Apologies to those who have heard this story, you can skip to the next entries.
Ann and I went to one of our favorite events, the Evergreen State Fair, which we adore in no small part because of its complete lack of irony. And the food. And earnest kids who come to show the animals they live with, train, and love. After watching agility dogs and eating way too much we wandered into the horses’ stables. We love especially the solemn Clydesdales with their impossible height and tufted feet. But at the end of a row was a light brown mare who looked like she was about to bash right out of her stall. She was spinning frantic circles, the whites of her eyes showing, racing around the tiny space in a complete panic. I had just learned to do animal Reiki, and with the naiveté of a novice I walked tentatively over to her.
I lifted my hands up to just at the edge of the stall so they wouldn’t bother her but also, so I wouldn’t get smacked as she spun. Suddenly aware I was standing so close to such a huge, terrified animal, a great fear took me over and I just froze, stunned by the huge out-of-control power of this creature towering over me. I had had only a few contacts with horses before (I was raised in L.A.!). Even though I knew I couldn’t hurt her, and that she was not freaking out because of us, everything in me wanted to run away, but equally strong was the need to do something. Her head was so big, her whole body so completely involved in the raging.
I could feel the heat come off my hands quikcly, which was somewhat encouraging. When you learn Reiki you’re taught that you are a pipeline for the energy, that it has nothing to do with you really at all. This comforted me, I knew I just had to stick my hands up and hope the Reiki would flow through and have an effect. Bit by bit she slowed her wild circuit, glancing at me each time she passed me until she finally and came to stand across from me. Did I mention she was huge? She stared straight at me, her eyes calmer now, but she was panting. I didn’t know what to do. I asked Ann, terrified, what she wanted. She wants you to touch her, babe, Ann said, rather bewildered, as she had grown up with a horse and had no such fear. So I patted the great, sweaty neck and she drew closer, and then I placed my hands there and could feel huge amounts of heat coming from them to her. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t be distracted but right then I knew, I could practically see, that she had been trapped before, like in some kind of barb wire. I opened my eyes and there they were, long scars crisscrossing her neck. I knew without a doubt she had perceived the stall as a similar trap and was desperate to get out.
I glanced at the name on the stall. Amber. She turned abruptly around, then backed towards me, aiming her butt. I was certain she was going to kick me, so I moved my hands away. But Ann said, again, she still wants you to touch her. I let the Reiki-sense take over, and placed my hands on Amber’s right flank; she moved closer. I could tell there was pain there. So I just held my hands still, and we stood like that for about 5 minutes, not moving. I could feel her power and her fear, but finally mine was dissipating. Soon she was breathing calmly, doing these big sighs I’ve since learned are a sign of energy moving. And then, and this is what I love about doing Reiki on animals, she just snorted and moved off to her feed bag and started munching like nothing had happened. All done.
I was hooked--on giving Reiki to animals. I loved the immediacy and the rawness of it. But at the same time I was pretty startled at my terror. I had truly been shaking in my boots.
In a few weeks I’m going on a 48-hour vigil/walkabout/pilgrimage, during which I hope to be outside as much as possible to live in the rhythms of whatever is happening there, particularly whatever’s going on with animals. When I was looking for a place where I could be undisturbed, I found a yurt that had no running water or electricity. I wrote to the woman whose property it was on, and asked if I would have quiet. “Total silence, except maybe from my horses,” she said. Of course I had to find out more. Turns out she runs workshops/ retreats that help people get over their fear of horses, but also teaches horsemanship and runs clinics and retreats, and writes about life on Orcas with Horses. While I hadn’t been feeling any particular “should” to dealing with my fear, I’ve certainly learned that when something falls into your lap you should pick it up.
So I am going to a workshop this weekend, with my pals I met at Earthfire. We all do energy work, at which our wonderful teacher Kate Wood got excited, and we’ve been writing breathlessly back and forth ever since. Finally we are here. Then three weeks later I return for my walkabout, with, I would think, a bit better understanding of my surroundings and the source of snorts and snufflings only a few feet away.