Introducing Apollo

“…if animals and other life forms are seen as able to feel intensely and as equal to humans, they will have to be treated accordingly. This would require a change in virtually every aspect of modern life, particularly the world of commerce. If we conceded that animals could feel terror, grief, pain and depression, we would no longer be able to exploit them so ruthlessly in the laboratory, or the factory farm.”

From the book Learning Their Language. Copyright © 2003 by Marta Williams. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.  www.newworldlibrary.com

I have felt this way for as long as I can remember. Animals, especially dogs, cats, cows and horses have played an inextricable role in my life path, and I am eternally grateful both for their tolerant companionship and their gentle guidance along the way. I was born among animals, raised among animals, earned a  living with animals, and galloped gleefully through the wild in the company of animals, but it wasn’t until I met one extraordinary horse that I learned how little I really knew about ANYTHING, especially animals: my Anam Cara, Apollo, who has challenged me to learn and grow… or die trying… It is not without reason I sometimes refer to him as Apollo 13 “Houston, we have a problem…!”  From the moment we met I could sense the unusual power he possesses, not that I fully understood it, or even marginally comprehended what it meant. And I am still learning… I have been writing about my adventures for 8 years in the quiet of my own loft, it’s about time I shared some of those stories with the hopes that they might prove interesting and possibly useful to others walking this same path.

I found out practically the minute I brought Apollo home that I was out of my league with him. The old way of working with horses, one that served me well for many years, simply was not good enough. Fortunately, I had a wonderful resource in the form of a terrific natural horsemanship trainer, who got me “on the same page” with Apollo, and the great horse himself taught me the rest. It has taken YEARS, but every minute has been well worth it. I would not dream of saying “we’ve arrived.” I will say that we are well on our way.

In the company of this horse I have learned to honor the spirit of all animals as well as nature. It’s something I gave lip service to, even believed I embodied, but discovered to my horror that I was wrong. I found that to be truly in tune with the All There Is, one must become One with it, and that means letting go of one’s ego, one’s illusion of separateness, and honestly feel love for everything. “Love One Another.” Those three words trump everything else. So simple and yet so challenging, as long as you feel separate. Yup, love that guy who just cut you off in traffic, right? Great advice, Polly Anna! Why don’t you just invite a thief in and give him all your stuff.

Sigh. I didn’t say it was going to be easy, now did I?

But what does this have to do with Reiki and Communicating with Animals. Ah, that is simpler. Apollo taught me that to communicate with animals, or anything in the natural world, for that matter, you simply level the bridge. One side is not higher than the other. You cannot see or feel yourself or your ideas as somehow “better” or “more important” than anything else. Native cultures call animals brother and sister… that image works very well, indeed.. can you imagine acting like you were superior to your beloved little sister? Eh, no! (I know mine would give me a piece of their minds if I dared.) Once the bridge is level, you communicate politely and humbly in plain English (or whatever language, including mental images. It makes not one lick of difference.) Then you wait. Because, you see, animals know if you really mean it, or if you are simply pretending.

I have found that responses can come in many forms. I can “hear” a response in my head, and often get a clear image that pops in out of nowhere in my mind, or, the animal can behave in a manner that indicates beyond all shadow of a doubt that it understood exactly what I was asking and it does something that answers my question. It varies a bit animal to animal, but I find that over time, these have proven to be my major three. Sometimes I get an entire moving picture show, complete with sound track and smells… not often, but it has happened. I have learned also that in some cases, the translation is completely literal, and in others it is symbolic. In one recent case, I got the image of a shaving bale staple stuck into the lining of a goat’s stomach, near the exit into the small intestine. Surgery proved there was no staple, but the goat was impacted. In a symbolic way, her stomach had been “stapled shut.”

I find that Reiki has been a facilitator in my quest to become more in tune with the natural world. As I use Reiki on myself and offer it to others, I become more at peace with myself and with everything else, and as this feeling of peace grows, so does my ability to let go and simply “let it be.” I no longer have to fix things, be everything to everybody; I no longer have to prove myself to anyone. I simply AM. It’s really a terrific feeling, that one! It remains an enviable state of being that I must constantly practice to attain, but it gets easier by the day.

I became a Reiki Master Teacher in June of 2014. Prior to then it was not important to do anything beyond practice my skills with communication and offer Reiki to friends, family, friendly people and their beloved creatures. As of last fall however, that simply was not enough any more. I want to be able to share the ability to use Reiki with as many people as are interested in learning. Through a truly fantastic connection with Cornell Veterinary School that I have had for a very long time, I have the opportunity to offer classes to interested vet students and others. In this way, I can give back, I can enlarge the circle of understanding, and perhaps in some small fashion influence the world in a positive way, making it more loving and equitable for all creatures who walk the earth with us.