My question is about our beloved animal friends. I have had a number of cats who died and then came to me in wonderful dreams. I’m wondering if you believe our animals return to us as new pets with new bodies, perhaps even as other species. (Can a cat come back as a dog?) Are our pets okay in the afterlife? Do they return to us? Will we see them again?
The controversy over whether or not animals “have souls” and continue to exist beyond physical life is a long and involved one. Naturally, I don’t know the answers to all the deepest questions in the Universe, but I can explain what I’ve gleaned via spirit communication, as well as what I’ve learned from spiritual teachers who share the views I’ve adopted via my own direct experiences.
On the question of whether or not animals have souls, one answer strikes me as patently obvious: of course they have souls! To me the natural world is shining with life force energy – with soul. It is most obvious in sentient beings such as humans and the world’s more intelligent creatures, but it’s also easy to see in all wild animals, from the intelligent ape and devoted dog down to the simple worm.
Plants are also aglow with lovely life force energy. So often human beings presume that everything exists solely for our benefit here on Earth. When we hear report after report of near death experiences in which people found themselves in heavenly gardens, we presume that this beauty was created for our benefit, but maybe it’s just the heaven plants go to when they die.
Though it’s harder to perceive, I believe that rocks and minerals have soul energy as well. It’s my understanding that the mineral kingdom is essentially “alive,” though its vibration is so low and slow that we can’t perceive anything happening in this domain. (The more evolved a being, the faster its vibration, and the more it will act of its own volition. This is why rocks seem to just sit there, plants grow very predictably in one spot, animals seem to react instinctively, and humans (hopefully) act with conscious awareness).
I’m not sure about the soul of manmade objects – perhaps any energy they do possess comes from the people who created them, though I am assured by wise spiritual teachers that every atom in the Universe is alive with energy.
Further, we are in constant communication with every living being in the Universe whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Many people report having a strong psychic bond to their pets and relay amazing stories evidential of their pets’ psychic awareness. Animals are known for being psychically sensitive to the presence of ghosts and spirits, for example, and for being able to sense when someone they love is in danger or emotional pain even when that person is physically at a distance. As animals’ ability to telepathically communicate with us transcends the laws of physical space and time, it should also transcend physical death.
Plants are also constantly “communicating” with us on both a physical and metaphysical level. Physically, we have a symbiotic relationship with them; we breathe in their oxygen while they “breathe in” our carbon dioxide. On a metaphysical level, countless experiments have shown that we can communicate with plants and have them respond to us. This is why people talk to their plants. My plants even alert me when they need watering.
In my work as a medium, I have often connected with the departed pets of my clients, so I know that animals exist in the afterlife. On top of this, I can’t begin to tell you how many stories I’ve heard and read in which people described amazing spiritual experiences they had with the spirits of their pets.
These stories reveal that just like the spirits of people, pets often come back to let their human friends know they are okay, or to comfort them when they are upset. They also tend to show up when we’re in the dreamy state between awake and asleep, which is a common time for us to be receptive to visits from spirits.
Many people with a beloved pet cat on the other side have felt the cat moving around their legs on their beds at night, just as they used to do when they were alive. Dog owners often feel the presence of their dogs by their sides. This can be so subtle and familiar that our conscious minds never even notice it until one day it hits us: we have been feeling the presence our pet as though the pet is still there, yet the pet died some time ago.
A number of people who have had near death experiences reported that they were greeted by beloved pets in Spirit when they reached the end of that tunnel of light. This makes perfect sense to me. So often our pets are delighted to welcome us home, so I can only imagine how thrilled they’d be to welcome us HOME.
It’s my understanding that all living creatures are caught up in the cycle of reincarnation because this is the natural process of evolution. Just as water evaporates, grows heavy in the clouds, and then it rains and the process starts all over again, living creatures are ever incarnating, dying, and being reborn again.
Life depends on the evolution and expansion of the Universe. We can see evidence of this in our own lives; just as we learn and grow and then move on to more sophisticated lessons, so it is with life forms. While we may have been a “lower” life form in a prior incarnation, we would not return to that existence once we had evolved beyond it. Before becoming individualized, the energy of each person passed through the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms, and when we reach a certain point, we will evolve beyond incarnation in physical form.
Since humans are at the top of the evolutionary chain here on Earth, it makes sense that as animals evolve, they are drawn toward humans. These are the animals that become our pets. Many pets seem nearly human in nature because they ARE. By living within a human family, they learn a great deal about the human experience and evolve very quickly via lessons about love, devotion, patience, etc.
Wild animals don’t need to be patient – they just do what they want, when they want to do it. With pets that are “trained,” however, one sees a far more sophisticated approach to life. For example, a pet may demonstrate great patience and self-restraint when a small child pulls its tail.
Our evolved pets aside, most animals do not have a conscious existence in the afterlife. Your average wood chuck, for example, may simple die and after a brief period of unconscious rest in the astral, emerge again in physical form, perhaps as a baby woodchuck, or if he was very good in his last life, a beaver or a hedgehog. (Just kidding – everyone knows that wood chucks are far more enlightened than beavers.)
As animals evolve toward the human end of the spectrum, however, they spend more time having conscious experiences in the non-physical, including romps in what we may call “heaven,” where they may greet us when we cross over. Some animals that are very attached to their owners may also remain earthbound for a while after they cross over, just like some people do. These are the pets that can be felt, glimpsed or heard in spirit form after they have died.
When animals reincarnate, they often return to the same owners, for they are naturally drawn to them out of mutual desire. The force that makes this happen is the one energy that death can’t make a dent in: Love. Just as with people, mutual love draws us to beings on the other side and motivates us to incarnate into each other’s lives over and over again. So if you love some departed being very deeply, you can trust that you will one day be reunited.