Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Wyrd of the Hunt

Even though many city-dwelling folk don't realize it, there is, in fact, a quiet war raging between groups that oppose small and big game hunting, and those who wish to see it remain free, protected and legal. Most urban people see this very much as an issue that belongs to the rural segment of our population. There is a select group of urban people who do leave their cities to go on vacation hunting trips, but they tend to come from wealthier backgrounds.

Ironically, what the wealthy lawyer or doctor may consider his yearly or seasonal vacation- a good trip out to the wilderness to gun down an elk or a moose or deer- is a way of life to many rural folk, many of whom (male and female) grow up hunting, or around hunters. My own father and grandfather were avid hunters, and my father still is. In the small country town where he comes from, everyone hunts, or knows hunters.

Today, I'm going to write about the sacred dimension of hunting. I'm going to write about the moral implications of hunting, and I'm going to voice my opinion on many matters that relate to hunting in the modern day. Before I begin, I think I should give a fair warning: I don't think it is right to hunt and kill animals, when there is no need to hunt and kill them.

Yes, I have come under fire from many "Pagans" and "Heathens" in the past for this stance of mine, this stance (among many of my stances) which runs contrary to the "status quo" of the Heathen and Pagan world. That's the way "opinions" work- everyone has a right to their own. I am a Wyrd-worker. I have an increased sensitivity to the web of life, the web of power and force that binds us all together. My opinions on events, on things I see, on things I hear, are ruled, influenced, and shaped by that sensitivity. If I could so easily ignore it, then I would be a very bad Wyrd-worker or Seidman.

Unlike many of my contemporaries, who talk a good deal about "spirituality" and "Wyrd", I live a life where my opinions and actions are directly affected and influenced by what I experience because of my religious beliefs and spiritual activities. I never tire of pointing out (as you may have noticed) that many of my "fellow Heathens" love to claim to believe one way, to believe in the Gods, in Wyrd, in the animistic worldview, but all of that doesn't seem to alter, in any way, how they think and act in the world.

I call this "convenient Heathenry". It's the sort of Heathenry that lets people profess a complete and total belief in animism, a belief that wights or spirits fill the body of nature, and yet, lets them ignore environmental damage, or lets them dump their garbage on the ground when they go camping. It lets them claim how strongly they believe in "personal responsibility for one's actions" and how their children are their "ancestors reborn", but at the same time support completely unrestricted rights to abortion, or abortion as birth control. It's the same heathenry that leads people to declare that "all life is sacred", and yet, they believe in "sport hunting".

And this is precisely where I am going to enter this stream: the so-called activity of "sport hunting".

I'd like to make a strong statement, and I have a very hard time seeing how any so-called "heathen" who believed in Wyrd and the sacredness of life could ever disagree with it. This is a statement that I have been preaching for years. You'd be surprised at how often people become angry when I say it, and how many people reject it, without being able to give a reason for their rejection.

"Death is never a sport."

Oh my! There it is- the great radical statement that you'd think decent, civilized people anywhere should agree on. Death is never a sport.

Many people- especially rural people- love to hunt. I'm going to take a step, for a moment, into the world of stereotypes: the vast majority of hunters are ill-educated, ill-spoken and ill-favored rednecks. They are nasty, rude, smelly, ignorant, cruel, and disrespectful to the Land itself, and to the poor beasts that they glut their need for blood and "sport" on, and kill. Behind it all, behind this so-called "sport", there is an even darker psychology operating, of which I will speak later. Not all hunters will fit the bill I described here- some are otherwise intelligent, well-mannered people who mean well. This latter type probably hunts because they are thoughtlessly fulfilling the conditioning given to them by their upbringing, or because they simply don't think animal life is as valuable as human life, and they enjoy hunting.

There is a reason why I can step into the world of stereotypes; I have physically been in the world of "hunters". My father, hoping I would make a "great white hunter", tried to take me with him and his friends when I was a boy to their hunting camp, and out for their hunting trips.

