By Allen and Linda Anderson
Native Americans and Their Spiritual Connection to Animals
We're fascinated by the spiritual perspective Native Americans teach in their culture. Native American spirituality offers the belief that everything is sacred. This means that we are connected to each other with invisible golden threads. To express gratitude for the sacredness in all creation, Native Americans give thanks to animals, who give their lives to be food or clothing, and to the clouds for the water they bring.
We have other teachers who remind us how spiritually connected we are to each other and all forms of life. When we take time to notice the subtle messages animals deliver, we may find the depth of our connections to be absolutely astounding.
We had a beautiful example of spiritual connection through Taylor, a very special "angel animal," who shares our home. You've heard of watchdogs who let people know that danger is near. Taylor, our yellow Labrador retriever, showed her spiritual awareness by letting us know that love is lurking.
Love Is on the Line
Linda began to notice that when Allen was away, if he called home, Taylor knew about it in advance! About one second before the telephone rings with Allen's call, Taylor comes to wherever Linda is and perks up her doggie ears. Then she gives a short "woof" and nods her head toward the telephone. Within a heartbeat, the phone rings, and Allen is on the other end of the line.
At first, when Linda began to notice Taylor's wonderful alertness, she and Allen thought that maybe it happened because this dog and her human are so wonderfully connected. But the mystery of Taylor's perceptiveness continued to unfold.
We get many phone calls and enjoy hearing from people who want to tell us about their "angel animals." Linda started noticing that when someone calls to express support and appreciation for our projects, Taylor does her love-is-coming-to-our-home routine again ears up, short bark, look toward the telephone. If the caller isn't approaching us with love to share, Taylor ignores the incoming call signal. It seems that Taylor's spiritual connection is not only with certain people, it's with the love that she senses is on its way to us.
Taylor offers a reminder to follow the example of "angel animals." They seem to have heightened love detectors. They know how to receive love graciously and to give it unconditionally. The Puppy Who Belonged to No One We received a story from Jenny Crowd about the miraculous, unconditional love an "angel animal" can give. Jenny is a Native American whose experience demonstrates a spiritual connection with furry messengers.
Jenny says that her family is of the Minnesota Ojibwe tribe. She wanted to have a female Ojibwe elder give her fifteen-month-old daughter her Indian name. Jenny and her family traveled to northern Wisconsin to attend a feast that this elder and her husband traditionally give to honor the eagles in the spring and fall. There, Jeannie's daughter would have her naming ceremony.
Jenny writes about the beautiful upper Midwest setting for the naming ceremony. She says, "There were log buildings, a sweat lodge, and an enormous permanent teepee. Down a fairly steep hill was the edge of a wonderful but very deep lake. Lots of kids and dogs roamed and played in the area. I noticed among them a particularly nondescript, half-grown puppy who didn't seem to belong to anyone."
Jenny joined the other adults on the morning of the naming ceremony to prepare food for the feast. She left the children outside in her husband's care. Suddenly, while peeling potatoes, Jenny felt concern for her daughter. The elder Ojibwe wo-man encouraged Jenny to check on her daughter, as if she felt something might be wrong.
Jenny found her husband helping a friend fix a car and her daughter heading toward the lake. The little girl was thwarted in reaching her goal though, by the small, brown puppy Jenny had seen earlier. This tiny animal headed the toddler away from the lake's deep water, herding her as a sheep dog would. Other children had been watching this scene. They said that for almost ten minutes, the puppy had been blocking the little girl's attempts to get to the lake.
Jenny writes, "Later that day, my daughter received her Indian name. Many of our elders teach us that the name we are given is the name of the spirit who watches over us. The woman I had asked to name my daughter and her husband had each planned to give my daughter a separate name. It turned out that they were both guided to the same name for her." The Indian name Jeannie's daughter received was Anjeni Equay. It means Angel Woman.
Neither Jenny nor any of the others, who attended the gathering, ever again saw the puppy who belonged to no one.
Could divine protection appear in the form of a four-legged, furry creatures? Is an "angel animal" showing you about your spiritual connection with the love that is in all life?
Allen and Linda Anderson are co-editors of the Angel AnimalsŪ newsletter. For a free sample of this bimonthly publication, filled with inspiring stories from around the world of how animals help people in amazing ways, call 1 (888) 925-3309. The Anderson's book, "Angel Animals: Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals" is being published by Dutton-Plume in September 1999. Visit their Web site at www.angelanimals.com .
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