Equine Vasectomy, Castration, and the Karmic Wheel

Kumba – 3 days post-vasectomy

Why must we chop the balls off all our male animals? Why is this considered normal and even necessary? Luckily I was able to take my dog Kumba across the border for a canine vasectomy. But when it came to my stud colt Juno, hours of searching produced hardly any information – scientific or anecdotal – on equine vasectomy.

My journey into this realm started 18 months ago when Jax and Montaro came to me as 1-yr-old and 2-yr-old stallions. Jax seemed to have no issues with being castrated – almost as though he was expecting it and it was no big deal. Montaro, on the other hand, desperately wanted to remain a stallion and had already bred a mare or two when he arrived.

He was so incredibly responsive to me, with such a stellar character, that I too wanted him to remain a stallion if possible. I put him in with my Andalusian mare, Zorra, and even when mounted on her, he would stop and come away with me if I asked. Likewise, if he was in mid-playfight with Jax, he would stop when I asked (just using my voice and a hand gesture). But there was one insurmountable problem.

At the end of the field, the neighbour had seven mares, who all simultaneously bloomed into estrus and called to Montaro all day and night. He held it, and held it, and then bam, would go through the fence. After several days of him going through the fence twice a day, I told him I would have to phone the vet. As I was boarding, I couldn’t do any more to the fence than the line of electric I’d added above the top fence plank, but he was crashing right through the wooden boards and electric wire.

Closed Castration

So I trailered both of them to the vet for a closed castration. When I looked at the research, the typical open castration (done in the field) had an infection rate of 25%, while closed castration (where they sew everything shut) had an infection rate of 2%. So although it was double the cost, I felt it was worth it.

Jax’s closed castration surgery – note the winch! This is quite the procedure

I had no idea they would rope, belt, pad, or position the horses in this way. And check out the breathing tube – that results in a very sore throat afterwards:

After the surgery, while both horses were under sedation, Kesia got in there to give them their first ever hoof trim, working furiously to get it done before the anaesthetic wore off. Jax and Montaro were semi-feral horses so they’d never been haltered, trimmed or handled by humans before:

The vet had a great idea to make it easier for Kesia – bless her!

After both lads were up and eating again after their surgery, I left them at the vet’s overnight, in large side-by-side stalls (where they could see and touch each other’s face) and drove home. I felt the trauma from Montaro’s procedure so acutely that I just cried and did Ho’oponopono for him all the way home. During the next week I proceeded to do both energy healing and two EFT Tapping sessions for him.

I Want my Balls Back!

Nothing worked and he continued to be angry and withdrawn from me. My formerly super-connected, responsive guy would now barely let me touch him. Fast-forward 6 months or so and he’s still angry. He’s also refused to let equine chiropractor/bodyworker Ainsley Beauchamp touch him either, whereas before his surgery, he would ask for adjustments and move into the pain as she aligned certain body parts.

He kept saying to me, “I want my balls back!” And I would explain once again that he couldn’t have them back, and that he needed to accept responsibility too, as he also chose to be castrated because he wouldn’t/couldn’t stop going through the fence. This made no impact on him, and his anger and separation continued.

So Ainsley is out at my barn, and I’ve told her that he’s still straining a lot to pee and I’m concerned that scar tissue from the surgery might be restricting things. But as he won’t let her touch him, she is just running Reiki to his groin area, with her hands underneath his belly. After about 20 minutes, she comes over to me and says, “Well, there’s only a few people I would tell this to, but… as I’m running Reiki for him,” she shows me her two hands cupped together, “I feel this weight in my hands, so I look down. And there are his balls. So I reattached them.”

I gasp. “Oh my god. That’s what he meant! He meant he wants his energetic balls back!” Montaro then also wanted me to affirm this new reality, so for the next week, every time I saw him, I would visualize his scrotum hanging there and I would say “Nice balls Taro!” or “Looking good down there!” And then, all was complete. Montaro returned to being in powerful connection with me. He requested hands-on adjustments from Ainsley again, and all his anger was gone. My super-responsive, heart-connected lad was back.

This experience makes me wonder about amputees who suffer phantom limb pain. Perhaps if they asked a Reiki or Pranic healer to reattach their energetic limb… perhaps their pain would cease?

Another Kick at the Can

Of course, when I realized that Audelina was pregnant – from one of Montaro’s fence crashers – I desperately hoped for a filly. But of course, she birthed a colt. Gaaaaaaahhhh!! Why does the universe do that?!

So here we go again. This time I was resolved to try even harder to not have to mutilate a loved one. I read, researched and talked to everyone I could find who had managed to keep stallions on the same property as mares. Surely there was some way I could manage – even in my roughshod leased facilities – to keep Juno intact and yet let him stay/live with his family… What about a horse vasectomy? And why do we deny domestic animals a sex life anyway? Is this yet another puritanical dysfunction?

