A Message From “The Family”: On Atheism

celloatSarajevoMister Rand is often disturbed when he encounters advertisements or Internet posts from and about persons espousing atheism as a rational, more balanced approach to understanding and coping with life than theism, religiosity, mysticism, or theomancy. He is disturbed because deep down he himself does not entirely believe that he can be lucky enough for his channelings of unconditional love and light to be accurate and valid. Particularly since his mystical experiences feel so undramatic to him—familiar, almost ordinary in their safeness and familiarity—and never accompanied by UFO sightings, beams of mysterious light breaking through ceilings, angels with outstretched wings, and so forth.

But true mysticism is not always expressed via the melodramatic  memes one encounters in television and film. True mysticism is less likely to be a riotous adventure of alien abduction and much more likely to be turning a corner in one’s day and discoverin g that one is suddenly seeing everything afresh, as though one were awakening from a dream.

Beliefs are not the same things as experiences. One can experience the mystical without believing in it; similarly, one can believe in something without experiencing it. The keynote of whether a belief is core or a superficial adoption lies in whether one takes that belief and builds a world for oneself to inhabit out of it.

Atheism is currently fashionable, particularly among certain classes of intelligentsia in the USA where Mister Rand dwells. As a belief structure, atheism dates back thousands of years in Western civilization, and like religious beliefs, atheism often arises from (1) trauma, (2) acculturation, (3) home rearing, and/or (4) gender role identification.

Traumatic atheism, like traumatic religiosity, arises from unbearable psychological wounds such as those suffered by rape, war, accident, and bereavement victims. Traumatic atheism, however, often can be traced to an individual’s abuse in childhood or another vulnerable life period at the hands of overtly religious persons or institutions. Hence, for the traumatic atheist, atheism can be experienced as a liberation from the manacles of “terror theology”—religiosity rooted in Force, Threat, and Blame, that seeks to expunge the individual self and soul in order to make the self more easily controllable by the religious hierarchy. Where traumatic atheism does not arise from religious abuse, but from unbearable pain due to violence and loss, it can provide liberation from the torment of a sufferer’s wondering whether their suffering is a “punishment” by Deity for some deed or character flaw in a given or former lifetime. Traumatic atheism can also be an expression of rage against a deity one secretly still believes in, the atheist “punishing” that deity (or one’s parents, or one’s pastor) by refusing to worship the deity one has been taught to venerate. In all these cases, therefore, atheism serves the same purpose as other belief systems: protection or liberation of the self from the unbearable weight of pain.

Opportunistic or social atheism is our term for atheism arising from an individual’s desire to fit in with a desireable social group, usually a group that confers upon its members or adherents social, intellectual, [monetary] or political status not afforded to individuals who are theists or religious. Fad atheism, like fad religion, depends upon group pressure for its continuation; when the individual outgrows the need for group authentication, fad atheism—like fad religion—often fades.

Environmental atheism, like environmental religiosity, is atheism arising from family or bonding-group indoctrination. It is cultural in origin, with powerful emotional triggers and anchorings. For such atheists, theism can seem like a betrayal of intensely intimate familial and cultural values and kinship ties.

Gender-based atheism arises, usually amongst boys and men, when they are exposed to the notion that religiosity is somehow effeminizing, something that “real” men do not believe in—the province of moral, intellectual, or sexual “weaklings.” The statement, “Religion is the opium of the people” is [in our view] an expression largely of gender [role] based atheism.

Then there is a kind of atheism that arises from a genuine, heartfelt examination of one’s observations of the world and experiences therein. This kind of atheism, which we may term “true” atheism, is a true reflection of the internal process whereby an individual seeks to make emotional, intellectual, and philosophical sense of a frequently violent, apparently heartless, and often random and impersonal world. Just as “true” religiosity may be said to arise from an openhearted examination of evidences for universal consciousness, “true” atheism may represent a “high” and transfiguring awakening within the individual to a broader sense of reality. As such, true atheism can be a powerful tool for healing, acceptance, resourcefulness, and balance within the individual. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled by Rand B. Lee on 7 September 2015 6:40 AM MT.

