heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 7 of 7: The Divine and the Sublime

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“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.
Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
– Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

I began the first of my 2018 New Year’s “revelations” with The solace of animals” and I will conclude this last (the seventh revelation) with “The Divine and the Sublime.”

For me, as I’m sure for many of you as well, animals are beautiful, divine creatures. I cannot imagine a world without them. I certainly cannot fathom my life without them. In truth, there have been many instances where I have preferred the company of animals to that of humans.

“Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

In ancient cultures (and still today), animals were worshiped as gods. Their mysticism is steeped in history and religion. In Native American culture, there is an intense respect for and kinship to nature – animals, plants and the environment. Animals are treated with equal respect to humans. Life is revered. One life form is not inferior or superior to the other.  But animals…. well, they can teach us quite a few things.

So I will end my 7 New Year’s Revelations on this note (with further comments below):

“God gave unto the Animals
A wisdom past our power to see:
Each knows innately how to live,
Which we must learn laboriously.”
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
(Image via Maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com)

I’ve been writing these New Year’s Revelations for 7 years now and this one will be my last.

May 2018 bring each and every one of you much joy, good health and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of animals, nature and of those you hold dear.

Cheers,

– Heather

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heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: The solace of animals

 

Miranda, when she was much younger, relaxing on top of Bacchus

(Photo  of Miranda and Bacchus – Copyright © Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved).
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ”
Anatole France, French poet, journalist and novelist

It’s very late in the day for me to be posting my first “Revelation” of the New Year, but this evening, we buried our ancient cat, Miranda. She died peacefully at home on the 29th. It’s a somber day for us, as we cherish each of our cats. And now there are 7 left. One of them, Zorba, has been wailing mournfully (off and on) since Miranda died. He reacted the same way when our old dog, Bacchus, died two years ago. Cats do grieve. Zorba, we think, is very attuned to the intricacies of life and death. A sensitive soul, he is the spiritual one of our cat colony. All of the cats have been taking turns comforting my husband and I, as we grieve. Just earlier today, I was sitting in my reading chair and, suddenly I had two cats on my lap and one straddling the back of my chair.  I cannot imagine a home without animals.

And I cannot understand people who dislike animals. I am not comfortable around animal-haters. It’s a deal-breaker for me. But, to each his own.

To bring up a child with a pet dog or cat is to teach him/her tenderness, compassion and respect.

To give an elderly person a pet or exposure to animals is to provide them with joy, comfort, affection and companionship.

As for someone like me, who is somewhat halfway (okay, maybe a little more than halfway) between the two… I can say that I find true solace and serenity with my beautiful creatures. They have seen me through the best of times and the worst of times. In the hardest moments of my life, they reminded me that there is always a reason to laugh, to lighten up and relax. They give me perspective. And in return, I give them my heart, my time, my protection and, of course, some seriously good food.

MIRANDA

Sept 2, 2001 – Dec 29, 2017

R.I.P.

(Photo of Miranda – Copyright © Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved).

The Divinity of Animals

“Animals are divine messengers of miracles that go far beyond emotional comfort and practical assistance. Talk to those who have been transported to a heavenly place by the gentle purring of a kitten or whose broken hearts, burdened by worry and pain, have been mended by a dog licking their hand. They will tell you that animals connect them with the River of Life in ways poets imagine and mystics contemplate. They will tell you that their deepest and most sincere relationships with animals are spiritual partnerships.”

–  Allen Anderson, Angel Animals: Divine Messengers of Miracles

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 3 of 7: Animals are Divine creatures… be kind to them

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“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the Earth”

Henry Beston

I have often said that if I had to choose to be in the company of humans or in the company of animals, I’d choose the latter.

Animals are pure, beautiful and Divine creatures. Wild animals fill me with awe. Domestic animals, like (for example) dogs and cats, are trusting, loyal and love unconditionally. When humans betray their trust… by mistreating or ignoring them, this – in my view – is a heinous crime.

I condemn the act of hunting and killing animals for sport. It is, quite simply, repugnant.

In my most bleak and darkest moments, my dog and cats have raised my spirits and given me solace. It is an honour and a privilege to be their caretaker.

Over the years, my husband and I have saved and provided a haven for frogs, lizards, birds, quails, squirrels, possums, cats and dogs. We have eight indoor cats (four were born in our home and we hand-raised one that was abandoned by her mother at only five hours old). We also feed all the stray and feral cats in our immediate neighborhood – seven of them (at last count). Our beloved 14½-year-old Black Lab (“Bacchus“) died four months ago and we are still grieving. Even our cats are mourning his loss.

Animals… ALL animals… need our protection and respect.

If you are an animal lover/activist, then I am preaching to the converted.

However, if you are unaccustomed to or uncomfortable with animals, then I urge you to befriend a dog or cat. I am certain that you will be smitten after the first encounter.  But, if you’re not, simply remember to extend kindness to any animal that may cross your path.

They are the innocents. They have no voices but their eyes speak volumes.

They cannot advocate for themselves. So, it is up to us to do that for them.

After all, the very best of humanity is the practice of human kindness and compassion. It should, it MUST be extended to our animal brethren.

“Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission–to be of service to them whenever they require it… If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

Saint Francis of Assisi

Movie Recommendation:

Cry of the Innocent: The Voices That Can’t Speak” (written, directed and produced by Katherine Lowson)

Some Book Recommendations:

For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States – by Diane L. Beers

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Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – by Marion S Lane and Stephen L. Zawistowski Ph.D

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Photo via flickr.com