As I was searching for how to condense the many wonderful things that have happened since my last newsletter into a written form that would not take hours to read, the quote above appeared, and the pieces fell into place. (And the story is still long, sorry!)
Last week I was interviewed by London-based intuitive coach and energy healer Monique Challis for online conference Heal Yourself – Heal the Earth: Visionary perspectives on Shamanism, Nature Connection and Permaculture.
Monique started me off with a single question, and the next thing I knew it was an hour plus later, and I felt like I had run a storytelling marathon. What connected the stories was the path I took to becoming a Reiki energy healer, shamanic practitioner and animal communicator who now brings animals and people together in ceremony for A Walk on the Wild Side at Yellowstone National Park, Earthfire Institute, Spirit Owl Ranch and Listening to Zoo Animal Ambassadors.
The direction my life took was most definitely not a planned path (on my part), but it did not meander. There’s an old saying that hindsight is 20/20, and as I look back I can see a very clear progression. I was guided every step of the way by following my heart and listening to the wisdom of many animal teachers living, and in spirit.
Reiki was my first step on that path. Having reaching a point in my life that some would call a mid-life crisis, I searched for something that could give me a sense of meaning and purpose. Something that was definitely lacking in my life. None of the possible avenues I thought of pursuing felt right until the day I read an article written by someone I knew about what she had experienced as a result of taking Reiki classes. To this day I can’t recall the words she wrote, but I do recall feeling a slight tug, a pull that Reiki was something I should look into.
I found a teacher, and arrived at class with an open mind, but no clear idea of what I might do with what I would learn. It was a decision that was unusual for me. I was not a metaphysical class-taker, but being there felt right. I had no idea that my deepest wish was about to be granted, and in a much more profoundly life-changing way than I could ever have anticipated.
The shift happened during my first attunement, when the Reiki Master Teacher performed an energetic process that connected my energy field to the universal life force energy (Reiki). Later I would learn that it also opens up your heart and your natural intuitive gifts.
As I felt the Reiki energy flow through my hands for the first time I realized Reiki was real. My heart expanded with joy, something that had been lacking, and I knew to the depths of my soul that I had come home. Reiki uncovered my purpose as a healer and I “knew” that I would work with animals.
And work with animals I have, and do. But when I first started in Reiki I expected to only be working within the context of healing sessions. I had no idea that ultimately the animals and I would be working together with people to reverse climate change through A Walk on the Wild Side and other events I offer.
For nine years I have traveled in ceremony to collect the prayers of wildlife so that the people and the animals can co-create a more balanced way of living together. This year my heart and my allies felt that I needed to go on a sort of ceremonial pilgrimage to Yellowstone without holding the annual 4-day A Walk on the Wild Side event at Earthfire Institute as we had done in the past.
In past years all the expenses for ceremony in Yellowstone—travel, lodging, food, etc.—came out of my pocket.
Unfortunately, personal health issues, veterinary issues for my animal companions, and other life challenges had drained my reserves and created significant debt. I could not see my way to going this year, especially since my cat Manitou was not done with veterinary care.
But my guides said that the animals in Yellowstone were expecting us, and encouraged (pushed) me into stepping way outside my comfort zone to reach out to the ReikiShamanic community and ask for help through GoFundMe. It was an emotionally challenging step for me to take, and I wondered if we would get any donations at all since ceremonies are not the usual sort of funding request, but I did it because the animals were waiting.
I was overwhelmed and humbled by how graciously people responded with donations. Thanks to our donors we were at least able to get on the road, trusting that expenses would be covered in full, and that we would meeting with the animals and land of Yellowstone in ceremony once again.
We were also blessed with an unexpected bonus—fellow shaman Charolette Anderson and I were invited to visit at Earthfire as well. Founder Susan Eirich was concerned that after joining them in ceremony for nine years the Animal Ambassadors would miss us if we did not show up.
So, we found ourselves stopping by Earthfire Institute in Driggs, ID prior to traveling to Yellowstone. It was a blessed opportunity to visit with each of the Animal Ambassadors, offer some healing and collect their prayers.
A lot happened in the single evening and one full day that we were at Earthfire. I can’t share it all, but here’s a few stories.
Susan had invited Michael Stillwater, a lovely human being, and an award-winning documentary videographer and accomplished musician, to stay. Our visits overlapped, and Susan asked me to volunteer for an interview for the film(s) they were creating.
I ended up miked up and speaking while white buffalo Nima grazed in my line of sight outside the yurt (shamanic drumroll, please). I don’t know if my part will end up on the digital cutting room floor, but I did my best to deliver the messages from the Animal Ambassadors I have met over the years, and the vision/mission that Earthfire and I share.
