Category Archives: Animals
Most things involving animals. This does include animal totems.
In the autumn, people in various places bring animals to church for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Pets. This ceremony is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. His feast day is October 4th (Mackin).
There are two Franciscan blessings for animals. One is for all animals. The other is for sick animals (AmericanCatholic.org).
Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. On the fifth and sixth days of creation, you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all animals his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this animal. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.
Heavenly Father, you created all things for your glory and made us stewards of this creature. If it is your will, restore it to health and strength. Blessed are you, Lord God, and holy is your name for ever and ever. Amen.
As the prayer is offered, the pet is gently sprinkled with holy water. Some cats are known for flattening their ears as the “drops of water lightly pelt them.” If the animal is not able to be present, a photo of the animal can be brought in as substitute. The Blessing of Pets is usually held outdoors (Mackin).
We have a close connection to animals, especially our pets. We also know that they have souls (see Wild Souls). Depending on what our beliefs are, we usually bless or baptize (in some form) our children, family, and friends. Why not bless our animals? They need blessings too. God wants us to bless them, for he put them on Earth with us. St. Francis realized the importance of our siblings, the animals.
- AmericanCatholic.org. “‘Do-it-yourself’ Franciscan Animal Blessings.” ‘Do-it-yourself’ Franciscan Animal Blessings. AmericanCatholic.org, n.d. Web. 07 July 2012. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/francis/animal.asp.
- Mackin, Kevin E. “Blessing of Pets and the Animals – St. Francis of Assisi.” Blessing of Pets and the Animals – St. Francis of Assisi. AmericaCatholic.org, n.d. Web. 07 July 2012. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/francis/blessing.asp.
A common question among children, specifically Christian children, is: will doggy (or kitty) go to Heaven? This can also be asked: do animals have souls? In the Christian tradition, many will say that humans have dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26 and 1:28). This leads many of them to say, that the animals don’t go to heaven. When this is said, it leads people to believe that animals don’t have [immortal] souls. Other religions believe that animals not only have souls, but are equal to humans. Do animals have souls? (Sorry, for this post being so long.)
In the Book of Genesis, the first two chapters are dedicated to Creation. Genesis 1:20-21 and 1:24 describe “living creatures” in the air, the water, and on the land. “Living creatures” fits the story that’s told to children. In Hebrew, “Living creatures” is translated as nephesh chay. Chay is translated as living or life. Nephesh is often translated as creature, but it can also be tranlated as soul.
In Genesis 1:30 (KJV), it says:
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there islife, I have given every green herb for meat: an it was so.
Looking at Strong’s Numbers, “. . . wherein there is life . . .” is Strong’s Numbers: 2416 and 5315. These numbers go back to the transliterated Hebrew: nephesh chaya. This is God telling humans that animals do have souls.
In Genesis 2:7, God breathes the “breath of life” into man. This is how man came to be alive and got a soul. Animals had to live, so they had to have souls. The breath of life that is in us, is also in animals (Genesis 7:15 and 7:22). Genesis 7:15 (KJV), after God commands Noah to save all of the creatures of the earth and sky, says:
During the flood, only the animals (of the earth and sky) on the ark were survived. Genesis 7:22 (KJV) says:
All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
Animals have the breath of life in the them. The breath of life is the soul. Animals have souls, just as humans do.
Numbers 16:22 (KJV) refers to God as “the God of the spirits of all flesh.” Numbers 31:28-29 (KJV) tells of the Lord commanding Moses to divide up the spoils. It mentions that both humans and animals have souls. It says:
And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred,bothof the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:
Take itof their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the LORD.
The apocryphal Book of Judith praises God. In the Douay-Rheims Translation, Judith 16:17 says:
Let all thy creatures serve thee: because thou hast spoken, and they were made: thou didst send forth thy spirit, they were created, and there is no one that can resist thy voice.
Job 12:10 (KJV) teaches:
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the beath of all mankind.
Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 (KJV) says:
. . . so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast . . . All go unto one place; all are of the dust, an all turn to dust again.
This tells us that man truly does not have dominion over the beasts, for we are made of the same material: the elements, including spirit/souls.
Hinduism believes that we can be reincarnated. In previous lives, we could have been animals. In future lives, we may be animals. In one of the temples in India, there are rats that are considered the children of one of the gods. The rats and the clergy of the temple keep being reincarnated as more clergy or rats. Whichever body and life you are born into was determined by your deeds in a past life (BBC).
Buddhism also believes that we can be reincarnated as animals. Buddhists try to do no harm to animals, because human and animal lives are equal. Being born as an animal is karma related (BBC).
The Ancient Egyptian religion had gods that were part human and part animal. They also believed cat were demigods, because they are the children of the goddess Bastet.
