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Dawn Baumann Brunke Awakening to Animal Voices
Animal Guides and Teachers

by Dawn Baumann Brunke

Come forth into the light of things.
Let Nature be your teacher.
--William Wordsworth, The Tables Turned

There are all kinds of teachers. Some are clever and some are funny; some are unconventional and some favor rules and order. It is not so different with animals. If you observe several mother dogs or cats with their pups or kits, you will see a wide range of teaching styles. Some moms are task oriented and won’t tolerate dissension, while others are easy going. Still others have no seeming interest in teaching whatsoever.

Awakening to Animal Voices by Dawn Baumann Brunke

Animal guides and teachers are those animals that come into our lives with lessons to share. Sometimes, we hold lessons for them as well. Some animals teach other animals – not only their young, but fellow creatures, no matter the species. Some teach individually and some teach large groups. Conversely, you may be taught by an individual animal or by a team of animals. There are also spirit-based teachers who work both with humans and animals from a different realm.

Within the grand plan, we are all teachers in some way for one another. And so, of course, we are all students too. We may seek out our teachers or they may find us. We may know when we are being taught or we might not suspect it until much later. Similarly, we may think we are teaching someone else, when we are really the ones gaining the lesson. The flow of the teacher-student relationship bounces back and forth like a cosmic game of table tennis. And sometimes – when that little white ping pong ball is poised just above the net – we find ourselves teaching and learning at the very same time.

A Teaching Partnership

Author and teacher Tera Thomas co-leads her classes in animal communication with a group of animals who live with her at Hummingbird Farm. While some animals are permanent residents, others (such as deer and squirrels) come and go. When Tera asked the animals to share their thoughts with readers, they answered as a group:

We come to speak to you on our role as teachers. We begin this discourse as a collective because we often work as such. Each of us came here with purpose, answering Tera’s call for teachers to assist her in her own life and in the teaching of others.

People often ask if we "know" we are teachers. We assume they are wondering whether we consciously participate as teachers or whether we are just there in the form of llama, cat, deer, squirrel, etc. and the teaching happens by default. The answer is a resounding Yes! We are conscious of our role. With great purpose, we each answered the call and came to partner with Tera and with each other. It is blessed and fulfilling work for us.

We work with students as individuals. We tune in to each student and find where he or she needs support and advice. Most often we are very gentle with people, but occasionally we have to cut through a great deal of resistance, and we can be razor sharp. We do not mince words and we always tell the truth even when it is painful. Because we tell the truth with no judgment or malice, it can be received and understood on a very deep level. We came into our physical forms (as various species) with the express purpose of working with humans. Non-human animals have a unique ability to take human animals beyond their perceived limitations. It is with great reverence that we offer our services to the people who come to open their hearts and learn.

This is not a unique situation. Animals all over the planet are partnering with humans to teach others. Some of these partnerships are conscious and purposeful, while others are not so conscious. Rather, they are partnerships formed by a human who has an open heart with animals, and the animals come to work with that person in more subtle ways — perhaps as therapy animals, assistance animals, sometimes as a silent partner with a human healthcare provider, or even as neighborhood dogs and cats that have a special relationship with their person. There are many animal/human partnerships on the planet at this time and they are all powerful components at work to bring the awareness that we are all related, that we are not separate.

It is through these partnerships that our basic message is spread — we are one. Give this message a space in your heart and open yourself to your powerful connection with all of life. We call you to claim your birthright. When you commit yourself to partnership with other species and the earth, a world of incredible love and beauty awaits you.

The Life of an Animal Teacher

Many animal communicators request and enjoy their animals’ assistance with classes. For example, author Penelope Smith feels the animals living with her came specifically to be teachers. "That’s what we do here," said Penelope. "They don’t come to me otherwise. And, then, they expand in their mission. As they get more experience with the body, they expand on what their mission is and everything else."

