Blog - Page 3 of 15 - Experiential Online Animism Class
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Experiential Online Animism Class

Worshipping and Appeasing Nature Spirits in Animism

Whenever I see definitions of animism written by Christians or anthropologists, the meaning always includes this idea that we engage in worshipping and appeasing nature spirits. (sigh) This is what happens when outsiders define you. This doesn't come close to capturing what we really do. Nature isn't separate to the animist. When we look outside, we see our tree brothers and our cloud sisters. While we may not be able to see our tree spirit brothers or our nuckelavee spirit sisters, we know that they are there too. Sometimes the invisible world includes the spirits that inhabit a thing, but is separate from the thing, as with the tree spirit. Sometimes they are nonphysical beings, as with the nuckelavee. Either way, we acknowledge and honor them because they are a part of...

tree planting ritual

An Animist Tree Planting Ritual

Spring is well under way. Everything is greening up and coming alive. It's the perfect time for renewing life. If you're planning on doing this by adding trees to your landscape, why not include an animist tree planting ritual?  WHY DO A TREE PLANTING RITUAL? Everything in animism is symbolic. Trees symbolize:lifedeep rootscontributing to things you may not live long enough to enjoy or see the full benefit oftransformationuniongrowthnourishmentshelterwisdommedicineRather than simply planting a tree with no fanfare, you may wish to do a tree planting ritual to bring the energy of your intention into the world. You could plant a tree for peace, to commemorate your wedding, to honor Mother Earth, to mark the birth of a child, or to bless a new business venture.WHAT TREE TO PLANT?Specific trees have qualities of...

toxic positivity

Why Toxic Positivity Is Not the Animist Way

Everyone wants a good, healthy, positive life. When we look around at everyone's highlight reel on social media, it can seem like everyone has that except us. When the law of attraction says that our outside is a reflection of our inside, we can believe that our struggle comes from not being positive enough.  Perhaps this is why we see some people who say, "Don't bring that negativity around me!" Nobody wants to be around a downer.  The elephant in the room that no one talks about is that positivity can be toxic too. 24/7 high energy and excitement is not natural. It's not the animist way because nowhere in nature do things only go up. Nowhere in nature does the sun shine all the time. What goes up must come down...

crafting to create belonging

Using Crafting to Create Belonging

What would it be like to wake up in the house that your father built covered by a blanket that your grandmother made? When you go down to breakfast, you eat eggs from chickens that you feed each morning. The flowers on the table come from your garden.  There is something really grounding about all that, isn't there? It wasn't too long ago that everything in our ancestors' houses were handcrafted by someone. Most of their belongings were made by someone who actually lived in the household. This meant that everything that that surrounded them had a story of someone's life in it. In some things, you could see your story, your family's story, or your tribe's story. Amazing, isn't it? As we intentionally reconnect to our ancestors, our stories, the land, and...

go simple and deep

Go Simple and Deep

It doesn't take a scholar to understand animism. In fact, I would say that the more wordy and intellectual you get, the further away you go from understanding it. After all, it's been the spiritual path for pre-literate societies for millennia. So, if you want to have a deep knowing of animism, go simple and deep. Here's what I mean. Mindfully look at a nautilus. What do you see? Now look deeper. Now what do you see? How do you feel? Can you connect to the essence or the story of the nautilus? What about a tree ring? Do you sense its story, its path, or its essence? What about the face of a child or an elder? Everything has truth in it. Your whole life could be revealed in a dream, a raindrop,...

What No One Tells You About Hanging Out With Animists

Someone recently asked me what it's like to hang out with indigenous animists. I hadn't really thought about it until I got that question. Once it was asked, I had to admit that there are differences. Keep in mind that these are only generalities. Everyone is different. It's Quieter There are a lot of reasons for the quiet. I think we are more comfortable with silence and don't fill the need to fill it with chatter. We're good at witnessing and listening. If we are enjoying something like the stars or a fire, we know that words can sometimes distract from the experience. So we might just communicate with a smile or a gesture.  It's less self conscious If you ever want to see adults and children act a fool, go to an animist gathering....

get lost

Let Yourself Get Lost

Most mornings I walk in the woods to clear my head, connect with nature, and learn from whatever Nature, who is a great teacher, has to say that day. This grey, fall morning the leaf strewn path was hard to see. This is a natural wood with squirrels, leaf litter, thickets, a stream, moss clinging to trees, and decaying logs everywhere. So, a path is a useful thing. Even though the woods are not that big, it's easy to get turned around and get lost. For this reason, I sometimes move fallen branches so that they run parallel with the path to make the path easier to find. When a tree falls overnight, it can make the woods look very different and trick me into thinking that I've hit a dead...

what does animism mean

What Does Animism Mean?

The other day I was sitting with my dad and a child when the child asked, "What does animism mean?" I paused and my ears pricked up. I wanted to hear my dad's answer. My father is a talker. That's how he connects. He's curious and likes to trade ideas. He enjoys words, can speak many languages, and always has the right words for what he wants to say. When we were little kids, we'd play "Stump Daddy." He gave us a dictionary, and if we could find a word he didn't know, he'd give us Michigan cherries. We never earned any, but in the end he gave them to us anyway. So, he knows a bit about language. But for the first time that I can remember, he paused and thought before...


Learning From Water

A spiritual quest is often a process of remembering what we've forgotten. Trees, foxes, sharks, and moss don't forget what they are. Nature is within them in all their wild existence. They don't lose their way, impersonate other creatures (unless they are phasmids and that is their nature), hurry life, or apologize for not being good enough. They just are. If we want to remember what we've forgotten, we need to be like them. It's not complicated. Let's take a look. Learning from the Water Do you live near water? Go to the water's edge. Watch how it laps the shore. Sometimes it's soft and lazy. Sometimes it's furious and destructive. In some places it washes soil down stream. In others it deposits it. Water nurtures everything. Creatures come to drink it. Some...