Native Americans and the Spiritual Connection
By Allen and Linda Anderson
We're fascinated by the spiritual
perspective Native Americans teach in their culture. Native American
spirituality offers the belief that everything is sacred. This means that we're
connected to each other with invisible golden threads. To express gratitude for
the sacredness in all creation, Native Americans give thanks to animals, who
give their lives to be food or clothing, and to the clouds for the water they
We have other teachers who remind us how
spiritually connected we are to each other and all forms of life. When we take
time to notice the subtle messages animals deliver, we may find the depth of our
connections to be absolutely astounding.
We had a beautiful example of spiritual
connection through Taylor, a very special "angel animal," who shares our home.
You've heard of watchdogs who let people know that danger is near. Taylor, our
yellow Labrador retriever, showed her spiritual awareness by letting us know
that love is lurking.
Love Is on the Line
Linda began to notice that when Allen was
away, if he called home, Taylor knew about it in advance! About one second
before the telephone rings with Allen's call, Taylor comes to wherever Linda is
and perks up her doggie ears. Then she gives a short "woof" and nods her head
toward the telephone. Within a heartbeat, the phone rings, and Allen is on the
other end of the line.
At first, when Linda began to notice
Taylor's wonderful alertness, she and Allen thought that maybe it happened
because this dog and her human are so wonderfully connected. But the mystery of
Taylor's perceptiveness continued to unfold.
We get many phone calls and enjoy hearing
from people who want to tell us about their "angel animals." Linda started
noticing that when someone calls to express support and appreciation for our
projects, Taylor does her love-is-coming-to-our-home routine again--ears up,
short bark, look toward the telephone. If the caller isn't approaching us with
love to share, Taylor ignores the incoming call signal. It seems that Taylor's
spiritual connection is not only with certain people, it's with the love that
she senses is on its way to us.
Taylor offers a reminder to follow the
example of "angel animals." They seem to have heightened love detectors. They
know how to receive love graciously and to give it unconditionally.
We received a story from Jenny Crowd about
the miraculous, unconditional love an "angel animal" can give. Jenny is a Native
American whose experience demonstrates a spiritual connection with furry
Jenny says that her family is of the
Minnesota Ojibwe tribe. Jenny wanted to have a female Ojibwe elder give her
fifteen-month-old daughter her Indian name. Jenny and her family traveled to
northern Wisconsin to attend a feast that this elder and her husband
traditionally give to honor the eagles in the spring and fall. There, Jeannie's
daughter would have her naming ceremony.
Jenny writes about the beautiful upper
Midwest setting for the naming ceremony. She says, "There were log buildings, a
sweat lodge, and an enormous permanent teepee. Down a fairly steep hill was the
edge of a wonderful but very deep lake. Lots of kids and dogs roamed and played
in the area. I noticed among them a particularly nondescript, half-grown puppy
who didn't seem to belong to anyone."
Jenny joined the other adults on the morning
of the naming ceremony to prepare food for the feast. She left the children
outside in her husband's care. Suddenly, while peeling potatoes, Jenny felt
concern for her daughter. The elder Ojibwe woman encouraged Jenny to check on
her daughter, if she felt something might be wrong.
Jenny found her husband helping a friend fix
a car and her daughter heading toward the lake. The little girl was thwarted in
reaching her goal though, by the small, brown puppy Jenny had seen earlier. This
tiny animal headed the toddler away from the lake's deep water, herding her as a
sheep dog would. Other children had been watching this scene. They said that for
almost ten minutes, the puppy had been blocking the little girl's attempts to
get to the lake.
Jenny writes, "Later that day, my daughter
received her Indian name. Many of our elders teach us that the name we're given
is the name of the spirit who watches over us. The woman I had asked to name my
daughter and her husband had each planned to give my daughter a separate name.
It turned out that they were both guided to the same name for her." The Indian
name Jeannie's daughter received was Anjeni Equay. It means Angel Woman.
Neither Jenny nor any of the others, who
attended the gathering, ever again saw the puppy who belonged to no one.
Could divine protection appear in the form
of a four-legged, furry creatures? Is an "angel animal" showing you about your
spiritual connection with the love that is in all life?