Issue # 13 Living Shamanically: Healing Our Companion Animals September/October 2008
|IN THIS ISSUE
What's New At CEH
Herbs For Pets
4 Paws, 5 Directions
Tao of Equus
Healing Touch for Animals
Recipes for Pet Food: Why and
HSUS and IDF
Wolf Paw Amulet Bag
New At CEH
We hope this issue will be helpful for those of you who are looking at ways to improve the health and well-being of your companion animals. You will find a variety of tools to help you explore natural holistic means to do this.
We have instituted a new policy for our workshops on the road. In order to avoid canceling a course with low enrollment, where possible one of us will teach the course and one of us will stay home to care for our companion animals and work from home. Because of the recent downturn in the economy we have had to cancel several classes this year. We are looking for ways to avoid doing so. Also each of us is exploring teaching on our own-- usually classes that we are personally interested in. Crow is now offering his "Trekking with the God of the Vine" course, for instance. Both of us are exploring working with groups who have an interest in working with one or the other of us-- women's retreats or men's retreats, or personal connections we have. If you have an interest in sponsoring work with one of us particularly, please feel free to contact us about those possiblities at our email addresses:
Bekki and Crow
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
For complete information, see our web site Schedule.
Nov 1-2 Opening the Shamanic Voice at Niches Retreat Center in MacArthur OH.
This course is required for our Two-week Shamanic Healing Intensive.
Nov 15-16 Fundamentals of Shamanism in Huntsville AL
Nov 22-23 Fundamentals of Shamanism at Niches Retreat Center in MacArthur OH.
Dec 13-14 Circle of the Ancestors at Dragon Waters
This course is required for our Two-Week Shamanic Intensive.
We are also beginning to schedule workshops for 2009.
you know someone who might be interested in Shamanism, healing or
metaphysics in general, or our work in particular? Please do forward
this Newsletter to friends that would be interested... You'll find the
Church of Earth Healing Newsletter Archives on line HERE.
Issue 14: Speaking with the Spirits: Shamanic Divinatory Techniques
We're looking for articles on Divination within shamanic contexts: your experiences with it, books or articles you've read, etc. If this is an area you are interested in check with us, we have resources.
Issue 15: Living Shamanically: Intentional Communities
Tribal cultures are community-based. For hundreds of years, but particularly in the last 50 years, Western culture has seen the rise of interest in intentional communities as indivuals have discovered the relevance of living in communities with groups of people who share similar goals. What do people practicing shamanistic spiritual practices have to gain from living in this way?
Issue 16: Speaking with the Spirits: Divining through Tarot and other Card Oracles
More on Divination, this time specifically with cards. Review your favorite shamanically-based deck, share a reading technique you feel is grounded in shamanism, or review a book or article that has inspired you.
Issue 17: Living Shamanically: The Humor Issue
If you have an idea for a theme for an upcoming newsletter we'd love to hear from you.
All You Ever Wanted to Know about Herbs For Pets
Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford
1999 Bowtie Press, Irvine CA $29.95
review by Crow
This is a large (large format, over 400 pages) and amazing book. It is one of the few on our reference shelf that comes off the shelf at least once a week, year-round, year after year, to help our animals and those of friends. It is also one that I have never read through cover-to-cover. When Bekki suggested it for review I picked it up, and over several days went through it very carefully. But I doubt if I will ever read every word: there is just so much.
I wish there were something as good about herbs for humans. In reading through the beautifully produced Material Medica - almost one quarter of the whole book - I discovered numerous new and helpful perspectives on properties and precautions for herbs I use regularly; plus several herbs I had not though especially useful in my human practice. The 'alternatives and adjuncts' suggested for each herb are very stimulating, especially when looking at the properties of rare or ecologically threatened plants. (There is also an appendix on Basic Ethical Guidelines for Harvesting of Wild Plants.) The 'cautions and comments' sections are longer and more detailed than one often finds in other herbals, which is generally useful and specifically targeted to cats, dogs and herbivores. Birds and reptiles receive occasional mention throughout the book but I suggest seeking specialist help and specialist publications if you live with these special creatures.
