Dying Alone

I know its a weird way to start my actually-here posts, but I returned from my trip to find my leopard gecko had passed away.  Caleb had been doing bad for quite some time, and I think it may have been my fault.  I always gave him food and water, but I think that while I was away at college, though my family gave him the same materials, they did not give him any attention.  I know they never took him out and held him or interacted with him.

As a result, I think my gecko, in part, died because of lack of interaction.  It may have also been his time – he was a rather old gecko.  But leopard geckos are the worst when they get old, because they just stop eating (or all of the ones I have had, have).  They’re desert animals, so it takes forever for them to die.

I cried today.  Not necessarily because of the death of my gecko, because everything has a time to go, but more because the poor creature had to die alone.  I think to an extent that all creatures are as scared of death as we are, although it may resurface and rework itself in many different ways.

Along the bike trip, throughout the day, we would pass by on the roads various roadkill.  From birds (I think there was a hawk at one point) to deer to groundhogs and squirrels, the roadkill we passed counted as objects to avoid riding over.  As a result, our trail markers often marked the area around them – drawing a flourescent pink circle around them (that was the color of the trail paint) – and one particular volunteer would place mardi gras beads on top of them.

It was meant as something to make the riders smile, but it also held a solemn note – we were saying goodbye to the deaths that no one was close enough to, to realize, to mourn, to recognize.

The entire earth is a community.  I don’t mean to make us all cry every day for the many, many animals, plants and other organisms alike that pass on, but an occasional moment of solemn awareness, a recognition of the gravity and importance of death, is a good way to start.

My high priest once knew a woman who would go out and draw or photograph roadkill.  Then she would name it, frame it, or in some other way categorize it.  I think that’s taking it a little too far.  But if no one notices the dead, how are we supposed to truly appreciate the living?

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Calling All With Brains!

Hey guys –

Since 2003, I have been blessed with the creation and management of what my co-administrator and I deem “our baby” with full affection. The Order of the Gecko is a group dedicated to the research and discussion of various religions and philosophies. When I went into college and my partner began a new business however, the Order suffered. It is a dead site, now, but I am looking to rejuvenate it.

Previously, the Order was little more than a forum and a small database of information regarding the different subjects at hand. It was a small community of friends. You can view the old site, here.

On March 28th, 2008, and perhaps earlier, we will be launching a brand new version of the website. This new version will be using Moodle, a course management system, and will be intended for a more teach-learn-discuss website than it has ever been before. I am extremely impressed with Moodle, and it fits very well with the site’s objectives and purpose.  The link I have provided is that of our test server – which is completely functional.

Traditionally, the Order requires certain things of its members: You must be over 13, you must be willing to contribute to the forums or the research, you must have a religion, and you must have an IQ score greater than your age(lol). I am easing the registration and application process for a while – which required an interview for entry.

We are looking for teachers and students. For teachers, you must be relatively knowledgeable about your topic. You may teach about anything under the topics presented on the site – Spirituality, Religion, Philosophy, Technology, Science or History – and design the course as you see fit. For students, all we ask is a willing heart and an open mind. Keep in mind, also, that you can be both!

I look forward to this new era of the Order of the Gecko.   I hope that you, my loyal readers – can join me on my quest to make this a great community of thinkers.  If we – the young, the old, the generation of *now* – do not change the world for our children – who will?

We will return to our regularly scheduled programming now.

The Language Of Lizards

Author’s note: I swear that the alliterations are merely a coincidence and until right this moment, I did not intentionally create titles like that.

Many times when perusing the internet, one will find “The Magic of Animals!” “Find out what your omens mean!” and other websites related to the meanings and energies of animals in the natural and magical world. Hopefully, when I speak of plants or animals, my information will be based on observation as well as the traditional energies. Today, I will be reviewing the general properties of lizards, and with that, more specifically, the beauty of geckos.

Lizards are members of the phylum Chordata, sub phylum vertebrate, class reptilia. In terms of evolution, reptiles were the first to have eggs with an amniote – a protective layer in the egg that provides nourishment. It is said that reptiles and birds are closely related, but most classification systems still place them in separate classes.

Reptiles allow the environment around them to influence them in a direct manner. Because they are ectotherms, reptiles use the world around them to help control their body temperature. When purchasing a desert lizard, you’re supposed to offer them a source of heat. If it gets too cold, they will not be as active, or live long, healthy lives.

