late at night and I would go and find my Daddy because he usually stayed up later than anyone else watching TV. He's a famous insomniac. I would go and find him and tell him that I couldn't turn my brain off.

It was like someone left a TV and a radio station on in a crowded airport terminal. I was just laying there listening to everything.

I think a lot of that was probably partly anxiety, for sure. But I would cry, just totally frustrated and say, I can’t stop thinking. I can't stop thinking.

I really felt like, as a child when you were told, okay it's time to go to sleep, go to bed, turn down the light, go to sleep, that you should be able to willfully choose to be unconscious. To just turn yourself off.

And remember, I'm not a big dreamer. So it wasn't about even dreaming for me. Dreaming probably would've been a little bit too close to what I was already experiencing, so I just wanted to be shut down like artificial intelligence, being put to sleep and then restarted in the morning. That's what I wanted. I couldn't have that and it drove me nuts.

I think about all this this because of my nephew, who's 2 1/2, has these kind of night terrors where he's just completely inconsolable. I definitely think that that is anxiety.

So I was talking about that with my mother and my dad at my 50th birthday dinner, which was actually the night after my birthday because my nephew and my brother were here on my birthday and the next night I went out just with my parents and my stepmother.

That sort of started the conversation about this anxiety experienced as kids and I brought up to my dad, reminding him about how I was when I was little, how that manifested for me as this information that wouldn’t turn off.

Of course, everyone has thoughts that keep them up at night. But I bet most of those worries about THEIR actual lives. Their identifiable triggers. They're worried about their kids. They're worried about their job. They're worried about bills. Their bank account. That kind of stuff.

And then there is anxiety about existential stuff. The world going to hell, anxiety about death, or what happens when we die? The end of the earth, global extinction events. The very actual reality that one day the sun will swallow the entire system of planets around this part of the universe. Stuff like that.

That’s probably still all anxiety by the way and it's part of the human condition - to worry about all those things.

But I’m talking about information that has no life triggers, has no external source, has no evidence meaning you can't say, Yeah, that’s a Bing Crosby song. Like you can't. Something else...

I went into more detail with my mother about what I experienced a few days ago. She made some other comment about some celebrity or some medium on TV or someone talking about experiencing internal hearing of voices and music and information. She was maybe prompting me to explain the phenomena to her, somewhat like I’m trying to do now.

It was a different conversation but part of our conversation was me very bluntly describing how I hear so much more than voices.

The voices are a job unto themselves — cataloguing them, labelling, learning to police some, reframe others, block a lot of them, suppress some. And then also to call them in, to invoke them.

That’s all the clairaudient intuition stuff and the work of being an intuitive. Every day kind of practice producing.

And i'm not even mentioning the rabbit hole of listening in for a CLIENT, and wondering, am I hearing their thoughts, is it their guides I'm hearing, is that considered external, or am I receiving that information internally, through the network, the psychic internet, through the records?

That’s a separate show. I think there might even be some of that in the Automatic Intuition audio programming.

I hear music all the time. Orchestral, symphonies. movie scores, opera in multiple languages — italian, french, german. I hear musicals in english. I don't even like musicals. I don't consider them musicals but there are some that play in my brain that no one else has even heard

Not external music that exists somewhere in the world. Imagined music. Received from another dimension it seems.

Just to give you an example, I hear songs from a German Children’s show — I sing these to my cats, just to be silly. Because I actually think it's sort of funny and annoying, the way Teletubbies are funny and annoying and haunting.

I hear advertising jingles for products that just don’t even remotely exist.

I hear pop songs, country music songs, singers voices that are identifiable to me. I don't know who they are, I don't have names for them but I recognize the voices. But I can't tell you if they're actual, real people somewhere.

Maybe they're somewhere on the other side of the country and there really is this person who's singing all these songs and maybe I'm picking up on them somehow.

Or they're coming from an alternate reality. Or they're coming from some deep well of my imagination that I can't even explain.

Let’s just call all of that my psychic Spotify account.

I have songs and lyrics and all those snatches of the kinds of things that you end up humming… but they just don’t exist in this world that I'm aware of.

I’m used it to. I catch myself singing a rock song from a band that’s never existed. A song I’ve been singing for years. And if I think about it really hard sometimes, I can even identify when it came through internally, on this internal station. Like wow, you know what? That's been in my internal station now since I was in college or something.

And a lot of the songs that I did write when I was in college and when I was in a band and sort of writing music. I did attempt to pull from those, and so then that even further solidified them because then they became something external. And I still sing them as if they're real songs, because they are now.

The commercial jingles were interesting because they will last for months and it seems like they have a shelf life that's very similar to real commercial runs. They'll run for several weeks or several months and then kind of fade away and you don't hear them again.