A Message From “The Family”: On Pets

Rand.UrdwillMister Rand is today facing the possibility that his pet feline, Urdwill, may have more cancerous tumors growing upon his body. They may be malignant or they may be nonmalignant, but in any event Mister Rand’s cat is not eating, although he is drinking water. Mister Rand is remembering all the pets, and all the humans, he has lost to death over the decades, and has been showing great signs of anxiety, guilt, and shame, because part of himself feels (1) that males should not feel such feelings, (2) that he ought to have “saved” his transformed loved ones from death; and (3) that his future spiritual belongingness–whether “God” accepts him after death or not–depends upon his being perfect in all his thoughts, words, and deeds. He even believes that we may be fictions, or worse still, Satanic messengers sent to draw him and those who read his blogs away from the One True God. Mister Rand does not believe any of these things consciously. But all selves exist within the Self, including younger versions of the self, and all their voices sometimes sound within Mister Rand’s heart at once, contradicting the quieter voices of his reason and spiritual insight.

Mister Rand has vowed, when ever it is Urdwill the cat’s true time of leave taking the body, never to have another pet, because he says he “cannot bear” the thought of watching another pet die, or worse still, causing their death by having them euthenased by injection at a vet’s office. Mister Rand says that his grief is too great to bear, since (as he is aware) his grief over losing a pet is also grief over his losses of all the animals and humans in his life (and other lives as well, though he may not know this consciously). There are times when he even feels guilty over having a pet at all, both because of the impact pet-rearing can have on the environment and because he wonders whether it is good for an animal to be shoehorned into a human’s life rather than be permitted to live out its lifespan in a natural environment. Yet even in these things he knows the truth: that there are no natural environments, for your world has been made and remade by Humans repeatedly over the millennia; that in the “wild,” animals live a much shorter time than in “captivity;” and that humans can bring enormous comfort and fun into a domesticated animal’s life.

Mr. Urdwill has lived a reasonably long life for a cat of his size and genetic makeup: 14 years by Mister Rand’s present count. For all but 8 months of those years, Mister Urdwill has roamed free within his territory, Mister Rand’s backyard. He has enjoyed much fresh air, sleeping under datura leaves, chasing toads, terrorizing Mister Rand’s dogs (<-this is a joke>).

[Broken off because of need to take Urdwill to vet; resumed early next morning]

The purpose of the communion between “pets” and humans varies from pet to pet and human to human. Why did Mr. Urdwill choose Mr. Rand as his human companion that day at the pound in 2002, when Mister Rand, following an image of a black cat that had persisted in coming to him, visited the pound and experienced the black Abyssinian mix cat open the door of its cage, walk out, and sit upon Mister Rand’s foot? Mr. Urdwill wished freedom from enclosure. And freedom from enclosure is what Mister Rand gave him, for most of the years of their time together. Both cat and human also wished love, for all beings wish love, even rodents, which humans frequently despise because they closely resemble humans in some of their habits; and lizards, which being “cold blooded” are thought to have no need for love, only sex and food. It is just that Love takes different forms amongst different beings.

What Mister Rand really wants to know is, did he love Urdwill and his family and friends who have passed, truly love them “enough” for God to forgive him for not having been perfect? For having resented and quarreled with his beloved younger brother who died of AIDS in 1990? For having hated his abusive-seductive mother, who nonetheless had loved him in her way and he had loved her in his? For having heeded his lover Alex’s psychic command not to enter Alex’s room the evening of Alex’s suicide, when Mister Rand had returned from a gig the both of them had been scheduled to lead? We say, Yes, you have loved truly. Yes, you have expressed this love at times imperfectly. That is because one purpose for incarnation, the great task of incarnating in physical reality, is to learn to integrate the Divine Love at one’s core with one’s physical self and circumstances. And all students perform imperfectly—they are learning.

Mister Urdwill’s life is drawing to a close due to cancer and complications therefrom. Grief is difficult for many humans to express and bear, for it makes them feel weak and vulnerable and foolish in the eyes of other adults. We ask for all who experience grief over the loss of a companion animal or human relative or friend that you pray for Divine Love to help you forgive yourselves for being students of Love rather than masters thereof. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled April 14-15, 2015, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Breathe and Release

I don’t know about you, but I find the holiday season pretty stressful. I have to remind myself all the time these days that I don’t need to be perfect in order to be acceptable to Spirit or myself. I can’t please all the people all of the time; and 5 minutes taken out of every hour to stretch and take some deep breaths can help me soften around my tension and make me 10 times more productive than if I just gritted my teeth and barreled through my days.
My brother Jeff, 1954-1990

My brother Jeff, 1954-1990

Another thing that comes up for me at the holidays is sadness over loved ones who have died or moved far away. I particularly miss my brother Jeff, who died of AIDS at age 35 in 1990. In the past I used to try to stuff such feelings with food, overspending, or overwork. Now I ask Spirit to help me relax around my grief, and let myself feel it, offering it to the Heart of Love as I weep.

