In July, following shamanic guidance that reminded me to focus on building bridges between people and animals, I sent a prayer out asking to be shown a place where I could bring people and animals together in dialogue and ceremony to co-create a sustainable vision for the future. And my prayer was answered.
First I had a conversation with Deb Petosa who, at the very moment I called, was in the process of driving back from attending the first group workshop held at Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. As I listened to Deb excitedly share her experiences I felt my own excitement flicker, but I got busy and did not follow up.
The next week someone else sent me a link to a video entitled Energy Healing Wolf where I witnessed the amazing connection and trust created between wolf Apricot and energy healer Jill. And co-founder Susan Eirich’s final words on the video made the hair on the back of my neck stand up – Earthfire’s mission and message was the same as mine! And that’s when I knew I had found the place and the animals.
When I first spoke to Susan I had thought to offer the event the following summer, but Spirit had other ideas. I found myself planning an event for Oct. 1-3, which was less than two months away! Named “A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild” after a series of articles I had previously written at the request of the animals and Spirit, miraculously everything fell into place, and from all across the U.S—Alaska to Florida—people responded.
Eventually I discovered why Spirit wanted the event offered sooner, rather than later—October 4 was World Animal Day! This meant that our group, and the animals, could connect the energy of the shamanic ceremonies at Earthfire with the intention of others around the world, creating a wonderful opportunity for shift on a global scale.
Eagerly our group and I counted down the days until we could finally meet Susan, Jean Simpson, and the Earthfire animals in person. I used the time in between to carefully plan the workshop, receiving guidance from shamanic journeys and several dialogues with the animals at Earthfire and with animals in spirit. The journeys were powerful, and as events unfurled during the weekend, prophetic.
Meeting the animals at Earthfire was like coming home to a place I had always known but had not yet found – we were embraced as family. Each time we arrived the wolves greeted us with a pack howl. Whenever I shared a story in class, the wolves would howl at a crucial point for emphasis. Throughout the workshop the horses, the burros, and Bluebell the buffalo stood as close to the yurt as they could in order to share in our experiences. And the day after fire ceremony wolves Apricot and Moonbeam raced to the firepit, digging it out and rolling in the energy.
And the animals also stepped forward as Teachers. Pimpernel the coyote shared with us the lesson that in every situation there is an opportunity to be seized and savored. And during our Peruvian despacho ceremony not only did she patiently and carefully observe every detail sitting by my side, she also participated, including her prayers into a kintu (prayer bundle) as a representative for the other animals.
There were so many amazing moments that occurred I am engaged in writing a series of articles, however a pivotal one was our encounter with Cucumber the timber wolf. The time we spent with her touched everyone in our group deeply as we observed her willingness to step outside her comfort zone in order to connect with us.
But it was a personal moment of connection with Cucumber that affected me so profoundly that I still cannot tell the story without tears, and it was a moment that she initiated.
Walking up to me, Cucumber raised her eyes to mine. Her gaze was soft, and completely open. Her eyes held mine, inviting me to meet her at a soul level. It felt a bit like falling deeply in love—one moment you are two separate individuals—the next, one.
Still maintaining eye contact (something that animals almost never do) she said to me, “I want to be the best representative I can be.” I reached out to touch her, profoundly and deeply moved. As I gently stroked her face I made her and all the other animals a promise that I am certain I will be held to, “I promise that I will do everything I can for you.” That moment showed me that the potential for a different awareness and relationship to animals is deeper than even I had imagined. Our connection transcended any limitations of species or language, and we clearly had a common purpose.
It is truly difficult to sum up our experiences at Earthfire simply because they were so transformational. Many of us were strangers before the event. Now bonded by our experiences and a love for the mission of Earthfire, we have maintained contact afterward, sharing ideas as we reintegrate and discover how deeply each of us has changed. Many participants report having considerably deeper interactions with the animals in their lives and in nature, and have had significant shifts in self-limiting beliefs or long-standing emotional blockages—healing on a major scale.
We answered the Call of the Wild, and the Wild walked with us, guided us, and taught us. Together, as partners, we are changing the world.
Earthfire Institute is a non-profit organization. Please help support Cucumber and the animal ambassadors at Earthfire Institute by making a donation! Your tax-deductible donation will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference in the lives of Earthfire’s animals, empowering them with a voice that can be taken out to the world.
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©2010 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved. www.reikishamanic.com
Think Outside the Cage
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian shamanic tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.
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