Well my pathworking went well on Tuesday, didn't write anything down just in case the rustling of paper distracted people from meditation & I had regained my ability to concentrate, it was well attended as far as faith focus session went & I was pleased the way it turned out. Various people in the pathworking saw animals in their visuals in their meditations, which being a wildwood working is not surprising I guess, but it was not the the last time that animals got brought up in a spiritual context that day as later on I got talking to our Catholic chaplain (which when we get into our little discussion modes can be quite interesting, sometimes we agree, invariably we don't, but agree to disagree & without coming much to a conclusion still shake hands). But we got talking about animals which is no surprise for those who know me & we got talking about animal conciousness, do they know the divine? Are we spiritually & otherwise superior to animals? He took the traditional Christian view on the subject, I being Pagan did not.
There was the argument about an animals ability to grasp concepts of the divine, can animals see the great divine, do they have their own version of it, Catholic chaplain said no, I said I'm not so sure what is there to stop animals having an idea of such concept, just because we don't necessarily know what they are thinking doesn't mean that they don't have any idea of such a concept, my mind drifted off to Neil Gaiman's Sandman novels & I did recommend he read them (lead balloon time). Then I found something that foxed him slightly more, the elephant graveyards & no clear disagreement happened. Then there was the argument that animals don't prepare their food & i pointed out that Japanese macaque monkeys do, they wash their food before eating & only in certain springs that it will also season their food too again the argument was not so clear cut, I should have also pointed to the point that bluebottles & little owls tend to prep food in their own ways too. Then there was the beautifying argument that kinda got lumped into the food argument, if I'd separated it out from it i could have pointed out that birds like the bower bird, magpies& adelie penguins decorate nests sometimes just because they like them or to impress a potential mate who will hopefully will, so they appreciate beauty, animals groom themselves & each other so understand the need for cleanliness & appearance, so what is there to stop them having spirit/souls.
I don't see myself as above other animals, but equal to, our brains maybe more developed & we may have move dexterity in our hands & tend to be better problem solvers, but isn't that more to do with the fact that we lack the natural defences of speed, agility, strength & noxious chemicals (barring the after effects of eating curry or over cooked cabbage). We may have built bigger houses but in that respect we could argue that we are getting in contact to our in bower bird & have the ability to use a larger array of tools, but without animals we would have little food either by direct or indirect production, they provide us with companionship, some fabrics, transport & awe at such beauty, how can you not feel connection with them on an equal level, we couldn't live without them, but I wouldn't like to put a bet on it the other way around. Also when the Pagan cultures that were & still are still around when the more modern communities came into contact with them they refer to animals as brother or sister as well as the plant kingdoms & they communicate with the spirit of them to live in harmony with them & they live freer lives believing it. We are not the uber species, many manials can kill us some which eat us like lions & wolves some don't like hippos & elephants, so let us not forget that. We maybe impressive in many ways but animals can be more so so don't write of their abilities in their minds yet.