What Does This Mean? Definitions for the Curious.


As we get more and more questions from curious listeners about animism, it became obvious that we need some sort of data base for definitions so that we can communicate clearly. This page will continue to grow. Please use it as a starting point to keep the discussion going.

Agnostic– a person who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God or the gods. This can also be someone who believes that God’s nature is unknowable.

Altar– a focal point for ritual work. It’s usually on a table top and is generally set up with a theme that reflects the intent of the ritual and is therefore temporary.

Amocara– this is Pan Society’s version of a minister. This is someone who ministers to the needs of the community using their talents and skills. This is a divinely inspired calling. No one can make you an amocara or take it away.

Ancestor worship– this is a term coined by someone who doesn’t understand the practice of ancestor reverence. Ancestors aren’t “worshiped.” They are revered. They are still a part of life as long as they are in our memories. Ancestors can, and want to, aid us. They may sometimes need to be appeased. So prayers and offerings are made to them regularly – usually through a shrine.

Animism– the oldest extant spiritual practice that includes the belief that everything has a spirit or conscious energy. It’s found primarily in tribal cultures, but is gaining adherence in modern cultures as science catches up with spirituality.

Apparent reality– the world that you can perceive. The world that is testable by science. This is distinguished from the Otherworld that we can’t see.

Atheist– a person who doesn’t believe in God or gods.

Bellogenio– people who do not lie within the bell curve, for example homosexuals and people with mental illness. While all people are gifts to the world and are teachers, these people’s uniqueness bring rare, much needed gifts and teachings.

Cardinal directions– north, south, east, and west.

Co-creator– recognizing that thoughts create and influence things, therefore we are all creation beings. As we think, we become.

Connection – a sense of union, rapport, or being in sync with something outside yourself

Consecrate – to dedicate for a special purpose, to make sacred

Empath– a person who is sensitive to psychic energy. A clairvoyant, clairaudient, or clairsentient.

Heathen– pagans. Comes from a Welsh (?) word meaning heath dweller- so it’s a derogatory name for someone who lives in the country. In contemporary terms, it refers to someone who belongs to the Germanic Neopagan spirituality.

Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)– someone who: can detect changes in emotional energy and/or psychic energy; reacts to low level environmental changes such as sound, light, scents, textures, and activity level; reacts to chemicals in food, cleaning products, perfumes, carpets, etc. This person spends a lot of time coping with things that others find not distressing. This is most likely due to either a high heavy metal load, head trauma, or emotional trauma and is NOT a sign of advanced spirituality. HSP is not the same as being an empath. Empaths do not have generalized sensitivity. They also do not react to stimulus despite being able to sense it.

Keening – mournful singing or vocalizations done at a funeral to protect the dead from evil spirits during the transition between death and burial. The text of the songs are also referred to as “the keen.”

Macrocosm- the world, the universe, the whole

Magick– using energy to create an intended outcome. This is different from slight of hand or creating illusions.

Manifesting– another word for magick

Medicine man– this term was coined by Europeans to describe the Native American person who administered to the spiritual needs of the tribe. Each tribe has their own name for what this person is called. The role varies from tribe to tribe and may or may not include shamanism. Common roles are healer, communicator, educator, historian, herbalist, prophet, mystic, communicator between the spirit world and this world, and keeper of tribal wisdom.

Medicine Wheel– the term “Medicine wheel” is a European idea used to refer to the Native American “sacred hoop” or symbol of a circle with a cross in the center. The circle of life has no beginning and no end. Within the circle contains everything in the universe. The meanings vary from tribe to tribe because Nature changes with longitude and latitude. This symbol is a great teacher for connecting with creation and understanding oneself. This symbol is found throughout the world.  We refer to this as the Wheel of Life.

Medium– a person who is able to speak to the dead. This is a skill that all people can learn. The dead they are speaking to may or may not be well so any information gained from this communication can be as faulty as speaking to a living person.

Microcosm– a miniature representation of something larger. Often refers to humanity.

Modern animism– the revived practice of animism by Pan Society that was created to recognize that the needs of society changes as people change. A return to old ways won’t work. In order to keep from adulterating existing practices or swinging back and forth to extremes, a new animistic practice that balances western with eastern, old with new, and matriarchy with patriarchy is necessary. This form suggests to first develop sovereignty, then connection, and through that Oneness will arise.

Occult– that which is unexplained, mysterious.

Oneness– the sense or belief in the idea of all things being woven into an interdependent fabric of existence

Otherworld– refers to all realms that aren’t readily apparent through the senses by most people and isn’t yet measurable by science.

Pagan– this term originally meant anything that wasn’t Roman. It has evolved to mean anything that isn’t Christian. This group usually includes atheists, agnostics, pantheists, and polytheists. The word comes from the Latin word paganus which means “country dweller.” It has nothing to do with Satanism or evil. It’s an Earth based faith.

Panpsychism– the belief that everything has a consciousness

Pantheist– the view that God and the world are one or that it’s an expression of God’s nature. In other words, God is everything and everything is God.

Polytheist– the belief and worship of many gods

Ritual– a mindful exercise to focus energy and intention. It’s often done in the same way over and over to give it meaning and power. They can be highly detailed or spontaneous. They can be solitary or include groups.

Satanism– this is hard to define because many groups use this term with very different meanings. It’s best to contact the specific organization to see what they believe. They don’t really have a lot in common with each other. For the most part, they are not advocating evil nor do they use dark arts for manipulating outcomes. However, this is what they are most known for.

