Sunday, December 28, 2008

FDA Re-Issues Cautionary Warning About Chicken Jerky Products for Dogs

Just received this notice from another animal person and felt it warranted inclusion in the blog. The more people that know about this, the better.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to caution consumers of a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products also described as chicken tenders, strips or treats. FDA continues to receive complaints of dogs experiencing illness that their owners or veterinarians associate with consumption of chicken jerky products. The chicken jerky products are imported to the U.S. from China. FDA issued a cautionary warning to consumers in September 2007.

Australian news organizations report the University of Sydney is also investigating an association between illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky in Australia. At least one firm in Australia has recalled their chicken jerky product and the recall notification stated the chicken jerky product was manufactured in China.

FDA believes the continued trend of consumer complaints coupled with the information obtained from Australia warrants an additional reminder and animal health notification.

Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be used occasionally and in small quantities. Owners of small dogs must be especially careful to limit the amount of these products.

FDA, in addition to several veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the U.S, is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA has conducted extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified any contaminant.

FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs which may occur within hours to days of feeding the product: decreased appetite, although some may continue to consume the treats to the exclusion of other foods; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; and increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state.

Click here for direct link to article.

Here's hoping that you and your animal companions enjoy a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tidings of Joy

Still snowy here in Seattle, although the precipitation is now our customary rain, and I am getting caught up on uploading the last of my winter wonderland photos. Our Christmas card, above, features my dog, Puma, on a run across the bridge in Schmitz Park, last old growth forest in Seattle. You can check out the rest of the photos at my Flickr site, and you can see a winter wren having breakfast, and what cats do while dogs are going crazy in the snow!

And if you have not already read them, there are two more posts in this photo essay snow and holiday series: Winter Solstice Animal Celebrations, and Dog Walking in A Winter Wonderland. Enjoy!

So, from all of us, may your Holiday and New Year be as joyous as the expression on Santa Puma's face!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice Animal Celebrations

MORE snow yesterday, on December 21st, Winter Solstice, and Puma and I set out on our morning walk into Schmitz Park with camera in tow. When setting out I had thought about walking all the way through the park, but rapidly discovered that a tough crust on the snow made walking very fatiguing, just like aerobic stair climbers, so we saved the full tour of the forest for another day.

Returning to the park I noticed a black labrador retriever dog running. In his mouth he was carrying a Kong toy with a rope attached. He was so focused I realized it had to be Benny, a dog that lives near the park, and who lives to retrieve. He was there with his person, Laura, who would throw the Kong for him. When he retrieved it he would celebrate by holding it by the rope end, swinging the weighted Kong end from side to side and around and around, before finally returning with it to Laura to be thrown once again.

Benny's black coat stood out in sharp contrast to the snow, and he was having so much fun I decided to take some pictures of him. I swear, as soon as I got out the camera and started clicking away he pulled out all the stops, and I realized that he was showing off! You can view his photos, as well as the rest of the walk on my Flickr site. If you view Benny's in slideshow mode you can kind of get a sense of the action, although only a video could have truly captured that much activity!

Heading back to the house I was just in time to capture a shot of the only cat I have seen out in the snow for days.

Dexter, the cat from two doors down, was trying to navigate through the snow, and failing miserably. You could see his body tense, and then cringe, as with each step he broke through the top crust, miring him in the snow. He looked extremely undignified and graceless, and he radiated disgust with the whole mess with every inch of his body. Robin, one of his people, had told me the day before that since the snows he comes back into the house growling!

It was still snowing when Puma and I returned to the house, and I recalled that I had not seen much bird life around. I had some leftovers from the holiday Open House the day before, so I figured I could see if the birds would like to try some more new and interesting gourmet items. I put out some leftover shrimp, dip and chips, and the bacon drippings from the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts glazed with brown sugar.

The shrimp went first. The crows never got any, one lone seagull just inhaled them. The chips and dip were fun. I had put them both in the same bowl, and the crows would smash a chip into the dip and scoop up a mouthful just as though they were routine party goers!

They were replaced by a flock of starlings who reveled in the bacon drippings. One starling decided to perch on the ledge right in front of the second story window, giving me some great shots. He was unfazed by his closeups, although curious about the flash, making me wonder if all the animals I had seen that day had just been waiting for me to wander by to capture their 15 minutes of fame, or perhaps infamy in Dexter's case!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cat Northern Lights

Recently I purchased a long-overdue, new computer. My new iMac has sped up my work life immensely, and is a sculptural work of art, for a computer (thanks, Apple and Steve Jobs!). However, it has an additional, and probably unanticipated benefit: my cat, Kiya, loves one of the screen savers.

Originally I had used one of the Apple slideshows of trees and Nature, visually stunning and restful, but suddenly I needed a change of pace, and the beautiful streamers of moving light called Flurry seemed just the thing, so I reset it and left the room.

When I returned, it was to find Kiya parked right in front of the screen, actively patting it and chasing the streamers as they moved (you can see her pawprint smears from previous passes in the photo). I should have known this would happen, this was the cat that once spent a half hour with me watching Jacquie Lawson animated Christmas cards (see The True Joy of the Season).

Now it appears that my new computer was not just a business purchase, but also a Christmas present for Kiya and I, making it, paws down, the most expensive cat toy I have ever purchased.

Then she did something even more entertaining and amazing, she just sat and watched the light show. I wondered if I should pass her some popcorn, or perhaps some catnip would be more appropriate?

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dog Walking in A Winter Wonderland

This morning when I woke up I knew, even without my contact lenses in, that something was different. There was a kind of glow coming from the window. I did not have to squint, there was snow on the rooftops! Having lived in Massachusetts for 22 years before moving here you would think that snow would not be such a big deal, but in the eight years that I have lived on Alki, here in West Seattle, we have not had a major snowstorm.

While engaging in my morning routine of feeding the animals and preparing to walk my dog, Puma, it became clear that I was going to have a snow day for the first time in a long time, as all of my clients made the decision to reschedule.

While making lists in my head of all the things I could get caught up on, such as laundry and holiday party prep, I realized that I had perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get out in the snow, have some fun, and take some photographs. Time to play a little hooky from chores!

My dog, Puma, was adopted from a shelter in Montana, and has not really seen snow since. With his snowshoe-like feet and thick winter coat (I think his parentage is Anatolian Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute but will never know for sure), he was ideally equipped for the weather, and after donning a coat I have not been able to wear since living in Massachusetts because it is so heavy, furry boots, leg warmers, scarf, hat, and fingerless gloves (for camera operation), so was I.

I also packed some all-natural beef dog treats. Today I was going to let Puma off-leash so that he could fully enjoy his time in the snow. Normally I do not do this as Puma has a tendency to not listen tome off-leash, forging ahead and leaving me behind. I think it is the sled-dog heritage, very helpful when he helps you drag out the trash, which he does with tail held high and waving, not so good otherwise.

Arriving at Schmitz Park, we had it all to ourselves, although there was evidence in the snow that others had been there before us.

Saying a prayer to Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, for all that I have learned and was now about to apply, I had Puma sit, and when he did I rewarded him with a treat. He is a smart dog, having seen me prepare the treats he could see that there were more where that one came from, and that I was the purveyor. It was my hope that that piece of knowledge would enable me to call him back when needed.

