Recently, I had an incredible encounter with two Raccoons during Listening to Zoo Animal Ambassadors (ZAA) class at Northwest Trek. I will be sharing that story in an upcoming newsletter.
After that amazing time with the Raccoons, this image kept coming to mind—an image that has haunted me for years. The photo was taken in June 1968 at Birch Grove Park, Northfield, NJ—the next town over from where I grew up. I was nine years old.
The Park had walking trails, camping, and a small zoo of local wildlife. I’ve always loved spending time in the company of animals and would bike over to visit.
Perhaps it was because I was growing up and my awareness was expanding, but that day the reaching paws of this Raccoon spoke of more than wanting some people food (which you could feed them at the time). And when he looked into the camera I felt his sadness. His home was a steel cage with no form of natural enrichment of any kind. At the time, I did not know what to do with what he shared with me. I was not even aware of the term “animal communication.” Feeling overwhelmed and helpless, I left with a heavy heart.
Years later, I know that this moment was one of many. Guided by the animals, my experiences evolved into my mission of connecting people and wildlife through ceremony. By doing our personal healing work, listening, collecting the prayers of the Zoo Animal Ambassadors we assist them in achieving their lifework as Animal Ambassadors. Helping them create a better world for all—wild, urban, zoo, and people.
Now, with the support of Reiki and shamanic practices, I no longer feel helpless—there are actions I can take to create balance and healing on behalf of the animals.
In honor of this Raccoon Teacher, I’ve sent Reiki back to his situation and those of the other animals, and also offered a Bridge of Light for the time of his passing should he choose to accept it.
Note: The zoo at Birch Grove Park, thankfully, is no more. According to what I read, it was dismantled after 2003, and the animals were sent to other facilities where they could be better cared for. Positive change, long overdue.
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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.