So, what does it entail to be an animal instructor, assisting humans in the stirring ways of animal connection? Yohinta, a 15-year-old tortoise shell cat living with Penelope, agreed to share her experiences in helping teach humans to deepen, heal and communicate. Through Penelope, this is Yohinta’s story:

When I first started out as a kitten with Penelope, people were lots of fun. Then I realized they had all kinds of emotions that hurt them. I focused on the people who had the most emotion and I would comfort them. They would cry all over me and get my fur wet. That’s when I was a kitten.

Then people would come and they had other things – heavy, dark masses of energy. Sometimes I didn’t like it because they weren’t so interested in becoming lighter as they were on blaming other people than themselves. I got tired of those kinds of people. Fortunately, there were only a few.

But mostly, I’ve had a lot of fun with people. I choose the ones who have a lot of emotion that they don’t know what to do with, and I act as a sponge. They put it into me and they get relief. First, I soak it up and then I eat it, like a fire eater. It feels good – being fulfilled and doing what you’re meant to do. When people feel better, I feel great. I’m able to handle a lot of their stuff by burning it up. They want me to do that because they are oftentimes younger souls who don’t know how to handle emotion like I do. So, I’ve helped many people that way. I’ve sat on their laps and told them to cry it all into me and scream it out, and I would burn it up.

As I got older, I could no longer take so much emotion. And people who were coming didn’t do the same things with emotions as they did before. They didn’t seem to need quite as much work, which was fortunate because I wasn’t as available to them as my body got weaker. I couldn’t handle their energy and so I got frightened and kept to myself.

Then, as people got lighter, I was able to come among them and give them comfort. I no longer have the capacity to burn up emotion as I did when I was a young cat. I can no longer handle that kind of energy. So, now I just comfort them, and they comfort me too.

Animal Voices by Dawn Baumann Brunke

Teaching By Carrier Wave

Another animal educator who lives with Penelope is Sherman, an orange cat quite popular with students. As a spiritually aware teacher, Sherman works in his own unique way with the people who come to Penelope’s retreats.

When I asked Penelope if Sherman had any advice to share, Penelope paused and said, "He says, ‘Relax, feel the sunshine’ – like a cat, of course! But, he wants people to know that this is how they feel the love – by relaxing, by feeling. And he wants them to know that he is there for them. He says that from his place here, he contacts all those who are coming into awareness of connection, and he is quite willing to help. He is not so much a teacher as people used to think of teachers, as a carrier wave.

"Sherman shows me an image of how he sits here and makes connections. When people get on a certain wavelength or vibration, they automatically hook in. He is showing me very clearly that he holds this vibration and as people come up to him – whump! – they got it! He says that all his wisdom, all his knowledge, all his love is available on that vibration – as is everyone else’s."

"It’s a tuning, isn’t it?" I asked.

"Yes," said Penelope. "You just lift your head out of the muck of illusion, out of the daily news of what’s bad in the world – just lift up, breathe, get some tea, get out in nature, listen to some good music or whatever it takes. Then you’re on that vibration and then you’ve got it. Then everything is available, all of these dear, wonderful animals, and the rocks and the plants – they’re all there; they are all vibrating their love."

Tuning In To The Universe

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Simply "tune in" to the deeper universal flow and all you need is instantly available. But it’s been a long time since humans have really breathed deep and let go in this way, allowing ourselves to open to a more expansive version of our consciousness.

A very articulate and out-spoken cat named Maya had the following advice to offer for all those interested in such a journey. Here are her words, through her person, communicator Gretchen Kunz:

I am attuned to the energies of all kinds of spirits and thoughts around me. There is a group of cat-spirits that I connect with to share information and talk about what’s going on in the world. We share information, so if I want to know something that’s happening on the other side of the world, one of the other cats will have some contact with the energies there, and hook me into them.

Can humans do this? Of course you can! The more you practice, the more you can tune into the feelings and energies of all the beings and things around you, even if you can’t see them. Is it easy? Well, I think humans are more easily distracted than we are, and not as used to it.

