Do Animals Have Souls—and Afterlives? (Part 1)
By Robyn M Fritz MA MBA CHt
Abstract: These days people consider their animals to be family members, which deepens the human-animal bond and raises mind, body, spirit issues in their multi-species families, including what happens to animals when they die. Do animals have souls? Do they reincarnate? Part 1 of a two-part series explores the concept of soul groups, animal souls, and the afterlife. Part 2 explores animal reincarnation and what that means for our families.
Do you live with animals—and think of them as family members? If so, you’re well aware of the emotional roller coaster of multi-species family life, from the delight of welcoming a new animal into the family to the heartbreak of saying goodbye.
As we dread the possible loss of our beloved animals, we’re also curious about what happens to them when they die. Do animals have souls—and afterlives? Do they reincarnate? What does that mean, for us and for them?
In this first of a two-part series, we’ll explore how souls work. In Part 2 we’ll explore animal reincarnation and families.
Metaphysical Traditions and Soul Experiences
Religious and cultural traditions throughout history have all believed that humans are the highest of all beings, souls included, leading metaphysical thinkers to conclude that if nonhumans have souls, there must be levels of souls, all inferior to human ones. Some traditions assert that souls in animal bodies are evolving and may someday become human, or they are being punished for some transgression when they were humans, and have to “earn” their way to “salvation.”
But theory is not reality: my personal and professional experiences tell a different story. That includes the multi-species families I know and work with, including my own; my mediumship practice; and my soul regression hypnotherapy practice, which explores our souls’ past lives, including lifetimes in non-human bodies.
My conclusion? All beings have souls and all souls are equal.
Bodies, human or not, are the unique hardware that makes us visible in the world, the container that holds us ‘in.’ Souls are the underlying operating system, the invisible, eternal part of us that contains our consciousness, including the memories of previous lifetimes. Yes, there are other theories about consciousness, but they’re inadequate if they ignore the soul.
Our own intuitive abilities, and experienced (and open-minded) intuitives or past life regression specialists, can reveal the different bodies a soul has taken over time: that is, how and why it reincarnates. We can endlessly debate reincarnation, from if it occurs at all to whether humans can be reborn as animals or vice versa, even whether animals can reincarnate. Or we can live with the truth: souls can, and will, do whatever they want, regardless of human dogma. And what they want comes down to soul purpose.
Soul Purpose, Soul Groups, and Our Animals
Every soul chooses the body it thinks it needs to achieve its soul purpose—the work it has chosen for that lifetime. Although the soul’s most important job is always to grow in self-love, it also chooses experiences, including living in multi-species families.
Luckily, souls aren’t in it by themselves: they belong to soul groups that tend to reincarnate together throughout their many lifetimes and gather together between lives in the afterlife. Granted, we may not always share a life with or recognize our soul group members, but over lifetimes they have been human family, friends, enemies, complete strangers who never connect—and animal family members.
Does it matter if our animal families are part of our soul group? Only if we have work to do together. Even then, we humans don’t always recognize them.
It doesn’t make our animals’ deaths easier to know that they have souls, and thus afterlives and the choice to reincarnate, but it does make us wonder if they’ll come back to us. Granted, some people think this means we aren’t properly dealing with grief. Some don’t value animals enough to even consider reincarnation. Some accept their animals’ choices, whatever they are. Others are convinced that it always happens, or it’s ‘what’s meant to be,’ or some such nonsense beyond the simple fact that sometimes it happens—and sometimes it doesn’t. As we all know, once bodies, free will, and real life interact, it’s a free-for-all, anything-can-happen world.
These days, as spiritual awareness informs our lives with our multi-species families, many of us are realizing that our animals have been reincarnating with us in different animal bodies throughout our lives. I’ve seen this personally and in client families; the stories are so remarkable—and the circumstances often so tricky—that I’m convinced we miss each other more often than not. Still, even when we humans are clueless, our animals are often going to great lengths to return to us. For example, a client’s childhood cat tried to get back to her for years, and finally chose the only way in: a dog body.
As we ponder animal reincarnation, we must remember that all family members have their own individual work to do, and that requires free choice. For example, many people insist our animals are teachers and healers who are here to serve and save us. While families do take care of each other, this is expecting our animals to put our needs above theirs, which can hinder their soul growth.
Our job is to honor and support soul purpose, the reason we all choose a particular body. This makes multi-species families real partnerships that lead to heart and soul growth as we learn to live together regardless of species, to love despite our mistakes and misunderstandings.
How do you help others achieve their soul purpose, especially when most humans forget them when they’re born? Sometimes we just have to quit trying to explain it and fling ourselves into our lives—and our animals’ lives. By finding a way to live love, we free it to work its magic. And the magic happens.
Robyn M Fritz MA MBA CHt hosts the OM Times radio show, “The Practical Intuitive: Mind Body Spirit for the Real World.” An intuitive and spiritual consultant and certified past life regression specialist, she is an award-winning author whose next book is “The Afterlife Is a Party: What People and Animals Teach Us About Love, Reincarnation, and the Other Side.” Find her at RobynFritz.com.