Recalling the Song:
How Communicating with Animals will Change Our World
by Dawn Baumann Brunke
"Animal communication is very
and in the upcoming years.
The lives of humans must expand
by communication with all life
or they cannot grow spiritually.
It is not for the animals –
we already communicate.
It is for you."
~ Briana (horse) to communicator Anita Curtis
Before I knew much about animal communication, I once
asked a question so ridiculous it made a parrot laugh.
What I wanted to know wasn’t all that ridiculous;
perhaps it was the way I phrased it. What’s it like
for animals to communicate telepathically? I asked. Can
every animal hear the thoughts of every other animal?
Surely that would be awfully noisy. Maybe it’s more
like how humans use the telephone, I conjectured. Is it
like dialing up a certain person’s number in order to
make contact with that individual?
That’s when the bird laughed. That’s when I knew
I was in way over my head…
A Single Language
In the time before we started worrying about such
things as time or inventing such things as telephones,
there was a single language. It was a language of being
and feeling, a silent language that worked equally well
for fish and bird, bear and whale. It was a language of
universal connection in which all were free to share.
The growing field of animal communication – or, the
ability to telepathically converse with an animal – is
simply a remembering of this, our earliest natural
language. Professional animal communicators are
consulted for a wide variety of reasons – from
resolving behavioral problems to finding lost pets to
answering questions about animal health, illness, death,
even the afterlife. Many communicators offer classes to
help humans learn to quiet the mind and "tune
in" to the animal channel. Most teachers in the
field maintain that by rediscovering our innate
abilities to commune in this way with other species, we
can learn a great deal of information – not only about
animals, but also about ourselves.
Indeed, how might our lives change if we shared
conversation with our cats or dogs on a daily basis?
What news of the world might we learn from the traveling
songbirds who visit our feeders? Would we be more caring
of the earth if we took time to share thoughts with
insects and worms, the earth's greatest ecologists? How
is it that at some point in time we removed ourselves
from this spontaneous, informative and joyous connection
with all life?
Penelope Smith, one of the leading teachers in the
animal communication field, notes that the underlying
focus of all her teachings is to restore this communion,
"this ability to be at one with and communicate
with all life, whether it's animals, plants, rocks, the
earth, the air, all the elements, and realizing that
everything is alive and we are all in kinship."
If we are not used to seeing animals as sentient
beings, remarkable mentors and fine observers of life,
then we may be surprised to find that a horse possesses
wisdom, a fox deep insights, a mosquito keen wit, and
that all life has something special and precious to
share. If we are willing to let go of the idea that
humans are "better" or "smarter" or
"more sophisticated" than animals, however,
then we may be ready for the tremendous experience of
opening ourselves to a deeper relationship with the
grand web of life.
While talking to animals may at first seem bizarre or
alarming or mystical (depending upon your perspective),
opening to animals is ultimately an opening to our own
inner mystery. In a mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart
connection with an animal, we expand our very being. As
Smith puts it, "Another part of the universe is
experienced; another part of ourselves is recovered. We
are closer to the true divine nature, present in us
all." We begin to remember who we really are.
If there was something in the air
If there was something in the wind
If there was something in the trees or bushes
That could be pronounced and once was overheard by
Let this Sacred Knowledge be returned to us again.
~ Atharva Veda
While finishing the final chapters to a book I was
writing about animal communication, I unexpectedly
discovered the writing of Michael Roads. In his first
book, Talking with Nature, Roads wrote of forming
a deep relationship with nature. Even so, he was totally
unprepared when sitting by a river one day,
contemplating how he might write of this relationship in
a simple way, the river began to talk. Then a heron
spoke. And again, the river. Clearly, the forces of
nature were conspiring.
Roads noted what the bird and river had told him, and
then he wrote of his central fear: "Nobody’s
going to believe this." Over a period of time,
Roads went on to have conversations with trees,
waterfalls, rocks and birds. The experiences often left
him feeling elated. But still, he returned to his fear. Nobody’s
going to believe this. Each time I read the words,
tears welled up. I knew the feeling all too well. I had
watched expressions of disbelief, bafflement, even
horror cross the face of others when I spoke of my
experiences in opening to animals and
"hearing" their voices. I had learned the hard
lesson that some things may die as a larger vision,
greater truth or deeper remembering begins to grow.