How to practice? I’d say, meditate. First meditate on little things, like clearing your mind and relaxing. Then, get to know what you and some of the energies around you feel like. This is especially good to do if you have animals near you who will do it with you, and respond to your energies with theirs.

Continue to expand your feelings until you feel – or imagine you feel (sometimes you have to pretend before it works and you believe it!) more space and energies around you, over a wider range. This may sound hard to believe, but anyone – and I mean anyone – can tune into the wider energies that encircle the earth and our universe and connect to any other being.

If you want to know more and experience it, spend time learning from people and animals and things without words. Like staring at the stars, or meditating with people who do it a lot, or just lying with your favorite cat, listening to her purr.

The more you relax into it, the more you can feel that vibration behind everything. It’s like in doing nothing, you can feel the something behind it. Once you tune in, you will start seeing forms in the something, and then the fun really begins!

The Subtle Silent Way

Whether our guides and teachers are living animals or spirit animals, individuals or groups of animals, our lessons are uniquely suited for our particular needs. Some teachings may not make sense to us at first. Or, perhaps we think we understand in one way, though find we haven’t opened to the fullness of the lesson until much later. In addition, many of us – students and teachers alike – are not fully aware of the energetic lessons we hold simply by being who we are.

Inka, a llama who resides with Tera Thomas at Hummingbird Farm, notes that the way we understand our lessons corresponds to our own unique ways of perceiving the world. For example, if we think in terms of subtle energy fields, we may understand an animal’s teaching in those terms; whereas if our worldview does not include such things, we may simply note that we feel better being around a particular animal. Through Tera, Inka explains,

Many llamas are teachers, some in very quiet and subtle ways, and others in quite specific ways like me. All llamas carry the wisdom from the stars and balance it with the earth. We offer that gift of balance and knowledge to all who are open to receive it.

We work with the subtle energy fields of the earth and of specific physical bodies. For example, when we work with the humans that come to our home, we view their energy as a map of colors. If one of the colors is missing or if there is too much of a color in a person's field, we assist that person to correct their balance. This is usually done without the person's conscious awareness, but often we will mention in the workshop that a specific color would be beneficial for that person. Also, we assist others to bring the energy of spirit through their bodies and to connect it and manifest it on the earth.

For people who don't want to think about energy fields or manifesting spirit, I would say, we just make others feel good. Many people who live with llamas could not tell you specifically what the llamas do, but they will say that when they spend time with llamas the people feel more relaxed, their stress level decreases and they just feel good. Who needs to know why? That's what some people think and that is okay with us. We are very pleased to do our work in that subtle, silent way.

It is a lesson to remember. For when we peer beyond the fur, feathers, scales or skin, we recognize in spirit our friends, family, teachers, cohorts, fellow voyagers in this incredible world. When we meet at these deeper levels, engaging in the teachings we share with one another, we open to a much larger vision – a much more expanded state of awareness in which we might celebrate and savor the beauty of diversity within the inherent connection of All That Is.

© Copyright 2004 Dawn Baumann Brunke.  All Rights Reserved.  This article has been partially excerpted from Awakening to Animal Voices: A Teen Guide to Telepathic Communication with All Life by Dawn Baumann Brunke.

Dawn Baumann Brunke
Dawn Baumann Brunke is the author of Animal Voices: Telepathic Communication in the Web of Life and Awakening to Animal Voices: A Teen Guide to Telepathic Communication with All Life. She is also the author of Who Lives Here?, a series of animal and nature books for children. She has published short stories in LadyBug (for children), Leviathan (anthology), and Rosebud (literary quarterly), and has won both Grand Prize and Editor’s Choice in the 1997 and 1998 Alaska Daily News/University of Anchorage creative writing contest. She has also published book reviews and nonfiction articles on a variety of subjects, and contributed to a book series regarding the healing benefits of essential oils. For more information, see www.animalvoices.net.


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