And I let myself remember Jeff in the good times, when we laughed and sang Gilbert & Sullivan songs together. Remembering the good times I had with one I have lost can be very painful, too, because such memories seem to make my grief worse for a while. But this I think is an illusion. What good memories do is reconnect me with Love, which makes my heart feel safe enough to show me what it has already been feeling underneath my consciousness. Bumper Sticker Of the Day: “There is no healing without feeling.” The best is yet to come!
-Dec. 15, 2014
P.S. Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer? Click on the image below to order via PayPal a 20-minute psychic reading with Rand! Or give him a call to place your order at 505-469-9782, including the name and email or snailmail address(es) of your chosen recipient(s). When payment is received, Rand will send each recipient a gift card bearing the message of your choice. Good for New Year’s, too!

Rand_in_your_stocking_flyer

On Oneness and Loss: A Trance-Persona Talk by “The Family”

Mr. Rand has asked us why the Earth kills so many of its creatures on a daily basis. It it because the world is out of balance due to sins of humans and their first parents, Adam and Eve? Is it because the Earth is an accidental, unconscious mechanism that grinds up lesser, weaker beings in its cogs, leaving those best fit to survive long enough to reproduce meaninglessly? Is the anger of the Earth due to a Goddess Who has had enough of Man and his depredations? We do not see it in these ways. This is how we do see it. And as always, take what feels right and leave the rest.

Love & Pain
When Humanity first incarnated in physical reality, it entered the material plane from a level of reality Mr. Rand’s former partner called the plane of light and sound, and which some Buddhists term the heaven of light and sound. In that reality, information is shared via complete joining of the seeker and the sought, without fear of violation thereby.In that reality, there are no edges to confine or bruise, no violation possible, no pain as you may think of it.

But there is also no love as you think of it: no yearning; no sense of loss. For in physical reality the concept of love is inextricably intertwined with the concept of pain … in physical reality love very frequently appears to be (1) a consolation for pains suffered, or (2) a battery of empowerment to strengthen one against the possibility of pains yet to be suffered.

And we speak of pain of loss first and foremost. For it is loss — loss of physical connection; loss of physical health; loss of sense of connection to family; loss of sense of self — that love, in physical reality, is sought after in order to abrogate or mitigate or stave off.

Love in the Nonphysical Realities
In the nonphysical realities, love is a celebration or marveling of unique wholeness seen within a context of continuous interconnection and interdependency. For in the vast light reaches (as Mr. Rand has come to think of the plane of light and sound), beings perceive the oneness of everything and their unshakeable, unlosable place within it.

The Dreaming
When humanity decided to explore love and creativity in the context of material reality, it first expanded to the level of reality called the dreaming or the dreamtime or the dream state, wherein all varieties and possibilities of physical experience can be imagined and tried out in order to determine which experiences will be the most valuable for both the individuals entering physical existence and the group consciousness of humanity as a whole. And in all possible probability lines experimented with, the one that seemed most attractive to you was one in which beings from the plane of light and sound joined their light-bodies with the bodies of animals — the natives of physical reality — the better to experience physical reality directly, as material participants, rather than [as] observers merely.

And not all beings from the plane of light and sound agreed to this. They chose instead to experience physical reality as observers and spiritual guides to their incarnating fellows, as even your scriptures attest when they say, “We are surrounded with clouds of witness,” and, “These things the angels themselves desire to look into.”

The Merging
And so you merged your consciousness with a line of animals descended from four-footed, milk-giving mammals, and became first what your scientists have called Homo neanderthalensis of Neanderthal humans; and then after many millennia experiencing physical reality as Neanderthalers (or, as many such termed themselves, People of the Air or Wind), some of you elected to expand upon the capacities of [what] that life as Neanderthalers afforded you, and incarnated as cousins to the Neanderthals, Homo sapiens or Cro-Magnon humans.