On this point, I disappointed my father; I am not a hunter. I was nothing like his friends, and I knew, even then, that I would never grow up to be. Why don't I hunt? Because I don't need to. There is no reason for me to kill an animal when so many die already to be packaged into meat for us to eat, and get delivered to us at markets and stores. I'm in touch with nature in many profound ways- I canoe, hike, camp, and know a good deal about wortcunning and herbology. I am a naturalist when it comes to owls and large raptors and birds of prey. I simply don't need to kill animals to feel in touch with nature.

If my family, community, or friends relied on me to get them food in the form of meat from animals, I would hunt it or butcher it. But not a single person I know relies on hunters or hunting to supplement their diet with needed meat. Not a single one.

If I were to meet people who DID need meat that only hunters could provide, I would welcome them to it. I have no qualms with those people or the practices of the hunters that they rely on. I do, however, have issues with modern "sport" hunters, and modern Heathens who kill beasts thinking that they are fulfilling some sort of spiritual duty. I will discuss both below.

The Sacred Dimension of Hunting Among Primal Peoples

Native Americans of the Sioux nations relied on the hunting of Buffalo and deer and other game. Their traditions of hunting run back to the foundations of mankind, back to pre-history, and they were deeply aware of the spiritual dimension involved in the act of hunting. Sioux hunters were taught this about hunting:

"Shoot your four-legged brother in the hind area, slowing it down but not killing it. Then, take the four-legged’s head in your hands, and look into his eyes. The eyes are where all the suffering is. Look into your brother’s eyes and feel his pain. Then, take your knife and cut the four-legged under the chin, here, on his neck, so that he dies quickly. And as you do, ask your brother, the four-legged, for forgiveness for what you do. Offer also a prayer of thanks to your four-legged kin for offering his body to you just now, when you need food to eat and clothing to wear. And promise the four-legged that you will put yourself back into the earth when you die, to become the nourishment of the earth, and for the sister flowers, and for the brother deer. It is appropriate that you should offer this blessing for the four-legged and, in due time, reciprocate in turn with your body in this way, as the four-legged gives life to you for your survival."

This sort of talk touches the heart of any person who is Wyrd-aware, any person who is aware of the deep bonds that exist between humans, beasts, and the Land that we both live upon. This sort of talk is evidence that the Sioux people understood, with great clarity, the reality of their interconnectedness with life and all forms of life. The Native Americans also hunted because they needed to hunt, needing the bodies of animals for food and for clothing and other tools.

Can modern "sport" hunters claim to have such a respect for their victims? I can tell you now, the vast majority of them, if they are religious, are Christians who don't think animals even have souls. They believe, as the bible tells them, that animals were "put here for the use of human beings". This, of course, is a pernicious lie, one of many found in the bible. It also reflects the loss of the animistic worldview on the part of the ancient Hebrews who invented the notion that everything was put "here for their use" by their "god". That same loss of the animistic worldview was passed onto Europeans by the bible and the Christian tradition that embraced it. To this day, it has done immeasurable harm to our populations of beasts, and to the Land itself.

So no, modern "sport" hunters who are Christian cannot claim to have the proper and needed respect for these slain animals. Even hunters who aren't overly religious tend to be very nasty and disrespectful, for the simple reason that they simply don't think about the fact that they are sending pain and terror and death onto another living creature. I don't know which is worse, to be honest.

The vast majority of "Sport" hunters are just men (and some women) who are doing nothing in the woods or wilderness with their penis-replacement Rifles than seeking violence for pleasure. They are seeking the false sense of power they get when they destroy the life of a majestically powerful animal. It is true that they may enjoy the taste of deer meat, or perhaps they enjoy boasting over the big stuffed bear they put in their homes, in a further display of barbarity; but a Wyrd-worker such as myself doesn't give a rat's arse what people enjoy; I care only what is true, helpful, and proper with respect to Wyrd, which is the interconnected nature of all life.

Hunters like to claim that without them, "animals would overpopulate". This is a proven lie; in fact, many states where hunting is extremely lucrative artificially create large populations of deer and other animals just so hunters can hunt. What most people fail to realize is that hunting is a major industry in the United States.

