Monday, July 1, 2013

Becoming An Animist

Welcome to the Animist Blog Carnival, July 2013!

Originally, this topic was floated as "How I became an Animist". I couldn't write it that way. I am constantly in the process of 'becoming" something. The only constant in my (or anyone's) life is change.

I have always been an animist. Since animism can stand beside any religion, I know animists of every stripe, although they would not necessarily admit to it. Most people I know are animists. Its in our bones and guts. 

Next time a bit of technology malfunctions, watch the way one speaks of and to it. Listen to the way people speak of their tools, their houses, their cars; "Come on sweetheart, just a little further." "Fucking bastard, don't you crash."

Oh, but Paganaidd...that's just a way of speaking. People don't really believe that. 

Yes, but like things said in jest, these little comments are a window into the subconcious, intuitive self. Our intuition is a thing that has worked very well for our species and lately (last thousand years or so--a blink in the time of the planet) we have abandoned our intuitive selves. So perhaps the problem is that people don't believe it and thus lose their ability to clearly see that we are but a little species in a larger intricate system. The core of my own animism is understanding that I am as much a part of a natural system as my gut bacteria is part of me.

I am a big technology fan. I'm an early adopter and a geek. I love gadgets (although some just don't speak to me). I am just as likely to muse about my relationship with concrete and steel as with wood and water. This week I spent from Monday to Friday without any home Internet access...You can bet I was appealing to the spirits of communication and electricity. Configuring my new modem and router I alternately cajoled and scolded them. 

Wherever I go, I try to find the local spirits. I've been asked if I mean "Spirits" metaphorically--most people who know me, know I am very rational and not really woo at all. I suppose on one level, I do mean it as a metaphor,however on another level I perceive it as the literal truth. The spirits of place are palpable and distinct. Detroit is not Chicago, although they have many things in common. The Adirondacks and the Green Mountains are completely different ecosystems, although they are separated by less than seventy five miles.

And yet, I wasn't that aware of my own animist tendencies until recently. I mean, I knew how I felt about things, but I had that strange idea that seems rampant in our culture that religion must be old and handed down from on high to be valid. It didn't occur to me until recently that my peculiar way of thinking about things was a kind of spiritual inspiration. All those weird stories that popped into my head when I tried to get in touch with these impressions and perceptions were more important to me than the mythology of the long dead.

Since I opened myself to my own revelations, they've taken on a life of their own. One of those positive feedback loops that is so common in natural systems. The world communicates with me, so I communicate back and vice versa. I become an animist as I realize my own animism. 

Here are the views of other Animists on the theme of Becoming an Animist:

The Animist Blog Carnival HQ

Naturalistic Pantheist Musings sends us an essay about the influences that shaped their Animism

Allergic Pagan asserts, "Today I am an animist"

Therioshamanism says "I lost my religion and gained the world."

Naturebum gives us a lovely meditation and a Zen sort of poem.

Jesse Wolf Hardin Blog speaks.

Three links, one for the Earth Medicine Alliance, one for Graham Harvey, and one for the actual youtube interview.

Earth Medicine Alliance

Graham Harvey

Earth Medicine Alliance interveiws Graham Harvey, author of Animism: Respecting the Living World

John Dougill interviews Kazuhiko Kiyono,a Shinto Priest trainee Blog: Green Shinto

Heather sends us three posts

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