This October is the 7th consecutive year I have led A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild at Earthfire Institute. It is a unique event that brings people and the animals together in shamanic ceremony to co-create a more balanced way of walking together in this world. Once we open sacred space over the land, the time is very rich with many stories of transformation, human and animal. I will share one.
At Earthfire we see each animal as an ambassador for their species and treat them with the dignity appropriate to that status. Each year I greet Earthfire Animal Ambassadors who are old friends, and make new ones. During the four days of the event I have the opportunity to observe how my friends have evolved and changed, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Delicate coyote Faerytale is one who has changed over the years—most dramatically in the last two.
She has always been very, very shy, darting away when people came near her. Yet she has always been interested in adding her prayers to the ceremonies. For one of those ceremonies we invite each Animal Ambassador to put their prayers into a prayer bundle of three leaves (kintu) made especially for them as individuals and as representatives for their species. Human and animal prayers are then combined in a special ceremony called a despacho, and burned in a sacred fire.
Faerytale always came close enough to add her prayers to the kintu, yet she was reluctant to venture out of the safety of her home to join us in the wildlife garden—until WWS 2015, when we made a special effort to try to help her. As a group we all sat quietly in the meadow, pulling our energy in and doing our very best to become part of the natural world—to be as non-threatening and open-hearted as possible so that she might gain confidence and trust. And she came out!
Our time together was magical. We were blessed to witness Faerytale’s transformation as she shifted from moving around us to moving among us. She was shy and tentative, but she was bravely facing her fears. When we said good-bye to her and left the garden we all felt that we had done something important to help her trust and connect with people. And she had profoundly changed us as well. Talking about the experience later people would spontaneously put their hands over their hearts.
This year Faerytale had blossomed into a different coyote. She came into the meadow with confidence, and spent far more time walking among us, often coming quite close. I could feel her smiling—she was enjoying the companionship, and I smiled, too. Together we can heal ourselves, and this world.
Rose and I come from very different perspectives, she from the shamanic, me from the scientific, though also spiritual in the sense that I keenly feel the sacredness of all life. Yet we both, from our own points of view, have seen the dramatic change in Faerytale over time. It is a fascinating question; how animals grow and change as they age, emotionally or spiritually, if you will. I have seen it often now, in different species. Something I will explore in our blog. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this. – Susan