Sheep as a Spirit Animal
by Michele Keehn ~
(featuring Shelby Willis’ artwork) ~
Sheep, as animal spirit guides, represent FAITH to me. These gentle animals have helped me build faith in myself and my ability to partner with Spirit.
What is Faith? Faith is complete trust in, confidence, conviction and a healthy dependence or reliance in the responsibility of a guardian put in charge of our care. Humans can sometimes forget to trust (or never had any trust at all) in their Higher Power or Spirit and often feel they are all alone in the world, trying to keep themselves safe from all the possible predators in life.
The medicines of Sheep (that I’m going to share here) are derived from my studies of herd (relationship) dynamics and years of animal husbandry as a farmer and now hobby farmer.
Through witnessing the messages and mirroring of the herd dynamics of my animals, I have learned to deepen my faith and ability to be “led” in my life.
To explore this idea a bit more, I invite you to use the term “guardian” in this article and replace it with Spirit or Creator (or whatever you call your Higher Power). Then play with interchanging the words “sheep” and “humans.”
Traits of Sheep
Sheep herds are built on unity; they bond together. They are gentle, kind, peaceful, patient and “at one” with nature’s elements. Their traits include allowing, accepting, trusting and discernment.
Sheep are leadable and trust the unfolding of their day-to-day life. Many animals are like this, but the difference (between sheep and other herd animals) is that sheep are the only herd animal that has to have an outside leader, a non-herd member to lead them. They are designed to rely on an outside source to protect, provide and lead them in order to have peace.
All other herd animals (domestic and wild) have their own survival mechanisms and have “herd dynamics” that naturally select who amongst them is strong and wise enough to lead. They rely on the herd member that has the instinctual wisdom, courage, resilience, DNA and lineage lines of a natural leader.
Sheep have four main types of physical guardians: human (shepherd), sheep dog, donkey or llama. If a sheep believes and entrusts that their guardian is in fact protecting them, they can relax no matter the outer elements, even though they are an animal of prey. As long as the sheep has its basic needs met, it will be fully at peace and content in its body, nervous system and spirit. Without a care in the world, it can tend to its job of grazing and procreating. These are their only jobs unless they are fortunate enough to be therapy sheep like mine and share their peaceful presence with their appreciators.
Sheep have great instincts for accessing the level of their environment’s safety. If their guardian has not been providing and protecting their sheep, there will be stress, dis-ease and trauma to the nervous system (as a result of being open, exposed and vulnerable to predators) as they will not be able to relax and feel safe. Sheep naturally want a leader and want to be guided.
Story of Jacob and Leah
I bought Jacob, my ram, in early 2000’s as a lamb. He was kind, sweet, gentle, trusting and leadable. “Jacobs” are a specific herd I sought out as I loved the biblical story of Jacob and Leah. The story of Jacob’s faith in and love for Leah had Jacob commit to seven years of work on his future father-in-law’s farm to earn the hand of Leah in marriage.
While Jacob worked for the farmer he made a deal to keep the rejected spotted lambs as part of his pay, as the farmer deemed the spotted sheep worthless. These spotted sheep were given the breed name “Jacobs.” When it came time to wed Leah, the farmer tricked Jacob into marrying his oldest daughter, Rachel, instead. Jacob then committed to working another seven years for the promise of Leah. This story is all about Jacob’s faith and belief in his love for Leah, and how his even deeper faith and love in his Creator God kept him and his family protected and provided for.
My Story with Jacob
I was going through more transitions in my healing journey and had just arrived back home after a 10 day spiritual retreat. I went out the next morning to visit my animals and check on everything. I decided to visit the small animals first (donkey, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, cats, etc.) I was already aware (having observed for many years now) how my animals would shift their interactions, actions and responses to me as I grew spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. I was always receiving meaningful mirroring and messages of my growth or stagnation.
This particular morning, after doing the chores, I sat on a stump in the sun amongst my animals. I was watching the chickens and the ducks pecking and playing when I had the sensation of someone watching me. I looked up from my seated position and I met the gaze of Jacob’s eyes, my ram. He has always been special to me but this particular morning he was radiate and majestic in the morning light.
I was instantly aware he had seen something different in me. We just gazed at each other and I breathed deeply as I noticed the entire herd of sheep had formed into a “V” shape, with Jacob in front and centre. All the sheep were looking at me, including the goats. Then Jacob walked slowly towards me. He came right up to me, and looked into my eyes with such deep awareness and wisdom that my entire being was pulsing from his gentle but intense intention to connect.
I opened my arms to receive him and scratch him like always. But this time he softly laid his head (crown chakra) and gigantic horns into my chest and in the stillness and silence of that magical moment we meditated on our breath and heartbeats together. I melted into his magnificent sentience and it seemed as though the world disappeared. I was filled with such gratitude as he so graciously let me know I was his trusted leader and shepherd. He seemingly gifted me with an energetic staff to protect him and his herd. It felt like hours went by as we held this embrace and the herd encircled us.
I humbly cried and accepted this magnificent ram acknowledging and resting in “my new level of presence” that I clearly had reached on so many levels (from releasing more of my old emotional, mental bondage and baggage at that retreat.) Once he finished the “initiation of responsibility” he slowly looked up into my eyes, began chewing his cud and gave me the signal to scratch him (as he loved to be scratched behind the ears where his gigantic horns wouldn’t let him reach).
I then continued on and greeted Sam, my donkey guardian for the sheep, and she promptly bit me and walked away. At first I was in shock as she was the gentlest creature but then I realized she was upset because she also knew I had raised the bar in my herd dynamics as the leader and alpha guardian on the farm amongst the herds. I let Sam know that we could share this position and that I appreciated her presence and needed her skills, especially at night when I sleep. She never bit me again, LOL.
