I talk to animals.
No, I’m not Dr. Dolittle. No, the animals don’t talk back – not like humans expect a conversation, anyway. But I do talk to animals as if they understand me, and I believe they do.
I also talk to plants, trees, or the sky, occasionally… Perhaps that’s because I am pagan in my spiritual orientation, but I think it runs deeper than that. I think it’s because I believe we are all One.
Years ago, I was a regular visitor to a pixelated realm called Second Life. Being in that virtual reality world helped remind me that we are all just players in this life, the ‘real‘ world our bodies live in. It showed me quite clearly that the roleplays, duties, levels of status and position, age and physical appearance are all veneers.
In Second Life, I could choose to be anyone I wanted to be, young or old, male or female, animal or human. It gave me a new perspective.
While I have always talked to my pets, having been one of them for a while in my journeys through Second Life, I started to relate to them as if they were the same as me – but wearing the body of a pet and confined by the movements, behavioral traits, and voice of the pet.
That’s how it is in Second Life. Although there you can also chat and send text messages, that reveal your true inner nature inside the avatar pet body.
Animals in ‘real‘ life can’t talk to us like that. But I don’t believe that doesn’t mean they can’t talk at all. For me, they just talk differently, and communicate in other ways than what we humans classify as being conversation.
During my sojourn in Second Life, there was a personal revelation as well. In real life, I was mature, overweight, and overburdened by my roles.
The freedom of expression I had as a virtual avatar showed me that, while my outer body and roles might have changed, my inner self was the same as it had always been.
Having overridden the conditioning and the expectations, both from others and of those I set for myself, I found lightness, brightness, laughter, and joy again. And sexuality.
There are some damn good programs for sexuality in Second Life (or SL, as the players like to call it), and while it may seem odd to watch yourself in pixel form going through the very non-contact motions with another pixel form, the realization was new inspiration and renewal of sexual energy in ‘real life’.
(FYI, my hubby was the other pixel form).
For me, sexual energy is also Kundalini energy or creation energy, which can be directed to sex but can also be directed to any activity where you want something to manifest. It is life force energy, (some call that Chi), and by revitalizing it in that pixel realm I realized how much it had been suppressed in my ‘real‘ life at the time. (Older bodies and different life roles have a habit of smothering past passions).
So my experiences in SL brought about revitalization, reaffirmation, renewal of my self-awareness and self-love, and a recentering in my physical realm with a greater ability to split the ‘me‘ from the ‘reality‘ – not via escapism, but by recognizing my natural truths even as I invested myself in playing the ‘game’. By being the ‘Player’ who could opt out any time, and is always aware of their self as a separate entity from the ‘game’.
My SL experiences also brought about an intensification in awareness that the connections between we humans are very strong, even where there is no physical contact going on.
In SL, relationships are quickly formed, and not just mental but deep emotional connections are regularly made. Boundaries are easily set aside as the instant depth soars the spirit into a ‘high‘ and people feel they have found ‘soul mates,’ even though only mere days or weeks have passed.
Hearts are broken there. Friendships and marriages are created and gone in a matter of moments. Some translate to ‘real life‘ and do go on. Some break up marriages in ‘real life‘. But the element that struck me was that without the physical forms, and the status and roleplays to guide us, visually, people connect very easily in spirit.
So I believe that spirit is the key to all relationships. I believe spirit expresses as both emotional and mental. I think it is the core element of our being that enables both life and passion. And that when it is engaged, powerful things can happen.
My revelations from my experiences were these. I am not my body. I am not my roleplay. I am not my place in the world. For me, those are modes and functions that enable me to journey through my ‘physical life‘ to forge a ‘destiny‘ or reach a ‘destination‘, or to ‘play the game.’
In my mind, I am spirit. I am both a player in and an observer of the world I inhabit.
In my belief system, I am one cell in a great body that I call the Divine, and am never truly apart from any other cell.
As spirit, I enter a body that is used as an avatar or carrier so that I can experience the relationships between all the cells of the Divine, whether animal, plant, mineral, or cosmic. Yet my body, itself, is also made up of cells, each inhabited by the spirit of the Divine.
