This afternoon I was sending Reiki to a lovely dog in India. That phrase alone makes me smile because it is really exciting to be able to serve as an animal communicator and energy healer for animals around the world. As if that weren't magical enough, my cat son Merlin positioned himself directly behind me as I sat down for the Reiki session and he remained there for the full duration of it. I had the distinct feeling that he was acting as my protector (energetically) as well as grounding me since the energies coming through for the healing were of a very high vibration. After the session I arranged crystals around Merlin so he could enjoy a "crystal bath" and he loved it! He shifted comfortably and stayed for about three hours! I tried to move one of the crystals once because I was worried it was about to fall off the pillow, and he reached for it so I wouldn't remove it.
I also feel my cat daughter Gracie Belle often is grounding energies for me and she is very diligent about helping me clear myself and our space. She and her brother both help balance me by playing and snuggling but they also lift up my heart and my vibration because theirs is naturally so pure and high. Merlin does not always sit behind me but he does almost always come into the room anytime I am about to communicate with an animal or sending Reiki. They are also very good at clearing their own energy and part of this for them is having access to fresh air and sunshine. Since they are indoor-only we have a catio (a screened in room with cat shelves for them) and a playpen so they can still enjoy the elements, and it is very apparent this is something they need to remain balanced & grounded themselves.
I have done quite a few sessions where I communicated with animal companions of people who do energy work and different types of healing work for clients. I find it interesting that many of these animals tell me that part of their "job" is to help their human parent/companion to do their job! Sometimes they help the clients directly if they are in the space during the sessions and other times they assist their humans by protecting them energetically - or by giving them inspiration! Many animals are the reason their humans begin to explore alternative healing. I took my first Reiki class to help my cat son (in spirit now) Jarvis, and that started all of this for me. Most animals already communicate with their humans and they encourage them to learn which ways they most easily can receive their messages, whether by visual (mind)images, hearing, feeling, sensing or even in dreams. This also often continues after a beloved animal crosses over, they may continue watching over their humans and assisting them in finding their life's purpose or path or expanding their possibilities if already on it. Some enjoy becoming guides for us. In my case Jarvis wanted to take an active part in assisting me with the intuitive work I do with animals.
There are many animals that seem to be connected to energy from the stars as well as to angelic energies and they do so much to help us with our energy work both personally and professionally. I know Merlin and Gracie Belle and so many other companions are operating on levels beyond what I can possibly comprehend as a human. I can sense that they are doing this, but that is about it. I am grateful and I hope if this resonates you might consider the many ways your animal companion assists with your own energy work, whether they are helping during personal meditations or with healing work you may do for others.
For today's "shifting perspectives" series, where I highlight "unpopular" species to try to shift some of our dislikes/prejudices, I am discussing the humble cockroach. The photo in the middle I took of a jungle cockroach (way bigger than the ones here in Georgia) and other images are from a book I read many years ago called Cockroaches by Joanna Cole. The page on the right is what made the difference for me so that I was able to shift my feelings. It states:
"In its own personal habits the roach is a clean insect. It spends hours cleaning itself. If you get a chance to watch a quiet roach, you can see it washing its feet like a cat. Then, reaching up with a front leg, it will pull an antenna down into its jaws and wash it by letting it slide through them. "
The part about washing like a cat is what I think did it. This image allowed me to think of the roach as more than an occasional unwanted visitor to my home. It made me look past the "ick" and think about how these tiny beings that are despised almost universally spend hours carefully grooming themselves, just like my beloved cat children.
I am not suggesting anyone roll out the welcome mat. I don't like it when they come inside our house either. But I live in the American south and we have had a rainy summer, and no matter how spotless our homes are, they do find a way inside once in a while. It's an inevitability in this part of the world. There is even a local nickname for them here, Palmetto Bugs, because they often hide under the big leaves of our coastal palm trees in this region.
What I'm asking for is to see them as a being that deserves to live. Consider taking them outside and setting them free. There is no need to kill them. It is very easy to catch them with a plastic cup/container and a flat paper plate or piece of cardboard. Place the cup over them, then gently slide the paper plate under (cut the plate so it is fully flat.) The roach will walk unto it and then you can release him or her outside. When I do it I give them a little reiki & assure them they will be ok & I am only taking them outside where they will be safer, because my daughter Gracie Belle is a skilled huntress.
