Earth Healing Meditation
To assist in the work of our Healing Network, you are invited to participate at your convenience in the following Healing Earth Meditation. Wash your hands and then drink a glass of water. Incense and a candle, preferably white, may be lit. Sit in a quiet place, if possible, facing the East, your hands resting palms down on your lap. Let us relax our physical bodies, still our minds and harmonize our consciousness. Take three deep, slow cleansing breaths and say:
Ruler of All, Below and Above,
Who dwelleth in the Light of Love.
Protect us in a sphere of Light,
Within our hearts illumine bright.
May thy Divine Essence
Cleanse us of all impurities of body and mind,
Thy will be done and may it bind
Us in a ring of sublime Power
That we may become channels in this hour
Through which the Universal Forces may heal our World.
Thy Light, Love and Profound Peace unfurled.
So Mote It Be!
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI OM
Let us now think of ourselves as a chalice into which the Divine Life is poured. Think of this Life, in all its glowing splendor, flowing down from the heavens into the top of our heads, then out through our hearts to heal the sorrows and suffering of the world. Visualize the Earth from space surrounded by this shimmering, healing, sublime essence, infusing first as brilliant soothing bright blue light energy bathing our planet in peace. See the blue slowly turn into beautiful turquoise, then into radiant healing green. After a brief period, visualize the green gradually transforming into luminescent pink encircling Earth in spiritual love. Finally, see the world enveloped in the pure, glowing, scintillating White Light Energy of the Cosmic. Imbue any areas of darkness and discord with additional healing illumination.
May the Greater Light sanctify this attunement for the Greater Good of All, AMEN.
POWER ANIMALS – Their Messages for Us
by Heathclyff St. James-Deville
In my last talk on Shamanism, we learnt that many people have reported learning from the animals by making contact with the animal’s ‘Spirit,’ (its life-force) and that these animal ‘Spirits’ have responded back—by delivering messages that the individual needed to hear and then heed. In this last talk, we noted that the word ‘Silent ’ is an anagram for ‘Listen.’ By remaining Silent, we Listen and Hear. Thus ‘Silence’ is the key to understanding and relating to the ‘Power Animal.’ As the Indian author of British descent, Ruskin Bond (b.1934) so beautifully put it: "To live in harmony with nature we must become good listeners."
Today, we shall talk about how the concept of ‘Power Animals’ can assist us to heal the earth— of which ‘Power Animals’ are naturally a part of—and to heal ourselves.
ANIMALS AND THEIR VOICES - A Study of Interspecies Communication
by Heathclyff St. James-Deville
(excerpted from a longer version of a talk given to the Theosophical Society in Australia)
Animal Communicator, Joanne Hull, writes in her 2010 book, THE PET PSYCHIC that:
"By communicating with animals we can understand their needs and wants, their dislikes and likes. Don’t you think this is important? I most certainly do. By listening to the animals we can unlock the secret of their desires in life and find out what they have always wanted to do. Who is to say animals don’t like to have a purpose in life? I am convinced they do, whether it’s a job of some description —such as guarding, training, or even just looking after their family—or taking part in an activity they enjoy. Shouldn’t they have a right to this?"
She poses some questions that we need to reflect upon. I’d like to reinforce here that, given that we as humans are increasingly losing our contact with the world of nature, that it is important to give this subject – interspecies communication, its fair hearing. I’ll begin by saying that I believe that all living things, be they mineral, plants or animals, have a need to be able to communicate.
To add weight to this belief, in relation to animals, I would like for us to consider the following information.
- Studies show that socially isolated animals are more depressed and more anxious than animals that are grouped together.
- Isolated rodents showed a significant increase in locomotor activity, were more immobile in the forced swim test and had an increase in emotions that relate to anxiety and depression.
- Isolated primates showed several symptoms of depressive behaviour, higher levels of stereotypy, less grooming, higher levels of self-clasping and more passivity to social stimuli long after the experiment had been completed. Social isolation has also been linked to more aggressive behaviour.
- Rats that were isolated when they were two months old, showed a constant aggressiveness in their first year of life. Isolated male mice also show increased tendencies to fight after isolation and generally became more aggressive.
- Social isolation has also been shown to cause animals to consume alcohol and other drugs when available.
- Isolated animals have shown memory disorders and sleep disorders. They also have higher risk of developing diseases.
