In summers I have the pleasure of spending many hours at a magical place: Jubilee Farm, an organic produce farm in Carnation, Washington. I go once a week to work on the farm in exchange for the most exquisite locally grown, ripe and chemically-free fruits and vegetables.
Aside from the acres of fruits and vegetables, there is also a herd of cows on the farm. Their main job is to provide manure to make into compost for the plants. When the owners of the farm first met me, they asked if I would speak with the herd to see how they were doing. Though I’ve spoken with cows, goats, pigs and other farm animals before, it is always such a treat whenever I have the opportunity to do it because usually I spend most of my time working with dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and horses.
Initially I was speaking only with Dream Girl, the leader of the herd, as a way to take the pulse of the herd as a whole. It was quite an interesting conversation. I learned about some of the health concerns and fears of the herd, though overall they were a happy group.
The second time I went to speak with the cows I felt drawn to touching them as a way to more deeply connect with the energy of the herd as a unit. However, these aren’t small puppies we are talking about; they are huge beings with large hooves. Individually they could do damage to my comparatively fragile human body. As a herd, it wouldn’t take a lot of jostling and shoving for them to pose an even more serious threat.
The herd was contained by a hot wire (an electrified barrier of white nylon tape). As I approached the cows most of them turned in my direction, curious to see if I had come to move them to another pasture or to bring them something to eat, and I figured I could use their curiosity to my advantage. I turned off the electricity to the hot wire and slowly reached over to gently touch one of the cows on the head. Reflexively it startled and jumped away, pushing the entire herd away from me.
Since this approached hadn’t worked, I sat down just outside the ring of current-free tape and began offering Reiki to the herd. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Reiki is a form of healing energy work that can be done either with physical contact or at a distance. Using Reiki helps to clear blocks in the natural flow of energy that exists in everything around us (human, animal, plant) which in turn has many beneficial effects. In this case, I mostly wanted to offer Reiki as a way to allow the cows to feel safe with me nearby so they might permit me to get closer to them.
As I sat on the ground, arms outstretched slightly in the direction of the herd, one little cow came over to me. This cow (really more of a calf) was the most adorable black and white creature, with pools for eyes and eyelashes that went on forever. She timidly came closer to me, step by impossibly slow step, in a dance of fascination and at the same time guarding herself from me, this odd person who was sitting only a few feet from her. The other cows watched as this brave little bovine finally came all the way up to me and began licking my hands and shoes. In what felt like slow motion I gingerly rose to my feet, continuing all the while offering Reiki to this not-so-little girl. Then in one split second she dropped all of her guarding and pressed her head into my hands. She allowed me to move my hands all over her head, neck, shoulders and back. For a moment we were just in a bubble, transfixed on each other as I offered Reiki and did some gentle massage strokes across her neck and back.
Just then I noticed the distinct feeling of eyes upon me. I looked up from my new little friend to see a line of cows reaching out, with their necks straining in my direction. One by one they came up to me and allowed me to offer them Reiki, having witnessed my interaction with the young cow and now deeming me relatively safe. I spent about a half of an hour touching and offering Reiki to any cow who came to me. In doing so, I began to feel not only the energy of each individual cow, but also the energy of the herd. It was calm, peaceful and cohesive. It was beautiful.
The whole time this was going on Dream Girl kept me in her sight. When I was done, she told me that she found me useful to her herd. I took that as a compliment, though I think she meant it simply as a fact.
I felt elated as I left the herd. It was not only the herd that had received healing. They had clearly offered back something in exchange: The gift of letting me into their energy for a precious brief period of time. Thank you, my cow friends, for this delightful experience.