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The Spiritual Lives of Animals

A few months ago my friend Geoffrey sent me a link to an MSNBC report highlighting new academic research indicating that animals have a spiritual side. One hypothesis it offered was the fact that in human beings, the spiritual center lies in the "most primitive part of the brain" so it would be likely that animals, being more primitive creatures than we are, share that primitive spot.

As pleased as I am to see the scientific world corroborate what shamans and metaphysicians have known through experience for thousands of years, I would disagree that animals are primitive. I would say primal, not primitive.

We used to cling to this concept in a human development context as well; as knowledge and technology have propelled us further into the electronic, industrial, and later cyber ages in the last few hundred years, our culture mislabeled as primitive indigenous peoples without the high powered gadgets and mass production. Does simplicity dictate primitiveness or does it free us lives from clutter and debris to engender an inner life that nurtures just the opposite? Films such as Baraka and The Gods Must Be Crazy easily poke holes through what is now a very arrogant world view.

But back to the animals.

It is my soul's work to communicate with them on that spiritual level and I, like all other serious animal communicators (mediums, psychics, intuitives), don't merely recognize but revere the spiritual lives of animals and the loving, sacred wisdom they transmit from those higher realms. Years ago at a Penelope Smith Workshop in Rhinebeck, New York, nearly 70 people sat in meditation with a large snake. Our task was to ask the snake to describe her daily life. What we all received was strikingly different. Snake had another agenda, a higher purpose. Coming out out of the silent meditation, the entire group agreed the snake was not interested in sharing her mundane experience but instead delivered a spiritual message which we received individually but shared collectively: a call for humans to recognize the divinity of the snake. All life is divine. All creatures are sacred. The snake makes a home on the lowest and highest elevations on earth, easily and comes to us as God's living metaphor. Recognize all live, all creatures, all people, as extentions of the Divine. We are no higher or lower or better or worse than those we too readily and wrongfully dismiss. When Penelope broke the silence noting that the snake clearly had a higher agenda, many of the workshop participants were surprised -- because each of them had received the same message silently, not recognizing the power of the snake to speak to each of us on higher levels. What I saw that day in trance was the snake transforming her body slowly from a linear pose into a perfect circle. She reveled in her uniqueness as the only earthly creature capable of such physical arrangement and assertively but lovingly reminded us that as a symbol of eternity she must not be overlooked. Hardly primitive thoughts.


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Visual and Visionary Part 2: The Images

The Grief of the Pasha

by Jean Leone Gerome

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau

The Bear Dance by
William Holbrook Beard

Spirit Wolf
by Susan Seddon Boulet

Calico Kitty by Georg Williams

Blue Dog (the original)
by George Rodrigue

Bodo Flying through the Night
by Martin LaBorde