Studies also tell us that:
Animals submitted to social deprivation from weaning show profound and long-lasting changes in aggressiveness... In addition, early social deprivation affects brain mechanisms relevant for aggression control.[i]
Let us now move on to explore just how some animals do communicate with us.An Animal Whisperer communicates with animals, generally still living, to sort out an animal’s problems, to locate lost animals, to communicate with wild animals and sometimes even to communicate with those who have passed over.The terms, Animal Communicator is simply another name for an Animal Whisperer. Some of the situations in which we may find it helpful to talk with our animals through the assistance of an animal communicator include:
- Deepening our understanding, intimacy and sacred bond with animals by discovering what they are thinking, feeling and what means most to them
- Understanding how animals view their lives, informing us of their everyday likes and preferences for food and any needs that they may have.
- Understanding how animals view their relationship with us, the purpose of your coming together, and how any past life issues may be relevant to the present
- Behavioural or Emotional Problems: Discovering the causes, negotiating changes and solutions, and about emotional upsets such as fear, aggression, withdrawal, depression, etc.
- To be in a better position to heal trauma, such as from injury, illness, death or grief. Assisting an animal whose spirit may be earth-bound.
- Helping rescue animals to understand sheltering and fostering, identify what they want in a new home (i.e. kids, other animals), adjust to new family and home, heal from neglect, abuse and abandonment
- Understanding how animals view and experience illness and health problems; preparing an animal for surgery or other medical interventions and explain procedure.
This is a good one in terms of taking an animal to a vet. This is also good for helping a wild animal understand what is occurring around them.
- Being there to support an animals' needs through death and dying
- Being able to communicate with an animal after their death Supporting and understanding an animals' needs through grief and anticipatory grief regarding death of other family members (animals grieve the death of animals and humans just like we do)
- Looking at reincarnation issues. Why is the animal where it is now or where it may end up. Does the animal wish us to know something that may be otherwise hidden.
- Helping your animals understand family structure changes: new arrivals of animals or humans; discussing your pet’s needs before adding a new animal family member; departures of other animals or humans through divorce, separation, death, etc. This is different to grief issues as it is about family structure.
- Travel and moving: helping animals understand that their humans will return from business trips and vacations and who will care for them to reduce or prevent separation anxiety; showing them "pictures" of a new home beforehand, including any important physical boundary concerns.
The first animal communicator might be that of the Italian brother known as St. Francis, (1181-1226), the Patron saint of Animals. He would speak to all the animals and they in turn would respond. In the book, The Little Flowers of St, Francis, There is the story of a Wolf who attacked people when they left the village of Gubbio, Italy. Upon hearing this, St. Francis ventured forth, and upon meeting the fierce animal, he gently tamed it speaking to it. It is believed to have followed St. Francis around like a pet after this and was fed thereafter by offerings from the townsfolk. (The Little Flowers of St. Francis, J. M. Dent and Sons, London 1912 Chapter 21, p.38)
World Animals Day is observed on October 4th each year in honour of the Feast Day of St. Francis; the day the he died in 1226. World Animals Day itself began in 1931. Many are the stories of saints who possessed an ability to communication with animals or vice versa. Some of these Saints are:
St. Bartholomew and the duckling that strayed and fell into a deep ravine.
St. Columba and the tired crane who spent three days care for by the saint.
St. Leonore, the robin and a field of corn that was planted to feed the poor when no corn could be found.
St. Felix who was saved by a spider who built a web across a gap that was previously entered by St. Felix, thus protecting the saint from his enemies; soldiers out to kill him for being a Christian.
St. Martin (1579-1639) who was known for protecting mice from being killed by his monastery. He had the mice line up at the end of each day so that they could be fed instead of stealing throughout the day.
St. Roch, (1295-1327) who went into a forest to die after having contracted the plague, but was instead taken care of by a dog who would bring food to him.
St. Blandina (d. 177) who, even though tied to a post to be killed by wild animals, was saved when these lions and bears did not touch her.
Yogananda (1893-1952), famous as the author of Autobiography of a Yogi, had a psychic connection to a Fawn that was ill. Yogananda took the fawn and placing it in his lap, he went into a deep meditation. The fawn appeared to recover but on the next night, it came to Yogananda in his dream and said, "You are holding me back! Please let me go!" In his dream, Yogananda answered, “All right.” He immediately woke the boys living in the dorm and announced that the fawn was dying. They all gathered around it. The fawn, upon seeing Yogananda, struggled to its feet and tottered towards Yogananda, collapsed, and died at his feet.[iii]
So what are animals communicating to those who listen to, and work, with them?
