ANIMAL MUNDI? NO -- ANIMAL FRIDAY AND WHAT A GOOD DAY IT IS, FRIDAY THE 13TH. This also happens to be the birthdate of my two cats, Yoda and Chloe -- (bro and sis.) I've noticed that they tend to meow more on their birthdays and to be much more affectionate and attention seeking. It's as if they want to make sure I don't forget what an important day it is.

Since it is their birthday, I believe that I should honor the cat in our collection of earth stories.

I love my cats so much that my husband says in his next incarnation he wants to come back as my cat. I admit, it's true, the cats definitly get more stroking from me than he does.

Cats mark time in my life. They have taught me so much. The first lesson was about death and letting go. It was truly horrific witnessing at the age of 10 the death of our first little kitten. My father accidentally ran over her as he pulled into the driveway returning home from work one evening. I was only a few feet away and could see her being crushed under the wheel. I screamed as loud as I could for him to stop the car -- but he didn't hear me. The sobbing and the mourning of we children went on for days.

This was the begining of our pet cemetery. From that day forward, we collected all the dead animals in the neighborhood, squirrels, birds, frogs, stray dogs and cats and provided them too with a proper burial. We glued popsicle sticks together fashioning them into crucifixes. We prayed at their graves. When ever our parents would take us to visit our deceased relatives at the human cemetery, we'd collect the old discarded plastic flowers and wreaths and recycle them for use on our animal graves. On memorial day, we'd even fly the American flag.

Eventually we got another cat. A little black and white charmer named tick tak. He was still a kitten when a large stray tom cat showed up one day. The stray, whom we named Orangie, and tick tak became fast friends. Orangie was a good mentor for the little guy -- a father figure, although my parents didn't think so. They were anxious to "get rid of him." We begged for this not to happen "Can't you see how much they love each other?" Orangie and Tick would cuddle up together, clean each other, play endlessly. Whatever Orangie had been through in the past, however he'd lost his way -- we kids thought it wonderful that he was now adopted into our home.

We were devastated the day Dad loaded Orangie into the car and drove him out to the country -- releasing him to fend for himself. Later, when I was old enough to understand what the word meant, I learned that my parents wanted Orangie gone because they feared he was homosexual! Less than two weeks later, Tick Tak had wandered off --most likely in search of his pal --and was run over. Burial plots were now getting hard to come by at our pet cemetery.

I guess you could say that Dad had bad cat karma. Fortunately after that there were no more deaths -- just a close call when he sat on our next cat Tiffany.

As an adult and with my own cats now, the deaths are farther and fewer between and the gifts greater. During shamanic journey work, the Jaguar came to me. I experienced hunting within the rainforest, hugging low to the earth and inhaling rich moist dirt through my nostrils and into my heaving lungs -- a sensation I'll always remember. I also gave birth to a litter and can vividly recall the tastes of blood and afterbirth as I cleaned my precious cubs. What magnificient creatures -- In this experience I also felt their plight and later donated to causes that could help to protect them.

CATS..these mysterious felines, I praise Gaia for creating them....
Happy Birthday Chloe and Yoda!!

=Susanne Sims=