The authors rightly assume a certain level of interest in herbal and other alternative therapies on the part of their readers but that does not prevent them from enthusiastically spelling out their philosophy in Using Herbs Naturally (p10Ä12), Setting the Mind-Set for Holistic Nutrition (p38Ä39) and Ch.5, Complementary and Alternative Therapies (p356Ä369). They strongly believe in their work and that, with guidance, you can use a holistic approach to help your animals.
They also strongly believe that food is the best and first medicine. Chapter 2 is Natural Nutrition: The Foundation of Holistic Health. They include in this chapter everything you need to know to make an informed decision about how to take responsibility for your companion's nutrition. "The Pet Food Industry" (p 39-40) and "Other Problems Associated with Commercially Prepared Diets" (p 40) will encourage you in the right direction. If it is a natural homemade diet you decide on, 'there is extensive guidance to help you.
The Herbal Repertory for Animals divides health challenges (behavioural, biological, naturally occurring and pathological) into 14 major categories. The very first consideration in each of these is asking yourself what the whole ("holistic") picture is for what your animal's exact situation is. They do not jump right into "use this herb, use that herb;" they ask you to think first. Very often, too, their first prescription is dietary or behavioural, not herbal.
The book is made complete with six useful appendices, a glossary and bibliography plus a very workable ( though printed in a tiny typeface that has me scurrying for a magnifying glass) index. Indexing is something that is often stinted upon these days: my thanks to the authors for one that is very workable indeed.
Do you love animals? Do you love herbs? A yes to either question suggests that this book belongs on your ready-reference shelf too.
Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs
Cheryl Schwartz, DVM
1996, Celestial Arts Press, $24.95
review by Bekki
This excellent book is still available through Amazon and other suppliers, though my book distributor doesn't carry it. The price will vary according to your source, but $24.95 is what I paid for it new. It is well worth it.
I like many things about this book. Dr. Schwartz writes clearly and to the point. One of the book's best features is that it is well-organized into three sections: Theory; Diagnosis; and Treatment.
The first section is a excellent basic introduction to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) theory. It discusses the Five Elements Theory of healing, which is the basis of TCM, and explains how it functions.
The second section helps the reader understand what is happening with a pet from the TCM perspective. Specifically it explains how animals, like humans, have elemental constitutions (Fire, Metal, Earth, etc), how the animal's constitution is synchronistic with personality and physiology. The elemental constitution is our baseline and reflects how we respond to stresses of all kinds, what our nutritional needs are and how our bodies respond to various foods, how our constitution may be more likely to develop certain health problems and how knowledge of the constitution can be used bring balance and to effect healing through diet and healing modalities.
The third section focuses on specific health issues and treatments that can be used for them. This is probably the most complex part of the book to read and use, because it includes a tremendous amount of information. The author covers TCM therapies thoroughly and explains them well-- the use of herbs; the importance of nutrition and Chinese food therapy; and acupressure and massage.
The herb sections under the ailment sections include not only Chinese herbs, but Western/European ones, which gives those of us familiar with Western herbalogy options for using more familiar plants, or even raising and making our own herbal medicines.
The book includes a section of very professional photographs with clearly marked acupuncture meridians and points-- and the pictures are cute too-- no cats or dogs were tortured to make these photos. Each ailment in the treatment section includes directions for massaging points to help the pet heal, and a reference to the photographs in order to identify the points correctly. Initially this can be a bit daunting but I found that the more I worked with it the easier it became.
Throughout the book, case histories and stories about animals the author has known entertain, enlighten and educate the reader about TCM in general, and about animal care and treatment using TCM. She also makes very clear to the reader those circumstances which respond well to home care by the animal's human companion and those which warrant or require professional attention.
One caution: TCM is complicated, and most of us aren't interested in becoming vets or TCM practitoners. There is a lot that is useful here. The biggest task is sorting out those things which you can implement easily and those which are complex enough to be left to a professional. However, if you want to really optimize your animal's heath and prolong his or her life, you will find a great deal in this book that can assist you.
Learning Their Language: Intuitive Communication with Animals and Nature
2003 New World Library 14.95
Review by Bekki
I first encountered this book while visiting Sharon and Chris Forester -- in the bathroom, where the best books are always to be found!!! It immediately intrigued me, partly because the forward was written by the author of another favorite book, 4 Paws, 5 Directions, also reviewed in this newsletter. I immediately moved it to the bedroom and finished it before our visit was over. I bought a copy for our library upon returning to the States, and keep a copy in our sales box for workshops.
