Rain and Mosquitoes

Anyone who believes humankind is at the top of the food chain does not live around mosquitoes.  In fact, if you believe my former microbiology professor, we have 1012 human cells, and 1013 microbial cells, so we are only ten percent human.  Perhaps we are merely mini-universes for the skin and gut flora, and the viruses and bacteria that make our respiratory tracts and other organic neighborhoods their homes.  Bottom line is humankind’s highest and best purpose may be to provide food and habitat for insects, viruses, and unicellular organisms.

This brings me to monotheism, the anthro-centric belief in a male-like supreme being who is detached and dominant, competitive, and paternalistic, omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect.

What does the monotheistic tradition have to do with mosquitoes, a reasonable person might ask.  Well, this God, according to tradition, has placed man above the animals, nature, and certainly above the lowly insects, bacteria, and viruses.  This God also must think cruelty is funny, because He torments man and woman with these miniature vampires that He could eradicate with a flip of a life-switch, if He so chose.  No, instead, He puts humanity in the position of alleviating his own misery through insecticides like malathion, or genetic engineering to produce sterile male mosquitoes under patent, for release in Key West, Florida.

In other words, this control-freak God, who seems to enjoy stirring up wars between the competitive monotheists descended from The Fall, must love mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, sand gnats, horseflies, lice, mites, and other fast-mutating species, more than He loves man.  This preference for more mutable life forms is charmingly depicted in Rats, Lice, and History:  The Biography of a Bacillus, by Hans Zinsser (1934), the original author of the microbiology textbook still used in medical schools today.  In it, Zinsser claims lice and other microbes win more wars than armies.  In any case, it offers even more proof that man has not evolved to the point where he understands how stupid he is to fight Mother Nature.

Speaking of Mother Nature, I recently finished reading The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell, with Bill Moyers.  This book was derived from a PBS documentary aired in 1988.  Campbell was a professor of comparative mythology at Sarah Lawrence College, well versed in the various beliefs around the world. He made a clear distinction between the monotheistic God as above-it-all creator; and the mother-goddess traditions in which the goddess is “within as well as without.”  He claimed these earth-centered traditions placed animals equal to man and sometimes superior. As mothers generally have unconditional love for all their children, the mother-goddess traditions evolved as naturally compassionate and what we might now call “eco-friendly.”

In the “deistic” or “animistic” belief systems of the Native American mythology, for instance, the natural and supernatural worlds are intimately interconnected.  While some of the ritualistic religious ceremonies may seem brutal now, they respected man’s role as a part of and totally dependent on nature’s bounty.   The primary food animal of a tribe was revered, respected, and often deified.  Feasting ceremonies prayed to the spirit of the animal, asking it to be re-born to provide food again.

Another of my books describes the Hopi Snake Society rain dances.  In these, dancers hold rattlesnakes in their mouths, as part of the ceremony appealing for rain.  The snakes are then released, in order to appeal to the rain gods on humankind’s behalf.  The book claims cloudbursts often follow.  (National Geographic Society’s Indians of the Americas, 1955).

A few years ago, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, responding to drought conditions, prayed for rain.  His prayers were followed by torrents in the mountains which caused flooding and a couple of fatalities.

I figured he prayed to the wrong God.  He should have prayed to Mother Nature, who loves all her creatures, even people, and knows that the right amount of rain at the right time and place benefits all equally.

So, for those interested in “climate change,” perhaps we need to redefine the problem and re-work the strategy, and turn thoughts toward changing the climate in more desirable ways.  Even Seth of the Jane Roberts series asserts that man’s thoughts influence weather.

While I haven’t resorted to dancing with rattlesnakes, I have made appeals to Mother Nature for a milder summer, here in the swamps of Savannah.  I have asked the plants and animals to join me in this weather-making experiment.  My chickens seem particularly good at it.  I’ve even reminded Ma Nature that it will help mosquitoes.  This latest twist on “climate change” is a conversation starter and actually elicits a few smiles.  That we could perhaps influence the weather in universally beneficial ways may be the stuff of science fiction today, but the concept is as inspiring as a rainbow, should you choose to believe.  And, no government help required.

Down home, this summer, we have had more rain than in recent years, along with more cloud cover and more breeze.  Even the little blood-suckers have held off, for reasons only known to Ma Nature, but I thank her nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Rain and Mosquitoes

  1. Rosaliene Bacchus

    I’ve also considered the thought that we humans may “merely [be] mini-universes for the skin and gut flora, and the viruses and bacteria that make our respiratory tracts and other organic neighborhoods their homes.” A reflection on our symbiotic relationship with microscopic life forms on the surface and within our bodies should provide us with a deeper understanding with our interconnections with Ma Nature.

    Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve not had to deal with annoying and deadly mosquitoes. I feel your distress. They, too, have their purpose in the food chain. Only the gods know how we would upset the ecological balance in eradicating the mosquito.

    Reply
    1. mcaimbeul

      Every living thing is a grazing heard for the microbes. Microbes are the superior life forms. There are microbes that can sustain the pressure of the deepest ocean depths, live inside of ice and even survive battery acid. If one does an in depth study of microbes you’ll fine them to be absolutely remarkable. Insects are another fascinating life form, I’ve studied them for years and marvel at their intelligence and abilities. Great post Katharine.

      Reply
      1. katharineotto Post author

        Mike and Lori,
        I always appreciate your comments. You add so much and always improve my articles with your contributions. Yes, I’ve heard that microbes can also live inside volcanoes. It does make a person wonder about our andro-centric view of the universe.

      2. mcaimbeul

        Thanks Katharine our pleasure. And yes, our anthropocentric view of this planet is the basis of our distruction. As Lao Tzu said, “That which is not in harmony with Tao soon parishes.”

      1. katharineotto Post author

        Mike and Lori,
        I didn’t know about the great entomologist E. O. Willson, but I know a thing or two about ants, since I’m plagued with three kinds of them. The tiny sugar ants get in the cat food, the larger fire ants get in chicken food and the door to the coop, and sting my hand every chance they get, leaving huge pimples. The larger carpenter ants also get in animal food and woodwork. I can’t/won’t use insecticide because of the chickens and personal convictions. My corner of the planet would not mourn if the ants were to disappear.

      2. mcaimbeul

        Food grade diatomaceous ( it’s even fed to animals) sprinkled around can kill ants by mechanical, not poison, dehydration. Tea tree and citronella oil sprayed on them interferes with their navigation and signal transmission to one another.

      3. katharineotto Post author

        MikenLori,
        Thank you. I sprinkled diatomaceous earth under the food dish, and it seems to have slowed the ants down, but I have a question, to wit: supposedly moisture interferes with its effectiveness, so how does ingested diatomaceous earth work? Doesn’t saliva moisturize it?

        I’ll look into tea tree and citronella oil.

      4. mcaimbeul

        Yes if it gets wet you you have to reapply more it’s a bit of a maintenance process. As a dietary supplement it has minerals and aids in detoxifying but I’m not well versed in that area. I know a guy that sprinkles it around his chicken pen to reduce the flies, best of luck our friend.

      5. katharineotto Post author

        MikenLori,
        Do you like the new name I’ve invented for you? I borrowed the idea from “Lord of the Flies,” in which the twins were called Samneric, not that there’s any other correlation.

        Thanks for the tip. I’ve heard a lot about the wonders of diatomaceous earth but have little practical experience.

    2. katharineotto Post author

      Rosaliene,
      I think not in terms of eradicating mosquitoes but of becoming distasteful to them. Maybe there are animals that actually like being bitten. I guess male mosquitoes’ probiscuses (sp?) are too short to penetrate skin. Apparently they are vegetarians.

      Reply
  2. Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

    In the “deistic” or “animistic” belief systems of the Native American mythology, for instance, the natural and supernatural worlds are intimately interconnected. While some of the ritualistic religious ceremonies may seem brutal now, they respected man’s role as a part of and totally dependent on nature’s bounty. The primary food animal of a tribe was revered, respected, and often deified. Feasting ceremonies prayed to the spirit of the animal, asking it to be re-born to provide food again.

    – Beautiful paragraph, Katharine. Some of the deities in Maya mythology have a similar function. On a day called “Flint” for example, or “Storm” or “Chak” it is not uncommon to experience lightening, thunder or rain, while social or political events could also reflect such events. Once you follow the calendar you start wondering if it really could be pure coincidence…?

    We have a mosquito problem down here too, mainly during the most humid months of summer, namely February and March – and over here they are particularly difficult to get at – they seem to have super radar technology installed to evade even the most stealthy attempts at swatting them… fortunately it’s the middle of winter here right now – not a mossie in sight.