Long before there were human hunters, animal populations were governed in size by natural laws, laws that are still in effect, despite human stupidity. People try to claim that humans have "destroyed all the natural predators" for things like deer, but this too, is a flimsy claim. It is true that fewer predators exist in the wild because of humans, but it doesn't take predators to cull populations. Availability of food and other factors will also do it.

Hunters then try to claim that they are being "merciful" by killing deer or other animals that would otherwise "starve". This is absurd; I would rather see those animals starve naturally than have to be dishonored in their deaths by the hands and bullets of violence-for-pleasure-seeking thugs. It was humans who were unwise, and destructively out-of-touch with the reality of Wyrd that murdered large populations of predators who were keeping other populations in check.

If hunters think that they can replace natural predators with their own "sport", they are mistaken; over-hunting is a reality in all parts of the US, despite "laws" intended to protect game. The only way out of this issue is to re-introduce predators. It is well known that the predators that were killed (and to this day still are killed) like wolves and coyotes and the like, pose no real danger to human beings.

Heathens and other modern "people of the Land" who hunt love to consider themselves to be following in the footsteps of their great "hunter" fore-fathers. But are they? Our ancient forebears hunted for survival. In fact, it wasn't the poor man and woman of the land who hunted for enjoyment, but nobles, rich people, and other aristocrats who considered it leisurely. Roman nobles hunted for that reason, and to the late 1800's, it was aristocrats who mostly rode about hunting animals like deer and foxes. They hunted for sport and pleasure, while the common people hunted for food. There is a massive difference.

The Call of the Wild Past

Today, there are many people inside and outside of the Heathen community that look to hunting as a way of "reconnecting" with some primal aspect of themselves. Some- a very small minority within the Heathen community- have embraced hunting as a means of calling forth some forgotten form of spiritual bonding with the land and the hunted beasts.

You might think that this would be a noble venture, and on the surface, it would seem to be- until you realize that it is the same tired story, told in a new form. We all know about "safari hunts" in Africa and in Australia where the idle rich pay a LOT of money to have big animals released from cages in front of them, so that they can shoot them to death. Heathen "spiritual hunting" is about three steps removed from that same thing- it's a bunch of modern people- mostly guys, but you do get the occassional "tough woman" who wants to get involved- who want to get big spears and stab animals to death.

Okay, let's leave Dr. Freud out of this. The idea that a bunch of guys would like to thrust huge spears into the sides and backs of beasts, and call it "spirituality" is already a stretch. Like the non-Heathen "sport" hunter, these people think that they are "bonding" somehow with the beasts they are killing. They imagine that it must have "been this way" in the past. They imagine, in an even more outrageous stretch of modern juvenile imagination, that they are "testing themselves" by "pitting themselves" against the "beast".

For me, this is yet another sign of why our society needs man-making rituals that young men can engage in, to prove their worth to be counted among the "men" of their society. The fact that guys would get together and actually put on "rituals" in which they imagine they are either becoming animals or speaking to the spirit of animals, make sacrifices or blots to various Gods or spirits, and then run out and cruelly stab an animals to death, and then do Gods know what with the blood and body parts, all to fulfill their strange pseudo-Heathen machismo and fulfill their need to feel like the "tough yet spiritual man of the land" is a sad example of what happens when you have displaced masculine aggression and lack of opportunities to "prove" one's manhood.

These same men (and that occassional woman) will eat fast-food, drive around in cars, play computer games, eat steaks bought from grocery stores, order crap from the internet, and keep massive CD and DVD collections- and then, in an incredible show of their great "connection" to the wild and the Gods and beasts, go onto a campground somewhere, get spears and bows and other weapons, and play "ancient iron-age hunter" for a weekend.

Let me just say it, so that you can be completely clear on what I know to be the case:

I think that hunting animals should only be done out of true necessity. You don't have the moral or spiritual right to kill animals because you feel the need to "be connected again" to a time when people DID hunt out of necessity. You don't have to kill animals to make yourself feel powerful, spiritual, manly, or cool.