Please consider that if you have an interspecies family, your dog & especially your cat will most likely hunt and possibly eat a roach that gets inside. This is another powerful reason to refrain from using pest control chemicals because the poison that kills the cockroach will end up in the cat's stomach when they hunt them.
Cockroaches have little faces, like the cute insects do. We think grasshoppers are cute & lucky, why not roaches? They have souls too. Again, I also fully prefer they live outside the house, but it is fairly easy to take them out without having to touch them. I realize this will not be a popular post, but I'm sharing it because I received the most wonderful compliment the other day. Someone who attended my Intro to Animal Communication last year (part of the give back program at the Love & Light Institute) told me that ever since that class, she has been taking all the insects she encounters in the house outside instead of killing them. This may seem small, but it put a giant smile on my face to know that perspectives can shift with a little understanding & compassion.
This is one of the hardest things I’ve decided to write- it is about one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It is difficult for me to share painful & sad news and I’ve been trying to post this for about a month but kept feeling not ready-so finally-in the hopes it may help someone who reads this-it’s a long one-here it is:
As some of you know, we welcomed a new girl kitten into our family at the beginning of March 2017. It was a joyous happy occasion and no different to us than the adoption of a human child. We named her Clary Sage. When I met Clary I had an overwhelming soul recognition moment and I believed this to mean she would be my daughter.
We lovingly prepared a room for her, carefully choosing toys we thought she might like and making it as cozy as possible. We did the kitty introductions between her and Merlin and Gracie Belle (our 3.5 year old cat kids) completely by the book. Carefully following all instructions and advice, we spent a week leading up to when they would first meet. We had baby gates blocking their access to each other but the first sight through the baby gates Clary charged toward them aggressively. We believed it was just fear. I spent many hours each day that first week with Clary and fell more in love with my new daughter each day. I gave her Reiki energy healing, and she absorbed it like a sponge. She had been spayed recently and her tiny belly was still shaved. Reiki helped her heal beautifully and also allowed her to relax enough to accept love and snuggle in my arms. I told her how much I loved her and how she was home now. I treasured moments in her room, it was sort of a bubble, a cocoon of cozy and love.
Then came the first evening they met in person, and we expected her to be fearful, growling and hissing. What we didn’t expect is that she would chase Merlin and Gracie aggressively. Most of the literature talked about the new cat being scared and the resident cats having to establish/assert their status in the hierarchy. I broke down in tears after the 45 minutes or so she was out and felt something deep down was wrong, but again believed it would get better in a few weeks/months. The kitties all did begin getting used to each other-there were no instances of a serious physical harm, so that gave me hope. I could sense that Gracie Belle especially was very stressed and I did not feel comfortable leaving them all out together in the house if I wasn’t there. Merlin and Gracie both tried to assert their dominance but Clary Sage never backed down and continually chased them and was determined to be the boss/dominant cat, which as a kitten coming in was not the norm. She would pounce on Gracie and fight Merlin on the top of their tall cat tree, again never backing down. When she was with me or my husband she would be curious and sweet. I felt constant stress, which I know was partially me sensing Gracie & Merlin’s stress. There would be calm moments when all 3 would fall asleep in the same room and those moments gave me hope for days. But inevitably it went back to Clary trying to be dominant and Merlin & Gracie are so mild mannered they would retreat eventually. Still, I had never before experienced kitty intros first hand, so even though it was stressful I still hoped it would get better.
I was so convinced that it would get better that even though I was sensing their emotions, I kept thinking it would be ok. There was not a single part of me that consciously considered it might not work out. After 4 weeks I received messages through a reading that confirmed the deep down feelings I was unable to face. That Clary Sage was an amazing cat, but that Merlin and Gracie were too stressed and that their energies were not a good match for hers and that it would not get better because it was a personality difference rather than a matter of time. This hit me like a tidal wave. It was like this veil got lifted from my eyes and I felt the truth of it and it was devastating to accept. I desperately wanted to believe it was going to get better-but deep down I now understood it wasn’t going to. I went home and I cried the entire night. I was still awake and crying when the dawn came. My heart physically hurt accepting this truth, which I felt in my whole being. I simply could not believe this was happening and that our dreams of a happy peaceful family with our 3 kids someday snuggling together would never come true.