Shadow– the side of an archetype that is imbalanced, either by excess or deficiency. It helps us to adapt, but does so in a way that is not generally perceived as the most effective. It can alert us to our growth opportunities.

Shamanism– the spiritual practice of the Tungus (Russia) people that is based in animism. Practitioners are chosen at birth to care for the spiritual needs of the tribe. These needs can include healing the sick, solving problems, divination, mediating between the living and dead, helping the dead to cross over, and protecting the living from hostile spirits. This term has been used generically to apply to all indigenous groups, however, there are many differences in shamanic cultures that can lead to over generalizations and inaccuracies. It’s clearer and more respectful to call each tradition by its own name.

Sorcery– magic, energy work, or manifestation that violates someone else’s free will or sovereignty. May also involve the use of necromancy or conjuring demons or other spirits to do your bidding.

Sovereignty– the responsibility for self rule. It’s about discipline, boundaries, self care, responsibility, freedom, and the respect for others’ self rule.

Spirit Walker – someone who walks in the spirit world to help those in spirit form or those who are this side of the veil. This is not the same thing as a medium. It’s more than communication. Although there are many effective healers who work in different modalities, this does not refer to a cultivated skill. It’s passed down from Spirit and cannot be claimed or learned. It’s gifted. It’s a partnership between Spirit and the person. The healing is not done by the person, but by Spirit.

Supernatural– coming from something other than Nature, something science can’t explain

Trickster- sometimes a god, an animal, or an energy that exists to remind us to stay in touch with Spirit. It’s sometimes helpful and sometimes not. It is generally male. He is nonjudgmental, often impulsive, clever, sometimes foolish, sometimes wise, and always logical in a backward way. He moves between the worlds with ease.

Wheel of life– see medicine wheel

Wicca– a modern Pagan religious movement that was started in Britain and was introduced to the public by Gerald Gardener in 1954. Wiccans may identify as Witches or Warlocks, but one can be a Witch without being a Wiccan. Wicca is an earth based, peaceful religion. Witchcraft is a practice.

Witch– one who practices witchcraft and/or folk magick. Christians popularized the belief that Witches are evil Satanists. Satanists and Witches are two very different things with different belief systems. While Witches may practice dark arts, this is generally looked down upon by those engaging in Witchcraft because they understand the interconnectedness of life and know that what you send out comes back to you.

Witchcraft– the practice of magick or energy manipulation. This may be done by Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, atheists, or anyone.

Are My Favorite Boots Alive?

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

Have you ever thought, “Are my favorite boots alive?” Lots of people claim to be animists, but stop short of believing that things that we think of as inanimate having a soul. From this perspective, computers, socks, and brooms aren’t “living” or “conscious.”

But are they? Let me see if I can explain it.

We know that from a scientific perspective, everything is made of energy and that this energy moves and responds to thoughts. We could stop there, label that the soul, and call it a day. However, from an animist perspective, that’s not all there is to it. With things, the soul isn’t just the energy that gives a thing life. It is that things purpose. Because life without purpose isn’t a life at all.

So, what do I mean? What is the purpose of a book? It’s to give you information, entertain you, or take you to another world, isn’t it? When our books do that, we read them, right? And sometimes we read them over and over again. If we do that, they are well loved. It’s reciprocal relationship. They give us wisdom or an escape, and we give them our time and attention. The book lives its purpose and its soul is happy.

Contrast that to a dusty, dry text book (let’s say), that sits on a shelf unread. It has been sitting there since college only because it was too old to be resold. So it was placed there and forgotten. That book, we’d say, is soulless. It may have been lovingly created by the author, but it lost its soul when it became no longer useful. So, it’s now just a husk, much like our dead bodies will be when our souls leave.

Now let’s look at an old, abandoned car that’s been rusting away in someone’s back yard. Along comes a car enthusiast who sees this car’s potential. He pulls it out of the weeds, guts it, replaces all the worn out pieces with shiny new ones, makes it run again, and drives around in it. One could say that not only did this guy restore the car to usefulness, he also restored its soul.

It’s the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. Love, usefulness, and relationship makes a thing “real” or alive. All things need to be useful, loved, and to have a purpose.

Some Tips For Incorporating This Idea Into Your Animist Practice

Care for, use, and love the things you have.

Give gratitude for the things you have.

If there are things that don’t have value to you anymore, give them to someone who can use them. If they aren’t useful anymore, for example you have broken glasses in the cupboard or knives with a dull blade, either refurbish them or dispose of them.

When you create things, do so intentionally. Choose every element that goes into its creation for the purpose of enhancing that thing’s gifts. You’re energizing its soul. If it’s a thing of beauty, do your best to highlight the lovely lines, bones, or colors. If it’s weapon, make sure it’s fast and deadly. Is it something tasty to eat? Use the freshest ingredients to make sure it pops with flavor and smells wonderful.

This idea translates to people too. Find your gifts. Live your purpose. Enliven your life.

The Bantu people have a way of expressing this idea in the way that they greet each other. They greet each other with “I see you.” With these words, they come into each other’s mindful presence and connect. So see your things. Come into relationship with them. Enliven them. Let them fulfill their purpose. If you do that, you never have to wonder if your favorite boots are alive. You will know.

How to Have Amazing Past Life Dreams

incubate a dream

Do you want to have amazing past life dreams? When you ask your dreams for answers or information, we call that “incubating a dream.” It’s the process of opening yourself up to engage with the unconscious with a specific purpose. This could be for past life recall, figuring out what is blocking you, advice from Spirit on how to solve a problem, or anything at all really. You could even discover the meaning of life!