I unleashed Puma, and he was off like a shot. Charging down the path, diving off into the underbrush, he was a wild man, and then he disappeared from sight. I called his name—no response. Sigh, maybe this would not work. Taking a deep breath, I grounded and centered myself and called again. No response.

Placing my faith in Puma’s innate intelligence, I decided to simply move forward and trust that he would return. Sure enough, here he came, at top speed. I whipped out my camera and managed to get a shot before he arrived, panting and smiling. When he sat I rewarded him with a treat. From that point on, every time he would return to me I would reward him. He did not always respond immediately to my calls (and then he did not get rewarded), but he did a decent job of not making me wait too long. Long enough, I guess, to establish that I still need some work on being alpha, but not long enough that he was demonstrating that he had no respect for me. A delicate balance in dog protocol.

I got some lovely shots of him in the falling snow, my favorites are the one of him catching snowflakes on his tongue, and another where he is running down the path under the arches of snow covered branches. (You can see all the photos from our Alki adventures at my Flickr site.)

We had so much fun that we decided to check out Alki Beach and see what it was like there. By now Puma was back on leash, and back to being his usual well-behaved self. He is truly amazing. He will always stop while I am taking pictures, and if I take a moment he will sit and wait patiently until we move on.

We made a stop along the way to watch people standing around in groups talking while dogs played tag in the snow. The funniest was one golden retriever, who I swear was making snow angels while his person talked on his cell phone!

Down by Alki Beach, on the shore of Puget Sound, the wind was quite brisk, and the snow was still falling heavily. I watched pigeons struggle to make headway against it, finally managing to stay in one place while airborne, and then simply giving in, and resting as a flock, on the ground. Seagulls made hovering in gusts of wind look easy, spreading their wings wide and staying motionless, I have no idea how you do that when the wind keeps changing direction.

Watching them made me wonder how difficult it must be to find food in such weather. One seagull had it handled, however. He waited by the seawall for a crashing wave to dump whatever it carried at his feet, where he could look it over and beat any other contenders to a tasty morsel.

By this time the wind had picked up even more, and my legs were starting to feel frozen. But I kept taking pictures, trying to capture the right moment where the waves crashed against the seawall. Now my fingers were getting numb. Still, I needed to take one more set of shots, of Lady Liberty, the Statue of Liberty that was recently restored and dedicated on Alki Beach. Looking at her from her right side, her figure and garments were dusted with a blanket of snow from the midline to the front, making her appear as though she walked forward into the teeth of the snowstorm holding her torch aloft and not faltering. Unfortunately that angle also included a backdrop of trees, wires, and stores, which ruined the effect. I had to content myself with a shot of her from the front—she still looks resolute.

Puma had been really patient through all of this, and my fingers were now definitely getting harder to move, and I wondered at one point does a camera get too cold? Time to head home. We’d had our walk in our Winter Wonderland, and like any child who has been playing in the snow on a day off from school I suddenly yearned for comfort food. Calling it a day, Puma and I made our way back, and I decided that after downloading the photos, I would kick back with a cup of hot cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. My day off would be a day of memories to treasure—the chores could wait.

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cat Christmas Spirit

kiya-saqqara-christmas-playHere Kiya, the Box Queen, age 13, and Saqqara, age 15, engage in a bit of play. After so many years together as a family, it was really fun to see the older cats wake up as soon as they heard the sound of the wrapping paper being unrolled. More than one present has a bit of claw work added to its holiday glamour, never mind the cat fur!

The shot I missed was the one where Saqqara leaped after the paper ball and caught it in mid-air. The excitement of wrapping paper, ribbon, and presents can bring out the kitten or child in anyone.

And in case you are interested, my hot new read picks for this Christmas as seen in this photo (all animal-related, surprise, surprise) are Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (well written and heartwarming, definitely at least two hankies), Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl (next on my read list), and cats photos with funny captions from one of the internet's hottest blogs I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun. Hopefully the gift recipients aren't reading this blog!

Merry Christmas to all,
Rose, Kiya, Saqqara, Cougar, Sand and Puma
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Gift of Spirit

Spending three days in shaman time usually results in interesting insights and occurrences, but the first session of the year-long training, Spirited Living: A Journey into Self-Healing, was more interesting than most.

Part of the three-day workshop was held at Camp Long. Located in West Seattle, Camp Long is a Seattle park with a focus on education about local plants and wildlife, and I had chosen it for precisely that reason.

My first realization that the weekend might be out of the ordinary (whatever that might be for shamanism!) came the morning before the class as I was walking my dog, Puma, in Schmitz Park, the last old growth forest in Seattle. As readers may recall from previous columns and my book, Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, I have a close relationship with the park and the trees that grow there.

That morning the trees in Schmitz Park greeted me with the information that the trees at Camp Long were really excited about the class, they said that it had been a long time since any on this path had danced in the energy and walked there. I realized with a bit of a shock that I was being told that the trees in Camp Long would be holding space for this weekend and for the students as they took their first steps into the Peruvian shamanic tradition of the Q’ero.

Later that morning the weekend began with my opening Sacred Space for the class, taking us all into shaman time—between the worlds and into the limitless possibilities for shift and change—a space that we would all inhabit for the entire weekend. Given the early morning message I had received, I made a point of acknowledging, with deep gratitude, All Our Relations who would be holding space and assisting in guiding the people attending: animal allies, Stone People and Tree People. And when I began to call upon the apus (mountain spirits) for their assistance, I realized just how appropriate the choice of venue for this weekend really was, on the wall facing me were painted wooden plaques commemorating each of the local mountains! I asked all the archetypes and allies for assistance, guidance, wisdom, and strength as well as for their love as we set our feet upon this shamanic path. In retrospect I realized that perhaps I should have put on my shamanic seat belt!

Training at Camp Long took place in the Lodge, a wonderful space built in the 1930’s, which means it has high ceilings, lovely dark wood, and a working fireplace—perfect for a class in shamanism.

In keeping with its focus on education, it also had an extensive adjoining library on every local animal and plant you could imagine, as well as a display case which contained valuable information on owls. I had always wanted to go on one of Camp Long’s nighttime owl walks, and paid special attention to the case and the stuffed owl that flew above it, an act that was to have great significance in the following days.

Odd things can happen during shamanic training, as Sacred Space remains open for the entire duration. That night, in Dreamtime, I watched some chipmunks and birds feeding on food and seed that had been put out on a grassy area. I was glad to see them being taken care of, the yard where I live is certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, and I realized that I could offer them the leftover apple pie I just happened to be carrying.

Just then I noticed an owl on the ground, feeding among the other wildlife. The logical part of my brain noted that an appearance by an owl at any time of day would normally send birds and small mammals running for cover in terror, yet all were peaceful.

As I was trying to assimilate that information while glorying in seeing an owl, Owl suddenly jumped, not flew, landing at my feet on my right side. As I looked down at Owl I realized there was something odd about his face, it did not look like any of the illustrations of living owls I had seen. Before I could explore that thought further Owl spoke. Looking meaningfully at the apple pie I carried he said, “I like apple pie.” Feeling rather like Dorothy in Oz my jaw dropped in astonishment, and I replied, “I did not know owls liked apple pie, but you are welcome to have some.” And Owl hopped up onto the tin and proceeded to dine on apple pie with gusto.

