The following text and photos are abridged from Animal Reiki: Using Energy to Heal the Animals in Your Life:
“Over the past five years I’ve sent Reiki to the deer and other wild animals in my neighborhood to help them with the many challenges they face in a suburban environment. The deer face a lot of hardships: in finding food, avoiding cars and dogs, and dealing with hostility from people. They have felt the healing energy I sent, and gradually we have moved into a close relationship. They have come to trust me and to regard me as their healer. Whenever they are sick or injured, they come to my entry courtyard and wait until I come home or until I look out and see them there. Sometimes they even go from window to window looking in to try to catch my attention if I am home.
Over time they have brought all manner of injuries and illnesses to me for help. When a deer comes for help, I sit quietly in the courtyard with my hands in my lap and let the Reiki energy flow to him. Each deer decides how he wants to receive the treatment, moving around the courtyard as he sees fit and leaving when he has had enough Reiki.
When I scheduled the photo shoot for the chapter on wild animals in Animal Reiki, I was unsure how the deer would respond to the presence of a photographer. On the day before the shoot I sent Reiki to the situation and asked the deer to come the following day to be a part of the book, if it was comfortable for them.
The next day, just before the photographer arrived, I went outside and found that there were a dozen deer waiting for me. During the shoot the deer were calm and focused. Over the next hour and a half they took turns seeking treatments. They accommodated each other beautifully, with the majority waiting patiently off to the side out of the way of the photos or on the ledge until each deer was finished with Reiki and it was time for the next deer to step in.” The following photos are from the shoot that day:
Click the first image to launch the slideshow.
The deer’s desire to help me gave me enormous joy, and, as we worked together and Reiki filled the courtyard, I could feel the excitement and delight rising for all of us, the deer, the photographer and me.
After we had completed the photos with the deer, we moved inside, expecting that we had completed all the photos of wild animals that we would get that day. However, the squirrel, Reepicheep, had a surprise for me and was waiting on the deck to offer his participation as well. Reep was uncertain about the photographer, but he stayed long enough to contribute some lovely photos of a treatment of a squirrel.
At the end of the shoot I felt that Reep and the deer had really extended themselves to help Reiki reach other animals and to give something back to me and to Reiki for what they have received in the past.”
The following is one of Elizabeth’s stories from Animal Reiki: Using Energy to Heal the Animals in your Life (Ulysses Press, 2006). It illustrate what happens during an Animal Reiki treatment and the results that Reiki can bring about:
I work with many extraordinary animals, but some animals truly stand out, inspire me with their courage, and leave an indelible print on my memory. One such animal was Oscar, a Russian Blue cat, whom I met at the local shelter in 2003.
Oscar arrived at the shelter in early June; he was severely depressed from the outset; for several weeks he rarely ate and lay with his eyes closed on top of his excrement in his litter box as though making a metaphorical statement about his idea of his place in the universe. He was unresponsive to touch or any overtures from the staff and appeared to have totally given up hope that anything could go well for him. Although I did not know the specific details of his life, what I could see indicated that he had had a particularly rough time. Among other things much of his beautiful tail had been cut off, leaving him with a somewhat ragged two inch stump. The staff was very concerned about him and asked me to begin treating him.
Oscar began to receive Reiki treatments and a daily dose of the Anaflora flower essence, Return to Joy. In the first treatment the only sign of progress was that he opened his eyes once and fleetingly looked at me. Within days, however, he began to improve. First he started to purr so quietly after a treatment that we had to turn off the music in the cat area to hear him. He began to open his eyes and make occasional eye contact. He became steadily more engaged, making eye contact, then holding people’s gazes, and pushing against the volunteers’ hands when they stroked him. He started to sit up and groom himself. Soon he was coming to the front of the cage looking for attention, batting at toys, and coming out onto volunteers’ laps.