In a fascinating book, Animal Voices,[iv] by Dawn Baumann Brunke, we learn that animals are very concerned about us and the planet.
Here is a message from a bug:
I am an old bug. I watch. I listen. I heard you were talking to animals, so I came to see for myself. I am a slow bug—walk, walk, sometimes fly. I see many humans moving around...Not much mindfulness of where they are or the gifts present in each place, each moment.
I speak of slowness, of seeing the beauty and wonder of wherever you find yourself. I speak of saying hello to all creatures you meet....Good tidings come to those who appreciate the simple things. This is an old truth, a simpler way of seeing the world.
A message from a jaguar reads:
I was asked to help with a problem concerning jaguars coming too close to a village in Costa Rica. What I got from the jaguars was that they’re being so crowded in their environment that their impinging on human life.
And again, another message, this time from a lion:
You ask us what our purpose is in the grander scheme of things and we find this amusing. Humans figure each form of life must serve some "purpose," must have some grand role to shape its life and destiny...You come to us because you desire to save yourselves. If the planet were bigger and had more resources, you might not be asking these questions....When humans see lions, they think of power, pride, kings. You see us at the top of the pecking order, because you see through your own filters of domination, control and hierarchy. All the qualities you relegate to us can be seen in a wren or a shrew.
There is no doubt here that we truly need to wake up to ourselves and stop abusing the world because we think we are the apex of creation.
To quote the Eckankar Mahanta, Harold Klemp[v]:
"We tend to think of humans as the pinnacle of evolution. This may be true of biological evolution, but it is not necessarily the case from a spiritual perspective. Many souls in the animal form are already highly evolved spiritually. They can give and receive divine love in a way that many humans would not understand."
It is generally taught that animals communicate in pictures via telepathic powers. For example, an animal will ‘communicate’ an image so that a person can then understand them. Animal souls that are, let us say, ‘earthbound,’ will often hold on to a picture of their companions whilst living. A pet psychic will be able to then explain to the animal that it is no longer living, and that its companions (human or animal) can no longer be around to feed or play with.
The former Olympic team show-jumper, David Bowen, relates how when he was nearing a fence to jump, he would ‘visualize’ him and the horse ‘jumping’ over the fences – and the horse would indeed ‘jump’ with ease.[vi]
And how do animals interpret what they are being fed back? The following story by the Rev. Caesar Otway (1760-1842) shows how an animal can understand what is going on around it. It is to be found in the book, Man and Beast – Here and Hereafter (1878), by the Rev. John G. Wood.[vii]
A gentleman of property had a mastiff of great size, a very watchful and intelligent animal. One particular day, it would not leave its master. This was strange for generally it would be tethered outside by a servant.
On this day, the dog clung to its master, and became angry toward the servant. Later that evening, the dog ran upstairs and hid under the bed of its owner. In the night a man burst into the room and with a knife in hand, attempted to stab the sleeper. But the dog went for the robber’s neck, fastened its fangs in him, and so kept him down until the robber was secured. The owner of the mastiff later learned that the servant had colluded with the robber, and both had conspired to murder him. The truly interesting aspect to this story was that they had plotted the whole scheme leaning over the roof of the dog’s kennel.No one need to accept that the mastiff knew all that was being said, but that the dog had somehow gathered the intent of the conversation is evident.
Another case involved a dog not seen but heard. The dog’s owners were woken up by hearing their pet walking about the bedroom but not seeing the animal, they went back to sleep. A while later, their daughter rushed in to stay that the dog was dying. The girl’s parent rushed downstairs to find that their pet held entangled himself in his collar and was strangling. His ‘appearance’ was that which ultimately saved him.
Another example of animal communication, this time, with no verbal contact, relates to a cat and a prisoner, a Seventh-Day Adventist minister. The minister was jailed for refusing to deny God and was sent to a prison in Siberia. The Commandant asked again for the minister to deny God and when this was denied, the Commandant took a different stance – He refused to allow the minister any food. Each day the Commandant came to visit the prisoner, the prisoner does not deny God and so no food. However, each day a piece of black bread is placed on a window ledge – from the outside. The prisoner cannot see who is bringing this food to him so, to prove God is looking out for him, he decides to keep the bread. Eventually, and five days later, the minister shows the Commandant the slices of bread. As they are together, the Commandant, after raving on about ‘disloyal’ prison offices, they both see a shadow appear at the window and try to look up. Stepping back, what appears but a huge black cat – owned by the Commandant no less. So, amazed, the Commandant turns to God for forgiveness.[viii]
Some years back now, as I was reading a book on the path of a Christian, THE NEW LIFE by John Marshall, a fly alighted on the page that I had open before me. He took my attention and as I studied him for a good 10 minutes – thus to discern the beauty of this insect; a Creature created ‘very good’ (Gen. I). He was so cute (to me at least) and seemingly enjoyed himself as he ambled across the pages and along the book’s spine. Again, I feel blest as I entered into a deeper unison with one of the Creatures created ‘very good.’ I have had similar experiences with a Grasshopper, a Praying Mantis, a Cockroach, a Lapwing, a Mud Lark, a Paddlefish, several outdoor Spiders, a green Beetle, some Ravens and Mynah birds and, by exercising much patience and respect, numerous Possums. One such possum comes up to me now and then where I work and we share a biscuit together; she nibbling on the biscuit and allowing me to stroke her little ears.
