Here is an interview with Gorilla Eucalipto who speaks with candor and emotion about his relationship with animals. It’s the first in a series of portraits of Damanhurians who are in close contact with the animal world.

What have you discovered about animals in your contact with them?

I have discovered that if you consider an animal as a living being from when it is young, if you treat it like someone who can be close to you, share things with you, understand things, who can also learn things, it changes everything. When you speak to the animal, it looks you in the eye. You can tell if an animal has been given consideration as a conscious being or if it has been disregarded because it is “just” an animal. If it doesn’t look you in the eye, you know that it is behind in its spiritual development, because animals are also on a spiritual journey, just as we are.

What is your experience of communication with animals?

My experience is usually intuitive and perceptive. gorilla-and-tempesta-640I’ll tell you a story about the time my little dog Tempesta came home bloody with her canine tooth almost detached. I took care of her as much as I could and was planning to take her to the vet the next day. During the night, she was still feeling pain, so I placed my hand on her as she was sleeping next to my bed. I was wondering what had happened, and just as I was falling asleep in that space between awake and dreaming, I received an intense communication from my dog: She told me that she was out on the road and had gotten into a fight with Fiamma (one of the dogs of the community), and she got her tooth caught in Fiamma’s collar because it has big metal holes in it. Fiamma jerked away suddenly, pulling Tempesta’s tooth loose! I came back to myself and thought: What a strange message! The next day, I found Fiamma, the other dog, and I verified that she has a collar like that and there were traces of blood on the collar from the fight with Tempesta the night before! I was really struck by this. I’ve never had such a strong and clear communication from an animal.

What else have you learned from animals?

I have learned that they can also help us in healing. I am experimenting with contacting plants as well through the Music of the Plants. Both the plant and animal world have a way of influencing humans through healing. If you share your life with an animal, it will offer you whatever it has. Animals are very immediate and intuitive, and they don’t have all the structures that we have as humans. My dog knows right away if I am sick, probably because my scent changes, and she tends to stay close to me. Once when I was completely exhausted with the flu, Tempesta slept on my stomach as I had a stomach ache. I explained to her that I was feeling bad because of the flu, and I was convinced that she could help me to heal. When I woke up at 7 am, it was amazing… I was feeling so much better, completely healed!

Can you tell us about your experience of the death of animals?

I come from a farming background where we raised chickens for eggs and meat, pigs for salami, and I continued this for a while. I raised animals how I thought they should be raised, with dignity. Once when I needed to send a pig that I had raised to be slaughtered, I couldn’t just send her off alone; I had to accompany her. I was there in front of her, and she looked me in the eye and asked me, “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” This changed my life and my relationship with all animals. I can still see the light blue eyes of that pig… Now I can’t even pluck a feather from a chicken. I also changed my dietary habits. My transformation has come about through these events, and now I don’t eat meat anymore.

Any other thoughts?

To communicate with animals, you need to consider them as living beings, and the same thing applies for communication with trees. You need to treat them with a certain dignity though; they can’t be treated like numbers or objects. You can also sacrifice the life of an animal or a plant, but you need to do it with a certain awareness, attention and dignity.