He was always exceptionally sweet and loving. When he wanted to tell someone to stop doing something, he would slowly and gently open his mouth and put it around a hand or finger so as not to upset or startle anyone. It was as though he knew from sad experience what it feels like to receive harsh feedback. After three weeks of treatment, he was alert, healthy, and fully engaged in his life, and a few days later he was adopted to a good home.
I have since reflected on the tremendous courage it took for Oscar to open himself to hope and to interactions with people again despite his previous negative experiences. But Reiki and the flower essences have the ability to reach deeply into a being to restore health and balance, and, in this case, they were aided by the love of the volunteers who took Oscar into their hearts and helped coax him back to life as he improved. When I am faced with such deep suffering-whether it is on the physical, emotional or spiritual level-I am always grateful to know that I have the wonderful healing capabilities of Reiki and the flower essences on my side.
When I first learned Level 1 Reiki, I didn’t have much success in treating my dog, Zoe. She was then about twelve and had begun to develop symptoms of kidney disease. When I placed my hands directly on her, or even six to twelve inches away form her, she moved away after only a minute or so, as though Reiki felt too intense for her. Eventually, I concluded that she just did not like it and stopped offering her Reiki. Meanwhile, her kidney symptoms increased.
One day when I was standing at the kitchen sink, I suddenly felt my hands heat up and tingle. When I looked around, there was Zoe about four feet away, looking intently at me. I put aside what I was doing and stood with my hands out, Reiki pouring through them. Soon Zoe lay down on the hardwood floor, which was unusual for her since the hard surface was uncomfortable for her elderly body. But she stayed there for thirty minutes, lightly dozing.
The next day she drank less, needed to go out less frequently, and looked happier and more comfortable. When we went to the vet, her lab tests showed that her urine was more concentrated. Now when she comes to me and lies down nearby with a certain look on her face, I know that she wants Reiki, generally at a distance of three to four feet. With treatments when she seeks them out, her kidney disease has shown very little progression.
One day near the beginning of my experiences with the deer, I noticed that one of the young stags was limping. When I got a closer look at his right hind leg, I could see a large swollen infected area above the hock and extending down below it. There were several long, open, festering wounds there, similar to the kind of lacerations animals sometimes get from being tangled in barbed wire. It looked as though it had been there for some time.
I sat down and offered him Reiki, which he accepted gratefully. Off and on when I saw him, and when I thought of it outside of his presence, I sent Reiki to him, and, in a couple of weeks his wound had healed. He began to come more frequently to my courtyard, and a special friendship developed between us. He was the first deer to whom I gave a name, Merlin. Merlin has weathered many injuries, including one that almost ended his life. Each time he has come to me, and I’ll never be able to express how much his trust has meant to me.
Years ago I worked with a feral cat named Smokey at the local animal shelter. Smokey hadn’t done well in the shelter and had tried to escape several times. Soon after he arrived he became very sick and would have died if one of the staff had not force-fed him and nursed him back to life. As he grew stronger, however, he continued to be very wary of people, often biting volunteers who tried to interact with him. When I met him they were very concerned because after three months in the shelter he sat hunched in one corner, never moving from that spot, severely depressed. He started at every noise and movement, and, although he could be taken out of his cage by a few of the most experienced volunteers, he would try to bite people¹s faces as soon as he saw them.
Smokey and I formed a strong bond during the month I worked with him at the shelter; his depression cleared and he became much more relaxed and confident with his favorite people. I could feel that it was my love and high regard for him, in addition to Reiki, which brought him back to life and renewed hope. At the time I was still reconnecting with the animal communication abilities I’d had as a child, and Smokey was an expert communicator. With him I received elaborate information effortlessly. I had come to love him very much and knew that we were already a team, and, after much careful consideration, I brought him home to live with me.
From the beginning Smokey was deeply attached to me, but he remained wary of my husband and daughter, our dog, and the two cats. In many ways Smokey was basically still feral and distrustful of people. His failing eyesight aggravated his sense of vulnerability, and he was careful in his interactions with everyone. I offered Reiki to him frequently, and he would come up and lean against me and doze for as long as I could continue the treatment. His tolerance for physical contact improved, and I could touch him carefully as long as he could see my hand approaching. He often slept with me but would sometimes jump down when I turned in the night. When I was sick, however, he stayed with me constantly.