Why is this book so good that I recommend it for supplemental reading for our shamanic students?
First of all, though the language of intiutive (read: "psychic"--which is not a dirty word in my vocabulary) communication is not the same as shamanism, when one does either one is enhabiting essentially the same realm, that which is not perceived though the 5 material senses, but though the 6th sense-- which uses the constructs of the other 5-- sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste-- but in an inner landscape. When Ms. Williams writes about or teaches people to do what she does-- commmunicate with animals and nature-- she uses many of the techniques, albeit in somewhat different forms, that we use in our own teaching. Partly she does this because her audience is in general more conservative and less open that our audience is. Most of our students have had experiences that led them to seek an overtly spiritual experience. Ms. Williams' audience often comes to her work because of relationships and experiences with their companion animals that made them aware of the need to communicate better with them. The relationship was the key to their search.
The first section of the book deals with the nature of intuition and learning (or re-learning) how to be intuitive. Lots of practical exercises are included, and ways to test yourself. The book is easy to read, to understand, and to work with. She answers many of the questions we get from our shamanic students about how to know if what you are getting is real, etc. The book progresses into more advanced techniques once the basics are laid down. One chapter deals with communicating with animals who are ill-- an important issue for many of us, and a primary reason many people consult with animal communicators. And there is a chapter about working with wildlife and nature that is quite good.
If you want to understand spirit communication better, enhance your relationships with animals, or bulid your intuitive gifts, this book is a must-read.
Tao of Equus
Review by Sharon Forester
This book is a must for all those who love horses, people and nature. Linda Kohanov writes with a perfect holistic mix of science, history and soul to bring us a book filled with reflection and information that moves us to tears, curiosity and amazement with smooth and natural transitions.
Kohanov shares her journey with horses and people and how she merged the two into one in a way that has enriched the life of those that have participated and those that have read about it. The work is life affirming but also brings back to us the feeling that the knowledge Kohanov imparts was waiting within us to be reawakened.
In speaking with and accepting the horse ancestors and experiencing the complexity of feeling different from others Kohanov reaches her own place of understanding and certainty. She realises that what she is doing is not only for her but for those who are in need of reawakening to a greater purpose that enables us to accept the sadness and the joy of life and to feel a part of it. She uses the deep connection between horses and humans who have been living so closely together for so long to bring healing to each other, a healing that could not be replicated by drugs and talking therapy alone.
Parts of the book are grounded in a deep understanding of the conventional world of therapy and its challenges. This brings to the book a sense of conventional reality that those with no experience of journey and dream work will be able to interact with, giving them a more familiar foundation from which they can launch themselves into the more spiritual aspects of the book.
This then is a work of
healing for both horses
and humans both individual and on a species level. The fundamental
nature of it
can be applied to other species and ultimately the planet and all who
This work will awaken the reader to the fact that we were never meant
alone on this planet and will help us return to a place where we could
hearts and souls to our brothers and sisters of fur, feather, skin and
and be a family again.
My name is Becky Daniels and I would like to introduce you to Komitor Healing Method, Inc (KHM)/Healing Touch for Animals® (HTA). I also would like to tell you a short story about a little dog’s healing journey that has been centered in the HTA healing program.
Also noteworthy, the Healing Touch for Animals® program has been approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) committee to offer continuing education credits through the HTA program.
HTA combines techniques and applications to promote an animal’s balance, healing and wholeness. The techniques are used to clear, energize and balance the energy fields regulated by the body’s chakras. HTA can be done with or without a physical touch. Therapeutic grade essential oils and tuning forks can also be used along with HTA techniques. It is important to note here that the Healing Touch for Animals program does not replace traditional veterinarian care. Practitioners do not provide medical diagnosis, prescribe medications, or perform surgery.
Understanding that an animal’s energy field is bigger than a human’s energy field, it follows that animals are highly attuned to a person’s emotions and energy. In HTA, it is vital that a practitioner remain “centered” and “grounded.” “Intent” for the animal’s highest good is always kept foremost in mind. An HTA practitioner facilitates the animal’s self-healing, but does not control the outcome.
