Coyotes are very interesting critters, mainly for their transformative qualities. There are over thirteen different subspecies of coyote. Once confined to the midwest, the coyote has spread its range all the way to the eastern seaboard, and all the way north to Alaska. Environmental pressures put on in by humans only cause this animal to flourish. In a way, biologically it lives up to its mythological roots as trickster and shapeshifter. It can adapt to almost any situation, and it’s flexible breeding patterns allow it to take on many different sizes, shapes and colors depending on the environment. The coyote is an adaptable creature, and responds well under stress.
Many times I’ve heard of people who complain of missing the magic in their lives, of being out of touch with their gods, of not being able to work the magic they would like. Busy schedule, work, school, kids, what have you. They miss the rites, the rituals, the pomp and circumstance. There is no time. And by this point, dear reader, you are wondering what the fuck this has to do with the above paragraph. What I’m trying to say is–we need to live more like coyotes. Adaptation is the key. And really, to a certain extent the ritual, pomp and circumstance are simply just crutches, fancy dressing. The gods will still listen whether you chant the right verses or not. Magic can still be conducted without the use of elaborate gimmicks and rituals.
One can inject magic and meaning in every part of their life. To me, there is no border between the magical and the mundane. Magic runs like a current through every aspect of life. You have but to be like the coyote, and find opportunity in anything, even adversity. Grasp that current, and tap into it. Just as with polytheism–connections to the gods are found everywhere. Even in seemingly the most dead of places.
By exercising yourself and learning to adapt your practice to any situation, you become more flexible. You become more intuitive, too. Opportunity and magic (and opportunity FOR magic) make themselves more apparent the more you exercise that ability. Especially in this day and age, it benefits one to live and think more like a coyote.
On my ride up to the beach on Friday evening, I had the very great pleasure to see a bald eagle up close. I know eagles are plentiful on the Chesapeake, but to see one this close, and with such drama was a rare occurrence for me. It flew up from a swampy area with a snake clutched in its talons to chase away an osprey flying overhead, presumably to protect food and turf. The spectacle of it, so close, was breathtaking, even if the whole thing only lasted mere seconds. The event made me wish my dad was with us to see it. He loves bald eagles, next to dogs one of his favorite animals. When I see them in any form, I think of him. They symbolize the American patriot, his coveted ’67 Thunderbird, which he has stored within various effigies of bald eagles.
Later, on Saturday evening, I went to the movies with my younger brother to watch “Clash of the Titans”. Inaccuracy and poetic license aside, it was entertaining. One of the most amusing parts about it was Zeus’s many transformations into…a bald eagle. Seemed a bit queer to me, seeing as a bald eagle is a North American native subspecies. Wouldn’t a golden be more appropriate, more historically accurate? Then I thought back to the eagle I saw on the ride up, and many connections began to forge themselves in my head.
When I think of bald eagles, I think of my father. I’m sure Perseus in the movie must think of bald eagles then when thinking of his father? I imagine the actual Perseus must have thought of eagles when thinking of his father. I think of my father, and I think of how he always would say, “I have to keep those big birds flyin’!” Those “big birds” are the C-130 military cargo planes, also known as the Hercules–a half-brother to Perseus. And when I think of Perseus I think of Pegasus, and when Pegasus comes to mind I think of the patch representing my dad’s wing, featuring a winged horse, rearing with wings outspread.
Seeing the eagle was a numinous experience. A good omen–the grace of the gods, the safety, and inner strength, of my father. I feel a profound sense of peace, and look forward to seeing him walking off that plane in May, under the broad wings of the Pegasus.
A storm is raging outside as I type this, thunder and lightning crashing closer and closer to my house. It somehow makes me feel more at peace.
Question originally posted here.
Do you feel that Pagans (in general) have a greater responsibility be more environmentally conscious than members of other religions? Has your religious beliefs influenced you to make changes in your lifestyle for environmental reasons?
No, I do not. I think the idea that Pagans are–or rather have to be–more “eco-conscious” is a load of stinking rubbish.
We all, regardless of race, religion, creed or ethnicity, have a responsibility to maintain and conserve our resources and the environment around us. The very idea that one religion should hold more stewardship over the Earth than another I find to be more divisive and, in the long run, more harmful.
I would have to say that my spiritual beliefs do affect how I interact and value the environment around me. For example, my collecting of relics and animal remains. How does this leave an impact on various animal species who’s remains I deal with? The Chesapeake, for example, is a place I not only consider my home, but also a tutelary deity of sorts. I’ve grown up by it my entire life and have seen everything from fuel dumps to red tides, and the devastating effects they’ve had on wildlife. This has definitely altered my outlook on how I view things. In the end however, my religous beliefs not only compel me to make changes in my behavior, but to continue to ask the necessary questions that need to be asked for behavior modification, or altered and more aware interaction with the environment around me, which extends far more than simply a spiritual level.