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Animals in the spirit world – One of the questions I’m asked most often is whether animals survive beyond physical death.
For those of us who have known the joy of an animal’s unconditional love and devotion, their sensitivity and innate honesty, it’s easy to see why that question (and particularly its answer) is so important. The bond between the human and animal who share a home and a life together becomes very deep, and the loss of a beloved pet can be devastating.

“Discovering that our animal friends have not ‘died’ is a huge comfort, but we inevitably wonder about their circumstances in the spirit world"    

That loss is often made more difficult to bear when human family members or friends, who can’t quite appreciate this unique bond, become impatient with the one who is grieving and dismiss their sadness with a tactless comment on the lines of “Come on – it was only a dog!”

Just as good mediumship can help enormously with the loss of a human loved one, so it can when a precious animal dies. PN’s archive is packed with accounts of animal spirit returns – not just of ‘traditional’ pets such as dogs and cats, but many other species too. You’ll find some wonderful examples in this month’s archive feature on page 52.

Discovering that our animal friends have not ‘died’ is a huge comfort, but we inevitably wonder about their circumstances in the spirit world – who they are with, who looks after them – in short, what their life is like now they are no longer with us.

Silver Birch on animal survival

The much-loved spirit guide was questioned about this on more than one occasion by members of the Hannen Swaffer home circle, and gave some fascinating (and sometimes unexpected) answers.

Here are a couple of examples:

Q: Do some animals spend their whole time with their human friends on the other side or is their real home on the animal sphere?

Cute kitten

A: It depends, because love is the index. You know that love determines the survival of animals. It is the love that exists between the animal and the person that enables the animal to obtain the temporary consciousness that exists beyond the grave of matter. If an animal and the one whom it has served are in the world of spirit together, then the home of the animal is the home of the individual who has always loved it. It stays where love is, for love is the link that binds it to the one who loves it. It has no necessity to go to the animal plane, because it has its home. Those who dwell in the animals sphere are the ones who come to the world of spirit before the masters, or owners, as you call them, arrive in our world, because it is necessary that someone shall take care of them. Otherwise they would be distracted, being cut off from the love, which not only warmed their hearts but breathed the temporary immortality into them. Where the animal comes to our world preceding the one who loved it, who gave it shelter and taught it all the habits of memory, of reason, of judgment and affection, it goes to the animal world to await the time when it can greet the one it has missed. There it is put in the charge of those specially trained to look after animals, just as you have trainers in your world to care for animals when their masters and mistresses are away.

Q: What about less appealing animals such as snakes and spiders?

A: You do not bring a spider into your home and give it love, do you? You do not give it companionship and the warmth of your heart, do you? No, because you recognise the gulf that is fixed between you, because you know instinctively that it is far away from you in the scale of evolution. You bring those whom you call the domestic animals – the dog, the cat, sometimes the monkey – because you feel a kinship with them. They are just below you in the line of evolution. They are ready for your love or affection because they are awaiting the next stage in their evolution, which is incarnation as humans.

A lamb

Excuse me, Silver Birch. . .

Reading that last answer, two things leap out at me. The first is that a young lady well known to me has great affection for her pet snake and may well have taken rather passionate issue with Silver Birch’s ‘snakeist’ assumptions!

The second is the great guide’s categorical assertion that ‘domestic’ animals will ultimately reincarnate as humans. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with that one.

“Where the animal comes to our world preceding the one who loved it, who gave it shelter and taught it all the habits of memory, of reason, of judgment and affection, it goes to the animal world to await the time when it can greet the one it has missed."    

Regular readers will know that I ‘sit on the fence’ regarding reincarnation – I’m not even fully convinced that humans reincarnate. In the case of animals, who (dare I say it) in many cases I find more unconditionally loving than some humans, I cannot see an ultimate purpose in their joining the ranks of humanity.

In the first place they’re beautiful as they are, and in the second, why on earth would they want to become like us? I have always said that if reincarnation is a fact, I would choose to return as a well-loved dog in a comfortable home surrounded by lush green fields, fragrant woods and a big muddy stream!

Seriously, of course there are a number of philosophical issues arising out of Silver Birch’s answers. Do share your views with me. It’s a subject we rarely explore, and perhaps we should.

I’ll leave you with a lovely quotation from lifelong vegetarian, much-loved medium and animal healer Harold Sharp.

“Try and imagine a world without animals. One where the glimmering sheen of a beautiful bird’s plumage does not exist; one where a devoted dog does not sit faithfully at his master’s feet; one where a new-born lamb cannot be seen leaping gleefully around exploring new-found territory on a warm spring morn; one where a kitten does not joyfully play with a cotton reel. That, to me, is unthinkable and illogical.”

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