Santa Barbara has a new addition to the arts and healing scene. Fresh from Europe, Elke Riess is a German/Austrian healer, clairvoyant, and “enlightened” being.

A lithe brunette of indeterminate age with bright piercing eyes, Riess has come to Santa Barbara after nine months of solo world travel — the majority of which was spent in silence — to aid others in finding and following their own heart’s desire and become free in their life. Although she’d never heard of Santa Barbara before, a clairvoyant message came to her while traveling, and she said, “Okay, Santa Barbara, where is that?”

Elke Reiss

Along with that message came a call to write a book that would assist people in the process of finding their own truth. Several months later, Being Free: A Book of 38 Pictures and Exercises to Wake You Up and Set You Free now is out in print, and Riess is available for individual sessions for those in search of inner healing. But she’ll be the first to say that all you need is the book and the burning curiosity to really know yourself in order to wake up and be free.

Prior to her enlightenment, Riess was a teacher, dancer, dance teacher, and yoga teacher. She says that she’s “suffered much” in life, both physically (after a car hit her on her bike and she had to learn to walk again) and emotionally through various neuroses and anxieties. To overcome those pains, she sought self-knowledge through healing and energy work. Every day, she sought to release the stored “programs” and patterns that kept her stuck in suffering and, step-by-step, she felt better, but still experienced characteristics of not being “free.” Those included doubt, constantly questioning the right choice, and the duality of right and wrong.

“Of course I was afraid to wake up and find that I was a zombie!” explained Riess, who continued her persistent path to self-knowledge regardless of the dangers. Then in 2006, Riess experienced what she calls her enlightenment; it happened while running in a park and she describes it as a “woosh, and then a good laugh.” After this, she said, her whole body changed, her clairvoyance came, and she knew that she had to work as a healer.

Today, Riess is trained in many different modalities including neuro-linguistic programming, Feldenkrais, and reiki. She first shared her healing gifts with people in Europe, running a practice for three years until her inner voice told her it was time to go travel. Now, more than a year later, she has made Santa Barbara her new home and anticipates being her for 11 years, or until she is “called to go elsewhere.”

Why Santa Barbara? “Santa Barbara is like a diamond,” said Riess, “but it needs a kick in the butt!” She said that the energy is here to spread a wave of change and wake human beings up about their true being. “There are a lot of spots like this along the California coast,” she said, “but Santa Barbara has the perfect balance between water and mountains.” But the healing and art energies here are somewhat superficial, claimed Riess, who believes that the region “needs to wake up!”

As a clairvoyant, Riess hears a lot of chatter from people on a daily basis, but it doesn’t bother her. Though people are worried about others knowing their secrets, Riess explained, “Everyone has a story and they are all so similar — the challenge is to let go of it.” Riess claimed that she is able to read your heart’s desire, which she said is written like a code on your being. Everyone’s is unique, Riess explained, and we add layers of social conditioning as we grow and begin to lose touch with that desire. Riess believes that she can reconnect you to your heart’s desire. “I am not interested in changing you,” she said, but rather steering you to “please be who you are!” Riess cautions that “you only get the message once,” as her purpose is not to be a therapist but to reconnect you with your true being. “The beauty of finding your true desire,” she said, “is that you are in love with life and with your being.”

Being Free features paintings and exercises to aid in “waking up.” There are 38 pictures, each painted in Santa Barbara as she received insight via her clairvoyance. She’d begin with the name of each picture, followed by the size, the tool, the color, where to start, and the shapes themselves. The number 38, she said, corresponds to the number of ingredients in the cells of our bodies. There are codes contained in the pictures, she says, that have identically the same structure as our nerve cells and the same dimensional frequency and informational structure as ether, which occupies the space between our molecules.

“The pictures work on an energetic level,” Riess explained, “to release all concepts and belief systems having to do with human beings’ illusions.” She believes that the codes work on the cell membrane so that an energy source faster than light, which she refers to as ether and science calls neutrinos, can delete the programs we build on top of our being. Riess claims to have known that ether was faster than light before science did and she also says that soon science will discover the energy is not neutrinos and will rename it.

The exercises that go along with the pictures are intended to reinforce the program-deleting codes in the paintings by offering the space to listen and observe what comes up. “Your inner voice tells you exactly what you need,” she said. “It is not interested in guiding you into disaster!” Silence is one of her key messages, for she said that we fill up our time and space with chatter out of fear to confront who we are. In silence, said Riess, you can “pay attention to the inside talk and find clues to what your true desire really is.”


Elke Riess will sign copies of Being Free on Sunday, October 16, 2-3 p.m., at Chaucer’s Books. She also offers healing sessions that cost $300 for 45 minutes and frequently lectures around town. See


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.