Secrets of Magic 19: Acknowledge kinship

Humans are the dominant animals on the planet, but we are not the only ones. We hold one place in a complex network of interconnection between all the animals on the earth. We know this, but as with many of the magical secrets, we tend to forget this in the bustle of everyday life.

Animals and insects furnish some of our food, either directly by providing us their bodies, or indirectly through their production. We eat fish, meat, and eggs; cheese and butter made from milk; honey made by bees.

Just as with plants, we derive spiritual as well as physical nourishment from our fellow creatures. Humans need animals in our lives. Children delight in learning about different types of animals, seeing them, touching them, and living with them, in zoos, as pets and as farm animals. Elderly and isolated people respond immediately to dogs and cats brought in to visit them. Animals provide us with companionship. In their presence, we feel less alone.

Once we tune into the animals in our environment, we may be amazed to discover their number and variety. It is almost impossible to enumerate the species of birds alone. The grimmest cityscape hosts flocks of crows which exhibit amazingly intelligent individual and group behavior. There may be hundreds of types of birds in even a small park. We can listen to their songs, watch their flights, seek glimpses of their nests.

We can sing the songs and chirpings of the animals in our environment back to them. We can sing them out loud, so they can hear us, or just quietly to ourselves. This seemingly simple practice can have a profound affect on us, as we respond to the natural sounds in our environment, acknowledging that we too live in the place where they live. Reaching out to the animals around us reaffirms our place in the web of life.

I recognize my kinship with the animals of the earth.

Practice: Sing a birdsong
The next time you are outside, notice the insects and animals around you. How many different species do you notice? Can you hear birdsongs? Are there squirrels in the trees? Do insects scurry along the ground? When you hear a birdsong, try to sing it softly to yourself.

Make a list of the items in your refrigerator. What animals are the sources of your food? For example, you might find milk, cheese and hamburger which come from cows, or eggs which come from chickens. The next time you eat one of these things, take a moment to thank the animal for the gift of its life which sustains your life.

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