Incubating a dream is a normal practice that anyone can do that lots of native animists grew up with. We are not separate from the spirit world, nor are we “blocked” from our feminine ways of knowing. Our dreams are the bridge between our conscious and unconscious. It’s the doorway from the masculine to the feminine. If you ignore it, you lose a great guide! If you participate with your dreams, you can skyrocket your intelligence, satisfaction, happiness, and resourcefulness. It’s like having a personal secret weapon.

Now, this process is more effective if you are skilled in meditation and you know how to quiet the mind. If that’s not you, I’d suggest that you cultivate that skill first. Meditation empties the mind and creates space for information to come in. It removes the chatter so that you can see and hear that information clearly. If you can’t do that yet, your results may vary.

Before you go to bed, muse upon what it is you want to know then say something like “Show me the incident from my past that is most impacting my life now.” I say “muse” because you don’t want to think about it. It’s not a left brain process. If you could retrieve it from your conscious mind, you would have that information already. You have to open the door with your imagination.

“Imagination” doesn’t mean falseness or stories. It is not imaginary or made up, but imaginal, meaning you can see it. This is a right brained process. It’s about letting go. So let the pictures, smells, sounds, and memories seep into your brain in the form of symbols and pictures.

Be sure that your intention is clear. “Show me a past life” is not all that useful. How would you distinguish that from any other dream? Something like “Show me what I am doing to stay stuck in this job” is a great intention. It puts you in the driver’s seat because you are the one who can solve the problem. If you think it’s the economy or hiring freezes, there is nothing you can do to change that. Incubating a dream won’t give you a solution to the economy. It can tell you to buff up your resume, where to go to put yourself in contact with someone who can help you, or show you how your attitude is making the situation bad.

Hitting on the right question can sometimes erase the need to ask it. So spend time musing. Keep it fun-loving and light – especially when the situation is dark and gloomy. The darkness keeps us small and scared. Play and curiosity opens up possibilities.

I’ve had a dream journal since 1995. I looked back at it just yesterday where I incubated a dream five years ago on an issue that I still had up until recently. The dream gave me the same mind blowing answer that finally resolved it for me. If I had only listened and paid attention then, I could have moved on much sooner.

Sometimes your questions come before you’re ready for the answers. If that happens, give yourself grace. Insight and action happen when it’s time.

Everything becomes easier with practice. Think of this like wearing a path. The more you tread it, the easier it is to follow. If you’re serious about creating a relationship with your dreams, write them down. Ask questions of your unconscious regularly. When we talk to people who aren’t listening, we stop talking. So listen to the answers.

We’re physical beings with a spiritual core. Our dreams are the one way our Spirit speaks to us. When we integrate that into our being, we become the fantastic, powerful beings that we are.

Five Powerful Ways to Become Re-enchanted


If you want to really live an animist life, you need to become enchanted. It’s absolutely essential. The animist world is holistic. The observable, rational, masculine reality overlaps with the feminine mystical, emotional, intuitive world. That is a world of myth and mystery that requires magical eyes to see it and navigate within it. Without it, you will discount all the things of value that make an animist practice meaningful.

Think about it. Most of us are walking around disenchanted, disillusioned, anxious, and dis-eased, right? That’s where the average, modern life leads. Who wants that?

The animist world is not particularly safe, but it’s connected, wild, enchanting, and magical. Since we’re here, we might as well be magical and alive, right? Here are five powerful ways to become re-enchanted.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” ~Albert Einstein


Wonder is the province of children. They find magic in ants crawling across their knees, droplets of rain, or the sweetness of a lollipop. The world of a child is always fresh and new. It’s alive with possibilities rather than answers and dead ends. It’s inquisitive and peers into darkness that adults have either learned not to enter or no longer see as worthwhile. Be open. Wonder. Let yourself be awed. You will see so much in every day that delights you if your eyes see with wonder.

“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.” ~Rumi


Has anyone ever gone into a fairy wood searching for magic and found it? Probably not. The doorway to enchantment isn’t found on a map. It’s created through the world of feelings. The things that move us deeply, shatter us, and grow our hearts are the what we remember. Those feelings are the fuel that stabilize us through hard times, give us the vision to see into the Darkness, and keep us alive with hope for love, peace, and goodness. So feel. You can’t have that if you don’t.

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” ~Joseph Campbell


Are you going to die with your song still inside you? That song is part of the universal enchantment. We all create it together. It’s a chorus of magic that is available to all. If you don’t dare to bring your magic into being, it not only negatively impacts you, but all of us. Dare. Be bold. Do what you long to do. Sing loud. Dance when you’re moved to. Create. Be your wild, beautiful self.

“If we have no peace, it’s because we’ve forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~Mother Teresa


So often I hear people say that they don’t belong anywhere. Belonging is a two way street. We have to be open to connection, share ourselves, invest in others, and receive in order to belong. It’s a skin-in-the-game proposition with no guarantees that it will be reciprocated.

Life’s a risk. Nothing enchanting happens in a box where no one sees it. Magic is an exchange of energy. It requires people, creatures, interaction, and connection to happen. There was never a story that said, “Once upon a time, magic happened in the middle of the night that impacted no one. The End.” No! It’s an energy exchange that happens between connected things. So connect.

“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” ~ Stuart Chase


Everybody has extraordinary experiences that they can’t explain. These are often things we never tell anyone about for fear that we will be seen as crazy. Guess what? They are common! We all have them. And we have a choice about what to do with them. We can ignore them and not get the magic from them. We can use them, but keep them to ourselves and diminish their light. Or we can share them with others and normalize it so that the light can grow.