The closest scientific information I could find on equine vasectomy, was for something called Section Ligation Release (SLR) – which is where they ligate (tie up or close off) the spermatic cords but leave the testicles in place. There were a few papers on the procedure tested on bulls, like this one for pinhole castration in bull calves. And then ONE paper on performing the procedure on a group of stallions. However, it looks like this procedure does not preserve the animal’s hormones and the testes eventually atrophy and die.

Still. The vets at Paton and Martin who did Jax and Montaro’s surgery are pretty advanced and innovative. Even if I had to fly a particular vet in from the States to do a horse vasectomy, I figured I could talk them into it. Especially if we filmed the surgery and they could then publish a paper about it.

And then, two things happened.

The first thing is that for 3 days in a row, I saw Juno mount Zorra – with an erect penis – and she did not like it at all. Keep in mind, Juno is 9 months old and is still nursing frequently. But, neither my barn help, nor the family that lives there had ever seen Juno mount Zorra. He only showed me.

Juno trying to mount Zo

The second thing that happened is I finally drove down to Bickford Trailers in Snohomish, WA and ordered my horse trailer! And guess what? The woman who sold me the trailer, who had been patiently answering my questions and sending me revised quotes for over a year – breeds Warmbloods. And has worked on breeding farms for over 30 years. A more down-to-earth, practical person I could not hope to meet.

“Alright Maggi,” I said, “Tell me what you think of equine vasectomy. Let’s say I want to keep my colt a stallion, but I just don’t want him to impregnate my mares. So they can still have a sex life and live together as a herd. Do you think that would work?”

Keeping a Stallion with Mares

And oh, Maggi had some very important information for me. She told me that first of all, stallions know when a mare is pregnant; that her smell changes. If the mare is not pregnant, they’re just going to keep breeding her. So it’s highly likely that my mares will come into heat every 3 weeks, all year long, and Juno will mate with them for their entire heat cycle. And whether my mares like it or not, is not really the question. Because when the estrus hormones come on, the mare doesn’t really have much choice, she kind of checks out and is driven by those hormones.

I had seen this myself, when Zorra and Montaro were together before his castration. She was exhausted. She barely ate and had lost weight. Her ankles were all banged up and swollen from him knocking them as he slid off. Montaro had lost interest and just wanted to eat, but Zorra would not let him rest and kept goading him again and again to mount her. When I removed her for while to get her to rest, she refused and just paced the fence line until I let her back in again.

Zorra mating with Montaro

In addition, Maggi figured it was almost guaranteed that my mares would become infected at some point. Because the vaginal canal is quite good at cleaning itself out after a normal breeding period, once a year. But repeated like that, at that intensity and frequency? Not gonna be good.

She also told me that if Juno is mounting Zorra with an erect penis, he can then also impregnate his mother and possibly already has. “What??!!” I said, “Even if he’s still nursing?” Oh yes. She told me they once had a 4-month-old colt that impregnated a mare. Maggi explained that stallions mount mares all the time as play. As long as their penis is not erect, it’s not a problem. She’s had stallions up to 2 years old displaying mounting behaviours, but they’re just fine as long as the penis is not erect.

And so. That was that. My ideas about vasectomy being a more humane, natural alternative galloped away. And I was now under a time crunch as well. Because yet again, since I don’t have my own place, I am constrained by my boarding facility, which has no cross-fencing. I would be okay if Juno bred Zorra, but please god, not his mother. So I phoned Paton and Martin to book Juno’s castration.

Since he is still nursing, Maggi felt it would be much less traumatic for to have an on-site open castration done. She said they now give an antibiotic injection that lasts four days and she has yet to see any colt become infected, so she wonders if the stats I found are from data gathered before this injection was available. Then Juno could be with his mother right away, and out with his herd in 24 hours.

The earliest date the vet could come out was 7 days later. So I decided to surrender to the process and whatever was meant to be. Because Juno also had never been separated from his mother, or his herd. Nor was he halter trained yet. And I now had 1 week to do both. And get him fluent enough with both that he would not be traumatized by either! Yes, I was a wee bit anxious at the prospect.

But yet again, a foundation of trust, and authentic, intimate relationship proved to be more reliable than any training technique or schedule. The very first day, Juno happily went into the paddock alone with me and stayed there being scratched, eating alfalfa, and hanging out with me for 20 minutes before he asked to rejoin his herd and mum. I immediately opened the gate when he asked.

The second day, he accepted the halter on his nose and the strap around his poll for about 40 seconds and then I removed it when he looked uncomfortable. The third day, he let me put it on and fasten it. Then the fourth day I did nothing.

The fifth day I was leading him around using the hand/voice signals I’d already taught him, along with adding a tiny bit of pressure to the halter – so he could start getting used to feeling that pressure on his head. On the sixth day, I led him out of the paddock and down the barn road a bit, and then back again. We were ready. On each of the six days I invited him to come away from Mum, sometimes with one other horse there too, into the paddock where the castration would take place. I wanted him to feel comfortable being alone in that space on the day of his castration. I wanted him to have lots of positive associations with that space (scratches, alfalfa, feed & carrots) You can see here how the surgery went and how I supported his healing with herbs:
 

 
And while we’re on the topic, here’s my list of the things I wish I’d known before the surgery!