I know that none of my words here will sink in to certain people, but as a Wyrd-worker, I have to say them anyway. Here is the harsh reality, that no human being can escape, no matter how much they want to deny it:

Life does not belong to us. Life arises from the mighty web of Wyrd, from a billion divine forces that interact and ceaselessly pour forth form and power. Not a single one of us here reading this post wove our own lives, and parents are also not the sole giver of life to the child- they are only two links in a mighty chain that extends back to the ultimate mystery. Not being the authors of life, either our own, or the great life of the Land and the world, we have a perilous responsibility to consider carefully how and when we disrupt life. This is the simple logic, the inescapable conclusion, of the animistic worldview.

In addition to this, there's more bad news for the "sport" hunters or the macho "killer" Heathens:

We are all connected. Because of this connection, there is a cost for how we live our lives. I'm not just talking an immediate social and environmental cost. I mean that our actions shake the web of reality itself, and that reverberation, that echo, sounds into eternity. A wiser man than myself has said it as clearly as it can be said: What we do to this web of life, we do to ourselves. Skuld, our debt that we build for how we live our life, is a reality that cannot be ignored.

Yes, there is a cost for the taking of life, a cost that will be paid one way or the other. The Vanir-lords, Frey and Freya, will not take people into their blessed realms who dishonored and stained the forests and plains of the natural world with lawless blood. And doing blots to Frey or Freya and asking their permission doesn't cut it- they won't be saying "yes" unless you actually need to hunt. They won't be giving permission for your farsical "sacred hunt" which is essentially a form of sport-hunting, pleasure killing, macho killing, dressed in Heathen garb.

Gold must answer gold, and silver must answer silver. If you take a life, you had better have had a good reason- not merely a reason of "pleasure" or a misguided attempt to prove your "manhood" to people in a modern context, where such things are no longer appropriate. The cost of a life is another life. If you take a life to spare your own or the lives of others, such a thing is spiritually and morally justified. Nothing else justifies killing- whether it be humans or animals.

Let me re-state my position once more before I finish this letter: People who have to hunt, who hunt for survival, are morally justified to do so. The "hunting industry" and the "sport" hunters are certainly not justified. Despite their desire to present themselves as great and noble outdoorsmen and environmentalists, they are in fact needlessly taking life. Why are they doing it? What's the real cause? I hate to sound like a broken record (because I say this a lot) but the cause is the loss of Wyrd-wisdom, which leads to a very dark psychology.

Dark Psychology

There is a deep and dark psychology involved in the taking of life in needless hunting, as you might imagine. There is a sense of "power over", a re-affirmation of a fraudulent sense of power and ability, based on what the human imagination believes about animals and beasts, especially beasts that are famed for their virility and danger, like lions or boars. To kill the king of beasts, or the king stag, or the king boar MUST mean that a man is greater than the beast, stronger, faster, more powerful.

There is a destructive psychology which is based firmly on the false distinctions drawn by the mind, which place walls between the "human being" and the "world he or she inhabits". This false distinction-making faculty causes a new, hallucinatory dimension of negative morality to appear; sadly, that same dimension has been the one that we have based all of our "moral thinking" on for many a century.

There is a sheer, giantish, dark and darwinian beastial side to this sort of "sport killing"; the death of other living beings answers to an atavism that sleeps in the deep brain of most creatures who occupy high areas on the predatory food-chain. It may be fine for animals to indulge in it, held in balance as they are by massive instincts, but for humans, cut loose from the bonds of instincts and dominated by confusion and the loss of primal wisdom, the pleasure generated from this wild portion of our nature becomes an instrument for anti-social and dangerous forces that we as a society all recognize as being harmful.

Of course, many will defend these behaviors as "tradition"- but slavery was also a tradition, as was lynching black men, and so was the systematic patriarchal social mistreatment of women- just calling something a "tradition" doesn't mean that it's proper or appropriate anymore. Some will say that they are taking part in a "sport" (though as I have said, death is no sport, and they will understand the consequences of their needless taking of life when they are plunged into the depths of Hel) and they even try to defend them as some form of "right". "We have the right to hunt", they say, not unlike the laughable objections of smokers who screech that the government is taking away their "right to smoke", when they outlaw smoking in public places or restaurants.

