Thursday, December 30, 2010

Warriors - StarClan

¡Spoiler warning! - ¡Spoiler warning! - ¡Spoiler warning!

This blog post contains spoilers. If you are planning to read but haven't read all six of the Warriors books (ending with The Darkest Hour) you might want to skip reading this post! Consider yourself warned...

StarClan, in the Warriors book series, is the Clan of the warrior ancestors who forever live in spirit form. According to Clan belief, when a warrior cat dies, they join StarClan and forever shine as a new star in Silverpelt (the night sky). StarClan does not interfere with the lives of the Clans, but they do watch over the cats and occasionally provide visions and prophecies.

StarClan provides a structure for life in the forest through teachings, sacred places, and ceremony. Fourtrees is the sacred place where the four clans of the forest gather in peace to commune with one another at each full moon. If there is violence at the Gathering, StarClan will signal their displeasure by sending a cloud to cover the moon. Medicine cats regularly convene with StarClan at another sacred place, the Moonstone. This is also the place where a new Clan leader goes to share dreams with StarClan and receive their nine lives.

Interaction between StarClan and living cats is typically limited to Clan leaders and medicine cats. Leaders regularly converse with StarClan by seeing visions and talking with the ancestors both in sleep and while awake. The medicine cat also receives visions. Together, the leader and medicine cat workout StarClan's rather cryptic prophecies. StarClan also quietly interacts with the Clan during all of the traditional Clan ceremonies, which involve the Clan leader calling out to StarClan to be witness to the event.

In first book, Into The Wild, ThunderClan's medicine cat, Spottedleaf dies and joins StarClan. She goes on to regularly visit with Fireheart throughout the books. As the story progresses, many other cats that have become close to Fireheart eventually go on to join StarClan, including Yellowfang and Bluestar.

Near the beginning of The Darkest Hour, Cinderpelt, the ThunderClan medicine cat, leads Fireheart to the Moonstone so he can share dreams with StarClan and receive his nine lives. The description of this ceremony stirs intense emotion for me. There is something so absolutely delightful with the picture of being reunited with those who have died before. This picture gets me every time:
After a time that might have lasted a hundred seasons or a single heartbeat, all the cats of StarClan had come down to earth. All around Fireheart the hollow of Fourtrees was lined with their shimmering bodies and blazing eyes. Fireheart crouched in the center, surrounded on all sides. He began to realize that some of the starry cats, those sitting closest to him, were achingly familiar.

Bluestar! Joy pierced him like a thorn in his heart. And Yellowfang! Then he drew a familiar, sweet scent, and turned his head to see the tortoiseshell fur and gentle face that he had dreamed of so often.

Spottedleaf - oh, Spottedleaf! His beloved medicine cat had come back to him. Fireheart wanted to spring to his paws and yowl his joy to the whole forest, but awe kept him silent, still crouching (Warriors: The Darkest Hour by Erin Hunter, Avon Books, 2004. pgs 46-47).
As the event plays out, each of his friends bless Fireheart with one of his new nine lives.

There are many appealing aspects of StarClan. I long for that time - to be reunited and receive the blessings from family and friends that have gone before me. I take comfort in picturing Max getting as much yardtime and snuggles as his heart can hold with his new friends in StarClan. It's also comforting thinking of being watched over and guided in my life by beings with a much greater perspective about life than I have. As I have posted prior, I do believe Max is in heaven convening with God and his groupies. This story has given me a fresh way of imagining heaven for my kitty friends.

Thank you StarClan for keeping my Max in good company and I look forward to reuniting with him when the time comes.

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