Foffy, Daughter of a Rescued Mustang
— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —
Often a deep shift in consciousness occurs when we share with each other the profound, inexplicable experiences we’ve had with wildlife. It is vitally important that we support one another as we explore the nature of our human journey, and the nature of reality, beyond the constraining norms of commonly accepted reality.
A friend of mine, Kathi, attended an equine retreat seeking a connection with horses. Holding a high-level executive job with all the pulls of the human world weighing on her, she went intending to get help grounding herself. She writes, “When I stepped into the ring, I had an immediate sense of Catan. He was so strong and magnificent that my heart just opened and I joined with him immediately. Pure joy! Placing my hand on his side, there was a sudden whoosh. I felt energy shooting down through me, rooting me to the spot, and I could sense his grounding. I was grounded through all four of his feet and then we were both looking around. My senses suddenly opened. I became aware of the vastness of the valley, the trees, the birds. It’s like when you get glasses and you put them on for the first time and didn’t know you were near-sighted and suddenly you see. Oh my gosh I didn’t know I couldn’t see anything clearly before! It was all there in vivid detail. My perception was vastly enlarged; widened. I could notice details on the hill and the trees and there was a feeling of spaciousness and a deep stillness. I felt I could easily stand there, grounded, for days. My awareness also expanded to sense the aliveness of everything around me. I got my first taste of what oneness might be, something I didn’t have before that. It was incredible.”
I asked Kathi what she thought happened. “I think it is a mutuality—both beings agree. It isn’t automatic. I was around several horses that day. It didn’t really feel like a transmission—it was more like a consciousness meld, a shared awareness. To my way of understanding, a transmission is more narrow, like a thought, a thinner stream. This was getting to experience more of a totality of a different way of being. Not that I felt like a horse, but like I was borrowing a perception. It was as if the horse was sharing with me a feeling of being grounded—and then, once grounded, when I looked up, I could see. And in that moment, he amplified what I could do. It still felt like me, but sharing and opening what I could do and sense and feel—it was a widening, an enhancing.”
This is so fascinating. How did this happen? Did Catan deliberately, telepathically transmit his way of seeing to her? Or because they had “joined,” did the information just naturally flow between them—not through their “minds,” but from a more ancient place in our brains? And was it their consciousness that melded or was she somehow transported into the horse’s body, then able to see through his senses? Kathi remarked, “We think our consciousness is inside our body, but what if our body is inside our consciousness? If the space we actually inhabit is bigger, maybe we can merge temporarily, like bubbles that can merge into one and then separate again.”
Perhaps when circumstances are just right, a door momentarily opens—a wormhole between two species; two beings. And we can mentally position ourselves to give these magical occurrences a better chance of happening. Kathi, for example, sensed she needed grounding (another mystery—how do we sense that?), sought out help, and set her intent. What does this mean about the possible existence of a larger shared reality?
What mysterious, vibrant universe does this suggest? Perhaps all life is transmitting in some form or intensity and that is part of what holds life together. Bernie Krause’s incredible work on soundscape ecology suggests that it is vibrations that hold ecosystems together—vibrations we can tune to. While we block that energy with electricity, roads, the energy of rushing and distraction, disrupting the energetic web of life, it is still there in the quiet moments, available to us.
In “real” time, Kathi’s experience of joining with Catan continued for about a minute and the sense of spaciousness stayed with her throughout the day. Eventually, however, it faded into the background of her busy life. Why didn’t it last? Perhaps because the human brain is not wired anymore to hold it and has become busy, distracted with other things in its inborn complexity? And yet, she was able to visit it again—it was still within her to call on, even if not always activated. Is it somehow still affecting her subconsciously? That would be interesting to explore.
I hope this article triggers memories of your own. We would love to hear them. I think there are many of us who have had similar experiences with nonhuman beings and tucked them away. It is just not talked about or its true importance acknowledged in our more mundane lives. This is not how it should be. With something as incredible as the gift of life and consciousness we each have been given, we can’t allow our lives to be mundane—to give in to cultural pressures, feeling vaguely that something is missing, seeking something but not quite knowing where to look.
Kathi thanked me for reawakening the memory of that weekend. That is what deep conversation does for each other. It evokes, enriches, reminds, and helps discover. We need to support one another as we begin to embrace this new perspective and shift to a new consciousness and a magical way of living on our magical Earth that naturally leads to true sustainability.
Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.