John Gray’s book, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, instantly connected with people. Gray made it obvious why men and women can sometimes have such a hard time connecting and understanding each other. In my world, the same thing can happen with animists and non-animists. It can feel like non-animists are from Mars, animists are from Venus.
It’s that whole antagonistic duality thing. Mars is the Roman god of war. In astrology, he’s associated with passion, anger, war, assertion, and separation. Those are all the qualities of antagonistic duality. It’s the battle between good and evil. It’s the habit of seeing things as in or out.
Animism is a spiritual path of inclusion, love, beauty, sentiments, values, and the relationship between people and the material world. These are all the attributes of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. It’s expressed in complimentary duality where light and dark, male and female, life and death are partners. They exist because of each other.
When one person is coming from an animist point of view, and the other is coming from an antagonistic duality point of view, disconnection happens.
For example, I might say something about the way the leaves look in the fall. The person I am speaking with might think, “I thought we were going to talk about spirituality.” Meanwhile I think, “I was talking about spirituality.”
Or perhaps we are talking about vegetarians vs. omnivores. I might agree that I am against animal cruelty, but still eat meat. And this confounds the other person.
It makes communication very wordy, intellectual, and distancing.
So, how can these two world co-exist happily?
If you find yourself clashing, here are some things to try.
- Acceptance – being of different minds doesn’t mean that one side is right and the other is wrong. Adopting a stance of nonjudgmental acceptance can help both sides feel valued and connected.
- Curiosity – asking questions can be a way of finding common ground. Stay open and curious. Remember light and dark are friends. Something can be learned from each other if we stay open and curious.
- Exploration – thoughts are only one way to learn. Why not explore the stories, histories, culture, festivals, music, and traditions that reflect the emotions of what is new? Music, dance, laughter, and art go places where the mind can’t. Don’t limit yourself.
- Open mindedness. When we think we already know, new information can’t get in.
- Check for inclusion. Like it or not, we all live in the antagonistic world and can get tripped up by it. When this happens, check to see if you are engaging in exclusion. If so, you may be closing the door to understanding. You may be choosing self preservation over relationship.
Has this happened to you? How did you handle it? Write us a comment and share what worked and what didn’t.