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Beauty and Bert. Transitioning Animals With Respect

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014


My BF has a loyal, good-hearted friend named Bert.  Bert owns an excavator.  This is a very big deal for anyone who needs ditches dug, sewer systems put in place, or whatever requires heavy-duty digging. 

Sometimes Bert takes on odd jobs.  And when I say odd…it can be.  Can you imagine being called upon to burry a beloved animal?  That’s what Bert did.  He got a plea to dig a grave that would accommodate a horse who had recently passed on into the afterlife. 

Now, consider this:  Excavators take high cost diesel.  Plus, there is the cost of fuel to haul the excavator to the site.  Then there is potential time away from other work Bert could be doing.  Did Bert buckle?  Nope.  He was there on the scene to take care of this sweet horse-soul who had gone to romp in better pastures.

As my BF was telling me the details of the story, it wasn’t  just Bert accepting the call of duty that impressed me.  What really set me free was Bert’s kind, thoughtful attention to the way things should be done in sending a beloved soul into the other-world of life.

To explain…Bert came upon the scene.  He excavated a proper grave.  But that’s not all he did.

When the digging was done, Bert asked the owners of the horse for enough sweet, soft-smelling hay that would layer the bottom of the grave.  He lovingly padded the site with the hay so this horse could receive a welcome bed upon which to lay the last remnants of his bones.

But that’s not all.  Bert craned the beautiful beast into the grave.  Can you imagine?  I shudder to think what most contractors would do in these situations.  But I know Bert lovingly weaved nylon straps around the horse, and gently placed him into his last resting place.   Once rested, Bert lovingly repositioned this (very heavy) regal beast so his head, legs and tail were displayed in proper order.

Once he did this, the horse owners brought him horse blankets, and Bert proceeded to cover the magnificent beast with his best, favorite coverings.  A gesture of comfort, kindness, love and tenderness.  If that doesn’t jerk tears from your eyes, then I pity you.  That’s worthy of waterworks, in my realm.


Now in my mind, Bert went far beyond the call of duty for what was asked of him.  Did he get paid for his work?  Sure he did.  Did he get paid to go the extra mile to inter the spirit of this glorious animal?  Nope.  You cannot put a price on what Bert did.

Why did he do that?  Why didn’t he just dig a hole, and be done with it?  That’s what he was hired to do.  Why not just dig and move on?

Well…I believe there are those among us who realize the spirit of things.  There are humans who know that a horse is not just a horse…it is a symbol, a representative of fine, pristine value.  Furthermore, some of us (including Bert) realize that the animals we dearly love are far more than just animals.  They are our kin.  Our kind.  Our clan.  Our family.  That’s worthy of respect, and Bert knows this.  That’s why he chose (voluntarily) to create a magnificent resting space for this horse.

You know…in my stint in anthropological studies, I’d put Bert in shamanic class.  Why?  Because our ancestors used to adorn their treasured, most beloved creatures with blankets, and special bedding – just as Bert did.  Our ancient’s believed their precious beasts should be laid to rest properly in order to live a prosperous life in the next level of soulful living.

Keep in mind, Bert didn’t even know this horse.  Bert just knew to extend kindness and pay tribute.  It was instinct, that’s a shamanic vibe.  I love that about Bert, and I think we could all learn from his actions. 

What made Bert do what he did?  I can’t say, but I have a feeling he acted so respectfully to this horse, because he knows the value of love and loyalty.  I suspect Bert inherently knows the gift of faithfulness our animals offer us.  I think he also knows what it means to be connected to our animal kin, and felt it necessary to pay respect to that familial connection.

Do I think our animal-family recognize the time and effort we put into their passing moments in this life?  Absolutely.  Indubitably.  You betcha.

Consider:  If you’ve spent a decade or more with an animal…you know each other inside and out.  That’s going to be true in the afterlife too.  When an animal soul ascends to the next great level of existence, they will absolutely remember how they were interred and put to rest.  That reflects upon their well-being.  This will also reflect upon their human counterparts.

Respect your elderly animal kin.  Give them proper resting spaces.  Give them honorable, heart-felt words of parting so they may move into the afterlife with ease, and peace.  Give them grand passage so they may live grandly in the great beyond.

