The One is so compassionate to place the mysteries all around us, every day for us to embrace, live and ponder.
Recently M’s dog Pixl was euthanized or ‘put to sleep’. Pixl was one of the most amazing dogs I have ever had the privilege to know. Almost preternaturally intelligent, beautiful and loyal she was a wonderful being to have in our lives. She touched the hearts and minds of all who met her, even for a single visit. She will of course be missed and mourned deeply.
The love between dogs and humans has been explored many times. Recently it was examined, along with many other deep, wonderful (and esoteric) themes in the delightful and beautiful film Dean Spanley starring one of the finest actors, Peter O’Toole. In this film we learn that there are always ‘seven great dogs’ incarnate at any one time. Pixl was one of these (though we are also sure my son’s dog, Theodore, is one – which is a bit of luck, eh? :)) If me noggin’ ain’t faulty, the Goddess Ishtar once rode upon these seven great dogs, though I’m not sure if the writer of Dean Spanley knew this.
Pixl’s death highlighted several questions for me. Firstly, the mystery of death itself, which is always more real when a family member dies. Then there is the question of human euthanasia. I have not seen many magical or esoteric views on this topic. I suspect this is because such moral issues are more the provenance of religion and most esoteric teachers do not want to open this can of worms. We all have our own personal views. I wonder though if our esoteric and mystery schools are letting the side down a bit by not providing guidance and clear rationales for how euthanasia works esoterically. After all when we are faced with the question for ourselves, seeing a loved one damaged and in unrelenting pain, guidance from our teachers may be useful. Fortunately I am not teaching at the moment, so I am off the hook. 🙂 Though I will get some information on this together at some point.
On a related topic to woof-dogs, there is a contemporary push by some scientists and activists to have dolphins declared ‘non-human persons’. This they hope will protect dolphins from hunting. After all we’re not allowed to hunt persons; unless we are in a Coalition of the Willing. What a lovely term though, ‘non-human persons’. This of course, can also apply to the many beings we magicians interact with – the Faery for example. So it is very useful.
Scientists point to dolphins’ intelligence and complex social behaviour which they claim make them ‘persons’. These clever scientists know our society well enough to highlight the much valorised trait of intelligence rather than other aspects of animal behaviour so like our own. All dog owners know the love, deep emotions, loyalty, concern, intelligence and presence our ‘pets’ display. Some humans exhibit these traits less and give far less than a dog. If these traits are what define a person – which is what Hollywood and other ideology pushers assert – then our dogs are persons.
But will they get to Heaven?
Over at the Guardian recently there has been a discussion, ‘do animals have souls?’, a question I partially referred to in the post on the Rapture. There are various theological answers to this question, though to me we need to first know what we mean by ‘soul’. From a Buddhist point of view animals do not have souls, but then again nor do humans. However, Pixl, like all of us, will be reborn, and she was buried with many initiation threads, thought in Tibetan folk belief to help promote a human rebirth for animals (she may curse us for this next time round).
It is well known that external behaviour, emotions, thoughts and even morality are dependant on brain function. Damage the brain and the person we know is often destroyed. If we assume or believe in the existence of a soul it is seen to be transcendent to these fluctuations. No matter how deep a vegetative state a person enters after an accident, their ‘soul’ unlike their personality, still exists. If we accept this we cannot rule out animals having souls. No matter what outer characteristics we define as being indicative of soul-like behaviour, just because a water-snail does not at present display them, does not mean a soul is not in existence. Just like the coma patient.
The question then becomes meaningless. Either we assume humans have a soul only because they are genetically human or we need to concede animals could have a soul. After all some humans behave exactly like the water-snail in question and far less honourably than a dog 🙂
As a person then, with as much soul as I have, I wish Pixl well in her deep travels. May the Mound keep her and bless her.