We say “expand upon the capacities of the Neanderthals,” but Mr. Rand points out this suggests that the Neanderthals were in some way limited or inferior to the Cro-Magnons, and this is not the case, any more than an aardvark or a pongid is inferior to a whale or a cormorant. The Neanderthals were equipped with senses not possessed by Cro-Magnons or their modern human descendants, and the Cro-Magnon were equipped with capacities not possessed by the Neanderthalers: to be precise, a capacity to think of themselves as separate from their surroundings rather than part of them; an increased sexual and territorial drive; the ability to stay in sexual rut twelve months out of the year; and an advanced capacity for communicating verbally with one another.

Over time, you discovered that these capacities gave you more creative control over your environment than the capacities you had when you were Neanderthals, and therefore more ability to protect yourselves against the pain of loss (due to illness, death by wild beasts and disease, severed affiliations with communities, and so forth) that physical reality so keenly affords its denizens the possibility of experiencing. And so more and more of you incarnated as Homo sapiens. And so in time H. neanderthalensis died out, for the two species were, with only a few exceptions, incapable of crossbreeding.

Other Experiments
This was not the only experiment tried in physical reality by beings from the plane of light and sound. Many of you incarnated on worlds other than Earth, and on Earths whose histories, though parallel to yours, flowed differently from the history you know.

One of your science fiction writers has written several books in which a reality where Homo neanderthalensis never died out and Homo sapiens never evolved communicates with your universe. And it may be said that this writer is in part “remembering” a reality in which he himself is incarnated (or, as you would put it, has been incarnated or shall be incarnated, for all incarnatings appear simultaneous from the viewpoint of the plane of the broadest self).

And even on your Earth there were those of you who experimented with combining the DNA of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis with that of sentients not native to your Earth. As your scriptures attest, “The sons of God looked upon the daughters of men, and saw that they were fair.” But the products of such unions proved out of balance with the harmony of your world, as it is written in your scriptures, “And there were giants on the Earth in those days.” And so these attempts at hybridization were by and large failures. These efforts survive to your present age only in certain oddities of DNA that may not be understood for many of your years to come.

Hallucinogens and Human Creativity
Now Mr. Rand has recently read a book that suggests that about 35,000 of your years ago, H. sapiens itself underwent a great shift in [creative] ability and awareness as a result of experimentation with commonly available hallucinogenic botanicals or trance-inducing practices such as starvation and repetitive noisemaking and repetitive movements in dance. This books says that prior to about 35,000 years ago, there were no abstract artistic representations made by humans. Then, suddenly, decorative objects and artistic renderings sprang into existence all over the world, as far apart as Europe and Africa, created by groups with no conscious awareness of one another.

These arts consisted of deliberate cross-hatchings on stones or shells; part human, part animal figures on stones and cave walls; pictures of male and female figures pierced with sharp lines like spears; geometric designs; and animals. And the book Mr. Rand read suggested that this creativity explosion, which continues in an accelerating manner to the present day, was inculcated by other-dimensional beings seeking contact and interbreeding with modern humans, even as, many millennia ago, some beings from the plane of light and sound sought hybridization, rather than incarnation, with H. sapiens and the now extinct H. neanderthalensis.

In fact we see this as a slight misunderstanding of a situation not based in linear causality. That is, it is not the aliens, or extra-dimensional figures, that seek to contact and interbreed with humans today. It is humans who seek to connect with and rejoin their essences with the nonphysical realities, while maintaining human form and belief-systems. The projection of human motives onto aspects of the nonphysical can be seen everywhere in religions, from your so-called ancient times to your present day: god who act like jealous wives, husbands, lovers, and heirs or rivals to heavenly thrones; Divine Father figures who command humans to slaughter everyone they encounter who is not of their subgroup; even benevolent Mother-figures who are [depicted as] one moment suckling the Divine Babe at their breasts and the next, brandishing swords of holy conquest as La Conquistadora. For one thing the book Mr. Rand has read does not take into account is the power of human fear to manifest menacing or threatening imagery when encountering those events or experiences that do not match prior mindsets.

The Power of Fear
The threatening probing aliens of the Close Encounter visions, the cackling hags of medieval witch-phobia, the jackal-headed Egyptian death-gods, the threatening therianthropes or black cylinders of DMT visions, all these are projections (as we see it) upon the ineffable of human fear of otherness: in short, xenophobia. And perhaps you have forgotten how strong a part xenophobia has always played in the history of your species.

So we see these visionary experiences of abduction and sexual experimentation and torture and seduction and such as human projections of human fears onto attempts by humans to become conscious of their “families” in the plane of light and sound, which was and is the first human home. For grief at separation is a much-available experience in physical reality.

