On the lists, a new member asked a question about working with pets in ritual, and in how the members responded, I could see that my mindset was completely different, and potentially misunderstood. In fact, I considered some of the responses decidedly odd.
One person went on a rant about a pet bird that would never be included in ritual due to lack of safety for the bird; I tend to agree – after all, I certainly would not wish to harm any of my human or non-human family members. However, that’s what tailoring a ritual to accommodate the participants is all about. One of my human friends as a back injury and walks with two canes, and when he participates, I would tailor the ritual for his safety and ability. It’s no different. Another member seemed to see this only as ‘using’ an animal as some sort of stand-in for a nature spirit or something. Yikes! As if! Other animals are not animated material objects. And besides, All That Is, Is Alive.
My take on it is this: non-human animals are equal to the human ones in my family. My family also includes a being from the Otherworld, a Spirit-Mate, so my ‘family’ is very unconventional, indeed. I would no more bar them from attending ritual or not seek to include them as I would my sister, my niece, my other human friends or family. When they attend ritual, the humans and non-humans do so as equals. They are attendants. Some participate in ritual, others do not. But their energy and connection is still there. Humans are just another type of animal; we are also Divine beings that have access to the Otherworlds. Guess what – so do all other animals.
I was very unsettled by this thread, and I just wanted to record my reaction to it.