The greatest gift I have received from being an HTA practitioner is the ability and opportunities I have been given to volunteer with animal rescue groups and shelters. In April 07, I was invited by a local standard schnauzer rescue group to work with Lil’Bit. Lil’Bit was an extremely anxious 3 ½ year old standard schnauzer who was terrified of people and would run from the room if anyone even glanced in her direction. She had two large bald spots on her hips and an open wound along her jaw. She would not allow anyone to groom her long neglected, raggedy coat or treat her injuries. Anyone looking at her could see she was lost and traumatized. Her temporary caretaker described her as being the only standard schnauzer she had ever seen as having a “completely broken spirit.”
Lil’s Bit’s history: Lil’Bit lived with her original owner and four other standard schnauzers until Jan 07. One morning, Lil’Bit’s person went to work and died suddenly. Animal control officers went to the house to take care of the dogs, and Lil’Bit escaped into the woods; she was captured three days later. After three temporary stops, vet, local rescue, and temporary home, she arrived at a standard schnauzer foster home in Virginia. After putting her story together by asking questions of her original owner’s acquaintances, we came to understand that Lil’Bit had most likely been harshly treated in her original home and had been at the bottom of the pecking order among the other dogs in the family. We could also tell by her behavior that she had very little social skills and was unfamiliar with the simplest of “doggy joys” such as toys, riding in a car, and cookie treats. We saw her experiencing her whole world with hard suspicion and anxiety about when she would be punished next.
During our first HTA session together, Lil’Bit would not even come into the same room with me. She hung outside in the hall and would occasionally peak in to see what I was doing. I sat on the floor and assessed her energy field by distance with a pendulum. I found that all Lil’Bit’s chakras were blocked so I used a technique to open, clear and balance her seven major chakras, Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Throat, Heart, Brow and Crown. I then used an HTA technique to ground and focus Lil’Bit. This was the beginning of Lil’Bit long healing journey.
It was during our third treatment session together that Lil’Bit allowed me to be in the same room with her, and a couple of weeks later, allowed me to begin working hands-on with her. Lil’Bit’s caretaker and I saw steady improvement from then on. I continued to work weekly with Lil’Bit over the next four months, and used HTA techniques that included trauma release, chakra anchoring, and working with healing points along her vertebrae. I also used therapeutic grade essential oils and tuning forks to aid in the treatment sessions. Essential oils and tuning forks are taught in the upper levels of HTA.
In August 07, Lil’Bit looked like a totally different dog. Although still shy of people she didn’t know, hair had completely grown back on her bald spots, the jaw wound had healed and she would comfortably agree to stand on a grooming table for regular grooming and treatment sessions. Lil’Bit was finally ready to begin social visits outside the home to prepare for her “Forever Home.”
Lil’Bit’s progress to date. Lil’Bit now has a “Forever Home.” After several play visits to my home, Lil’Bit came to live with me, my husband, three dogs, and cat. She is working on her social skills by attending obedience and Rally classes. She still has a long way to go in her healing journey, however I know HTA has played and will continue to play an important part in the tremendous ongoing progress she makes. Her progress notes are too lengthy to list here, but I will highlight some of it by telling you that she now enjoys life and doesn’t appear to see the world as a dangerous place. She thrills to play with her new brother and sisters and go on car rides. She has her own special seat on the couch in the den with the rest of the family and loves to sleep under the covers in bed close to her person. And she has a new nickname…”Bubbles.” You should just see her wiggle and laugh when she’s getting cuddles and belly rubs.
In closing, if you are interested in learning more about the HTA program, I invite you to visit the HTA website at www.healingtouchforanimals.com or call the HTA office, toll-free 866-470-6572. I can also be reached at email@example.com and 757-477-3842 for any questions.
|Recipes for Pet Food:
Why and How
Back in the late 1980's, our good friend Jennifer Seymour, whom we met through The Athens Food Co-op, where she and Crow had worked together, did her best to convince me of the importance of making a home-made diet for our animals. I resisted for several years, but when Cougar entered our lives in 1989, a 5-week old bundle of fuzzy white kittenhood, I had a lot of concerns about giving her the start in life she needed. She had lost her mother when 3 weeks old, and I wanted to make sure she was receiving adequate nutrition that her immature digestive system could handle. That was my first foray into making homemade cat food. Cougar got a mix of oatmeal, tinned fish and goat's milk, which she thrived on. Eventually she graduated to cat chow, but I had seen what real food could do fo a cat and so I "apprenticed" myself to Jennifer, experimenting with recipes till I found something I was satisfied with, and began to feed all of our cats (but not the dogs) on this food. It was work--one year we had seven cats and 6 dogs in the house-- and I couldn't bring myself to try to feed the dogs as well in the beginning.
