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November - December 2020 A Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom Arranged (Platonic) Marriage A female orangutan named Tonda, living at ZooWorld in Panama City, Florida, lost her mate. There was no other orangutan available to be her companion, and Tonda became depressed and withdrawn. The staff decided to find her a friend of a different kind, and slowly introduced her to a male ginger cat, exposing them to one another safely for short periods. The relationship “took,” and they became inseparable. The cat was named T.K., for Tonda’s Kitty. Editor’s Corner Essay: Happy Endings The Eucatastrophe Recently I happened on a website advertising several novels with happy endings, recommended for home-bound readers who are anxious about the political scene, the danger of catching (or rather being caught by) the virus, their financial situation, or all three, and discouraged by the half-life they are living during the seemingly endless pandemic--not to mention the fact that the plague is -- --presently worsening in the US and elsewhere as -- --the number of new cases, and the death toll, are -- --on the rise again. We all long for a happy -- --ending to come soon. In the early 1960s, when I was studying religion and literature in graduate school, all the novels in my courses were grim, and many then-current films as well. In many literary circles then, the midnight ending was considered the only realistic way of seeing the world. Works with happy endings seemed to have been permanently relegated to the categories of children’s literature and wish-fulfilment- type novels for adults that only the naive would take seriously. It wasn’t until The Lord of the Rings became wildly popular at the beginning of the counterculture era, and other fantasy literature followed, that the happy ending in adult literature became respectable again. J.R.R. Tolkien even proposed that it is virtually integral to“fairy-stories” or fantasy, and gave it a name : the eucatastrophe. In his essay “On Fairy Stories,” he described the eucatastrophe in fantasy as a sudden “turn” in the story, characterized by “Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” The turn is not due simply to chance, but arises chiefly out of the strength and heroic actions of the characters. The serious fantasy work implies a multi-world perspective: our everyday world is not all there is. Middle Earth, Narnia, and other such worlds were the product of “secondary” creativity, says Tolkien, the work of human minds, but what they suggest is a claim that there are real other worlds. “That is the road to fair Elfland, / Where thou and I this night maun gae,” says Scottish poet and psychic Thomas the Rhymer (1220-1298): two or more people can visit such a world together, and perceive the same scene. Examples: Spiritualists view a medium as one who is able to visit the realm of the surviving dead, with its various levels, and they themselves expect to enter one or another of those levels after death. Similarly, many religious folk, and those who have undergone Near-Death Experiences, may be convinced they are in touch with God, angels, devas, or the surviving spirits of the dead, healthy or unhealthy, and are potentially accessible to influence by such spirits. In contrast, some who call themselves skeptics are dogmatically certain that no such beings or realms exist--though they are typically ignorant of recorded evidence for -- --them. How and Why In the best fantasy story, the happy ending comes about by the actions of the combined labors of humans from this world and spiritual forces or otherworld characters, with perhaps a dash of chance, but not by a deus ex machina who conveniently steps in at the end to right all wrongs. (In The Lord of the Rings, our everyday world is represented by the Shire, most of whose inhabitants are concerned only with matters of their own small province; a few of them, like the minor character Ted Sandyman, are “dogmatic skeptics.” But among hobbits there is also a minority of open-minded ones such as Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam, who go off on Adventures into the vast world of Elves, Dwarfs, Wizards, nature spirits, Black Riders, and Smaug the dragon or Sauron, the Dark Lord. Usually the heroes’ more conventional extended families, who consider adventures to be “nasty, uncomfortable things that make you late for dinner,” hush up these embarrassing journeys, although they unknowingly profit from Frodo and Sam’s adventure. In responsible this-world novels with happy endings, such as Jane Austen’s courtship novels, all of which end in (presumably) happily-ever-after marriages, the satisfying ending is also brought about by a combination of forces, primarily actions by the maturing principal characters, although chance, or actions of misguided minor characters, may have a minor part as well. (In Austen, the fact that the majority of married couples in the story are mismated and not very happy suggests that our happy united lovers may have to travel a rocky road too at times). So whether the joy of the ending is “beyond the walls of the world” or entirely within these walls, the ending tells the reader that hope is valid. Those who courageously face their own fears, weaknesses, and wrongdoing, as well as obstacles outside themselves, and who labor to overcome them to bring peace, may find a real--if not perfect--happy ending. On a less satisfying level, the bittersweet ending also validates hope, though such hope is muted. In either case, the implication is that fear, ignorance, callousness/cruelty, pain, and violence--enormously -- --powerful though they are--don’t necessarily have the last word. Activists’ Real-Life Adventure This implied message is important to activists, who also face enormous odds as they/we work for justice and compassion, especially those of us who seek the abolition of the slavery of our animal