In addition, reptiles offer the use of a closed circulation system. This means that reptiles’ blood remains in veins and arteries. This may seem odd to you if you are not biologically inclined, however, there exists such a thing as an open circulatory system in which blood kind of flows over everything in the body and eventually trickles back to the heart. With the closed circulatory system, reptiles have a three or four chambered heart.

Therefore, within this biological context, we have established several things about the general energy of lizards:

  • They are capable of using the environment to improve their quality of life
  • They are indicative of improved protection of their young
  • With the closed circulatory system, reptiles are representative of homeostasis and balance – they have a steady pulse.

Geckos

Now, onto my personal favorite, geckos. All geckos come from the family Gekkonidae. The leopard gecko, which I own, is species Eublepharis macularius.

Unfortunately, I am not going to speak about them, but instead about the Gekko gekko. The Tokay Gecko is a very interesting species. In addition to being just awesome (because that’s what geckos are, awesome), the Tokay Gecko has a special ability: it can speak. Assuming this ability on all lizards, it is easy to conclude that lizards, and geckos most especially, represent the following:

  • The power of the voice

Walking along, seeing a gecko – either on a sign, or a cartoon, or in real life if you live in that sort of area – can be a strong reminder or omen to you to speak up! Have a voice in your community, and do something. Sometimes, we wander through life and all we do is what we’re supposed to do. As a pagan, as a witch, as someone who is in love with nature and with the concept of deity, you have extra responsibilities. The gecko may be a sign for you to take action.

In addition to that, geckos and other small lizards have other energies assigned to them:

  • Moving unseen from one world into another. (Do you ever see them waltzing into your house?)
  • Determination (Ever been holding a lizard that got so scared that it removed itself from its tail so that it could run away? The tails can twitch for hours)
  • Balance – many lizards are omnivores – they eat both living prey such as crickets, and plants or fruit

I believe that the most common spiritual classification for this animal is with the Fire element. This, I agree with, as the energies assigned above lend themselves to emotional and spiritual pursuits. Fire is that passing from one world to another – from the physical, to the spiritual.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s article!

The Peril of Pet Ownership

When I was younger, I was into caged animals (I still am – we have a bird and a gecko) and among the various furry pets, I also won myself an anole at a carnival. Now, any lizard owner knows that both anoles and geckos have a similar diet: crickets. Any parent knows that carnival animals only last a few weeks. Well, my area’s carnivals must be odd, because I had two goldfish that lasted 10 years each, and my anole lasted 3.

Anyway, obviously as a pagan and a Witch, I have respect for all of nature. Hell, our one sacred rule is, “An it harm none do what ye will”. Sometimes my friends here ask, “Well if you love the earth, then why are you killing those crickets?” Here is my response:

The natural order of things is one in which the strongest survive. I am relatively fair – if the crickets are lasting a few days, are exceptionally annoying, or escape into the general area of my room or my house, I usually re-catch them and let them go, outside. I used to have loads of guilt over feeding my pets live prey, and then I sat for a while and watched the crickets.

Crickets are nasty, vile creatures. They will chirp just to piss you off (as any lizard owner knows)…but most importantly, crickets are cannibals. They will consume each other if the other is weak or dead. Crickets will also consume larger animals if they get sick.

I have to admit, there is a beauty and a certain pleasure I receive from watching my gecko hunt. The natural process of the earth has made the gecko a creature that, prior to attacking, will vibrate its tail as a sort of warning signal. Not only is this amusing, but when he gets a cricket, it is amazing that the gecko can kill an animal so quickly: the cricket usually stops twisting and kicking within seconds, and he swallows it whole. Its about as merciful as death can get for them.

Most of the time, I do apologize to the crickets before I send them to certain death. Sometimes, I get pangs of guilt so strong when I put them in the cage that I have to look away. Its not their fault they were born and raised to die. Its much like any other stock animal we use.

I think that as long as you have respect for the animal that you are feeding to the other animal, it doesn’t matter if you use live prey, in the general scheme of things. Someday, hopefully, I will be able to build a bigger, ecosystem – like habitat for my gecko, providing him and the crickets with a more natural place to play out their survival game.

But, just so you know I’m not perfect: the joy I get when I catch a recently escaped cricket, or one that’s been chirping incessantly for the night time hours, place it in the cage, and watch my gecko eat it in two bites…is immeasurable.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the magickal properties of lizards!