Say goodbye to your beloved animal companion with this comforting ritual.
There’s no way around it: it’s devastating to lose an animal friend.
I wish I could offer a way to alleviate the excruciating emotional pain. I can’t.
What I can do is offer some perspective to help navigate the grief, as well as a ritual to support the transition.
First, the perspective.
- Let the guilt go. As the caretaker of our beloved pets, when they die, we often can’t help but feel there was something we could have done to save them or to make their time on earth more comfortable. As real as these thoughts may seem in the haze of your grief, they aren’t actually true, and it’s time to let them go. You did your best. You were your pet’s hero. It was just his or her time to go.
- Surrender to the process of grief. As I mentioned above, like with any loss, there is no way around the grief. You have to go through it. And it takes time! So breathe deeply. Breathe into the pain, and let it be a portal into the immense, inspiring wellspring of love that you and your pet have shared.
- Know that your beloved pet is not actually gone. Even though you no longer get to be present with your loved one in the physical world, he or she is not actually gone. Everything is energy, so nothing actually dies, but just changes form. If you tune in, you can feel your beloved pet’s presence, even still. And if you tune in further, you can perceive him or her in a realm of happiness, wholeness, and radiant light.
And now the ritual.
You will need:
- One or more framed pictures of your beloved pet (alone or with others)
- A candle
- Other offerings such as fresh or dried catnip for a cat, a bone or treat for a dog, favorite toys, etc.
- A sweetgrass braid (plus a lighter or matches and a dish to catch burning embers)
Create a small altar with the photo(s), candle, and offering(s). Light the candle. In your mind’s eye, see the light from the candle expand to fill and surround the altar and to create a portal of light between this realm and the other side.
Safely light the sweetgrass braid so it’s smoking like incense and smudge the area around the altar. Be sure to carry a dish beneath it to catch any burning embers, and to extinguish it fully by sealing in a jar or running under water.
Return to the altar and visualize your beloved pet on the other side, in a realm of pure happiness and joy. See him or her playing or luxuriating in this realm while emanating vibrant health and wellness. Tap into the deep knowing that on some level, it was your pet’s choice to enter this realm at this time. As much as possible, feel happy for his or her transition into this realm of light, even as you shed your tears and experience your grief.
You can also call on angels and/or other divine helpers of your choice to be with your pet and watch over him or her on the other side. Let the candle burn all the way down, extinguishing and lighting again as safety dictates.
When you’re ready to dismantle the altar, place biodegradable offerings outside on the earth and donate toy(s) to an animal shelter.
I’m sending sincere sympathy to you and wishing your loved one the happiest of travels on the other side. Brightest blessings and lots of love to you both.
Darci Oltman says
Hi Tess, thank you so much for this ritual; I will be taking it over to my friend’s house to help ease the pain of her beloved 17-year old kittie cat’s passing – she’s absolutely heartbroken! Really appreciate your perspective 😉
Tess Whitehurst says
Aww, what a sweet friend you are. My condolences to your friend.
Rip Christman says
I’m writing this through my tears ; lost my beloved Sadie last week , after 14&1/2 years of tragedy and triumph together… she was courageous and resilient , and fought through so many challenges and setbacks that time and space do not permit me to address
them here ; the most ‘heroic’ little being I’ve ever known … we lost her younger brother Rex unexpectedly, in January ; I asked her at the time to give me at least 6 more months, and she passed away exactly six months to the day (almost to the very minute) , after he died … I performed this ritual for him, and actually had a lucid dream and a ‘vision’ of Rexie, shortly thereafter ; it was
inspirational and comforting , even in the depths of my grief … I’m just now able to gather the emotional energy to repeat the process for Sadie, and hope that she will reach out and reassure me that they are together, and joyful and waiting for me to join
them, on the other side ;
thank you, so very much … 💔💔
Tess Whitehurst says
Rip, I’m so sorry to hear about Sadie and Rex. They both sound so special. What a heartbreaker. I’m so glad you got to spend the time with them that you did, and that they got to be with you too. Lots of love to all of you.
thank you, so very much, for taking the time to reach out …
Katrina Pita says
Thank you so very much for this. My partner and I helped our English Bulldog Boris, grow his wings and sent him gently towards The Rainbow Bridge a week ago (29 Jan 2020), he was bloated by internal fluid that was affecting his breathing and heart, an operation would have only extended his life a few weeks. We have been utterly and totally distressed and heartbroken ever since. I keep thinking I should have spent a little more time before he went but we were just so stressed about it, we couldn’t think straight. There are so, so many what-ifs and if only I had done this and that before he went, and yes total guilt. We are still deeply broken and depressed. I know our boy doesn’t like to see us like this so I said to myself today that I would create a ritual and this is when I come across your ritual here. Your words about how our beloved pet isn’t really gone has given us hope and comfort.
Sorry for the novel! Thank you again for this beautiful ritual. We are not quite ready to perform this yet, but we will very soon.
Thank you, love and light
Tess Whitehurst says
Katrina, I am so, so sorry that you and your partner have lost your beloved Boris. Sending lots of love to all three of you. I know it hurts terribly, but I promise you will get through it. The love you shared is eternal. Also, please know that you have done nothing wrong and have no real reason to feel guilt, even though we all feel it when a beloved animal friend dies. You did the very best you could, and Boris knows that.
I lost my beloved hamster Mr Rugsworth early this morning, he passed in my arms where I laid him on my chest next to my heart. Am absolutely heartbroken. We weren’t able to bury him, so we’re going to give him to the river. This ceremony is beautiful and I shall definitely be using this. Thank you. X
Tess Whitehurst says
Carmel, I’m so sorry. Sending love to you and also to Mr Rugsworth on the other side.