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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in animal relationships

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gendering Animals

 We be of one blood, you and I.

 

Animals have gender.

Animals—by which I mean, of course, non-human animals—are male and female, just like we are.*

Why then, in English, do we refer to animals as “it”?

If you think that there are religious implications here, you're right.

“Animals” are our kin. As such, they deserve to be accorded dignity and treated with respect.

As such, they deserve to be spoken of as he or she, not it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Yes, thank Goddess English shed its grammatical genders 1000 years ago, as Old English morphed into Middle. But no, there's no con
  • tehomet
    tehomet says #
    The distinction between (biological) sex and (ascribed) gender that you speak of is a function of the human animal. Quite.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I'm afraid you're confusing gender with biological sex. Gender is grammatical, a product of language, which is a product of cultur
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Virginia: the better that we know others, the better we know ourselves. That said, in the nature of things, we're probabl
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    Well, if you are discussing mammals and birds, yes. With snails and slugs, they are either "it" or "both gendered." Going further

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Animal Relationships: Partnerships

Another aspect of working with your animal teachers is to study the partnerships that they form. Many animals work with others to achieve their goals. In that case, the relationship with the other animal should also be studied. How they work together can aid in your understanding of how you can partner with others.

Various types of animal relationships have lessons to impart. For example, zebras drink at a water hole with wildebeests and ostriches. While the others see danger, the zebras smell danger. Together, the animals provide safety for each other at the communal water hole. This is an example of a community forming from diverse entities for a short duration. This could be something that festival organizers could benefit learning from.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Animal Relationships: Introduction

To know their animal teachers more fully, people should study how these animals relate to other animals. All animals live in ecological systems where they have a role. Some are keystone species such as the alligator, who makes “gator holes” that provides food and homes for the other animals. Other animals contribute positively to the places that they live in. Stag beetles eat dead trees to make soil. “Negative” animals such as leeches have a role, too. They kill their host and help to keep the animal population in balance.

Some animals ignore each other, while others compete for the same food. More importantly, many animals form special relationships. Some are allies, and still others are in predator-prey relationships. The wolf and coyote compete for beaver, while the ratel (honey badger) and honeyguide look for bees together. The plover picks off leeches from a crocodile’s gums. (The plover gets a meal, and the crocodile gets her gums cleaned.) The great white shark pursues the elephant seal but is prey to the orca. Animal relationships are indeed complex and varied.

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