Now we look to Native American beliefs. The traditional Inuit believe that humans and animals have anua, or souls (Robinson). In Shamanism and some Native American traditions, we have animal spirit guides (ORCA). This is also found in some Wiccan and other pagan traditions (Wyldkat).
If you have watched Long Island Medium, you know that Theresa Caputo can communicate with those who have passed. A medium is someone who can communicate with the dead. She has spoken with spirits of relatives of people she meets. She has also seen them, including their pets.
Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., has also spoken of pets on the other side. Angels and fairies protect the pets, too. Would angels protect animals if they didn’t have souls? Animals do have souls.
In biology, there is a belief in the theory of evolution. Evidence shows there were animals before us, namely the dinosaurs. We have even found fossil evidence of our ancestors.
Even when classifying species, humans are counted among the animals. We are part of the Animal Kingdom. The kingdom we belong to is Animalia. The phylum is Chordata. Our class is Mammalia. The Order is Primate. Our family is Hominidae. Our tribe is Hominini. The genus is Homo. Our species name is Homo sapien.
I am among the many who have owned pets. Of course, I am of the mind that pets are companions, even family. I am clairvoyant. I’m blessed with the ability to see spirits (ghosts, angels, etc.). I’ve seen two of my dearly departed pets.
I have only ever had one dog. I loved her. She died while I was a toddler. A few years later, I saw her–not physically, but in spirit. She was with my grandparents. Of course, she appeared to me in the form of dog, because that is the only way I have ever known her. She was happy and at peace.
My cat, who was alive long before I was born, died two years ago. She was my friend, my family, and my protector. While she was alive, she saw the spirits in our house. One of the spirits was a dog; she didn’t particularly care for this one. When she died, her spirit came to visit me. She came in her cat form, but I know that she must have been human in another life. She is always a comfort. Whenever I see her, I always know that she is at peace and is watching over me.
We are equal to animals. Every religion and philosophy has their own beliefs about animals. Even some traditions have disagreements about whether animals have souls. However, we have learned that animals do have souls. If your child asks you whether animals have souls, you can tell them that they (animals) do.
BBC. “Buddhism and Animals.” BBC News. BBC, 23 Nov. 2009. Web. 06 June 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/buddhistethics/animals.shtml.
BBC. “Hinduism and Animals.” BBC News. BBC, 29 June 2010. Web. 06 June 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/hinduethics/animal.shtml.
- Book of Judith (Douay-Rheims Translation).
- King James Version of the Bible.
ORCA. “Shamanism Working With Animal Spirits Core.” Shamanism Working With Animal Spirits Core. 2 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 June 2012. http://www.animalspirits.com/index1.html.
Robinson, B.A. “NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUALITY.” NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUALITY. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 13 Jan. 2008. Web. 06 June 2012. http://www.religioustolerance.org/nataspir3.htm.
Wyldkat, Herne. “Animal Guides Introduction.” Animal Guides Introduction. The Celtic Connection, 1999. Web. 06 June 2012. http://wicca.com/celtic/wyldkat/anmlintro.htm.
In ancient Egypt, cats were highly revered. This was partly due to their excellent ability to combat vermin. Royal cats were sometimes dressed in gold jewelry and were permitted to eat from their owners’ plates. It was also illegal to take a cat outside of Egypt. Anyone caught harming or killing a cat, even by accident, was sentenced to death. Bastet, the cat and lioness goddess, was said to be the mother of cats. Since she was believed to be their mother, cats were considered demigods. They were also mummified when they died.
Several other religions believe in cats as being exalted souls. In Japan, maneki neko is a cat that is a symbol of good fortune. Japan also has an island that has a temple that is dedicated to cats. Some writers stated that Muhammad had a favorite cat, Muezza. He is said to have loved cats so much that he would do without a cloak so as not to disturb a cat sleeping on it. Freyja, a Norse goddess, is depicted as riding a chariot drawn by cats.
Many other cultures have negative superstitions about cats. One of them is a “black cat crossing your path is bad luck.” Another is that they are witches (in the negative connotation) familiars that were used to augment a witch’s powers and skills.
Some people dislike the independent spirit of cats. Cats are not dogs. They will not come on command, nor is it easy to train them to do something other than use a litter box. They are independent and thoughtful. A cat might even have a better glimpse of your soul than humans.
Cats love. They have the spirit of their mother, Bastet. They are loving, but they are also warriors. If a cat chooses you, you will likely be protected by that cat. Be warned, cats aren’t quick to forgive an insult. I speak from experience on this one. Any insult or threat made to a cat isnever forgotten. Treat them like the royalty they are (or believe they are). They will reward you with their affection, protection, and companionship. They are the children of Bastet.