As a tree later explained to Roads, "We can
offer you no proof. What do you need? Would a recorded
communication heard simultaneously by a dozen or even a
thousand people meet your need? Or would you then be one
of a small group of confused and victimized people
seeking further proof? Only by knowing who you are will
you find peace."
J. Allen Boone, author of Kinship with All Life,
observed that by moving beyond the human habit of
differentiation we begin to understand the flow of life,
and thus ourselves, at deeper levels. However, like
Roads, Boone was also startled by his own experience. It
happened as he was outside, watching his canine mentor,
Strongheart. With a subtle yet penetrating shift in
consciousness, Boone suddenly awoke to a more expansive
vision. He wrote, "Then I knew that what I was
actually being privileged to watch was not a dog
expressing great qualities, but rather, great qualities
expressing a dog. He was radiating them from deep within
himself, flinging them out as freely and as lavishly as
the sun does its rays. He was not trying in the least to
achieve this effect; he was just letting it
"We’re the only species who can forget who we
are," Penelope Smith once told me. "At one
extreme, you could think humans are really pathetic. Or,
you could see it as our creativity, our particular gift.
I think that’s why the animals are so understanding of
us. They stay with us to remind us. Then we get our real
mind back – our "re-mind," our Universal
"We remember," I said.
"Yes. The word ‘remember’ is good because it
means bringing the members back together again. We
agreed to be separate and not remember because that was
part of our experience on this planet. But we’ve done
the separation bit to its max, and now we’re
remembering. Some are remembering before others, but
eventually, we will all come back and be members
Meeting the Elder
One morning, while seated by the computer working on
my book, a fly landed in front of me on the keyboard. It
was a very unusual looking fly, with some short, fuzzy
white hairs growing on his back. The fly’s appearance
made me smile, for the white hairs made him seem very
old. When I asked if he had a message, the fly flew to
the top of my leg and began,
I am an Elder of my species. Our kind has been on
earth for much longer than your kind. I impart this not
in the sense of being better, but to point out that in
many ways we are your elders. We have interacted with
you, then and now, as intermediaries, healers,
messengers, guides and sometimes even friends.
As you peer beneath the surface, you will find many
treasures and insights that are not found out in the
light. Think of the metaphor ‘buried treasure’ –
part of the reason it is valuable and exciting is
because it is buried. The metaphor is also linked to
this particular time on earth. Much wisdom and
understanding have been buried in the ‘past’ because
at that time it was harmful for you – too much light
for you to hold. Now is the time of digging and finding
the past buried treasure so as to face the future. There
will be more ‘discoveries’ of past information and
In many ways, animal communication is about
rediscovering the stories that both animals and humans
have to reveal. Humans are the vocal storytellers on the
planet, at least with words, though others do this in a
variety of means, with song, dance, energetic
patterning, and more.
Our buzzing is a communication, a toning frequency
which signals and sometimes initiates change. At times,
our buzzing signals an energetic shift to deeper levels
Flies are the messengers of shadow. We call explorers
to the shadow side of life: the mystery of death,
renewal, change. We are the ancients. We were with you
in the caves, part of the mystery of return and
remembering. Now, more than ever, shadow is a worthy
exploration. This is your change – to go deeper, to
grow. This is why you came to earth.
Buzzing off in a large circle around my head, the fly
left me alone to ponder the mysteries of which he spoke.
I recalled another conversation I had with Penelope,
in which she referred to the same buried treasure the
Elder Fly had noted. "All the old needs to come out
to go into the new," Penelope explained. "We
have to recognize all the old, just like we have to
completely embody the human condition before we move
onto the next thing."
"It’s not just a return to the old,
then." I said. "It’s a recalling of the
"That’s right. Re-calling – you are calling
it out, to sing it out. Everything has to be sung again.
Everything that needs to be completed is coming to be
recalled, and then we have the complete new, which is
both old and new."
