Animal Wise: Eclipse energy


Photo credit: btwashburn via / CC BY

My sixth-grade teacher at Mary Evelyn Castle Elementary School, Ms. Libby Stanton, told us a solar eclipse was coming up on Feb. 26, 1979. We wouldn’t see it as much in Indianapolis as the Pacific Northwest, but it was still pretty cool. “The next time this happens, you guys are going to be about 50!” she said, still in her twenties herself.

Well, here we are on the eve of that next solar eclipse, which will be much more visible across the United States. While this 50-year-old will not be among the throngs hitting the road for the best view or donning specialized sunglasses, I still think it’s cool. But I’ve been wondering about its effect on animals.

Animal Wellness Magazine sent out an email cautioning people to keep pets inside with the blinds and shades drawn, not let them damage their eyes by looking at the eclipse, and watch for signs of anxiety or confusion due to the sudden change from light to dark. “Solar eclipses bring crowds and fireworks, which can make a dog act out in fear,” it said. “Try to get your dog back home as soon as possible!” A story from KATU in Portland, Oregon, a city which went dark during the 1979 eclipse, also recommends keeping animals away from the hubbub. Good common sense bears repeating, I guess.

I work regularly as an animal Reiki practitioner and animal communicator at Summit Equestrian Center here in Fort Wayne. The horses and other animals, many of whom are rescues, give so much to the kids, veterans, and others who come for therapeutic riding programs, and I try to give something back by sharing Reiki healing energy with them. And if there is anything they want to convey, or anything director Allison Wheaton wants me to find out from them, I do that as well.

So the other day, using a blend of words and imagery, I made my usual rounds and briefly let everyone know that in a few days, the moon will be moving in front of the sun for just a little while during the afternoon. I told them it may get kind of dark, but it won’t be night yet. Nothing bad will be going on, and they need not fear; it’s just one of those once-in-a-while happenings in our wild, wonderful universe.

I made a point of telling the rooster (the General), the chickens, and the ducks (Quincy, and two more I call Franco and Isabel), because they all tend to get anxious over any change. I asked Allison’s horse Lola, a mother figure at the barn; and dwarf miniature horse Whinnie, who keeps everything in order (just ask her); to help everyone stay calm on Monday. And I shared that peaceful Reiki space with all of the animals, making sure to send some energy in advance for Monday afternoon. (Yes, you can do that.) Everyone se

During the eclipse, I’ll probably take my laptop out on the screened-in porch and let my two cats and my dear, sweet, reactive collie-German shepherd-golden retriever mix hang out there with me while I work. We are not in the path of totality, but 85 percent is still significant. Without looking at the sun, we’ll see what the light does. Maybe we’ll tune into WFWA-TV39‘s live coverage. Then — blessedly, toward the tail end of the solar event — the dog has a grooming appointment I scheduled several months ago, not realizing it was eclipse day.

I’ll be interested in hearing how everyone’s animal companions fared, or how you’re preparing them for this event. Comments, as always, are welcome!



Empath survival … and more?

BK04739-Empaths-Survival-Guide-final-outline250While Judith Orloff’s The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, 2017) covers much of the same ground as her earlier works, this is a worthwhile, well-timed reinforcement.

Being an empath goes beyond having empathy, Orloff explains: “We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.” As an empath myself, I so appreciate the realism and simplicity of that last part. I don’t have the defenses most people do, but I have other abilities they do not. That’s the way we humans are; it’s that “gifts differing according to the grace given us” thing, and it’s why we can (and must) appreciate and help one another.

I received a review copy (but no compensation) after answering a call on WordPress for bloggers to review the book. Having many years ago read her books Second Sight and Dr. Judith Orloff’s Guide to Intuitive Healing and listened to the audio program Positive Energy Practices, I was interested in reading what Orloff had to say about empath survival in 2017.

Although some basic information on types of energy vampires and protection strategies is repeated here, there are many new and useful nuances and details. As an animal Reiki practitioner and animal communicator, I appreciated that Orloff included animal empaths in her chapter, “Empaths, Intuition, and Extraordinary Perceptions.” There are also good, practical tips on work, travel, and personal relationships and raising sensitive children.

Here’s where the real learning came for me: Despite the many insights and strategies for empaths’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being, in the dark recesses of my mind lurked a “C’mon, there’s got to be more here.” The “more” had to do with what actually happens when we stand up for ourselves and set boundaries, even to the extent of putting our well-being before social correctness, in a couple of the book’s examples. There will be judgement. There will be push-back. There will be consequences that will feel much different from what happens if we just go along and try to be like everyone else.

I often tell people being an empath or highly sensitive person is a gift, and those of us who are given such a gift have the responsibility to make sure we then gift it back to God, the universe, our little corners of the world, etc. It’s up to us to learn how to protect our energy and manage our sensitivity so that we can be at our best for ourselves and others.       If we’re not careful, we can cross that line between empowered empath and overly sensitive problem person. So there’s got to be more, right? Explanations to roll out? Ways to defuse the anger and deflect the criticism that may come our way?

Except maybe there isn’t.

Orloff consistently emphasizes treating others with tact and kindness, especially narcissists and other energy vampires (such as rageaholics, control freaks, and nonstop talkers). For example, with a controlling or critical person, she suggests calmly saying, “I value your advice, but I want to think about how to approach this situation myself,” or politely, firmly, and unemotionally asking the person to stop criticizing you. (She also wisely suggests examining and healing the self-esteem issues that make these such a bother.) There are no detailed defense tactics here; just quiet, succinct assertion.

Well, duh.

Taking responsibility for ourselves and our needs — without apology, explanation, or justification — in a kind, fair, respectful way is, in fact, enough. If we stand in our power and allow others to stand in theirs, we cannot become problem people. Others’ judgement is not our business, and the pusher-backers will find something else to do once we’ve walked away.

Maybe that’s the empath survival strategy I needed to review at this moment in 2017, and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

For more information on intuition, wellness, and empath protection, visit To learn more about my writing, editing, and intuitive work, come see me at