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What the Animals Knew

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By Phyllis Stein, Ph.D.
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March 24, 2009


As many of you probably already know, a shamanic journey is a waking trance state, a kind of intentional waking dream that can be induced by the drumming of the shaman who leads the ceremony.   Often, the journey begins with a guided meditation that sets the stage for the dream.   I have participated in a shamanic solstice ceremony every three months for the past two years.   I am sharing this one because it was especially memorable.

First, I have to say that I am not a "visual" person.  I don't see much of anything.  I know things, I feel things but visions per se are not my thing.  Indeed, until I realized recently that I simply am not that way, I used to regularly "fail" at guided meditation because the minute they get to "picture yourself in a beautiful garden," it was already hopeless.  Now, I know that this will not be how it goes for me and I can allow the non-visual vision to unfold.

I had recently been reminded in a session of energy work with a friend that although I could feel a connection with Mother Earth, it did not feel loving.  My connection with spirit, maybe with Father Sky, is very loving, but Mother Earth, not so much.  So, I had set as my intention in the ceremony to connect with Mother Earth.  The fact that it happened so directly, as if I had written a prescription for it, to me, is almost absurd, but it did.

I will not bore you with every step of the journey.  I did experience being the Earth Mother.  I did incorporate different aspects into myself, including a warrior (Greek or Roman), a gorgeous women (who was not physically gorgeous but was gorgeous nonetheless), an incredibly primal sexy woman and an innocent child.  I briefly wondered how I was going to be all that at once, but that was not the point of the journey.  I guess I am all that :-)  I also experience being loved by the fields and the rivers but that did not clear my issue with the Earth Mother.

In the journey, we were instructed to start out at the mouth of a cave and then walk thru a field and along a river.  As I walked along the river, which was very happy that I was there, I was suddenly greeted by a large group of animals.  I cannot say what animals they were, except a mixture of brownish mammals, mid-sized, like in a Disney cartoon, but not cartoonish.  They were incredibly excited to see me.  They wanted to show me something and they were so eager that we were all running.  I could feel that they knew something that they wanted me to know. 

Finally, they brought me to the Earth Mother.  I cannot describe her (of course) but I knew I was in her presence.  I fell to the ground sobbing.  I felt grief and a kind of surrender.  Suddenly, in the middle of the grief, I knew what it was that the animals were trying to tell me!!

Here is the best way I can explain what was really a knowing.  Imagine a cat has kittens.  Indeed, long ago my cats had 120 kittens before I got over needing to see this happen.  I understand this better now.  A cat has kittens and she totally takes care of them.  She takes great pleasure in them.  She feeds them, cleans them, cuddles them and totally mothers them.  She is a representative of the Earth Mother.  The mother cat automatically teaches them that the Earth Mother's love can be trusted.  And that is what the animals knew that they were trying to tell me.  Exactly that.  The Earth Mother's love can be trusted!

I understood how our mothers were too wounded to carry the energy of the Earth Mother to most of us.  We don't get the care that we are supposed to get.  Maybe that is what the Fall in the Bible is about, the loss of the connection with the Earth Mother?  Maybe this is why so many people don't love her enough to take care of her?

So the animals know about this connection with the Earth Mother automatically without thinking about it.  They carry it in their energy.  I can feel it now and be reminded of it in my cats.  They just know.  And I realized that I can carry this energy to my inner child and rewrite her story.  That I can teach her this truth.  The Earth Mother's love can be trusted.

As a result of this experience, I now find myself in great joy.  The trees are blooming right now and every tree for me is just one more reminder of this great, newfound trust in the love of the Earth Mother. What an extraordinary and surprising blessing!