Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

A blog encouraging deeper relations between people and animals.

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Virginia Carper

Virginia Carper

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.  
Orca (Killer Whale): Unbroken Traditions

In January 2017, two notable orcas died – Granny (also known as J2) and Tilikum. Both lived tragic lives in different ways. Granny, captured and released because of her age, saw the gradual extinction of her pod due to pollution and overfishing. Tilikum, captured as a calf, killed three people arising from his torment at being a performing killer whale. Both animals were the impetus for humans to reconsider the ethics of using animals for entertainment. The result was an ending of orca shows at major marine parks.


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Dragons of the Fields: Guardians of the Dancing Light

I first became aware of Field Dragons from reading about “fire-lizards” in Anne McCaffrey’s books about Pern. They enjoyed being around humans and were rather noisy. After reading about “guardian dragons” in D.J. Conway’s books, I realized that McCaffrey’s “fire-lizards” were Conway’s dragons. And They were the same dragons who liked to play hide-n-seek among the wildflowers.

As I wrote in my blog post about dragon families, I encountered the Dragons of the Fields while on my wildflower walks. (These dragons can also be found frolicking in gardens and orchards.) Sometimes, an odd butterfly will suddenly flit by you. At other times, you glimpse something colorful out of your eye. And on waning summer afternoons, you may hear singing in the waving grass. These are the Dragons of the Fields at play.

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Dragons of the Cosmos: Timeless Chaos

Dragons of the Cosmos are a part of the fabric of the Universe. According to many myths, these Dragons have either created the world or plotted to destroy it. They have an intense unbounded energy to accomplish their aims. Because of the danger They pose, these dragons are best to be avoided. Moreover, Cosmos Dragons only have relations with the Gods, and usually ignore humans.

The Great Mother Dragon, Tiamat of Babylon (pictured above) is one of the best known of the Cosmos Dragons. As the Creator, She formed the first Heaven and Earth with Her Body. Tiamat is also called the Lady of the Primeval Chaos, who avenges her spouse’s murder. According to Babylonian myth, She tried to rid the Earth of both Gods and humans, and nearly succeeded.

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Families of Dragons

To understand dragons better, people have commonly divided them into various families. As with scientific classification, organizing dragons into groups gives folks a framework to learn about them. By studying dragons in families, you can discern who are friendly and who are dangerous. Since each family has their own unique talents, they can also offer their matchless wisdom to seekers.

In Western Tradition, dragons are usually grouped into families by the elements. I have used that system to construct my classifications of dragons. Living in the East, the Dragons of the Air ride the winds. Meanwhile, the Dragons of Fire reside in fire, and are of the South. In the West, the Dragons of the Waters frolic in the waters. With the Air Dragons and Ice Dragons, Water Dragons rule the weather, as well. Ruling the Earth and guarding its treasures are the Dragons of the Earth, who reside in the North. Because each dragon family governs a cardinal direction, therefore in rituals a seeker can avoid the hostile ones and ensure her safety.

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Animal Relationships: Predator and Prey

Among the animal relationships, the one that bothers people is predator and prey. In understanding that all animals must eat to survive, people can accept the dynamic between predators and their prey. One aspect of this relationship is that they keep each other in check. For example, prairie dogs would breed uncontrollably unless black-footed ferrets hunted them. Crudely speaking, the number of prairie dogs determine the number of ferrets. The predator and prey relationship is the “ying and yang” of nature.

From a prey’s point of view, predators teach defense skills. When confronted with danger, prairie dogs will bark a warning, and hide in their burrows. Meanwhile, manatees will swim away, and sloths will hide in plain sight. A hedgehog will roll into a ball that a fox cannot open up. The grey kangaroo will stand her ground and kick the dingo to death.

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Each-Uisge (Water-Horse): Be Cautious, Be Aware

Throughout the lands surrounding the North Sea, stories abound of dreaded lake monsters who lurk below the surface. These tales describe many of the monsters as “water-horses.” This beast resembles a seal with two sets of flippers, a long neck and a small head. People usually divide “water-horses” into two types – the long-necked Nessie and the maned Each-Uisge. While Nessie of Loch Ness is more benign, the Each-Uisge, also of Scotland, is more sinister. Haunting lakes and lochs, this shapeshifter kills and eats unwary humans (leaving only the liver). The Each-Uisge usually lures people by pretending to be a docile horse.

 From ancient times, the Each-Uisge has filled people with dread and fear. The Picts depicted Him in all his ferocity their pictographs. The Romans recorded deadly sightings of this beast during their time in Britain. Described as a glistening black horse with a greenish patina, the Each-Uisge would appear on the roadside as a tame horse. Seeing relief, the weary traveler would mount Him, only to find themselves firmly affixed to the beast’s back. After that, the “horse” would quickly trot off. When the Each-Uisge smelled water nearby, He would race into the lake drowning the unfortunate victim.

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Griffin: Majesty and Nobility

The Griffin (Gryphon) has had a long association with humans. For example, She is a part of people’s last names and featured in their coats of arms. Since the time of Sumner, the Griffin has stood for majesty and nobility.

 Various myths depict the Griffin as the combination of the lion and the eagle. Since both of these earthy animals are monarchs of their own domains, the Griffin is considered the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. This mythic animal, with her offspring Hippogriff, are the only members of the Tribes of the Cosmos. While the Griffin protects the Tree of Life with its Golden Apples, the Hippogriff carries the worthy traveler between the worlds. Because of this, the Griffin is also the Sentinel of the Throne of Heaven and Earth.

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