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World Animal Reiki Day: The inspiration and meaning behind WARD

World Animal Reiki Day: The inspiration and meaning behind WARD and this year’s FREE SARA Conference celebrating it!

In 2016, I organized and launched World Animal Reiki Day (WARD) with the help of volunteer members of my Non-profit Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA). WARD is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to help create a better future for the animals in our world.

I believe that animals are wise and sentient spiritual beings who deserve our respect and kindness. In fact, this is the message at the foundation of all the Let Animals Lead® method teachings I’ve created in the last 20+ years and a big part of the inspiration behind this annual worldwide event and celebration meant to honor animals as teachers and healers.

We celebrate WARD to remind us all that we have a choice to treat animals with loving and compassionate kindness, and a choice to give animals agency in their healing, especially when we are being Reiki with them.

In this post about World Animal Reiki Day, you’ll read about:

The Dog Who Inspired World Animal Reiki Day: Dakota Prasad

I chose February 5th for World Animal Reiki Day because it was our dog, Dakota’s birthday, and he was the other big part of the inspiration behind creating and launching WARD back in 2016.

I rescued Dakota as a puppy from animal control and he grew up to be a true “old soul” who led me on my journey into holistic healing and Reiki teaching. Beyond being a faithful, loving companion, Dakota was also the dog who gave me my start in sharing Reiki with animals and he ended up being my greatest teacher.

“In their innocence and wisdom, in their connection to the earth and its most ancient rhythms, animals show us a way back to a home they have never left.” ― Susan Chernak McElroy

When Dakota was still with us (he passed away in 2007), I was still early on in my Reiki practice and hadn’t really put together how beneficial Reiki is for animals. Back then, I was spending a lot of time giving Reiki to myself and my friends and family, but wasn’t even thinking about sharing Reiki with animals.

But Dakota changed all that.

One day while I was in the middle of giving myself a Reiki treatment, Dakota came over and laid on my feet. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Soon it became a regular thing—I would start a Reiki session (either on myself or someone else) and he would show up, either wanting to be touching me or laying close by. And then, one day, the pattern of it and the energy of it just clicked into place for me and gave me the AHA moment that prompted me to start offering Reiki to animals regularly.

That was the day I became the godmother of the Animal Reiki movement and I’ve never looked back.

NOBODY was offering Animal Reiki back then and, when I started to offer it as part of my practice, Dakota continued to be my teacher and guide. He was the animal who taught me to let him lead the Reiki session and to let go of the idea of needing to use my hands to “beam” Reiki at him. He taught me that it was more important to focus inward and create a space of healing to invite animals into, rather than set an intention to beam healing at them. This is why my Let Animals Lead® method is so different from other types of Animal Reiki!

In his time here on earth, Dakota showed me the path I needed to take with Animal Reiki by responding to me while I was (back then) doing Reiki. It was the way he responded that really made me understand how important it is to give animals agency when inviting them into a healing Reiki space and, because of all his responses, he led me down the path to being Reiki and the precepts and practices I now teach and use with my method of Animal Reiki. My Let Animals Lead® method is completely animal led and allows every animal the choice to step into a healing space (or not) in whatever way feels best and most comfortable for them.

Creating a day to honour all animals was the most beautiful way I could think of to honor Dakota’s lingering legacy in our lives and all the lessons he taught me in the 16.5 years we had together.

To summarize, Dakota showed me that:

  1. animals enjoy Reiki and benefit very much from the peace and healing space it creates

  2. animals sense the space when we practice (even without physical touch or our intent to share it with them) and

  3. animals know how to step into the Reiki space, for whatever they need, at their own comfort level.

Admittedly, it took many years for me to internalize these lessons enough that I could let go of human protocol and trust animals to lead the Reiki sessions I shared with them, but Dakota was the very first who led the way!

How We’re Celebrating World Animal Reiki Day 2023: FREE Online Conference!

This year, Animal Reiki Source and SARA are celebrating WARD with a super exciting, FREE, online conference.