We can all achieve such sacred moments in our life as we learn to respect ALL LIFE, no matter its manifestation, and sit in Sacred Silence. The animals know our intent even before we do – as did the Fly. He knew, I really do believe, that I would not squash him. So we have seen that insects, birds and animals do possess the ability to speak with each other and ourselves. They have a message for us to listen out for and they employ some humans to be the vehicle or channel of such messages.
It is up to each of us to try to understand the world that animals live in, in a far greater depth than is our usual want. By doing this, the doors to a whole new world can, I believe, be opened and we shall be beckoned "Welcome," if our heart and our intent is true, compassionate and non-threatening. My hope is that we not only listen but likewise put into action what the animals are telling us.
[i] In a paper titled, Early Social Deprivation Induces Disturbed Social Communication and Violent Aggression in Adulthood (Ma´té To´th, Jo´zsef Hala´sz, Éva Mikics, Bogla´rka Barsy, and Jo´zsef Haller and published in Behavioral Neuroscience 2008, Vol. 122, No. 4, 849–854
[iii] Autobiography of a Yoga by Paramahansa Yogananda Self-Realization Fellowship (1998) Cpt. ‘Founding a Yoga School in Ranchi’
IVBear and Company (USA) 2002
v Animals are Soul too! Eckankar (USA) 2005
vi Quoted in Psychic Pets by John Sutton, Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) 1997
vii Originally cited in the Notes of the Rev. Caesar Otway, The intellectuality of domestic animals, a Lecture [Delivered Before the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, February 27, 1840] p.42
[viii] The Seventh-Day Ox and Other Miracle Stories from Russia by Bradley Booth, Review and Herald Publishing Company (2011)
It is also a very remarkable fact that although there are many animals which exhibit more dexterity than we do in some of their actions, we at the same time observe that they do not manifest any dexterity at all in many others. Hence the fact that they do better than we do, does not prove that they are endowed with mind, for in this case they would have more reason than any of us, and would surpass us in all other things. It rather shows that they have no reason at all, and that it is nature which acts in them according to the disposition of their organs, just as a clock, which is only composed of wheels and weights is able to tell the hours and measure the time more correctly than we can do with all our wisdom. (Animals are Machines by René Descartes. Reprinted from: Passions of the Soul (1649)
Ramana- Seeing the True Light in All Life
by Heathclyff St. James-Deville
Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi was a wonderful man whose life was most fascinating; whose insight was way ahead of its time. I cannot go into great length about his life so would recommend the biography: Sri Ramana: The Sage of Arunagiri by Aksharajna to begin with.
He was born on the 30th December 1879 on the day known as Ardra Darshanam, a day assigned to that of a holy man. His father, Sundaram Ayes, was a local pleader, (he helped people though he was not a qualified lawyer) and his mother was called Alagammal. Ramana was known at his birth as Venkataraman. Venkataranam's father died when he was twelve years old. Venkataranam had two brothers and a sister, though the family broke up after this, with Venkataranam moving to live with an uncle at Manamadurai, as too did his older brother, Nagaswamy.
When he was about seventeen, Venkataranam was on his way to school when he met an elderly relative and asked where this relative was coming from. "Arunachala" was the reply. Upon hearing this, Venkataranam had a vision of Something Great. In the middle of 1896 came the time that he experienced the Great Awakening. It was after this time that he came to be known as Ramana Maharshi.