Castration Prep List

1. Flat Nylon or Leather Halter – your colt will be manipulated and stabilized by the vet pulling on his head during the time he is tranquilized and as he is lowered to the ground as the anaesthetic takes effect. While he is down, they will also be wrapping his lead rope around his hind pastern, which will be anchored/pulling on his head (cranking his neck around) during the surgery. For these reasons, it’s best he is not wearing a rope halter with knots that will increase pressure to the tender points on his head.

2. Soft, thick Cotton Rope – as mentioned above, your colt’s lead rope will be wrapped around his hind pastern, so a thick cotton rope is most comfortable and will not abrade like nylon may.

3. Open Space – the vet requires an open space with no nearby fences, poles or other things your colt might crash into if he stumbles around going into, or coming out of the anesthetic. If they can’t perform the surgery in an open field, you can lay rubber mats or soft bedding material down in a large area in a paddock or arena – locate the soft area a minimum of 10 feet away (on all 4 sides) from any fences, poles, etc.

4. Cotton blanket or large towel – your vet will want to cover his eyes and wrap his head during the surgery. As the tranquilizer will increase his body heat, cotton is ideal for airflow.

Oh We’re Not Done Yet

And now that we’ve dealt with the practicalities, let us float into other realms, shall we? If you thought the energetic reattachment of Montaro’s balls was out there… we’s goin’ even farther!

During Juno’s castration surgery, Dr. Paton wrapped the rope from Juno’s halter around his hind pastern and then gave me the end of the rope to hold as I sat behind Juno’s withers, so I could anchor and keep the tension on the rope. He and his assistant then went to work.

As he crushed the spermatic cord with the emasculator (which looks like a massive set of pliers), I “saw” him crushing the balls. Except Juno’s balls were lying on the absorbent pad in plain sight near his hind end. I thought, “Weird.” But I was pretty distracted and busy and didn’t think anything more about it.

Until later that night, as I was getting ready for bed. Juno was fine, he was in with his herd and he didn’t hate me. Of course, when I had talked to him earlier about the surgery, I had explained that he did not have to lose his energetic balls, he could keep them – just like his Uncle Jax did.

But as I climb into bed, I start feeling really distressed about the surgery. I know from experience that the best antidote to this state is to pull out my journal and start writing. As long as things just swirl around in my head, they continue to vex me. But if I can flow them out onto paper, all those ideas, beliefs, hurts, etc. get purged, organized and very often illuminated.

I start writing, “Today was Oscar’s birthday [my eldest son] and Juno’s castration. Such a barbaric, horrific thing to do to another being…” And then I write the word Eunuch. As nausea rolls over me, I decide to surrender to whatever wants to come forth.

Well, turns out when I “saw” the vet crushing the scrotum… those were my scrotum, in another lifetime. My parents sold me to become a eunuch (male who is castrated; often to guard females), I was in a fever for days, nearly died, didn’t want to live, and so on. Whether you “believe” in past lives or not (or whether I do) is not the point. It is more useful to ask, why are these images/memories coming forth?

Whether they are merely symbolic stories cooked up by my subconscious, or recalled memories, or fragments from the collective unconscious – doesn’t matter. What matters is why? And why now? And where do these thoughts/experiences lead me? And most importantly: Where is the opportunity for healing?

(c) Jini Patel Thompson

As I allowed this experience to flow, I began to question the wheel of karma. Also known as, “we shall reap as we sow” (Galations 6:7) or “they that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).

So I was brutalized, and I have now brutalized Juno in exactly the same way. How am I ever going to get off the damn karmic wheel?

As my nausea increased, I realized I had to forgive the people who did that to me, in that lifetime, “I release you from the wheel of karma.” And then I needed to forgive myself. Not so easy. I wrote:

“I am having trouble forgiving myself. I should pay my debts. I shouldn’t get a free pass. It’s important that I balance the scale.

So then why is it that I can just forgive others? Why isn’t it important that they balance their scale?

Perhaps this is the central message of Jesus – that this balancing the wheel of karma, can take a very long time. But we can balance it another way: By forgiving all those who wronged, abused, tortured, hurt me; I can then forgive myself. And I can use this mechanism actively in this life to avoid generating any new karmic debts. Because we always hurt each other. Look what just happened with Juno. Even with the best of intentions, I have brutalized him, and Kumba. So perhaps rather than now having to live through a similar experience to balance what I’ve done, I could ask their forgiveness. And I could forgive myself.

