Thursday, December 8, 2011

Evolution of Belief: The Dog Door Swings Both Ways

Winter is taking its sweet time coming this year, trash on both neighbors' lawns being a clue that Great Bear is still awake. I thank Her sincerely for leaving us a more subtle "gift" (harboring mystery plants that Spring will reveal). And so I've found myself awake and in the mood to keep on about getting to the bottom of this whole G~d/D~g situation.

In equal measure as our poopsies adore and serve us, pet owners in the U.S. bow down and tithe to them (1% of our annual household budgets, on average). As much as they look to us for direction and mystical cues about how to behave, we defer to our canine darlings' facial expressions and attention-seeking behaviors. We employ ceremony to groom and feed them, organize family schedules around their needs, and gaze into their eyes with genuine love and longing for soul communion.

That we engineer our pets as worshipful followers is not hard to understand. Human narcissism is boundless in its pursuit to stamp an icon onto every object of worth. But what if we're obsessed with dog breeding - lavishing praise and attention on the results - for some deeper purpose?

Having discovered long ago that domesticated dogs can be made to resemble us in various ways, we now use their fur-covered mirror images to adore ourselves. Tell ourselves how Pretty, Sweet and Courageous we are. Call ourselves Loyal Best Friend. What makes us so worthy of our own (secret) reverence?

Indo-European blood has taken over the whole earth. Still we fight on, pretending we're not Family. We unleash war, oppression, usury and every form of meanness on anyone capriciously labeled OTHER. But these behaviors, and their polar opposites, arise and subside in constant flux. The same person who spits on a homeless teenager on the street may tenderly care for a sick child upon returning home. Our G-dliness must be somehow separate from our situationally expressed genome, something more fundamental and enduring than the ego-binding macro-bodies we inherit from our near relatives.

What do we all possess which changes not - or changes only minimally - over time?

Mitochondrial DNA.

Each cell in our bodies is powered by mitochondria which refuse to forget that all races of humans have come from a single Source: our First Mother, the Great Ancestress.

The first female who stood on the earth as WOMAN, the only person who could lay claim to true Isolation and Loneliness, was holding us all deep within. She survived. She honored her fertility. And now we carry her with us wherever we go. She is IN us each from our very beginnings, accompanies us through our lives, and will lie with us on our death beds. No remote sky-god has ever been able to duplicate these truths. Indeed, Jesus himself had to pass through a woman's body in order to become Emmanuel ("G-d with us").

Dogs held a prominent place in the G~ddess iconography of prehistorical Mediterranean and "Old European" peoples. Canine figurines and images likely represented the Life-Ending/Recycling virtue of the Sacred Female (dogs will make a meal of most anything, including their own scat). Dogs proved easy to domesticate and assimilate, affording them a unique religious-and-social significance. Despite "modern" religious rules against keeping dogs in a household, our two species have proved inseparable.

Are dogs the enduring High Priestesses of our Mitochondrial Genome, reminding us to not leave First Mother standing on the earth alone? Let's take a few minutes to practice Down-Facing Dog while we meditate on this...