Ramana was one who saw all life as equal, the attitude known as Samabhavatvem, and put this into practice as he saw animals as manifestations of the Lord, a practice known as Samatva. This is aptly shown by Ramana and his attitude towards dogs. He saw them as his children, saying that "They cannot speak the language of human beings. Therefore, even when they are half starved, they cannot complain. They keep quiet."1 Indeed, he would feed the dogs first and then the devotees. He never looked down upon the dogs. He once said of a dog, "This dog is always in unwavering 'samadhi.' A great soul has come in the form of a dog. Mother [Alagammal] does not know this."2 Samadhi here means to be absorbed in the spirit of self with or without trance.
Another time a dog was heard barking loudly at night, enough to awaken Ramana. Upon waking, he instructed an attendant to feed the dog, remarking later that the dog "was some 'Siddha' who had taken the form of a dog and had come here to have a meal. There are many siddhas around, and they do not wish to make themselves known. That is why they come like this."3 A Siddha is a spiritually accomplished person and yet here Ramana is attaching this concept to a dog.
Now contrast this attitude with that expressed in the book, How to Lead a Household Life, by Sw. Ramsukhas, the following penned in relation to the dog:
"A dog should not be kept as a pet. He who keeps it as a pet goes to hell...the dog is very impure and unholy. With its way of living with particular reference to eating and drinking, with its touch and with its sitting from one place to another, it causes impurity and unholiness...and the fruit of unholiness is unholiness (hell etc.)....The reason is that at the time of death if it's thought comes to the mind of the householder, he will have to become a dog."4 [refer to Bhagavad Gita 8.6 and Mahabharata Anu 127.15-16]
Ramana held love and respect for many animals, be they furry, feathery or scaly. He had a favourite cow which he called Lakshmi. She was totally devoted to Ramana and had an almost uncanny ability for communicating with him. There is a book about her life titled Sri Ramana-Friend of Animals: Cow Lakshmi, that is a beautiful biography of her life and her release from this life and her liberation at the hands of Ramana.
Another of Ramana's animal companions was a monkey called 'Nondipaiyan,' the little hobbler. The story of his life is told in the book Nondi and the Monkeys of Arunachala. Aside from these, Ramana was a friend to birds - his favourites were the peacocks. He shared his life with pigeons, sparrows, crows. He was a friend to squirrels, elephants and wild cats. He was a friend to snakes and scorpions. One snake in particular would visit him in his ashram to receive 'darshan' (that is, to see a holy person or deity). There is an incident recorded where a pair of peacocks danced and the snake would dance with them. Peacocks and snakes are usually natural enemies. He was equally a friend to insects.
Bhagavan did not believe in killing animals. He had the insight to realize that animals, including snakes, scorpions and even mosquitoes, did what they did as was their 'dharma' or duty. For example, in answer to the question about killing mosquitoes, Ramana replied: "If you were to take your complaint against mosquitoes to a court of law, the mosquitoes would win the case. Their dharma-the rule they must live by is to bite and sting. They live on the blood sucked after biting. They are teaching you that you are not the body. You object to their stings only because you identify your with the body." 5
It is also interesting to note that Ramana had samadhis built for Valli the deer, the blessed crow who died in Ramana's hands, for Cow Lakshmi and for a dog called Jackie. A Samadhi in this context is small tomb dedicated to an enlightened saint or other such individual. Furthermore, he was a friend of plants and flowers. To conclude here, I would like to quote the following words which express the depth of this True Teacher:
"People will not allow the leaves to remain where they are, beautiful and alive. They pick them, pierce them, thread and kill them. Does God need such worship? Don't they belong to him when they are on the plants and trees? We do horrible things to flowers, but we would not offer ourselves to God." 6
What a great legacy to leave behind - a Man who loved All Life and whose actions could be construed by some as going against the Scriptures. But for myself, I read of a man who truly 'Lived the essence of the Scriptures.' Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi died April 14, 1950. At the exact time of his death (8.47 pm) a comet was observed passing over the holy hill, known as Arunachala.
- Bhagavan Ramana The Friend of All Publ. Sri Ramanasraman Tiruvannamalai 2010 ISBN 978-81-8288-089-4
- Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi by Prof. Laxmi Narain (editor) 2005 Sri Ramana Kendram
- Sadhu's Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi by Sadhu Arunachala (2008) ISBN 9788188018374
- How to Lead a Household Life by Sw.Ramsukhdas, Gita Press, 2011 ISBN. 81-293-0035-4
- Cited in Bhagavan Ramana The Friend of All. See also Bhagavad Gīta 3:35
- Ramana Smriti Published in 1980 as a souvenir commemorating the birth centenary of Sri Ramana
ANIMAL SPIRIT GUARDIANS
by Joann Monaco
Spirits of animals have been venerated since the evolution of humanity on our planet. Animal stories, fables and legends are a part of all global cultures and ethnicities. From a very early age, tales of powerful, wise and foolish animals are told to educate and entertain us. We owe the creatures of the Earth an eternal debt of gratitude for our sustenance. Just think, where would we be without them? Would we even BE at all?
