In earlier times, people understood their connection with animals to be a spiritual principle. The original stories about the sacredness of all life can be found on walls of caves and temples and the first ancient writings. This original knowledge still exists in the basic writings of world religions and philosophies. Yet, virtually no Western religion today teaches its adherents how to practice compassion toward all species and how to protect the natural world.

What happened?

Could misinterpretation of the religions’ texts, and an incomplete understanding of the meaning of spirituality be why the human species continues to cause pain and anxiety upon the other animal world -- as shown by unnecessary animal experimentation, inhumane slaughtering methods, using animals in “sport” and entertainment, and the wanton destruction of animals who live in the wild.

What happened?

When and why did the other animals become invisible in our spiritual adventure? Why did we place ourselves over and above all other animals in some sort of hierarchal system? Did the separation come about simply because of our material wants and needs? Or, are there reasons that we have yet to imagine -- beyond religion, science, and history?

What happened?

Saturday, June 7, 2014


FROM letters of Rudolph Steiner.
Berlin, Nov. 17, 1910.  Manuscript from Ghent library.


We realize that the animal soul-life may not be distinguished from that of man in such a way as to justified the assertion that man is superior to the animal with in respect of certain spiritual attributes. To refute such a view we need only point to how certain achievements, obviously attained only by man struggling to a definite stage of intelligence, are brought about objectively with the animal world in the building of their dwellings and in the whole of their life. So that in what the animal does, in what it produces, in what it creates, we have exactly the same intelligence activity that is shown by man in the tools and products he makes. It might really be said: into what the animal does their flows, and then congeals, the same intelligence that we find in man. Therefore we may not speak of animal soul and human soul by simply saying that the animal is to a definite extent behind man or man to a definite extent in advance of the animal. 

When speaking of the soul - and we describe this soul life is the inner life –
in contradiction to the spirit life seen preeminently in formation and development, we referred to the fact that we discover how intimately bound up is this soul life of the animal with its own organization; and what the animal can experience in its soul appears to us as predetermined by its whole structure and the whole arrangement of its organs. Thus it must be said that animals’ life of soul is determined by the fashion of its organization, and in its soul life the animal lives, as it were, within itself. ... the human soul is able to surrender itself directly to the spirit. (FREE WILL?)  


... In the animal all spiritual achievements immediately connected with its organs and experienced in its soul have been implanted into, and bound up with, what is hereditary in its species. We may also say that their lives in itself out in the animals soul what belongs to the species, and because this is hereditary, the animal comes into existence with a predisposition towards all the activities conditioned by the spirit which can be experienced through its soul nature... It is different with man who in his life of soul emancipates himself from his bodily organism... He enters existence helpless, up to a certain extent where the functions that should serve him and life are concerned. On the other hand, however, this helplessness is the one thing that enables man to develop in soul and spirit...  An immediate relation exists in the animal between spirit and body.

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About the Author

After spending several years in Public Relations initiating and organizing award-winning multi-state community relations projects on behalf of a global telecommunications company, Judith Hensel has written her first fictional book, THE QUESTION. “What Happened to the Animal-Human Spiritual Connection?” The book is a fantasy about characters created out of real life people who join the animals in an imaginary setting to find the answer to their question. Among articles published about the book’s premises, one article “Evolving in a Conscious Universe,” was published in QUEST, international Theosophical Journal in 2003; and inspired the magazine’s content theme. As former Associate Professor of Art and Humanities, St. Xavier University, Chicago, she received numerous awards as an artist and teacher including special recognition by the Associated Press and the Governor of Illinois. She wrote and directed two critically acclaimed rock operas, “Hosanna!” and “Taproot” performed by student talent as well as talent from across the Chicago region to sell-out audiences. Her artwork is in several private collections in Australia, the Netherlands, New York, Illinois, California, Colorado and Wisconsin; and for several years was available at the Art Institute of Chicago rental gallery. She holds the MSA in Painting and Graphics, University of Wisconsin; and the MA in Communications/Television Production, University of Illinois-Chicago Campus.

Paintings by the author.