She went to where the green grass grows; on the warm sunlit hills. Though the night is long, and the journey is never ending. She went to where the green grass grows, waving by the gentle wind blow. Though her tummy was crumbling, and her tiny legs were failing. Along that hot burning road, she…
Bast is the Lady of Joy, yes, and the Lady of Love, and yet She is also the Lady of Mourning. These are not such disparate concepts. To be a goddess of joy is to weep at its loss, to feel every cruelty and injustice in the world as if they were done to you. To be a goddess of love means to be a goddess of mourning, for there is no love without life and no life without struggle and death. Bast is beside every cat in need, though Her children number in the hundreds of millions. This means every starving stray, every sick or wounded feral, every abandoned pet waiting in some high-kill shelter for euthanasia. This means every cat caged for breeding, for research, for torture, for extermination. This means every cat who right this moment suffers from pain and terror and loneliness. Think how many precious, sacred lives that is! How endless the tide of grief! To be a goddess of love is to be present in those moments of greatest agony so those you love are never truly alone, and thus Bast remains with all Her children in their need. What could be the result but continuous mourning?
Oh Mother, who holds You in their arms when You weep? Who lifts the burden of the world from Your shoulders so You may rest for a moment? I am no goddess, I cannot carry Your mantle of responsibility for You, much as I dearly wish I could. Yet I am Your daughter; I can at least share a portion of Your grief so You need not mourn alone. Let me weep with You; let me wail with You; let me bear witness with You. For those of Your children whom I cannot save or offer solace, let me at least acknowledge their pain so someone on this earth mourns their passing. We will grieve together, Mother.
Luck is such a relative concept. A lucky dollar might not buy me much, not even a cup of tea, but it can sure buy a lot for a needy cat in a far country. That’s why I give to TWS – because I know the little bit of luck I won’t miss can make a life-saving difference for a hungry cat. Do you have a little luck you can spare too?
The message read: Dear Whiskers’ Syndicate, Are you by any chance still taking in strays? I have a litter of kitties with their mom. I was helping out my neighbors because the mom gave birth to them in their house and really didn’t want them there. Now I’ve kept them in mine for over 1…
The world feels like an especially dark place right now and like there’s nothing we can do on an individual level to make any appreciable difference. I definitely drown in that feeling of helplessness sometimes and I know others do too. I therefore try to take great comfort in my work with The Whiskers Syndicate, knowing that even just a dollar or two can mean the difference between starvation and survival for a needy cat. A few seconds on PayPal ensures I can do something this very day, this very moment, for a creature who actively suffers. Against all of the world’s ills this may seem like a minuscule drop of good, but in a world where the most vulnerable among us cannot speak their needs it is imperative we speak for them. There are countless charities doing amazing and extremely difficult work every day… but not many for whom just a single dollar can make such a difference. It’s a can of tuna, a hot bath, a drop of flea medication. It’s an oasis of safety and warmth in a land where Bast’s divine children are treated like vermin. It’s a chance to get to tomorrow – how can I deny any living creature that right?
How do I talk to all of you? Near or far, small or big, once or often, financially – most of all – and by shares, comments, love, prayers, encouragements, all of you have relentlessly lent your hand and folded up your sleeve to stand with us through the depth of the battle that swamped…
There’s a lot of discussion these days about privilege – about what it means to be to be born into a certain place and time, into a certain gender, into a certain race or orientation. For most humans our whole lives depend on that tiny bit of chance and the luck of our circumstances can mean the difference between a long, happy life and a short, painful one. I therefore try to remain aware of my own privilege and use it to helps others who aren’t as blessed as I am – yet not until discovering The Whiskers Syndicate did I ever truly consider that the luck which makes such a difference for humans does the same for animals.
What I have learned from The Whiskers Syndicate is that the place where an animal is born makes just as big of a difference in their lives as it does for us humans. Even though my current cats were unfortunate enough to be born into a hoarding situation, they were also lucky enough to be born into a liberal American state where animal welfare is bolstered by laws, hundreds of local organizations, and a community of hardworking people who give their time, money, and love to the animals who share their space. There are of course countless animal rights issues in the United States (factory farming, environmental degradation, and backyard breeding to name a few) but at least here there is an ongoing discourse about the harm these practices cause. Many people speak out in the defense of those who cannot speak for themselves, and even if we’re a minority we’re at least a vocal one.
The cats born in Bandung, Indonesia lack even these seemingly basic privileges. There are no humane societies waiting to give them a chance at a new life, no laws protecting them from human cruelty, not even a veterinary community robust enough to diagnose and handle complex health issues. The people there who love and care for cats have no 24-hour vet hospitals, no PetCos, no free spay/neuter clinics, none of the things I take for granted every day. My cats have a good chance of living to be 15 or even 20 years old; street cats in Bandung last maybe 5 years if they’re lucky.
