Anyone who has ever mourned the loss of a cherished pet has wondered about the animal soul. Do animals survive the death of the body, or are they doomed to disappear completely when they leave this world behind? Both scientists and religious authorities have long scoffed at the idea of animals in heaven. Yet the question endures. In this wise, immensely readable book, Ptolemy Tompkins embarks on a quest for the answer—taking us on a top-speed tour of the history of the animal soul.
Equally at home with mainstream and alternative spiritual philosophies, Tompkins takes us from the savannas of Africa to the earth’s first cities to the early days of the great faith traditions of both East and West. Along the way, he shows that, despite what many of us have been taught, the world’s various spiritual traditions all have profoundly meaningful things to say about the animal soul, if we simply know where to look. Rescuing these ancient insights and blending them with vivid stories about animals today—from a dwarf rabbit named Angus to a manatee named Moose to a black bear named Little Bit—The Divine Life of Animals paints a gloriously inclusive picture of the cosmos as a place made up of both matter and spirit, in which animals are every bit as important, spiritually speaking, as the humans with whom they share the world. Though it is startlingly original, The Divine Life of Animals also feels strangely and instantly familiar, for it reveals truths that many of us have held in our hearts already, waiting only for someone to give fresh voice to one of the oldest and most trustworthy intuitions we possess.
The Divine Life of Animals offers a compelling and timeless vision of the relationship between humans and animals that will have you looking at the animals in your life with new eyes.