I hear old black and white movie songs that sound like maybe they're from the 1930s when almost everything on the radio came from a movie—pop music back then was kind of like MTV in reverse.

And that’s why you hear all these people with less than stellar voices from back then and you think, Why was that such a huge hit? This person can barely carry a tune. It's just an ordinary voice. A lot of times they were actors who sang a song in a film. Hollywood movies, even that weren't really considered full blown musicals, even though there were a lot of them, would sometimes have some kind of song built in to them.

Seth and I share earwigs and the phenomenon of song synchronicities, especially things that are chosen by shuffle. You're in your iTunes library or now it's even bigger and more vast with Spotify and Pandora and stuff like that.

We call that the ghost in the machine and we have an ongoing kind of conversation about that. And we can always add to it and share little moments as they happen.

I messaged him the other day that my earwig of the day was Cher’s cover of Journey’s Open Arms — Cher has never covered that song that I know of. But she should. Because I heard it very clearly for about 36 hours and I was thinking, this is a Cher cover!

I heard it in my mind as if Cher had recorded Journey's Open Arms and I've got it stuck in my brain.

I hear mashups a lot too. I kind of think that probably people who make mashups obviously experience this phenomenon.

But I was wondering out loud to my mother, if i had been trained to play piano at a really early age, would I be able to sit down and write all this music?

I can pick out a simple melody out on a guitar or a piano and I can read sheet music. I played a few different instruments here and there throughout different parts of my life, but I don’t know how to write all the different instruments in a symphony or in an orchestra, even though I can hear them,

I don't understand that process that someone goes through to compose something like that. It's something you have to be trained in, and it's something people dedicate our whole lives to. It's a little late for me to be doing that.

But sometimes I’ll daydream about what it would be like to do that… And I'll think, Maybe I’m really a musician and I just didn't execute my creativity in that form. Or I chose from multiple creative formats to work within and certain mediums stuck with me more than others.

I mean, I have been in bands. I’ve written a lot of songs. I even have a songwriting credit for a Nashville band from when I was 17. It's technically the second thing I ever published. That I have an actual copyright for. It's called the Girl with the Orange Hair.

I forgot about that. I can't even remember the name of the band but I know the name of the singer. I could probably find out.

When I wrote songs in college though, I didn’t write lyrics, weirdly. I only wrote music. Usually, guitar, bass. I programmed percussion and synthesizer.

I love playing with drum machines and that's a kind of composing that technology makes it very easy for you to do. It's kind of tedious but it's super satisfying and I can never be someone who's super into computer games or video games, because I get the same kind of satisfaction I think from playing with tech. Like sounds, recording equipment, and mixing and also sometimes things like Illustrator, Photoshop, stuff like that, I can get lost in those in a way that I think is similar to what people experience with gaming.

And then just, you know what? After all these daydreams, I realize I don’t have time for any of that. It would be fun.

I have a To Do list of other projects and I will never finish all of those as it is. The ones I know I can execute, so I'd need a whole other lifetime for that whole world of music and the idea of composing.

Here, doing this, what you're listening to, it's like I’ve found a space between music and books — storytelling, narrative non-fiction, audiobook narration, podcasting. It's an interesting thing that emerged within my lifetime along with technology that I would not necessarily have been able to predict.

But I do weirdly have a short story that I wrote in 1989 about someone who was podcasting from their house. At the time, it was written kind of as magical realism more than, say, science fiction. I wasn't writing in detail about a technology that I foresaw. I kind of just didn't really explain the technology but I explained sort of the profession of someone being a shut-in and living in a room, very much like this room right now.

Ohmygod. I've got sound tiles and sound dampening blankets hanging over the windows. It's this cave of dead space that I'm broadcasting from within. It wasn't a major part of the story. It was just kind of like the character in that story... it was about agoraphobia, I guess. Somebody who was suffering from that.

But that was his profession. Weird. All of that happened before I became a shut in myself. When I had a stroke and I started doing all this kind of work because I didn't want to leave my house.

Interesting. Okay, weird. Little circles within circles.

I do wonder if other people experience this, what I'm talking about, more than we talk about it. Maybe as I'm describing this, you recognize it. Or you're beginning to notice it.

Maybe after listening to this episode, you will start to realize, ohmygod, that's happening to me too!

Is it something like intuition that everyone has access to if they just don’t repress it?

How is it useful?

I don’t know that it is useful.

But I do feel engaging it is part of connecting in a general way. Practicing. Honing the connection. Allowing it. For me. And maybe for you too.

What are the earwigs trying to tell you? Yes, of course, that’s one useful thing that you can do with all this.

But maybe it’s more basic than that. You hear the muffled snatch of a song and you say Hey, turn that up!

If you tune in, acknowledge this is happening, allow it, give it permission. If you let yourself listen. If you turn it up, what else do you hear?