Hounds of Night

The curtain of the night has drawn. Selene has started her nocturnal promenade with a moon mirror carried on her celestial chariot across the starry highway. Then the earth begins to bellow with great silent roars, trees to dance with leaves rustling in the wind as the chariot is racing, owls to call with their wings flapping, and the hounds howl from the end of the horizon in the glimmering light of the distant stars like lamps flickering in the desolate wilderness amid the haunting sound of Pan’s flute yonder. It’s Hecate’s Time, the Wandering Goddess of Night, appearing from the crossroads with her faithful hounds, heralding the staging of their divine mistress.

Hecate has often been associated with all things witchery, magic, and death, not in the least due to modern-day Wicca practice identified heavily with the Greek goddess, but there’s more to her. She is a protector of the wrongfully accused, a goddess of retribution against injustice and impurity, and an advocate for underdogs. Perhaps, that’s why her animal is a dog, not a cat, which betrays a common association of the latter with someone like her. (In fact, Artemis is the only goddess whose animals are a cat because she was once transformed into it when chased by a besotted man.) Her hounds all have names: Kynegetis (Leader of Dogs from the Orphic Hymn), Kyneolygmate (Howling like a dog), Kynokephalos (Dog-headed), Kyon Melaina (Black Dog), Philoskylax (Lover of Dogs), Skylakitin (Lady of the Dogs). Of all the hounds, Kyon Melnia, aka Black Dog, used to be the wife of the last Trojan King Priam named Hekabe, who threw herself into the sea after the collapse of Troy by the Greeks. Hecate took pity on the queen and transformed her into a great black dog that became her familiar. What a manifestation of divine mercy it was.


It is said that dogs and cats see the spirits of the dead, especially at night. If you have heard a dog howling, another howl, then another, and so forth, as if all of them sing in a canine polyphonic coda. When Hecate’s hounds howl, mortal dogs respond to their divine canine entity as the goddess and her entourage pass by. The hounds also bring victuals offered to Hecate to their mistress at a cemetery where she partakes her daily victuals. So if you think it’s just an ancient myth, listen carefully when your dog or any dog within your earshot howls. It’s either it sees a spirit or Hecate and her nine hounds. For me, well, I have a tabby cat named Toro, and he sees it and them but won’t participate in the chorus because he has her mistress at home.

friends or foes?

I always feel guilty about leaving Toro alone when I go to work. It would be best to add another feline companion, but the existential circumstance prevents it. Hence the flying tenants moved in. The new parakeets are Sera (Blue) and Pippi (Green), who demonstrate that the phrase “eats like a bird” should be part of the Woke movement of removal. They are also unknowingly clever and perceptive that I wonder if they are secretly enchanted humans serving their time for misdeeds till the spell is cast off.

Toro, aka the Curious Cat, also seems to know that Sera and Pippi are a joint force to be reckoned with, so to speak, but nevertheless shows undeterred attention to every move the duo takes with feline discreetness. Timid but curious, Toro wants to touch the moving feathers of parakeets whenever they come out of the cage for sauntering. But the birds show no fear but irritation against the unwanted friendship from the lonely feline. Poor Toro. I console him after Sera pecks his little nose with her dainty beak in protest against his pawed touch. However, my original purpose of making the birds friends with Toro is still valid because both Sera and Pippi do not altogether repulse Toro with wild shrieks of danger.

I hope the birds will be warm to Toro as time goes by till we move to a bigger and better place to live so that I can bring another cat to the family.

Twinkle, emerald dreaming,
Love flocks in blue and green,
Curiosity stalks love’s gathering,
Loneliness emboldens attempting
touch of love fluttering in longing.

TikTok, the Orphaned Marmoset’s Story

TikTok rescued from a miserable life courtesy of BBC.

Whether it is my animal zodiac sign of Tiger that is believed to be highly incompatible with anyone with that of monkey, let me just clarify that monkeys are my least favorite animals. However, that doesn’t mean that I should not feel strongly about the article from a recent issue of BBC Wildlife about the U.K.’s primate trade accompanied by the title photo of the baby marmoset named TikTok. Call it milk of human kindness. I cannot just leave the pages closed and forget about it as a piece of memory. The images and words still haunt me, which prompts an enduring reckoning, resulting in writing this essay.

The primate trade in the U.K. and here in the States evokes the human history of slavery. Under slavery, human lives were counted as chattel, and the families were continuously disintegrated because of volatile trade-offs. On the same token, keeping primates as pets seems no less different from colonialists or slave owners whose eyes were set upon the exotic physical attributes of the people they subordinated.

The article has also taken me to my brief research into the U.S. primate trade with the following facts: in 2012, 19 states, including California, where I live, had outright bans on private monkey ownership. The primates are considered a threat to wildlife and public safety and health because their habitats and nature are not agreeable to our environment despite our conventional knowledge of primates as the closest to our species lost in the evolution tree. Come to think of it, the idea of “Planet of Apes” has a point in reversing the directions of gaze from humans to apes, and vice versa, showing us why the two species could not cohabitate by confining them in the opposite environments.

We should not think of animals as live toys or ornaments that will satisfy our whimsical, capricious tastes. From pets to wildlife, animals are not our property but companions. I know it for sure when I feel a little heart of my cat Toro sleeping at my feet.