Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

A blog encouraging deeper relations between people and animals.

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Animals of The Way

Animals who stay to help you after delivering their message are known as “Animals of the Way.” They will travel with you for a part of your life’s journey. Although these animals are not life-long companions, they may stay with you for years. Once they are no longer needed, “Animals of the Way” will leave. As with “Message Animals,” you need to accept them. Of course, find out about who they are and how they live. Enter into conversations with them, and ask how they can help you.

Sometimes you can ask a particular animal for help for temporary aid. But first, figure out whether the animal can work with you. Some animals are better equipped to help with particular problems. For example, Ferret is preferable to Sloth in increasing your physical energy. Moreover, animals that you have a relations with will be more disposed to helping you. Before asking a “strange” animal for assistance, do something to honor them first.

For example, I was grieving over the loss of a family member, and had asked the Manatees to comfort me. Since I assisted in various conservation efforts for manatees, They were more than happy to help. These friendly vegetarians know loss, for They have grieved over their fellow Manatees killed by motor boats. Soft and peaceful, the Manatees were all encompassing in giving their love to me. Through them, I was healed.

When I was overwhelmed by being a new mother, I asked Mother Alligator for help. Unlike many other reptiles, alligators do not leave their young. Instead, these reptiles will stand guard over their nests, and remain until their babies are grown. People who live in ‘gator country will advise, “Never get between a Mama ‘gator and her baby.” Mother Alligator answered my request since I always visited the alligators at the zoo. (Apparently, they get few visitors.)

Whilst I was learning from Mother Alligator, two other animals came to assist me with other aspects of mothering. Mother River Otter and Mama Orca (Killer Whale) came to teach me things that Mother Alligator did not know. She had asked Them to come and work with me. To support my working with Them, I collected stuffed otters and orcas, and displayed the toys in my home.

When I wanted to protect my child, Mother Alligator offered her insights. By her example, I became a strong advocate for my child with special needs. My work with Mother Alligator empowered me to be a stronger mother.

Meanwhile, Mama Orca showed me how to be a parent. Mother orcas teach their calves how to hunt, as well as, proper pod behavior. Each orca pod (group) has their own culture and dialect. The mothers share their insights and watch each other’s calves. The young orcas learn how to be good citizens of their pods.

Mother River Otter raises her otter pups by herself. Later, She encourages her grown pups to leave the den, and set out on their own. She showed me how to raise healthy children to be sound adults. When her pups are young, Mother River Otter teaches them what they need to survive. When she pushes them out, She knows that they are ready to live on their own.

Each of these animals graciously offered to stay as long as I needed them. Mother Alligator and Mother River Otter have left, since their roles in my mothering were finished. However, Mama Orca remains since I have an adult son living at home. (Within an orca pod, the males are usually grown sons of the mothers.) She is assisting me in parenting him.

My relations with “Animals of the Way” are usually warm and sincere. As with good friends, my parting with them is amicable. We have moved on to other things, but retain fond memories of our time together.

When you need help, many animals are willing to come and support you. Sometimes, they will offer advice, and other times aid. As “Animals of the Way,” they will share a part of your life’s journey. Welcome them as traveling companions along your way.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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