But on the inner level Smokey and I were a wonderful team without any reservations. Smokey was a master communicator, not only with me but with other beings as well, and he was very focused in his desire to help me in any way he could. Almost as soon as he arrived home with me he took on as his purpose in life helping me to develop my animal communication skills. In my early work he acted as a facilitator in my communications with animals, and, with his assistance, their messages invariably came in loud and clear. And on a practical level his skill in communicating with other beings was highly appreciated in our household.
During the summer he came to live with us we had several major ant incursions in our home. I noticed the first of these incursions only moments before I had to leave the house for a long appointment. With considerable agitation I told the ants that it was not all right to come indoors in such large numbers and I wanted them to leave by sunset. I told them I did not want to hurt them but they could not stay here, and, if they did not leave, I would feel I had no choice. Smokey watched me with concern, and, as I left, I noticed his eyes were tightly closed and he had gathered himself into the loaf shape he often assumed when he was concentrating hard on helping me with some inner task.
When I returned several hours later, there were only a handful of ants. By suppertime all the ants were gone, and Smokey was looking very pleased with himself. I had had very good results communicating with ants when they came indoors, but I had never seen such a rapid withdrawal. Usually it took a couple days for all of the ants to move out. Smokey had clearly devoted himself to helping me with this task for a considerable part of his day with his usual masterful results.
Question: I regularly give Reiki to dogs and cats. When I wanted to give Reiki to a very old, demented Schapendoes, my hands turned ice cold. The dog kept shaking its head and walking around the room. I gave it a distant treatment instead, but my hands remained cold and the dog remained restless. I interpreted it as “the dog doesn’t want Reiki.” Is that correct?
Elizabeth: Your interpretation of your experience, namely “The dog doesn’t want Reiki”, is a common one for people when they encounter an animal that doesn’t settle down easily into receiving Reiki. However, the animal’s experience is probably more like “I don’t know what to make of Reiki yet, and I’m conflicted about receiving it”. Some animals are open to Reiki immediately, especially our own animals who trust us already. Others, especially those with even temperaments and who have had positive experiences with humans, may settle down easily into receiving Reiki. But, like humans, animals are individuals; some are more nervous and sensitive by nature, and some have had reason to be distrustful of humans.
Animals seem to feel Reiki more intensely than humans, especially older animals who can be sensitive and frail in general. At first Reiki can feel invasive to animals and be experienced as something that is being done to them without their consent. Distant Reiki seems to be experienced as less intense and so can be useful in this kind of situation for people who have Level II Reiki. But this situation is very manageable with Level I Reiki as well.
Animals are more open to Reiki if they are given a choice about whether to receive it or not. When I give a Reiki treatment to an animal for the first time, I set aside 45-60 minutes and find a quiet space of a good size (at least a small room if possible). I let the animal roam freely in the space, sit down, and let the animal know who I am and why I am there. I ask the animal to take only what it wants in the way of energy, and then I put my hands out and let the energy flow.
At first the animal will continue to move around the room or even move as far away as possible. However, as they get used to the feeling of Reiki and trust that it is their choice about whether and how much of it to take, they settle down into an appreciation of it. They usually end up positioning themselves close by or even under my hands and taking quite a lot of energy. Some will actually move through a series of positions on their own, like a human treatment, offering the parts of their bodies most in need of healing. Sometimes it will take 30-45 minutes for an animal to settle into the first treatment, but in subsequent treatments they will settle down more quickly.
The feeling of cold in your hands is information like any other sensation (such as increased heat) you may receive in the course of giving a treatment and does not mean that Reiki is not flowing. Generally, cold is a sign that the area or being has a higher need for healing. As you know, it’s not necessary for you to do anything with this information since Reiki has its own intelligence and will go to the source of the problem on its own, giving the animal or human what they need most at this stage of their journey.
