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Author Topic: Animal guides & veganism  (Read 4005 times)

Eevee

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Animal guides & veganism
« on: October 26, 2016, 11:32:44 am »
I really like the idea of having an animal spirit guide, and I'm still a beginner with spirituality. But it only seems appropriate to be vegan in order to include animals in your spirituality.
Now, I have absolutely no intention of going vegan, and it's not like I eat the animal I feel I have an affinity to (snake), but it just seems like I should put that whole prospect of animal guides behind me and look for other things... but apart from this dilemma, I feel oddly content with the idea without even fully knowing what animal guides are.
So any info regarding animal guides would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2016, 11:40:32 am »
Quote from: Eevee;198087
I really like the idea of having an animal spirit guide, and I'm still a beginner with spirituality. But it only seems appropriate to be vegan in order to include animals in your spirituality.


Why?


(I am reminded of a story I re-heard this past weekend about one of my groupmates' mentor, who would occasionally take his students out to visit the Crow nation in, I believe, Montana.

One time, he brought out someone who was a Militant Vegan, who looked at the local diet (which is very meat-heavy) and threw a fit.  The fit was apparently flavored some form of, "Aren't you supposed to be a particularly spiritual people?  How can you eat this?  Don't you think animals have souls?"

One of the Crow looked at him, and said, "Huh.  You think plants don't have souls.  Interesting."  And went back to eating the meat.)
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Eevee

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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 11:51:42 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;198089
Why?
I think it's more how the animal is treated prior to being slaughtered/milked/used somehow.
I dont know, it just feels like they'd be mad at us or something for that....
Times have changed since shamanic tribes looked at animals with respect, took animal's lives with respect and ate/otherwise utilized it with respect.
I'm trying to find reasons why I should stick with it, as I want to stick with it, but I'm unintentionally finding more reasons why it's a redundant practice in modern society.

PS: Being Australian I have no idea what the "Crow nation" is but I'm assuming it's a native tribe.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 11:55:32 am by Eevee »
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2016, 12:46:26 pm »
Quote from: Eevee;198090
I think it's more how the animal is treated prior to being slaughtered/milked/used somehow.


That's a whole different issue - at least in the US, there are ways to find meat and other foods (like milk, dairy, etc.) where you know they were raised humanely and killed humanely.

When I lived in Maine, I regularly drove by the dairy farm I got my milk from (you could actually stop in the office, leave $2.50 in the jar by the fridge, and take your milk from the fridge!) and then wander by and wave at the cows. Small farm, large fields, free range.

It's a little trickier to find in a city, but there's still options - some people buy half a cow or a quarter of a cow or whatever every year and store (that requires storage space), or there's a bunch of Community Supported Agriculture places that do meat, dairy, or eggs, as well as vegetables.

Personally, my body is such I can't get sufficient protein from non-animal sources (I can't eat soy), and my brain is not useful if I don't get sufficient protein, so I go for the best source I can reasonably manage (free range eggs, grass-fed beef, etc.) though health issues and apartment-living issues mean it's not feasible for me to do that as much as I'd like in some directions. (I could, for example, go in on buying a cow with friends, but getting to them regularly enough to make that actually useful for regular food is not trivial.)

I get even more specific for ritual meals where the food is the point of the ritual, but that's only occasion. Farmer's markets work pretty well when there are farmer's markets, but there are also other options in my city even in the winter. (My local Whole Foods - a US high end natural foods focused grocery chain - gets some of their meat from a larger farm that raises animals humanely and also does dairy.)
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 12:56:17 pm »
Quote from: Eevee;198090
I think it's more how the animal is treated prior to being slaughtered/milked/used somehow.
I dont know, it just feels like they'd be mad at us or something for that....


So be concerned about animal welfare.

But I can't shake the feeling that expecting the spirit of a prey animal to be shocked and offended that something is eating it is really fundamentally disrespectful of its nature.  You think Deer doesn't know that deer get eaten?  Is Deer feuding with Wolf?  But without Wolf, Deer's children die horribly of mass starvation in the winter.  Deer isn't stupid; Deer knows better.  (This is a US example, but it's a really handy one to bring to mind - I've lived places where, due to the mass killoffs of predators, we have to deal with not only deer overpopulation but them killing off forests desperately trying to find enough food to survive winter.)

You think Cow doesn't know that its children are kept for milk and meat?  Where do you think Cow came from?  Cow is a deal made between Human and Aurochs, just like Dog is the spirit-child of Human and Wolf.  These spirits know what they are, they know how they were born, they know where they came from.

Lupa did a bunch of work with food animal tutelary spirits a while back, I wish I could remember where.  Maybe you can find some of it digging around in http://www.thegreenwolf.com - that's her website.

