Friday, December 21, 2012

STAG BEETLE Quiet Service

Stag Beetle gets the attention of a Female Stag Beetle by parading around with his head raised and his antler-like jaws (chelicerae) wide open. In mating battles, He spars with his Rivals using his large jaws as a Stag Deer would use his antlers. Because of his deer-like mating behavior, this Insect is called “Stag Beetle”.

The difference in size between Stag Beetle and his Mate caused people to think that They were different species. Although Stag Beetle’s jaws are huge, He cannot use them as weapons. However, his smaller Mate can, and She will give any intruder a sharp nip.

Stag Beetle Larva feeds on decaying wood and roots of tree stumps. By eating old and decaying wood, He is a helpful Insect. Stag Beetle helps the trees by returning the minerals of dead wood to the soil. Stag Beetle is a flagship species for a whole range of animals dependent on access to dead wood.

The ancient Greeks had a myth about the origin of Stag Beetle. The first man to play the lyre was a famous musician named Cerambus. Unfortunately for him, Cerambus angered the nymphs who herded his Sheep and Goats. For their revenge, the nymphs turned him into a Stag Beetle, who now wanders around the forest feeding on decaying wood. Ancient Greek children would capture Stag Beetle to use his horned head for a pretend lyre.

In medieval times, people believed that Stag Beetle flew around with a hot coal in his jaws setting fire to buildings. Meanwhile Albrecht Durer (1471 – 1528) became one of the first artists to realistically draw a Stag Beetle. In his paintings and drawings, Durer associated Stag Beetle with Christ.

People do pay attention to Stag Beetle but little understand Him or his ways. People usually disliked Him because of his ugliness. However, Stag Beetle still quietly goes about helping the forest grow. Durer did recognize Stag Beetle’s attributes when he used this Beetle to symbolize Christ’s quiet service to humanity.

Stag Beetle teaches quiet service. While others are noticed for what they do, He calmly goes about his business eating dead wood. Unnoticed, Stag Beetle faces a host of predators and unthinking people to provide a vital service for keeping the forest alive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

BEETLE FAMILY: Discernment

rhinoceros beetle

Beetles have been on the earth for about 300 million years and are the most numerous of all Insects. Since Beetles are the largest order in the animal kingdom, to describe Them as a single group is impossible. Aristotle named Beetles “Coleoptera” (Sheath or Shield Wings) because their hardened front wings cover their hind wings like a shield. The name “Beetle” comes from the Old English word for “little biter”.

“Good” Beetles include Dung Beetles, who scavenge on animal excrement or dung. They roll the dung into a ball, which They bury for future use. Dung Beetles help to clean up the environment. Leaf Beetles are an example of “Bad” Beetles. No sooner than leaves appear on trees than do Leaf Beetles emerge and eat them away. If They are unchecked, these colorful Beetles can deforest an area.

Beetle teaches us not to take everything on face value. Some colorful Beetles are destructive while others such as Lady Bugs (Lady Beetles) are beneficial. Take each Beetle on Its own merits. Teaches Beetle: You must use discernment in all your affairs.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Ogham (Irish Alphabet): Divination (2 of 2)

B.N.: “Will ‘Magic, the Gathering ™’ have a story line that will take place in Kamigawa?”
The Ogham drawn in order:
1.      Muin (Vine, 3rd aicme, 1st few): prophecy and lack of inhibition.
2.      Tinne (Holly, 2nd aicme, 3rd few): justice and balance.
3.      Uilleann (Woodbine, Honeysuckle, 5th aicme, 3rd few): drawing things together and binding them. “Through the lack of inhibition, justice, and balance will draw things together and bind them.”
“Magic” is a role-playing card game that has a plot for the players to follow with particular cards that they are dealt. A favorite setting for story lines in the game is Kamigama. B.N. said that the company discontinued this place for a setting because it was not profitable. I told him that he and the other fans need to contact the company. If the fans informed the company of how much money they will spend on this feature, the company may consider bringing Kamigawa back.

C.M.: “Will my friend keep his ‘Pathfinder ™’ game going?”
The Ogham drawn in order:
1.      Gort (Ivy, 3rd aicme, 2nd few): search for yourself and inner wisdom.
2.      Ur (Heather, 4th aicme, 3rd few): healing and homelands.
3.      Ceirt (Apple, 2nd aicme, 5th few): the Otherworld and choice.
“Using your inner wisdom, you know the choice.”
“Pathfinder”, a role-playing game, requires a gamemaster to devise the plot and govern the flow of the game. The gamemaster of this group was getting tired of the game, and wanted to wind down the current plotline. C.M. and his friends wanted him to continue the game.