Just to feel triple sure, I asked for help from another wonderful animal communicator, who also confirmed all of this. Even though I am a communicator myself, I was too close to the situation and my emotions were getting in the way of full clarity. I also received the message that Clary was feeling confined and that she loved being here but she felt ready for her next adventure and being at our home was sort of like when a plant outgrows their container and feels a bit root bound. We had been trying to keep her separate which meant she was spending more time in her room which was not ideal. I made sure to spend as many hours as possible with her and to take Merlin & Gracie out in their playpen so Clary could have the run of the house & the catio for a few hours each day too. I felt completely divided, and time sort of stood still. I couldn’t get much done because I was constantly split –when I was in the room with Clary sometimes Merlin would cry for me to come out. When I was with him & Gracie I was worried about Clary Sage being by herself. I would go in with her for a few hours before bed time and sleep there then go upstairs to sleep in our bed with Merlin & Gracie but wake up early so Clary could come out of her room. I was barely sleeping and the stress level was not sustainable.
I reached out to friends trying to find a new home for her but nothing was available, and after another 4 weeks knowing we would not be able to keep her as our daughter, we made the decision to take her back to the rescue group we adopted her from. This was something I never wanted to even consider and it was only once I saw no other option and could not continue to put everyone through the unimaginable stress that we did. It is a wonderful cage free place, no-kill of course, with beautiful bright rooms, lots of environmental enrichment and adoption events like cat yoga. They actually have a contract stating they always want their cats to come back to them unless other arrangements are made with their knowledge, which I believe is a wonderful policy.
This is where my personal judgements came into play. I knew we were doing what was best for her. Clary Sage truly is a magical wonderful kitty and she deserves a home where she can be the queen of her castle, with a human who can be with her, love her and not be divided & stressed. The best place for a potential adopter to find her would be there. We were definitely doing what was best for Merlin & Gracie. Gracie had reached a point where she wanted nothing to do with Clary and just had to hide. She was upset she didn’t get a chance to do energy work with me, felt she couldn’t do her “job” with Clary around. Merlin was worried about Gracie and about Clary pouncing/attacking when I wasn’t looking. And I was emotionally and physically beyond exhausted. Still, even though I knew it was the best option we had, I was seeing the image of a Victorian orphanage in my head and could not get past the promises I made to her that I would not be able to keep. I wanted to be her mom forever. Clary felt like my daughter. I loved her and always will love her.
We made an appointment and the day came. I spent the entire night before with her. I explained everything and how much I loved her. I cried and my eyes were swollen again by morning. Putting her in the carrier and driving her there was truly one of the most painful & difficult things I have ever had to do. Leaving her there, even knowing she was in good hands, it broke our hearts. We left a pillow with her that my mom had made by hand and some of her favorite toys. It was truly devastating for us. I never thought something like this would ever happen to me. I tried not to, but I had a lot of judgements around people giving up animals. I could not imagine doing this. I still don’t think it is something that should ever be done casually, but I do “get” that there are circumstances that sometimes warrant it now. But giving up a child is never easy, no matter what the circumstances are.
I do understand that this kind of thing happens, and several people reached out to me telling me about situations where they tried to adopt but had to re-home the new animal because their resident animal companion did not accept them. I suppose I maybe should have entered into this thinking of it as a trial run, or a fostering situation, which is what it kind of ended up becoming, but I didn’t. I dove in fully and thought of her as my daughter immediately. I WAS her mom. I taught her to accept love & nursed her to health. I gave her antibiotics for 3 weeks & cleared up an ear issue (she let me rub ointment on her ears every day for a couple of weeks.) I played with her and most importantly I loved her with all of my heart. I still love her & miss her. But love was not enough, loving her would not change the fact that she and Merlin & Gracie Belle were not compatible. I have seen too many situations where cats are forced into a tense living situation by well meaning people and how the anxiety and stress affects them, especially if it is long term. I could not subject the 3 of them (and my husband and I) to this.
While I have encountered much love & support I felt like it was too hard to talk about this. There are close friends I still haven't told because it hurts too much to talk about, it's even painful to write about. I think because it is something I always thought of as a “bad” thing. This is why I decided to write about it, and maybe help someone else going through it, or who has gone through it. It has been almost 2 months now. Merlin and Gracie Belle have been so relieved. I could tell by their almost immediate change in demeanor and emotional state I did what was best for them. And I know in my heart Clary Sage needs the one thing we could not offer her-to be the one & only cat in the household. The hardest part now is trusting that the universe will take care of her and protect her since I can’t.
