The Peaceable Table

A Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith

The Peaceable Table is intended for the mutual support, education, and inspiration of people of faith in the practice of love for our fellow animals and observance of a nonviolent diet

The Animals and the Angels, Part III



In the May '06 editorial of PT, we looked at a few bits of evidence that the consciousness of human animals, and even of our furry and feathered siblings, might survive death. In so little space, one can of course do no more than encourage the reader to question received opinion, and check out the evidence for her/himself. In this last section, I will proceed "as-if"--supposing it were established that nonhuman animals of all sorts and conditions did survive death, what would be some of the implications for our treatment of them?


It must be admitted at the outset that such a state of affairs would not necessarily lead to an elimination of humans' casual killing of animals. There have been many cultures that took survival of animal and human consciousness for granted, but manifested this belief in cruel and exploitative ways. For example, in some tribal cultures, animal sacrifice was based on the belief that the spirit of the slain beast would go to the other world and there be accepted by the deity as a gift. In regard to human beings, there have been found ancient burial sites of powerful men that included the remains of many others, probably slaves and wives killed at his death in order that they might serve the great man in the next world.

Several ancient peoples in the Near East held that survival was a curse for all, whatever their rank; there was a widespread view of the human afterlife as a gloomy, meaningless existence in a dusty underground realm. (So much for the modern idea that all ideas of survival are wish-fulfilment!)

It is true that the majority of Near-Death Experience narratives to be found in the public domain are happy or peaceful. But we cannot safely deduce from the evidence that, if animals (and people) do survive death, they will surely be compensated with joy and peace for unjust suffering on earth. There are certainly many NDE accounts, primarily from children, of entering a paradisal realm and being met by a happy, bounding dog or cat the child had loved and lost. There are stories of Edens with contentedly grazing deer or horses, including a wonderful account, told by experiencer Audrey Harris, of a woodsy Peaceable Kingdom, complete with lion, lambs, and a trumpeting angel (see Full Circle by Barbara Harris). But there are also NDEs (their percentage of the total unknown) that are dismal, distressing, or terrifying, and no reliable connection can be traced to the mural/spiritual character of the human experiencer. We cannot assume that things would be different for our fellow animals.

These depressing generalizations do not, however, mean that the issue of life after death for sentient beings has nothing to offer those of us who defend animals. It expands the stage; after each physical life it places, in Gracie Allen's image, a comma rather than a period. We cannot be certain what might be on the other side of that comma, but continued or expanded existence of consciousness would give weight, so to speak, to any being. She or he is no mere it, no object to be disposed of at the whim of a supposed owner. There is more. And though there is no certainty of happiness in this more, there are good reasons for hope.

Evolution and Survival

Evolutionary theory would seem to be one of the blocks to survival, but this is not necessarily the case; evolution can even be a support. The moral Grand Canyon that is customarily drawn between human beings and animals--such that killing a human is murder, killing an animal is "harvesting"--is shown up by evolution to be a completely artificial construct: all we animals are of one blood, we are kin. If humans survive death, animals very likely do too, either as individuals or perhaps as (for example, social insects) part of a group consciousness.

But how about the reductionism in evolution, the disappearance of the soul resulting from the principle that in bringing a new form of life into existence, physical changes are primary and the development of consciousness secondary? This would seem to make evolution hopelessly inhospitable to the concept of survival. But this apparently fundamental element is not, in fact, a necessary part of evolutionary theory. It is a philosophical assumption (alluded to in Part II) that accompanies the Darwinian version of evolution. In fact there are several other philosophical frameworks for evolution that are more congenial to survival, in which intelligent design and evolution (to use contemporary political terms) make very comfortable bedfellows.

Among them are the theory of Roman Catholic paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin and his followers (see The Phenomenon of Man). The process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, initially inspired by developments in twentieth-century physics, also makes consciousness primary in evolutionary process, and has been found compatible with (human) survival by some of its proponents (see Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality by David Griffin). There are other forms of evolution in which survival is even a vital part of the theory: see, for example, a cluster of Theosophical esssays influenced by Eastern thought in Lester Smith's aptly named anthology Intelligence Came First, 2nd ed.), and the analogous systematic philosophy of involution and evolution by Hindu Vedantan mystic Aurobindo (The Life Divine).

Why Reasons for Hope?