I know most of you who read this would do this instinctively.  I just wanted to share with you the benevolence and kindness Bert showed as an example of how parting with our animal family can be done with class, awareness, and reverence. 

Thank you, Bert, for being a mentor and a reminder of the respect we should all pay to our animal spirits. 

Chinese New Year 2014: The Meaningful Year of the Horse

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


Here we are again on the precipice of the Chinese New Year.  This year, 2014, is the year of the Horse.

The Chinese New Year is activated upon the second new moon after the Chinese winter solstice.  In this case, that happens tomorrow, 01/31/2014.

Not only is this the year of the Horse, this is the year of the Wooden Horse.

To explain, there are 12 animals that govern a particular year (they cycle ’round every 12 years).  And each Chinese zodiac animal corresponds to an element.  Chinese elements (which are a wee bit different than Western astrological elements) are:  Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

It’s noteworthy that the Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse will have a different quality than…let’s say a Metal Horse, or a Fire Horse.  Just as each Chinese zodiac animal flavors a year with its own unique characteristics – so too does the overarching element offer distinct features within a given year.

So what do we have in store for us on this Chinese New Year of 2014?  What can we expect from that magical Wooden Horse?

Well, it’s nowhere near the realm of Chinese philosophy, but I can’t help but think of the Trojan Horse when I think of what 2014 has in store for us.

Actually, the parallels aren’t that far-fetched.  This year will offer us numerous surprises.

Don’t panic!  These aren’t the kind of surprises that entail Greek warriors jumping out of a wooden horse on the attack.  Nope.  These are going to be serendipitous pleasures – unexpected synchronicities – pleasant coincidences that make us go “OH!”, and “Yeah!”

Why?  Because the Horse is a grounding energy.  Horses are symbolic of stability, structure, and plotting a path in order to reach a destination, or accomplish a task.

This is juxtaposed the Horse’s need to be wild, free and ever-roaming Nature’s glorious terrain.

These two aspects:  Wildness vs. Stability collide to create some pretty awesome “wow-factors” in the year of 2014.

The Horse (no matter what its element), is a teacher.  The Horse guides and shows us the way.  They have amazing instinct, a remarkable sense of direction, and an uncanny ability to detect trouble far better than most humans.

These regal beasts have a lot to teach humans.  You  horse-people out there know exactly what I mean.  Many a tale has been told about a horse saving a life, knowing the way when a human is clueless, or sniffing out trouble way before a ‘two-legged’ would have an inkling of foul play.

Consequently, the Chinese Year of the Horse has a quality of full-on alertness.  This year will find many of us on-point, switched- on, and in-tune on a level we’ve never experienced before.  Because this year is enriched with the equine vibe, many of us will inherit the Horse’s ability to detect trouble and get savvy about how we react to our environment.

Hand-in-hand with that alert quality, comes an element of protection.  We’re going to find ourselves divinely guided, and ultimately protected in 2014.  This is super-auspicious.  This means that when we were tentative to take risks in previous years, this year we’re going to feel the gumption of the Horse.

In other words, this year’s Horse is going to kick us into action.  What’s even better, is that Horse energy is going to stick around with us to make sure we don’t fall flat on our faces.

Horse-energy may give us a swift kick in the pants for motivation, but they won’t kick us to the curb, alone and defenseless.  No way.   Horses hang out with their human counterparts to make sure the path is clear for exploration and achievement.

To underscore that point,  we’re going to have the Horse’s guidance and protection at our backs to buffer any ill-influence we might incur from our choices.  In other words, this is a great year to take a risk.  Have you been thinking about playing the stock market?  Embarking on a new career?  Setting out on a new adventure?  Thinking of exotic travel?  Do it!  This is a fabulous time to do so – while under the watchful, supportive eye of the Horse.

The Chinese sign of the Horse is also extremely amicable – meaning, this sign represents the spirit of friendliness.  Therefore, this year will likely see you making new friends, forging new business partners, and broadening your social circle.

The Horse also has an innate willingness to help those in need.  This kind of charitable energy will underscore 2014.  The world could certainly use a little kindness, and the Horse is just the sign to bring that to the forefront.

