Book of Beasts

I came upon an interesting quote from the Book of Job [12:7 – 10] in the Old Testament.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.  which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

As I read Job, I recalled a passage I read every Sunday from my Celtic prayer book.

“Let us soar like the crane
Beyond last week’s din.
Let us purr like the kitten,
Curled up in Sunday rest.
Let us bond like the canines,
Finding kinship in our pack.
Let us be graced like the deer,
Bounding o’er life’s pursuits.”

I found my way to T.H. White‘s translation of a medieval bestiary, Book of Beasts and on to similar manuscripts including Bishop Theobald’s Physiologus, first Book of Beastsprinted in 1492 when’Columbus sailed the ocean blue.’  I learned that the medieval Christians — no doubt influenced by Job and other writers — believed that God created nature as a source of instructions for humanity.  I suspect that Jews and Muslims would agree as they share the same core texts of the Old Testament.  Native Americans hold their own special reverence for God’s creatures, great and small.  Writers of antiquity around the world from Aesop to Confucius understand and treasure the examples that animals and all of creation set for humankind.  We must be attentive to what our animal teachers tell us.

I have decided to initiate a new category on this Vitruvian Man project called “Book of Beasts.”  Because I believe that animals can teach us so much, I intend to share animal wisdom, which — if we are attentive to it — can make us better humans, enrich our lives and bring us closer to Kalos Kagathos.  I encourage our readers and subscribers around the world to offer and submit stories and quest posts in this category, stories we can share for the betterment of this pale blue dot we call home.

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