Letting Animals Lead Us to a Better Future 2023 is happening February 2-4, 2023 and it’s jam packed with animal advocates and experts from all over the world who will share all the ways we can bring people together to help animals and make this world a much better place for them.

I’ll also be speaking about how letting animals lead their Reiki sessions helps them heal.

SARA is so excited to present experts from all areas of animal care and healing (from psychologists to animal nutritionists to animal communicators to holistic and fear-free vets to ecologists to vegan chefs) and there will be something for everyone to learn and grow your ability to help animals live better lives. There will also be Exhibitor booths with free offerings for attendees and so much more!

As a special bonus, on the last day, I’ll be reading the World Animal Reiki Day prayer for people all around the world to hear and participate in. What an amazing way to pay homage to Dakota and all the animals out there who teach us lessons and help us grow and deepen our connections to them!

Here are some ways we’ve honored animals during past World Animal Reiki Day Celebrations:

For WARD 2022 Celebrations:

I released 3 video guided meditations on my YouTube channel:

2) Remembering the animals we’ve lost, and a meditation for World Animal Reiki Day with SARA Teacher Joan O’Connor at Charlie’s Acres Farm Sanctuary

3) A special meditation for World Animal Reiki Day with Let Animals Lead® Certified Teacher, Wendee Walker at Charlie’s Acres Farm Sanctuary

I’d also like to share this beautiful celebration of the animals of land, air and sea, plus a guided meditation, created by a group of my Let Animals Lead® students who have created an ongoing practice group and call themselves the Reiki Sisters. This heartwarming video they created for the animals of our planet, especially for World Animal Reiki Day, was a beautiful way to celebrate all animals teach us. There are so many animal welfare organizations and issues highlighted, it is wonderful!

Also, check out the SARA World Animal Reiki Day 2022 photo album to see WARD celebrations from all over the world!

For WARD 2021 Celebrations:

As a special gift for my beloved animal community around the world, in 2021 we celebrated WARD with a special healing circle for the animals of the world, followed by a virtual, healing Reiju for all participants, led my myself. By performing Reiju, we create a sacred space of Oneness, where teacher and student are together in the light of the universe. In this light, there is no separateness, no giver and no receiver. By creating this sacred space, we will realize that in the light of the universe, there is nothing to do, nothing to give—only being together. By opening to this sacred space, we can more easily experience our own connection to Source and dive deeply into the essence of our inner light of wisdom and compassion. In this light, all healing possibility exists. In this light, we remember our essence. This ritual is a very powerful way to energetically experience the inner heart of spiritual energy, or Reiki.

Here are some other ways to celebrate animals and World Animal Reiki Day this year:

  1. Light a candle to honor your animal teachers.

  2. Sit in silent Reiki meditation with your animals.

  3. Perform an act of kindness or compassion for your local shelter or sanctuary.

  4. Share your special messages and photos on the SARA Facebook page.

  5. Tweet messages and pics using the hashtag #WorldAnimalReikiDay2023.

  6. Join an in-person or online event hosted by a SARA Member or sign up for any level of Let Animals Lead® to learn how to connect with animals and create a healing space for them!

  7. If you’ve trained in any level of Let Animals lead®, join our Let Animals Lead® Community on Mighty Networks and connect with a worldwide community of animal lovers just like you who are making a BIG difference for animals in real-time ways.

Fun ways to get the word out about WARD 2023!

Help unite the world Animal Reiki community by sharing your thoughts, messages and pictures of your celebration of World Animal Reiki Day 2023 all week long on the SARA Facebook page. For Twitter: #worldanimalreikiday2023 and #WARD2023 and tag SARA @SARA_news. For IG: #worldanimalreikiday2023 and #ward2023 and tag @shelteranimalreiki and @animalreikisource.

I’m so excited to honor Dakota’s memory again this year by celebrating all animals with all of you! Our animals are so precious, and although they never live long enough, we can continue to honor the gifts and lessons they have brought us by paying it forward through sharing Reiki with animals who cross our paths and share our lives.

Enjoy this memorial video I created for Dakota and may the animals light your way.

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