Some years ago I had been thinking about getting some photos of my horses for my website when I saw a sign-up sheet at their barn for a photographer who was coming to do portraits of people and their horses. I jumped at the chance to get some professional shots of my two beauties. The day before the appointment I sent Reiki to the shoot the next day; I asked Senedad and Annie to help me by being at their best for the photos the next day so that their photos could be a part of my work.
When the photographer came the next day, Annie and Senedad were both visibly excited. When I led them to the area where the photos were being taken, each of them took up a position with all four feet squared and their heads held high with ears perfectly forward. They maintained that stance for as long as we needed them to do so. The photographer, who specialized in equine photography, kept saying, “I’ve never seen horses do this…I’ve never seen horses do this….” over and over again throughout the shoot. When the photos came back, the horses were picture perfect. Anything that was wrong with a shot was the result of something I was doing, never because of them. I got many beautiful photos that day, and I treasure them all the more for knowing how hard they tried to do their part to make the shoot a great success.
For six years I lived with several herds of wild deer who came to our house daily for healing and companionship. At the time of this story, one of the herd, Hector, was a young stag slender and frail, with the small, thin antlers of a yearling. His skin was dull, and his breathing was always very rapid and shallow, as though his heart and lungs were in some way compromised and working very hard to power his frail body. He was shy and timid and always stayed in the group with his mother, other does, and the fawns instead of joining the group of young males his age. Encouraged by how well other deer had responded to Reiki healing, I began sending healing to Hector at every chance I got.
A transformation began to take place in Hector. Over the course of several months, Hector began to come into himself at the innermost level. He became a much stronger presence, at first arriving in the forefront of the group, later in advance of it, and finally coming on his own for visits and treatments. He began to hang out with the other young stags and roam in a group with them. His respiration slowed, and his sides no longer heaved all the time. He began to put on weight and fill out, and his coat took on a healthy sheen.
About this time we experienced a series of acts of vandalism, and it appeared for a short time that someone was targeting our house with ill intentions. This worried me, and the deer picked up my worry and took it upon themselves to help me with my concern. For several weeks, at all times of the day and night there was always a stag on “guard duty” in the courtyard. They challenged they didn’t recognize when they entered the courtyard, including the UPS driver. Stags of all ages took turns. And Hector often bravely took the “night shift”, positioned alone in the courtyard, ready to take on any danger that presented itself. He had become a true hero, thus growing into his name, that of one of the great heroes of the Trojan war.
As animal communication becomes more widely known and accepted within our culture, a growing number of people are interested in learning how they can talk to their four-footed companions. One effective way to open the intuitive channels necessary for animal communication is through the ancient healing art of Reiki. Like acupuncture, homeopathy, Qi Gong and flower essences, Reiki is part of the emerging field of energy healing, an ancient practice that is being rediscovered for use in modern times. If you look into the backgrounds of many professional animal communicators, you will often find they are also Reiki practitioners, and the two skills are frequently practiced hand in hand.
The following story describes my introduction to animal communication through my Reiki practice. At the time, I had been healing animals with Reiki for about a year, but this was the first time I was aware that I was communicating easily and naturally with a member of another species.
A doe at the door
Early one morning, my husband burst into the bedroom, astonished and upset. He said that each time he tried to take our dog out for a walk, he was charged by a doe outside our front door. Unbelieving, I went to the window and looked out. Indeed, there was a very agitated-looking doe standing just outside the door, eyes wide, nostrils flaring, breathing rapidly.
As I looked at her, the word “baby” formed in my mind. At first I thought she was pregnant and about to give birth. I told her it was all right, that no one would hurt or disturb her, and that she was safe. As I spoke, she visibly relaxed, and the thought that the baby had already been born came into my mind, with a very blurry image of a small, curled-up being. I looked around our yard and saw a fawn, still covered with amniotic fluid, lying curled up in the wood chips a short distance away. I realized that these ideas and images had come from the doe, and was incredibly excited by this brief exchange with such a glorious creature. We left the doe and her fawn undisturbed, and my husband and our dog left by the back door.
