I was visited by relatives over the weekend, and given a box of old letters and photographs and items, many 70 years old. Many revelations ensued on examining the contents, images and words never shown nor spoken before I left home and all family to pursue 'my destiny'. I was deeply moved by seeing my parents, young and in love, and their super cool rustic log-and-stone cabin in the high desert where I was conceived. I was weirded out seeing some of the assholes that made my childhood disturbing and incomprehensible.
But, I really broke down upon seeing two photos of myself and my first dog. Brought home as a puppy when I was 4-5, she was my best friend for 10-11 years. When my dad passed away, I became so distraught, spaced out, overwhelmed by new responsibilities at age 14 that I completely neglected my loyal dog friend. She was eventually taken in by a neighbor, even more shit came down in my life, and she just disappeared from my awareness amidst the traumas and turmoil. I have felt, and carried, guilt over that for 50 years, and seeing her photo just broke the dam. At least I can put her up on my altar now, along with my other lovely familiars, and honor her spirit in the eternal present.
I have written about some teachers and gurus, and I want to continue with that before I'm done here with this earthly plane. But, another aspect of this that I need to get off my chest is the reality of non-human teachers. This is the kind of shit that drives even animal-rights activists and animal-biology scholars crazy some of the time, though there is a growing minority that has no problem with it.
Then, back in the US, he traveled in the van for some time as we both adjusted to the culture-shock. At some point it became apparent that it was time for him to go, as certain events had taken a toll on his health. I did my best to keep him comfortable and safe, with medicines to ease his pain, and the day approached. Though very infirm, I carried him into my friend's house, and when we were alone he suddenly stood up and rose to his full height and put his head against my forehead and held it there. He spoke into my mind that he was grateful that I had taken him to India, that we had been together many times in many forms in many lifetimes, that he was a very advanced shamanic teacher, and that I was to take this understanding he was passing to me and manifest it into work with other animals and in passing on awareness of non-human sentience to other humans. 'Blown away' doesn't come close to describing my state afterwards. He passed during the night next to me in the van, and was buried under a tree in the forest in Washington state.
In the early 90s I was 'kennel manager' for the town/county animal shelter for 3 years. We tried our best to hold animals way way beyond the proscribed time. One mama dog just stole our hearts, but wasn't getting adopted for months. So, what to do? I took her home. I hadn't had a dog since my childhood. She understood I had saved her life, and became fiercely loyal and protective. She was given the name of an Indian goddess. I was later to be living on the road a lot, in between roofs, and she traveled well and enjoyed the musician-companion life. After a few years, just before another extended trip from NM to Cali for gigging and work, she got ill, but seemed to recover. We hit the road, and bummed around Cali in the car, her sleeping nights in the car while I crashed at friends' places, and she kept all my instruments and stuff safe from thieves roaming the streets in San Fran for many weeks. As my couple months were coming to a close, and we would soon head back to the next assignment in NM, I noticed that her energy was starting to really wane. I took her to a vet, but they weren't thorough, and anyway I only had one more recording session to do and we could get back to my vet friend in NM soon. The session finally got done, and as I jumped in the car, I saw that something was seriously wrong. I headed right out onto the freeway, pedal to the metal, going east, praying. I drove through the night and got to Bakersfield at dawn, where I pulled into a vet clinic parking lot. I brought her in as the vet unlocked the door. Some tests were done, and I was told that her liver was destroyed, probably from anti-freeze. Then it hit me. My asshole neighbor's car had been leaking in front of my house back in NM and I kept telling him to fix it, but he kept blowing it off.
What this incredible dog had done for me was serve and protect me while we lived in the car for two months, while her liver was completely shot and she was suffering intensely, knowing that I needed her guardianship, and when she finally understood that her job was finished and I would be going home, she let herself be relieved from that duty and allow nature to take its course. I carried her back to the car and we began our last journey. I sang to her at the top of my voice for a hundred miles, and when we pulled off on a dirt road for a piss-stop, with compassion for my sorrow and torment, she left her body as I turned away for a moment. I always stop there on my way across the desert for a moment of remembrance, and her ravaged body was placed on a mountain-top in the Mojave. From her I was given perhaps my most profound teaching on seva, selfless service.
You could say that shit like this just comes from imagination and anthropomorphism. That is, until you get the fierce grace to witness and experience the reality and power of our animal allies in the proper state of receptivity.
It is the same with the elementals, the kachinas, the devas. They still want to return to the state of being our allies, our servants, our teachers. We knew them once, and they await our call and invitation, our invocation. Some have been doing that for some time now, and maybe a trust has been regained. I don't think we were ever the ones who made war on the devas, but their, and the Mother's, pain and trauma has been enormous, so we need to really get clear and be clear on this matter. Our fierce and uncompromising support and love is both the key and our only hope. This is also the process that will deal with the wetiko problem. Not to minimize it, by any means, the wetiko problem is not just a human-predation phenomenon, and maybe it never was. The whole web of life has long been under attack. It just was not readily apparent in the local focus of the tribal and pastoral societies, but it should be obvious now what we're up against. It's a war, a multi-dimensional one, whether we view it in spiritual terms, temporal terms, or don't want to see it at all. One example is the situation of the Sea Shepherd Society now being involved in the African rhino protection - with former special-forces warriors armed with night-vision goggles, drones with infrared video tracking as well as automatic rifles - hunting down endangered-species poachers. That's a big step up from petitions and protest signs, and probably just the tip of the iceberg of what's coming.
As a footnote, you may or may not know that, as the Japan dolphin-killing season is set to begin on Sept. 1st, there is a group of islands 100 kms south of Tokyo whose inhabitants have declared full citizenship to the dolphins in their waters surrounding them - Japanese Island of Toshima. They are spreading the word to the rest of the country. It's time.