Although I am the year of the horse, for this blog I am going to focus on the Sheep. In the article we read for this week's class, there was a segment about the relationship between animals and humans in special regards to a farming situation. There was a quote that struck me which was, "The were subjected and worshiped, bred and sacrificed." As someone who has no farm experience and only knows animals through the lense of observing them in nature or as pets and who only knows food through the lense of going to a grocery store or farmers market, I can identify that I have such a disconnect in this area. However, upon reading this statement, it still shocked me. The idea of loving and appreciating an animal and then allowing it to die is really hard for me to wrap my head around. One of my very best friends chose to take a gap year this year and is in Minnesota on her family farm. As part of her work there, she raises sheep for slaughter. She is one of the most kind people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and is a self professed animal lover; despite this, she drives the sheep to the slaughter house. I have come to accept that while I personally really can't understand how she justifies the slaughter of the animals she loves, she can. She explained to me that she treats the animals with love and care while they are alive, but goes into the situation with the understanding that they are alive for the purpose of sacrificing their body for food and for the livelihood of the farmers. (below are pictures she sent me from the farm this morning)
Another aspect of the article I loved was when it discussed the relationship between animals and humans and theorized that animals were first spiritually tied to humans rather than tied out of necessity. I am taking an Ancient Women in Power class and as we study ancient religion, we see a lot of images of half human, half animal religious depictions through regions and time periods. This relates to one myth there is about the Sheep. In this myth, Shiva, a very prevalent God in the Hindu faith, kills Daksha, another God and the father of Shiva's late wife, Sati. Shiva is convinced by fellow gods to bring Daksha back to life and he does so, but not as a full human; Daksha is brought back with the head of a sheep/goat (there is a difference but in mythology I have read they seem to be interchangeably). I found this myth really interesting because unlike many monotheistic religions, in the Hindu faith (in this myth at least), Gods have human flaws and characteristics. The choice to bring Daksha back to life, but partly in a more animal form was a compromised to Shiva. This to me signifies that animals were/are seen as less than humans, yet intertwined with their faith and spirituality.
Cartwright, Mark. “Shiva.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2021, www.ancient.eu/shiva/.
Hox Zodiac, hoxzodiac.com/.