cousins. It is helpful for us to bear in mind that the movement from which we took the term “abolition,” the struggle to end human slavery, also faced enormous odds. Those who resisted the message didn’t hesitate to point out that for thousands of years, there had always been human enslavement; that’s the way the world is. Examples: The strong who won battles enslaved the defeated. Those with more developed technology established networks to raid and capture individuals from cultures with simpler technologies. Always, the slaver, and the slave-master or -mistress feels superior to the enslaved--entitled to ownership -- --and the right to exploit by virtue -- --of greater strength, greater -- --intelligence, greater wealth, higher -- --social position, a superior -- --religion, superior skin color and/ -- --or features--what have you. Egregiously, in ancient times even philosophers of the calibre of Aristotle didn’t find anything wrong with it. The Bible is ambivalent: in some passages slavery is strongly condemned, whereas in others it is acceptable. But those who control the enslaved never identify deeply with them, seeking to understand their state of mind, and imagining themselves in their victims’ shoes all the way. To do so would undermine the whole system. For those who underwent a profound spiritual transformation and truly wanted to get out of the system--and there were a few such--it was hard to escape. One individual or family couldn’t -- --simply free those they had enslaved, especially when the -- --numbers of the latter were large: many of the liberated -- --would die of hunger or exposure to the elements; and there -- --were other problems as well. The whole system had to go. Elusive as a final happy ending to the long campaign to end human slavery has been, we can take courage from the fact that it did come about, though perhaps the “ending” should be described as bittersweet, since slavery still goes on underground in many countries, including the US. (See “We Were Slaves to Pharaoh,” PT 31 ). But a society in which slavery is rejected and publicly condemned, and the law hunts down slavers and seeks to punish them rather than their victims, is an improvement on the previous situation of open acceptance of the evil. And because the system already has a very bad name, well-publicized boycotts of slasvery’s products, such as major-brand chocolate from Africa, have a better chance to speak to the hearts of consumers. We await a leader who can command attention and funds to spread its condemnation far and wide, so that ignorance will be virtually impossible. We who seek liberation for the animals have a much longer way to go, of course, to achieve the animals’ happy ending. We have some advantages too that our forebears who sought abolition of human slavery did not, such as the fact that health is on the side of eating plants rather than animals or animal products--health both -- --for individuals and for our -- --beleagered planet. Or should we say -- --that the health of the planet will -- --be an advantage if enough people -- --hear and heed the message in time? -- --But there are signs that many in the -- --US, though continuing to consume -- --dairy and flesh, are becoming -- --uncomfortable with doing so, and are -- --cutting down--a hopeful sign. Hope is a cardinal virtue: we need to hold to it, because; people who despair accomplish nothing. The Reach of Hope Nearing the climax of The Lord of the Rings, Sam is looking to rescue Frodo from the clutches of the orcs in Cirith Ungol, once the Tower of the Moon, now a stronghold of orcs. He climbs as high as he can in the tower, not finding his friend; there is one more story above, but he sees no way to reach the trap door to enter it. To all appearances defeated, he finds himself, to his surprise, singing a song of hope, ‘In Western Lands.” He hears a faint response from Frodo above. An orc appears with a ladder to beat the prisoner (the supposed singer) into silence, but Sam climbs the ladder after him, knocks him down through the trap door, and is enabled to rescue Frodo. So the song of hope itself becomes part of this preliminary happy-ending scene. The second stanza of Sam’s song is as follows: Though here at journey’s end I lie In darkness buried deep, Beyond all towers strong and high, Beyond all mountains steep, Above all shadows rides the Sun And Stars forever dwell: I will not say the Day is done Nor bid the stars farewell. Let us hold firmly to Hope. --Editor The lead image above is the coronation scene from the film The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The painting of the sylvan path is “Elfland” by Søren Sciera Jensen. The black-and-white image is “Slave Patrol,” from a museum on the history of policing. NewsNotes From Slaughterhouse to White House The Oct. 21 New York Times featured an article on artist Sue Coe’s truth-telling work on behalf of animals and political justice. It is encouraging to see an account of Coe’s drawings in a major news outlet. See Slaughterhouse Gerald the Turkey is Safe Gerald, who had long lived in the Oakland (California) Rose Garden was reported to have been endangering visitors, apparently due to stress caused by the increase in the numbers of humans in the garden. The California Fish and Wildlife department had threatened to kill him. But thanks to public pressure, when members of the department finally captured him October 24, instead of carrying out their threat, they released him into a wild area where hunting is forbidden. However, he is now separated from his family, and we might do well by sending them all healing Light. (The photo was taken earlier this year.) --Contributed by United Poultry Concerns Four Koalas Rescued From Fire Devastating brushfires destroyed large areas in Australia during late 2019 and early 2020, including, tragically, much of the Two Thumbs Animal Sanctuary. In August a skilled search-and-rescue dog named Bear