I believe that word play of the Ogham came out with “homelands” and the “Otherworld” to refer to the game. The gamemaster had decided to end the game, and get a rest from hosting the group. C.M. said that he already figured that out, but wanted further confirmation.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ogham (Irish Alphabet): Divination (1 of 2)

With the Ogham disks that I made, I did four divinations – one for an older man and three for young men. My method was to draw three disks from a bag. These disks then form a sentence that answers the question.) The difference in the maturity of these four people was reflected in their questions. The older man asked about the on-going war in Syria, whilst the young men asked about girlfriends and various role-playing games. Since each question was a major concern for each questioner, the Ogham treated each with the same gravity. No question was regarded to be silly.

D.W.: “Will the U.S. go to war in Syria?”
The Ogham drawn in order:
1.      Ohn (Gorse, 4th aicme, 2nd few): collecting things to you.  The Morann MacMain kenning of “the wheels of the chariot are written” seems more appropriate.
2.      Ceirt (Apple, 2nd aicme, 5th few): the Otherworld and choice.
3.      Straif (Blackthorn, 3rd aicme, 4th few): trouble and negativity.
“After a gathering of information, a choice will be made which will be trouble.”
I told D.W. that after a period of gathering information, the U.S. will become involved in the civil war in Syria, much to his dismay.

W.C.: “Will my girlfriend continue to be my friend?”
The Ogham drawn in order:
1.      Beith (Birch, 1st aicme, 1st few): new beginnings.
2.      Muin (Vine, 3rd aicme, 1st few): prophecy and lack of inhibition.
3.      Coll (Hazel, 2nd aicme, 4th few): wisdom and intuition.
“After a new beginning, a lack of inhibition will occur. At that time, follow the wisdom of your intuition.”
W.C. was having problems with his girlfriend and wanted advice on how their relationship would turn out. I told him that he and she would start over. Once she felt more secure, she would be less guarded around him. Act on the wisdom of your intuition, and listen to her.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ethics for Magical People: Feral and Stray Animals (2 of 2)

ACA suggest for the control of feral cats in a particular area to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) them. Besides preventing further breeding, neutering also deters cat fights, territory marking, and yowling. Returning the cats prevents the vacuum effect from happening. In addition, ACA suggest that each colony have a “minder” to provide veterinarian care and to remove any new cats for further evaluation. The minder keeps the cats from getting sick and spreading their illnesses to humans.

One thing that the HSUS cautions against is to ban the feeding of feral cats by people. Feeding bans have been used by communities to either drive the cats out or starve them to death. However, the hungry cats will move even closer to human homes to raid their garbage cans. Often malnourished, these cats, infested with parasites, pass them onto unsuspecting people. Also, dead cats provide havens for disease transmittal.

I saw the success of ACA’s work with the feral colony living near the dumpster behind my doctor’s office. Their minder neutered the cats, fed, and housed them on site. She would check for new cats, which usually turned out to be strays. After five years, the colony died out naturally, and remains cat-free.

For feral dogs, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) urges that the dogs be sterilized and vaccinated. This will keep them healthy, less aggressive, and not prone to attacking people. The IFAW advises against a “shoot-and-kill” policy which does little to decrease the number of dogs. The object is to prevent the breeding of more animals, and the entry of new dogs. One solution to animal overpopulation is to spay and neuter feral animals, and keep them in their home territories.

Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer,” and Randy Grimm of Stray Rescue of St. Louis (MO) agree that feral dogs should be rehabilitated. As pack animals, feral dogs can be encouraged to join the human pack. One of my neighbors works with abandoned dogs and trains them. Two of the feral dogs that she rehabilitated became therapy dogs for autistic children. My other neighbor has a pit bull, which was rehabilitated, as a pet. (This particular dog was used as a breeder for a dog fighting ring, and later abandoned as a bait dog.) In these three cases, once the dog became habituated to humans, the animal made an excellent pet.

Giant snakes and lizards can only be kept by herpetological societies since they are so dangerous. Kaplan believes that stricter licensing combined with higher pricing will deter people from buying reptiles that they will not care for. Since many of these reptiles are wild captures, they cannot be returned to the wild because of exposure to captive-bred animals. In response, many herpetological societies do extensive educational programs with these animals at schools to raise awareness and money for the care of abandoned reptiles.

“Shoot to kill,” removal, and euthanasia does not work to solve animal overpopulation. Measures that address both the vacuum effect and overbreeding at the source do better. Grimm stressed that it is a problem without an owner, which keeps it from being resolved. Millan noted only when packs of feral dogs start to roam in more upscale neighborhoods, will the problem be addressed.

To curb the numbers of unwanted animals, people must to be willing to pay taxes for better animal control. Andrei Poyarkov, a Russian specialist on feral dogs, also emphasizes that efficient garbage collection is needed, as well, to deter feeding places for feral animals. Through the media, people can be persuaded to get their pets from shelters, and to spay and neuter them. Through a network of increased animal control, education, spaying and neutering, and TNR will the numbers subside.  Until people address the problem, the nightmare that now happening in Russia will occur elsewhere.

Organizations Consulted.
Alley Cat Allies, 2012,

American Humane Association, 2012,

Baltimore (MD) Humane Society, 2012,

The Humane Society of the United States, 2012,

International Fund for Animal Welfare, 2012,

National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, 2009,

Stray Rescue of St. Louis (MO), 2012,, .