Despite the fact that some NDEs are distressing and serve no evident moral purpose of correction or reward, there are reasons to consider the likelihood of life after death as a decided plus. The most important reason represents the total existence of a living being as a journey of adventure climaxing in transformation. Many people who have NDEs exemplify this picture in their subsequent life. Unable to go on as before, their personalities undergo basic changes, as previous values--prestige, power, wealth, or an exclusive relationship--now seem suffocating and empty. Now they thirst for God; they devour books; they give away property; they explore different religious practices; they embark on a life of service. They may receive guidance from a guardian angel; gifts of healing or clairvoyance may appear. While these changes often bring joy and excitement, they also result in the pain of misunderstanding, disruption of intimate relationships, loneliness and longing, the sense of being a stranger in a strange land.

These changes are in many cases similar to those reported by mystics, whose spiritual awakening leads to a lifelong search for God that takes them through trackless deserts and cosmic loneliness, including "dark-night-of-the-soul" experiences remarkably similar to painful NDEs. The journey, typified by Western scholars of mysticism as consisting of three or five major stages, ultimately leads to the inexpressible joy of union and empowerment.

Perhaps this long hero-adventure recounted in many versions and many cultures--the awakening, joy and suffering, ordeal and fulfilment of a person of destiny--is also the Eastern and neoplatonic mystics' journey from the One as potential, out into a far country to gain a treasure, and ultimate return to the One as Love realized. Perhaps this journey is something every living being is engaged in, for God surely loves all whom s/he has brought forth, and intends us for Her/Himself. This is a matter of faith, forwe see glimpses only, moments of it in our life (or lives) on earth, and the vast majority of it must be hidden from our sight. The sense of profound unity with all beings, including animals, that many mystics and Near-Death Experiencers describe would seem to support such a faith.

Benefits and Liabilities

I find this framework profoundly encouraging when I am overwhelmed with the vast extent of human and animal suffering and the resistant power of the forces of ignorance and evil that perpetuate it. I feel supported in my prayers for my fellow animals, for their and our evolution beyond violence and back to the divine Heart. (This sketch, irresponsibly brief, is supported and developed further in my aforementioned book The Uttermost Deep: The Challenge of Near-Death Experiences.)

It is true that when a whole culture takes for granted an essentially positive view of the afterlife, a certain percentage of the population will take that as an excuse to close their hearts to the suffering of their fellows. This kind of complacence explains the widespread conviction of liberally-inclined people of faith that belief in an afterlife is based on wish-fulfilment and leads to a world-abandoning, pie-in-the-sky outlook. (However, it is generally not the case with those who have experienced near-death, who are not only convinced of survival, but are in many cases much more deeply engaged in this world than before.) And it must also be acknowledged that reductionism and despair also tend to lead to to numbness and closed hearts--hardly an improvement. It is eminently worth our while to look at the very considerable reasons for hope that this life is not all there is.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood

We invite responses to editorials or any other feature of PT for our next issue's letter column:

News Notes


And a Monk Shall Lead Them

A small community of Buddhist monks of the Luangta Bua Temple, west of Bangkok, have opened a sanctuary for the endanged tigers in this border area of Thailand, where hunters have now reduced the population of the big cats to fewer than 500. The project began in 1998 when a wounded tiger was brought to the temple. He soon died, but later two cubs were brought who had been severely knifed by inept poachers intending to preserve and stuff them. Miraculously, this pair survived, and later mated. As of 2005, there were thirteen in residence, some brought by disillusioned "pet owners," some injured by hunters. At night they are kept in cages, and during the day they are walked by the monks to a gully area that also houses other refugee animals. As with other mammals observed closely and respectfully, the big cats show different personalities. The monks feed them with dog kibble (which took some getting used to, but they now evidently enjoy) purchased with money donated by visitors. An Irish scientist of animal behavior works four hours a day nurturing motherless cubs.

The monks pet the tigers, occasionally pretend to box with them, and are unscathed. They are fully convinced that this remarkable situation is made possible by the energy of compassion generated by their practice of meditation. They do not claim that the beasts are fully cured of violence; visitors who enter the gully are cautioned against flashbulbs, and required to sign a waiver. Plans are to use money brought in by tourists to create for the tigers a larger, more natural enclosure surrounded by a moat. The monks hope eventually to return them to the wild.


Suggested Minute to Friends World Committee for Consultation

At our Yearly Meeting [in South Africa] it was agreed that a concern should be forwarded to FWCC. I think what will happen is that it will go to Meetings all over the world and, if agreed, will end up on the agenda in some form or other in Dublin next year. The text is:

Concern for Animals
Do we recognise the suffering imposed upon billions of nonhuman animals by human animals in the flesh and milk industry; in vivisection laboratories; in using them for power and entertainment and in the taking of their natural habitat? Given that nonhuman animals are utterly powerless to resist this oppression, how is our Society called to act?