Mr. Rand has for many years felt great grief at [having been] separated physically from the being he knew as his younger brother, Jeffrey Robert. This being introduced him to the concept of channeling, through Jeffrey’s involvement with, and inspiration by, the Jane Roberts “Seth” materials, which Jeffrey read in the 1980s when he was still incarnated in physical reality as Rand’s younger brother. So when Jeffrey died through the passageway of what is called AIDS, Mr. Rand felt a great separation, not only from his brother, of whom he was jealous and envious and inspired and toward whom he felt great affection, but also from an aspect of his own spirituality that had begun to emerge in his prior years as a fundamentalist Christian, a religion which Mr. Rand had left behind by the time of Mr. Jeffrey’s transition.

Not Lost
For Mr. Jeffrey is not lost, except to physical touch and hearing and smell and taste. He exists still, in a larger form than he possessed in physical reality, and meets with Mr. Rand in the dream state — though too often such meetings cannot be remembered by Mr. Rand upon waking because they would feel too painful for him in his present mindset of attachment to loss.

And that is another experience available in physical reality: the identification of the self not with those persons and opportunities presently available for concourse and intercommunication and mutual creation, but with those persons and opportunities no longer apparently available for such. And such attachments can result in a kind of addiction to waiting for death, which in extreme cases can cause an individual to actively seek physical cessation of life, but more commonly is experienced by individuals as a great difficulty in initiating, or following through on, new relationships and creative projects.

Alone

For no creature born of the plane of light and sound is meant to be alone, to which even your scriptures attest when they say, “And the LORD saw that it was not good for the man to be alone, and so He created a helper suitable for him.” And though your religions have called that suitable helper “the woman,” or havvah, which being translated into English means “living” and transliterated into English is pronounced “Eve,” [that suitable helper] was never intended to refer to a physical female at all, any more than “Adam” — which in Hebrew is “adamah” or “of the red earth” — was intended to refer to a physical male. For Adam and Eve were meant to refer to both aspects of the human nature in physical reality: the Namer and the Nurturer. And if one of these aspects is not recognized, fed, or given opportunities for self-expression, a human being incarnated in physical reality will feel incomplete, unsatisfied, and half-alive.

The Namer and the Nurturer

The naming and nurturing aspects of the human being are important to understand, for in a way the equivalents of such aspects are also experienced by you on the plane of light and sound, and are an intrinsic aspect of your nature as sovereign creative entities.

As we have said, and many have pointed out in religious, ethical, and psychotherapeutic writings over the centuries, physical reality is a place where many different kinds of pain may be experienced on a daily basis. When we began this discourse it was in response to Mr. Rand’s question, “Why does physical reality slay its inhabitants on a daily basis?”, which put another way can be understood to mean, “Why is there so much pain in physical reality?”

And it is our observation and our theory, which any are free to abandon or ignore as they see fit, that the potential for pain, which comes from overload of certain intense physical and psychological experiences, is at root the potential for separation or a sense of separation. And though much of the time it appears to the sufferer in physical reality that such separation is separation from loved ones who have died, or physical nurturance such as food and water and positive touch, at root such separation is from the naming and nurturing aspects of the … Self: the Higher Self, Broadest Self, Higher Power, God-Self, Christ-consciousness, light body, or whatever you may choose to call it … [which can give] the [incarnated] self opportunities for unfettered experience of oneness in physical reality.

Adam the Chooser, Eve the CreatorIMG_1711
For the naming or Adamic aspect of the self, which term is taken from your scriptures’ injunction to the mythic first man to name all the animals in Eden, is the aspect of the self that experiments with different possibilities for creativity and self-expression. [It is the aspect of the self] which looks at one probability-line or experience in the dream state and says, “This is what I want to experience. This is [whom] I would like to experience myself as being. This, too, is an expression of I AM-ness.” For all the names we give to others are names we give ourselves.

And the nurturing aspect of the self, which term is taken from your scriptures’ description of the mythic first woman as the “suitable helper” for Adam, refers to the aspect of the self which has the power to actualize in physical reality the creative choices of the naming aspect of the self — to actually do, in space-time terms, the will of the Greater or Higher or Broadest Self in physical reality during a given incarnation of that Self. And clearly for complete creativity in physical reality, both the Namer and the Nurturer must work together inside the self: the first, to identify opportunities for the self’s expression and creativity; and the second, to lay hold of tools available in physical reality to … give those opportunities flesh and blood expression.