I received a Reiki session to clear some of the stress I went through during all this, and during this session-I heard Clary speak to me clearly, telling me “thank you” & “I’m ok.” I was also told that our souls have had many past lives together which explains why I felt that soul level recognition and felt I had to bring her home. Also that this was a soul contract between us, and our souls were so happy to see each other. And that she was meant to shake things up for me & help me release old belief & thought patterns. She absolutely did shake up my life and that of my family. It was a difficult and emotionally devastating lesson, but I know I have grown tremendously from this experience and I am grateful for the time, love and connection we shared despite the stress.
I do not regret bringing her home. I know we helped her get healthy & if she had gone somewhere else she may not have gotten treated quickly enough. I’m grateful Clary Sage is healthy and received a strong foundation with us – she learned how to accept being loved and treasured. I am grateful for the kind & loving support I received from dear friends & family through all of this- I so much needed it-you know who you are- thank you. I am now grateful for the peace that is present in our home again. I am working on moving forward, trying to acknowledge that it will take my heart time to heal from this separation.
A final bright note is that I received a lovely tarot reading where the card for Clary indicated she will be the “empress” of her own home soon!
Yesterday Clary Sage was adopted!!! I am so thrilled and relieved that she will truly have her very own family & home now and am imagining her happily snuggling with her new parent(s) and exploring her new home and knowing she is the "empress" of her home!
-This is a photo from Good Mews before her adoption-I was so glad to see how comfortable she looks. There is a similar cat tree in our living room and she always wanted to be in the circular enclosed bit like this, so I know she must have been very satisfied to claim it there. (This excellent photo is by Rebecca Pruett Photography)
There is a special meaning of the word cozy that I reserve for something that I consider one of the absolute pleasures of life. Once in a while, if I happen to have a bit of time (or sometimes when I don't really) and the kitties are sleepy I will get in bed for a little while with a good book, ideally an inspiring book. If the stars align, the cats will sleep on or next to me while I read. The bedroom is cool and outside is either stormy or sunbeams shine on their fur. The combination of feeling inspired by the book, whether it is an engaging story or lovely art, while listening to tiny kitty snores and maybe feeling a paw reaching out for me while they dream makes my heart happy.
I had the opportunity to do this recently with a new book I received for my birthday, a big hardcover retrospective of Susan Seddon Boulet's life & work written by Michael Babcock. I was drawn to her images when I was still in highschool in the 90's starting with Shaman:The Paintings of Susan Seddon Boulet. I had a poster in my bedroom then of one of her paintings and have continued to find new inspiration in them. I remember one in particular had light flowing from the subject's hands and after I began to do Reiki energy healing this painting made sense to me in a completely new way.
Doing this even for only an hour, completely re-charges me and calms me if I have been experiencing stress. I make sure to leave my cell phone in another room with the ringer off. I may bring in a cup of coffee or tea. My cat kids seem to know when I need this, and it is one of the many ways they/our animal companions help us raise our energy-vibration. They will even act the part and yawn extra sweetly looking at me with sleepy eyes as they sometimes wake up briefly and shift.
Any time we spend together is a joy for me, we also watch movies together and last night Merlin slept by my head as I was working on the computer until 2 am. There is something special about the combination of reading and cozy sleepy furkids for me (maybe because I love reading.) I have vivid memories of an entire Sunday afternoon doing this in Tucson almost 20 years ago (where we lived then and where we adopted our first sons Juneau and Jarvis from the Tucson Humane Society in '98.) They were my first cat kids -as many of you know- they are in the middle photo above. I remember exactly how the sun sparkled on their coats, they were still kittens and their downy soft fur smelled a little bit like the corn we used to feed to chickens in my childhood. I was reading a fantasy book, I believe it was by Charles De Lint but I don't remember the exact title, only that it had fae elements which of course were heightened by the my magical cat sons at my side.
Last Wednesday we returned from a short vacation and saw a wild bunny in our backyard through the kitchen window. This may not seem that extraordinary, but to me it was pretty exciting! We have been at this home for 7 years now, developing and maintaining our garden as a wildlife sanctuary, but this is the very first rabbit that has visited. He (or she) is a young bunny, and appears to be alone. He spends time under the giant blooming gardenia bush which is great shelter and I saw him nibbling on native geraniums and native St. John's Wort. I have not tried actively communicating with him yet, will probably do so soon, but I was a bit distracted by how utterly adorably this bunny is. I've seen him most mornings and he seems fine with being photographed from a short distance.