When he was finished Owl hopped down, and with the primary feather on one wing made the same beckoning motion that one would make with an index finger. As I bent down Owl said, “The next time you speak with God, ask for what is missing in your life.” A tremendous feeling of awe came over me, could it be that simple? With it came the realization that this was definitely not a dream, this was a gift from Spirit, as I would not normally refer to Spirit as God. Owl had more to say, but unfortunately we were interrupted and the rest of the wisdom that would have been imparted was lost, and I woke up.

The dream that was not a dream stuck with me. I was guided to bring it to the class and share. As we sat in circle, I suddenly recognized my nocturnal visitor and realized why he had looked so odd in the dream—the physical form of Owl was none other than the stuffed owl that flew above the display case—only now there was a power animal spirit inhabiting it! With the dream I had suspected that I had perhaps gained a new power animal of my own that weekend, but now I realized that the class as a whole had one too, something I had not known might happen.

In thinking back I realized that Owl had been making himself known over several weeks prior to the class. On several nights, while walking Puma by Schmitz Park, I had heard an owl hooting just at the edge of the trees, a rare occurrence. Feeling very blessed, I tracked the sound to a tree each time and stood at the base just listening and wishing that I could actually see the owl, but regretfully, it was too dark. Each time I thanked the owl for making his presence known and for not being frightened off.

That day in class at Camp Long, one student actually got to see an owl while doing some outside class work. Apparently he was sitting in a tree about 20 feet from her, ironically flying off only when someone came over to warn her not to frighten the owl!

That evening I reflected on the possible meaning of Owl for the class and personally. As a power animal Owl has great healing powers and wisdom, and is an old symbol of Spirit. In some traditions Owl is a symbol of death, and as a nocturnal being is linked to the cycles of the moon, representative of the feminine and of change. The owl is a bird of the night, a symbol of the darkness within, the Shadow side; in shamanism, the side that we dance with and get to know intimately, for there is tremendous potential for growth in the healing of our wounds. However, in order to realize that potential, we must be willing to let go of the old and familiar, to allow our old ways of being to die in order to make way for the new.

As I researched Owl further in my books on animal spirits, I noted that Owl also enables one to hear what is not being said, what is hidden, including the ability to see into the darkness of others’ souls. From this also arises the gift of clairvoyance and prophecy—the ability to see the future. Unsure of the meaning of all of this I closed the book, and headed off to an uneventful sleep.

The following morning, and final day of the shamanic weekend, and I was again walking Puma in Schmitz Park.

The leaves were drifting gently down off the trees. Already many lay on the path, making dry shooshing sounds as we walked through them. Then, as though there were no other leaves present, my attention focused solely on one from a Big Leaf Maple. As I picked it up I marveled at its size and beauty and yearned to take it back with me. Further examination revealed a spider egg case on the other side. Taking the leaf would mean interrupting the life cycle of the spider babies it held, so reluctantly I laid it back down and walked on.

Several minutes later I was still fretting about that leaf. Despite the multitudes of leaves around it seemed that no other would do. As I felt the yearning tug once again, with an audible “ping” one leaf detached itself from the Big Leaf Maple overhead and literally fell at my feet.

I picked it up with a sense of gratitude for the gift. Less perfect in appearance than the first, I wondered why I had been given this one particular leaf. It was mottled in sections, and there were holes where an insect had dined. And then, like the paper that falls away from a present that is being unwrapped, the Leaf revealed the gift in its entirety. I saw the new green of spring, and felt the inhale of carbon dioxide, poison to us, but life for the Tree; and the exhale of oxygen, life for us and many other inhabitants of Pachamama. I felt sunlight caress the Leaf and the Sun’s energy transformed into food for the Tree, and the Leaf into food for the Insect. Seeming endless summer finally eased into Fall, when the Tree withdrew its energy from the Leaf and prepared for the dormancy of Winter. This tattered Leaf shared its glorious story with me, with no sense of sadness, only joy in its dance with the cycle of life. A story and gift that I brought back to the class who were engaged in their own dance of growth, transformation and death. And interwoven into that story, with great beauty, was Owl, harbinger of days that grow longer—days of increasing darkness as we approached the season of Winter—the traditional season of death and rest before the resurrection of Spring.

But the story of Owl and the Trees did not end with the inevitable closing of Sacred Space at the end of class.

The following weekend I was scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, an organization that was founded to rescue a group of seven chimpanzees who were waiting for sanctuary after decades of use in research. The fundraiser was being held at a private home of a friend of one of my clients.

As Kim, one of my students from the shamanic training, parked the car, I noticed a yard that had so many squirrels and birds feeding in the grassy area it looked like the ground was in constant motion. Hanging from the numerous trees were what looked like at least a dozen feeders.

As I noticed a familiar sign from the National Wildlife Federation designating the yard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, I realized that this was the house the auction fundraiser was being held at. I thought, “I like these people already!”

In an effort to lend whatever support I could to the fundraiser I had brought copies of my book to add to the raffle that they were having. In looking for a place for them on a table crowded with the donations of others, I was startled to see two homemade apple pies! I immediately flashed to my dream, suddenly there was similarity between the animals and the birds in Dreamtime and the ones feeding on the grassy lawn where the fundraiser was being held.

Turning to Kim, who knew the story from her class, I smiled and remarked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I won the apple pie?” Since I normally don’t win a thing at raffles I simply bought three tickets to support the cause and thought no more of it—until my number was called as the winner of the first apple pie.

I held that apple pie with a deep sense of reverence and of humbleness. I had been given a very special gift, but what to do with it? As a single person I could not possibly eat a whole pie myself, so I offered a slice to Kim and Becky, another of the students who had been at the shamanic training. Perhaps they could enjoy it on behalf of the rest of the class.

In thinking about the symbolism of apple pie I wondered if it also stood for the American Dream, the concept of home and community—of connection with all that we hold near and dear. So, in honor and gratitude for the dream, the Trees, and Owl I left a slice on the Earth as an offering, and what I did not eat I offered as a gift to my local wildlife. Perhaps the true gift of Spirit lies in sharing what we have with those most important to us.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a prosperous New Year from all of us at Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing!

Rose, Kiya, Saqqara, Puma, Cougar and Sand

The Big Leaf Maple photo and an excerpt from this story appears in the new Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism 2009 Calendar and Workbook. Matching spiritual journals are also available.

Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Animal, Shamanic and Reiki Gifts with Spirit!

We've been busy shamanic elves here at Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, and have some wonderful new gifts available for you, a loved one or friend.

Spiritual Journals
Created to pair with our new Shamanic Calendar/Workbook so that you can record your experiences in greater detail, these journals are also great solo acts for special times and events: Journeys, loss of a loved one; Fire Ceremonies, tracking change and transformation; Mother Moon, for harmony with the natural cycles, and more.

