I originally wrote this article for The Good Nine, a website devoted to cats and cat owners. It features reviews of toys, tips for choosing a cat from a shelter, and guidance on caring for your feline companions.
We often hear stories of people who die before they are ready. As a result, they linger on longer than they need to before they die, or their spirits remain on earth for some time before moving on. But what about cats? Does this happen to our beloved pets as well? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. It happens, and it happens more often than we might think. Animals spend their entire lives in the present moment. Their concept of death is fueled less by philosophy and more by the instinct to survive. Death is something to be feared, not accepted.
Enter the psycho pomp. A psycho pomp is a person, usually a shaman, who acts as an escort for the dying animal. The psycho pomp is able to travel between this life and the next, without physically dying himself. Having a psycho pomp assist in the transition of a cat from one side of life into the other can make the cat’s crossing less frightening for the cat, and less grievous for the family members he leaves behind. Having worked as a psycho pomp for dying pets in my own shamanic practice many times, I can attest that one of the most important thing for cat owners to do is to grant their cat permission to die. Given that cats are very independent and headstrong animals, this may seem silly. When has a cat ever sought permission to do anything? However, cats love the families they live with, and form emotional attachments to them just like people do. If a cat feels his surrender to death will cause his family grief or harm, he will continue to resist. Verbally giving the cat permission to leave takes the burden of the family’s pain off of the cat. He knows what is happening will be accepted by all. Finding a shaman may seem daunting, as there are so many practitioners out there.
How do you know which is right for you? Two great places to start are websites connected to very reputable sources of information and learning: shamanism.org and shamanicteachers.com: Shamanism.org is a listing of shamans who have trained at The Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Shamans are listed by country and state.Shamanicteachers.com is a site of teachers and practitioners who have been trained by world renowned shaman Sandra Ingerman. This list is arranged by country and state as well, but also indicates which shamans work with animals as well as people.
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Animals spend their entire lives in the present moment. Their concept of death is fueled less by philosophy and more by the instinct to survive
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