Together, all these cells and individual avatars, on so many different levels, and in so many layers, form the ‘reality‘ that shapes the roleplay of my physical life.
So, thinking and believing as I do, it is not a great step to talk to animals, or to any other cell in the universe I inhabit.
In viewing my world less as a finite shape and more as a place where pixels can be adjusted by Divine Will, I am less bound by conventions.
My reward for interacting with what I call a ‘greater awareness‘ is that the furries (animals) and other animal, bird, and insect entities in my world seem to be more aware of me, and I feel they have shown me this, regularly.
Now, I am no Buddha, either. While I love all life and respect it, I do acknowledge that I inhabit a physical realm that needs to be kept somewhat under control if I am to manage the space I live in, rather than be overruled by it. So I do kill cockroaches, poisonous spiders, threatening snakes, etc. I played mass war on the termites that infested my house, and keep guard over it to prevent their return.
I do not conform, however, to a belief system that says I will feel the mark of being a murderer on my soul forever because I committed those beings to ‘death’, because I do not believe they are dead. In my estimation, I just zapped their physical avatars and recycled their ‘game play‘ to a new level of ‘reality‘. And therefore every time I squish a cockroach, I still bless it but say ‘next life.‘
Despite being a pragmatic killer in that way, the cockroaches (I live in the sub-tropics, where you can really never get rid of them) still play games with me, coming to say ‘hello‘ when I cut food on my bench. Some are lucky to get away to live another life. Many get squished. And I say, ‘you risked that play badly.’
(You can see that my whole view of ‘reality’ changed after my sojourn in the pixel realm of Second Life…)
Spiders also walk across my lounge room floor while I’m watching television, in full view (again, it is the sub-tropics, and you can’t get away from life just because you live in a house, here). They never learn. But they do get a chance to be put out into the garden, where they may live another day, if I can catch them. If I can’t, they will be sprayed. That’s just life… and death. Recycling.
I am never lonely, because I am persistently surrounded by vibrant, connecting life. If I am sitting in one spot long enough, my cats and dogs are all over me, warming me up on even a hot day. If I am outside in my garden, the birds always come to sing to me, or butterflies flit past.
I have regular visits from families of possums to my garden, because I feed them kitchen scraps in a bowl screwed onto my fence, and they still come despite the fact that many of them have died under the claws of my cats. (I use pieces of one of their skulls on my altar, to honor the animal realm).
At night time, my home is regularly filled with the ‘click, click, click‘ communications of geckos (who eat cockroaches, so they are always welcome), and I can see them play on the fly screen over my lounge room window while I sit and watch television at night – big fat geckos who I know are watching me and my family inside as much as we are watching them.
You may think that’s an assumption, but there are always the same family of geckos (you get to know their shapes), feeding in the same place, within a two foot radius, and if it was just the light from our lamps they wanted, they have a wall of windows to choose from… They selected the one where they can see us sitting on the couch.
You might think this is a stretch, to believe that we are being observed like that, or to feel that the animal realm is in strong communication with us, but it goes beyond the fact that my pets do ‘talk‘ to me.
If you heard my pets doing their ‘Scooby Doo’ throat chortles in an attempt to ‘speak like a human’, you’d know they were communicating.
But animals also communicate through body language. And I will never understand the scientists who say that animals don’t have expressions – because they are just missing the subtleties. Expressions are more than a wide smile or a raise of the eyebrow. My animals have tried to smile (looks like a grimace), raised their eyebrows (twitching hair above the eye), shown disapproval (turned their head away), and shown sadness (bowed head to ground).
As well, having an adult disabled son with speech difficulties, who has told me after listening to his recorded voice that he didn’t sound like that to himself, I tend to believe that animals just have speech difficulties, too, and don’t sound the way we hear them to themselves. They think they are talking our language, and probably get frustrated like we do when people get the wrong message, despite their best efforts.
Still need convincing? I woke one morning, years ago, to an absolute cacophony of birdsong outside my bedroom window. I looked down into the garden to see what the ruckus was all about, and was astounded by a mass of birds, large and small, flying around and sitting near the corner fence of my backyard.