Let's hope Friends will give this some deep contemplation.

--Les Mitchell

Review: Hoot (The Motion Picture)

Hoot, 2006. Produced by Jimmy Buffett, directed by Will Shriner, starring Logan Lerman, Cody Linley, Brie Larson, Luke Wilson.

If you've read the book or the earlier review of it in the March PT, you know the story, as the film is a very faithful adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen novel: three courageous kids mount an effort to save a parliament of burrowing owls from a ruthless capitalist who has begun to construct on their ground the latest link in his pancake house chain.

The film begins earlier than the book, with one of our heroes, Roy Eberhart (played by Logan Lerman, Bobby in the TV series Jack and Bobby), on horseback in panoramic shots of the Montana wilderness. It is a blow for Roy to leave these wide spaces when his father's job requires a relocation to Florida. His first day at school is disastrous, and he is an instant Florida-hater.

But another thing that happens that first day is that he sees from his schoolbus window a remarkable sight: a handsome boy without shoes running as fast as the bus is moving. Impulsively, Roy debarks and follows, and is slowly drawn into the alien world of Napoleon "Mullet Fingers" Bridger, thus nicknamed because he can catch (and release, of course) small mullet fish with his bare fingers. Mullet is homeless and an outlaw, runaway from a dysfunctional family, and a minor eco-terrorist who ingeniously sabotages the preparatory construction work for the restaurant. (Mullet is played by Cody Linley, who in 2000 was "Spit" McGee in My Dog Skip). As the two boys become best friends, Mullet shows Roy the beauty of the Florida wetlands and their avian and reptilian fauna. That nature tour is my favorite part of the movie, and I wish it were a bit longer--well, a lot longer. Very convincingly, Roy becomes a convert to Florida.

The third member of the team is Mullet's loyal sister Beatrice "The Bear" Bridger, (played by Brie Larson), who brings food and support to his hiding place. Roy is the brains of the team and their anchor in society, Bear is the muscle (she is a powerful athlete, and the bane of the school bully), and Mullet is its heart and soul.

In conversation with Roy, Mullet opines that Montana has a protection from developers that Florida sorely lacks: Mountains. One cannot build condos, fast-food joints, or malls on mountains. Roy replies, in effect, then you must be the mountain. And indeed, our three young heroes stand firm like a small but strong cordillera to save the parliament from a cruel fate. Their extra-legal tactics, climaxing in an incipient kidnapping, are doomed to failure. But at the eleventh hour Roy, with his father's unwitting help, finds a legal weapon with the potential to succeed against the unscrupulous developer. The trio must get this truth out to the public just as the bulldozers are set to roll--a confrontation not to be missed.

Teenagers, who have an image among the adults in our society of rebellious, difficult behavior, in this movie are caring human beings whose very rebellion shows that threatened open places and vulnerable wild creatures matter enough to risk everything for. It is a film that should be mandatory for all young people. And everybody else.

--Benjamin Urrutia

Review: Hoodwinked

Computer-animalted film written and directed by Todd Edwards and Cory Edwards. Starring Anne Hathaway as Red, Glenn Close as Granny, James Belushi as the Woodsman, and Patrick Warburton as the Wolf. 2005; released on DVD May 2006.

The tale of Little Red Riding Hood (Caperucita Roja in Spanish) is a pernicious part of our culture. It teaches children that wolves are evil, duplicitous monsters who want to eat you, and that girls are helpless, foolish creatures who ought to stay home. Neither is true. Lupus predator homini non est: The wolf is not a predator of humans. Therefore I am very glad, indeed elated, that a very charming and entertaining movie is now available on DVD which exonerates Mr. Wolf and totally subverts the story of Caperucita Roja. It turns out that Wolf is not out to eat Red, nor even to steal her basket of goodies. He is a reporter (though not the mild-mannered Clark Kent type, but a really abrasive one), investigating Little Red to see what she knows about the recent series of thefts of recipes that threaten to destroy the happy society in which our characters live.

And an amazing society it is: one in which animals may arrest and exonerate humans, hire and fire them. No pre-eminence of man above beast. All animals, including humans, are equal--and none are more equal than others.

But is Wolf is innocent, then who is the real malefactor? I won't tell you, but I will tell you that I figured the identity of the perp before it was revealed, and it was revealed before the Great Detective figured it out.