Do you want to live in a dull, blah world or an enchanted, magical one?

Many animist cultures have magical stories of how the world came into being, prophecies, magical beings, and enchanted interactions between creatures and realms. Those come from the imaginal (not imaginary) world, which is just as real as this one. Learn to dance in it and watch your animist connections soar.

Making Your Animist Initiation Special

animist initiation

So you want to convert to animism and are wondering how do you initiate into Pan Society. Let’s look at that.

What is Initiation?

Initiation is the releasing of your old self and the welcoming of the new. It’s often marked with ceremony, symbolism, music, dance, ceremonial garb, in the presence of witnesses, but can be a spontaneous event that comes without notice.

Some initiations take place over time and require the prospective initiate to undergo trials,  rites of passage, or education in order to cross the threshold.

Personal Initiation

You may desire a personal animist initiation. This is a pledge that you make to yourself to walk the animist path. No one can tell you what to believe or how to walk this path. It’s yours and yours alone.

You don’t need anyone to initiate you into Pan Society. You can do it in any way that feels appropriate for you. You can do it alone, with family, among friends, Spirits, the ancestors, or the gods. Your ceremony can be short, elaborate, in Nature, or in your own mind. Whatever feels meaningful to you is perfect.

Community Initiation

A community animist initiation is like a wedding or adopting a child. The initiate and the community are forming a pact to relate, support, connect, and uphold and celebrate certain traditions or beliefs. Each party often agrees to be there for the other in good times and in bad. This is often very powerful because the initiation it witnessed and supported by others.

The Elders or teachers of the community agree to sometimes formally educate the initiate into the group’s cultures and traditions. Sometimes this is informal. This can happen before or after the initiation, but generally is more beneficial to do at least some education beforehand so that the pledge has a realistic idea of what s/he is getting into and can make an informed decision.

Initiated By the Gods

Now what if you have had a spontaneous initiation by the gods? Does that count? Absolutely! If you have been called by a god and have a relationship, no one can tell you that’s not legitimate. However, if you want to belong to a human community of animists, you may wish to also have a community initiation. After all, it’s challenging to practice sovereignty and connection if you’re not connected.

There are those who feel that initiations only come through the gods. Some feel that it’s an ancestral claim. At Pan Society, we feel that it’s all related. Everything is Nature. You don’t have to believe in the gods to be a Panist. There is more than one way to dedicate your life to the animist path.


Initiation is transformative. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly because it will spiritually and emotionally bind you to a path and/or people.

The initiation is the beginning of the journey, not the end. So be sure that it’s a path you want to travel and that this is the community that you want beside you. If you feel like initiating into animism is the choice for you, you are welcome here at Pan Society.

What To Say When You Meet an Animist


I don’t go around announcing my faith to people, and most of the time I’m content to allow them to assume that I am what they are. However, recently I got into a conversation with a long time friend who asked me if I was celebrating Christmas. When I answered, I could tell that he didn’t know what to say in response. If you don’t know what to say when you meet an animist, read on! I’ll help you out. But first, let’s look at what NOT to say to your animist friends.

What NOT To Say To Your Animist Friends

Oh, you guys engage in kinky orgies, right? 

This is a stereotype. Animist run the gamut. Some are monogamous, some polyamorous. Like people in general, some are more lusty and carefree in all aspects of their lives. Some are more private. Most animists engage in fertility rituals which may or may not include sex. If you are curious about this, ask. Perhaps this is something that your friend is willing to talk about.

Do you really participate in human sacrifice?

Sacrifice is part of life. Animists generally understand and embrace this. Historically human sacrifice was practiced by animists around the world. That was followed by animal sacrifice (burnt offerings). This is still done in many places, but no one that I know of participates in human sacrifice.

So, wait. Are you a devil worshipper?

The idea of the Devil is a Christian construct that really doesn’t have a place in animism. Some cultures have a devilish figure, like the Greek god Pan. He’s associated with wine, drunkeness, Nature, music, dancing, napping, and lusty sex. That’s the closest figure that we have to Satan. All gods and creatures in animism are natural. Everything has a light and dark side. There is no battle between light and dark unless it is within yourself.

Does that mean you’re a shaman?

“Shaman” is a cultural term that only applies to the Evenki people. Spirit walkers of other traditions have different names and practices. Being an animist does not make one a shaman. Only the spirits can do that. It’s not something that you can choose nor would most people do so because living between worlds is not an easy path.

How many gods do you worship?

Not all animists are polytheistic. Some are monotheists. Some don’t worship any gods at all. Animists come in many different varieties. We probably have more differences than similarities, so there isn’t much that you can take for granted.

If you say any of these things, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world, and you probably won’t offend. These are just some of the things we hear a lot that make us go, “Huh?”

Respectful Conversation Starters

What’s animism? Please share!

Most animists are happy to share what this means to them. There are many stereotypes that we’d love to correct if given the chance. We all have great stories of personal experiences that we may be willing to share too. If you have an open mind, we may give you a window to what’s inside us. So ask!

How do you practice animism?

Because animism varies from culture to culture and person to person, you may get really fascinating answers to this question. Responses could include things about rituals, personal values, activism, social activities, family values, or anything really. Animism is holistic. It touches every aspect of our being, so naturally it can show up in every way that we move in the world.

We’re actually quite normal. We don’t bite. In fact, we blend in quite well, but we do have a different governing philosophy. If you want to know more, just ask.

Getting to Know the Crone Archetype


“Crone.” I love that word. It’s an image that I hope that I can grow into one day.

In order to share my vision of the Crone archetype, here is a story. The author is unknown.