Even though I love all animals and believe they are all beautiful, I am not immune to cuteness. Bunnies are objectively ridiculously cute and I think this is evident by how often they appear in art & illustrations for children's (& adult) decor and books. Even the name sounds sweet. Rabbits also have symbolic associations with the faerie (elemental) realm. The times they are most active are dusk and dawn, which are considered "in-between" times and all "in-betweens" are doorways to the fae realms. The most popular example of this is "Alice in Wonderland" where Alice follows a rabbit and has great adventures.
Apart from the magical symbolism of rabbits and their beauty, I rejoiced at seeing one because the larger variety of wild animals indicates a more diverse eco system which is healthier since we are all interconnected. Neighbors have reported seeing foxes and more wild rabbits lately too. I am so grateful that we don't use poisonous herbicides or pesticides because I know our greens are safe for the bunny and everyone else to eat.
I am thankful because sometimes something as simple as a beautiful bunny sitting under a flowering bush at twilight fills me with such an immense sense of wonder. The feeling I got from discovering this bunny visiting (& possibly moving in) was magical in itself. I believe that for me that feeling of wonder is essential to continuing to see the beauty in life and taking a true breather from problems going on in the world. Wonder creates balance and makes our hearts stronger. Adults need wonder as much as kids do (if not more!) It's not only bunnies, I feel this when I see a lovely alien-looking praying mantis guarding our front door, when slugs move their adorable antennae, when mice hold food in their tiny paws, when ferns unfurl or when a seedling grows and blooms for the first time. I could list 100's of examples and sometimes when I am sad I like to make lists of all the "everyday" beings who gift me with wonder simply by sharing our garden.
Last week I was sitting on my deck early in the morning and I heard a beautiful sound while looking at the backyard and noticing bright red feathers behind tall grasses. For a moment I thought someone's chickens had gotten in the yard, but then I saw this gorgeous large pilleated woodpecker fly toward one of our pine trees and perch there for a moment. I took a lovely 20 second video because the moment seemed so magical. There was a squirrel on the tulip poplar tree which is entwined with the pine, and it was misty (rare in Georgia.) I recorded until the woodpecker flew to another tree and I posted the video on my facebook page as well as on a neighborhood page where people sometimes share this type of thing since we are fortunate to live in a neighborhood with mature trees and much varied wildlife. (The above photo is of a different pilleated woodpecker on a tree in our front yard a while back.)
As expected there were "likes" but then there were also some less positive comments. One person referred to the woodpecker by an expletive I won't repeat because he supposedly had pecked at their house. Another person said they were "not a fan" (?) and yet another, more kindly at least, with a smiley face emoji, said she loves them but draws the line at property destruction. I was fully prepared to have jokes made about the poor quality of the video (I didn't have a tripod) but sort of shocked that there would be animosity toward a rare beautiful woodpecker. This gave me pause. I considered the comment of drawing the line at property destruction, which I suppose sounds reasonable to most people, but I do not draw that line. I feel like having to repair a few holes on the side of the house or the deck is a very small price to pay for the privilege of living along side these amazing beings. I feel this way about all wildlife not only woodpeckers. Part of me also keeps thinking they were here first and we built houses on top of where their home was and now they have to deal with us in their habitat. The least we can do is care for them and protect them in our shared home environment.
I suppose everyone "draws lines" somewhere. I think it is helpful to pause and consider where our lines are and why. Do we feel like our property is more important than a living being? Is it money? Does money matter more? Or is it convenience? Do we draw the line at safety? When are we actually in real danger versus imagined danger? Which beings are "magical" and which ones are "pests?" What if it's a sweet looking rat gnawing on something in the shed? A mature tree casting shade where we would prefer sun?
We all make choices constantly that affect our environment. There is no way to avoid this, even if we are very careful. All we can do is our best, but I believe it is easier to do our best when we approach it from a place of love and compassion and awe.
Due to my connection with animals I am often forced to consider & reconsider choices, something that may have appeared simple ten years ago is more layered & complex now. I am in a human body too and I make imperfect choices. I killed a wasp once, probably about 12 years ago. She was inside our condo and I was afraid she would sting my cat kids. As soon as it happened I knew & felt I had done something very wrong. It was a choice made out of fear. I still carry the weight of taking that life. If I could re-do it I would have captured her and taken her outside. Which is what I have done ever since if one got in and what I have done with other insects for a very long time. So I suppose I was drawing the line at protecting my kids, but in retrospect I'm not sure they were in imminent danger. I still would protect my children from anyone, human or animal, but I hope that I would be more discerning about whether the danger was immediate and real or perceived. My lines shifted. Many insects suffer and die because of perception, whether they are poisonous or not. Having spiders does not mean we will be bitten by them. Often an insect will sting or bite out of fear too. It is all they can do to defend themselves and their young. It helps to imagine ourselves in their position, considering the size difference. What if a giant picked up our house & threw it in a giant vacuum? It sounds silly but we sweep & vacuum spiderwebs all the time!
