Nancy's Blog

Welcome to Reverend Nancy's Blog. Please feel free to peruse her posts.

2018

Celebrations!

Summer and its holidays crash through the calendar and into our lives. I used to regard summer as a time of bliss, free of stuffy classrooms and shoes. I’m an “oil brat.” For many years home was an oil workers’ town on the shore where the Peruvian desert met the Pacific Ocean.

Benefits of Having a Cold

Sniffle, snorf, cough. Thought I’d pass through winter without the dreaded nose invasion. Not to be. Surrounded by sniffling companions, I fall to the lure of the tissues box.

2017

Yellowjacket as an Ally

Yellowjacket said, “We are not bad. We do have purpose. Just leave us alone. We like the offering dishes. Our society is intricate. We work very hard.”

Releasing Stuff

Many articles have come out over the last year or more that offer guidance on releasing “stuff.” That stuff can be physical possessions, outmoded thought patterns, beliefs, habits—anything that we acquired (consciously or unconsciously) and have clung to.

Turbulent Times

This is a time of great tumult and much discordant energy. Many people are anxious about our uncertain future, over which it feels we have little control.

2016

Conversation with a Bearded Dragon

He sits on a rock in his terrarium, eyes moving front and sideways to survey his environment. The tip of his tail hangs into his pool of water. Particles of shed skin litter the sand-like ground walnut shells substrate. Later, he will eat them.

Water and Story

We tell stories. From the Toltec perspective, we live within a story we have created, which can cause a lot of upheaval when our stories don’t match (or sometimes, when they do match) another’s story. We learn to make up stories to explain things, to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. Why does it matter?

Birds in the Dog Food?

Rattle rattle. A little brown bird, larger than a sparrow but smaller than a robin, lands in my dog’s food bowl. A California Towhee. What brings it here?

2015

The First Year After

After what? Any major life change. In my case, publishing my book, Hand in Paw. That definable action of publishing the book created a marker for notable change in both my external and internal orientation.

Questions from the Book Fair, Part 1

Two days of meet and greet at the Berkeley Book Fair pushed my boundaries in new directions – well out of my comfort zone! Most interesting were the patrons.

Who Blesses Whom?

Animals bless us by their presence in our lives. They are compassionate teachers, if sometimes full of mischief. Every being is traveling a path of unfoldment, and we get to witness animals’ unfolding as they help us with ours.

Compassion, Reiki, and Animals' Perspectives

Just for today, I will be compassionate to myself and others. The fifth Reiki precept asks us to “remember the connection among all things within the universe.

Equinox and Balance

Equinox is that time of equal day/equal night that occurs twice each year. It calls us to balance—light and dark, day and night, internal and external, spiritual and material, all those times when we lean too far in some direction or another and need to pull ourselves back to center.

Sun and Shadow

On Equinox, the sun passes directly over the tall pillar of the Intiwatana Stone in Machu Picchu, Peru. Intiwatana means “hitching post of the sun.” The tall pillar does not cast a shadow on Equinox.

Tree Trunks

What color is the trunk of a tree? Brown? Gray? Tan? White with black spots? When I was a child, trees in coloring books always were to be colored brown. Any other color would bring laughter and sometimes condescension or even ridicule.

St. Francis of Assisi Blog Talk Radio Show

The link to my Winter Solstice 2014 guest appearance on St. Francis of Assisi Blogtalk Radio, with Rev. Bonnie Poirier, is active. Please see the Bog page to listen to this exciting discussion of animal communication, interfaith, and the network of all life.

2014

Honesty, Reiki, and Animals' Perspectives

Just for today, I will be honest in my work. The fourth Reiki precept asks us to be “truthfully dedicated to spiritual progress and everything you do.”* Like the earlier precepts, this one encourages us to be fully present as a clear conduit for the flow of healing Reiki energy.

The Feather

The feather is from the male helmeted guinea fowl that has become a neighborhood mascot, patrolling daily with his two lighter-gray female companions. Their heads, crowned with a red comb-like ridge, are distinctive in their unattractive angularity.

Cauldron of Elements

Earth and water, air and fire. The cauldron bubbles. Its turquoise fluid has flecks of gold – colors of protection and connection to the spirit world. The steam rising from it smells of sulphur, like the entrance to the underworld.

Poison Oak: It's All Perception

The workshop facilitator’s assignment was to go out into nature, find something that attracts you, and listen for its message.

Easy, I thought. This is going to be fun!

The Fullness of Dying

A guest essay from Rev. John C. Robinson, Ph.D.:

While reading Nancy Schluntz's lovely manuscript on spiritual communication with animals - I'd been asked to provide an endorsement [for Hand in Paw, a Journey of Trust and Discovery] - this amazing paragraph simply leapt off the page before me.