of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), located four koalas who were injured but survived the fire: females Jessie and Amelia, and, separately, males Jarrah and Mark. They were taken to Australian National University, where they received months of rehabilitative care. Jessie, happily, was found to be pregnant, and gave birth to a joey given the name Jazz Recently all five were returned to the wild. See Koala Return --Contributed by IFAW Good News for “Lab” Animals PCRM has recently achieved several victories for animals who have been tortured in laboratories for supposed human benefits. Thanks to their information about the superiority of other, human-relevant methods, the Cleveland Clinic, its partner Spectrum Health, the Medical College of Georgia, and Michigan State University have all phased out the use of animals in training surgeons. (See Pigs ). PCRM and PETA working together have also induced the Environmental Protection Agency to do away with LD50 tests for determining the safety of various chemicals before they are put on the market. This callous test, many decades old, exposed animals to the chemicals until half of them died. The test will no longer be legally required, saving many hundreds of animals yearly. (See Rabbits ). Open Letter to Veterinarians has published an open letter from Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, maker of plant-based dog food, to veterinarians, challenging them to honor their oath to protect animal health and prevent and relieve animal suffering, by becoming vegan--for the -- --benefit of all animals, not just -- --companion animals. See Open Letter --Contributed by Will Tuttle and Judy Carman Unset Gems “You shall not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.”--Lev. 19:16 “Three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.”--I Cor. 13:13 Review: Voices of the Animals and Stormy’s Words of Wisdom Laura Stinchfield, Voices of the Animals. Ojai, CA: The Pet Psychic, 2019. 267 pp. softcover. $15.00 Laura Stinchfield, Stormy's Words of Wisdom. Ojai, CA: The Pet Psychic, 2019. 167 pp. softcover, $15.00 Gracia Fay and I have known Laura Stinchfield, "the pet psychic," almost since we moved to Ojai twenty years ago, and we have greatly valued her engaging personality, deep feeling for animals, and communications with our cats regarding their issues and ours. Laura is indeed one of the most interesting persons we know. She has been a presence in the Ojai area, publishing articles in local newspapers and other media, presenting a regular radio program, and offering helpful Internet material at Now, here in book form, is a selection of the best from this output. The first volume, Voices of the Animals, reproduces in one place numerous short media articles on topics like how to learn the meaning of an animal's behavior, preparing an animal for a trip to the vet and if necessary for surgery, dealing with a companion animal when there is also a baby in the house, moving, and, inevitably, "Litter Box Issues." Some of the most intriguing selections, given our human fascination with other's people's problems, are those in which a companion animal, almost like a newspaper advice columnist, transmits through Laura to-the-point observations on matters the human herself may not yet be fully aware of. One of the articles is entitled, "Pets Know More Than You Think," and that summary is borne out in a later piece called "When Your Dog Hates Your Boyfriend." Although the woman of the latter piece thought the boyfriend was about to ask her to marry him, and that she would probably accept, Charlie, her dog companion, had noticed that "he does little mean things that make her unhappy," and added, "I don't want her to marry him. He is not good for her. I am worried he is going to make her sick. . . I want my mom to have a man who makes her feel safe. Who adores her as much as mom adores me." It was hard, and there were tears, but the woman finally had to say, "I heard you, Charlie. I'll think about what you said." Six months later Laura got an email from the now ex-fiancée saying she couldn't thank the pet psychic enough. She had, she further reported, broken off with the boyfriend that Charlie had seen through, and had found another who treated her with true respect, and whom, needless to say, Charlie also liked. The other book, Stormy's Words of Wisdom: An Enlightened Dog's Profound Insights on Life, focuses on one animal, Storm King, Stormy for short, Laura's late Australian shepherd. As those who have followed Stinchfield's writings know, Stormy was something of a philosopher with thoughts that embody, and indeed bring together, the best wisdom of both the canine and human worlds. For example: "When you enjoy life and love yourself, you may find it is easier to relieve other beings of their suffering." Or, "I have learned some people treat pets with more kindness than some humans treat each other. I have learned to love many humans for exactly who they are." And, in this context, "Family is important. Tell them you love them, even if there is something you dislike about them. Just saying, 'I love you' can make the 'dislike' part go away." "Animals come to you for a reason. You learn about yourself, and they learn about themselves. Some learn how to love, how to be nurtured, how to have patience, how to deal with anger in oneself and in others, how to have compassion for every being, and how to meet everyone where they are at." Stinchfield is well aware of the sad aspects of animal's lives, companion and other. In Voices of the Animals, she gives expression to the pain of declawed cats, transmits from heaven the words of Cecil, the lion notoriously shot by an American hunter in Africa and left to suffer, and gives voice to the pain felt even by loved companions like Charlie who sensed all was not right in the home. On the other hand, in much of this writing we hear creatures like Stormy articulate the love, joy, and friendship