As a Wooden Horse, you can expect growth and passion.  The Horse is a pretty passionate sign to begin with – it’s that wild streak they all have within them.  But wood also expresses compassion in the form of combustion.

Consider: What do you start your campfires with?  Yep, wood.  The freedom-loving personality of the Horse combined with the flaming potential of wood makes for a transformative year.

Here’s the Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse in a nutshell:

  • Expect some unexpected (but wonderful) surprises.
  • Acknowledge guidance and protection.
  • Anticipate new connections in the form of partnerships and relationships.
  • Observe the teachers around you, and embrace new knowledge that is bound to come your way this year.
  • Get ready to get ignited. The Wooden Horse is primed and kindled to set you afire with passion.

Now having said all that, I am obliged to tell you this:  No matter how powerful astrology (in any culture) is, the ultimate factor of your path and destiny is YOU!  Please don’t let the stars and planets govern you.  Simply know that you are the ruler of your fate.  Yes…the constellations and the whirly-twirly of our cosmos are certainly influential…but the final factor is you.

I hope this post on the Chinese New Year 2014 and the meanings of the Wooden Horse will help you navigate through the year with ease and joy.

If you liked these observations, don’t miss my page on Chinese Zodiac Signs and Their Influence on the Chinese New Year.  You might also like my symbolic meaning of the Horse page here.


Other pages of interest:

Animal Wisdom

Friday, January 10th, 2014


This is Suki.  She knows stuff.

In some ways, she’s as dumb as a bag of hammers.  I don’t begrudge her that, because in some ways, I am too.

But she knows.   She knows stuff that’s important.  She knows about mothering (she’s mamma to Buster…if you follow me on Facebook, you know who that is).

In fact, she knew about how to give birth to five kittens (including Buster Boy) at the perfect time.

Well…it was perfect for her.  It was not so perfect for me.  She popped her kits out on my couch while sitting next to me.  One minute I’m watching Food Network on TV…the next minute Suki is spewing out all manner of eewwy-gooey stuff (yes, that’s a technical term).  My season in the medical field made me gag at the slightest sight of gore…and lemme tell ya…this was NOT a sight for my faint heart. Icky-gross!

Nevertheless (and whilst repressing my gag reflex)…it was a sensational sight.  Suki (first-time mom) went about caring for her kits like a pro.  Cleaning, feeding, playing – she handled the whole nurturing arena of motherhood with aplomb.  It was like she had been doing this all her life (which was young at the time – she was only about six months herself when she had those five kittens).


Suki knows when to give.  She knows when to tend, when to care, when to support, when to nurture.

Case in point:  It is extremely rare when I cry.  But every time I do…Suki is like an arrow.  She shoots herself right by my side.  She seeks a target in need, and aims to plant herself in support.  Absolutely every time I’ve shed a tear, Suki comes running at my side.  That means, when I’m bluest of blue, Suki is there to turn my frown upside-down.  What a remarkable and lovely thing that is.

I have a tremendous support group for times when I’m low.  I love my dogs, cats, friends and family.  But I have never had such instant-knowing as I experience with Suki.  Like I said…she knows.

I’m certain there are plenty of you out there who have similar experiences with animal wisdom.  You have encountered, first-hand, that animals know!

How do they know!?  It’s a beautiful mystery.  But I am so grateful they have the capacity far beyond mine.  And so thankful animals DO know…it galvanizes a human-animal connection that is invaluable, rich and loving.


This post is intended to encourage everyone to appreciate Nature’s creatures in all shapes, sizes, forms, behaviors and attitudes.  So, give a squeeze and a kiss to your animals…do it right now.  They know.  They love.  Thank goodness!

This post is also intended to turn the tables.  Meaning…YOU know too.  The job, the weather, the mortgage, the credit card debit….that’s all BS stuff that gets in the way of truly knowing what a fellow human (or animal) needs.

Who needs you?  Who or what requires your tender-loving care?

Be like Suki. KNOW!  Be by the side of someone who needs you.  Now!

Be a better person by being more like the creatures that roam this earth.  Adapt to animal wisdom.  It will serve you well in every area of your life.

Like this post?  Check out other articles of interest:

Animal Totem Meanings

Cat Meaning and Cat Symbolism

Invoking Animal Wisdom