Mr. Wolf is also innocent of typing up Grandma and locking her up in the closet. How did the dear old soul end up in such a predicament? I won't tell you that either, because it has to be seen to be believed.

Besides Red, Wolf, Granny and the Woodsman (who is not really a Woodsman), there is a large cast of other characters. My favorites include an overcaffeinated squirrel and a hillbilly billy-goat who always sings, never just talks.

—Benjamin Urrutia

Diet and Health

Every vegetarian has heard the question "But how do you get enough protein?" It is seldom easy to convince omnivores that they are at far greater risk from too much protein--of the wrong kind--than vegetarians/vegans are of too little. The same is true of calcium; people on the SAD (Standard American Diet) often imagine vegans to be in dire peril of osteoporosis if they do not consume dairy products.

This kind of thing is not news to the readers of this journal, who are usually considerably better informed about health than omnivores. But it is important to call attention to the qualifiers in the many studies that have raised our consciousness about diet and health. We are at lower risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, etc. etc. Seldom is it said that there is no risk at all.

In fact risks do exist. Health hazards faced by vegans are most likely to be satisfactorily addressed by authorities who also appreciate the benefits of the vegan diet, and we are fortunate to have the ongoing Vegan Health Study by Michael Klaper, M.D., which confirms the advantages we already know of, but points out that care must still be taken. For example, vegans can actually have elevated blood cholesterol levels, despite not consuming any animal cholesterol. What we do not eat is certainly important, but what we do eat is no less important. A vegan who consumes large amounts of refined carbohydrates (both sugars and starches), trans-fats and deep-fried foods, and insufficient fiber, is actually likely to develop elevated cholesterol levels. Similarly, those of us who take in too much salt, are stressed, and don't get enough exercise can and do develop high blood pressure. Vegans are at definite risk for osteoporosis, says Klaper, if we do not consume and absorb enough calcium and other trace minerals, get enough vitamins K and D, and engage in enough weight-bearing exercise.

Many of these findings were rather surprising to me, including one item about refined sugar: taken in ample quantities, it can accelerate aging. A blow for those of us with an undisciplined sweet-tooth, including your humble editor.

Dr. Klaper's study may be accessed at Clinical/Summary.html He is looking for more participants, but be aware that as his funding is inadequate, participants must pay for the lab tests and a phone consultation with him that the study includes.


Once Jesus was teaching his disciples. "You must treat animals with kindness," he said. "Do not be like Nimrod, or like Esau, who hunted in their pride. Do not kill animals to eat their flesh when you have bread and pulses to eat."

One of his disciples asked: "But does not Torah say that we are made after the image of God? And did not God commanded man to have dominion over all the animals?"

Jesus said, "And what does it mean to have dominion?"

"It means that they are there to submit to our will," said the disciple. "If we want to eat flesh, we may kill and eat."

Jesus asked, "And is not God a king who has has dominion over all that he has made? Does he not have dominion over his people?

"He does indeed," replied the disciple.

"And does he therefore kill his people, roast their flesh, and eat it?"

The disciple was silent.

"A good king," said Jesus, "loves and protects his subjects. And so it is with our heavenly King. It is written, 'His tender mercies are over all his works.' You, therefore, must be merciful, as your Father in Heaven is merciful."

--Benjamin Urrutia


Spaghetti di San Giovanni (Pasta for the Feast of Saint John)

serves 4-6

1 lb. spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled & whole
6 T. tomato paste
½ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
¼ - ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
20 sprigs Italian parsley (leaves only)
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup fresh mint
Vegan Parmesan, to taste as desired
In a skillet, warm olive oil, add garlic and lightly sauté for about 2 minutes, careful not to brown the garlic. Add the tomato paste, season with sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 2 more minutes, then add one cup of boiling water. Allow to simmer while cooking pasta. Adjust flavor with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

While sauce is simmering and pasta is cooking, coarsely chop parsley, mint and 3 cloves garlic.

Cook pasta in salted water; cook al dente. Drain pasta. Place in large pasta serving bowl. Pour sauce over pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle on parsley, mint and garlic. Mix very well. Serve hot. May sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan as desired.

This pasta is traditionally served at the beginning of summer for Festa di San Giovanni (Feast of St. John) on June 24. The flavors of garlic, hot pepper flakes and mint dance on your taste buds to announce the arrival of summer.