Now we reiterate that the Namer, or Adamic aspect of the Self, and the Nurturer, or Evenic aspect of the Self, have nothing to do with maleness in a sexual sense and femaleness in a sexual sense, in that human men are not more intrinsically namers than human women are intrinsically nurturers. For the be happy, human men and women must express and satisfy both their Namer aspects and their Nurturer aspects. And that is what is experienced as “lost” when Physical Reality appears to separate a being from happiness and joy.

Mr. Rand’s “loss” of his brother Jeffrey is real in the sense that he and Jeffrey can no longer physically embrace. But the true loss is the apparent separation between Mr. Rand and his Namer and Nurturer aspects. For when Jeffrey was alive, Mr. Rand could look at him and himself and say, “This one and I are one. We mirror ourselves back to ourselves. We bear the same Name.” That is, “We share a purpose and a path. And we support one another in that path” — a reference to the Self’s Nurturer aspect. For when a person says, “He supports my path,” what she really at root is saying is, “He supports me in supporting myself on my path.” For support, though it may take the form of paying rent for someone, or handing them food or medicine, can have no nurturing effect unless the individual takes the support inside him or herself and uses it to strengthen him or herself sufficiently to begin providing support for self and others on one’s own.

And we thank you for sharing.

A Gentle Death

Ruby was an 11 or 12 year old Australian shepherd dog who had been kept confined in a trailer and overfed to the point where she was virtually immobile. When my housemate Dina adopted her back in June, they lived together in a cabin in the northern Colorado wilderness. They took long walks through the woods and played in the fresh sunlight and breezes. Ruby began to lose weight and get more fit. She joyously greeted her friend Dina every time Dina returned to the cabin. Feisty and long-coated, Ruby was a working dog with a deep sense both of loyalty and of her rights to her own body; Dina was the only human Ruby permitted to stroke her belly-fur.

When Dina and Ruby moved to Aurora not long ago, it quickly became clear that Ruby had reached the point where her body, severely arthritic and spotted with flesh-pads, could no longer support her fiercely independent spirit. Dina made the difficult decision to have Ruby euthenased.

Having a beloved animal mercifully killed in order to spare her the agony of a lingering, painful death is I think the bravest and most unselfish service a pet-owner can choose. My late partner’s Stuart’s wolf-dog Kaz died in my arms on the emergency vet’s operating table after a deliberate hit and run one Sunday morning broke Kaz’s spine. I felt a window in reality open up and Kaz’s spirit drop through it, and then the window closed, leaving a smooth unruffled surface behind, as though Kaz had never been. This took place about a year after I found Stuart’s dead body in his bedroom, dead via brain embolism.

Years later, I held the head of my blind husky, Moon-Pie, when a Santa Fe vet gave him his final injection. Moon’s hind quarters had failed, as had his kidneys, and he faced his death with a growl and a bark. A few years later I lay with another dog, Bear, who went to sleep peacefully, felled by the same symptoms that had brought Moon-Pie to his end. Then, last year, my husky Blessing died at my feet in our back yard, possibly of cancer (there is also the possibility she was poisoned by a mentally ill neighbor who showed up very suddenly while I was mourning her body with a friend). All these losses came back to me as I sat quietly beside Dina, observing beautiful brave Ruby’s last moments in her old body.

The deaths mount up as one gets older. But the hope I cling to, when my emotional body is wailing in grief and loss, is the memory of what I felt with most of my dogs after their last breaths: the persistent sense of their loving spirit presences around me. I am not such an anthropocentrist that I believe a dog’s purpose is to serve its human caretaker. Dogs, like everyone else, have their own private stories which sometimes coincide with ours and sometimes do not.

But I do know that love is never lost. In a dream I saw my dead brother Jeffrey’s spirit move off into light accompanied by all the dogs, cats, and birds we had known and loved in our Connecticut childhood. We are all one, and Love is the evidence of that; and I pray to Wolf Mother that when it is my turn to shed my own noble, sagging, arthritic animal body, she will receive me into her pack with the same loving playful devotion she showed to Kaz, Moon-Pie, Bear, and Blessing.

And of course, Ruby.

Moon-Pie & I, 2008, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Moon-Pie & I, 2008, Santa Fe, New Mexico