The Wise Woman’s Stone

While walking along a mountain stream, a wise woman found a precious stone. She picked it up, put it in her pocket, and continued her way.

The next day she met a hungry travel who asked to share her food. When she opened her bag to give  him some, the man saw the precious stone. He asked the woman to give it to him, and she did without hesitation. The traveler finished his food, and they parted ways. 

The man was full of joy. The stone could provide him with enough money to live well for the rest of his life.

A few days later the wise woman was surprised to see the traveler return. “I’ve been thinking,” he said. “You have given me a really valuable stone, but I am hoping that I can give it back in return for something even more precious. Will you give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone?”

Some mainstream people see the Crone as a hag, a worthless, ugly, bitter woman whom no one loves. She’s an outcast living at the fringes of society doing her witchy things.

Through the animist lens, she is the free, independent sage who doesn’t conform. She’s done her time as a coquette. Maybe she created children, a career, or nurtured a spouse. Now she retains the juicy power of her menstrual blood and uses it for herself.

The Crone has been around the Sun many times. She’s seen it all and taken it in. It’s not easy to intimidate or frighten her. She’s seen birth, death, suffering, heartache, sex, love, grief, loss, mistakes and survived. Even big things like war and natural disaster are just natural to her. She flows with life and accept it as she finds it.

The Crone doesn’t have a certain look. She can be frail or spry, a firecracker or a hermit, or a fashionista or a fashion challenged. A Crone is true to herself and abhors superficiality and falsehood in others. If she doesn’t have intimacy, depth, and authenticity in her community, she may shun society.

Because of the Crone’s relationship with destruction, death, and decay, she is often misunderstood and feared. One way that this shows up is that the Crone is often the midwife who ushers life into the world and also out of it. The modern Crone revival often overlooks this aspect of her, showing her instead as a bad ass. She’s a bad ass, but it’s because she is not afraid of the Dark. She is the Night. This can make her creepy to some people.

The Crone as a Goddess

Some examples of the Crone as a goddess are:

Annis (Celtic) – Keeper of wisdom and old ways who is shown as a scary, old woman

Baba Yaga (Russian) – The wild old woman; the witch; and mistress of magic.

Cerridwen (Celtic) – She represents the wisdom of old age.

Grandmother Spiderwoman (Native American) – An old wise woman who gave man the sun and fire.

Libitina (Roman) – Goddess of funerals and pyres.

Nephthys (Egyptian) – A funerary goddess associated with death, magic and reincarnation.

The healthiest manifestations of Crone energy are things like magic, intuition, psychic energies, clairvoyance, and wisdom. In Shadow she is bitter, vindictive, isolated, and ostracized. Or she may use her powers and wisdom to harm.

All archetypes are accessible to all people. However, not everyone embraces every energy. Wisdom comes from a life consciously lived. Age alone doesn’t make a Crone.

How to Prepare for the Winter Solstice

new year

Winter Solstice 2020 is going to be HUGE! There is so much going on astrologically that can help guide us through the next year and beyond that we want to prepare for the Winter Solstice. Don’t let it catch you off guard.

Check this out. We have:

There’s lots of topsy turvy energy coming our way that can pave the way for big healing, new connections, and a deeper sense of sovereignty. Here are some tips for how to prepare for the Winter Solstice. Be sure to put your own individual spin on it.

Clean House

The new year is a time to clean house. I don’t mean a quick dusting and vacuuming, but a deep, all over clean. Throw out all the things that are no longer of use. Put things away. Clean into all the cracks and corners. Bring light and energy into every closet and shelf. This is a top to bottom loving care of all of your things.

You may want to paint to brighten things up and change the energy. Clean windows helps more light to come in. Fresh flowers or plants also brings life into the home. Anything dead or dingy should be moved out. Clutter is also a big no no. Anything that obstructs the free flow of movement should either be moved or thrown away.

What we bring into the new year stays all year. If you want all this amazing energy to have space to transform you and your life, (and being in the wheel of life means being willing to evolve), you have to make space.

Cleanse Your Body

Everything needs to be purified. Your physical form is where your soul rests. Make time to ritually purify your body. You may wish to don a new set of clothing especially to welcome in the new year.

Cleanse Your Mind

Meditation is a great way to cleanse your mind of busy, intrusive, or negative thoughts. You can start a meditation practice right now to empty your mind every day. Each day is a new start. Finish the thoughts from the day before. Let your worries filter into the earth. Decide with the new sun whether you want to pick them up again.

One of my goals for my life is to live at 0. I strive to put down everything at the end of the day so that I live “clean.” This is what meditation does for me. It enhances clarity so much when your lens is always clean.

Cleanse the Air

If your space is too dry from your furnace, add some moisture with a humidifier. Add a fresh essential oil to the water, like something citrusy or some lavender essential oil to perk things up. If you need more of a heavy duty banishing oil, use three of the following essential oils in equal parts: bay, pine, eucalyptus, basil, sage, lavender, vetiver, rosemary, or lemon.

Practice Gratitude

Another way to prepare for what’s coming is to give thanks for the blessings you have already received. We can miss abundance if we live in an attitude of lack. When we see blessings for what they are, we have more of them.

Be Open to Receiving

We all have a better chance of receiving what we get clear on what it is what we want and allow ourselves to receive it.

Here is a story to show you what I mean. One day a man was sitting in his house when it began to rain very hard. Seeing the water rising, the man thought, “I’m going to be stuck” so he asked the Spirits to help him. Shortly afterwards, a woman in a big truck came by and said, “This isn’t looking too good. Would you like to come with me?” The man said, “No, thanks. The Spirits are going to save me.”