No one has these "rights". "Rights" are fictional constructs if ever there were any. "Rights" don't fall from the sky, pre-written on divine tablets; they are social constructs, ideas, ideals, created and granted and enforced by large groups of human beings. The group-mind changes over time; new ideas arise; people screaming about their "rights" are usually desperately grasping on to some anachronistic habits and ways of life that are simply no longer supportable by the way of the present.

I have read our Constitution. I failed to see a "right to hunt" drafted inside it or the Bill of Rights. Hunting is a part of our past that we largely do not need anymore, and no, I don't think preserving it in a controlled way is positive in any manner. If you want to bond with your son or family or friends out in the woods, you don't need to kill a beast to do it. You can find other ways of challenging and bonding with each other without destroying life.

A person who is aware of the interconnected nature of life already has peace and understanding where concerns life and death, but they also know that death is no sport, and is not something we need to bring to other creatures when there is no necessity to do so. And since I can't say it enough, I'll say it again: you don't need to kill something to get the attention of the Gods, or to feel "spiritual" again. If you do find that you need to spill blood to feel those things, you have a far more ominous problem than you can probably realize.

Most people who grow up around hunting and hunters, and who have family who hunt, have a hard time "getting into" all that I have said- most laugh it off. Those people also usually aren't Wyrd-workers or Seidfolk, and do not understand, on a deep and essential level, how connected they are to all other life. They may CLAIM to understand it, but their understanding is only mind-deep; it is not heart-deep. If they could feel the connection, feel the great sacredness of life, then they would modify how they think, to come into conformity with it. They would stop looking the other way and laughing off the issue of "sport" hunting. To be wise means to re-appraise how we look at the world and how we treat it. Wisdom demands no less.


Bernulf said...

What an excellent post! I also come from a hunting family, was taught to hunt as a kid and set myself at odds with my family when I decided that there was no point in going out to kill something when I could pick up ten pounds of already-dead something at the corner market. Thankfully, no one in my family is a trophy hunter - all parts of the animal are put to use - but I still chose to have nothing to do with it.

It isn't that I'm afraid to hunt - before I put my foot down and refused to hunt, I was quite successful (something that further irritated my family - they saw it as a waste of potential); and it isn't that I'm opposed to the concept of hunting itself - for me, it's a personal choice I've made, and has to do with recognition of the fact that I can feel connected to Nature and my ancestral heritage without having to hunt. Others might not be able to do that, for whatever reasons, and I won't begrudge them their privilege, so long as they remain ethical about their selection and use for what they bring down. Trophy hunters are people I have no respect for.

Hecate said...

I agree with almost everything that you say, although we disagree rather violently about abortion.

You might want to consider your statement that: "Of course, many will defend these behaviors as "tradition"- but slavery was also a tradition, as was lynching black men, and so was the systematic patriarchal social mistreatment of women- just calling something a "tradition" doesn't mean that it's proper or appropriate anymore. " in light of your recent insistence that we should use the word "man" to include "women" because our ancestors did so.

Ule said...

You should probably question why you "violently" disagree with me about the abortion issue. Do you have any reason at all that doesn't reduce down to a simple rebuke? Being pro-abortion, without questioning the realities of the issue, is intellectually dishonest and spiritually reprehensible. Life is too sacred for it to be brushed under the carpet by militant dogmatists who have wrongly associated the abortion issue with "women's rights". The abortion issue is a hel of a lot deeper than just "women's rights" or "reproductive rights". But I suppose this is a conversation for another day; I may make a post about Abortion specifically, later, when I REALLY want to piss people off. Bear in mind that I do not favor abortion being made illegal; I favor a re-appraisal of the issue, a true dialogue where people on both sides of the issue are given a chance to re-examine the dogmas they have mostly blindly accepted.

As for the "Man" and "Woman" issue, you need to realize that language isn't by itself "tradition". Original meanings got that way for a reason- "Man" may mean "Male" in every usage to you, but it didn't mean that to our ancestors in every usage. This is a very important thing to realize. In fact, originally, there was no word for "just a male"- there was only Mannaz/ "Man" which broadly referred to "men and women" or "human", and "Woman", (Wyf-man) meaning "female human". "Male" alone had no word for itself. There was no hint of sexism (as we know it in the modern day). Of course, I think (in line with the ancients) that there are real and important differences between males and females - to try to reduce males and females down to the "same thing, except for genital configuration" is a crime to both males and females. It's very in vogue today to try to claim that any man or any woman can fill any "role" in today's world, but that sort of thinking ignores some deeper issues. It's just more modernist dogma. Sadly, most modern Pagans are peddlers of modernist dogmas.

annie said...

i'm happy i came across your blog this morning. i haven't read this whole blog on hunting yet, but it has already put tears in my eyes. thanks for your honesty.