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Times have changed since shamanic tribes looked at animals with respect, took animal's lives with respect and ate/otherwise utilized it with respect.


So respect the actual animals.  And respect the spirit-nature of those animals, and their place within the web.

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PS: Being Australian I have no idea what the "Crow nation" is but I'm assuming it's a native tribe.

 
Yes.  I consider it important to point to specific nations when I know them rather than participate in the genericising of native groups into one Vague Native Mass.
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Dusk

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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2016, 03:49:25 pm »
Quote from: Eevee;198087
I really like the idea of having an animal spirit guide, and I'm still a beginner with spirituality. But it only seems appropriate to be vegan in order to include animals in your spirituality.
Now, I have absolutely no intention of going vegan, and it's not like I eat the animal I feel I have an affinity to (snake), but it just seems like I should put that whole prospect of animal guides behind me and look for other things... but apart from this dilemma, I feel oddly content with the idea without even fully knowing what animal guides are.
So any info regarding animal guides would be greatly appreciated.

 
Animals are a huge part of spirituality, and I'm only pescetarian (I don't eat any animals except fish). Which is partially for health reasons and honestly, partially because fish is one of my absolute favorite foods and I found it really hard to give up. If I eat fish, I give a silent prayer of gratitude to its spirit.

Humans are technically omnivorous. There is nothing wrong with eating the flesh of another animal, that's part of nature. I personally feel uncomfortable contributing to the death of animals if I have a choice in the matter, and I really dislike the way most livestock is treated. For me, buying free range products or from local, small farms is a decent way to try to minimize that damage. At any rate, if you are truly uncomfortable with how those animals are treated, it shouldn't make a difference whether you will be personally dealing with their spirits or not. And if you feel you can ethically justify your food choices, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

Not to mention that working with one animal guide doesn't mean you need to be on good terms with all animals any more than working with one deity means you need to live your life in a way that all deities would approve of.

I also really recommend Lupa's work to anyone interested in animal guides. Her book DIY Totemism does have a small section on working with animal guides of the species you eat.
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2016, 04:10:23 pm »
Quote from: Eevee;198087
I really like the idea of having an animal spirit guide, and I'm still a beginner with spirituality. But it only seems appropriate to be vegan in order to include animals in your spirituality.
Now, I have absolutely no intention of going vegan, and it's not like I eat the animal I feel I have an affinity to (snake), but it just seems like I should put that whole prospect of animal guides behind me and look for other things... but apart from this dilemma, I feel oddly content with the idea without even fully knowing what animal guides are.
So any info regarding animal guides would be greatly appreciated.



I am not a vegan, but I can understand your reasoning. When I am cooking a meal, or about to eat one, I speak to the spirit of the animal and thank it for its sacrifice so that I may be nourished. You could do this with plants too I would think, they were living things at one point. I do my best to choose brands that are cruelty-free, and push for animal rights.

The other thing I consider is that we are not naturally vegan. We choose to "go vegan", or maybe our parents chose it for us, but as far as evolution is concerned, we're omnivores. I see no shame in either option. Two of my major totems are carnivores, and my power animal is an omnivore like me. It feels natural to be what I am.

I encourage you to keep learning about animal guides, and see how you feel when you know more.

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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2016, 05:15:17 pm »
Quote from: Eevee;198087
I really like the idea of having an animal spirit guide, and I'm still a beginner with spirituality. But it only seems appropriate to be vegan in order to include animals in your spirituality.
Now, I have absolutely no intention of going vegan, and it's not like I eat the animal I feel I have an affinity to (snake), but it just seems like I should put that whole prospect of animal guides behind me and look for other things... but apart from this dilemma, I feel oddly content with the idea without even fully knowing what animal guides are.
So any info regarding animal guides would be greatly appreciated.

 
I question if having a 'spirit animal' is really appropriate. They are the product of a (or rather, several) complex worldviews and spirituality, not something you pick up on a whim. I mean, you wouldn't say that you were thinking about getting some 'enlightenment' for the weekend would you?

Point is, a 'spirit animal' should be the product of a deeply personal experience, rooted in understanding how relationships with the land and environments are established and maintained, and not an affectation. The only way to do this is to seek knowledge of nature by interacting with it, and learning how others interact with it.

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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2016, 04:29:26 am »
Quote from: Yei;198104
a 'spirit animal' should be the product of a deeply personal experience, rooted in understanding how relationships with the land and environments are established and maintained, and not an affectation

There's something I agree with about that, but...if the original poster had this concept introduced through an affectation and, as I take it, is currently incorporating an understanding of how relationships with the land/environment/society are established and maintained, to the development of that then...it works out to something being as it should be too doesn't it?

Quote from: Eevee;198090
I think it's more how the animal is treated prior to being slaughtered/milked/used somehow...Times have changed since shamanic tribes looked at animals with respect, took animal's lives with respect and ate/otherwise utilized it with respect.

Perhaps supporting the humane and/or ethical processing of animal products could be a spiritual calling of yours, then? Free-range chicken eggs, ethically-sourced kangaroo meat that keeps in mind the population, campaigning for those standards to be upheld in farms and abattoirs by law and by custom...also supporting efforts to stop or correct manmade climate change and pollution. And you can still eat what's available, what you can afford, even if you can't always make sure it's sourced properly, and just, well, consider every life that made it to your plate. That can be spiritual too.
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I'm trying to find reasons why I should stick with it, as I want to stick with it, but I'm unintentionally finding more reasons why it's a redundant practice in modern society.

...or animal spirits might not be a calling to anything, and it might not be right for you, even if you like the idea. That happens, too. You don't have to stick with it if there's nothing about it you'd adhere to.

Redundant practice in modern society, though? Not all nonhuman animals are extinct everywhere today, so some human would still get to meet some other animal, and that relationship can be interpreted as spiritual. I sort of understand how badly it fits, how most animals we "meet" are pests or pets or food or zoo exhibits and Mastered and therefore not Spiritual Animal Spirits That Are Spiritual...modern life doesn't generally make it easy to include animals in spirituality.

Personally, it happens anyway: I have had profound spiritual experiences with something that appears vaguely like a wolf, which is 1. so embarrassing because every other newbie spiritworker's spiritual animal spirit that is animal is a hashtagging wolf, 2. so embarrassing because I live and have grown up in entirely the wrong region in the world to ever have met one and 3. meaningful regardless. I also discovered an affinity with fishmoths, who I do encounter often.

Sometimes spirit-guide stuff happens anyway; I just sort of roll with it.

Veganism, tried before, tried really hard at it too, and it was really bad for my health so once I stopped with the justifications of But This Is Real True Proper Spirituality, I stopped being vegan, my health improved. Wolf and Fishmoth have no objections to this that I have noticed?

I really liked these two posts generally about animals and spirituality (warning, that second link has a picture of a beheaded chicken).
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2016, 11:33:03 am »
Quote from: Faemon;198143
Personally, it happens anyway: I have had profound spiritual experiences with something that appears vaguely like a wolf, which is 1. so embarrassing because every other newbie spiritworker's spiritual animal spirit that is animal is a hashtagging wolf,

 
... I actually have a theory about this.  I keep meaning to write about it, I think I'll do that in this month's column.  I'll try to remember to post a link when it goes up.  (Saturday, if I get it in on time.)
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2016, 05:49:01 pm »
Quote from: Faemon;198143
There's something I agree with about that, but...if the original poster had this concept introduced through an affectation and, as I take it, is currently incorporating an understanding of how relationships with the land/environment/society are established and maintained, to the development of that then...it works out to something being as it should be too doesn't it?

 
We'll I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with having one generally speaking. Its just that the OP seemed frivolous about it, saying she wanted one just because she liked the idea, rather than the product of a newly formed religious connection (such as a spiritual encounter), or as part of an integration process with a faith that has the concept as part of its theology.

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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2016, 10:04:24 pm »
Quote from: Yei;198166
Its just that the OP seemed frivolous about it, saying she wanted one just because she liked the idea,

Well I'm just following people's advice here, and seeing what direction I'm naturally swaying myself towards and connecting the dots.
I may not be suddenly deadset on animal guides after 24 hours of questioning it - however, of course I am more inclined to practice something I am attracted to as opposed to something I am totally indifferent about.

For example, for me there is no appeal in Wicca - I find no reason to engage in it.
If I'm finding myself thinking about Animism(Shamanism/"Totemism") multiple times a day, should I seriously just ignore it?
Something tells me "I dont think so."

Something else also tells me that unless someone's beliefs are damaging to themselves and/or other's, people have no right to say what you can't/can't do, especially to a novice who's trying to find their roots.
But hopefully this was just a misunderstanding and I've cleared up my intentions.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 10:05:43 pm by Eevee »
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2016, 05:12:06 pm »
Quote from: Eevee;198175
Well I'm just following people's advice here, and seeing what direction I'm naturally swaying myself towards and connecting the dots.
I may not be suddenly deadset on animal guides after 24 hours of questioning it - however, of course I am more inclined to practice something I am attracted to as opposed to something I am totally indifferent about.

For example, for me there is no appeal in Wicca - I find no reason to engage in it.
If I'm finding myself thinking about Animism(Shamanism/"Totemism") multiple times a day, should I seriously just ignore it?
Something tells me "I dont think so."

Something else also tells me that unless someone's beliefs are damaging to themselves and/or other's, people have no right to say what you can't/can't do, especially to a novice who's trying to find their roots.
But hopefully this was just a misunderstanding and I've cleared up my intentions.

 
Well I'm not saying you can't do it, or even that you shouldn't. However, there are some genuine problems with this sort of thing, as they can cause harm for the cultures with the belief, misrepresenting their ideas and such. So they can be damaging, which is why you need to be careful.

Not to mention potentially causing problems for yourself, if you don't get the right information, or have the right sources, your practise can be off. So there are many reasons to be careful.

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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2016, 08:16:06 pm »
Quote from: Yei;198209
Well I'm not saying you can't do it, or even that you shouldn't. However, there are some genuine problems with this sort of thing, as

Hey, Eevee hasn't done anything yet.

Eevee requires one of three possible radioactive rocks to evolve. (I haven't played Pokémon since 2001.)
Quote
they can cause harm for the cultures with the belief, misrepresenting their ideas and such.

If this is about the expanded definition term for Shamanism and Totemism, from what I've read this has become academic jargon, and I've watched academics grumble about how confusing and inappropriate the terms are but can't seem to find another for what they really mean so they're going to continue the lecture begrudingly using the term...and I'd give the original poster the benefit of the doubt that that's what was meant (or core shamanism, or neo shamanism), not specifically that they were going to proclaim themselves prophets of Siberian or Ojibwe mysticism because they like animals.

Daemonism (from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials canon, but it's become its own thing) is a belief that I can't fathom being necessarily appropriative. Unless Pullman calls his lawyers for the violation of intellectual property rights. But someone merely liking animal guides can't be inherently harmful, surely?
Quote
if you don't get the right information, or have the right sources, your practise can be off. So there are many reasons to be careful.

You're not offering any structures or guidance in seeking information or resources for a specific community of practice, though. Even though you said that you're not saying someone shouldn't, it does come off to me that you're discouraging any avenue of exploration into this at all only because the original poster seemed frivolous to you.

Quote
So there are many reasons to be careful.

Agree. If you're working with actual physical animals, some of them can bite. (Or carry fleas, or in some species if a parent animal smells human on a baby animal they'll neglect the poor thing to death, or some species die of distress if you hug them.) And veganism isn't for everyone, it can be detrimental to some people's health. Moral veganism commonly stems from immature philosophies about the nature of life and death—but that's more my personal opinion.
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Re: Animal guides & veganism
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2016, 09:06:58 pm »
Quote from: Faemon;198222
Hey, Eevee hasn't done anything yet.

Eevee requires one of three possible radioactive rocks to evolve. (I haven't played Pokémon since 2001.)


So?

Quote
If this is about the expanded definition term for Shamanism and Totemism, from what I've read this has become academic jargon, and I've watched academics grumble about how confusing and inappropriate the terms are but can't seem to find another for what they really mean so they're going to continue the lecture begrudingly using the term...and I'd give the original poster the benefit of the doubt that that's what was meant (or core shamanism, or neo shamanism), not specifically that they were going to proclaim themselves prophets of Siberian or Ojibwe mysticism because they like animals.


I'm not thinking of the definition of shamanism. I'm thinking more about 'plastic shamans', the selling and misrepresentation of indigenous cultures, that type of thing. Some fake shamanistic practises can even be dangerous. I know this is not exactly the same thing as a spirit animal in and of itself, but the ideas are often linked.

Quote
You're not offering any structures or guidance in seeking information or resources for a specific community of practice, though. Even though you said that you're not saying someone shouldn't, it does come off to me that you're discouraging any avenue of exploration into this at all only because the original poster seemed frivolous to you.


That's because I wasn't intending to. I know that criticism can seem harsh, but many things in life are hard or challenging, and it is better to face them early than later. I guess what I'm driving at is that growing into a religious practise is difficult, and emotinally and intellecutally challenging, and one needs to accept that difficulty.

Quote
Agree. If you're working with actual physical animals, some of them can bite. (Or carry fleas, or in some species if a parent animal smells human on a baby animal they'll neglect the poor thing to death, or some species die of distress if you hug them.) And veganism isn't for everyone, it can be detrimental to some people's health. Moral veganism commonly stems from immature philosophies about the nature of life and death—but that's more my personal opinion.

 
I agree. I find the veganism element especially perplexing, as popular spirit/totemic animals include predators like wolves and eagles.

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