predator and PreY
by Nedda Wittels
When one animal hunts another,
what's really going on?
A note from Nedda:
article was written in 1996. Echo was still in her body. Violet was in her most recent previous lifetime.
Sunshine is an elderly cat, still residing at the barn where Echo used to
To understand the
relationship between carnivores and their prey, I interviewed Echo, my
horse, who eats only plants, and
Violet and Sunshine, two meat-eating felines. Violet lives with me
indoors, but Sunshine lives in a barn and is the head of the Rat Patrol
there, a talented hunter, taking down birds, rabbits, and mice with
One must eat in order to live.
Horses are vegetarians and in the wild are hunted by wolves,
mountain lions, and other predators.
How do you feel about the possibility of being someone elseís
In this lifetime, I am protected, but in other lives Iíve been
hunted. Of course, everyone
wants to live. We take form
for a purpose and want to fulfill that purpose before giving up our
bodies. Then, too, the
genes of the physical form contains programming for self-preservation.
Still, at a spiritual level, we are all connected and we all
serve each other. So if I
were ever trapped, cornered by meat eaters, I would honor the sacrifice
of my body. I know that my
spirit is who I really am and I will live on.
That sounds very noble. However,
doesnít the prey animal feel fear and anger towards the predator?
Fear, certainly, but not anger.
Fear is the self-preservation mechanism of the physical form.
It makes the body defend itself.
However, if the life is requested (by the predator) for purposes
of survival and if the predator shows respect and honors the prey, the
offering of oneís body for food of another is a great gift.
What form does the honoring take among the animals?
The predator asks something like this:
"Noble being, I am hungry and seek sustenance.
Will you offer yourself to honor me in this way?"
The prey will reply to the effect, "Noble one, I do offer
myself to you with blessings. May
you grow strong through the nourishment of my body."
At what point in the hunt does this conversation take place?
It takes place when the prey is first sighted or during the
chase, or even after capture, although usually at the point of capture,
the agreement has already been made.
Sunshine, you hunt for a living as part of the "Rat Patrol" at
the stable where Echo lives. Iíve
seen you take down birds, rabbits, and moles.
Does Echoís description of the exchange between predator and
prey match your experience as a hunter?
Yes. Sometimes I sing a song of honor.
I have a different song for each species.
Since I never know who is available when I set out to hunt, I
wait until I have sighted my prey.
Then I sing. Then I attack.
Would you sing one of your songs of honor so that we humans may
learn more about the feeling involved?
Sunshine: Yes. Hereís my
song for hunting rabbits, whom I do love to eat.
Rabbit, noble Rabbit,
Who hops with power and speed,
Honor this hungry Cat with your
I thank you for sustaining me
through another day.
I send you blessings, love and
light, to you and your family,
That we may all share the Earth
together for all of time.
That is certainly a beautiful song.
Do the Rabbits sing back to you?
Sunshine: Sometimes. Some
reply more simply.
Humans are often horrified when cats seem to play with their
catch. Why do you do that?
Sunshine: We donít "play" with it. We do like to show off our catch, and sometimes we toss it
about for that purpose. Other
times weíre practicing our skills.
After all, when one depends upon hunting for life, it is
important to maintain a clear eye and a steady claw and a strong pounce.
Violet, you live indoor and donít have to hunt.
Still, you enjoy playing with the toy mice Iíve bought you.
Violet: When I was on my own before I came to live with you, I did
need to hunt. (Violet had been
abandoned by humans and survived for 6 months on her own.) It
was hard finding suitable food in the garbage.
My mother never had to hunt, so she didn't teach me much about
it. I had to watch other cats who were living on their own and
listen to some of their rituals to know what to do for serious hunting.
I had lots of practice with toys, but thatís not the same as
going after a moving target who is trying to get away.
Did you have any successes?
Violet: Yes, once I learned to pounce more effectively and speak
words of honor. The prey
are more willing to sacrifice themselves if you ask them properly and if
you hunt with skill. Both
are required to succeed.
Sunshine: I agree. If I
were less polite, Iím sure I would not be so successful.
Many times, if a prey animal is old and ready to die, they will
still make you work hard if you do not speak to them respectfully.
When I first was learning to hunt, my mother insisted that we all
remember this. She was an
excellent hunter and taught us all very well.
Sunshineís sister, Charlie, used to tell me about some of her
hunts, usually because I would ask her about her adventures. She, too, was a superior hunter, and credited her motherís
I once asked Charlie, as she was setting out to hunt, what she
was going to hunt that day. Her
response was "Anything I can catch".
I remember being surprised by this.
Humans usually have particular foods in mind before they sit down
to eat. Today, with all the
abundance in our society, we usually have quite a few choices for
dinner. Do any of you want
to comment on this?
Very few of the human population on the Earth at this time honor
the animals and plants at the time they are taken.
Many more humans assume that all of life is here to serve them,
but that is not automatically the case.
We are here to share the Earth with each other.
Plants and animals are both expressions of intelligence and
possess spirit. If humans
would ask the plantsí permission to pick them, they would certainly be
told, "Yes." If
humans would ask the animals to make the sacrifice of their bodies, the
animals surely would. To take without asking is stealing, and the energy of the
food is less nourishing and may even be harmful to the one eating it.
Today in the USA, most of us humans donít grow our own food,
nor do we hunt for our own meat. Do
any of you have suggestions about how we can honor the plants and
animals whose bodies we ingest, who perhaps were not honored at the time
of their death?
Violet: While washing and preparing the meal, offer words of prayer
and thanks. This helps
shift the energies.
Offering thanks when eating the food also makes a difference.
Eating organic food is important, too.
There is more honor and love in the way that food is grown, so it
is healthier to start with and can be more effectively charged with
light by prayer at a later time in the process of preparation, cooking,
Echo, do prey animals honor the plants they eat in the same way
that hunters honor the animals they hunt?
Oh, yes. Even though
you see us horses diving into our grain buckets or eating grass and hay
voraciously, we do indeed say prayers for the food we eat.
Hereís one my mother taught me:
of grasses, legumes, shrubs, and vines,
sweetness and juices are like fine wines
thank you for granting me health and good times
your summer be long and lush.
of grasses, legumes, shrubs, and vines,
sing to your beauty and bounty divine,
give thanks and respect for your offering to me
bless you with love and light endlessly.