Granita di Caffè (Coffee Granita)
serves 6

½ cup evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
2 T. spring water
6 cups very strong espresso or dark brew coffee (organic fair trade)
2 tsp. organic cocoa powder
Combine sugar and water in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves; then boil for several minutes. Pour coffee into the syrup, dissolve cocoa in it and remove from heat. Let cool completely. Pour into a stainless steel mixing bowl and freeze until solid, then transfer to a food processor and process for a few seconds until slushy. Spoon into six glasses and serve immediately.

Coffee granita is the perfect beginning to hot summer mornings. It may be mixed in the evening and placed in the freezer overnight. If frozen very solid, allow the granita to slightly thaw and then process in a food processor for a wonderfully light and smooth frozen treat. I love it made with a good fair trade organic French Roast coffee.

Orange Soyshine

serves 4

4 organic juice oranges, freshly juiced
1 cup vanilla soy yogurt
Scoop ¼ cup soy yogurt into each of 4 individual glasses. Pour over equal amount of orange juice (the juice of one orange each) in each glass. Stir and serve immediately.

My husband, Steven created this delicious breakfast treat. It’s a delicious way to enjoy soy yogurt and fresh oranges together. The amount of pulp left in the beverage is purely up to personal choice. Be sure to use cold oranges for the most refreshing drink.

-- Angela Suarez

My Pilgrimage

My Planet

Sometims an odd experience or an unexpected relationship changes a person's life. A pig changed mine. So did a long-dead Indian poet named Rabindranath Tagore.

The pig and I met when I was an investigator for the humane society. I had driven thirty miles into the Maryland countryside on a blustery day to see if the man on the phone had told the truth: he had gone to a farm to read the gas meter, he said, and had found animal bodies strewn about like matchsticks.

The farmhouse was eerie and deserted, its doors flung open by the wind, its rooms littered with newspapers, unopened bills, trash. Whoever had lived there had left in a hurry. There was no sign of life in the fields either. However, once inside the rickety old barn, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see what the caller had been talking about. There were several horses, a brown dog on a chain, and a pile of pigs. They had all starved to death. All, that is, but one.

As I focused in on the faint moans coming from the darkest corner of the building, I could make out a tiny, pinkish-gray face. Like the other animals, this little pig had cut herself to ribbons on the broken glass that covered the barn floor. Yet somehow, she was clinging to her life. She was too weak to stand, but so small and light that I carried her easily outside onto the grass. I could feel her body shivering in my arms, perhaps from the fever of her infected cuts. I laid her down, gently, under a tree. She hadn't even the strength to lift her head, so I held up her chin to let her drink water from my thermos cup. She chewed, as if in slow motion, the grass I offered her, falling asleep almost immediately after the third mouthful, her sweet little grunts of gratitude subsiding. It was impossible not to feel her pain.

That night, with her safely at the veterinarian's and my evidence gathered up, I drove home. "What can I fix for dinner?" I wondered, mentally inventorying the freezer. "Ah, I know. Pork chops."

It hit me like a thunderbolt. My job was to prepare legal charges against the people who had left the little pig to suffer. Yet here I was, about to eat a part of a pig for my dinner. Did I imagine that the pig whose bits were now in my freezer had enjoyed his or her experience on the factory farm and the killing floor any more or cried out any less than the little pig I had just held and conforted? "No matter how far removed the slaughterhouse," said the playwright George Bernard Shaw, "there is complicity." I was paying others to be cruel to animals while I ate the spoils. Did the fleeting taste of flesh matter more to me than their suffering?

That night I stopped eating animals . . . .

As for Rabindranath Tagore, the poet and sage, years before my visit to that farm I had heard one of his disciples say that the most valuable lesson in life is to learn what is important and what is not. In the first category, Tagore put Earth and all the beings who live on her. His words had sounded ridiculously simple then, but the little pig who had slept in my arms under the tree had brought them to life. . . .

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, summed up our casual tyranny when she wrote, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men."

People talk a lot about peace, but Tagore and Walker pointed out to me that even in everyday things we can make peace happen.

--Ingrid Newkirk

Pioneers: Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910

Leo Tolstoy was born at Yasnaya Polyana ("Sunny Meadows"), the large ancestral estate of a wealthy aristocratic family, the fourth of five children. Orphaned at the age of nine, he was reared by his aunts.


Leo was a intense, impassioned person with acute joys and sorrows, often torn by inner conflicts. As a child he loved reading, but when he went to the universities of Kazan and later St. Petersburg, he wasted his time with gambling, frivolous women, and drunkenness. He despised himself for his profligacy, but kept returning to it.