Perhaps by consciously – with full intention – giving the ultimate (his life) Jesus created a third alternative to a previously dualistic reality; yin/yang, dark/light. The 3rd alternative is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. It is not sanctioning behaviour, saying, ‘oh it’s fine that you did that, it’s all okay now, I forgive you.’ Forgiveness involves the act of separating the behaviour from the person. Of viewing that behaviour through a wellspring of compassion and wisdom that understands that at our core, we are all pure joy/love. And for us to fragment to the place where we behave so terribly, well, we must have had some significant pain and trauma to cause that behaviour. Or, like me with Juno, we just didn’t have, or couldn’t see, a better option at that time. And we did the best we could.

Forgiveness is compassion. It’s a form of saying, ‘there, but for the grace of god, go I’ The other person may or may not be affected by my forgiveness of them. But I will. I will be set free. I will be released from the karmic wheel. From the law of sowing and reaping.”

I tried to draw this concept – this concept that forgiveness changes the dualistic nature of reality; transforms it into something completely different. How do you draw forgiveness?? These are my attempts from my journal that night – but if anyone is inspired to do better/different, I would love to see it! (just upload your photo/scan in the Comments section below)

My attempts to symbolize the love of forgiveness changing/shifting dualistic reality

I went to sleep peacefully and the next day I asked both Kumba and Juno to forgive me. And I forgave myself.

You can see in the video how Juno trusts me to massage right near his incisions a few days after the surgery. If that isn’t proof that he’s forgiven me, I don’t know what is.

I also think about his mother, Audelina, and her behaviour during the castration surgery. She had asked me to put a hay box right near the paddock fence, so she could see Juno at all times without even needing to lift or turn her head. Maggi had said we would need to sedate her too, since Juno was still nursing. But she was as calm as a tranquil pond. She did not even clang her hoof against the gate – which she usually does when she wants to come into the paddock, or is getting impatient.

Dare I suggest that she felt/knew this was the best option at this time and was anchoring both Juno and me with her peace and tranquility?

When Juno was going through the worst of the pain the day after the surgery, I was doing Pranic healing for him (streaming in blue/white light from my iceberg) and I said to him, “Oh sweetheart, I know it hurts, and it doesn’t make any sense. And you just can’t imagine why I would do such a thing to you. But do you trust me? Can you trust me that I have done this for a very good reason, that will benefit you greatly in the long-term? You won’t lose your family now, you’ll get to be together, and no harm will come to your mum or Zorra. Do you trust me?”

And I smiled ruefully as I thought to myself, ‘Oh listen to me, and how many times has the divine had the “Do you trust?” conversation with me?!’

(c) Jini Patel Thompson
Jini Patel Thompson is a natural health writer and Freedomite. She began riding at age 2 in Kenya, and got her first horse at age 8 in Alberta, and so continues a life-long journey and love affair with these amazing creatures.
Equine Vasectomy, Castration, and the Karmic Wheel

15 thoughts on “Equine Vasectomy, Castration, and the Karmic Wheel

  • May 6, 2017 at 7:35 pm
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    Whoa. So intense Jini. And so many parts to comment about. You packed it all in!
    First of all, a friend who had to have her horse castrated recently, had to have a closed castration because the colt had an undescended testicle. It was a big deal, he had to be taken to the hospital, etc (and this is also a semi-feral horse). But he did really well with the surgery, his hospital stay, etc, but he got infected about a week later and they had to go back in and open up the wound again! He’s OK now, but in effect they are leaving the wound to drain like they would have done with an open castration….. Just FYI for others too. I thought the way they operate on a horse w/the body in such an unnatural position must have some consequences…. to say the least some discomfort afterwards!

    Thanks for reminding us about the energetics of surgery and our human “intrusion”. It’s such a vital/basic/important part of life, these rituals, being aware of a closure, saying goodbye to a part of us/them and hello to our newness. And “reattaching” the body part missing was very revealing and it totally makes sense!

    I also wondered about castration vs vasectomy, and I did not think about all the issues brought up by Maggi. Yikes! I will say that THAT also makes sense, as I have seen Dakota, the 2.5 y/o mustang I adopted recently, try to mount his mom! This behavior happened about one month after his castration and I have not observed it since. He did not have an erect penis and I know he was just playing…. she was not happy about it! 🙂

    And the last part, about your journey and what you experienced, your journaling, and the awareness that came to you. I love that the forgiveness part is about forgiving ourselves. It is, and I have experienced exactly that, being able to forgive others but having a hard time forgiving myself and allowing the love in.
    I think I need to read this again and spend about a week feeling into it more! 🙂

    As always, I appreciate your honesty and clarity and how you address both physical and spiritual aspect of our/their lives. Many blessings to you!

    Reply
    • May 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm
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      Thanks for all the great comments and sharing info Vittoria! That poor horse – I can’t imagine having to go back and do that all again!! And yes, they both asked for chiropractic adjustments after the closed castration surgeries and had bodywork treatments every month for about 4 months afterwards. I’m sure Juno’s neck and hip/pelvis will need adjusting too. And yes, Maggi was truly a godsend – the information she gave me is NOT available anywhere I searched, nor in an entire book I bought about keeping stallions and mares on the same property, so I was very excited to pass that knowledge along. I just LOVE meeting these long-term, super experienced people and mining their brains for gold!

