I had to kill 4 baby rats this week.
It’s a long time since I killed anything larger than a fly. It was hard.
I had to do it as the cats refused – in fact, Olly just sat on one baby rat looking incredibly confused! Not the idea … sigh.
But why? For what purpose did I have to relearn how to kill. Oh yes, of course, it was necessary as we do not want rats inside the house! The damned (hopefully) lazy plumber had left a hole under the sink when he did a repair some time ago – we didn’t know, and the rat thought it was an open invitation. She had come in, set up her nest and then I appear.
It took me a lot of effort, emotional willpower, to do the killing. And to work out how to do it quickly and effectively – I beheaded them with the back of the rake. I managed it and don’t feel guilty. I’ve not yet sorted out all that I feel.
I am pleased with myself for being able to do it. I didn’t have to resort to poison or to asking someone else to take on the deed for me. I took responsibility for what was needed to be done.
What does all this tell me I am? What does it tell me about myself, about who I am and about how I am being that.
I eat meat and have no wish to be a vegetarian. I don’t agree with vegetarian and veganism, don’t think they are the way forward or more ethical than eating meat. I know the farmers from whom I buy my meat, or who give me game, rabbit, hare, pigeon, or who fish. With the farm animals, I help feed and care for some of them, know them intimately, have the shaman’s contract with what I eat. That includes the vegetables. I ask the vegetables, the garden herself, what is there for me to eat each day. Killing a carrot is the same for me to killing something soft and pretty and furry … so I suspect my lesson with the rats was to show myself this. I can pull up carrots – after asking – without being squeamish. I talk about the oneness of all life, be it carrot, lamb, chicken, baby rat or carrot. Or all the minute life-forms that die every time I breathe in, or walk a step forward, drive my car and squash them on the windscreen, etc, etc, etc.
At the moment I’m hoping I don’t have to do it again, kill rats. Or anything else. I know this is silly – whenever one wishes to escape from something, says “never again”, one is asking Otherworld to repeat the lesson. I am trying to be careful, to not ask for anything, not to lust for outcomes.
In order for me to be me – I am that I am – I must walk each step of this path, with expectancy but no expectations.
I am a shaman, connected to all the Life of this planet, including baby rats, including all the meat that I eat, all the vegetables that I eat, all the flies that die on my windscreen. Being that is not about thinking about these conundrums but about knowing them in my bones, kenning. And I feel it is appropriate to call them conundrums, mysteries, puzzles, riddles, enigmas … not issues or problems. Such pussychological ducks around truth are not for me, and I am a retired transpersonal psychologist. I must walk the Celtic labyrinths, in and out, the Troy Town, I must walk it to its centre, then I must turn around and walk my way out again. I must experience the heart of my weird, my wyrd. I must weave my wyrd.
I work as a psychopomp, a leader of souls, crossing the threshold between life and life in each direction, being born into the world, dying out of it again in due time. It seems that otherworld wants me to learn what it is to be the agent of that crossing, the one that makes it happen.
So I thank the rats. They gave me the opportunity to learn death, in my bones.