Meet the Spirit Reunions Tribe of Practitioners and Educators
Founder and Medium
Since I was a young child I have experienced communication with non-physical energy. It was perfectly normal for me to be walking alone on my grandpa’s farm laughing out loud as I felt the joy and pure love that radiated from this energy through me. I have powerful memories of playing, specifically when I was being creative, and feeling this loving energy move through me and remind me that I could do anything I wanted to do in my life. It was like having my own personal cheerleader in the non-physical, ensuring that I remembered how loved I truly was. As I grew older I became aware of my spirit guide, an American Indian named Silver Spoon, who began working with me when I was a teenager. His main concern was that I was protected as I opened to the world of spirit and he taught me well how to stand strong in my light. But as my life became busy with other priorities, my connection to spirit faded into the background. My attention turned to spirit again when my mom experienced a great remembering. She was able to hear my grandmother in spirit communicating with her. This was a powerful experience for me as I watched my mom begin to help others connect with their loved ones as well.
It was around the same time I learned that this “gift” was passed down through the generations in my family through my Cherokee heritage. My great grandmother was the midwife of a small mountain community and she gave people intuitive guidance while reading tea leaves. My grandfather began telling me stories of seeing and communicating with loved ones who had passed on, but warned me not to talk about it openly as people would think I was crazy :). This began a passionate journey for me of connecting to spirit and a longing to understand my greater purpose. My mother’s passion was to help others establish their own connection with spirit through the understanding that we all have the ability to communicate beyond the veil. She passed away in 2002 but, because of my grief, it wasn’t until 2008 that I was able to communicate with her again. I realized her death was as big a gift to me as her life. She explained that we contracted to do this work together and her transition was intended so she could help me more powerfully from the other side. Since that time, she has worked with me and together we are a beautiful team in bridging the gap to the love that lives on beyond death. My mom’s passion is still alive and well in me and I am blessed to have the opportunity to stand between worlds as a messenger for you and your loved ones. This journey we take together is more powerful than we can imagine and I am always in awe of the love and guidance they continue to provide to us. They are as close as a memory and the love we carry in our hearts and they honor the opportunity to confirm this for us. This journey of spirit we are all on is breathlessly beautiful in every way. Love is the most powerful force in the universe and it will be piloting our journey. Let’s get this party started! 🙂 xo – Jennie Byers-Layne
“Grandmother Running Deer”
Ellen Pitts (AKA- Grandmother Running Deer) is a retired teacher with 40 years of experience. After 10 years with special needs students she went back to her first love and taught art for 30 years. Now retired, she devotes her time to her own art work which includes stained glass, origami, Native American art, as well as drawing and painting. Her life’s journey led her to learn and grow personally as well as spiritually through Native American teachings and practices.
It is her desire to now share her knowledge with others who are also seeking growth and healing of their body, mind and spirit.
Prior to retiring she held Medicine wheel ceremonies to honor the yearly solstices and equinoxes. She had a large labyrinth on the property as well, which for several years had hosted an evening with “MAX” the crystal skull. After selling that property she wanted to see that these opportunities would still be available. Spirit Reunions Sanctuary has come into being to assist that vision.
Ellen intends to hold a variety of teaching events which draw from her knowledge of art mediums, native teachings and experiences, as well as her own spiritual journey.
Since 2009, she has produced “soul portraits” upon request. This has been a transformative journey for her as well as for the picture recipients. At some point in time she hopes to teach this process to others and maybe even write a book on the subject. She continues to learn how spirit speaks to us “symbolically”.
Spirit Reunions thanks Ellen for her donation of her beautiful “Tree Spirit” mural.
I attended Tufts University – Boston School of Occupational Therapy from 1970-1974 where I got my B.S. in Occupational Therapy. During the summer of my freshman year at Tufts, I studied in Mexico City at La Universidad National Autonomia de Mexico, where I studied Spanish, archeology and Art of Ancient America.
Upon graduating from Tufts, I worked at the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital in Boston until my husband and I moved to Johnson City, TN in 1978.
For a short period of time, we lived in Biot, France. Then we moved back to Johnson City in 1981.
Upon returning from France, I worked as an Occupational Therapist at the Johnson City Medical Center Hospital as a staff therapist. I also worked as a home health OT for the Med. Center for about one year.
When my first daughter was about 2 years old, I returned to work at the JC Medical Center for about 1 ½ years as the interim head of the Occupational Therapy Dept. until I was 8 months pregnant with my second daughter. After that I did not work outside the home for 14 years.
During the time that I was a stay-at- home mom, I did many volunteer jobs. I ran the Fairmont School clinic as Clinic Chairperson for 9 years. I trained as a Red Cross Instructor to train the parent volunteers in our Fairmont Clinic. I volunteered to help out in the Fairmont library and I helped with the writing program and Books-on-Tape. I trained with the junior league to be a puppeteer to teach 3rd grade students about sexual abuse.
In 1998, a friend of mine, who was also an Occupational Therapy graduate from Tufts University, introduced me to Myofascial Release by releasing my right elbow completely of pain in two short sessions. It was then that I wanted to know more about this incredible therapy.
Three years later, in July of 2001, I started my training with John Barnes with a series of seminars that lasted 10 days: Myofascial Release I, Myofascial Unwinding and Myofascial Release II. In November of that year, I started renting my office space on West Walnut Street in Johnson City where I have my office today. To date, I have taken 13 seminars in Myofascial Release and four seminars in Craniosacral Therapy. I have also spent one week at the John Barnes Clinic in Paoli, PA for a Skills Enhancement Week and I spent two weeks at John Upledger Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida as the attending therapist to my patient who was in a two week intensive therapy program. Although one can see that some of the seminars that I have taken are repeats, I will let you know that one still learns a lot of new information in any seminar as one is in a different mental state, with a different level of knowing during each seminar. Therefore, with each seminar I always learn a tremendous amount of knowledge.
The other seminars that I have taken, have all been subjects that contribute to my work in Myofascial Release and Craniosacral therapy in some manner. Recently, my latest seminar in Therapeutic Reflexology has been of great assistance in preparing the body for deeper and more efficient releases.
About two years ago, I came across instructions for a technique call the Amygdala Connection Technique. This wonderful technique has greatly enhanced the progression of my patients in their journey towards total wellness. Since I am acutely aware that emotions dictate the health of the body, I am very appreciative of the benefits of the Amygdala Connections Technique for facilitating my patients to release trapped emotion in their limbic system, their adrenal glands and within the sympathetic nervous system. This in turn, facilitates the patient’s body to allow for deeper releases. It is one of the most efficient techniques that I have ever come across other than Myofascial release and Craniosacral therapy.
I am also now certified in Theta Healing.
I am very aware that it ‘takes a village’ of practitioners to help a person,who has suffered debilitating trauma, to regain a level of wellness that all human beings deserve. I consider myself fortunate to have trained in this wonderful form of therapy that enhances this process towards wellness. I have often told people, that I have the best job in the universe because of the manner in which it releases all forms of trapped energy which have created energy cysts and restrictions that create blockages and barriers to normal function within the body and the mind.