Animal Speak - January 2017 - Santa Fe
Lighting the Way Within
By Lynne McMahan
"There is in each person, in every animal, bird and planet a star which mirrors, matches or is in some sense the same as a star in the heavens." - Paracelsus
My inspiration for January's column comes from the various lighting celebrations we experience during the holidays in Santa Fe and the quote by15th century alchemist Paracelsus. I believe he has it right, that the light within each of us, animal and human, is reflective of the light outside of us, within the Universe, in starlight. What an amazing way to view our path into consciousness, as mirrors of starlight.
In mid-December as I was driving to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter (SFAS) for my weekly Reiki volunteer time, I saw hundreds of farolitos (little lanterns) lined up along the long drive to the shelter. The Light the Way Home event is an expression of love and the farolitos are placed along the drive and around the shelter to honor a person or pet in the lives of the contributors of this event. Each of the 2,000 farolitos were lit that Friday night before Christmas, "in honor of those we've lost, those we love, and those we've yet to meet." The Farolito Lighting Ceremony is a literal expression of lighting the path to shelter, and eventually "home."
Aligned with this event, Bringing in the Light at Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary (KSAS) is a traditional tree candle lighting holiday celebration of love and light that honors each of the senior dogs, horses and poultry who live there. The event was magical and deeply contemplative, with a silent meditation experience to honor each animal soul that had passed that year. "We take comfort in the knowledge that they knew they were loved and spent the end of their lives surrounded by friends" (Ulla, KSAS Director). I believe the inner work we are called each new year begins with these illuminating events that honor the many souls who are in our lives, both human and animal, both of this earth and beyond. By lighting a candle or a farolito in their honor, we are providing mirrors for the starlight within. What have these souls shared with us? What lessons honor their soul and mirrors back our own soul?
The story of my animal teacher Nicole, a three year old black lab mix who came to the shelter clinic mid-October, has helped with greater understanding of this lesson by being a mirror for the starlight within each human she has connected to. My first meeting with her mirrored the themes of fear and trust, angst and peace. She seemed so unhappy and unwilling for me to join her in her kennel that I refrained from working with her inside, sharing Distant Healing outside her kennel. But then Caryn, one of the wonderful clinic staff members, said to trust and that once inside her kennel she would be at peace with me. She knew Nicole would fall in love with the hands-on Reiki, and she did. We worked on healing her lost eye and her sadness and fear around this loss. We also worked on balancing her anxiousness by building trust. When I came the next week to continue my work with her I discovered she was already in adoptions (where she has been the past two and half months). We have continued building her vision of a forever home by building trust through love and releasing her angst through peaceful balance. We want the people who stop by to see her true light within, as a mirror of their starlight through the beautiful soul she is. Nicole has taught me that even with one eye, she clearly sees the world as love and wants to share that love with her new family (Nicole ID #A089233; http://sfhumanesociety.org/adoptions/).
In closing, "one of the great things about humanity's expanding consciousness is our growing awareness of and appreciation for the sacredness of our brothers and sisters of other species...manifestations of Spirit" (Katherine Saux). May you find the starlight mirrored within you and within the souls of our beloved animal teachers, manifestations of Spirit, who are lighting our way home to a conscious-filled new year.
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Lynne McMahan, Ed.D., En-Light-En Reiki, is a Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and Mind-Body-Spirit Mentor, supporting the healing of each person or animal on their journey of transformation. For more information: enlightenreiki.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 505.400.3168.