Humility, Reiki, and Animals' Perspectives

Just for today, I will be humble. The third Reiki precept. Humility is perhaps best defined by what it is not, rather than what it is.

The Penguin

Once upon a time, many years ago and in a distant country, I was responsible for the death of a penguin.

Unseen and Seen, the Red-tail Hawk

Sitting outside, quiet and calm

I did not see you

Until you took flight.

2013

Worry, Reiki, & Animals' Perspectives

“Just for today, I will not worry.” The second Reiki Precept. Like the first Precept about anger, this one encourages us to be fully present as a clear conduit for the flow of healing Reiki energy.

Anger, Reiki, and Animals' Perspectives

“Just for today, I will not anger.” The first Reiki Precept. On first hearing, I transmuted the words to “… I will not anger others,” but then realized that no one can make anyone else angry.

Tortoise Talk

Thirteen plates on a turtle or tortoise shell, one for each moon cycle in the year. Turtles are among the most ancient beings still living on the earth, and have significance in cultures around the world.

Deer Antlers

Our dog’s nose led us to the buck, on a grassy slope surrounded by eucalyptus trees. Two curved roads intersected nearby. Scavengers had been at work on his tawny body.

Snake Guards the Answer

The garter snake on the palm of my hand looks at me with round black eyes. His forked tongue flicks in and out. At eye level, we regard each other. Then, satisfied, he crawls across my hand and onto my forearm.

Hush and Waiting

“What’s going on?” I’ve heard that question often lately, from others as well as myself. In my “observer” mode, I notice a new clarity to the shape and hue of leaves, the feel of air, the way sunlight slants through clouds to spotlight something.

2012

Grief and Letting Go #2: When Hospital and Animals in Rehabilita

An Animal Control officer stands there, an animal carrying carton between her hands. Inside is an injured opossum, or a trio of orphaned baby raccoons. A pair of burly electricians tenderly hands over an electrical box. Nesting material bristles from it, surrounding three or four fledglings.

December Transitions

We’ve anticipated Winter Solstice 2012 ever since the Harmonic Convergence in 1987. That astronomical conjunction was heralded as the start of a twenty-six year transition period leading up to the end of the Mayan calendar on 12/21/12 – our upcoming Winter Solstice.

Colored Leaves

Red, orange, gold, yellow, green with splotches of autumn colors. Leaves loosen their grip and dance through the air to kiss the ground. As green buds, these leaves signaled the growth season, new beginnings.v

Give Wildlife a "Brake," and six more ways to lower your risk of

October through December is mating season for deer, and they may throw caution to the wind while chasing after (or running away from) a potential mate.

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets*

Halloween is a fun time for kids and many adults, but can be a frightening and stressful time for your pets. As a pet owner, you know your pet best, but here are some points to consider for your pet's safety.

El Dia de los Muertos

Beyond the veil that separates worlds, the cycle of life continues unseen. We call it Death. Nature's version is more visible. Colored leaves fall and days shorten, heralding the resting time for plants and animals.

A Walk in Nature

We walk in nature all the time. Or do we? A recent experience showed me just how different that encounter is when I – as the birds are always telling me – pay attention! You can try it, too.

Contemplating the Box

The cardboard packing box, carefully labeled with permanent marker long since faded, has resided in the back of a closet for more years than I care to count. The sealing tape falls off with a light touch, its sticking power faded like the marker.

Grief and Letting Go #1: When Resident Animals Die

Boris the Great Horned Owl, Penelope the Skunk, Puddles the Call Duck, Ozzie the Opossum, Rocky the Burrowing Owl. All permanent Sulphur Creek residents, all ambassadors in our education programs, and all loved and cared for by staff and volunteers.

An Eagle's Wisdom

“I don’t know why they named me that,” Solomon the Golden Eagle responded to my greeting. “I’m just an eagle. A pretty magnificent one, at that.”

Caring and Letting Go

The gray and blue scrub jay’s feathers fluffed around it, holding in body heat even on the warm summer afternoon. It huddled inside itself. Something was wrong.

If You Find a Baby Animal ...

Spring is the season of rebirth and the celebration of new life. Sometimes,though, the cycle of life is interrupted. Our hearts go out to injured and orphaned baby animals. Their cute faces, spots, and soft appearance makes us want to cuddle and care for them. Please don’t.

'Possum Philosophy

Many changes are upon us this year, everything from economics to politics to society to energy, and the earth herself. Who better to show us how to navigate these uncertainties than Opossum?

