nature Archives - Experiential Online Animism Class
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visiting the redwoods

Visiting the Redwoods

There are many reasons to go visiting the redwoods. Redwoods are special in so many ways. They only live along a 450 mile stretch of coast that goes from southern Oregon to just below Monterey county, California that get heavy winter rain, dense fog in the summer, and elevations of at least 1,000 feet. So their habitat is pretty narrow.They are tall! The tallest one on record is 380 feet tall. There is no way to capture what that looks and feels like. The tree with the most volume (they can spread out a lot) is 38,000 cubic feet.They are long lived. The oldest tree stump found has 2,200 rings, so we know that redwoods can live at least two thousand years under the right conditions.Redwoods are ancient. They have been...

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afraid of bats

Why Are We Afraid of Bats?

Bats are one of my favorite animals. They are so weird! They are flying rodents! No other mammal flies. They can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes per hour. They navigate in darkness through the use of echolocation. Some of them are giants. The largest ones have a wing span of 6 feet. Bats poop is one of the richest source of fertilizer. Some bats hibernate in the cold months and can survive being incased in ice. And yes, three species even drink blood. With all that weirdness, maybe it's sensible to be afraid of bats. So let's look at the reasons for being afraid of bats and dismantle them one by one. They Are Liminal Creatures Okay, they are flying mammals. Not exactly birds or anything like other mammals. Humans like things that...

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why do snakes get a bad rap

Why Do Snakes Get a Bad Rap?

There are some animals that get a bad rap: spiders, rats, bats, vultures, and snakes to name a few? But why? Why do snakes get a bad rap? In animism, every creature is sacred. Everyone has their part to play to create balance. So there are no "bad" creatures. Perhaps some are misunderstood. For the People of the Book, snakes are associated with Satan. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve. They lived in peace and plenty in the Garden of Eden. God said they could eat from any tree in the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. The snake persuaded Eve to disobey and eat some fruit which she then shares with Adam. From that time on, humans knew shame, hunger, evil, and pain. And the...

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what are animist guides

What Are Animist Guides?

Christians have the Ten Commandments to guide them through life. Since animism doesn't have dogma or rules, what are animist guides? What do we look to when times are uncertain? Let's explore that here. The Archetypes Archetypes are energies that are consistent from culture to culture. Although the word "warrior" might be different from place to place, every culture knows what a warrior is. Herein lies the value of the archetypes. Because these energies are universal, we have examples of them in life and in our stories. Wherever we look, we can see examples of what they look like when they are effective and what they look like when they are corrupt. This can help to guide us towards the energy that we need for a particular situation. For example, the Mother is a...

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healing protective yews

Getting Acquainted with Healing, Protective Yews

I was in Glastonbury, England when I first encountered healing, protective yews. It makes me wistful just to think about it as those majestic, ancient yews don't grow here.  As I wandered around the gardens at the Chalice Well, I suddenly became very emotional. I didn't know why. All I knew is that something (or someone) in the vicinity was putting out such loving, compassionate energy that I felt my guard go down. I felt curiously open, and I began to feel everything inside of me - not in a way that I could speak. It was deeper and went beyond words. It wasn't until my next visit there, the following year, that I realized it was the yew that was responsible.  In the same garden, in the same place, I got another...

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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...

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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...

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beauty of imperfection

Enjoying the Beauty of Imperfection

I have been spending a lot of time in Nature this season. The cool weather invites me to go into the woods and linger. And everywhere I see change and decay. It reminds me that enjoying the beauty of imperfection is a perfect way to cultivate sovereignty and authenticity. The Japanese have made this into an art form that they call wabi sabi. "Wabi" is essentially a "less is more" approach. It means "understated elegance" or "rustic simplicity." "Sabi" means "lean or withered, a flower past its bloom." This refers to the appreciation of age, wear, or scars that result in serenity and come from a life well-lived. It happens here in the forest when trees grow too close to each other and rub each other and making creaking sounds when the wind...

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falling in love in cornwall

Falling in Love in Cornwall

Tak-a-ta, tak-a-ta, tak-a-ta. The wind battered flag tapped out a rhythm into the air, inviting me to dance. Yes, I’d play. I’d seen this scene so many times, but never like this. And I needed something to put the smile back into my heart and the warmth into this cold, cold day.   From the time I landed in England, she seemed determined to take my love away. Like the disillusioned lover who deep down thinks, “If you only knew the real me, you would not love me,” Cornwall put on her naughty face. I was hungry, tired, and dehydrated, so I wasn’t in the mood. I didn’t find her misty spit amusing. But greater than my irritation was my desire to love her the way I always had. To dance the way we always had.   I once thought...

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