The next morning, I ventured outside to see if I could have another encounter with the doe. I roamed the area near our house, sometimes calling out softly to the doe, sometimes calling her internally. After a while I gave up, but as I turned abruptly back onto the sidewalk, I almost knocked the doe over. She had heard me and was standing right behind me! We gave each other a tremendous scare, and she leaped to the other side of the street. We stood looking at each other for a long time. No words or images passed between us, but a gentle, vibrant energy connected us and feelings of love passed back and forth along this connection. I felt that both of us were re-evaluating our ideas about inter-species relationships, and a bond was being forged between us.
Deepen your intuitive communication with Reiki
Animal communication, or telepathic communication, can also be described as deepened intuition. All of us have intuitive capabilities, and these can be deepened and expanded to become telepathic communication. Two of the biggest obstacles many people face when developing their telepathic skills are learning to access the energetic or intuitive “frequency” of animal communication, and putting aside their preconceptions about animals so they can “hear” what the animals have to say. People who meditate are already able to enter the quiet inner state where animal communication can take place. For others, Reiki training and practice is an effective way to begin to access that inner space. For many Reiki practitioners, finding the “frequency” at which animals communicate evolves as an integral part of giving treatments.
The Reiki practitioner is naturally drawn inward as part of the treatment, and her mind quiets in a way similar to meditation. By letting her mind remain still and unattached, the practitioner allows the animals the space and opportunity to be heard. What the practitioner hears will be different for each animal since, like people, they each have an individual communication style. Some communicate more often through visual images while others use feelings, sensations, thoughts, or ideas. Many communications will combine several of these aspects.
In addition to accessing a quiet inner space, the successful use of both Reiki and animal communication involves learning a new “language” of energy. In the process of learning and using Reiki, people begin to feel subtle physical sensations of energy in their hands or bodies and then to perceive subtle phenomena on other levels as well. They find that visual images, feelings and thoughts arise in their consciousness during a Reiki treatment, and gradually they understand that these images, feelings and thoughts often are not their own but come from the being they are treating. If people develop this awareness, it can become full-fledged telepathic communication.
My relationship with the doe has grown and deepened over time and has led to relationships with other deer in the area. They have become my friends and guides in developing my intuitive communication skills and in deepening my understanding of animals and healing. Both the deer and other animals have demonstrated to me again and again that the assumptions we make about them are erroneous, and that animals are far more similar to us than most of us think.
The rewards of animal communication
The culture of animals differs from ours, and their communication is more exclusively telepathic. But, in so many ways, their intelligence, emotions, and spiritual lives are similar to our own. If we put aside our preconceptions about the intelligence of animals and what they are capable of feeling and communicating, they are freed to share with us.
Communicating intimately with animals is immensely rewarding and exciting. Their insights reveal a beauty, depth and generosity far beyond what most humans are conditioned to believe is possible. People who learn to use Reiki with animals find that many animals that are right for their unique paths come forward to guide them. Through learning and practicing Reiki, your intuition and sensitivity to subtle, energetic phenomena can be heightened and refined, along with your ability to rest inwardly so the voices of animals can be heard. Reiki and animal communication are natural allies, each contributing to the other to bring deep healing and to strengthen the bond between animals and humans.
What is Reiki?
The word “Reiki” (pronounced Ray-key ) is Japanese and is usually translated as “universal life energy.” It is a gentle yet powerful energy healing method that treats the whole individual, not just the symptoms of a disease. The practitioner acts as a conduit for the healing energy of the universe to flow through her hands to the animal or human client, causing a shift towards health at the deepest levels. It restores balance and harmony to the patient’s entire being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Reiki is also a powerful tool for personal growth and transformation. Until recently, Reiki healing was available only to humans, but increasing numbers of practitioners are establishing practices devoted exclusively to animals.