The disparity is so shocking I can hardly wrap my mind around it, and it highlights the stark need for an organization like The Whiskers Syndicate. Without Josie’s selfless dedication and her local and international network of supporters, the cats of Bandung would have nothing. A few kind hearts in the crowd, a few food scraps, but nothing so concrete. Knowing this, it makes me doubly grateful for the cats I’ve known and the ones I currently share my life with. Much like myself, they will never know what it’s like to live somewhere where you have no support, no safety, and only the smallest chance at happiness. I can’t tell my cats to appreciate how good they have it (though I try!), so instead I put my time and money where my mouth is. It feels like the least I can do when I, and they, have been so blessed.
These days I feel very, very helpless in the world. The sheer number of vulnerable lives, both human and animal, in need of saving paralyzes me – I think, if I can’t help everyone, then what’s the point? So every week I sit in front of Bast’s altar begging Her to show me how to function without losing my compassion and how to be compassionate without going mad. Help me be a force of good in the world, I plead. Help me save as many of Your children as I can.
And in Her way, She answers. She makes sure I stumble upon a WordPress post from The Whiskers Syndicate, the only cat sanctuary in Bandung, Indonesia, a city with no animal welfare laws or shelters to protect the cats bred there by the hundreds of thousands. A single amazing woman, Josie, keeps this sanctuary and its 90+ cats alive, and in whatever spare time she has she tries to help as many other cats in the area as possible. Spaying, neutering, life-saving surgeries, even just a little food or a dry place to sleep – these cats rely on her to protect them as no one else in the city will.
I can’t do much for these cats from 8,400 miles away. I can donate money, though, and I can urge others to do the same with a dedication of time on my part. To that end, I’m officially opening up paid tarot readings! It’s the least I can do, and hopefully this will help spread the word so others learn about this vital organization. My guidelines are as follows:
– The readings are on a donation basis, please pay what you think is fair and I promise my full dedication to your question or issue*
– You can donate directly to the organization and send me a screenshot of your PayPal receipt
– I will also accept donations to other cat-focused organizations (humane societies, etc)
– I’m happy to communicate in whatever method is easiest for you, we can swap emails or you can find me on Tumblr or Twitter
– You are welcome to remain anonymous, I just need a nickname or pseudonym for the reading
I am also open to creating custom sigils and prayers for those who are interested, or other witchy-type services/trades. Don’t hesitate to ask. I hope that together we can bring a little brightness into the lives of all the Whiskers Syndicate cats!
(*Please be aware that PayPal donations to foreign countries may carry a larger fee than those made within your home country)
Mother, if I stop to think how many of Your children are suffering or dying right now, right this very moment, I nearly drown. The grief is an unseen tsunami and the hopeless part of me wants to get it over with, let the wave wash me out to sea. How can I have any faith in this world when Your children are tortured, hunted, abandoned, experimented on, killed by a thousand different heartless methods every day simply because their lives are not valued? When they are born in cages and die in cages, having never once felt the sun? I want to reach out, to find and be with them in their dark places, their last moments, but their reality’s terror cripples me. I ignore the truth like an open wound I cannot tend – the only option is to keep going until it heals or hurts too much to move. All across the world Your children do the same and I am their sibling, after all, though unbelievably lucky to have been born in a body and place that ensure me basic rights. Your children have no rights anywhere. No right to live and breed freely in the wild; no right to be the masters of their own bodies; no right to be seen as a living creature at all, let alone an individual with wants and needs and a soul as valuable as every other.
People will say I’m exaggerating. I’m not. You know I’m not. Help me, Mother. Teach me how to shield my heart so I don’t have to harden it. Show me how to embrace the pain without making it part of myself. I refuse to be ignorant; I refuse to be uncaring; I refuse to be hopeless. But it’s so hard to face a future that feels inevitable and a truth that seems too heavy to bear. I have feared all my life that it would be my fate to watch Your children perish by the species, and thus far I have been given no reason to think it might be otherwise. So what do I do? How do I move forward? Help me, Mother.
The unbelievers ask, Where are the gods? If they really existed, wouldn’t they intercede to stop our wars, our destruction?
To them I want to throw my arms out and say, The gods are all around us. They are always here, always watching, always caring.
The unbelievers ask, Why do the gods not take matters into their heavenly hands, if they care so much? Why do they let us suffer and cause suffering in our turn?
To them I want to say, Why should they? Look what we have done with their gifts! Look how we show our gratitude! My Mother weeps for Her children who are hunted, drowned, poisoned, tortured, who are raised in mills and die in lab cages. What the gods have given us, they cannot and will not take back so lightly. For better or for worse, this is our world and our responsibility; we humans control the fates of countless lives. Thus my Mother can lend me the strength of heart to care for Her children, but She cannot simply unmake the evils which plague them. Human evils must be countered with human goodness.