Animism Lives on Through our Bodies
The world is ALIVE. In our ancestral animistic spirituality, our ancestors knew this deeply. They knew that we have relationship with the wind, a sunset, the stones, plants and trees, and the entire ecosystem. It’s when we turn back towards this ancient and embodied wisdom that we find a sense of belonging that has eluded our modern experience. The more we come into relationship with our bodies and our felt sense, the more we recognize the somatic wisdom that we’re always in communication with the living world. We never stopped. We just forgot how to listen. I recently listened to a podcast that landed so deeply in my body, and I felt so relieved to hear these words spoken:
“For 98% of human history, 99.9% of our ancestors lived, breathed, and interacted with a world that they saw and felt to be animate. Imbued with lifeforce. Inhabited by and permeated with forces, with which we exist in ongoing relation. This animate vision was the water in which we swam, it was consciousness in its natural dwelling place, the normative way of seeing the world and our place in it. It wasn’t a theory, a philosophy, or an idea. It wasn’t, actually, an -ism. It was felt experience. It was on ongoing discussion that took place most often without words. It was, simply, how things were…
Animism lives on because it pervades us. It’s the default somatic way of experiencing reality. Which only fades when our relationship with our own bodies fade. When we construct thicker and thicker walls between us and moonlight. Between our bear skin and morning mists. The animate waits for us. Waits for a tingle to travel the spine in the woods as we hear a strange noise. It lives. It lives just under a dead layer of post modern skin…
Name me a culture other than this postmodern one we inhabit in the tiny sliver of 1/10th of 1% of human history that doesn’t see a world that is alive with forces infused with life teeming with vibrancy, that isn’t aware of confluences in the landscape with which it is in relation. That does not feed the spirits every single day. You can’t. because it’s simple the way it is. All across the world. For all time.”
- The Emerald Podcast, “Animism is Normative Consciousness” episode
Animism says that everything in the world is made up of living consciousness, or a unique pulsating field of energy. It says that each being on Earth is having their own experience of life, including the wind, a boulder, an ant, a flower. It helps us understand that we’re not the only ones experiencing life, and that the life of all that’s around us isn’t here just FOR us, that they’re all on their own journey.
Animism is the guiding belief in much of my work: honoring and learning from the plant spirits; recognizing how various aspects of our body communicate with us; understanding our unique energetic imprint; listening deeply to the messages of the seasons, the elements, and the other non-embodied earth spirits; engaging with ritual and ceremony to connect more deeply with these spiritual forces.
Animism directly counters materialism, the overarching mode of perception of the “over-culture" which says: all the materials on Earth are for our use; their purpose is to be bought and sold for our profit; humans are the ones with ultimate say of what’s best for the land, trees, animals, and ecosystems; the land, trees, stones, and animals are a “resource” for human consumption; when we talk about our body we’re only referring to our physical nature, if it doesn’t have a quantifiable use for us, it is disposable.
Animism flips this story on its head, calling into question every single aspect of how we live our lives. As we remember this very embodied way of perceiving the world, it will take both time and practice to realign ourselves with this innate somatic knowing. However, the more we practice thanking the water we drink, knowing that the water is a sentient being, the more we engage with mystery of life. The more we practice listening to different organs in our body we can gain incredible insight. The more we ask the land, the stones, the trees permission when we want to adjust something in our yard, the more we find belonging in a co-created experience of life.
Write a list of ways in which you perceive the world as material.
Go through the list one by one, see what happens when you apply the lens of ancestral animism to this perception.
Write down this new perspective next to it.
For example: The ants are infiltrating my kitchen! —> I’m sharing this piece of earth with many other beings with their own lives and sacred agendas, many of whom were here first. How can I live in harmony with them?
This animistic lens is what we will be remembering in The Golden Stone Wisdom School. This way of perceiving not only Life, but also our own selves and place within the web.
We practice coming back into relationship with our bodies first, because this is the primary relationship through which we perceive our innate connection with the world around us.
And then we practice attuning to our finer senses, the energetic and intuitive knowings. We begin with our own bodies, but also reach out our awareness to the other subtle realms, communications, and messages coming in from around us. We learn to listen to the plants, the water, the elements, the seasons and cycles. We remember with our bodies and our hearts. We remember together.
Applications will be closing in just a few days, at the end of the day on the 15th, and we will begin 9/20/22.
If this exploration is something your heart and body are longing for, book a 15 min call with me to ask any questions or see if it’s a good fit, or go ahead and apply now (once you complete the application we’ll have a chance to talk before you finalize your spot).