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Excerpt from "Animal Medicine"

Chapter 3: Developing Symbolic Communication with Animals

by Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D.


Cathy Strengthens Her Energy Lines of Communication

Cathy came to me for soul retrieval and sobaderismo (shamanic body healing) sessions after a traumatic car accident. An eighteen-wheeler had hit her small Prius while she was driving on the freeway. It had slammed her car up along the center divider, completely totaling it and leaving her in shock. Cathy shared with me her frustration about the driver of the eighteen-wheeler lying to the police and claiming that she had been speeding. As a result, the insurance company was only offering her $5,000 to settle her claim, despite the shock she experienced, the few weeks of work she missed, and the severe back pain she was still experiencing. She also shared with me that she had been having nightly dreams of white owls. She was very worried about this since in Armenian culture, owls convey negative connotations or omens of death.

After our platica and tuning in to her energy field in a trance journey, I shared with her some of the understandings of owls in Mesoamerican culture and what I sensed. I reassured with her that owls are incredibly magical, wise, and courageous birds. They come into our lives to show us where we are stagnant and can inspire us to shift out of this stagnancy. So while owls were indeed associated with the Underworld in ancient Mesoamerica, the Underworld is associated with transformative medicine as well as death.

I encouraged Cathy to connect with the owl’s courage, wisdom, and magic to help her to reveal that the driver of the eighteen-wheeler had lied. I advised her to smudge* her house to cleanse it of any negative energy and then create space for an altar in a special place in the house. I told her to then go online to obtain a picture of the type of owl that she was seeing in her dream. I also advised her to write a love letter to the owl, asking for its aid in being courageous and wise and working its magic to reveal the truth. She would place this love letter on a special shawl with her favorite crystals and leave it outside overnight on the next full moon to call on the energy of completion and closure and use it to charge the items and circumstances. The next morning she would place the shawl, crystals, feather, and picture of the owl on a small table in the space she had reserved, creating an altar for the owl. Because Cathy had been referred to me by a trusted friend who swore I had helped change her life and marriage for the better, she was open to what I was proposing.

*Smudging involves burning a dry bundle of herbs and allowing the smoke to be diffused throughout the space you would like to cleanse.

Before the accident, Cathy had spent her free time engaging in activities she felt were meaningless, which pretty much involved watching television and eating junk food and whatever she could place into the microwave; she felt too tired after work to do anything else. After the accident, she continued to engage in the same meaningless activities, but since she was also experiencing intense pain in her mid- to lower back, she became severely depressed as well. She was in the Underworld in the sense that she was being tested to shift her prior old habits of approaching life as a meaningless rinse-and-repeat cycle.

Once she began seeing me, she started engaging in five to ten minutes of solar breathwork exercises each day to garner soul energy from the sun. (I relay many of these simple energy-bolstering exercises in Sacred Energies of the Sun and Moon.) She also began taking restorative yoga classes, which not only helped her with her back pain but also squelched her need to seek instant gratification from food, and she was able to lose weight. She started having more energy all around and was actually smiling and laughing considerably more in our sessions.

After a couple of months, she came to me feeling slightly anxious because the insurance company had hired an attorney and scheduled her deposition. Interestingly, the evening she received the deposition notice, she was at the ATM pulling out money, when a white owl flew over her. She said that although this may have previously created more anxiety within her, it seemed to calm her down this time. For that session, we connected with the spirit of the owl and requested its magic, courage, and wisdom in helping to resolve this claim in an ideal way. After the session, I suggested that Cathy buy a seven-day saint candle, light it, and place it on top of her petition on her small owl altar.

After her deposition a couple of weeks later, I received an email from her proclaiming victory and news that her case was settling for $35,000. She came in to see me a week later and was absolutely elated. She said her deposition had gone very well but that something very odd had happened on her way to it. She was on the 110 freeway in downtown Los Angeles about to get on the 10 West freeway, when she saw a white owl fly over her. Although she knew that owls are primarily nocturnal, she insisted that she had seen a beautiful large white owl fly over her as she was driving during the day. She felt a sense of calm and knew at the essence of her being that everything was going to work out in her favor.

Cathy was very pleased with the $35,000 offer but most importantly she was incredibly happy with the new routine she had integrated in her life. She had lost fifteen pounds and was in the best shape she had been in for a very long time. She was managing any lingering pain by going to yoga at least four times during the work week and sometimes once on the weekend. She was cooking for herself and eating more fresh green salads. She was also meditating regularly and developing her own spiritual practice, which, of course, included honoring and working with animal medicine.

Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., has a master’s degree in religious studies with a focus on Mesoamerican shamanism from the University of California at Riverside. A practicing curandera for more than 20 years, descended from a long line of grandmother curanderas, she has studied with curanderas/os in Mexico, Peru, and Los Angeles and gives presentations on curanderismo in many settings, including at UCLA. The author of Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo, Curanderismo Soul Retrieval, and Sacred Energies of the Sun and Moon, she lives in Tujunga, California. http://www.realizeyourbliss.com/

Animal Medicine by Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., © 2021 Bear & Company. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com

Availability: Usually ships within 1-2 business days. Price: $18.00. To purchase this book visit B&N.com, Amazon.com, InnerTraditions.com, or your local bookstore


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