If we can see ourselves in their place and allow heart based compassion rather than fear to guide our choices we have a chance at shifting where we draw our lines while still feeling safe and doing the least amount of harm possible.
I met my new daughter a month ago. A friend invited me to go to cat yoga, which is a yoga class at a cat shelter, where the cats get priority, so if there is a cat on your mat you would do your poses around him or her. I think that is a really fun concept. We tried to reserve spots for early February, but even though we both put our info into the system at the same time, she got in and I didn’t. So we made a plan that she would go again with me on February 26th. The yoga class was very fun and there were many sweet wonderful kitties in the room. I was drawn to a room next to the one we were in even though it looked empty, it had lavender walls, one of my favorite colors. It turned out to be the “kitten” room but there were only two kitties. One was a tabby boy that looked like my Merlin and the other was a little 6 month old orange tabby girl who was hiding in a cubby. I coaxed her out with a toy and she licked my hand & came out to play a little. I felt a strong connection. I went home but I kept thinking about her. I asked Merlin & Gracie Belle how they felt about a baby sister. I asked Jarvis & Juneau (my cat sons in spirit) and my guides. I pulled tarot cards. They said yes and one card was a tiger with a moon which made me think of a girl tiger and another card said “a wonderful new person coming into your life!” The name “Clary Sage” came to me. I saw orange kitty images everywhere I looked that week.
Even though I am an animal communicator, when it comes to my own life I still have concerns like anyone else when making a major life decision like adopting a new family member. I do not make it lightly. My husband and I had talked about expanding the family while Merlin & Gracie are still young (3.5 years.) The biggest concern for me was how Merlin & Gracie Belle would react & adapt. I decided to set up an appointment at the shelter that next Friday to spend a bit of time with Clary Sage and see how it felt.
I got a better look at her eyes and as she made eye contact with me I suddenly started feeling very strong emotion and even crying which is not typical for me. My heart had “spoken.” It overruled my brain and all the concerns and fears about change. I knew in that moment without a doubt that she wanted to come home with me and was already family. Ours souls recognized each other. I signed her adoption paperwork and left to get supplies to prepare a special room for her so she could have her own sanctuary as we began kitty introductions. The next day Steve and I went to pick her up. When we arrived there was a little tote bag with her records, some supplies and a hand made toy with her name on a post-it next to it. She purred when Steve carried her to the car in her cat carrier and I sat in the backseat with her on the long drive home. We learned from her records that she had only been placed in the kitten room less than two weeks earlier so if I had gotten a spot at the first yoga class I tried to go to I would not have met her because she wasn’t there yet.
The guestroom was transformed into a kitten room with her own litterbox, food & water dishes, toys and beds (in addition to the big bed.) Clary was very comfortable and took a nap on her new dad’s arm within an hour of arriving home. I was making sure to keep my normal routine with Merlin & Gracie so they would feel comfortable despite the changes. Later that evening I went in the room with Clary to give her a Reiki session to help her heal from her recent spay surgery as well as to help her heal emotionally from having been “returned.” I felt her strongly absorb & accept the healing Reiki energy. She moved closer to my hands and got very relaxed. What I mainly “got” from her emotionally was a deep overwhelming sense of relief. Relief that she had made it home with us. That she found us after all she went through, having been weaned too early and having had to be too self-reliant & independent at a too young age. She craved love like air but was afraid to ask for it.
She purred every time we played with her. She rested for a few days, deep solid healing & peaceful rest. She chased a ribbon with so much enthusiasm. She began learning to snuggle. First she only pressed against me. Another day she laid on my legs. She accepted Reiki energy healing daily & soaked it up like a sponge. She looked up at us with big trusting eyes and our hearts melted.
It was time for the introductions to begin with her new brother & sister. I will write about this process in an upcoming blog post.