The perfect journal for when you want to do some spiritual housecleaning, photo shows a deluxe smudge kit containing sage, juniper bundles, palo santo wood, abalone shell, and wild turkey feathers for ceremonial clearing work. The smudge kit pictured is also available for purchase, see our NEW Grande Smudge Kit for another great gift idea.

Reiki Hats That Tell the World Who You Are!

Who's the boss? The energy! There is something really appealing about a trucker hat that lets everyone know you are a Reiki Woman! There's even one for Animal Reiki people complete with cat or dog pawprints! Hats are available in different colors/styles as well as with slogans "got reiki?," "Reiki Dude," and "Reiki Master."

Power Up Your Reiki Practice!

Your car, your t-shirt, hat, purse or shopping bag can all be vehicles to help drive your healing practice to success. Check out our Reiki wares: License Plate Frames, Mugs, Earth friendly canvas shopping bags, buttons, etc. Tell the world what you offer!

License plate frames are an excellent way to generate free advertising buzz. Available in several slogans: "got reiki," "reiki on!," "reiki practitioner," "reiki master," reiki for better living," "the reiki way...helps keep the doctor/vet away," "animal reiki practitioner," etc.

New Reiki Wear: Clothing with Meaning

Just in, popular hoodies and sweatshirts for women, men, and children in your choice of colors and slogans.

The Japanese kanji for Reiki, pictured here, was designed specially just for Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing by calligrapher David Engstrom. It looks different from the modern style Reiki symbol you are used to seeing because this kanji is done in old style calligraphy. In essence, this style shows the word "Reiki" as it would have been written during the time period in which Dr. Mikao Usui, founder of Reiki, was living.

Happy Holidays, and a wonderful New Year from all of us!

Rose De Dan, Saqqara, Kiya, Puma, Cougar, and Sand

Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12 Proven Ways to Help Heal the Earth and Yourself

After many months of hard work, I am thrilled to be able to announce the arrival of a new shamanic calendar inspired by the need of so many people and animals for healing, both personal and global. Here is the official announcement!

Are you feeling rushed, tired and drained?
Our world seems to be moving faster and faster, causing us to feel depleted and off balance. There seems to be little time for us to replenish and renew our life force. In addition the news about global warming and its impact on us, the Earth, and all its inhabitants seems overwhelming.

New and Unique Shamanic Calendar/Workbook Helps Restore Balance and Promote Healing for Self and the Earth

Rose De Dan and Carolyn Riley are proud to announce that the new Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing 2009 Calendar has just been released. Entitled Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism Calendar and Workbook, each month contains energetic and insightful photographs paired with carefully chosen accompanying quotes. Photographs and quotes are by writer, artist, shaman and Reiki Master Rose De Dan, some never before published.

Printed in oversize 11 x 17 format, this calendar is more than just a beautiful and articulate face. Accompanying the photos and stories are 12 powerful shamanic ceremonies and meditations, custom crafted by Rose De Dan and shaman, Reiki Master and self-improvement coach Carolyn Riley, that can assist you in gaining deeper connection with your animal companions, the natural world, and with yourself.

These heart-centered exercises are shared with you from their collective 25 years of training and experience in the Peruvian shamanic tradition, and can be just what you are seeking to help restore your sense of connection and well-being. Carolyn and Rose have carefully designed the ceremonies and meditations so that they can be done by anyone—no prior training or experience in energy work is needed.

By following monthly or daily practices in this unique calendar/workbook you will be able to increase your intuition, restore harmony, and improve your relationship with domestic and wild animals while at the same time helping to heal the Earth. Each exercise is designed to empower you on your journey as you embrace your connections to the Universe.

As you discover greater insights about who you are becoming, you will also discover the unique nature of your relationship to the Earth and all of the beings with whom we share this world. The pages have oversized date boxes that not only provide plenty of room to write in important events, you can also track your progress with the workbook exercises.

In 12 months you can learn how to:
• Stay energetically clean in a dirty world
• Restore balance using only a stone
• Speak with Animal and Plant Teachers
• Connect with the Earth and the Sacred anywhere
• Embrace the Light
• Synchronize with the natural cycles
• Create transformation and release limiting fear

Tails of a Healer: Animals Reiki and Shamanism Calendar and Workbook is available now, and with a variety of shipping options you can have yours, or a gift for someone special, delivered in time for the holidays or the New Year!

Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism Goes Wild on Kindle, Oprah’s New Favorite Thing

Acclaimed book, Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, by author Rose De Dan, is now available as an ebook worldwide through Kindle Books and Mobipocket.

Acclaimed by reviewers as “a gem,” “packed with wisdom and heart,” this book is a singular collection of inspirational anecdotes based on De Dan’s personal experiences as an animal communicator, Reiki Master and shamanic practitioner. Tails of a Healer is one of only a handful of books on Reiki or shamanism available at this time on Kindle or Mobipocket, bringing these ancient healing modalities into the new technological territory of virtual publishing for the first time.

What’s a Kindle you ask? Who is Mobipocket?

This summer Oprah received a gift that she says changed her life. "I'm telling you that it is absolutely my new favorite thing in the world," she says. The device she refers to is called a Kindle,’s Wireless Reading Device with instant access to more than 200,000 books, blogs, newspapers and magazines. Simple, portable, easy to use, it has a screen that looks like real paper. Mobipocket is a free software package that consists of various publishing and book reading tools for PDA, Smartphones, cellular phones and e-book devices such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, J2ME, BlackBerry, Psion, Kindle and iLiad, etc.

De Dan is thrilled that her book, “Tails of a Healer” is now available in ebook form. De Dan says, “I feel good knowing that having my book in paperless form will help save trees. Every tree is needed to assist with our current global warming crisis.”

Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism can be purchased as either a print or e-book at or as an e-book at Mobipocket. Currently in production is a matching Calendar and Workbook featuring De Dan’s photographs and articles, and earth-friendly daily shamanic practices created by De Dan and fellow shaman Carolyn Riley. Release of the matching Calendar and Workbook is anticipated by end of November 2008.

Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, offers private healing sessions for people and animals at her home office in Seattle or by phone consultation. She also teaches classes in Reiki and shamanism.

Animal and Reiki Art:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

For Healthy Change, Vote with Your Dollars

Food Animal Concern Trust (FACT) is dedicated to making farms healthier and more humane places for animals to live through research, advocacy, and education. Founded in 1982 by Robert A. Brown, they rely on firsthand, on-farm research to make science-based recommendations to federal regulatory agencies and as the basis for organizing a broad public response.

I have been a supporter of FACT for many years, there is no reason other than greed and ignorance that farm animals cannot be raised humanely. Indeed, it is in the best interests of our own health that they are, and I have written about this in another article, The Dance of Life.

FACT believes that all farms should be humane and healthy places to raise animals. In support of those aims, and others in the Animal Rights links in my Resources section of my website, I wanted to share their vision from a recent FACT newsletter:

"Scott and Roxanne Bok, FACT supporters since 1995, are a positive example of what is possible. They operate Twin Lakes Farm, a small, humane and sustainable farm in northwest Connecticut that supplies grass fed beef, free range eggs and fresh produce to their restaurant a few miles down the road. The Bok's, with the help of two young, third generation farmers, are giving dozens of cows and chickens a better life. They are also improving environmental health, protecting green space, and contributing to their local economy.

