|Purred: Sun Nov 2, '08 5:47am PST |
|Well, I love rituals, but this one is a bit complex...rather than doing it myself, I'll just add two thoughts.
One is about animals in Japan. Japan has a strong tradition of taboo, which includes eating animal flesh. That's not to mean that nobody ever ate living creatures until the modern era, but Buddhist priests were supposed to abstain, and people almost always ate fish, rather than mammals. People who lived in the mountains and ate wild boars and such were considered social outcasts. Even now, although it's all hush hush, people involved in the slaying and selling of mammal flesh (and believe me, the present-day Japanese eat LOTS of meat) are still often from the traditional outcast class.
What the Japanese do to make up for taking animal life is to have periodic memorial services, which in the past often involved setting up a memorial stone. However, as I have noted on other threads, despite their Buddhist heritage, the Japanese can be downright cruel when it comes to dealing with animals. I'd say the Brits are the kindest; the Japanese are a bit behind the times. When my friend was at the Brain Institute at Tokyo University (the Harvard of Japan), he was shocked at the treatment of the experimental animals. His colleague, X, killed experimental rats by holding them by their tails and bashing them at his desk, but he was such a klutz that it usually took several bashings before the poor rat expired. Fortunately, the scientific world caught on to the fact that Japanese scientists were not properly euthanizing experimental animals, and started banning Japanese research from scientific journals. The Japanese got the point, and as far as I know, are now treating experimental animals with the same care as in, for example, the U.S. (Whether animals should be used for experiments is another question, but what is the choice? Criminals? Racial minorities? That used to be the norm. Every time I buy cosmetics from The Body Shop, which bans animal experiments, I wonder WHO they are experimenting on.) Even so, every year at Tokyo University, they hold a memorial service for the animals who have died in the service of science. Apparently, this assuages their consciences regarding their (probably still continuing) rather haphazard way of dealing with lab animals.
The second thing I wanted to say...this is a time for remembrance, but also a time for celebration of fecundity. My life has been immeasurably enriched by Leila's giving birth and her seven little devils. I know that Catster is not generally in favor of letting one's cat give birth, but it has made me realize anew the wonders of nature and of maternal instinct, and enhanced my appreciation of the cat world. I am thankful, in this season of harvest and remembrance, to have been blessed with this experience. And Leila is so obviously happy at giving birth and taking care of her kits, and the kittens themselves are so full of life and curiosity--what can I say? This is the miracle of life, which will eventually fall into the shadow of death...but birth and death are inextricably intertwined, and being able to experience, not just the death of my beloved former pets, but the birth of new life, has given me joy.
No rosemary for me, but I am thankful for the fullness of life.
Edited by author Sun Nov 2, '08 5:53am PST
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