While making my rounds as a healer, I met with bobcat Better, who happens to be a great favorite of mine. He is much more reserved about it, but I know he likes me, too (-:
Better is a very senior cat, and has some aging issues. With his permission, I began the session with some shamanic clearing work. My mesa (healing bundle) was open, and it contains many cuyas (healing stones) that are highly energized due to the ceremonies and rites they have been through. Since Better was in his enclosure, I knew that there was little risk of him stealing one of the Stone People as I have had some animal clients do in the past, but he was really intent on the stone that was working with him. It happened to be the Stone Person from my very first fire ceremony with, and for, the Animal Ambassadors at the Philadelphia Zoo, and it is about the size of a medium-size Idaho potato.
I could feel that Better really wanted at that stone, so—after checking with my guides—I gently slid the stone toward him so that it was within his reach. With great dignity he reached out with his paw and gently drew the stone into his enclosure. What happened next was so fun—you would have thought that stone had been drenched in catnip. Drooling wit h excitement, he rubbed his jaw all over the stone, marking it as his. At one point he even picked the stone off the ground, holding it in his teeth—he was literally trying to eat the energy off the stone! When he’d had enough, he went for a bite of food—the energy had made him a bit peckish. I was able to use the head of my cane to draw the stone back out and restore it to my mesa. It had been bobcat-blessed by Better, and there could be no better (ha!) addition to my mesa. What a lovely gift!
Once I had the stone back, we moved on to the Reiki portion of the session. Better had been very involved with the shamanic portion, but he kind of settled in with the Reiki energy. As he sat in a sitting position in front of me, his eyes were closed and his head was nodding just a little—so relaxing…When he was complete he stood up and expressed his delight with the entire process with a few quick twirls of his bobcat tail, and we were done. What a blessing!
My next session was much more somber. Arctic wolf Patch was lying on his side, and it was clear that he was dying. He was 17 years old, and his body was just worn out. He had been a very significant participant in the ceremonies of past years—a wonderful Ambassador. I did my very best to offer him energetic support for his highest good, and set things up to help ease his transition, including building him a Bridge of Light for whenever it was his time to cross over, which he did about an hour and a half later. I am honored that I was able to be there for him, and marvel at the synchronicity of the timing. Patch will be greatly missed, but at least we were able to say good-bye.
We could not stay for his interment, but Charolette and I felt deeply humbled to be asked by Susan to bless the grounds of the cemetery where all of the Animal Ambassadors have been laid to rest, including Windwalker.
We each offered blessings and prayers, and Charolette sang. There was a lot of energy, so much that my hands were shaking. We were surrounded by the many spirits of the animals that had passed, and they were joyful.
At the beginning and ending of the ceremony there were several flocks of geese that passed over the area. We would have expected that they would be heading south, but all of the flocks were headed north—to the place of the Ancestors. It felt very honoring—something like Nature’s version of a 21-gun salute for those who had served.
And on that sacred note we hit the road again for the next stage in our journey—meeting in ceremony with the wildlife in Yellowstone.
And what an amazing reception we had! I swear the animals and the land pulled out all the stops. We were surrounded by buffalo and elk, greeted by coyotes, wolves, eagles, bear(!), pronghorn, and so many more…I alternated between wanting to jump up and down in joy like I was six years old, and feeling so much gratitude for the gifts of the animals and the donors who had made this possible that I often had tears in my eyes. Trusting, following my heart and asking others to follow theirs, resulted in an incredible gathering with the animals and a very powerful ceremony.
I took well over 1000 photos in a day and a half—so many that when I tried to download them from my camera my computer finally gave up and said, “I’m full.” Eeek!
When I’d edited the photos down to a more manageable 600 or so, I invited the donors to a storytelling call so that they could be a part of the journey they had helped make possible.
That live call, where I shared stories and photos with donors from our time in shamanic ceremony with the animals in Yellowstone, has already happened, but there is a replay available.
Thanks to the generosity of donors we are close to meeting our goal for travel expenses, but are not quite there.
I welcome anyone who feels called to makes a contribution of any amount to Shamanic Ceremony for Wildlife.
After your donation is received, I will send a thank you along with links to the call replay and the photos that you can view while you listen. I am so grateful for everyone’s support, and I hope that you feel that shining through on the call!
When I saw the Rumi quote above, I realized I have been running a marathon for many years. My heart has always belonged to the animals, and when I run in the direction they are going, they always lead me to where I need to be.
Please join us. Take a look at my Calendar and see if any classes and events speak to your heart.
Rose De Dan, Manitou and Night Sky
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing
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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.