"In this time of industrial-scale, confinement agriculture, Twin Lakes Farm illustrates a healthy and humane way of raising animals. The laying hens roam freely on a grassy meadow and can retreat to an enclosed house during inclement weather. The beef cattle have access to pasture year-round, as well as a state-of-the-art barn that is equipped with a sand floor for cooling and fly control. The barn is also outfitted with a large brush wheel the cows use for scratching. Currently the herd consists of 75 adult cows and 12 calves, all experiencing a happy and social life on the pastures at Twin Lakes. They are curious animals and creatures of habit. The cows can be heard bellowing to each other, perhaps signaling that it is time to go out to graze on the pasture or return to the barn, a routine that happens four to five times per day. It is not uncommon to see the calves playing together with one adult cow watching over the group, and image that reveals and innate awareness and distinct personalities these animals possess."

This is how farm animals should live; laying hens should not be confined to cages so small that they cannot even stand up. Farm animals should not live in such appalling conditions that they must be continually fed antibiotics to keep them healthy, and that are then passed along to us.

So, what can you do? Vote with your dollars, one of the most persuasive arguments in a supply and demand economy such as ours, and support local, organic farmers. As more of us make caring and healthy choices we can change the marketplace and educate others.

Labels can be deceiving, the word organic can be used very loosely, and cage free does not mean free range, so educate yourself by shopping at someplace like PCC Natural Markets. PCC is a certified organic grocery store and co-op, located in Seattle that specializes in natural food, organic produce, and naturally raised meats. They go the extra mile and research every item that they carry. You can find a link to their list of PCC-approved ingredients in my Nutrition Resources section under Human Nutrition.

And make a donation to FACT, so that they can continue to create positive change for farm animals.

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Voter Guide for the Environment ELECTION '08

Where Does YOUR Congressman Stand?

In addition to working towards personal solutions, we should all hold our elected officials accountable to offering Americans the policy solutions that will help to protect wildlife for their sake and our children's future. allows you to put the Congressional candidates from your district side by side and compare their answers to some of the most pressing questions for America's conservationists. So before you make your way to the voting booth next month...

Please take a few minutes to find out where your candidates stand on some of the most important issues for the future of wildlife. Visit the CandidAnswers website, where you can join others in asking your candidates for Congress where they stand on pressing environmental issues.

Special Report: The Presidential Candidates on Environmental Issues

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama state their positions on some of the key conservation and environmental issues facing the United States today. In this Special Report, National Wildlife Federation offered both the opportunity to answer the same questions on some key conservation issues, limiting each answer to no more than 200 words. The unedited responses to their questions provide an opportunity for you to learn more about their policies and plans.

And now I'm done being politically correct, and it is time for something different...

Douglas and Benny Catpaign for Animal Rights

Catidates Douglas and Benny are two black cats that have jumped on the catpaign trail in order to highlight animal rights issues in the 2008 Elections. Check out their Official Campaign Hindquarters (no, that is not a typo) for an up-to-date scoop on the latest issues.

82 Year-Old Grandmother Tells It Like It Is

Helen and Margaret have been friends for over 60 years. To celebrate that bond her grandson helped Helen Philpot set up a blog so that they could keep in touch. In response to some comments that Margaret made Helen posted HER take on Sarah Palin and the current political situation. Someone who read it posted a link to her blog in comments on the recent Saturday Night Live Sarah Palin skit, and since then Helen has become a blogging celebrity. Check out her intelligent, feisty, pulls-no-punches perspective, "Sarah Palin is a Bitch...there I've said it." And don't forget to read the reader responses, a fun treat in itself, one commented, "You said it all, and have set the rest of us free. The emperor has no clothes..." And if you want more Helen, she wrote a follow-up blog responding to all the hundreds of comments she received "Yep. I called her a bitch and I am not taking it back." Helen, I hope I am as sharp as you are when I'm 82!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blessing for the Animals, and One for the Shaman

It has been a whirlwind and a roller coaster last two months! In this month’s newsletter we focus on some of the highlights, as well as a preview of current attractions.

First, thanks to Rhonda Hanley who graciously volunteered her photographic eye, I have a pictorial history of my participation in the Blessing for the Animals Day, which took place on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at Heavenly Spa, a therapeutic canine hydrotherapy spa located in Fall City, Washington. My thanks, also to Georgette Mendez and her two new puppies (so cute), and K.C. Anderson, both of whom were kind enough to assist me at the event.

Group blessings began at 2:00pm, offered by a series of people of various backgrounds, Native American, Sufi, Christian, Peruvian shamanism (yours truly), Reiki, crystals, etc.

There were a fair number of people and dogs who showed up, first for the blessings, and then to meet those of us who had booths set up (I got to reconnect briefly with fellow energyworkers/friends Polly Klein and Vicki Draper. There is one photo where I am working with my boxer-type dog client and his person (I am giving an individual blessing), and behind me Rhonda captured the swirl of energy of many excited dogs and their happy people. I was so focused that I had no idea that so many had arrived until I saw the photo, later! I also vaguely recall seeing someone taking photos while I was working (that was not Rhonda), who later turned out to be a photographer for the local paper. One of those photos, in which I was blessing a very happy mini American Eskimo dog named Q-tip, was published in the Snoqualmie Valley Record.

In addition to the fun She Walks and I had interacting with all the dogs and people, I was deeply moved by how well my dog, Puma, played his role. He was my emotional support and held energetic space while I offered the group shamanic blessing. Then, throughout many individual blessings, he stayed quietly by my side, never once needing my attention, staying in a down position, calming the dog clients, and graciously accepting the attention of friendly children. Not once did he get up to greet another dog. At the end of the day, I thanked Puma thoroughly, and let him off leash to explore the grounds, which he did happily, returning straight to me when I called him back so that we could leave. Bless you, Puma, and bless you, Cesar Milan, for all I have learned about transmitting calm, assertive energy!

So, if you would like to see the full story of the Blessing of the Animals in photos, with explanatory captions, click here. If you were present at the event, and your dog is one that appears in a photo, I apologize for not remembering names. If you contact me and tell me your dog’s name I will be happy to include that information, and if you would like a digital copy of that photo I would be happy to send one as well. To everyone who came and visited, thanks, I had a wonderful time meeting all of you and your animals, and I hope all are doing well!

I, however, had been struggling with sinus problems the whole week prior to the Blessing Day, and it finally caught up with me. The day after the event this shaman was the one who needed a blessing, in the form of the very traditional “Gesundheit!" (perhaps I can get a blessing of another type when Puma and I attend the Blessing for the Animals at the Alki United Church of Christ).

Of course, with clogged sinuses, I now sounded like Donald Duck, just in time for my second internet radio interview, The Wisdom of the Animals and Global Warming. I did my very best to be not only clear in my intent and message, but also voice-wise, and hopefully I succeeded.

The first interview was an amazing success, Liana reported that within the first week afterward there had been 4,000 downloads of it! Of course, she told me this right before we started in on the second interview. I had to put the thought of how many might hear this one right into a closet and slam the door firmly on it so that I did not get more nervous than I already was. That interview and the first, Wisdom of the Animals: Shamanism for Modern Times are available online.