Works Used.
Alexandrova, Lyudmila, “Moscow’s Dog Owners Say No to Dog Hunters,” 29 October 2012, Itar-Tass News Agency,

Doig, Will, “The Secret Lives of Feral Dogs,”, 14, January, 2012,

Eremenko, Alexey, “Russian Doghunters Have No Nightmares,” RIA Novosti, 28 August 2012,

Jouvenal, Justin, “Fight over Ferals Boils Down to One Question: Do Alley Cats Live a Good Life?,” “The Washington Post,” 24, May, 2011,

Kaplan, Melissa, “Herp Care Collection,” 2012,

NYC Feral Cat Initiative,” Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, 2012,

Mott, Marilyn, “U.S. Facing Feral-Dog Crisis,” National Geographic News, 21 August, 2003,

Helping Pets and People in Crisis,” Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, 2012,

Wilkes, Joe, “Stray Dog Epidemic Hits U.S.”, Cesar’s Way, 22 February 2012,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ethics for Magical People: Feral and Stray Animals (1 of 2)

For several months now, newspapers in Moscow have decried “dog vigilantism.” Since Russia does not regulate pet ownership, many citizens simply let their dogs roam freely, adding to the stray dog population. From 1990, the population of feral dogs has grown until there are about a million homeless dogs. Roaming the streets in packs, these dogs have attacked tourists and children. The rise, in both the number and severity, of recent attacks has encouraged “dog hunters” to kill thousands of stray dogs, throughout the nation.

In reaction to the “dog hunters,” dog owners and their supporters took to the streets of Moscow. The dog owners demanded that the killers of their pets be found and punished. According to various Russian newspapers, “a wave of violence and anarchy” will continue unless current animal control laws are enforced. Until then, “a small-scale civil war” has broken out between the pet owners and dog hunters. In retaliation, the owners have meted out their own version of justice on the dog hunters.

Besides creating a climate of vigilantism, the killing of stray pets does not solve the problem of overpopulation of feral animals. In zoology, the “vacuum effect” governs what happens when a territory is deliberately depleted of selected animals. When the wolves were decimated in the eastern United States, the coyotes of the West moved into the former territories of the eastern wolves. In the case of feral cats, when a colony is removed either by trapping or killing, new feral cats will move in. They take advantage of the food and shelter that is now readily available.

Overpopulation of feral and stray pets is not restricted to only cats and dogs. In southern Florida, feral pythons, which are non-native, are decimating the native animals. (Pythons can breed eighty babies at a time.) Animal shelters and herpetological societies are so inundated with the cast-offs of large boas and monitor lizards that they cannot to take in any more. The ones that are abandoned with these groups are usually too ill to survive. Because they require extensive, experienced, and expensive care, many of these reptiles are unadoptable. The herpetological societies often grapple between keeping these reptiles at great personal expense or condemning them to death.

The source of the overpopulation of pet animals is careless and thoughtless humans. People, who are unable to care for their animals, will often release them into the wild. Other people will move, and abandon their pets. Pet stores often fail to inform people of the special care for animals such as iguanas, which requires secured habitats. Moreover, stores will sell many reptiles so cheaply to give the impression that they are disposable pets. Greater demand for cats and dogs has prompted breeders to breed more genetically-compromised animals for the pet trade. Often the cost needed to keep these animals healthy will prompt people to abandon them at shelters.

According to the American Humane Association, about eight million stray and unwanted cats and dogs are taken into animal shelters annually. Of that number, about four million pets are euthanized. Meanwhile the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that there are about seventy-eight million owned dogs and eighty-six million owned cats in the United States. Of that number, seventy-eighty percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered, and eighty-eight percent of owned cats.  This means that about twenty percent of pets are breeding, and adding to the overpopulation problem.

Faced with these statistics, concrete solutions are needed. Wholesale euthanasia does not address the problem of demand for most pets. First and foremost, people need to be aware of the problem of too many animals. An education effort is needed to inform people of responsible pet ownership. Michelle Kaplan of “Iguanas for Dummies” counsels against succumbing to the “Pet of the Week” syndrome, which promotes the “Disposable Pet” syndrome. Existing animal control laws also need to be enforced. In Florida, special licenses are required for reptiles and exotic pets.

However, the solution to curbing animal overpopulation differs from species to species. One thing that animal control authorities agree on to curb the random dumping of garbage. Eliminating feeding areas such as unattended dumpsters will decrease the numbers of stray animals in an area.

Alley Cat Allies (ACA) points out that cats, as a species, have evolved alongside humans, often feeding at the fringes of settlements, and can live independent of humans. ACA define “feral cats” to be cats that either attack or flee from humans. Stray cats, on the other hand, welcome the humans and therefore can be adopted. ACA stresses that feral cats cannot be rehabilitated for human companionship, and need to be kept in their home colonies. ACA counsels against the wholesale removal of feral cats because of the vacuum effect.