When the water started entering the house, the man went to the second story window to watch and wait. A man in a boat came by and offered to take him to safety. The man said, “No thanks, the Spirits will help me.”

The water kept rising, so the man went to the roof to wait. A helicopter came by and lowered a rope for the man to climb to safety. The man waved them away saying, “It’s okay. The Spirits will save me.”

When the man drowned, the Spirits met him in the Otherworld. The man confronted them saying, “I waited for you. Why didn’t you save me?” The Spirits replied, “We sent a truck, a boat, and a helicopter.”

What you desire can’t come in if you aren’t open to receiving. Your eyes have to see the blessing. Your heart has to accept it. It doesn’t always come in the form that you want or expect. It can’t come at all if you don’t say “yes.”

Be Willing to Sacrifice

Everything worth having comes at a sacrifice. There is always an exchange of energy. In the western world, we often distill it down to money, and although that helps in the material world, the currency of the Otherworld is quite different. You may need to give up comfort, ego, being right, entitlement, your stuff, time, family, friends, loved ones, your mind, or any number of things. When something is no longer of use, it becomes baggage. We need to sacrifice it to become who are are now.

Are you feeling the weight of this new beginning now? I hope so. It’s big. I want you to be prepared for the greatness that it has to offer. Ready?

Do You Have a Healthy Relationship With Food?

relationship with food

As you know, animism is about living in relationship with everything. One thing that we westerners often don’t have a great relationship with is food. Here are some things to think about to guide you in this area.

Do You Grow, Forage for, or Hunt Your Own Food?

Where does your food come from? Do you participate in creating, acquiring, or preparing it? How much skin do you have in that game?

The closer you are to the process of food production, the more you know what it costs to feed yourself. It’s more than just dollars and cents. It takes time to grow plants. Plants and animals need care. Something has to die so that you can live. We all depend on each other for survival. When you grow your own food, gratitude for the sunshine, rain, and decomposers (for compost) flows effortlessly because you know that you’re all in this together.

When you hunt, trap, snare, or fish for food, you pay attention to the animal populations. If their numbers are down, you go hungry. So, it’s important that they have an abundant, clean habitat.

In my opinion, the closer you are to the raw food source, the more likely it is that you have an authentic relationship with it.

Where Do You Buy Your Food?

If you don’t create or procure any of your own food, where do you buy it? Does it come from boxes and bags in the freezer section, or does it look fresh plucked from the ground? The more that your food looks like it did when it was growing, crawling, swimming, or grazing, the closer your relationship to it.

Do You Prepare Your Own Food?

The more hands on your life is, the more personal and meaningful it is. It’s the difference between making a baby blanket and buying one. It’s the difference between cooking your own dinner and getting take out.

No judgment is implied here. It’s fantastic when someone else does the cooking and we get a break. And when we cook our own food, we know where it came from, whether it’s fresh and clean, and if it’s healthy.

When it’s cooked with love, I believe it’s also healthier. I have a friend who owns a restaurant. Everything he makes tastes better. I can’t say why other than he cooks with love. So maybe you want know your ingredients and cook with love.

Is Your Unconscious Getting in the Way of Your Food Choices?

Lots of us have unconscious drives around food that only make sense to us. If we have a big appetite, but feel shame when others seem to eat like birds, we may have problems with eating on the sly or binging. Or we may restrict food intake to fit in. If our parent showed us love with treats, we may have learned that eating sugar is a way to give self love or comfort. Did someone make fun of your physique? That could also cause guilt, shame, and behavioral challenges around food. There are so many things that can get in the way of conscious eating. Fortunately, there are ways to become more self aware.

Do You Have a Trauma History?

Humans need food to survive. Our bodies can tell us what we need and when we’ve had enough if we listen – as long as there is no trauma history. Trauma is a game changer. It creates a cascade effect that impacts the survivor on so many levels. It slows down the digestion so food doesn’t move through the system as fast. This can lead to constipation, feeling full, and not feeling hungry. The longer you go without eating, the harder it is to start eating normally again. Maybe you have a sensitive stomach or don’t ever get a sensation of feeling full.

After trauma, the gut also stops producing adequate melatonin (so we don’t sleep), serotonin (so our mood is dysregulated), as well as other hormones and neurotransmitters. This negatively impacts our energy level, focus, concentration, memory, mood, immune system, and distorts our hunger signals and attitudes around food! Who knew?

Do You Have a Lot of Rules Around Food?

Are there certain foods that you won’t eat? (This is a reasonable thing if you have allergies or medical reasons for the restrictions). Does the clock tell you when you can and can’t eat? If you overdo it, do you have to make up for it in the gym or by cutting back the next day? Rules are about control. When something needs to be tightly controlled, it may not be all that healthy.

Are You Obsessed With How You Look or the Number on the Scale?

Do you measure food portions, spend a lot of time in food prep, and researching recipes? Does food, measurements, weight, or how you look dominate your life? Would you skip out on an event (like a pool party or wedding) because you’re afraid that you won’t look good enough in the appropriate attire?

How’s Your Relationship With Your Body?

I keep saying “listen to your body,” but how’s your relationship with your body? Are you even in it? Can you feel it? Do you love it? If you are not embodied, how do you know what your body is saying? Having a healthy relationship with your food depends on having a healthy relationship with your body. You can’t fix that by being thin, pretty, having surgery, or eating more or less. That comes from self acceptance.