Elizabeth Fulton is a Reiki master and professional animal communicator. She offers a combination of Reiki healing, animal communication, and flower essences to all species of animals and their human companions, and teaches people how to heal animals with Reiki.
If you get a chance to see a wonderful film called “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” which recently came out on DVD and video, or to read the book (by Mark Bittner), it’s well worth taking the time to do so. It’s the story of a flock of wild parrots who have lived free in San Francisco for 20 years and a man, Bittner, who became their friend and protector. Bittner was homeless for 15 years, and his story of finding meaning and purpose in his life through his association with the flock is as moving as the stories of the individual members of the flock.
What I particularly loved about the film was that it demonstrated some of things that I see over and over again in working with people and their animals and in healing wild and exotic animals.
1) Animal easily recognize kindness and compassion and are quickly drawn to it. Bittner’s small acts of kindness and sincere interest in the parrots drew them to him and initiated a deep and life-changing relationship.
2) Animals give as much as they receive. They give extraordinary gifts in return for the love and compassion shown them and can transform human consciousness. Bittner had studied philosophy and Buddhist teachings for many years; however, his interactions with the flock gave him a new understanding of the meaning of much of what he had read.
3) Respect for animals’ wisdom, autonomy, and freedom of choice is vital in establishing an authentic and intimate relationship with them. Bittner honored the individual members of the flock as valuable beings and tried to understand their life from their perspective. In doing so, he gained their trust and learned enormous lessons about the deeper meanings of life and death. In teaching healing, I always stress that this kind of respect is vital in establishing a relationship for healing.
4) Personal transformation and growth are often possible for both people and animals around the time of an animal’s transition, and animals often give their people wonderful gifts of insight through their transitions. Through the transition of Tupelo, one of Bittner’s closest friends in the flock, he came to understand that “wordless transmission of meaning” (what I would call animal communication or intuitive listening) occurs between beings and between species. For instance, speaking of watching the flock in flight, he says, “Scientists look for an outer signaling system, but I think the birds have such a ‘flock sense’ that at times they are of one mind. I picked up some of that flock sense, and at times it was uncanny. I almost always knew when there was a major development in the flock.”
5) The richness and complexity of animals’ emotional lives, relationships, and intelligence is much more like ours than most people understand. Our preconceptions often stand in the way of understanding this. Bittner learned much about the depth and complexity of the parrots’ emotions and relationships through his close interaction with them and ultimately understood that “All living creatures are personages, and the issues among us are similar.” He says:
“In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Sukoshi-roshi tells a story about a trip he took to Yosemite. While there, he stopped to watch a waterfall. It was one of the very tall ones, and he noted that when the stream at the top of the ridge hit the cliff, it split into many individual droplets on its way to the bottom. There the individual droplets came back together into one stream. I’d read that story many times without comprehending his point. At a basic level, it’s quite simple: There is one river until it hits that cliff, which is life. The one river then breaks up into many individual living beings-humans, animals, and plants-until we hit the bottom of the cliff and become one river again. Each droplet loses only its identity as a single drop. But nothing is really lost. It’s all still there. I’d encountered this in different ways many times over the years, but I’d never grasped it. It’s an elementary idea, and not so difficult to understand. But my problem was that I’d been thinking about consciousness solely in human terms. It wasn’t until I considered the minds of parrots that my outlook broadened. So my problem was not with anthropomorphism; rather it was with anthropocentrism, which is seeing human beings at the center of the universe. The parrots broke through that delusion. The understanding that ultimately came to me from looking in the parrots’ eyes was that their consciousness is one with mine. We are all one consciousness, and each finite being embodies a little piece of it. This is the preciousness of all that lives.”
The book contains much information that was not included in the film, and I highly recommend it, but the visual images in film are so great-very intimate and personal- that I recommend trying to see the film as well, if at all possible.