Gandolf and Galadriel’s Silent Conversation: Types of Intuitive Communication

In my favorite scene from Peter’s Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (2012), the elf queen Galadriel (played by Cate Blanchette) uses her intuition to communicate silently with Gandolf (played by Ian Mckellen) while they are attending a meeting of Middle Earth elders.  Their silent, intuitive hearing—or clairaudience—reminds me of what some of my grief coaching clients have described to me about communication with their relatives and friends who have died.

Intuition has been defined as the experience of “knowing without knowing what you know,” by psychologist Bruce Schneider, the founder of my coaching institute, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).  Experiences of intuitive communication with ones deceased beloved are common, vary cross-culturally, and are explicitly learned.  Here are several types of intuition reported in the ethnographic literature (what anthropologists write about the cultures they study).  Some of these types of intuition have been shared with me by my own grief coaching clients who feel an on-going sense of connection with their deceased loved ones:

Clairvoyance-clear vision or seeing

Clairaudience- hearing


Clairgustance- taste

Clairsentience- gut feeling

Claircognizance- inner sense

Albert Einstein had this to say about intuition: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind its faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”   Nonetheless, many of us who have lost loved ones do experience the gift of our intuitive minds through communication with our departed beloveds.   According to my clients, and the ethnographic literature, intuitive communication with the deceased has been experienced through words, advice, humorous remarks, direction for locating a lost item, lyrics, scent, a sense of presence, and vivid dreams, to name only a few examples.

To be most receptive to your natural intuition, sit alone quietly and center or meditate for 15-20 minutes, 1-2 times a day.  No matter how many thoughts you have flitting through your mind during this quiet time, the practice will serve to reduce your anxiety and the chatter in your head, also known as “monkey mind,” that will block your intuitive processes.

To Remember:

1)    Beliefs that intuitive communication can occur with deceased relatives and loved ones are common around the world, vary cross-culturally, and are explicitly learned.  

2)    A certified grief and loss life coach can guide you with centering techniques that can quiet your thoughts and reduce anxiety.





Works Cited


1997 Day, Laura.  Practical Intuition.  New York: Broadway Books.


2011 Lenkeit, Roberta.  Introducing Cultural Anthropology.   New York:



2001 Robinson, Lyn.  Divine Intuition. New York: Dorling-Kindersly    



1979 Vaughn, Francis E.  Awakening Intuition.  New York: Doubleday.





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About the Author
Patricia Johnston is the owner of Purple Lotus Coaching and a certified life coach with a specialty in grief and loss. She helps her clients release the pain of grief, find peace, joy, and life purpose and create their new normal after loss. Patricia's professional background includes work as a certified life coach, registered nurse, caregiver educator, caregiver support group facilitator, hospice organization consultant, and cultural anthropology professor who has studied grief and loss customs and rituals around the world. Additionally, Patricia has experienced many personal losses, including her husband of 34 years, Doug Johnston, a former Nevada City, California Family Practice doctor in 2007. After experiencing valuable grief coaching for her own loss, Patricia decided to share the wisdom and compassion gained from her experiences. To that end she studied life coaching with The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)and opened her own practice, which, together with her engagement to fiancé Larry Casserly, has created a bright new chapter in her life. "The lotus, which rises up out of the mud to blossom above the water, is a cross-cultural symbol of transformation. To me the lotus’s transition from darkness to light represents the journey from grief to growth through the process of grief coaching.” ~Patricia Johnston .
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