When I first heard about the annual fast against slaughter, which is a campaign hosted by FARM (Farmed Animal Rights Movement), I didn’t do it. Let’s face it, a day without food is usually a pretty big deal. It may sound doable right up until the witching hour, but then resolve can crumble away.
The fast occurs on October 2nd, partly because this is Gandhi’s birthday. The messaging on the campaign website is as follows:
In the Northern Hemisphere, autumn is approaching. One sign is Squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. As a species, Squirrels live worldwide in Asia and Africa as well.
When people think “Squirrel”, they generally think of the tree-dwelling variety. Squirrels, however, come in three main groups–Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, and Flying Squirrels. The defining characteristic of a Squirrel, a Squirrel is their bushy tail. Their family name Sciuridae means “shade-tailed”.
Recently Mei Xiang, the resident Giant Panda, at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. gave birth to twins. What does the Giant Panda has to teach us? And why are Pandas important?
A survivor of the last Ice Age, Giant Panda belongs to the oldest family of the most primitive bears (Ailuropodinae). Although He has a digestive system of a meat eater, Giant Panda feeds exclusively on bamboo. Until DNA testing became available, scientists could not identify what Mammal Family Giant Panda belonged to.
Sitting on his rump, this ancient Bear grasps bamboo shoots and calmly munches away at them. His “thumb” makes Giant Panda unique among animals. This elongated wrist bone gives Him an extra opposable digit on his paw. Giant Panda uses this as a “hand” when He eats.
Sometimes we encounter challenging situations or obstacles and we want to give them meaning or significance. Take my current situation. My family has struggled on and off since February dealing with septic and pluming issues without an obvious cause. While we think we're finally honing in on the source and remedying each obstacle as we come to it, it's created a great deal of stress for everyone in my household.
As a water-worshiping witch, I wanted to apply meaning to this event. I wanted there to be a supernatural or metaphysical reason behind this unpleasantness. Even more so because of my close ties with water and earth. But after a lot of avoidance of the matter, and a steep depressive chasm for a few days, I came to realize through calming meditation and talks with my guides that this is just one of those awful, mundane bits of life that have no more significance than the house is old and the septic system was poorly built or maintained by previous owners.
This last year when I travelled back to Canada to attend Kaleidoscope Gathering a Pagan festival near Ottawa, I got to spend some time hanging out with my friend Pamela and got to see more of the wild country. It HUGE!! And awesome and I love it, bit I digress.We spent a bit of time driving down country roads around many wonderful lakes and eating custard filled donuts at Timmies. It was during this time that I got to see Deer eating apples in somebodies front yard, on our way to a Wolf Sanctuary, or it might have been the sight of Turkey Vultures circling above as we got out of the car, that I had the sudden realisation, that squirrels are real, along with a whole slew of other animals that are native to Canada like crows, toads, eagles, groundhogs, chipmunks, vultures and of course squirrels. I have learnt about all of these animals via wildlife documentaries, books and wonderful teachers such as David Attenborough, and Jane Goodall as well as the various magical books where I have learnt about there more magical spiritual meanings.
What is “Animal Wisdom?” These are the teachings from the animals who help you with a problem, offer advice for a certain aspect of your life, or simply come to teach you. I call them “Animal Teachers.” For me, “Animals of the Heart” are your life companions, who have been a part of your life since your childhood. “Animals of the Way” help you with a particular part of your life such as being a parent. They are your traveling companions on your life’s journey.
Why not “animal totems,” “power animals” or “animal familiars?” For me, these are reserved terms for various concepts in Native American, Shamanistic, and Wiccan beliefs respectively. These terms have particular meanings in those practices. For me, “Animal Teachers” are the most descriptive since many animals are willing to share their wisdom with people.
While people look for many things in a religion, community is undoubtedly one of the most important. This week for Watery Wednesday we took at the ways in which community shapes religion and vice versa. Read on to learn about the 2015 Mythopoeic Awards, the nature of the Muslim fast of Ramadan, and how you can support contemporary Pagan artists. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!