In Ceremony for Healing of Self and the Earth

The despacho ceremonies have been taking an interesting turn, Spirit has been very clear that I am to focus on ceremonies for healing the earth, the animals, and global warming. This focus began with the New Year’s despachos, see New Year’s Revolutions, Part 1, progressed through the fire ceremony for the Woodland Park zoo animals, and continues to evolve in each monthly despacho. Last month Spirit focused on healing the animals affected by mankind’s breaking of our contract with them. This month’s Ayni Despacho Ceremony will focus on personal healing and healing of the waters and ocean dwellers. If you are interested in attending please sign up ASAP as space is limited.

As part of my preparation for the October despacho, last night I traveled up the Duwamish River with representatives of various agencies dedicated to clean-up, and tonight I will be at REI attending a Effects of Climate Change on Puget Sound. In support of the focus on healing the earth I have created another page under Resource Links, Global Warming Resources. I took lots of photos on my trip up the Duwamish, gained more information, both shamanic and factual, and will blog about both experiences soon.

Other features in the October newsletter:

• Will your political candidate help save the environment?
Find out where they stand on environmental issues.

• NEW Peruvian rattles with animal carvings:
Condor, Dolphin Owl, Llama, Hummingbird, Eagle, Serpent, Scorpion, there’s even a monkey and a coatimundi!

• NEW Reiki Pet Bowls for the dog or cat who knows what they want!

• NEW one-of-a kind healing pendulums

• NEW Advanced Shamanic Training: Inca Initiation

And more in the October newsletter:
• Story of the Tortoise Who Went Walkabout
• 2009 Reiki Classes
• Humane choices for farm animals
• NEW Reiki Review and Advanced Training Classes

And finally, Keiko, the darling foster cat who has been with me for over nine months is still looking for her forever home. Do you know where it is?

If you would like to read more musings by Rose De Dan, sign up for our newsletters.

Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wisdom of the Animals, Shamanism and Global Warming

The following are two recent interviews, now archived for those who might have missed the live broadcast on the 7th Wave Network program, "Living Wisdom" with Dr. Liana Carbón, Institute of Shamanic Wisdom.

The Wisdom of the Animals: Shamanism for Modern Times
with Rose De Dan and Dr. Liana Carbón

Do you love animals or have an animal companion that shares your life? Ever wondered what it is like to experience the world through their eyes, what is it like to be an animal healer? Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, energy worker and animal communicator and author of Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism has been a voice for the animals since 1996. Our technology has set in motion rapid change worldwide, and the animals those changes affect want to be heard. Join Dr. Liana Carbon as she interviews Rose on what it means to be an animal shaman for domestic and wild animals and what messages they have for us. To listen to this archive, click here.

The Wisdom of the Animals and Global Warming
with Rose De Dan and Dr. Liana Carbón

Have you wondered how the animals are being affected by global warming and what their perspective is? The animals are reaching out to us to help restore balance, are we ready to answer the call and help save them from species extinction? In this show Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, and author of Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism shares her shamanic vision from the animals of how to change the trajectory of global warming through the use of ceremony, energy work, and practical changes in our daily lives. Rose has been a voice for the animals since 1996, helping reconnect people, animals, and the natural world. Join Dr. Liana Carbon as she interviews Rose on how the ancient technologies of shamanism can be used alongside modern science to bridge the gap we have created and restore balance. To listen to this archive, click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Wisdom of the Animals and Global Warming

Well, I did my first ever live radio interview yesterday and thought it went well despite our having computer challenges that did not enable Liana Carbon to communicate to me when the breaks were coming up. At least it made us sound like we are really excited about the conversation we are having! If it was the shamanic energy interfering with technology at least it was gentle (-: Thanks to all of you who listened and offered positive feedback!

Yesterday's broadcast "The Wisdom of the Animals: Shamanism for Modern Times" is available in the archives at 7th Wave Network.

To listen at any time, go to 7th Wave Network click on the Tuesday schedule, scroll to "Living Wisdom" show and click on the title Living Wisdom. Then click on "9/9/08 - Broadcast Title Unavailable (title and description will be posted soon)." This will take you to a link to listen to archived recordings.

And, I will be a guest on the show again, next week, speaking about how the animals want us to get involved in halting global warming.

The Wisdom of the Animals and Global Warming
Guest Speaker Rose De Dan
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11 am Pacific
7th Wave Network

Join Dr. Liana Carbon, Institute of Shamanic Wisdom, as she interviews Rose De Dan, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism. Rose is the founder of Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC. A gifted animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, and artist, Rose was invited to work with the animals of the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as other major zoos in the USA. She is currently involved in speaking on how global warming is affecting all animals, as well as shamanic approaches to working with the animals and Mother Earth, and has a new book in progress.

Rose is actively involved in how we can energetically work toward changing the current trajectory of global warming. Relying only on technology we cannot reverse the trend in time before many species perish. There is a chasm between the old ways (shamanism) and the science of today, we must bridge that gap and reincorporate a shamanic way of being in this world in order to heal what has been torn asunder.

In practice since 1996 and in partnership with her companion animals, Rose offers private sessions and ceremonies for humans and animals, and teaches Reiki classes and shamanism workshops in Seattle.

Call TOLL FREE 866-472-5794 to speak with Liana and special guest speaker Rose De Dan.

If you cannot listen live recordings are archived, to listen at any time, go to 7th Wave Network, click on the Tuesday schedule, scroll to "Living Wisdom" show and click on the title "Living Wisdom" which will take you to the archives.

Photo of Rose De Dan and Puma by dane + dane photography

Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Island Countries May Be Underwater As Global Warming Increases

As a shamanic student my teachers advised me to choose my responsibilities carefully. As an individual and a shaman I am feeling called to work toward reversing the trend of global warming, a trend that threatens all of the inhabitants of Pachamama, Mother Earth. Our so-called advanced civilization created this crisis, it is time for each of us to accept responsibility and to unite to create positive change. The following call for action came from

"Imagine the sea rising around you as your country literally disappears beneath your feet, where the food you grow and the water you drink is being destroyed by salt, and your last chance is to seek refuge in other lands where climate refugees have no official status. This is not a dream, it's the fearful reality for millions of people who live on islands around the world, from the Maldives to Papua New Guinea.

"That is why these small islands are planning the unprecedented step next week, ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting, of calling on the Security Council itself to address climate change as a pressing threat to international peace and security.

"This is a creative move born of desperation, a challenge to global powers to end their complacency and tackle this lethal crisis with the urgency of wars. This effort could help shift the tenor of the world's debate -- from a far-off storm cloud to a life-threatening crisis here and now. But the island states' campaign will meet fierce opposition from the world’s biggest polluters, so they need our help.

Sign the petition now to raise a worldwide chorus of support for this call -- our signatures will be presented to the UN by the islands' ambassadors as they introduce their resolution next week."

It is time to step up, how will you answer the call to action?

Photos by Rose De Dan©2008
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Warning: Dangerous Dog Toy Recall

If you have a toy called "Four Paws Rough and Rugged Pimple Ball with Bell" it has been recalled due to a design malfunction that can cause a vacuum to be created when your dog plays with it, potentially resulting in your dog's tongue being sucked through the opening. This has resulted in injury to several dogs, some with severe results. It saddens me greatly to think that any business would not have the best interests of their clients at heart.

