Animals are wonderful teachers and companions
They bring us so much joy, and they make our lives rich and meaningful. In addition to teaching us about unconditional love and being in the present moment, animals can also be invaluable teachers of transformation for us on our journey through life. Animals can help us transform into a higher version of ourselves, so to speak. They can help us evolve and grow, reaching and using more of our potential, and being more who we truly are. Animals can give us the courage and strength to move forward in our lives.
There are many ways those teachings of transformation can take place. It can happen simply by watching the animals and the life around us, or it can take place through intention, meditation, or other practices, or perhaps spontaneously if we have a specific or challenge we need help with.
Below is an example of a journey of transformation in which I encounter my beloved cat Kia, who died last year. May it inspire you on your own transformational journey.
The intention for the journey was to connect with my ‘soul sister’, Kia. At first, I feel stuck and can’t really connect. I ask one of my power animals for help, and he flies me over a mountainous landscape and put me down on top of a mountain. It is dark when we land.
As I go closer to the edge, I see the familiar silhouette of my beloved Kia. She is sitting with her back to me, and she is looking out on the landscape of the night and the dark sky with its millions of stars. I go and join her, sitting on her right side.
Kia says: “I’m going to sit here with you till the dawn comes.” And then she adds: “There’s no need to be afraid of the darkness.”
It feels good to be with her. I tell her I was concerned when I at first couldn’t connect with her. She looks at me and says: “I’m closer than you think”, and smiles to me with her eyes.
Her gentle loving presence keeps me safe and comforted during the night. When the dawn breaks and the sun comes out, I notice to the left of me where Kia sat before, a huge white butterfly. The white butterfly flies away, but before she leaves, she tells me without words to look at myself. I look and find that I have transformed into a blue butterfly with the most beautiful sky-blue color.
I fly up in the air and feel as if I blend in with the vast blue sky, free and without constrictions. I cross a big, blue sea and land on the shore as I turn into my usual self. The blue butterfly is still there and lands on my hand, telling me about the vastness and beauty of my true self and the freedom of my spirit.
I thank all who have been there helping me in this transformational journey.”
Butterflies are symbols of transformation.
Just contemplate a butterfly’s life cycle from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. Connecting with butterfly or other animals can open you up to many of their qualities, or they might reflect or draw your attention to an area of your life. If you want to read more about the qualities of butterflies and many other animals, I recommend Ted Andrews’ “Animal Speak”. It contains both exercises and information about a great number of animals.
Many times what you read about each animal gives meaning and deep insights for you and at other times your own insights and experience is what makes most sense. It could be that the obvious interpretation is not the most significant one for you. Let us consider a peacock, for example. One of peacock’s characteristics is that he is flamboyant, as he stands out with his long tail, bright colors, mating dance and loud call. However, it may surprise you to know that peacock is also a master of stealth. Peacock can silently and discreetly sneak up on you while you are sitting quietly alone in the forest – suddenly, he is just there. When you think about it, it makes sense that someone who stands out may have a real need to develop skill in being discreet when necessary.
Sometimes you may also receive message from the animals you encounter in your meditations or journeys. They might communicate with you by the way they move or they might speak to you. It can often be a “one-liner”; a powerful and meaningful sentence or phrase that on the surface (like the one-liners from Kia in the example above) is deceptively simple, but which usually carries layers of symbolic or deeper meaning. Significant and meaningful statements like these can go directly past our typical mental barriers. There is no need to analyze – you will actually get more out of contemplating or meditating on it; feeling and experiencing the layers of meaning it carries for you and your life.
Is there a special animal you feel drawn to or that shows up in your life in different forms?
The ways an animal helper can show up are limitless: dreams, real life, magazines, newspapers, Internet, movies, toys, a t-shirt, an overheard conversation, clouds, discernible patterns in objects, etc. If so, you can always investigate further.
- Study the life, habitat and eating habits of the animal.
- If it is a predator study its prey, and vice versa.
- Connect with the animal in thought, or in a meditation, and ask what it is you need to learn.
- Remember that sometimes you may need to moderate certain of the animal’s qualities in yourself while strengthening others.
Try it out and open up to a new way of connecting with and learning from both your companion animals and wild animals.
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