For me this story mirrors the importance of my faith and ability to partner with Spirit. It was about being leadable and allowing myself to be led, guided and protected.
It affirmed my belief in Spirit and the Universe’s ability to look after me so I can just rest and relax in my purpose as a human – to grow my spiritual faith, beliefs and LOVE. Also, to enjoy the beauty and gifts of life fully and share it through actioning love, while experiencing the unity of my herd, my tribe members and consciously partnering with Spirit.
My Story with Leah
Leah was my first ewe (female sheep). I purchased her prior to really understanding how they remember being hurt or traumatized by humans. I should have clued in when I went to pick her up and we could not get near her. Bringing her home into my herd was the first and last time I touched her for years; she was terrified of humans. This was evident as Leah began to birth (for several years in a row) lambs that were scared of humans also.
This all changed one year after Leah jammed herself up against a shelter wall as she was giving birth. I noticed her in that position and went over to check. She had a dead lamb to the side and one stuck in her birth canal (as she was now on her back due to her struggle in birthing). I spoke to her calmly and gently, helping her roll to her side to finish the lambing. She had two more lambs, allowing me to assist only because of her situation.
Having four babies is not usual for sheep, hence the complications. I ended up bottle feeding the babies while Leah recovered. Because the lower half of Leah’s body had become paralyzed during the birthing, I used a combination of Healing Touch for Animals and my training in Shamanics for the next four months to help her heal.
Twice a day I would ask Leah if she wanted to receive healing (she always said yes) and every day she improved her mobility. Each day I made sure to touch, groom and spend time with her as I knew that this situation was actually a blessing in disguise, in order to change her wounded belief that all humans would hurt her. I knew that this was my chance to teach her that she could allow herself to be leadable and trust in me.
Leah eventually stopped vibrating whenever I came to see her. After doing energetic healing work on her for a month, her breathing began to stay at a normal rate. Then one day, after asking her if she needed support with more healing (and her saying yes), she instead dragged herself away when I started to run energy on her body. I was puzzled, and as I stood there and contemplated what to do next, my donkey, Sam, came up to me, turned around in front of me and then backed up into me with her rump. Then intuitively I heard: “Use me.”
Listening to that intuitive voice, I placed my hands on Sam’s rump (the same area that Leah was still not mobile) and I began to run the energy work through Sam. Each time I was guided to a certain area on Sam, Leah would instinctively move her body into the same position to receive the healing. I feel like the energy was a bit too powerful (with my hands on Leah directly) so I was taught how to use a surrogate to aid in the healing progress. Sam displayed her true calling as a guardian and protector of Leah by volunteering as that surrogate, demonstrating connection, compassion, love, oneness and unity in the herd consciousness of animals. And if it’s in animals then surely we, as humans, can cultivate more faith and belief in unity too.
The other beautiful gift and blessing of Leah’s remarkable recovery (in accepting my Healing Touch energy work) was that, not only did we imprint her with a new, healthier belief and faith in humans, but I was able to do a “Shamanic Lineage Healing” for her and her lineages.
When we heal a wound, trauma or wounded belief system of a disempowering theme, pattern or affinity that collectively runs through a family’s lineage through a person (especially the life givers, the women), we can heal seven generations back, seven generations forward and beyond. Energetically we can create something healthier for all involved by creating a new, healed pathway and pattern for the family’s lineages past, present and future.
This is what happened for Leah and her lineages. Not only did I witness changes in the lambs she had already birthed prior to this healing experience, but the new lambs (yes, she had several more successfully) would willingly accept and allow my touch, and they remained friendly, trusting, leadable and had faith in me as their leader and shepherd.
When you need to, remember to call on Sheep as a spirit guide to cultivate more faith in your life. I have faith that Jacob and or Leah will answer your call…
Their images are on the coloring sheet that Shelby Willis has created from my photos of Jacob, Leah and their herd mates.
Find a herd of animals, wild or domestic. Sit somewhere comfortable and safe. You might be several feet away as the energy fields of animals are very large and this needs to be respected.
Then ask to connect with their energy and essence. Begin to breath with them, setting the intention to connect heart to heart. Feel into your own heart’s pulse and rhythm and gift yourself 11 minutes (or more) in their presence.
Make it a regular practice on your walks even if you only have one creature to watch.
Trust your process and treat any information, images or felt senses that come into your awareness as truths. The plant, tree, animal, mineral and crystalline kingdoms are truly here to support us on our journey through this physical life as spiritual beings.
If you should desire deepening your inner faith, cultivating a deeper and more intimate partnership between your spiritual and physical self, and Spirit, we would be honored to be of service.
Blessings Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
Michele’ Keehn, Infiniti Trails 4 Healing
Michele’ Keehn is a Spiritual (Soul) Energy Healer and Shaman at Infiniti Trails 4 Healing, specializing in holistic medicines and modalities, and in ceremonies and journeys. She has made it her life’s mission and legacy to teach the importance of self-love and how it impacts the healing of ancestral lineages. Contact her at 780-217-8146, email@example.com or go to www.infinitrails.ca for more information.
Shelby Willis’ artwork is inspired by her love for nature and her background in Ecology. She has always been drawn to animals and through a combination of color, mark making and energetic brush strokes, she aims to capture and showcase their spiritual qualities. Contact her at www.shelbywillis.ca, Instagram: @shelbzwillisart, Facebook: Shelby Willis Art or shelbshelbywillisart@gmail
© 2021 – Michele’ Keehn, Shelby Willis and Mosaic Mind, Body and Spirit Magazine Ltd.
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