    I think humans’ purpose here on the planet is self-development. All the conditions have been created for the molding of morals, ethics and values – that must be the function of duality. We are always faced with moral issues and choices that keep on changing. For example the victims of oppression just the other day become the dictatorial oppressors of today. Now we are morally challenged, because we are put in a spot where we have to question our previous judgement. (Are we able to equally judge or be critical of the new oppressors, who just the other day had “angel’ status in our minds? – for example. And could it be that the previous oppressors had a point? – for example).

    Reply
      1. katharineotto Post author

        JJ,
        I’ll be interested in your opinion of the book. I started to write a synopsis but the book covers too much ground for me to do an adequate job. Also, while Campbell’s ideas are intriguing, I found myself doubting some of his conclusions. He seemed more heavily influenced by the rules of Catholicism than he recognized.

        Thanks for the link. I read and wondered if that polar shift to Chile and Peru is the reason I feel drawn to that area, especially around Machu Piccu. Edgar Cayce also predicted a polar axis shift but didn’t specify what kind. I’ve always wondered about the Earth’s lines of magnetic force and believe they are much more influential than we know.

      2. Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

        Katharine, a bit of a late reply here – got a bit caught up with writing during last week. I may take me a while to get around the Campbell’s book as I have several backed up, waiting to be read, but will keep your comments in mind in terms of him being unknowingly influenced by Catholicism. Just for interest sake – and I’m not sure this is related – Maya mythology and some Christian concepts are actually similar in more respects than one would imagine (for example the Maya creation myth and flood myth). Also some of the rituals are practiced similarly. When Catholoism was introduced into the Maya lands by Spaniards the Maya’s blended Catholicism with their own religions practices due to many overlapping concepts. One could speculate that a lot of religious concepts are archetypal, so it appears in belief systems around the world in various forms, even when religions are very far removed from each other.

        Example’s of Maya deluge myths here:
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html#Quiche

        I think that it could very well be that you are drawn to the Andes Mountain countries due to the energy concentration there – according to Carlos Barrios, Maya spokes person and priest, people who are drawn to ancient sites should visit them to activate the energy in themselves further – and to (re)activate the energy at the sites.

        In the Vedic Yuga Cycle, the age we are in right now is an energy age and the whole objective of the energy age is for humans to become more aware of energy and more in tune with it. Most probably people are going to naturally become more and more aware of these energies as time progresses. Interesting times we live in!

      3. katharineotto Post author

        JJ,
        What you write corroborates what I’m reading in David Icke’s “Tales from the Time Loop.” Icke goes overboard, in a way, but he also ties together a lot of creation stories, flood stories, and other seemingly universal themes.

        You will get to the Campbell book when the time is right.

        I’ve been actively practicing using psychic (for lack of better terms) energy in day-to-day life. It seems I’ve always done so, with antenna out for the “mood” of a situation or person, for example. Have to get past a lot of societal caveats against it, because tradition is so fearful. However, I believe everyone does it, maybe unconsciously, and the “sin” lies in being unaware.

    1. katharineotto Post author

      JJ,
      Good to hear from you, and thanks for the information about Maya mythology. I know little but am learning from you.

      You raise questions I’ve had myself, like the way we perceive “good” and “evil.” The necessity of making choices, without any real way of knowing the outcomes. It’s becoming harder for me to label anything, because everything seems to be in a constant state of flux and evolution, not always in the directions I would choose.. As I get older, though, it is a relief to know I’m not in control, so not individually responsible for anything that happens.. Good point about the oppressors and oppressed.

      Reply
  3. Rosaliene Bacchus

    Katharine, I found the exchange between you and Jean-Jacques very interesting.
    With regards to Campbell’s The Power of Myth, I had the opportunity to watch the series of interviews with Bill Moyers on Netflix. I share your observations that Campbell’s conclusions were influenced by his Catholic background, but don’t believe that we should dismiss his findings.

    Reply
    1. katharineotto Post author

      Rosaliene,
      Agree absolutely. I found the book so compelling that I couldn’t synopsize it without getting too long and tedious. Also, I felt I couldn’t do justice to his profound wisdom. My criticism surprised even me, possibly because I’ve become so frustrated with the effects of monotheism in today’s world. The wars and all.

      I am glad you noticed it, too, so I’m not totally off base.

      Reply
    1. katharineotto Post author

      Georgina,
      Whether I can influence the weather is a moot point, but it’s encouraging to think it possible. A whole attitude shift, as in the subsequent gratitude when it rains or the weather gets tolerably cool, breezy, or cloudy. The animals and plants seem livelier, too, after a refreshing rain. My imagination? Maybe, but I prefer it to imagining misery.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment.

      Reply

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