Learning From Water - Experiential Online Animism Class
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Learning From Water


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 of it evaporates into vapor, then it comes back down again somewhere else in the form of rain.

If you got into the water, it could cool you. It could carry you. It could also toss you or drown you. With the right equipment, you could float, skim, or speed atop it. It’s soothing, health giving, dangerous, fun, and so many things.

All these thoughts about water could cross your mind after just observing it for just a few moments. And if observed the water for the rest of your life, you’d never discover all there is to know. Perhaps that is why fishermen go to the water day after day. It’s not about the fish. It’s about the feeling of being more yourself there than anywhere else.

Some Lessons of Water

Let’s take a look at how we can use these observations to remember what we’ve forgotten.

  • Go with the flow. Water doesn’t rush. It moves without any effort of its own. It’s easy.
  • Be fluid. Water has no shape of its own. It takes on the shape of the container or environment that it’s in. It’s very adaptable.
  • Water is responsive. In the presence of wind, it becomes waves. In cold, it becomes ice. It can even become a gas. It is what it needs to be.
  • Clarity and calm go together. When water is turbulent, it’s murky. When it’s calm, it’s clear – just like our mind.
  • Persistence pays off. Water is gentle, but over time it wears down rocks! As long as we don’t give up, anything can be accomplished.
  • Everything ends. The tides come and go. Nothing lasts forever.

None of these things is a news flash. We see this all the time, but don’t tune in. How do you imagine life would change if we did?

Everything around us is a teacher. The qualities within other organisms are also within us. “As within, so without.” If we get stuck in pessimism, low self-esteem, or feeling like we’re too distracted, we can take a time out. Put on some music. Breathe. Look at our houseplants, the rain dripping in front of our windows, or our dog. Let’s tap into Nature and remember what is real. Remember who we are. It’s right in front of our faces in every magical place we look. Remember!


Laura grew up with animism. She is a co-founder of Pan Society, a licensed clinical social worker, author of Angel Whispering: How to Talk to Your Spiritual Guides and How To Be A Panist: A Guide to Creating a Modern Animist Lifestyle. She also facilitates spiritual pilgrimages. For more information about Laura Giles, see her websites at http://www.lauragiles.org

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