By Verena Mezger
Interview with Tanis Helliwell, Founder of the International Institute for Transformation. Tanis is a Spiritual Coach and Teacher on Ancestors and the Body Elemental.
VERENA: Tanis, in the year 2000 you founded the International Institute for Transformation. What is the IIT about and what is the work being done there?
TANIS: The International Institute for Transformation is a co-created effort. I personally never wanted an organization. It emerged out of several people asking if they could study in depth with me and this turned into the IIT.
Our mission is to assist people with their spiritual transformation, which emerged from my work as a transpersonal psychotherapist. Transpersonal psychology helps people to understand both the emotional issues of their ego and what their soul wants them to do in life.
My work had been devoted to helping people to become soul-infused personalities. Until we become enlightened, we have a personality however let it be guided by the soul, by spirit. Helping individuals and forming co-creative communities is what our goal at the International Institute for Transformation is.
VERENA: This year May and June you are on an extended tour of Europe to give workshops and retreats on Healing with the Body Elemental and the Ancestors. Could you please give us some background on both topics?
TANIS: The body elemental is an etheric being that has come with us from lifetime to lifetime. It builds the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual body from all the karmic patterns that we have accumulated over lifetimes. Many of these patterns are unconscious and they control us and we need to become conscious of them to heal them.
In the Vedic tradition they are called Sanskaras. These thought forms might be scripts that we have inherited from our families and our ancestors. To become conscious creators on this planet we have to eliminate these inherited thought forms. They are often very negative thoughts around scarcity, fear and guilt. As we transform these thought forms, we release the stuck energy they contain and the energy is freed to move back into divine harmony again.
This represents a return to Eden. That is actually what happens to an awakened being. The body elemental helps us to do this. Jesus was able to manifest a body after death and many enlightened masters are able to manifest a body after death as well. They do this by being able to consciously work with the body elemental.
I am in the process of writing a book on healing with the body elemental however I wrote a book about ancestors first. Encounters with Mystical Ancestors is not published yet and I have found that my book on healing with the body elemental is intricately connected to the ancestors book. Encounters with Mystical Ancestors is not only about looking at our own ancestors saying: ‘They came from Ireland or they came from Germany and what was their life like and how does that influence us today?’ My book on ancestors is about the great ancestral beings in Hawaii and that ancestors are in all of our lives today—whether we are aware of this or not. Most indigenous cultures have a belief in ancestors: that the ancestors live beyond the death of their physical body and , like them, we need to pray and talk to the ancestors if we are to transform ourselves.
My books arise out of my personal journeys. The book on ancestors arose out of three trips to Hawaii, two of which were to have vacations. However, my leprechaun friend, Lloyd, wanted me to learn about Hawaiian ancestors so it was a funny turn of events. Some of the Hawaiian ancestors are menehune, which are more like elementals. Others are like water dragons. The Hawaiians believe and have sightings of these ancestors even today and, it was heart opening when many Hawaiians supported my experiences.
Through meeting these Hawaiian ancestors I started exploring my own ancestors. I began to see the stuck patterns that are in my own family line. And the Hawaiian ancestors taught me about the importance of spiritual ancestors, as well as genetic ancestors. In Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism individuals pray to various Gods and Goddesses and these are their spiritual ancestors. In my particular case I follow Self Realization Fellowship which was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. This spiritual lineage goes back through several enlightened masters to Christ and Krishna.
VERENA: How do the Body Elemental and the Ancestors tie in together?
TANIS: I would not have been interested in studying or writing a book about ancestors, if it was only looking at my genetic ancestors, although this is the start for most people. The fact that we have both spiritual and family ancestors seems to me to be a more complete package of what ancestors really are and the knowledge of how the unseen world influences us in our day to day life.
I am also interested in the natural world and healing the Earth and, since my 30’s, I have also taught people to work with elementals to do this. Healing the body elemental works with our very being that is both a spiritual and physical being on the Earth. To heal the physical body we must become aware of the ancestral patterns we carry, not only from our own family, but also from the collective of humanity. To heal at a cellular level, we must embrace both our physical and spiritual beings.
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