Pure Inspiration Magazine, Spring 2008
The Forgotten Angels
by Sharon Callahan
In my work as a minister and animal communicator, I am faced with people who have recently lost a beloved animal companion on a daily basis. Without exception, they all tell me how much they learned from their animal friends, and how deeply their souls were touched by the animal’s depth of love and devotion.
I am blessed to be able to work at home, writing, counseling people, and communicating with animals in the company of my cat Lily. Lily has been my companion for eight years now and I am still discovering her many wonderful attributes. Just to see her fur glistening in the soft morning light brings joy to my heart. With her brown and black stripes, she almost disappears into the pattern of the Oriental rug. She keeps me company all day, coming to check on me between her outings in the yard. When she feels that I have spent an unhealthy length of time writing at my computer, she sits right on top of it, leans over, and licks my forehead to remind me that there is more to life than words could ever say.
Some time ago, during a yearlong illness, Lily was the only living soul who freely chose to stay with me. Born in the alley behind my house to a feral mother, she one day decided on her own to muster up all the courage she had and come inside to be my friend. As I watched from my kitchen window, she began the long climb up the back stairs to my apartment. Every few steps, she would glance tentatively over her shoulder at her siblings far below…but she was determined and continued on. Reaching the door, she let me know in no uncertain terms that she wanted in, but that I was not to try and touch her until she herself was ready. It was clear she was on a mission. Save for the company of this little tiger cat, I would spend the next year of my life alone.
Soon after her arrival, the beautiful tiger kitten communicated to me that her name was “Lily.” I sensed the beauty and appropriateness of the name immediately, and from that moment addressed her accordingly. We lived harmoniously in my small apartment for many weeks without physical contact; then one day as I lay in my bed, weak and sick, she jumped up onto my chest and settled down as if she had always done so. For the duration of my illness, she kept me company as I read and studied spiritual books and the lives of various saints. She loved being with me when I read, and would stare at me with a look of deep understanding and encouragement, as if keeping a vigil. When I was in pain, she would kiss away my tears with her warm, pink tongue. Late into the night, she purred sweet healing songs into my pillow. Often, she had to wait for days for her favorite food, but her devotion never wavered. She would lie on my body where the discomfort was the most intense and pour so much loving energy into me that soon the pain was gone. I have known few human beings of such devotion.\
After my recovery, I immersed myself in researching the mystical language of flowers. It was only then that I came to realize the deep significance of the name Lily. I learned that the lily represents resurrection, purity of intent, and spiritual vision. This symbolism is akin to the lotus of the East, which embodies enlightenment. Lily came into my life to hold the vibration of purity, mystical vision, and resurrection during a critical turning point in my life that required both Lily and me to release our former lives and dedicate our existence to the service of a higher purpose.
All through my life, animals have been my wise friends and spiritual companions. Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, mice, birds, and more recently, a fox and coyote. They each had a scared gift to share with me. Sometimes, just looking into an animal’s eyes has transported me beyond space and time to a place as close to God as I can get while still in a body. I feel at peace around animals…safe, warm, companioned, honored, and close to heaven. People report having these same feelings around saints and sages.
It is popular these days to be searching for angels, spirit guides, gurus, twin flames, teachers, therapists, ascended masters, and totem (dead) animals. When not searching for these, we attempt to better ourselves by attending workshops, seminars, retreats, recovery groups, and Om circles. I fully understand this longing for spiritual guidance, but perhaps we look too far afield or possibly our sights are too lofty. Maybe we should try looking down for a change…toward the earth! Who is that little furred and bewhiskered friend at our feet? The one who runs to greet us with an open heart no matter how late we come home; who keeps us company when we are sick and feeling ugly; the one who offers unconditional love and who consoles us when all the therapies have failed, our boyfriend has left, and our checkbook is empty. Perhaps we should take a closer look…a look through the eyes of the heart.
In my own life, animals have been some of my greatest teachers and my life has been profoundly enriched by their presence. From them, I have learned about joy, spontaneity, humor, acceptance, surrender, devotion, fidelity, death, and rebirth. There have been times when I have envied friends who traveled to far-off places to visit gurus and spiritual teachers, but looking back, I have been surrounded by gurus and teachers all along…little furry ones!
And when it comes to angels…I have begun to realize that many angels have whiskers and wet noses…and even those winged ones sometimes have beaks! This morning, when I looked at Lily sitting in the morning light, I thought I saw the faint glimmer of wings and a tiny golden halo set rakishly over one