      And yeah, time to think about it all – I’ve been mulling over all the aspects for weeks and I don’t think I’m done yet. 🙂

      Reply
    • May 6, 2017 at 9:22 pm
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      And one more thing: I saw some of the pics you posted on Instagram of those Washington properties – just stunning! Did you find anything you liked? Is a move imminent?

      Reply
      • May 7, 2017 at 10:01 am
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        Ha ha ha! Yes, we found our property and we’re going to put an offer on it! I see an imminent move, but the logistics of selling our home, packing our 3 aging cats and 2 dogs and 2 horses and potentially living in a small cabin is a little daunting… But I feel it’s going to happen by fall. It’s going to be an interesting process of staying in the moment and dealing with just the next step, and not getting overwhelmed by the larger picture. When I feel into it, all I see is this incredible energy and everyone happy! It was stunning up there. I mean, STUNNING. I mean, I wanted to start singing, and I do not sing! If I can swing it, I will start a blog about this process, because moving from the city and going to the country is such a crazy but magical thing….we have a large community of students (from our yoga studio, which we plan on keeping) and they will want to know what the heck we are up to now 🙂 And potentially, we will have retreats up there…inviting people to leave their busy-ness and come merge with nature for a while….I just see pieces now, the puzzle is arranging itself…… 🙂

        Reply
        • May 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm
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          Ooooo how juicy and exciting! Be sure and post a pic or two here if your offer goes through – AND a link to your new blog if/when you get it going. That is definitely a great idea and I can feel your creative joy and expansiveness already. I love that you’re ready and open to move into it!

          Reply
  • May 7, 2017 at 8:02 am
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    Jini….I continue to be so inspired by your gift of time and knowledge that you share so graciously with all of us readers. I have no experience with castration as I have never had to go through it. I have had a couple of female dogs spayed and that brought its own issues. Your insight is something I truly relish in and appreciate so much. Like you said ….for me hearing your experiences, are like hearing a gold mine of info that is invaluable. Your willingness to listen to your horses and your own gut are what I find so attractive about you. It doesn’t matter how off the chart some things may seem ….you still find your way through.
    Forgiveness is something we have touched on before and I personally think it is one of the tuffet things to do for ourselves. The other alternative is stewing In our crap….& that just doesn’t serve anyone’s needs very well, even though I’m sure we all do it a lot. I think if we allow time to process our decisions/mistakes/situations and absorb as much as we can …then forgive/learn/grow from them that’s pretty much what this life is all about.
    I too have always found great peace comes from journaling/writing or I go out walking …to find a way through tuff situations. It has a way of sorting things out so like you said they can be purged and not all stuffed inside welling up and taking space in a negative way. Human situations that we put animals in are always going to cause human interventions in some way. I know in this blog you have touched on female animals/horses out in the wild and how hard/exhausting it must be on them. It must be a tuff life to be pursued and pregnated every year or even more often…but such is the cycle of life. I had a pair of purebred golden retrievers in my twenties and she had three litters before I had her spayed and ever time the toll on her was so immense even though she was young and in great physical shape. I would personally never breed any dogs again because I now know of how many shelter dogs there are and will always choose to adopt and bring them into my life …like my current two Gus & Mulisha.
    Just want to say one more big thanks for all your time and energy you put into sharing your knowledge. I think one of the ways to help give yourself a little forgivieness is to know how much positive difference you have made in just mine and the animals I love & have contact with, lives. I’m also sure I am not the only one!! You truly are a gift to me and the animals I love….and I want you to be aware of this and sit and absorb that for a few minutes in your day. It’s a very special thing to help humans & horses in the way you do…so please know how much you are appreciated. ✌🏼️❤️🐴

    Reply
    • May 7, 2017 at 11:54 pm
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      Awwww thank you so much Michelle. Not surprisingly, I had quite a bit of resistance to writing this post and so left it to the last minute and then of course was up half the night writing it and putting the video together. But I also felt/knew it had to be done. I have immense gratitude to horse consciousness – because my childhood horse, Dobbin, literally saved my life and was my spirit guide incarnated in horse form. Even though I didn’t frame it that way at the time because I was deeply involved in the Christian church/religion. At that time I would have said she was god’s gift to me, or, my guardian angel in horse form. Same difference 🙂

      So thank you for letting me know that by sharing my experiences and bearing witness, other animals are experiencing a positive downflow. We are so blessed to share this planet with such wise earthlings and so lucky they are here to help us.

      I agree with your puppy conclusion too. When I asked Tiah if she REALLY wanted to have a litter before I took Kumba for his vasectomy, I also explained what would happen after the puppies were born, and that we could only keep one. She communicated to me that although she would love to have the experience of being a mum, she was also highly sensitive and losing all but one of her babies was something she didn’t want to go through and didn’t need to experience in this life. Interestingly enough, she was also 4 months past the date her heat cycle was due, so perhaps she was purposely avoiding coming into heat until Kumba had his vasectomy.