Penelope paused. "Well, there’s nothing ever
really new – it’s all God. It's more like putting
the sparkle back into everything – and then we’ll
see what creation comes. But we have to not hide
anything. That’s why all the shadow stuff, all the
things that used to be secret knowledge, are now coming
In recalling our songs – individually and
culturally, as a species and as a planet – we of
necessity retrieve our shadow. In A Little Book on
the Human Shadow, poet and author Robert Bly calls
it eating the shadow. It’s a slow process, Bly notes,
and we do it not once but hundreds of times. We begin by
recognizing all that we have abandoned, lost, forgotten
and pushed away from conscious awareness. We begin by
reclaiming the "other" – with all its myriad
projections – in our lives. Down on hands and knees in
the rich soil of the earth, we dig up the roots of
buried fears that have grown into bushes of anger,
sadness, doubt and feelings of separation from all life.
As we eat the shadow, we become wholly nourished and
more fully alive, for we ingest the power and energy of
all we have disowned. And then we begin to sing.
Dreaming Ourselves Awake
"Listen," said my dog Barney as I wrote
about eating the shadow, recalling the song, feeling at
deeper levels our connection with all life. He got up
from where he was lying, under the desk, and came to sit
by my side.
Listen. In the deepest part of you is a remembering,
not merely of mind or thought but of greater Being. We
all come from that place, that space which holds form
before form. We are here now as an event, a happening, a
twinkle in the Larger Being’s eye who chooses to
experience the joy and pain, sadness and elation of
being in form.
We are all participants in the larger flow of Life
becoming. There are many metaphors with which to express
this, but the best is the one you live and experience
By awakening to your own dream, you also awaken the
larger Dream. It is said that the dream and the dreamer
are one. This is so. We are now dreaming ourselves
I am a being of stillness and depth. A large part of
my being resounds at the level of deep and old wisdom, a
different form of knowing. You might think of this as a
bass note that moves upwards from the center of the
earth, as well as from the center of each individual.
The note expands as it rises, becoming deeper and
stronger, louder and more purposely known. As it plays
into consciousness, you become aware of the magnificence
of the world around you, the incredible detail that is
fabricated into the making of this world, this event,
this moment of Nowness.
As more awaken, the note of the planet begins to
sound louder, to rise up, and there is knowing of
another form of reality, another tone that is heard and
felt and experienced in another way. The Dreamer awakes.
All of you know this in your heart. It is a profound
remembering, a regathering of knowledge and ancient
wisdom, but also a time of new creation. As you open to
oneness, you open to the greater majesty of the God
Self, of All That Is. As we tone together, we open to a
larger experience of who we all really are. The beat
goes on. The beat is One.
A Final Movement
A few hours after our conversation, after my brief
reflection of the mystery of return and remembering, the
Elder Fly returned to where I sat. It wasn’t with
words, but with feeling, that I understood what he had
come to share. He was going to die.
Following him to the windowsill, I sat nearby,
watching as he rested upon a flat rock on which I had
placed a small wooden statue. As the fly lay on his
back, his bottom two legs stretched outward and relaxed
in a graceful motion. His other four legs stretched
upwards and pulled together at the tips, stiffening, as
if forming a tent above the body. Then, like a living
prayer, an unfolding poem, the old fly expanded into
death with a smooth and elegant flicker.
Deep down there stirs a memory, a faint recall –
like the moment when you first wake up, like the deeper
feelings of love you don’t fully understand, like a
song, whose time has come.
© Copyright 2003 Dawn
Baumann Brunke. All Rights
Dawn Baumann Brunke is the
author of Animal Voices ~ Telepathic Communication in
the Web of Life (Bear & Company, 2002), from
which part of this article has been excerpted. The book
features interviews with two dozen animal communicators
and over 100 animals and animal spirits.
In addition to Animal Voices,
Dawn is 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 the past six years, Dawn has
been the Editor of Alaska Wellness, a bi-monthly magazine
focused on health and wellness for the body, mind and
Dawn lives with the wild man Bob
Brunke, their wonderful daughter Alyeska, two great dogs
Max and Zak, and other animals in Wasilla, Alaska.
information, see www.animalvoices.net.
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