Photo: Pasado’s Safe Haven donkey Babs and blind horse Peach Pie during Animals As Healers and Teachers 2014
Pasado’s Safe Haven is a very lovely animal sanctuary located in Washington state that offers healing and care for many different species of animals in need: cats, dogs, llamas, donkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, pigs, sheep, etc. Any animal that they take in is usually available for adoption once they are healthy, but there are some special needs animals who stay until they pass.
When Pasado’s asked me if I would conduct a memorial service for their newly renovated Remembrance Garden, I immediately said yes—I felt honored to be asked.
For the past few years I have been fortunate to be able to bring some of my Reiki/shamanic students to work with the animals. In the process I have gotten to see many go to loving homes, and grown fond of some who stayed. Two of the animals to be honored with remembrance markers were ones my students and I had always enjoyed spending time with and were sad to see pass: black and white cat Moo who loved to snuggle, and blind pony Peach Pie.
As I pondered how to conduct a ceremony for animals known and unknown by me, I decided that the best thing to do was to ask my guides and the animals what they would like.
The first thing they said was to keep it simple. Then they suggested I incorporate lavender, which they said was the scent of love.
Together we outlined the structure and the words, and what came through strongest was their love for the people—the animals wanted them to be included, too.
The animals showed me that when I faced each of the directions and addressed the Archetype by name I was to raise the lavender up as an offering and ask that the people AND the animals be blessed. They suggested that after the blessing was completed each person should come up and take a small handful of the lavender and blow their love for the animals into it. Then the people could place the blessed lavender on a marker or sprinkle it wherever in the Garden they felt guided to do so.
The ceremony felt lovely, and the animals showed me that they would be present. I thanked them for their help, and felt a sense of peacefulness.
That morning, as the people gathered to celebrate animals who had been loved and lost, I noticed one man gently place a spray of orchids on a stone dedicated to a dog who had crossed over in 2014—clearly a friend who was missed.
As we prepared, I overheard one of the staff make a call requesting that the heavy equipment that could be heard in the distance be turned off for a half hour in honor of the ceremony. Quiet descended.
During the introduction, it began to gently rain. Somehow it felt appropriate to the occasion—not sadly so—but growth affirming; as in watering seeds that had been planted so that they would grow into something beautiful.
I grounded myself, and connected with my allies before beginning the ceremony.
Turning to face the South, I raised the carved wood basket containing the lavender and called, “Amaru, Great Serpent…”
Into the hushed quiet—with impeccable timing—a nearby rooster crowed, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
Fighting back a smile I continued, “…you who teach us to shed our past the way that you shed your skin, bless this offering and the people and the animals with Beauty.”
I turned to the West, raised the lavender offering high and called, “Choquichinchay, Rainbow Jaguar…”
And again—with perfect timing, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” This time I barely stifled a laugh.
As they had said, the animals were definitely present—in body as well as in spirit—offering us lavender for love with a dash of spirit humor!
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.