In 1851, at age 23, he went with his brother to the Caucasus and joined the Russian army, which was perpetually battling Muslim mountain tribes. Later he fought in the Crimean War. This horrifying bloodshed, and the insights and disillusionment it aroused, became material for his early fiction, which soon brought him admiration in St. Petersburg society.


After a period of travel he settled down on his estate, and started a school for the children of the peasants. At age 34 he married the teenaged Sofia Bers; in the course of their 48-year marriage the had thirteen children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. The early years of the marriage were happy and liberating to Tolstoy. Sofia strongly supported him in the writing of his two great novels, Anna Karenina and War and Peace, copying out his many drafts day after day. Quickly the two novels were (and still are) acclaimed as among the greatest works of Russian literature.


Concern for the ignorance and suffering of the peasants was present early in Tolstoy's life, but it gathered strength as time passed. Winters spent in Moscow at Sofia's behest to enable his sons to attend school and his daughters to "come out" socially gave him opportunities to investigate the abysmal depth of suffering of the city's very poor: filth, hunger, cold, child prostitution. The contrast with his own wealth and comfort gave him acute pain. The result was the book What Then Shall We Do? which reported, analyzed, and offered, as solution, not charity but sweeping social-political changes.


The death of his brother from illness triggered a period of depression and despair for Tolstoy, sometimes bringing him to the cliff-edge of suicide. If his beloved brother could be extinguished, if human society was so hopelessly mired in cruelty, injustice and misery, supported by a corrupt church and state, what meaning or hope could there be? In an attempt to find a resolution, Tolstoy studied the Gospels with fierce, consuming dedication. He found an answer in the nonviolent way of the Sermon on the Mount, which the established church had betrayed. To follow Jesus' way meant to erase the artificial divisions between high and low, rich and poor, to reject all violence, capital punishment, and war. This stance was carried further in 1885 as a result of a seemingly chance conversation with one William Frey about the wrongfulness of killing animals to eat their flesh. Tolstoy's immediately and permanently commited himself to vegetarianism. These values had great influence on Gandhi through Tolstoy's work The Kingdom of God is Within You, and through a long correspondence.


This radical position restored to Tolstoy a meaningful world, but it did not bring outer peace. His writings propounding Jesus' way and condemning church and state for their corruption and violence brought him both adulation and villification. His family life was disrupted by streams of admirers. He was excommunicated by the Orthodox Church. His home life became increasingly stormy as he refused to be served by servants, worked alongside the peasants, brought home vagrants, and gave away large sums of money, leaving financial responsibility for family and estate to Sofia, who did not share his radicalism. Sexual hangups on his part and jealousy on hers resulting from one of his past affairs with a peasant fueled the fire. Their mutual suspicion and verbal violence became intolerably painful, both of them behaving badly. Tolstoy knew that he was unable to live up to his ideals with any consistency, another source of inner distress.


In November 1910, at the age of 82, he left Sofia and Yasnaya Polyana, and set out by train, perhaps intending to go to a monastery or become a wandering ascetic. However, he became ill on the train, and died about a week later. His estate is an international pilgrimage site for those who revere him as Russan cultural hero and spiritual teacher.


Derived from "The World of Tolstoy," National Geographic, June 1986, and sources in Google.




(Can be sung to Brahms' "Variations on a Theme by Haydn")

Earth is charged with splendor,
Glowing, flaming with the Light supernal,
From the Still Point streaming,
Swelling, full, and ever vernal.

Every bush is burning,
Eden shines in every sunlit river;
Every lamb is holy;
Every moment holds forever.

Though our eyes are heavy
and our hearts like winter earth are cold,
Though illusions lure us
in a dim and stony wasteland,
Still the Light is shining,
Quenchless, deep in every soul.

Children play with angels
and the mystic feels the glory burn;
Through the door of death the
pilgrim sees the Light undying!
From a Heart we journey,
Ever to a Heart return.

--Faith Bowman


The Peaceable Table is a project of the Animal Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting, Pasadena, California. It is intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1982 and 1995. Following its example, and sometimes borrowing from its treasures, we publish articles for toe-in-the-water vegetarians as well as long-term ones, news notes, poetry, letters, book and film reviews, and recipes.

The journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for the July issue will be June 30, 2006. Send to or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. We operate primarily online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy is available for interested persons who are not online. The latter are asked, if their funds permit, to donate $12 (USD) per year. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name and server are welcome.

Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia & Robert Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Angela Suarez
NewsNotes Editor: Marian Hussenbux
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood