A few weeks ago I was watching some videos made by one of the muslim Youtubers I watch, in which the topic of animal souls came up. They’d lost a family pet, and in their grief sought out Islamic teaching on the matter, and shared with us that such teaches taught that animals did not have souls, and that after death returned to the dust. I’ll admit, I had to stop that video and come back to it later, as I was left with such distaste and revulsion over such a view. It took some work — I’m not looking to be compassionate only when it suits be, when it’s easy, but also when it’s a challenge. The proper response to anyone’s form of grieving must needs be compassion, especially when one is finding comfort where they may. With that in mind, I reached a point of reconciliation within myself. “People can believe that if they need to, and if they are told, trust in their god, and then they do indeed trust in their god, I certainly can’t fault them that, can I?” And, really, the ultimate end-point of the creature in question’s soul is really only the business of that creature . . . right?
But, it unsettled me, and I did indeed pat myself on the back, because my view, what I decided was the proper pagan view, was so much better. My family is my family; five of them are currently incarnate non-human animals. Obviously, since I do believe in spirits, I do believe they have spirits, and I do not believe that they become nothing upon death.
At this point, I know not all pagans share the same views on all things. D’uh. But, I was still kicked off my high horse a bit when I stumbled upon:
“Within the universe there is a creative force or power, call it God or the Goddess or what-have-you, but there it is. It created out of chaos the order of the universe as we know it. Within this order came creation of life itself in all its varied forms, including humanity. Of all these life forms, only human beings were given that little extra spark of divinity that made them the thinking, reasoning entities which they are now.” (Evan Jones, Witchraft: A Traditional Renewed)
So, I put that book down.
I come at this from a different place — I’ve had to come from a “all OTHER animals are superior, we alone suck,” to the more balanced place I’m at these days. It’s been a long, long struggle. I don’t think we’re special, and that conviction has freed me from the fetter that was believing us exceptionally flawed, exceptionally, inherently evil.
I enjoy these things that poke at my assumptions, even when in the end they leave me baffled. We may be more complex in any number of ways, but I don’t know that that makes us anything other than different.
Sharing, mostly to keep these thoughts for myself.