These were birds that normally don’t hang around together. Some were predators of the others, yet there they all were, making a ruckus as if there was something they needed to band together to fight. Of course, it intrigued me. I went down there to find out what was happening.
Normally, wild birds will fly away when a human being is clearly seen and coming toward them. But this mass of birds stayed where they were as I approached. They just went quiet and watched me. Only when I got close enough to see what it was they had massed around, did the smaller birds fly away. The Australian crows, (actually the largest ravens in the world), still sat and watched me – four of them.
In the cordyline plant growing in the corner of my yard, a large diamond python had coiled itself. This was the great enemy that the birds had gathered to warn me about.
I knew straight away that they were protecting my yard, my grandchildren who played there, and even my pets (though the cats were known killers). Any of these members of my family could have been hurt by such a large python – swallowed whole, in the case of my small pets.
Obviously, the python had availed itself of the food potential presented by my possum feeding bowl, which the birds always pick over the next day. (The possums feed at night). It must have got quite a fright, to have slithered to the precarious position of the cordyline, which has a very open foliage of narrow sword shaped leaves, and got itself barricaded there by an air battalion of angry birds.
When my husband appeared beside me with a rake, the crows (ravens) watched him carefully, obviously seeing what he would do. They only flew away when he finally slipped the python out of the plant and over the back fence into the scrubland beyond, so it could go on its merry way. Only then did the crows fly away, and we never saw that particular python again. I’m sure it learnt it’s lesson. Our yard is protected by a bevy of birds.
After that, my own awareness of how the outside world watches us was greatly increased. We can go through life blindly, only seeing what we want to see and only acknowledging what we want to acknowledge – but when we open ourselves to greater possibilities, the universe becomes a very interesting place.
A different python visited our home a couple of years later. Well, I think it was a different one, but I can’t be completely sure. (If it was the same one, it had done a heck of a lot of growing…)
My husband and I were relaxing under the shade of a vine covered pergola, deep in conversation as a gentle breeze flowed over our bodies one warm spring day. During the conversation, I heard the leaves on the vines rustle, but just thought it was the breeze moving them. When I happened to look up, an absolutely massive python had stretched its body right along about ten feet of the pergola trellis, under the vines, and was silently watching us. I had the distinct impression it was very interested in our conversation.
Of course, a large python like that just cannot be in our yard. We have pets and children to protect. So off my husband went to fetch the rake again, while I watched the python to make sure it didn’t go anywhere else.
It lifted its head up out of the foliage and stared back at me, silently. And it was an absolutely beautiful being.
So I talked to it, out loud. I said, ‘You know you can’t stay here. We have little dogs and cats and children playing in this yard, and we don’t want you to swallow them. You have to go.’
It didn’t move. Just kept staring at me. But I did not feel any menace. I did, however, feel a real sense of connection, of curiosity, and of being visited.
My husband seemed to be taking ages, so I took one brief moment to turn and yell through the back door, asking where he was. In that brief moment of turning away, that huge snake, that had taken so long and slow time to move though the vines on our pergola, completely disappeared.
My husband and I thoroughly checked everywhere, poking and prodding the vines, and searching the surrounding garden, just to make sure it was gone. That snake must have really put out speed. But it obviously took my message. We never saw it again.
I don’t know how anyone can ever feel alone in a world so full of life communicating.
Even in my most ‘solitary‘ moments, there is always something going on around me.
P.S. After reading my post, my friend told me that she also talks to animals, especially to birds. And that reminded me of another real story of my life – years ago, whenever I was feeling down or depressed, I used to go sit alone on my bedroom balcony and sing my way through an old book of ballads. It lifted my spirit, and I really belted them out. (Not sure what the neighbors thought, but it helped me a lot). And while I sang, birds would always come roosting in the trees in my garden, and just sat there, listening. They would cock their heads this way and that, but didn’t make a sound until I finished. Only then, they’d fly away. So I can tell you for certain, we are listened to by the natural world around us !