What is Animism?
If we could sum up Animism in one sentence we would describe it as being about relationships;
The relationship with all that is – in A Living Animate World
“in living nature nothing happens that is not in connection with a whole” (Goethe 1792).
This way of thinking is known as ‘natural philosophy’ and can be traced back in records to ancient Greece (BC). Humankind’s mental engagement with nature predates modern civilization and recorded history. It recognises that we are all part of the whole and that the actions of one part affect all the other parts.
This is an animistic world-vie, drawn from millennia of experience of living in relationship as an integral part of the natural world. This is a world where everything natural is animate, infused with the life-force and connected. Our ancestors were animists; this can be traced back through archaeological finds to at least the mesolithic period.
There was, however, a series of very unfortunate events;
- Christianity arrived in Britain with the mission of Augustine in 597 AD.
- In the 11th-century the Norman Conquest with its land-grab and creation of ruling elites happened.
- The scientific revolution of the 16th-century transformed the views of society about nature, creating a ‘mechanistic’ world.
- Then in the 17th-18th-century the age of reason put man above, and seperate to the rest of the natural world.
- And finally the industrial revolution herded vast portions of the population into towns and created a physical seperation from the natural world.
This created a whole way of life that is based on very different relationships and interactions with the natural world. The result of which is the ‘capitalist culture’ of today. Where the natural world is viewed as a ‘machine’, a resource for us to take and exploit. Between them the church and the state, through colonialisation, have attempted to wipe out animistic culture. Not only in Britain and Europe but world-wide.
Animism is extremely complex and deep and provides a real meaning to life. Despite the church and the states best attempts they never fully succeeded in wiping it out; especially in rural areas.
Animists have for millennia had the intuitive knowing of nature as a great soul or psyche; as alive, filled with purpose, meaning and mysterious creativity. The world is a vast animate (and hence ‘sentient’) being. This way of thinking envelops every aspect of life; and it will change your life.
Animism 101 is for all those who are interested in cultivating a greater affinity with a world brimming with intelligent presences.
Animism changes lives
The way in which the relationship within animism expresses itself changes according to ‘the land on which you stand’, this creates different practices dependent upon where you are. This is why we focus on the animism that is indigenous to the mainland of Britain.
Join us on our YouTube Channel – C21st Animist
C21st Animist is about how we relate to, react and interact with a living animate world around us in symbiosis. The relationship starts with the land beneath your feet and its energies which are unique to each individual place. This helps to form the culture of an area, the culture of the people who inhabit that area and their world-view.