Animals in our spirituality.
Indigenous cultures across the world recognize the importance of the animal kingdom in the journey of life. Many associate the appearances of animals with messages from spirit and divine guidance, and some traditions have complicated concepts involving animals as guides and totems. People, indeed civilizations, have revered animals as Gods throughout the ages, the Egyptian empire and the God status endowed on cats, is one example of this.
Animals may also be involved in the shape-shifting ceremonies of shamans native to the Americas or act as Oracles bringing wisdom and clarity to those who ask.
All these practices and ways of seeking guidance from the animal kingdom may seem very far removed from our modern, everyday lives. But the good news is, we can still access the wisdom of the animals, even living the lives that we do! I often talk about the three ways that we can get spiritual guidance from animals:
1) From the animals around us that we see or find ourselves thinking about. We can ask ourselves what these animals remind us of, or what they mean to us as a symbol, a metaphor or on an emotional level. For example a deer can symbolize gentleness, humility and sure-footedness.
2) From animal themed Oracle Cards that represent or tap into the collective consciousness of the animal kingdom. Just as a particular animal may be drawn to us by our vibration, so a card is drawn from an Oracle deck in a similar way.
3) From our pets and the animal friends in our lives, and it is this aspect of animals and spiritual guidance that I want to talk about today.
Some people in the spiritual community believe that we are born into lives of our choosing and that the others we have relationships with, are members of our soul family. Our soul family is not only people but also includes the animals and pets that we have throughout our lives.
Whether or not you believe in this or in something more random, you will agree that the closeness we share with our animals includes more than just physical proximity. Our pets are often right beside us throughout the day, some lucky ones even sleep with their humans and are in each other’s auras almost all the time. As energetic beings, we have a vibrational field that goes beyond the borders of the physical body.
Without getting complicated this aura carries energetic information, which we emit into our surroundings. The animals and other beings in our lives are affected by the nature of this energetic field, which explains why many dogs look like their owners! Joking aside, it’s surprisingly common for animals to have the same physical ailments as their humans, and often pets take on the behaviors and personalities of their people.
As an animal communicator I understand that there’s a reason for this happening aside from just a byproduct of living in someone’s aura. The reason is that we have soul contracts with our pets, which are agreements we have to help each other to have certain realizations in life.
So how can we find out what our soul contracts are with our pets? And do we even want to find out? The answer to this second question very much depends on how curious you are about your own life’s journey. Sometimes we can’t know exactly what the roles of our pets are until they have passed to the other side and we can get a greater emotional perspective. That’s the thing with deeply emotional relationships, we may not be able to see the woods for the trees at the time, but emotional lessons are those that really change us and allow us to have the big breakthroughs that lead to our expansion.
One example of this is my story of Yoru, the crow I used to look after as a pet.
For 18 years I was lucky enough to be the guardian for Yoru, a carrion crow. Our story started in the second year of my living in Japan. One morning I awoke from the strangest dream. It was one of those dreams that you know somehow is more than just the rehashing of the day’s events. If you’ve ever had a dream, unusual in its clarity and detail, that leaves you remembering and feeling it all the next day, then you know what I mean. It was one of those dreams. In it, I was sitting at a school desk directly facing an open window. I was in a clean, white, empty classroom, it was quiet and the sun was shining in through the open window. For some reason, maybe the sun had made me sleepy, I lay my head down on my folded arms on the desk in front of me, and I just stayed there. Then in the dream, a big black crow flew in through the window, landed on my desk and embraced me with its wings. Its wings enfolded me, my arms and head covered with its shiny blackness. I remember feeling deeply honored before I lost the dream and woke up. Shortly after, within a day or so, a crow’s cries outside my apartment alerted me to a baby crow with crippled feet that had crash-landed and was hiding under a shrub. The long and short of it is, that Yoru could not be reintroduced into the wild and I had a big responsibility for the next 18 years!
At the time of having him, he died about 8 years ago, I would have told you that he was teaching me how to be caring, unselfish, responsible and all those kinds of things. But it wasn’t until after he died that I realized how instrumental he had been in my staying in Japan, and how important this had been for my self-development. No matter how hard things were, or no matter how much my heart was broken by some love-affaire gone south, I couldn’t just leave. I had to stay and work through whatever was going on, I had no choice! As an expat it’s very easy to up-sticks and flee the scene, in fact many expats bounce from country to country, staying while the sun shines and then when the going gets rough, bailing to sunnier climes. So for me Yoru was my anchor, making me stay and face my dragons, which I can see now, I needed to do!
So how can we find out more about the spiritual contracts and agreements we may have with our animal friends?
Questions and contemplation.
Well, we can ask ourselves a series of questions and see what kinds of answers spring into our minds. If you know the value of journaling now’s the time to crack open the journal, and if you do free-writing, grab a pen! The key to being able to receive answers to such questions is to relax your mind and allow your subconscious wisdom to bubble up. Give yourself some uninterrupted time to ask and then contemplate what comes to mind. Writing long hand in a journal is best, but record the answers in whatever way works for you:
Calm your thinking, take a long, deep, slow breath and ask one of the questions. Close your eyes and wait for the answer to come into your mind. Pick up a pen and write your thoughts as quickly as you can. All that matters is that you can read them after, so don’t worry however scrappy the writing may be. (If you are asking about an animal who is no longer in your life, use the past tense forms of the questions).
1) What seems to be the theme of my relationship with (your animal’s name)?
2) Are there any physical bodily conditions or challenges that we both experience?
3) Is there anything I have to do, because of my pet?
4) Is there anything I can’t do because of my pet?
5) What is my pet doing for me?
6) What am I doing for my pet?
7) If I had to answer, what would I say my pet wants me to notice about life?
Asking ourselves such searching questions and trusting that what we hear are true and valid answers will help us to have a deeper understanding of the relationships we have with our animal friends. Sometimes it will be that we are too emotionally involved or too embroiled in our circumstances to be able to see clearly what we are here to do for each other. Other times it won’t be to our advantage to know the bigger picture and we’ll have to accept that we’ll know more later, when the time is right. But it’s nice to have a chance to dig deeper and maybe have some realizations about what you are here helping each other to realize.
Our Spiritual Journey.
Whatever you discover, know that you and your pets are on this spiritual journey together and there is nothing coincidental about your relationship. Very often our animal friends are here to learn how to be more of an individual, and to expand their consciousness in this way. You can help them with this by treating them as individuals and giving them their own stuff, as well as by giving them opportunities to make choices in their daily lives.
Apart from the unique and individual lessons our pets are here to help us to see, they also bring so much love into our lives that they uplift our vibration in this way too. They teach us how to be in the ‘moment of now’ more than being caught inside our heads. And if we watch them, we can let them remind us that it's good to make choices depending on what brings us joy. And maybe this above all others, is the most valuable of their lessons.