      And so, as you said, even if things seem “off the chart” out there, I can only be authentic to my version of reality. I love this piece from an email a friend sent – who is a PhD, MD hardcore scientist:

      “When I was young, I realized that our perception of reality is actually very subjective and that belief has power (i.e. is energetic). Even our senses filter information in a way that fits our schemas of the world and the information it processes is indirect at best. Thus, I have a fairly large capacity of accepting “woo-woo”. If it is real for someone, then it is real (the wave has collapsed, according to quantum physics – in which the Observer has the ultimate say). Dismissing someone’s reality is not only highly presumptuous, but is a response from a fairly formalized mind that filters out more information than it uses.”

      Namaste 🙂

      Reply
  • May 7, 2017 at 9:29 am
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    Even though we’ve been talking about this stuff, it was so timely to read your post just now…

    I just had my boy piglet castrated. There is no anesthetic. The process is quick and simple but brutal. Momma pig was furious, piglet was fighting for his life, and I was nauseated to be a part of it. But I made it happen.

    So. I don’t get to tell this piglet that it’s for his own good or his enjoyment of life. He’s going to be eaten. Essentially he is being castrated so that his meat doesn’t sour with boar musk (and also so he doesn’t breed his mom and sister or fight with theoretical other boars). Where does this fall on the karma wheel?

    It’s easy enough to avoid it by not raising your own meat, or turning away further and not eating meat, believing you’re somehow free of association that way. But then you’re pointing out that we have to brutalize even our own closest friends and companions, or face the consequences for them and us of their hormonal selves in an over-crowded and human-controlled world. Yikes. We choose something quick and completely life-changing that forever alters the being, but doesn’t threaten their life.

    While I am always searching for a better way to do things, we all have to start somewhere. It is absolutely common practice to do as I had done – no freezing, one slice per ball, pop the balls out and cut the cord while the piglet screams bloody murder (he’s right). Leave the pig to recover with open wounds (they actually don’t bleed – a large mercy). Somehow the men who do this kind of thing don’t feel the agony in their own groins; I guess they killed those mirror neurons long ago. So my main question is – did I totally fail this piglet?

    I left the pig family alone for a few hours; they lay quietly in the dark together. When I went to check on them, atone for my sins, and ask for guidance, I was humbled.

    They were wary, but allowed me in. Momma pig got up to move so that I could look at the boy pig. She had been ready to destroy us to get to her pig baby, but she was now willing to let me close again even after what I had orchestrated. I sat back, hands open, and showed them my state of being – not asking for forgiveness, just “I know I betrayed you, I know I harmed you enormously, I know I can’t wrap my own heart around this, I know.” They regarded me quietly and we all descended into a peaceful, if raw, place.

    The next day, the little boy came up to me and asked for scratches. He toppled over onto his side and blissfully absorbed a tummy rub, and let me pick hay out of his wound (!!!) while I marveled at his trust (I was the one who held him helpless while he was cut). It was so humbling. I came back with diluted oil of oregano and while he nursed, he let me syringe it onto his little backside.

    Today the wound is closed, the piglet is scampering around gleefully as if nothing happened, and Momma pig is back to her trusting, affable self. I appear to be forgiven, despite not having asked to be.

    With the conversation above with Vittoria about the open/closed castration, and the misalignment resulting from putting a large animal under, a part of me wonders if we’re missing something by avoiding the brutal reality of what we’re doing – I’m not advocating for more suffering, but I want to add another dimension that is kind of messing with my mind:

    I had been beating myself up about letting someone do it old-school, without anesthetic and with the pigs in a blind panic. On all fronts it seems like a terrible thing to do, causing all that suffering when I might have arranged for it to be a quieter affair. But the piglet conveyed to me on some level that fighting for his life and feeling the pain was actually a part of the whole…I’m still sitting with this. The terrible thing happened and then it was over. He integrated it. And unlike most piglets, he hasn’t been weaned, so he was able to receive milk and comfort, oxytocin, etc, from his mother…

    I don’t know. Like I said, I can’t totally conceive of a clear path through this stuff, so I am learning to just be with the dissonance and difficulty. Otherwise, we cut ourselves off and turn away on some level to make it feel okay, when in fact it’s much larger than Okay, this willing engagement with suffering, this inescapable reality of pain and fear, this essential moment of forgiveness, this turning wheel…

    Reply
    • May 7, 2017 at 10:05 pm
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      Wow. Just beautiful. I can see you kneeling in front of them. And I also get what you’re feeling into; that of the authenticity of the unmasked pain, the plain honesty of it allowing for, or facilitating some kind of visceral processing of the trauma. In our anaesthetized world it is certainly something to consider… We have no place or value in our culture for pain. It seems like our sole mandate regarding pain is to avoid it.

