I’m interrupting my ongoing series from my Belize journal to discuss parenting & children – more specifically… how it applies to us, as Pagans, and our animals. Because if we truly believe what we say we believe, then there isn’t a separation between “us” and “them” – everything that moves and grows & breathes is part of the Great Mother, and we are no better than any other creature… Right?!
I was watching a program the other day about the whole creation vs evolution debate (apparently it’s a ‘hot topic’ again) and I was struck by the comments some of these people were making:
I just cannot believe that I come from an ape!
We are so much more than just beasts… We’re more important than that. We mean more than that.
We believe that we were created in the image of God… and if we’re descended from animals, then are we saying that God is nothing more than an animal?!
Honestly, I wanted to throw something at my TV, but that would have just hurt me & my TV and made no difference whatsoever – so I just breathed.
Because I don’t see my fellow creatures as “just animals” or “beasts” or any of that. I’ve said to friends of mine that the older I get the more I like animals & the less I like most people. They are just as valid a part of this world as we are… and as Pagans, we don’t actually believe that they’re ours to do with as we wish. However, on the other side, Genesis 1:26 says:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
In Genesis alone there are no less than five distinct instances where the Judeo-Christian God tells ‘man’ (in this case literally THE MAN) that everything on the earth is his to own, and control, and subjugate. Well, I’m sorry but I just don’t buy into that. Could be because all through the same book ‘man’ is told that women are also his to own, control, and subjugate. If I’m gonna call bullshit on that, then I have to call it on the whole idea of subjugation. That’s just how I roll.
I’m going somewhere with this – hang tight.
Last week, my little sister had a baby – her second. I was there for the birth & it was absolutely amazing. I’ve thought about motherhood, myself, but it hasn’t been in the cards at least to this point. I used to be against the idea of adoption, in my mind it wasn’t “as real” as having your own child, but as time has gone on I’ve been able to adjust my perspective. And as I looked down on my little niece during her first moments in the world (at least this go-round), I fell immediately in love. I could see, without reservation, how simple it would be to look at a new life in your arms and claim it ‘yours’ no matter what body had facilitated its arrival.
My long-distance sister, friend & sometimes mentor said (quite eloquently): “You give birth every day. You create every day. It doesn’t take squirting a football out of your vajaja to make a mom.” (LoL!)
So the two incidents together got me to thinking… What, exactly, differentiates a parent from a non-parent… and how fluid is that term? Those of us who share our lives with fur-babies are so often called upon to give caveats to society when we’re talking about them. All of the “I *know* they’re not really my children” sort of comments that are generally made to those who have human children but no fur-babies. But really… aren’t they our children? What is it that makes one soul “worthy” of being called a child, and another not? … Provided, of course, that you believe that animals have souls and are our equals in the arms of Mother Earth.
And that, right there, is what separates us as Pagans from those who don’t follow the path. Because if your belief system is of the Judeo-Christian bent, then you believe that humans are above the animals. That they’re to be owned… that they’re PETS. As a witch, I believe in the inherent power of all animals, I believe in their souls, and I believe that they have a purpose & position here on Earth just as much as I do. They’re not my belongings, they’re my children.
I adopted them. I brought them home. I feed them, take them to the doctor, clean up after them, play with them, talk to them… Tell me, where is the difference between what I have in my home & what someone else has with human children? There are a few things that generally separate the two, such as:
- Animals will always need someone to feed them & handle their litter
- They will never grow up, leave home, and start a family
- We know going in that we will very likely outlive them
- Most human kids don’t sleep as much as cats do (though I’ve known a few teenagers… yeah.)
But really, other than that – what are the differences? And are there not human children who, through various circumstances, have these same ‘limitations’?
My cats know me, they know my voice & scent, they talk to me, they read my moods better than most humans I know (and try to help more!)… And while overall it’s sort of like being the parent of a perpetual 2-year-old, there are a few bonuses to having children with four legs:
- They will never be too big to curl up in your lap
- They will always want to sleep in your bed
- They love being petted & rubbed
- They will never scream “I hate you!”
- They won’t move out
And the biggest difference – the most important point, I think – is that while a human child may say (truthfully) “You mean the world to me”, to a fur-baby, you ARE their entire world. They have you. That’s it.
So good luck trying to convince someone who sees animals as property that you can justifiably feel the same love for a cat or dog that they can for a human, but those of us who are ‘in the know’… well, we get it.
I’ll leave you with another little tid-bit – Is the “crazy” cat-lady with 9 cats REALLY so much more ‘out there’ than the couple who are running a baby-factory & have popped out NINETEEN kids? … I mean, seriously. Who defines what’s crazy?
I think I’ll just stick to my little homestead over here… and being a mom.