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
Humankind’s mental engagement with nature predates civilization and the record of history. In Britain and Europe philosophical, and specifically non-religious thought about the natural world, goes back to ancient Greece (BC) and was known as natural philosophy. This way of thinking recognised that “in living nature nothing happens that is not in connection with a whole” (Goethe 1792).
This was an animistic world-view, drawn from millennia of experience of living in relationship as an integral part of the natural world, where everything natural is animate 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; the arrival of Christianity in Britain with the mission of Augustine in 597 AD, the Norman Conquest of the 11th-century with its land-grab and creation of ruling elites, the scientific revolution of the 16th-century which transformed the views of society about nature. Then in the 17th-18th-century the age of reason which put man above and seperate to the rest of the natural world and the industrial revolution which 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. It created our ‘capitalist culture’ of today where the natural world has been 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, and despite the church and the states best attempts they never fully succeeded in wiping it out; especially in rural areas. Animism envelops every aspect of life; and will change your life.
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.
Animism 101- Course
An introductory level course in Native British Animism. (Varied prices). Animism 101 is for all those who are interested in cultivating a greater affinity with a world brimming with intelligent presences.
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.
Animism changes lives
Our YouTube community – C21st Animist
It 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.