The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On

The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On

by Ptolemy Tompkins
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The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On by Ptolemy Tompkins

A journey through 20,000 years of history and myth in search of the answer to a single question: Do animals have souls?
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307451330
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/07/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 531,446
Product dimensions: 5.21(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

PTOLEMY TOMPKINS is the author of four critically praised books, including Paradise Fever: Growing Up in the Shadow of the New Age and The Beaten Path: Field Notes on Getting Wise in a Wisdom-Crazy World. His writings have appeared in three editions of The Best Spiritual Writing, as well as in Harper's and the New York Times Magazine. He currently writes a monthly column, “The Winged Life,” for and is a regular contributor to Guideposts and Angels on Earth.

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The Divine Life of Animals: One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
The-Wanderer More than 1 year ago
I had never truly considered the possibility of an afterlife for animals until I lost my beloved dog. Molly's sudden death inevitably sparked the question of animal spirituality. Being a pretty spiritual person, I [quite pathetically] tried to persuade myself that pets do experience an afterlife - more for my own comfort than an interest in the whereabouts of my deceased dog's soul (assuming dogs have souls), but my attempt was hardly convincing. I felt that this idea of animal afterlife was merely wishful thinking. I dared not look to a religious perspective on the issue, for I feared to find my fear confirmed: that animals do not have souls, nor an afterlife. Time passed, and I began to grieve less and less over Molly's death. When I felt that I was in a normal, stable state of mind again, I decided to research animal spirituality. I chanced upon The Divine Life of Animals. Judging the book by its cover, which featured a dog sitting peacefully in the clouds, I expected the book to be a sort of Chicken Soup for the Soul type book; I doubted that the book would help answer my question of animal afterlife, but I figured that it might be nice to read something "inspirational." The book is divided into several sections, and the first half or so of the book could, I'll admit, fall into the Chicken Soup category. However, the latter chapters provide a thoughtful and shrewd perspective of the animal soul and afterlife. Yet Tompkins doesn't fantasize some "Rainbow Bridge" fantasy of pet heaven - instead, he draws from a spectrum of religions. Furthermore, this book does not fall short of exploring mankind's role as an animal and spiritual being. Tompkins' analysis is interesting and engaging, which I had not expected. I highly recommend this book to all animal lovers. I particularly recommend it to those who are religious/spiritual; however, one does not have to be religious/spiritual to find this book interesting.
LADYBUGMB More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone who has ever been owned by a pet. (No typo)
ldolensky More than 1 year ago
Tompkins is a master of creative nonfiction soul-touch and this is his best work yet. Like an angel unaware, many of you may not realize you've possibly been familiar with his moving/uplifting work published over the years at Guideposts, Angels On Earth,,etc. His latest entertaining and thought provoking stories have arrived just in time to be my personal "Father's Day" favorite pick for gift giving. In fact, I confess it's also at the top of my Christmas list for those relatives who prefer animals to people. For years I've given Cynthia Rylant's "Dog Heaven" picture book to friends/children who have lost pets, but now consider this broader, pet encompassing "Hope" collection by Tompkins to be my ultimate grief response choice for the whole family/relating to the memory of any kind of pet.
Anonymous 9 months ago
It wasteful...lost money because of it..I tell u do not buy it!!!
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