Thoughts on "Forty"

Forty days, forty nights, forty years. We are in the midst of the season of Lent in the Christian calendar – that period of forty days of cleansing before celebrating the crucified Jesus’ resurrection at Easter. The number forty, though, doesn’t always mean a count of forty.

Some Assembly Required

“Some assembly required” is a familiar phrase that can mean a tweak here or there, or a long session of hair-pulling frustration.

Conversation with Crow

Crows frequent our neighborhood park in increasing numbers, ganged in trees and arrayed on overhead power lines. I listen to their caws, warning calls and family chortles.

Dragons and New Beginnings

Dragons come in all sizes, real and mythical, benevolent and testy, interior and exterior. They’ve accompanied people from the dawn of time to the present day, and now welcome us into the Lunar New Year.

2011

Light in the Dark

The darkest time of year is upon us. There are no shortcuts through it, or through the dark places within. Yet spots of joy light the path, to keep us from wandering in dark circles:

Cardinal in My Sister's Garden

The female cardinal wears a light brown cloak over her red-orange dress as she monitors her feeding station in my sister’s garden. The cardinal shares with other females of her kind, but doesn’t tolerate different species.

Reunion, Re-Union

Reunion. It’s one of those great words that is a noun and also can be a verb. It’s “the act of reuniting; the state of being reunited; a gathering of members of a group who have been separated; ex. A reunion of parts or particles of matter.” [Merriam-Webster]

The Spider's Web

Garden orb spiders have been busy around our house, netting bushes, trees, house and mailbox with silver. Morning dew glistens as the sun reflects from a thousand tiny points of light.

The Labyrinth as the Hero's Jouney

In mythology, the true hero is one who leaves the village, embarks on a quest in which he or she learns valuable life lessons and then (most important) returns to the village to share that knowledge.

Thirteen Tips for a Pet-Safe Halloween

Halloween is a holiday known for its tricks as well as its treats. So it’s good to make sure your ghoulish plans are pet safe, too. Here are tips for making sure that the only Halloween cats that give you a scare are the ones cut out of black paper!

The Celtic Year

The end of October brings us to the beginning of a new cycle of the Celtic year. May these articles serve as a guide for your own inner exploration and outer expression.

Presentation: Animals as Pets, Companions, & Family Members

Come and hear the Rev. Nancy Schluntz, Interfaith Minister and Animal Chaplain, talk about the importance of animals in your family, and the roles they play. Learn how to listen to your animals to hear what they're trying to tell you.

Dragonfly Encounters

“Relax,” the dragonfly said. “Transformation happens. You worry too much, ask too many questions. Just Be. It will all happen.” At the time, the dragonfly was clinging to the center nub of a flower that had lost its petals.

Equinox: Finding Balance in a Turning World

Equinox is again upon us – fall in the Northern hemisphere, spring in the Southern. Equal day, equal night? Maybe and not quite. “Approximately” might be a better word.

Prepare your animals before you travel

Thinking about going on a trip? Think your animals don’t know the minute that thought enters your head? Think again. They can read your mind, you know. And what they read is, “My person is leaving me.”

Lughnasadh - Gateway to Autumn

August 1 is the gateway to autumn, the fourth quarterly season of the Celtic year. Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, is the time to harvest what sprouted after winter’s rest and grew to maturity in summer.

Time and Toilet Paper Rolls

Time passes ever more quickly. At one point, listening to my parents’ stories I thought, "Surely, pausing to remember something that happened twenty years earlier is a mark of getting old."

Trees Speak

Big Tree stands at the outside curve of a busy two-lane paved road near our house. The road flows up the hill past the high school and elementary school, branches right toward our favorite park, then ends at a new housing development at the top of the hill.

Summer Solstice, the Longest Day

Summer Solstice around June 21 gives us the longest day and shortest night of the year. ”Solstice” is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“cause to stand still”).

The Nest

I spotted an unusual lump on the ground at the base of a Ponderosa pine tree about 30 feet away. It was slightly grayer than the carpet of dry pine needles around it. I had to investigate.

The Horse Next Door

The two bay geldings live next door to the house where I stayed for two weeks, under the shadow of Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico.

Beltane Fires & Sacred Union

The fires blaze with nine of the sacred woods – ash, oak, apple, hawthorn, birch, elder, blackthorn, grape vine, rowan, holly, willow, cedar, yew, or hemlock.

Rites of Spring: Easter & Eostre

We all have pagan roots. While “pagan” has come to mean a person who is not a Christian, Moslem, or Jew, its root is the Latin pagus, which is simply “rustic, peasant, of the country.”