Every so often I like to write about animals that are less popular, in the hopes of shifting some perspectives. For my brand new logo (seen at the top of the page) I asked the wonderful artist who designed & painted it for me, Hilary K., www.hilarykart.com/ to include some “less universally loved” animals such as snakes and bats. Snakes are often feared, even those that are not venomous, even the sweet looking small ones that live in our gardens and hide from us rather than risk confrontation. In fact snakes have much more to fear from us, many people kill snakes on sight without thought as to whether they are a non-poisonous integral part of our ecosystem, without thought that this snake may be a mother, without any thought of this snake as an individual, a being.
Snakes share a lot of knowledge about healing, and are even visually represented on the Rod of Asclepius which is an ancient Greek symbol associated with medicine, consisting of a serpent coiled around a rod. Snakes shed their own skins, which makes them wonderful examples of transformation and releasing that which no longer serves us in our lives, like old limiting beliefs. Snakes are here to help us, to show us what is possible. They have no arms or legs but they can move with amazing speed. They move with an “S” curve type motion, always graceful. They taste the temperature. They harbor no hate for us, although they do get tired of being misunderstood, feared and killed so often.
If you are one (of the many) who fears snakes, don’t feel bad, but please consider exploring that fear. When we confront our shadows we can shine light on them. Bright light can make an Anaconda look like a baby garden snake. Consider how a shadow can make someone appear like a giant at a certain angle. That is how fear warps & distorts our emotions. The fear could have been passed down ancestrally, either consciously or subconsciously. Try sending love to a snake somewhere. It could be sent to a photo of a snake, like this one posted, which I photographed at the Atlanta zoo. You could visit one that is (humanely) captive, like in a rescue sanctuary or an animal companion who spends some of their time in an enclosure, so the barrier helps you feel safe. These are ambassadors. You can ask them to show you where they would be in the wild if they were free. When you feel love there is no room for hate or fear. Think about what is lovely about the snake? The shiny scales? The colors? Some look like they are smiling.
Please take an imaginary leap with me. Imagine that this snake is a person on their way home from work. Maybe they accidentally drove into your lane and frightened you as you had to quickly move over, or perhaps they are that relaxed person walking slowly as you are on the way to your car, they are enjoying the sunshine, while you are rushing and you feel they are intentionally blocking your path? Think about why they are enjoying the sunshine, maybe they live in the moment, maybe they need vitamin D to feel healthier. Who are they going home to? Is their dog patiently awaiting them? (This exercise might make us feel more kindly toward people as we commute too) Snakes are not people, but they are individual beings, as we are. I believe sometimes a bit of imagining can help us relate a bit better and lose some of the fear.
We can also think about why snakes were given such a negative image in myths? What do they represent to you? Ultimately there is the symbolic snake and the actual real snake that may be in your garden. Please give them a chance at life, they are as much a part of our natural environment as the birds and the squirrels and (depending on where you live) most are non venomous and want to get away from you even more than you want to avoid them!
I understand that there are poisonous snakes and this can be a concern especially with small dogs or children. That does not have to mean a death sentence for the snake. I live in Atlanta GA and we have an organization called the Amphibian Foundation that will actually come and pick up copperheads (our poisonous snakes) and safely relocate them unharmed to a nature preserve. If you do find a copperhead here in Atlanta and don’t want them in your yard, you can call the Amphibian Foundation. www.amphibianfoundation.org/ Please check for similar resources in your home town/country. If there are no outdoor animal companions or small kids, you can consider simply letting them stay. They do serve an important role for the ecosystem and if they were all gone there would be drastic consequences. Depending on the size of your yard, you could consider having certain areas that are more suited for wildlife, separate from sitting areas. This may sound cliché but I still love the saying “live and let live.”
Many of us already love crystals and are aware of their energetic qualities and the benefits they offer, in addition to being beautiful to look at. We collect them, wear them as jewelry and use them as tools to assist with energy healing and for overall health benefits. After communicating with a number of animals I found that many would ask for specific crystals to be placed in their environment. One little dog with anxiety from past rejection (before she was adopted by her current wonderful parents) asked for rose quartz which carries a vibration of love and is very soothing to be placed near her bed. Her guides gave me the suggestion to actually sew small pieces into her bed (on the inside) so that she could be right up against them without worries of accidentally swallowing one or of the crystals getting lost.