Bernulf said...

I'm cross-posting this comment from my blog, since this person (Micky) tried to post here first, and wasn't certain the comment got through. Since it's been over 24 hours since the comment first appeared in my blog, I'm assuming Blogger didn't take the comment.

"I have never posted a comment before but wanted to comment on Robin Artisson’s post. I tried to post on his blog but I’m not very “comment posting savey” and don’t know if it went through. Here is my comment.

I agree with you about trophy and sport hunters. I live in Montana (USA) and know many people, including myself, who suplement their meat supply by hunting and fishing. Sure I could go to the store and buy already butchered meat for $1.00 or more a pound (prob more). But I can buy one deer tag for $12.00, drive 15 to 30-minutes, quickly kill a deer, and butcher it myself much cheeper. I can buy a fishing license for $25.00 and harvest fish year round. Do I get a big kick out of killing? Heck no, that is why I sight in my rifle each time before I go out hunting, to insure a quick clean kill. By me hunting I am saving money, feeding my family a more health meat and being self-reliant.

You are also correct in stating there is no “right to hunt” in the U.S. Constition. However, Article IX Section 7 of the Montana Constitution “Preservation of Harvest Heritage” does give me the “right”.

I believe the gods made animals to be killed and eaten, not for sport or trophies. If the gods don’t like me hunting and fishing to feed my family, well I guess I’ll take it up with them when I see them. But for you to tell people it’s wrong is, well, your opinion and thats all.

Thank you."

Ule said...

My response to Micky:

From what I read in what you said, it seems like you are on the borderline between needing to hunt and not needing to- it is more cost-effective for you to hunt, from what I gather. In such a situation, I'd have to leave your decision to hunt up to you- If I were in your position, I wouldn't hunt; I'd bite the bullet and pay extra for my food. But then, we are different people. I don't put money first in my considerations about anything; I put Wyrd and my awareness of the inter-connected nature of life first. I believe that the spiritual/ecological worldview of Wyrd demands no less. The fact that you and I have different priorities and different perspectives is perfectly fine; we are different people, and Wyrd wove you as you are, just as it wove me as I am. On this point, there is nothing else to say.

On your other two points, which I posted up above- I understand your state's constitution says you can hunt, though I'm sure you understand that your "hunting rights" in Montana are subject to the conditions that the state government sets on it. I was speaking to the national constitution in my original post, and to the fact that there is no broad social consensus that anyone and everyone (generally speaking) has a "right" to hunt, anymore than smokers claim to have "rights" to smoke or what have you. People SHOULD mention that it is their local governments that give them permission to hunt, who accord them "rights" to hunt while on local lands; that is a more true statement of the case. There is no national-level consciousness of any "right to hunt". I'm not saying that this is a good or a bad thing; I'm merely pointing it out.

If you truly are "hunting and fishing to feed your family", then you are doing no wrong- and I believe I stated that many times in my original post. I don't think that the Allfather and his brothers "made" animals specifically to be hunted and used by people; I think he "made" them because it was Wyrd that he do so- it was his Godly Wyrd to be the shaper of all life. The fact that we humans later hunted animals is our Wyrd as well, but in Heathenry, we don't believe that the Gods are authors of Wyrd- they are subject to it just as we are. So the Gods make, create, shape, endow, but they weren't making animals for human amusement or use. If we believed that, we might as well be Christians, for that's what their Bible says "God" created the animals for- for humans to use and do with what they will. Such a belief runs counter to the spirit of animism, to the spirit of Wyrd wherein humans and animals both exist in a holy continuum of life and sacredness, and the good of animals and the good of man are intertwined.