      The only point of reference or comparison I have for this discussion is dental work – because I have all my dental work done with no anaesthetic – crowns, jaw surgery, tooth extractions, etc. Why?? Because I prefer it that way. When I feel into my reasons for preferring it… (1) I hate the freezing. I don’t like how it makes my whole body feel afterwards and I don’t like how it paralyzes my face for a couple of hours. I remember distinctly from my childhood just hating how my lip didn’t work and I couldn’t eat or talk properly and the itchy numbness as it gradually wore off. I feel the burden of detoxing the drugs from my body and I don’t like that either.

      I remember when Juno was coming out of the sedation after his surgery and the vet felt it was long past time he got up. But I could tell he was taking the time to slowly (at his own pace) come fully back into his body. And he also needed time to integrate all that had occurred. I sensed it was vital that he have this processing and re-integration time. So I asked the vet if he could just leave him with me (he was already late for his next appointment) and he explained how to steady him when he got up (by positioning myself so he could press his head into my torso and I could brace him with my body) and then drove off. Juno got up about 20 minutes later. He swayed and then held steady. After he took a couple steps and stayed steady enough, I left him and ran to open the gate so Mum could come in. A few more steps and then he nursed. All these pieces, and the slow pace were vital to his process.

      But back to the dental work (2) When I remove the fear from the experience (I have a technique whereby I do this) I am able to perceive “pain” simply as messages from my body. Then I dialogue with my body and explain what is going on and why. My body then understands and stops sending “pain” signals. Because what are pain signals? They are simply the body’s way of communicating: Urgent action is required! The body is protecting us from being hurt, so the pain signal gets us to take our hand out of the fire, or stop bending our ankle that way before it fractures, and so on. So during dental work, I don’t actually experience much pain at all. The body starts with the pain signal, and then I transmute it in a few seconds, then it doesn’t hurt anymore. Each time he cuts somewhere new, or maybe drills on a nerve, the pain signal fires again and within seconds I have transmuted it. So the grand total of felt pain for an hour of dental work can be as little as 30 cumulative seconds.

      (3) When the dental work is done, or I’m relaxing in the spaces between dental work. I am totally relaxed. I walk out of there feeling just fine, as opposed to feeling like shite for 2-5 hours after having anaesthetic.

      So all this now leads me to question whether animals experience pain the same way Western culture people do? What if, instead of the I’m-going-to-vomit, gut-wrenching, blind-panic pain that your average human would feel, what if the piglet was feeling something more along the lines of, “Shit!! What are you doing to me?? Why are you doing this? Yikes! This feels really bad. I don’t think this is a good idea! Let me outta here! Jesus, I’m glad that’s over!”

      I wonder what the pain experience of a tribal person being circumcised is? Because so much of ‘pain’ is actually interpretation. And of course, now my youngest is calling me to take him to bed, so I’ll have to end here and not sure if I’ve said everything I want to say, but there it is!

      Reply
      • May 9, 2017 at 11:32 am
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        I TOTALLY thought of you and your crazy dentist thing! Did you work this out over time or did it just…happen and you made sense of it?

        And this: “what if the piglet was feeling something more along the lines of, “Shit!! What are you doing to me?? Why are you doing this? Yikes! This feels really bad. I don’t think this is a good idea! Let me outta here! Jesus, I’m glad that’s over!” …Because so much of ‘pain’ is actually interpretation.” is a huge part of it all.

        We can’t know for sure, ever, what someone else experiences. But my dad described it like this to me and I’ve never forgotten it: There is primary suffering and secondary suffering. Primary suffering is “Ow! That really hurts! OWW OWW OWW!” – Secondary suffering is “OW! That hurts! Why does that hurt?! It shouldn’t be hurting!! I don’t deserve for this to hurt! What damage is being done to me?! What if I never walk again?!” etc etc. As humans, especially modern humans, we attach a story to our suffering instantly. It causes us much longer and deeper pain than the pain itself, usually. An animal appears to feel mostly primary suffering. So it hurts, and the animal wants to get away from the hurt – and when it does it cares for itself and nurses the wound, and shakes or runs or yowls or lays still to discharge the trauma. They are both better at suffering and at recovering than we seem to be, on the whole. In the wild, pain and death are a certainty, not an exception. We seem to have lost our acceptance of this.

        So for us, castration would be a) the primary pain and panic of violation – which is profound, and b) the secondary story – losing my verility/manhood, losing my reason for living, being altered forever, how could you do this, you will pay for this, I can’t bear this, I’m so ashamed, etc etc etc, which is long-lasting, reaches into past and future, and drills that pain pathway deep into our conscious and subconscious nervous system.

        All of this is a long-winded and nerdy way to say – not that animals don’t suffer as we do (of course) but that their apparent resilience and recovery from barbaric or brutal events may well be because they don’t create all that extra suffering for themselves…

        Reply
        • May 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm
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          YES, yes, and yes. Frickin brilliant. THE STORY = extra, prolonged suffering is it. I have nothing more to say!