Check out Four Paws' website for recall information.

( is still verifying the following, but the recall is real)
If you would like to read a personal account from someone who claims their dog, Chai, was severely injured by this toy you can follow this link.

Monday, August 25, 2008

When Hope Flies In: The Return of the Purple Martins

This week I attended a networking gathering put on by the Port of Seattle. Attending this sort of event is not my usual style, however I went for three major reasons.

First, I went as a member of the Alki Wildlife Habitat Project (AWHP), and unofficial photographer. Our hard-working leader, Dolly Vinal, was presenting a certificate of certification of Jack Block Park as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation along with a sign for display to the public. Our group has been working on community certification of Alki for five years. We will finally achieve that goal this year; certification of Jack Block Park fits into our future vision of certifying all of the West Seattle peninsula and the Duwamish area specifically.

Second, I went as a shaman. My recent experiences conducting the monthly public Peruvian shamanic despacho ceremonies have raised my awareness of the need for me to begin seriously applying everything I have learned about shamanism toward the goal of reversing global warming and reconnecting people, animals and the natural world. Sometimes that role takes the form of simply showing up with the intention of being available to Spirit and seeing what happens.

Third, I went because I love Jack Block Park, and any excuse to hang out by Puget Sound and watch the marine wildlife is good.

Jack Block Park is perhaps one of the least well-known of the Seattle parks, even in Alki. Located on 15 acres next to Salty’s Restaurant on Harbor Avenue, Jack Block Park contains a walking path, 45 foot high observation tower, a walking pier, and a kicking view of the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier (on a good day). And something else few know about, a breeding colony of Purple Martins.

The following information is extracted from the beautiful handout for the presentation at Jack Block Park, designed and written, respectively, by fellow AWHP members Wilda Boyd and Kara Whittaker.

“Purple Martins are a migratory swallow species that breeds in North America and winters in the Amazon basin of South America.

“In Washington, Purple Martins were once locally common near marine shorelines, but their populations have declined steeply over the past 50 years. They are now a Washington State Candidate species, meaning the species may meet the criteria for listing as State Endangered, Threatened, or Sensitive. The primary reasons for their decline are the removal of natural snags and nest cavities and increased competition with exotic bird species for nest cavities…”

“Purple Martin boxes were first erected in West Seattle at Jack Block Park by local volunteers in 1996. The lower Duwamish waterway is home to three nesting colonies which together make up one of the most productive sites in Seattle. A fourth colony site was established this spring with six new gourds at the Seacrest Park Pier, but no new nesting activity has yet occurred there. It is expected that Martin ‘scouts’ will locate these new gourds late this summer and return to nest in them next spring.

“The Seacrest gourds were installed by members of the Alki Wildlife Habitat Project, whose goal is to promote neighborhood involvement in restoring the natural legacy of our community.”

After the certification presentation and some truly mouth-watering food prepared by Blue Willow Catering (so maybe I had a fourth reason for attending!), I decided to break away from the networking and go off and explore the scenery. The hour was getting close to sunset, and the light was perfect for taking some photographs.

I checked out the purple martin gourds, hanging from the walking pier, but they all seemed pretty quiet, no one in attendance. Suddenly, at the end, I spotted a lone martin just sitting on the pole. The angle for the shot was perfect, straight geometric lines of the pier framed the graceful steely curves of artificial lampposts and the natural curves of the gourd houses, and in the background, the one lone purple martin. To me the shot captured the essence of urban conservation—finding ways to balance the wants of our society with the needs of nature.

I returned to the networking group wishing I had been able to see more of the martins. As the sun sank lower I was alerted by Greg Whittaker of Alki Kayak Tours that some purple martins were congregating at the gourds closest to the end of the pier.

I hurried to see, and arrived in time to take some amazing photos of a purple martin family in full feeding swing. With two babies to feed, the parents were quite busy; one would land on the gourd, stuffing the insect it carried into one gaping mouth, while the other parent waited on the sidelines with the next mouthful. I just kept clicking away, hoping to be able to capture some sense of the beauty and grace of the parents as they swept in and out.

Finally satisfied that I had done my best, and with the light fading, I made my way back toward the group.

Along the way I paused for a moment to take in the cloudy sunset illuminating the shorelines of Alki and Seattle, the passing ferry, and the barge moored nearby, and noticed a flying Caspian tern carrying a fish in its beak. Largest tern in the world, its clean, aerodynamic lines enable it to drop like an arrow into the water to catch its dinner, and as it made its way past our urban skyline I felt hope.

Hope that through places like Jack Block Park we will be able to watch future generations of purple martins, as well as other wildlife, raise their families. Hope that we can not only preserve the beauty of the natural world by creating more oasis and corridors for wildlife within our urban landscapes, but that we can increase the presence of wildlife in our neighborhoods and in our hearts. Hope flies.

For more information on how to get your backyard or community certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat visit the National Wildlife Foundation website.

Photos by Rose De Dan©2008
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Animal and Reiki Art:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Author and Shaman Rose De Dan Offers Blessing for the Animals

Blessing for the Animals Day
Sunday, September 14, 2008
12 noon – 4:00 p.m.
Fall City, Washington

Blessing Ceremonies to Honor the Animals Begins at 2:00 p.m.
Rose De Dan, a Pampamesayoq (Earth Steward) and mesa carrier in the Peruvian Q’ero shamanic tradition and owner of Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, will offer blessings to animals on Sunday, September 14, 2008, during the Blessings for the Animals Day at Heavenly Spa, a therapeutic canine hydrotherapy spa located in Fall City, Washington.

Admission is free and all animals are welcome to the event, which runs from 12pm to 4pm. The series of group Blessing Ceremonies begin at 2pm and will also include representatives from Native American, Christian, Buddhist, and Hindi faiths. For everyone's safety, dogs should be on leash, cats and other small animals should be in carriers. If your animal companion is unable to attend please bring a photograph.

De Dan says, “Animals who share in our lives also share in the energy of all of the sorrows, frustrations, and challenges that we face and can be knocked off balance mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, resulting in less quality of life. A blessing for the animals promotes wellness and helps to reconnect animals to the natural world, reuniting them with the larger circle of life.”

Learn How to Keep Your Pet Healthy
There will also be booths offering presentations by holistic healing modalities: practitioner, tools, products, and information all day, from 12 noon - 4:00 p.m. From her booth, De Dan will also be offering free individual blessings to animal companions. Copies of her popular new book, Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, will also be available for sale. Come meet the practitioners and learn more about how to help your pets achieve their perfect wellness!

For Event Information:
Teri Sahm, All Pets Go To Heaven, 35022 SE Fall City Snoqualmie Road, Fall City, WA 98024, 425-222-7221,

About Rose De Dan:
Founding her practice, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing in 1996, Rose De Dan was an early pioneer in promoting the need for alternative healing for animals. De Dan received her Karpays (transmissions of power) directly from Don Manual Quispe, Q’ero elder, master shaman, and Altomesayoq trained in an unbroken shamanic lineage. She maintains a private healing and teaching practice in Alki, Seattle, WA. For more information about Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, visit her website.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Voting for Our Future, Vanquishing the Spectre of Global Warming

This past weekend I taught the final of four classes on “Spirited Living: A Shamanic Journey into Self-Healing.” It was a very powerful weekend for all participants, myself included.

