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What Are Animist Guides?

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 nurturing, selfless caregiver. Children need this energy in their lives because they are born helpless and have to be taught the rules of society. Engaging with this energy can come at a cost of lost identity for the Mother. Or, if the Mother smothers the child with too much care and control, the child never grows his own wings. So every energy has a positive purpose, but may show up in a pathological way. Knowing our cultural stories gives us a roadmap to either follow or avoid.

The Wheel of Life

The wheel of life is a reflection of the seasons, elements, and all of Creation. We see all around us that as above, so below. As within, so without. Everything is related. What we do impacts our inner and outer environment. Nature follows cycles. 

When we know where we are, it’s easier to release anxiety and go with the flow. If I am in a phase of rest, it may be easier for me to stop trying so hard. If I am in a period of decline, I may find it easier to relax into it and let that energy die while trusting that what is rebirthed will be appropriate. 

When I live within the wheel of life, I may still have a 5 Year Master Plan, but maybe I revise it once a year depending upon my current circumstances. Or maybe I don’t judge my worth or success by what my outside life looks like because I value the journey, my inner world, and how connected I am more.


When I say “Nature,” I mean her creatures. We can learn a lot by watching the sunset. Maybe he teaches me to love endings or to be patient. Perhaps the Moon teaches me that I have energy cycles just like her. I get more active and excitable when it’s full and more chill when it’s new. Maybe a thunderstorm teaches me that sometimes we need to rage and destroy or that the Sun always rises again. 

Watching crows you may discover that they are very social creatures. They live in groups and often mate for life. The older offspring take care of the younger ones. And when a crow dies, a murder  of crows gather around it, then never return. Perhaps this can teach you the value of community.

Let’s say you aren’t the most socially savvy creature. What can Nature teach about that? Well, watch the monkeys. “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Monkeys are also very social creatures and imitate each other as a form of learning and social bonding. When they are hunting, one takes the lead while the others stand guard. So, imitating the qualities and behaviors of animals is a way to strengthen those qualities within yourself.

I understand that being without a formal list of rules can feel like you’re in the ocean without a rudder. Perhaps all you need to do is re-wild yourself. Humans are just as natural as other creatures and that get along, develop, love, and live without a formal set of rules. Once you become more comfortable with living in relationship with Nature, I think you will feel comfortable there too. 


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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