Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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MOUSE FAMILY: Examine Life’s Lessons

Mice have taken up residence in my kitchen. The old building that I live in is a haven for snakes and mice with my kitchen being a thoroughfare. Of course, I wondered what message the mice have to tell me. 

Mice are natural archivists. Besides storing seeds, they carefully line their nests with grasses. Using the materials at hand, their nest becomes a time capsule of their home area. In cities, mice nests are treasure troves for archeologists. These nests contain bits and pieces of paper, buttons, and other historical objects.

However, because mice spread disease, people thought of them as unclean animals and bad omens. In Christian mythology, they consorted with the Devil, and gnawed at the Tree of Life. In addition, people considered what mice did to be prophetic. Mice scurrying about and squealing meant a storm was coming. Moreover, the Gods sent mice into people’s homes to teach them not to hoard. These animals would gnaw at everything the person owned.

Mice teach people to examine life’s lessons. Sent by the Gods, they destroy greedy people’s possessions. When confronted with an unfamiliar situation, mice adapt and move on. When mice come into your life, be prepared to learn life’s lessons. 

Since I have two species of mice living in my home, I have included insights for both. 

HOUSE MOUSE: True Spirit of Discovery

Wherever people go, tiny House Mouse follows. As the world’s most widespread rodent, He lives in a commensal relationship with people. Wiggling through a small hole, House Mouse hides in a warm place in the house. He makes his nest in a small drawer, where He can easily find snacks unimpeded

Using his keen senses of smell and hearing, the house mouse sniffs out food. He will eat anything from soap to candles but much prefers seeds. A highly adaptable animal, House Mouse will try new foods. He will nibble on people’s food stores. Unfortunately for the people, the house mouse will transmit diseases and parasites to them.

Living in the spaces created by people’s “footprints,” the house mouse enjoys exploring his environment. As House Mouse explores, He learns about everything in his domain. He memorizes pathways, shelter, the cat, everything in his world. House Mouse’s exploring keeps Him safe since He knows where all the hiding places are. In spite of being a small animal and being hunted by predators, He has such richness to his life that comes from his inquisitive nature.

In European traditions, the house mouse was a manifestation of the human soul. Because He lived underground in dark places, the house mouse was believed to travel from the World of People to the Underworld. Whenever He ran over a person’s body, death was imminent.

House Mouse loves to explore. He travels along secret paths and find routes to food or refuge from danger. In spite of being such a small animal, the house mouse knows a lot about his world. Although the owl may abruptly end his life, the house mouse continues on exploring. He demonstrates the true spirit of discovery. 

DEER MOUSE: Making a Comfy Home

Unlike the house mouse, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) does not live with people. Widespread in North America, She lives where seeds and places to store those seeds abound. To survive in winter, Deer Mouse collects large volumes of seeds. In her small territory, She has well-defined trails for looking for seeds.

Before going on her nocturnal seed gathering, Deer Mouse first carefully grooms Herself. She scrutinizes her fur, carefully looks for fleas, and picks off specks from between her toes. When finished, She races from her nest hole down the tree trunk, stops, and sniffs the air. After checking for any nearby predators, the deer mouse ventures forth to gather seeds.

The deer mouse teaches how to make a comfy home. Her nest in the tree trunk has storage areas and soft grass-lined places for Herself and Her Family. Father Deer Mouse helps too, keeping the place tidy. The deer mouse makes a warm and friendly home. Learn from Her, how to have a home that everyone wants to live in.

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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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