An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

Common Themes, East & West: Animal Guides

Holy Saturday 2001

Christ's Descent into Limbo to Free Trapped Souls
Collage by Kathleen Jenks
(Russian Ikon: Descent into Hell;
images of butchered and burning animals
are from AP & Reuters, England, February-March 2001)

Holy Saturday, 14 April 2001,
Author's Note

I spent part of today thinking about the meaning of Holy Saturday -- the day when Christ freed the souls of those enlightened ones who had died before him.  But, according to tradition, he did that 2000 years ago and those souls are no longer there.  Who's there now?  When I asked myself that, my mind was flooded with images of the slaughtered creatures of Europe.  They are the ones who need between-the-realms help right now.

I tried to create an "ikon-collage" to express this, but I'm not an artist and couldn't get Adobe PhotoDeluxe to do what I wanted.  Thus, the result isn't at all how I "see" it in my mind, but it's the best I can manage.  The thing that absolutely breaks my heart are those hooves sticking straight up through the flames -- so horribly demeaning and cruel.  The British might as well be burning old tires. Just horrific.

More of my thoughts about Holy Saturday and the animals follow....

In Christian tradition, the day after Christ's death on Good Friday is called Holy Saturday, a limbo-space, a twilight time between death and resurrection.  It is believed that Christ descended into "hell," or limbo, on Holy Saturday to free the prophets and others who had died before him and were waiting for him to send them to Paradise.  Adam and Eve were said to be there, John the Baptist, Elijah, Moses, Miriam, and many others.

In the Easter mythos, of course, all that happened some 2000 years ago.  Yet the day is still commemorated, as if it's still on-going somewhere.

This year, now and in the months ahead, whatever else is taking place in that mystical nexus of an eternal holy-saturday, may it also include the gift of solace to slaughtered creatures, especially the hooved ones of Europe and elsewhere.  As I wrote elsewhere this spring (see Of Cows & Madness):

...These animals didn't ask to be born to be our food.  They, like all beings, took bodily form in a search for joy.  They wanted to play in the fields, feeling the sheer pleasure of their strong, supple bodies.  They wanted to run, sleep, graze, dream, live. They didn't come here to be hurt.....
... Now they can only die, executed, shot full of bullets, feeling the fear of all the other beasties around them, knowing what's to come.  Then they're dumped into the flames, by the hundreds, surrounded by the toxic smoke through which their confused, suffering spirits must rise.  They're sentient beings -- one need only look into their eyes to know they have souls, to know they suffer and grieve.....
Animals deserve better from us, but they aren't getting it.  May at least there be enough compassionate beings on holy-saturday's other side willing to free these creatures from their death throes and send them into gentler experiences.

Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
Animal Guides
Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Crones & Sages
Dragons & Serpents
Food: Sacrality & Lore


Earth Day & Environmental Issues
Earth Goddesses & Gods
Green Men
Land: Sacrality & Lore  (Mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, Crop & Stone Circles, FengShui)
Trees & Plant Lore

Air: Sacrality & Lore (Air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
Sky Goddesses & Gods

Fire: Sacrality & Lore (Fire, Northern Lights, Green Flashes, St. Elmo's Fire)
Fire Goddesses & Gods

Floods, Storms, Rainbows, & Other Wonders
Water: Sacrality & Lore  (Water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Water Goddesses & Gods [forthcoming]

Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Birthing  [forthcoming]
Rituals of Death & Dying  [forthcoming]
Rituals of Puberty
Rituals of Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
Sacred Theatre, Dance & Ritual
Star Lore & Astrology
Symbols, Signs, & Runes
Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
Weaving Arts & Lore (Cosmic Webs, Spinning, Spindles, Clothing)

Down to Geographical Regions: Africa

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Text and layout copyright © 2001-2002 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
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Page created and launched 14 April 2001; image "sphered"15 April 2001;
revised image again 20 April 2001; 23 April 2001.
22 June 2002, 8:30am: misc. revisions prior to publishing this in my Crone Papers section.