The focus of this class was on how the students could weave the shamanic support and techniques they had learned into their lives after class. As mesa carriers and pampamesayoq’s (Earth Stewards), I hope that each student will continue to do their own personal healing as well as make themselves available in their communities.

One of the topics raised was the issue of global warming and its effects on all the inhabitants of this planet. I told the class that the spirit world and the animals had asked me to make this a special focus for everyone. We discussed the idea that doing our personal clearing work helps to heal the planet as well as ourselves since we are all connected, but the question was raised as to what more could be done.

In response I have now created a new page on my website under Resources, Inspiring People and Animal Videos, some of which are simply humorous (laughter is very healing), but other videos fulfill the criteria of being geared toward inspiring personal, community, or global change. They may not seem overtly shamanic in nature, but each of those videos I have selected deals with aspects that shamans concerns themselves with: understanding and communication with All Our Relations, the animals that we share this world with; visions of sustainability, green perspective, and harmony with the natural world; and issues of life and death, all of which lies within the purview of shamans of any culture. Shamanism is a living tradition, adapting over time, maintaining a liaison with spirit and community in the language of both. Nowadays our popular culture is contained on YouTube, and within TV, movies, music, and books, etc., and I am very comfortable using all of them as a means of education and communication.

In addition to the new webpage I will be featuring some action steps in future blogs that can be taken by anyone. It is estimated that we have 10 years in which to turn global warming around, to change the climate crisis that we have created and save our planet, the animals and ourselves from certain destruction. The actions of each person is crucial at this time in our history, one person can make a difference!

For my first step I offer the opportunity for you to determine which of three videos you think should win the video contest created by U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), to promote the creation of more and better transportation options. There are three videos that you can vote for: “I Love Traffic,” a tongue-in-cheek (at least I hope so!) look at the beauty of traffic jams and rising gas prices; “Carrick Video: Transportation of the Future” which stars nine-year-old Carrick who pulls out all the stops with his charming and humorous on-stage personality as he takes us on a fun tour of the world of the future (can you tell this was my favorite?); and “Dear Diary,” a look at the struggles of one young man who tries a few alternative transportation methods of getting to work.

Take a moment to watch all three videos at U.S. PIRG Help Us Pick A Winner! and place your vote! I believe that popularizing videos like these can inspire people to take the steps needed to vanquish the spectre of global warming.

P.S. Young Carrick Gareth has other sustainable videos at YouTube. He is one prolific nine year-old!

P.P.S. In case you did not know, U.S. PIRG takes on powerful interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, they stand up to powerful special interests on issues where powerful special interests stand in the way of reform, like product safety, identity theft, political corruption, prescription drugs, and voting rights.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Nectar of Joy

Maybe it was the June Peruvian shamanic despacho ceremony, but lately I feel like I am living in synchronicity-land. It was an ayni despacho ceremony, designed to bring one's life into balance and harmony, removing blockages that stand in the way of your manifesting your highest potential. It is said that when you are in balance and harmony with the natural world then the universe actively conspires on your behalf. Based on the following events and a separate set of experiences I shall relate in a later post, it must have been a doozy of a ceremony.

It all started with the article of the day on DailyOm which was Messengers of Direction: Animals in Nature, a topic near and dear to my heart in light of my healing and teaching practice, shamanic and otherwise. I took time to join in the discussion, adding my two cents that I had indeed had wonderful and amazing experiences with animals as teachers and messengers, and referenced my recent article “Animals Healers, the Cats of Kitty Harbor.”

Then, over breakfast, I finished up this great novel I had been reading, “Manless in Montclair,” which concerns a woman who becomes a widow mid-life. She struggles with feelings of aloneness, searching for a man who can give her comfort and love, and who can be a father to her children.

After numerous dating foibles including some classic internet dating experiences, she draws on her background as a publicist and comes up with a very creative and early version of viral marketing combined with the reward system. Whoever circulates her email amongst their friends, resulting in matching her with the man who ultimately becomes her husband, gets a vacation for two to a location of their choice. The campaign snowballs and she finds herself questioning her life, her motivations, and what she really wants.

Without spoiling the end of the book (I hate it when that happens), I think I can safely say that she concludes that it is not the goal that counts, but the people along the way and the joy that the journey brings, a theme that is woven through the book by focus on the word “naches,” the Yiddish word for joy.

I found myself shedding a few tears along her journey, resonating with her process that strongly paralleled my own relationship hurdles. I found myself thinking that I might yet overcome the issues and pitfalls that had marred my search for a romantic partner, and as I reflected upon all that I had learned along my journey I could recognize the gifts woven in amongst the challenges.

Still musing, I stepped outside for a moment to enjoy the sunshine, along with my cat, Kiya. The juvenile starling that had been feeding at the suet feeder flew to a nearby branch and began to berate Kiya for disturbing him, continuing to object as I attempted to reassure him that she meant no harm. I told him that as long as I was there she would behave herself and leave him alone. He was joined by an adult starling who was evidently familiar with me and who simply sat and observed.

As we were all communing I heard a rush of wings and a small blur sped by, a hummingbird questing for flowers. I thought he had gone, but before I could blink he was back, hovering eight inches from my face. I could see the iridescence of his feathers clearly, and the colored patch at his throat designating him a male. I was so delighted that I began speaking out loud to him, telling him how lovely he was. He stayed there for a good bit, perhaps 45 seconds, occasionally making that little “tick” sound that they do, and then just as suddenly as he had arrived, he flew off, leaving me standing there with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

Returning to the house I wondered at the timing of his appearance, was there some significance? In the Peruvian tradition hummingbird represents strength for the long journey as we reach for our highest potential, but it felt like there was something more.

Opening up my copy of Animal Speak: The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small, I began to read about hummingbird as messenger. I got no farther than the first few words of the keynote “Tireless Joy and the Nectar of Life.” Quickly scanning, my wonder grew, phrases leapt out at me, “Anyone who has ever seen this tiny bird is filled with a sense of wonder and joy,” “associations with relationships, past and future.” I laughed aloud over the description that hummingbirds have knowledge of how to use flowers for healing, in addition to the amusing knowledge that my name is Rose and I am a healer, it seemed a clear enough message that as a healer I could access my own inner joy.

Whatever the ultimate message, the beauty of the journey that took place in the span of an hour or two that day, woven as it was from an article on the internet, a book, and a hummingbird, is one that I shall hold close in my heart. When the going gets tough, as it does from time to time, I will be able to pull out the sunlit memory of my tiny hummingbird messenger and the nectar of joy that I felt in that moment.

Photo by Rose De Dan©2008
Note: The photo that accompanies this article is of honeysuckle in bloom in Schmitz Park, the last old growth forest in Seattle, and a favorite food of hummingbirds and adults who remember the joy of tasting the sweet nectar as a child. It was taken shortly after the despacho ceremony mentioned in this article. Another piece of synchronicity?

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC