The Henry and Banjo Garden Blessing

Celebrant Vaune Morgan

Animals have often been attributed with fantastic qualities and, if nothing else, this helps us to appreciate the natural world more fully. Every animal is a gateway to the phenomenal world of the human spirit.

When we learn to speak with the animals, to listen with animal ears and to see through animal eyes, we experience the phenomena, the power and the potential of the human essence and it is then that animals are no longer our subordinates.

They become our teachers, our friends and our companions. They show the true majesty of life itself.

They restore our forgotten childlike wonder at the world, and reawaken our lost belief in magic, dreams and possibilities.

I know nature speaks to us if we listen.

Every animal has a story to tell. Every flower blossoms with reminders to be creative and every tree whispers with its rustling leaves the secret of life.

The animal world has much to teach us. Some animals are experts at survival and adaptation. There are times when we can use those same skills. Some animals never get cancerous conditions. Wouldn't it be wonderful to learn their secrets? Some are great nurturers and protectors. Some have great fertility and others have great gentleness. Some embody strength and courage, while others can teach playfulness.

To have an animal is to live close to nature.

We revel unashamedly through our pet's ability to live in profound honesty, accepting and giving love without reservation. Our pets open a window for exploring the nature of love.

In my own experience, sharing my life's ups and downs over the past 12 years with our dog Ralph has taught me about unconditional love. When we moved to acreage Ralph found us. For me it was the first time to experience the joys of having a frolicking puppy. During his adolescence he loved to graze with the horses, sleep with the goats, swim with the ducks and respect any visiting reptile; harmony prevailed. Ralph has grown up as the property developed. He is now blind due to diabetes, but he navigates himself around with the same youthful exuberance, inquisitiveness and confidence that he always had, knowing, sensing where every tree, fence and pathway is, confident in the knowledge that he is there for us and us for him.

We know that one day he will no longer be able to smell the roses, and we know that all life has its beginning and its end. If he were able to talk he might have a parting prayer...

"I explained to St. Peter I'd rather stay here,
outside the Pearly Gate.
I won't be a nuisance, I won't even bark,
I'll be very patient and wait.
I'll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I'd miss you so much, if I went in alone,
It wouldn't be Heaven for me.

We have grown up with Nursery Rhymes where animals are endowed with human and even super human qualities.

"The cow jumped over the moon, to see the dog laugh.". The devotion of animals as in "Mary had a little lamb, it followed her to school.". Wonderful stories such as "Wind in the Willows", "Doctor Dolittle" and "Possum's Book of Practical Cats". Classics, crediing animals with human qualities.

Throughout the ages our literature is full of stories where man and animal have a unique bond. In times of hardship, through wars, stories of bravery and camaraderie shown to man by their trusty steeds, the companionship of the swagman and his dog.

Many ancient myths and stories speak of a magical time and place in which there were no boundaries between human and animals. Animals and humans spoke. Wild and tame had no meaning.

Indigenous people worldwide rely on the native flora and fauna for their survival, people in cities feel a yearning to connect with nature.

How blessed is a space, a microcosm of nature amidst the hustle and bustle of a thriving city, a sacred space where one can reflect and honour the memory of our faithful animal friends.

Here one can savour the exquisite beauty of nature while connecting with your pet's spirit, remembering the joyful times shared.

Here in this garden, one can stop the onrush of life, pause a little while and reflect.

Your pet is written in your heart and always will be,

Thus this Garden is truly blessed.