One summer in the 90's we were traveling quite a bit and I felt I couldn't keep up the food production, so I kept cat chow on hand during a fewc months in the summer to make it easier on myself and our animal care people. I learned quickly the benefits of the homemade diet. One of our female cats who was several years old at the time began developing recurrent bladder infections, which would come on in response to being fed the commercial cat food.
When Sam (Samantha), our 16 year old rotweiler mix, began developing arthritis some years ago, we began giving her supplements which were helpful, but the best thing we were able to do for her was change her over to home made food. Nothing else did as much to halt the progression of her hip pain and degeneration.
Over the years I have periodically changed the formulation of the food I make, based on new knowledge and developments in my understanding of the nutritional needs of cats and dogs. I feel I've worked out the bugs to a large extent. Because we are on a limited budget we can't afford organic meat, and I don't make our cats and Sam a raw food diet, which would be my preference. But they get good quality turkey meat which we buy in bulk from a local grocery store, and a mixture of organic carrots and commercial veggies in the winter, and stuff we raise in our garden or buy at our farmer's market in the summer. Sam also gets brown rice in her food, since dogs are more tolerant of grains than cats and she seems to digest rice about the best of anything.
I'll mention one other very important reason why it is a good idea to feed a homemade diet, or at least a VERY high quality HEALTH FOOD brand of pet food. The vast majority of pet foods on the market are made with the worst possible ingredients. For instance when commercial slaughterhouses cut up meat for human consumption, there are fequently bits that won't be sent to your grocery store. I' not just talking about bones and fat and feathers and things-- which do get sent to the pet food makers. I'm talking about the bits that are diseased. Many animals sent to conventional slaughter houses have cancers etc that are cut off the "good" meat that you buy in your grocery store. and sent off to the pet food manufacturers. What is worse, Factory-raised animals that die before their time of disease, and even dogs and cats that are euthanized, are often disposed of by sending them to pet food companies. Gross, isn't it? and there are no laws to prevent this. Is this what you want to be feeding your animal? Not me.
So I have compiled some recipes from a variety of sources to get you started, and I also include a list of sources you can go to for more information.
Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest and most effective animal protection organization—backed by 10 million Americans, or one in every 30. Established in 1954, The HSUS seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. It is America's mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.
Its mission statement: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.It works to reduce suffering and to create meaningful social change for animals, celebrating pets, as well as wildlife and habitat protection. It is the nation's most important advocate for local humane societies, providing shelter standards and evaluations, training programs, direct support, and national conferences.
The HSUS confronts national and global cruelties through major campaigns against puppy mills, dogfighting and cockfighting, factory farming and more.
In Defense of Animals
Our mission is to end animal exploitation, cruelty, and abuse by protecting and advocating for the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals, as well as to raise their status beyond mere property, commodities, or things.
During the past 23 years, under Dr. Katz' direction, In Defense of Animals has expanded its mission and has grown to be one of the nation's foremost animal advocacy organizations, with 80,000 members, dedicated to ending institutionalized abuse of animals by defending their rights, welfare and habitat.
Our newsletter is a monthly publication which includes articles, book reviews, workshop profiles and reviews, news of current and upcoming events and stuff that is really hot that we feel you need to know about. We focus on alternative healing and other work of the church and ourselves, though we cast our net widely.
We love to write and have lots of good material to share. We also value your outlook, talents, and opinions so we welcome contributions. These may include specific material we request from you, our readers. We welcome all kinds of material, preferably on our monthly topic. If you are submitting something on the topic, we must receive it before the deadline. If it is of general interest we will fit it in as soon as we can. Articles on topic receive first priority.
We work in Microsoft Word; that is the most convenient electronic form to receive material in. If you need to use another form please ask first. Format is quite open. Please place the title, author (in exactly the form you want your name to appear - including degrees, professional designations, etc.) and a very brief bio at the beginning of your offering. Please keep it fairly short and snappy, since we have limited space. We will read everything we receive before publishing it. We would prefer not to have to edit for intelligibility or length.
All Contents Copyright
of Earth Healing 2008