Not So Healthy? Here are Some Ideas to Change That

If you’re reading this and feeling a little uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time to change your relationship with food. Here are some tips to get started on creating a healthier attitude towards food. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments too.

  • Get your hands dirty. Get involved in cultivating, acquiring, harvesting, and preparing food. Do it with love and appreciation. You can’t know a thing that you don’t see clearly. Having a hands on relationship with food will remove a lot of distortions.
  • Don’t cook? Learn! There are many free cooking channels on Youtube. You don’t need to become a chef, but having a few functional skills and a couple signature dishes will increase your self esteem and improve your relationship with food – if you cook mindfully and with love.
  • Find out where your food is coming from. I live around a lot of farms that sell food at farmer’s markets. They offer tours (virtual now) so that people can see the living conditions of their animals and see what’s in season. It makes food personal.
  • Listen to your body. It will tell you a ton! Probably more than you ever thought possible. Maybe you don’t really want food, you want affection, mental stimulation, or to feel more comfortable with what’s going on. When you become aware of your real needs, you can meet them more effectively. And don’t feel guilty if your body says, “I want to enjoy this gelato with my friends!” Do it up.
  • Throw away the “good” and “bad” labels for food. Yes, some food is more healthy than others, but when we call things “bad,” that’s our cue to feel guilt and shame. Eating is normal! We all need to eat. Let’s not make it a bad thing.
  • Chill out on the size/weight shame. Love yourself at any size. Everybody isn’t born to be skinny. People come in all shapes and sizes. It’s okay.
  • If you have a trauma history, consider seeing a trauma therapist. I say a “trauma therapist” because counselors who are not trained in trauma may not be skilled enough to help you. It’s a complex issue that can’t be talked away or prayed away.
  • Do you need therapy for issues other than trauma? There is no shame in that. We all need support and to upgrade our skills. A good mentor, therapist, counselor, or friend can make all the difference in life.
  • Guidelines around food are good. Rules may be a bit overbearing if they are running your life. One day we will all leave this earth. Nobody is going to care about how well you did on your diet or how much you weighed. If you live well and love well, they will remember that.

When it comes down to it, how you do anything is how you do everything. If you approach food mindfully, you don’t need a lot of rules or experts to tell you what to do. Trust your own judgment. Engage with your food. Listen to what your body says about that engagement, and follow your gut. You’ll do just fine.

Ethics for Spiritual Healers

spiritual healers

If you engage in some form of spiritual healing- either as the practitioner or client- you have to consider ethics. Ethics? For spiritual healers? Yes, ethics always play a role in every aspect of life. All too often, this gets overlooked because many practitioners are not regulated and have no body overseeing their work. I believe that this is how it should be, however, it can lead to ignorance and abuses.

Before we can talk about where to draw the line, let’s first define “spiritual healing.” A long time ago, the Christian church divided people into mind, body, emotions, and spirit because it was believed that only God had the power to heal. By separating the body from the spirit, doctors had authority to heal the body.

When psychology came along about a hundred years ago, we began to look at the mind as a separate specialty. The East never made this split and so they have enjoyed thousands of years of holistic living.

So, when we speak of “spiritual healing,” we are generally talking about Eastern, pagan, or animistic healing methods that may be holistic in nature. We are also talking about healing modalities that are targeted to treat symptoms that either appear to have a metaphysical or supernatural cause or manifestation, or don’t respond to western approaches.

If you are a spiritual healer, here are some ethics you may wish to embrace to form the boundaries of your practice.

Respect Sovereignty

This means that everyone can decide for themselves whether or not they want to heal and what form that healing will take. Some people don’t want to heal. It may be more effort, time, money, or energy than they want to spend. Maybe they think it’s more fun to live an unhealthy lifestyle than to make changes. There could be some who derive gains from not healing that they don’t want to give up. Whatever the situation, everyone has the right to decide. We even have the right to make ineffective, damaging, wrong choices.

Just because you have the ability to help doesn’t mean you can jump in without permission. It doesn’t matter how dire the situation, you must have permission. This doesn’t mean your Higher Self asking their Higher Self. The absence of a yes is a no.

Do No Harm

Healers are generally motivated by the desire to help. However, there are some ways that we may harm such as:

  • promising results or miracles
  • using scare tactics to get someone to use our services
  • advising people against allopathic or other forms of treatment for their issues
  • treating people as if they are stupid and the healer is the expert
  • treating people as if they are objects or ATMS rather than human beings with feelings

Respect Privacy

All clients have a right to have their personal and medical history held in confidence. This creates an environment of trust where healing can happen. It’s common for spiritual healers to be a part of the community, so they know people who know each other. This makes it even more important that what happens in the treatment room stay in the treatment room. It’s never okay to share client stories with anyone.

Respect Diversity

People are different in many ways. We don’t have the same ethnicity, culture, spiritual beliefs, gender, political beliefs, socioeconomic background, physical capabilities, or sexual orientation. Age and life experiences (military, rape survivor, immigrant) also impact who we are. When we see each other for who we are, we can have meaningful relationships and make better treatment choices.

Stay Within Your Scope of Practice

When someone comes to you for healing, it’s professional to disclose what you are trained to do and to stay within your limitations. If you are a student, say you are a student. Don’t embellish. If someone has something that you can’t deal with, it’s imperative to refer them to someone who can help them.

Be the Best Healer You Can Be

We model health through our behavior. When we engage in self care, healthy relationships, and have healthy lifestyles, our clients learn from us. When we continue our education to learn more or go deeper, we become more effective. We owe it to ourselves and our clients to keep growing. Things change. New discoveries are made all the time. We need to keep current.