          Not sure what you mean by this question though: “Did you work this out over time or did it just…happen and you made sense of it?”

          ??

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          • May 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm
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            I mean your own process with pain in the dentist chair. Did you think “I wonder if I can do this” and teach yourself how to engage with pain, or did you realize you were already managing pain in this way, and then came up with a description? I’m just curious if it was a conscious, learned skill that you developed. Has anyone else you know been able to do this?

          • May 10, 2017 at 5:19 pm
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            Ah gotcha. Actually, my very first foray into this was when I was just a kid – maybe 11 – and I told my mum how much I hated the freezing at the dentist. So she (thinking I was just having a filling done that day) said, “Oh well, just tell him to do it without. It shouldn’t be too bad.” So I went in with the dentist and told him I didn’t want anaesthetic, and he refused. Called in my mum to tell her about my crazy request, and she backed me up. He was livid! Told me, if I didn’t have it, I couldn’t change my mind once he started!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dentist so angry. I assured him I wouldn’t. And then he proceeded to PULL MY TOOTH. My mum and I had no idea he was pulling a tooth – we both thought he was going to drill & fill. But since he’d been so mad and told me I couldn’t ask for it later, I just stayed silent as the tears ran down my face. So, although I had NO pain transformation technique at that time, I was also kinda forced to endure what many consider to be the worst possible pain… and I survived. So I think that experience gave me a different perspective on what’s possible.

            The other thing is that my dad would beat on me from time to time as a kid, so I had practice at enduring that already. I quickly discovered that holding an attitude (energy) of, “Go ahead, you bastard, take your best shot.” resulted in WAY less pain than, “No, please, please don’t hit me!” Fear (helplessness, panic, etc.) = more pain.

            But I started actively developing my technique way back during the early days of my healing journey with Crohn’s. The intestines can go into complete spasm and most people end up on the floor curled in fetal position, screaming, many pass out from the pain. You have to go to emerg and they give you drugs to freeze everything, you go home, and all is fine… until the next episode happens.

            So these episodes caused me to explore pain. What was actually happening? Could I dialogue with the pain, or transmute it, or use breathwork, etc. I first figured out how to transform massive amounts of pain by dancing/exploring with it in this form. Because WHO wants to go to the hospital, or be completely debilitated every time that happens? I gave the technique to others in my 1st book, Listen To Your Gut.

            Then as my healing progressed, I stopped getting any attacks, but I also went through a period of martial arts training where I fought full-contact with no pads for a couple years. Used the same technique and got even more fluent with it. So I guess there is an element of practice required to gain the fluency needed for jaw surgery, for example. But for a simple filling, you could probably start with that. Especially someone like you who has already worked with breath, mind control, etc. Tons of people in Germany have their fillings done with no anaesthetic.

            Here’s one more story for you – that illustrates perfectly just how much fear and perception influence feelings of pain. By the time my daughter was 10 she pretty much had a dental phobia. The dentist and I tested this by just turning the drill on and putting it near her teeth, but not even touching anything, as she screamed in pain and tears rolled down her face, “It hurts, ow, ow, ow, it hurts!!” So I found another dentist who meditates and holds a very calm space. I explained her situation before I brought her in. At her very first appointment – with him holding this calm, gentle space – he told her, “Okay I’m just going to scrub your teeth and get them ready for the fillings. And we might not even do all the fillings today, we’ll just see how things go and how you feel.” “Okay” she croaked out, white knuckles gripping my hand. He proceeded to do all 4 fillings without her even noticing. And no anaesthetic.

            When I brought my son in, he did 2 fillings with no anaesthetic and then froze for the 3rd one. He is just well able to sense which person can endure what, also how deep the filling is, how the child is feeling as the appointment goes on, etc.

            So. I leave you with all that. I firmly believe that you – especially with your crazy ice man training – would be well able to have fillings done with no anaesthetic!

  • May 11, 2017 at 6:53 am
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    Jini…that is a truly remarkable journey with pain. I feel like you gals have really opened up some interesting perspectives about pain. I have wrote to Kesia before about doing the Frozen Bun Run on Jan 1 …something a restaurant put on each year for us crazy wakeboard/ski folks. I never considered that being uncomfortable with the cold was something I was mentally managing, but it makes so much sense. It also fascinates me that pain & being however uncomfortable can pretty much be a long the same lines and mentally we can learn/train ourselves to manage them in a way that helps us get through whatever we are being subjected to whether self inflicted or not. I will definitely be exploring this approach in all things that involve pain/discomfort.
    Keep it coming ladies your insights continue to intrigue & baffle me all at the same time.
    ✌🏼️❤️🐴

    Reply
    • May 11, 2017 at 10:46 am
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      Yes, because if you watch the Ice Man videos – he doesn’t even flinch or gasp when lowered into freezing water; something that is supposedly uncontrollable.

      Reply

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