I think that humans learned to hunt- and were possible taught to hunt- by the Gods or spirits, and that when it has to happen, it's fine and well. The only thing I said was "wrong" was people killing for amusement and entertainment. And I don't need the Gods to tell me that it's wrong- I have another way of knowing that it's wrong- I have the way of Wyrd. I have my direct experience of the sacredness of life. You can call that "My opinion" till the roosters come home- but it really isn't. People can choose to believe others when they say "Life is sacred and should be treated as such", or they can choose to ignore them, but no matter what, life remains sacred. Death, when it has to happen, should be done in a sacred manner too, whenever possible.

A pleasure talking to you, sir; we believe in the same Gods, and in this day and age, that is very rare. My best to you and your family and Kindred.


Chas S. Clifton said...

You are right that "death is never a sport," but you draw the category of permissible hunting so narrowly that it is meaningless.

The term "sport hunting" is misleading. Your distaste for it would appear to come from a Puritan Christian perspective: that it is immoral to enjoy any necessary activity. (After all, we don't talk about "sport eating" or "sport sleeping.")

Anyway, here is my own try at explicating hunting from a Pagan perspective.

Since you do not appear to be advocating vegetarianism, are you merely saying that you prefer to have your animal killing done by underpaid and overworked slaughterhouse workers?

Ule said...

My response to Chas Clifton:

Good Day, Mr. Clifton; I have read your works for many
years and am thankful for the good things I've found
in your works and thoughts.

I honestly do not think that my personal belief
regarding Hunting and the idea that it should only be
done out of necessity forces it into too narrow a
permissable category. I also don't think that hunts
done out of need are meaningless; I think the need
that motivates the hunt is precisely what gives it

I think that hunting is not largely required today,
and that it is engaged in by many merely for sport,
relaxation, and vacation, more than out of necessity.
I can't morally connect the taking of life with those

> term "sport hunting" is misleading. Your distaste
> for it would appear
> to come from a Puritan Christian perspective: that
> it is immoral to
> enjoy any necessary activity. (After all, we don't
> talk about "sport
> eating" or "sport sleeping.")

I assume you meant "immoral to enjoy any unnecessary
activity"- that truly makes more sense, unless I'm
reading you wrong. I think we humans can and will do
many un-necessary things, and there's nothing wrong
with enjoying them, but un-necessary taking of life is
where I have to draw the line in my own beliefs,
regarding the morality of actions. I don't think it's
wrong to have sex even though you aren't trying to
procreate (which might be called "unecessary sex"),
and I assume you are saying the puritanical christians
might have been against such things as sex for
purposes of mere enjoyment. Maybe they were; I'm not.

I'm not basing anything on a "puritanical christian"
perspective; I have no such perspective. As most
people who know me already know, I'm a hard-core
Heathen, and I am from no puritanical background.
Heathen "morality" certainly does and always did
exist. It is not based on some revealed scripture;
true Heathen morality is based on a consideration and
mystical awareness of our connection to all things,
and the impact of our actions on the whole of nature-
including human and non-human communities. Heathen
morality also had an element of tradition involved, on
the parts of human communities, but that is another

>Since you do not
> appear to be
> advocating vegetarianism, are you merely saying that
> you prefer to have
> your animal killing done by underpaid and overworked
> slaughterhouse
> workers?

I am a well-known opponent of factory farms. No, I do
not advocate vegetarianism, as I do not believe human
beings can survive as true vegetarians; I believe that
we need animal products to function in a healthy way.
Killing for food is a necessity in this world.

I favor a return to smaller-scale organic farming, and
I only eat factory-slaughtered meat if someone else
buys it and offers it to me cooked. In my own life, I
either purchase meat organically, from our locals, and
most of my meat/animal product consumption comes from
seafood, organic milks and cheeses.

I am not inherently against the idea that other humans
may butcher our food for us; there have always been
people who killed, butchered, and sold meat to others.
What I am against are the rampant abuses of factory
farms, and the culture in our country (USA) that
over-consumes meat products; we simply don't need to
eat the amount of meat we actually eat. The bloated
and unhealthy demand for meat is one of the main
factors that drives the wheels of the factory farms.