Often they just want them in the house, but last week another sweet dog surprised me by asking for her very own crystals and she had a small list! This lovely dog has strong star energy and she included moldavite as one of her picks. Moldavite happens to be one I really enjoy too and I wear it often as jewelry, even sleeping with it as it feels protective to me. This is one however that some feel has “too strong” energy, so I recommend holding it before purchasing, and only using if your companions either ask for it or seem drawn to be near it. When my son Jarvis was diagnosed I got a large amethyst and placed it on the floor in the room where he slept to help keep the healing space clear and help him feel like he was in a "bubble" of light. Amethyst also helps to "charge" other crystals. Most crystals need to be cleaned or "charged" occasionally by running cold water, sunlight, moonlight, sage or salt, Please check on this individually as some dissolve in water and others don't fare well with salt.
Not all animals ask for crystals specifically, but they enjoy the energy when it is shared with them. I think it is a wonderful gesture to research which crystals have qualities that will help with something your animal companion is going through. For example animals are very sensitive to us and to our energy, so if we are going through something emotional, we could place black tourmaline in the room to help absorb some of this and thereby shield them from the burden of taking it all on to help us. I also communicate often with companions that feel very protective toward their humans and sometimes they feel they have to actively “defend” the home’s perimeter and when we use crystals to help with this (like by gridding-placing them in different areas of the home) it can ease some of their sense of responsibility and help them be more calm at night.
There are a lot of books on crystals, so I won’t go into the many kinds/definitions here, (not sure I can pick just a few!) but if you are interested a couple of books are:
Love is in the Earth-a kaleidoscope of crystals by Melody
The Book of Stones by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian
And this is one specifically for animals which is great:
Crystal Healing for Animals by Martin J. Scott and Gael Mariani
Most of what you read about how stones help humans (like with emotional or physical maladies or protection) will also apply to how they can help animals. I am also a big fan of following your intuition when selecting crystals, rather than only reading the descriptions. Hold an image of your companion in your mind and heart as you search and see which crystals you are drawn to for them. Often you will naturally be drawn to the ones needed and then it is also fun to read about these afterwards, and maybe discover additional meanings.
If you have never used crystals before, try starting by getting a few smaller pieces (or a large one that can be used as décor) and see if you and/or your animal companions (or human ones) notice a difference. It may be very subtle, perhaps the room will just feel a bit lighter, or more “bright.” This is great too for indoor only companions, such as cats, because it helps them to receive some energy from the earth, like they would if outside. Crystals and stones can also be placed in/around horse stables, chicken coops or underneath/around cages for smaller animals & birds.
Those of us that are Stronghearts, those of us that allow our hearts to be strong enough to "feel" for animals, sometimes find that in opening our hearts fully to animals and their emotions it can also open our hearts to other humans. Lately it seems that an extra feeling of division and intolerance between people, especially in the US where I live, has been coming to light.
Because of my deep connection to animals and my seeing them as complete equals, I have always had to walk a path of finding a way to connect with people who did not see or understand the world as I do. My way of relating to other humans has always been grounded in the ability to feel compassion & kindness toward animals and friendship has taken root if I can find at least a seed in them that mirrors the love I feel for animals.
Often the seed is there, but has not been watered by having the connection with an animal companion. I have seen many people who maybe didn't grow up with animals (or even harbored a bit of fear of a certain kind of animal, ) whose hearts grew and strengthened once they were graced by the unconditional love of an animal family member. This transformation changes us to the core of our souls. Once open to animals and able to "feel" who they are and the way they love us and take care of us emotionally & energetically, the seed not only grows into a beautiful plant but it also blooms and allows others to see the incomparable flowers. It also begins to extend to other animals outside the family and beyond those species who live with humans as family members.
When I see someone connecting at this level with their animals, treating them with the level of kindness and respect that accompanies this type of soul connection, I am able to feel kinship and love towards that person too. This extends to those that have experienced the love even if their companion has crossed the rainbow bridge, or those who perhaps don't currently have an interspecies family, but who find other ways to connect with them, such a protecting and forming connections with wildlife and helping in any way possible.
Seeing this seed, watching it bloom into love and gratitude for all that animals so freely share with us, becomes my way of connecting with other humans. It helps me to see them as a being, instead of as their occupation, politics, religion or a combination of personality traits that differ from mine. I am not perfect and don't always succeed but I do notice that if I know someone truly & deeply loves and cares for at least one animal I feel at least the roots of a possible connection sprout.
*The photo is of Perry, my beloved companion who crossed over the rainbow bridge many years ago.