We are part of the animal kingdom and our reliance on animals in indisputable. Our primitive ancestors learned from observing animals in nature which plants were good to eat for nutrition as well as those that were good for healing. Creatures of the Earth are an essential part of many aboriginal traditions as well as Native American spirituality. The Native Americans believe all life is sacred. Totem poles are placed in reverence to animal spirit guardians. Each different animal has a specific spiritual attribute. Some examples are as follows:
Turtle is symbolic of our Mother Earth
Frog is a symbol of spiritual cleansing
Butterfly symbolizes transformation
Bear represents introspection
Horse is power
Wolf is the teacher
Crow symbolizes Universal or Cosmic Law (God's Law is not man's law)
Hawk is the messenger of Great Spirit
The animals we encounter in our daily lives whisper their subtle messages and blessings when we open ourselves to their spirits for guidance. For instance, ants in the kitchen could indicate more than spilled sugar - they may be quietly suggesting to us that more patience is needed in a given situation.
To attune to our personal animal spirit guides, the following prayer may be recited. This invocation honors the spirits of our fellow creatures and welcomes their influence into our lives. Say the prayer and be receptive and perceptive of the animals encountered thereafter.
Animal Spirits far and wide
With Humankind do you abide.
In humbleness we do beseech
That your sublime power and wisdom teach
Us to understand thy ways
Enlightening our nights and days
Guide and protect us in this task
With Love and thanks this do we ask.
Beauty and Ugliness in Nature: Do They Exist?
By Heathclyff St James-Deville
Does the way that we subjectively view Nature have a far-reaching impact on how we relate to the living creatures found within Nature? I include here all the Elemental Beings – the Dryads, the Fai, the Water Sprites, as too the Mischievous Imps, for they all matter. It is important to note that I view the Individual Being as equal in importance to that of the group. We speak of the “Species” as somehow separate from the animal singular which, again, impacts on how we treat these beings.
One author used as the title of his book, THE SOCIAL CREATION OF NATURE[i] which begs the question, Is Nature Created by our perception? Is Nature nothing more than a Social Construct? I think not, for if we create Nature by our own subjectivity, then where will this take us in the future? Cloning and genetically altering plants and animals for our own ends is already one problem that stares me in the face[ii], the other – the patenting of LIFE by the greedy arrogance that we are somehow ‘above Nature,’ a concept known as ALGENY.
[A] term… coined by Dr. Joshua Lederberg. It means to change the essence of a living thing by transforming it from one state to another; more specifically, the upgrading of existing organisms and the design of wholly new ones with the intent of “perfecting” their performance.[iii]
We tend to describe things around us, or that we come into contact with, as either being Beautiful (attractive) or Ugly (repulsive); Good (beneficial / benevolent) or Evil (detrimental / malevolent). In relation to Nature and those who reside within Her world, these views can – and indeed do – have tremendous repercussions.
A useful definition of Beauty is found in the article: Is Beauty Relative? by Ruth Phelps and which appeared in THE ROSICRUCIAN DIGEST of September 1953:
Beauty is the manifestation of the creative force in man, in others, and in the world outside man, as perceived on this second level – that is, subjectively. On this level, Ugliness is lack of Beauty; or, to put it another way, it is lack of that which is pleasing to the inner being. It is lack of creative force, or the failure to use or perceive it. An old building may be ugly objectively, but it may be beautiful subjectively through its inner values. A period of deep trouble is ugly if viewed objectively – that is, on the first level. But viewed subjectively, judged by its spiritual values, it is beautiful. Ugliness, then, is lack of Beauty; it is man’s failure to use and perceive the creative force of Divine Mind. A thing is Ugly because the one perceiving it lacks the creative force.
Whilst the Indian Educationist, Mr. V. N. Bhushan (1909-1951), writes in THINGS OF BEAUTY: [iv]
Beauty is not that which simply tickles our senses or yields us momentary pleasure. It is not that which merely comprises of symmetry, variety and colour. It is not a mere reconciliation of matter and sensation on the one side with intellect and spirit on the other. Nor is in a thing of intellectual content and aesthetic experience. Beauty includes all this, and at the same time is above and beyond all of them, beauty cannot be explained by any formula or illustrated by any figure.