Serve Those Who Cannot Afford to Pay You

Every helping profession is about helping. Some folk healers do their work as part of their own personal ministry and service to the community. Some do it as a vocation. However, all helping professions value helping those who cannot help themselves. This doesn’t mean we have to work solely for donations or free. It suggests that we donate some services to those who wouldn’t be able to otherwise access what we have to offer.

Long ago folk healers were the only healers that communities had. We still have a place in society today. Since we don’t have a professional body to hold us accountable, we have to hold ourselves accountable. What other things do you find important?

Animist Wheel of the Year Cheat Sheet

wheel of the year cheat sheet

If you’re new to animism and need a little help understanding the wheel of the year, don’t fret. This animist wheel of the year cheat sheet will help things to click so that you can get into the groove of the seasons. You will be coming up with your own ideas that suit your geography in no time.

Keep in mind that the holy days are approximate and may change slightly from year to year. The Moon phase dates vary widely from year to year. The Sun enters each sign on the same days, but the Moon can arrive at any time within that 29 day span. For example, the Sun enters Scorpio on October 23 and leaves November 21. In 2020, the new Moon doesn’t get there until November 15. So use this as a guideline and check a lunar calendar to find out the actual dates and time.

Feel free to observe some dates and not others. Just do what calls to you.


Full Moon in Leo – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of recognition, being seen, and drama.

New Moon in Aquarius – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of detachment, understanding, and experiencing freedom.


Promise of Spring Feb 1- the Sun began its return to domination back at the Winter Solstice, but now we begin to really notice that Spring is not far away. This is a quiet time for purification, fertility, creating things, protection, and prosperity.

Full Moon in Virgo – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of humility, perfectionism, analysis or service.

New Moon in Pisces – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of spirituality, emotions, intuition, dreams, duality, and Shadow energy.


springFull Moon in Libra – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of balance, impartiality, indecision and relationships.

New Moon in Aries – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of newness, action, assertiveness, leadership, and courage.

Spring Equinox  March 20– this is the balance of light and dark, when the Day and Night are equal length. It’s time to contemplate complimentary duality and sink into opposites and paradoxes.


Full Moon in Scorpio – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of passion, transformation, death, sex, extremes, and control.

New Moon in Taurus – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of beauty, material possessions, stubbornness, steadiness, and practicality.


May Day May 1– it’s time for the first harvest. Early spring crops like strawberries are beginning to ripen in abundance. It’s time to celebrate fertility, life, and connect with the ancestors with bonfires, sex, and rituals.

Full Moon in Sagittarius – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of religion, devotion, ideals, adventure, travel, and expansion.

New Moon in Gemini Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of communication, socializing, change, and curiosity.


summerFull Moon in Capricorn – Tired, wired, stressed energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of ambition, work, determination, pragmatism, goals, and self-control.

New Moon in Cancer – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of feelings, the mother, instinct, nurturing, empathy, connections.

Summer Solstice June 22- Today is the longest day of light. The Sun is at its strongest. From this day onward, it will lose a little power to the Darkness. The Sun is the focus. You can include anything that has to do with light, like candles, bonfire, or sunflowers.


Full Moon in Aquarius – Tired, wired, stressed energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of detachment, understanding, and experiencing freedom.

New Moon in Leo – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of recognition, being seen, and drama.


Feast of Transformation Aug 1 Today is a harvest day that centers around the Sun and grains that will get us through the winter. Transformation is about sacrifices, or endings so that new things can begin. Our crops die so that we can live. We celebrate with fire and play.

Full Moon in Pisces- Tired, wired, stressed energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of spirituality, emotions, intuition, dreams, duality, and Shadow energy.

New Moon in Virgo Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of humility, perfectionism, analysis or service.


autumnFull Moon in Aries – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of newness, action, assertiveness, leadership, and courage.

New Moon in Libra Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of balance, impartiality, indecision and relationships.

Fall Equinox Sept 22 this is the balance of light and dark, when the Day and Night are equal length. It’s time to contemplate complimentary duality and sink into opposites and paradoxes.


Full Moon in Taurus – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of beauty, material possessions, stubbornness, steadiness, and practicality.

New Moon in Scorpio – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of passion, transformation, death, sex, extremes, and control.


Ancestor Day Nov 1 The ancestors are important every day, but today is the day when it’s easiest to connect with them. So we honor them with visits to the graves, cleaning the graves, bringing them food, telling their stories, and talking to them.

Full Moon in Gemini – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of communication, socializing, change, and curiosity.

New Moon in Sagittarius – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of religion, devotion, ideals, adventure, travel, and expansion.


winterFull Moon in Cancer – Tired, wired, stress energy. Time to finish things up, let them go, move them out in the areas of feelings, the mother, instinct, nurturing, empathy, connections.

New Moon in Capricorn – Introspective time when your wants and needs are in alignment. Time to begin again in the areas of ambition, work, determination, pragmatism, goals, and self-control.

Winter Solstice Dec 21 Death arrived on Ancestor Day. With it came the cold. Now we’re deep at rest on the longest night of the year. The Sun regains its strength tomorrow and will slowly return and bring life back with it. Tonight we celebrate the Sun’s return with prayers, a bonfire, a feast, songs, welcome the sunrise, or contemplate the darkness.

This is just a brief summary of what’s happening as the days go by. Check out our youtube channel, this blog, and our podcast for more ideas to help you make the year more personal and meaningful.

You can also watch the Moon each night to help you stay in sync with the wheel of life. The Moon changes so fast and looks different every day. It can help you appreciate each day and the idea of transience.