If You Find a Baby Bird …

Birdsong, the bright flash of wings, birds of many species fly to and fro collecting nest materials – all welcome signs of spring. Yet weather, predators, and other causes can result in nest mishaps for even the most diligent bird parents.

Coyote Dance

The coyotes advanced and retreated, one posturing, one tentative, dancing the change in balance of living in the same space. It is spring, and the younger has just reached maturity.

Equinox and Do Be Do Be Do

Equinox. Equal day and night. In astronomy, it’s when the tilt of the Earth’s wobbling axis leans neither toward the sun nor away from it, thus creating days and nights of equal length.

Return of Light, Renewal, and Rabbits

Early February is an exciting time of renewal from several faith perspectives, continuing celebrations  that began in January with the new year of the 430-year-old Gregorian calendar.

Conversation with Rabbit

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese lunar calendar. I wondered, what do Rabbits think about that?

Tribute To My Boots

They climbed the stone steps and terraces of Machu Picchu and Sacsawayman, and balanced on the unsteady floating islands of Peru’s Lake Titicaca.

Chosen by an Animal

Swirls of energy bring animals and people together. It can be over long periods or brief nudges. The animals know why this happens. Sometimes the people come to understand, as well.

2010

Resolutions and other Re-words

January and New Year’s resolutions go together. The game is to see how long the resolutions last. Why do we break them? Why set them in the first place? Does tradition demand that we bloody our foreheads against the same brick wall, year after year?

Winter Solstice Reflections

Stonehenge took my breath away – that first glimpse as our van crested a hill to reveal a surprisingly small circle of stones on the Salisbury Plain in southwestern England.

Creatures of the Night – Owl

In the heart of Winter, which creature of the night wants to lend its wisdom to these words? Owl answers. I receive impressions:  Winter. Night gliding, soundless.

Turkey's Thoughts on Thanksgiving

What, I wondered, did Turkey think of Thanksgiving, and of being the traditional main dish at this ritual meal? To find an answer to such a question, ask the Turkey! And so I did.

Rituals of Thanksgiving – 10 Suggestions

Thanksgiving today is a holiday when the table is not the only thing that is laden. There also are family expectations, history, interactions, housecleaning and decorating, a day (or days) spent in food preparation, followed often by overeating. It can be stressful.

Tips for a Healthy Happy Halloween for your Pet

HomeAgain, the microchipping and pet recovery service, published safe Halloween tips for your pet in their October newsletter. The link is included here:

Halloween and Day of the Dead

Halloween – the day of visiting spooks and goblins, comic book heroes and Disney characters, and an occasional pet dressed up in ruffles or a hotdog bun.

Visits from Animals in Dreams and Waking Life

Animals enter our dreams and waking life in many forms and for many reasons. How we see and receive them is a reflection of our individual process, our own hopes and fears.

Is Your Pet Sending You a Message in Your Dream?

In the modern culture we have been exposed to cartoon animals behaving in a way that is completely uncharacteristic of their natural behavior:  the bear wearing a tutu, dancing on a tightrope while holding an umbrella, for example.

Encounter with a Doe

The black-tailed mule deer looked at me with no fear in her big brown doe eyes. She came up to my outstretched hand, accepting a rub. Her large ears were surprisingly much softer than the more bristly fur on her body.

Squirrels Playing ‘Chicken’ and Other Games

There is no doubt the squirrels are onto us. Humans and our dogs make such interesting playthings, helping them hone their skills and providing amusement at the same time.

Seen and Unseen, the Red-Tail Hawk

Sitting outside, quiet and calm

I did not see you until you took flight.

On the Heart's Deepest Desire

"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

- Lao Tsu

Where is Home?

I’ve lived in the U.S. and South America, and have visited many other places. In some I felt a connection to the place and a belonging, while in others I felt no connection at all. Some were Home for awhile, but no longer.

Noticing

Lately I find myself really Noticing things, appreciating how much beauty there is around us - whether or not we pause to appreciate it. 

The Good Message in a Nightmare

What is a “nightmare”? A scary or threatening dream, one with a startling twist?

Is Your Dream Secretly a Forgotten Memory?

Dreams come in many forms – archetypal, daily processing, or symbols for us to decipher. Sometimes, though, they may be actual memories that have been forgotten or repressed.

Navajo Prayer

This beautiful Navajo prayer was sent to me, its original source unknown. Blessings upon the writer, the sender, and all who read it.

Messages from Trees and Plants

Walking in a light morning rain, I paused under a big, old eucalyptus tree. It asked me to relay a message: 

2009

Poems by Tyson Cat and Nancy Schluntz

I’m leaving soon, with some reluctance. I do so love being a cat and being with you. I don’t like being an old cat.