Please do not think that I do not have an appreciation for goodness and beauty, nor regret for evil and the ugliness that evil gives begets. My hope here is merely one whereby we take our subjective worldview and expand it to the objective world, in relation to the things found within Nature, and vice-versa. Hopefully, this will move us to see animals in a better light. We may still fear the snake, the bat, the cockroach or the spider. However, when we learn to see animals as a part of the glory of the natural world, we may see the snake, the bat, the cockroach and the spider, as creatures to be admired.
Even where we may view something as “Ugly,” it is important to see that even these play an important role in their life here on earth. Take away some of these “Ugly” animals and insects and we may be kissing a given plant species “Goodbye” – and, life being interconnected, such would inevitably flow on to other plants etc. Authors, Martin J Hodson and Margot R Hodson[v] inform us that:
All the views above [Anthropocentric, egocentric and biocentric] will result in the protection of some biodiversity, but they all tend to leave some species out because they are not “useful” or “pretty”, large enough to be easily visible, or whatever. Only when we protect biodiversity holistically for its intrinsic value will we maximize protection, and decrease loss of species
Do people care about the humble fly as an important part of the world; of Nature? It may interest you to know that over a 100,000 scientific papers have been produced in relation to experiments utilizing flies. Back in the 1970s there was much research carried out to produce mutant flies – bicaudal was born without a head or much of a body, Antennapedia had a extra pair of legs but they were attached to where the antennae should have been; the work of Hermann Muller.[vi]
Researching about flies proved extremely difficult for these creatures are viewed as ‘ugly’ and the spreaders of disease. However, one author writes: “…the benefits which man derives from flies far outweigh their nuisance value and the damage they may do to crops. There are a great many species of flies that are active pollinators of plants. The parasitic flies are continually controlling the numbers of destructive insect pests. Many of the aquatic flies form the major item of food for fish, particularly stream-inhabiting fish such as trout and young salmon. Although we do not like to see a dead animal seething with countless thousands of white maggots, nevertheless , in this regard, the flies are performing a useful function in reducing such dead organic matter to a form which can eventually be utilized by plants. From a purely aesthetic point of view, if man destroyed all flies then many of the birds that brighten the countryside with their cheerful songs and brilliant colours would also vanish”[vii]
So all things are connected; all things should thus be respected.
For a full copy of this Paper (about 14 pages), please send me your request to: Almanac64@mail.com. Please specify PDF or WORD. Comments are also welcome on this topic for it is a work in progress
[i] Evernden, N. (1992) John Hopkins University Press
[ii] Roosters hen-pecked into sex change by Grant McArthur, Herald-Sun August 27, 2009 p.11
[iii]Cited in the book, ALGENY by Jeremy Rifkin (1984) Penguin Books
[iv] Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 2001 From the Preface p.ix
[v] CHERISHING THE EARTH: How To Care for God’s Creation (2008) Monarch Books UK p.34-35
[vi] Brookes, M. (2002) FLY: The Unsung Hero of 20th Century Science, Phoenix UK
[vii] Urquhart, F.A. (1964) Frederick Warne and Co, London [Revised Ed. Of 1949) p.208
Life's Circle: A Complimentary Newsletter
By Heathclyff St. James-Deville
As part of the GAIA Department, we are offering a six/eight page newsletter called Life's Circle. This newsletter shall explore some of the facets of life as found within the realm of Nature, coupled with spirituality. Each issue shall, where possible, contain:
- A feature article which will be a blend of the philosophical with the practical.
- Book Reviews
- An old Nature Poem to help return back in connecting with Nature. These will mainly be poems that have sadly been lost from the world.
- Ideas to assist us in reconnecting back to the world of Nature and/or practical steps to help in alleviating the suffering found within the Plant and Animal Kingdoms.
The first issue has an article on vegetable soap, two book reviews on pets and natural health and some articles on the spiritual path and its relation to the environment and animals. The second issue has a Creation Story from a pagan perspective, a piece on the Sacred Circle Dance of Life, a ritual for honoring water and an article on The Heart as penned by an Islamic author.
