October 18, 2002

More about bears, brought about by Oso's ordeal.

Words, words, words. 728 of them. I wanted to make them 666 so as to spook any fundamentalists that might read my blog (don�t laugh; I hear I'm quite popular with them...) but, as usual, I wrote too much...

I first found the concept of "totem animal(s)" in Jean Auel's "Children of the Earth" series of books, and it got me thinking about who would be mine, an interesting inquiry as part of the "Who am I?" quest.

I�ve always felt much kinship with bears; I have much in common with them: I am slow, heavy and ponderous, but can be surprisingly agile and fast when necessary (this last applied mainly when I was younger, not so much now); I would if I could spend the entire winter sleeping in a cave, I have no use for snow and ice; I like honey and sweet things in general; I love salmon (and all fish, for that matter, as my last name implies); I am mostly a solitary animal and can get quite grumpy on occasion; I like to play in the water.

A friend and I were once watching a documentary on polar bears; in one of the scenes it showed from behind a polar bear trying to climb out of the water into an iceberg; my friend commented and I had to agree that the bear looked remarkably like me.

I believe if we put aside human arrogance and the patriarchal belief that humans are superior to or better than other animals we can learn much from them. The Goddess Our Mother teaches that we are all sisters and brothers, Her children inhabiting Her body.

There are other animals with whom I feel particular kinship and share some traits: dogs, of course, have a special place in my heart, and teach us what's really important in life: love, friendship, loyalty, play, food and shelter, warmth in winter and coolth in summer, the young (for those who breed). Dolphins and other cetaceans, who spend their entire lives playing, eating, making love, resting and perhaps meditating and conversing about Goddess knows what in their mysterious languages that can carry much more information (and hence shades of meaning) than our human ones. Their low-pitched sounds can travel across oceans, so they can talk with any other whale(s) in the world. In a way they have their own internet...

What's really important in life? What do we need to do to overcome that despair that at some point(s) in our life we have all felt? Not that there are answers that are valid for all; each of us needs to discover the correct answers for her/himself, avoiding in the process any inclination to burn at the stake those who find different answers. Why? Well, according to MY answers any harm we do others causes a chain reaction that affects all involved sometimes for very long times, and has to be neutralized before anyone can find peace.

Not doing harm to anyone seems like a concept on which we could all agree. But of course then interminable discussions would ensue on what precisely constitutes harm. The "Holy" Inquisition maintained it was doing good to witches and Jews by burning them at the stake to cleanse them from their "errors" and save their souls. George W. Bush and his accomplices thought � I guess, though I wonder how anyone can be THAT misguided � they were doing good by stealing the election and enacting the first coup d'�tat in American history.

No, one CAN'T win. But I digress. What could I do now that at the time of my death I could look back upon and rejoice that I did? I submit this is not a bad way to select what we are going to do at each moment. That is if we can choose freely, those who are employed are exempt, but the time will come, Goddess willing, for them too to be happily retired. :-) And I guess some fortunate few even enjoy their jobs...

It helps to think of the times in one's life � if any � when one has been really happy,, preferably through one's own efforts. If one needs a specific other being that could be a problem, because s/he may or may not be available/willing/alive or a number of other necessary conditions.

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