they often feel. Laura and her four-footed friends realize the exuberant side of life is also the rightful heritage of both species, and to be celebrated. This beauty of world and soul is meant to be ours as well as the bad side, and Laura Stinchfield is its prophet. Stinchfield also affirms heaven for both humans and animals. She gives communications from animals on the other side, and in another part of her professional life from humans who have made that transition as well. Many of her transmissions from animals over there bespeak their happiness, one even claiming to play with the moon as though it were a ball. They are eager to let their people know they are still with them though invisible, giving joy and wise words on the inner planes. They may even have mysterious kinds of power. Stormy in one striking message from heaven, a dictate which certainly should not be comforting to any who mistreat animals, uttered: "Hey, you should put my picture in your house, like on an altar. Then you can look at me and pray to me every day. Do this, because I have connections." Laura also talks of reincarnation on the part of animals who are not ready for heaven, needing more experience down here before returning to paradise, though apparently not all are in this state. The main message, though, is always of a world of love or potential love. Regardless of how one personally relates to Laura's psychic worldview, there is much richness and wisdom in these books bound to touch all who love and care for animals. Highly recommended for personal and meetinghouse or other religious institutional libraries. -Robert Ellwood Pilgrimage: Laura Stinchfield, 1972 - (From time to time The Peaceable Table offers accounts of or by living persons describing their journey to vegetarianism/veganism. Every such narrative is important and interesting. Readers are invited to submit their own stories for this column.) Laura Stinchfield, two of whose books are reviewed in this issue, is a prominent “pet psychic,” as she calls herself, in southern California. How did she get that way? She grew up on a horse farm in Westchester county, New York. From as long as she can remember, she was aware of what animals were thinking and feeling. (She long had no idea that most other people did not understand them to the degree that she did.) Fortunately, her parents were extremely supportive of Laura’s connection with animals, accepting all her many animal companions into the home. These included the pony she rescued at age ten, the calico kitten she had a friend drop off with a balloon and a note that read, “To Laura from your secret admirer,” a rabbit won in a raffle and a goldfish won at a local carnival. As a young adult, following university studies in literature and psychology, Laura took training in alternative healing methods, becoming a T-Touch practitioner and a reiki master and working in these alternative healing fields. But she felt led to more than such therapeutic work, recalling experiences from childhood pointing in a new direction. It was her relation to animals that deepened in exceptional ways, giving her a more unusual vocation. For example, Laura had a cat named Juliette; when she came home from travels, Juliette, clearly sending a message about being left behind, would give Laura an accusing stare and then stay away for days. Following advice in Penelope Smith’s book Animal Talk, Laura tried sending Juliette a mental picture of the days and nights she would be gone, and of herself happily returning afterwards. This got to the feline, and when the two-legged companion returned Juliette was at the doorstep waiting for her. Experiences like this told Laura that her true calling was as an animal communicator. She does communication with animals both in this life and beyond the transition, and in another part of her practice communicates with deceased persons as well. As for vegetarianism, Laura wrote the following especially for The Peaceable Table: "As a young child, I would fall asleep to visions of the eyes of animals. Sometimes it would be an elephant. Others, it would be cows, chickens, or domestic animals. It would always be one eye with a soulful expression.. When I was ten, I started to be consciously aware that I was eating animals. I couldn’t make sense of it. How can people eat an animal that has so much consciousness? The night before Thanksgiving that year, at the dinner table, I declared, “I am now a vegetarianism.” It’s been 38 years since I have eaten meat. It has always been easy. To me, it’s a small act to thank the animals for giving me so much richness throughout my life. As I got older, I learned of the suffering animals endure. I know many people who dedicate their lives to ending animals’ suffering but still eat meat." Laura’s way is clearly not that of such people, but she asserts that she is not judgmental and recognizes their claim to love animals in other ways. Few people in this world as it is are as close to animal consciousness as Laura Stinchfield. In our own personal opinion, w were all made to be much more sensitive to animals that we are, but too much in human civilization as it developed has gotten in the way. We can be grateful to someone like Laura who has shown the world our potential in that direction, and has helped animals tell us many things we would not otherwise have known. --Robert Ellwood Recipe: Lentil-Cheeze Christmas Roast 8 oz red lentils 8 oz. flaked vegan cheeze, such as Daiya 4 oz. vermicelli 4 oz whole grain bread crumbs (4 slices) 1 clove garlic Sprinkle of nutmeg 2 T. ground flaxseed 6 T warm water (i. e., ¼ cup plus 2 T) Cooking oil as needed (minimize) 8 oz. chopped onions 2 bay leaves ½ teas. allspice ½ teas. salt, or to taste Finely chop onions and sauté in oil. While onion is cooking, mix flaxseed and warm water, stir, and set aside. Put lentils in saucepan with about 3/4 pint water; bring to boil; simmer until soft. Remove bay leaves. Boil vermicell