Below are some thoughts to ponder, condensed from our first issue and explored further in Issue No. 2:
As we wander through our journey of Life, do we simply seek out spirituality as a means for making our own life purposeful - or do we try to extend this spirituality to All Life? If we cannot extend our Spirituality outwards and, at the same time, embrace compassion for All Life, then I feel we may be cheating that which lies behind (or should lie behind) all things spiritual, that being COMPASSION. Life is manifested in a multiplicity of forms and ergo, the most important thing is how we treat such Life-forms in our daily walk - in the HERE AND NOW. Such should not be motivated by our own greed; our own gain or reward future wise. Far better that we are moved by a deeply-held respect for all the things of Nature that we are blessed to share our life with.
For a complimentary copy of the entire newsletter issue, please specify Issue No.1 or Issue No. 2 and the format you prefer – Word, PDF or postal mail hardcopy. Please email me:email@example.com Subject Line: Life's Circle
We at Theosophy Downunder (www.theosophydownunder.org) would like to make the following contribution from one of our late members. Bernie passed away many years ago, but his spirit of compassion for all sentient beings lives on in his words below:
Man's Responsibility to the Animals
by Bernard Parsons
The ancients held that animals should be treated with respect. The Jains of India made concern for animal life an important feature of their religious life. In Spartan Greece, a community that went overboard in imposing a fierce code of discipline on its citizens, they would punish a child who was found guilty of cruelty to an animal – characteristically if not wisely – with death. The Hindus teach that even as the humans received the divine fire of knowledge of the difference between right and wrong so many millions of years ago, so in a similarly far distant time some animals will when ready take the next step into human-like self consciousness.
In the mean-time, animals are our responsibility. We do this best, not by fussing too much over them but most certainly by not taking advantage of them. I think it is monstrous that today in a country pledged to the ideal of freedom, animals are vivisected cruelly, not for the impersonal advancement of science but so that some researcher might receive praise from his peers for the results of his experiments. On a less horror-filled note, and there is plenty of horror in the subject of vivisection, many instances exist of a special rapport between certain animals and humans and certain sorts of animals and other species.
Perhaps you have heard the saying that people grow to look like the pets they keep? Perhaps the link was there before those persons were born. The Aborigines of Australia at a time of initiation into manhood appoint to each candidate a totemic bird or beast. This beast he may not kill or eat, and it is said between the man and his totemic animal a bond of trust grows. There are instances in plenty of animals seeking contact with humans. On the North-West coast of Australia at a little hamlet called Monkey Mia, dolphins have for years come into the shallows to be patted, fed, and to introduce their young to the locals swimming there. A zoologist from England studying the dolphins was packing up his gear while his son was having a last swim in the autumn evening before they left off work for the year. The dolphin the man had been particularly studying came up to the eleven-year old lad, put his head between the boy’s legs and gave him a ride round the boat harbour!
Another marvellous story is that of a farmer who had the care of an eagle that was injured in a storm. The farmer later retired and came to live in South Melbourne. The eagle had come back for short visits at the farm, but one day the farmer found the eagle sitting on the back fence of his South Melbourne home. It had sought him out and found him, from among so many similar dwellings, at such a great distance from their original home. I was given a strong lesson in good manners by a pointer bitch mothering five pups. As they became ready for weaning she continued to play with them a little but mostly she would jump up to a place out of reach and let the pups tumble over each other ‘til meal time came. At last there was only one pup left and mum set to work to play games with it. She chased the pup and rolled it over and ran away in pretended fright, followed by the enthusiastic pup. I saw this stately old hound doing this and I laughed. She never played with that pup again whilst I was watching and it took me a week to get her to wag when I patted her.
There is the case of swans who mate for life and such is their constancy that should one die the mate joins a group for company but never mates again. There is the case of the sun bird which will build a large oval decorated nest commonly near a house, in northern Australia. People hang ropes down in hope the birds will build on them. The birds show little fear of mankind and will fly into the house and out again without showing fear.
Many animals show flashes of almost human quality in their life. Another example is the albatross that breeds near Dunedin in New Zealand, which has a unique courting ritual. Two birds meeting and not having room to dance on the rocky windswept cliffs where the nests are made, the two birds take to the sky. There they spread their marvelous flexible wings, flying in ever changing harmony, a soundless dance, dipping and weaving until a rapport is established. One wonders if in the misty southern oceans hunting for fish often out of earshot or out of sight, they find each other. Is this the skill they practice in the courting dance? Find each other they do. They, too, mate for life.
Just as we share our life atoms with the animals, let us hope to their advantage, so it is conceivable that we share the life atoms of the gods. It is a brave thought. Remember the saying of Jesus the Master – In as much as you do it to the least among you so shall it be done to you. This is the great Law of Karma. It applies to every being in the universe, gods, men, animals.