One of the great delights of SpiritQuest is the unexpected blessing that may come from one or more of the animals in attendance. And yes, I do mean “in attendance.” They are as much a part of the ceremonial week as we human participants.

At this year’s quest we had several profound visits from a local doe who adopted us as hers to watch over, and even bless. As though building up to her significant moments with us, the doe was spotted frequently grazing just outside the perimeter of our sacred fire circle. She was also seen just outside the tent of our elder, who was questing for her elderhood initiation.

Toward the end of the week, the elders gathered at the sacred fire circle with our new elder initiate. During the initiation of this elder, the doe surprised us all by standing some feet directly behind the initiate. Several times, she raised her head and snorted while looking directly at the initiate. Up and down, she poised her head with what seemed to be clear intention. When she finished, she bowed her head and grazed.

Later that evening, as the women gathered for the Women’s Water Ceremony initiations, we heard the doe once again just outside the circle, blessing us with this interesting snorting behavior. We all paused to listen and receive, what we experienced as a blessing from her.

As if to punctuate the sacred nature of this relationship, one of the participant’s dogs was with us at the sacred fire circle. Through various encounters throughout the week, we witnessed this her as being very spiritually sensitive. During one of the ceremonies at the sacred fire circle, this beautiful dog was with us when the doe came to the outer edges of the circle. As if sensing the sacred moment, our canine companion did not make a sound when the doe approached.

This is the magic of SpiritQuest, where we are living in harmony with all living beings, as we believe, it was intended to be. Our willingness to live in harmony is often rewarded, as it was this year, with sweet blessing and acknowledgment from those creatures we consider to be our brothers and sisters.

To be seen, recognized and blessed by one of these good creatures, I can assure you, is a profound moment. The doe who blessed our elder and who blessed the women in the camp has inspired many of us to live each day in sacred harmony with all of Spirit’s beloved beings.