Creating Your Fire Altar

fire altar

For some, particularly ladies, the favorite way for staying in tune with Nature is through the Moon. Others tune in primarily on the eight holy days. There is another really effective way to deepen the connection. That is through the elements.

Summer is fire season. If it appeals to you, you may wish to have a seasonal altar to the elements. Read on and I will share ideas on how to create a fire altar.

Not so long ago, life revolved around the hearth. The hearth gave warmth, protection, and food to the household. Medicines were prepared here and illnesses tended to. The hearth was the heart of the home, and fire was the center of the hearth.

Many cultures had a goddess (or sometimes even a god) of the hearth and rituals associated with tending the fire. For example, ancient Rome had an eternal flame dedicated to Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Should the fire go out, it was a sign that Vesta had withdrawn her favor and the city would suffer. The Vestal Virgins who tended the flame were in essence caring for the welfare of the city.

And each woman who tended the hearth did the same for her family.

Today most of us don’t cook with open flames or heat our homes in this way. There is no hearth, so our connection to sacred Fire may be limited to the sun, candles, or a bonfire on holy days. To remedy this, you may wish to set up a Fire altar for the duration of the season.

I can give you some ideas how to do this, but it’s going to be far more useful to personalize it to work with your ideas, your environment, and your culture.

Where to Set Up Your Fire Altar

The obvious choice is on the mantle of your fireplace or perhaps in front of it if your fireplace is blocked off. If you don’t have a fireplace, you could use any tabletop or flat surface.

The south wall is another appropriate location, or somewhere where the natural sunlight hits it.

You could even do it outdoors so that it’s closer to the elements. If you like big displays, this could give you more space to spread out. My suggestion is to place it somewhere that you will interact with it daily.

What to Place on Your Fire Altar

Here are some ideas for what you can place on your fire altar.

Colors: red, orange, yellow, gold

Plants/herbs: sunflowers, marigolds, basil, saffron, cinnamon, pepper, primrose, rosemary, hyssop, garlic, rue, cumin, coriander.

Crystals: sunstone, fire agate, ruby, red jasper, garnet, rhodochrosite

Other Articles: candles, electric candles, cauldron (to hold the flames), incense, aromatic plants or wood to burn, dragons, salamanders, a phoenix, bee

Gods/goddesses: Apollo, Hephaestus, Helios, Ra, Sekhmet, Oya, Huilu, Zhurong, Agni, Jowangsin, Brigid, Lalahon, Alaz, En, Eate, Sethlans, Logi, Hestia, Vesta, Chantico, Gedi, Pele.

How to Tend Your Fire Altar

This is another item of personal preference. You may wish to do a daily meditation here. You could contemplate how Fire energy is showing up in your life, give gratitude to Fire, or do some fire gazing to see what you can see. You could also speak to the Fire.

Doing a longer “meeting” with Fire on the full moon may also fit into your practice.

Getting to know the elements is a way to feel more connected to the world around you. The elements are the building blocks of everything else. When you have a relationship with them, your sense of belonging and intuitive knowing increases.

Notes:

  • The old school view is that a fire altar must have a perpetual flame.
  • Having a god or goddess in your life is a responsibility. You can’t neglect them. You have to get to know them and serve them in the way that they want to be served. So, if you put one on your altar, make sure that you can devote the necessary time to the relationship.

Easy Mead Recipe for Beginners

easy mead

If you’re a beekeeper, you know that when the pollen flows, honey is not far behind. What can you do with all of that golden honey? Make mead, of course! Here’s an easy mead recipe for beginners.

Now, this isn’t a connoisseur’s version. This is the backyard, home brew version. This is designed to get your feet wet before you decide to invest in a lot of equipment. Still, I think you will find it easy, cheap, and satisfying. And maybe you will decide that this technique is all that you need!

Equipment You Will Need:

a 1 gallon glass carboy (optional)
pin
cutting board
knife
funnel
measuring cups
rubber band

1 gallon of room temperature spring water
3 pounds of raw honey
1 bag of big balloons
1 package of Fleishmann’s Yeast
1 box of raisins
1 orange, sliced into eight pieces

I’d use only the ingredients listed here the first time you try it. However, if you want to get fancy later, you can add some vanilla, mint, lemon balm, rosehips, lavender, hibiscus, rosemary, fruit, or replace some of the water with fruit juice. Be sure to use actually fruit juice though, not juice from concentrate. If you want to add clove for a little wang, restrict it to one or two – not more.

Absolutely do not use tap water or “purified” water. You do not want any chemicals or chlorine in your brew.

Make sure that the water is room temperature. If it’s too hot or too cold, the yeast won’t react. “Room temperature” is 65- 75 degrees F.

Clean Everything

Bacteria is the enemy of mead. You want to make sure that the everything is clean. You can boil some of these items or run them through a full dishwasher cycle. Another option is to use a sanitizer made especially for home fermentation. C-Brite or Iodophore are examples.

DON’T use bleach to sanitize. It can leave a bad taste and smell in your finished product.

DON’T boil your honey. Some recipes call for pasteurized honey. You’ll ruin the flavor if you boil your honey.

Make Your Mead

Pour about half of the water into the sterilized glass carboy or a clean container (if you’re brewing using the jug that the water came in). Add the honey, yeast, raisins and orange slices. Shake for about five minutes to mix and aerate.

Uncap the jug. Poke a pinhole in the balloon. Place the balloon over the mouth of the jug. Secure the balloon with the rubber band so it doesn’t pop off when the balloon begins to expand with gas. Check the balloon’s elasticity to be sure that it retains its integrity. If it seem to be degrading, replace it with a new one.

Now, place the jug in a cool, dark place and sit back and wait. In the next day or two, you should see the balloon inflate. This means that fermentation is happening. If the balloon looks like it might pop, it needs another hole. The goal is for the gas to escape without bursting the balloon.

Within two to three weeks, the bulk of the fermentation will be done and the balloon will be limp. Then the brew will go from cloudy to clear. After about two months, your mead is ready to drink! If you like it sweeter, just add honey to taste to the final product. If you prefer a drier mead, you can replace the Fleishmann’s Yeast with champagne yeast that’s available at a home brew store.

Mead has been around for centuries. It’s been called the nectar of the gods, and is found all over the world. If it’s this simple to make, why not try some for yourself? Or share your favorite recipe below.

Etiquette for Sharing Sacred Space | Modern Animism

sacred space

As more and more newcomers delve into animism, it’s important to have a conversation about etiquette for sharing sacred space. By “sacred space” I mean formal and informal places of worship, rituals, and liminal space where the apparent world and the Otherworld meet. The latter could just be a meditation or moon circle. If you’re engaging with Spirit in the presence of others, it’s shared sacred space.

As with everything in Pan Society, this isn’t a strict do’s and don’ts list. There is no dogma. Things vary from facilitator to facilitator. It’s more of a sharing of cultural norms so that newcomers know what to expect.

Don’t Assume It’s an Open Invitation

Some events are open to anyone. Others are not. There may be rules about gender, age, spiritual affiliation, health, group size, male to female ratio, intoxication, mental health, menstruation status, or who knows what else. If you’re not used to this, it may seem discriminatory. It’s not.

Everyone is of equal value, but everyone is not appropriate for every event. The facilitator’s job is to make sure that sacred space is a safe, appropriate place for all attendees. Sometimes this means limiting who can attend. So don’t bring your children, best friend, spouse, pet, or news anchor (ask me why that’s listed here!) without asking the host first.

Be Prepared

If you are knowingly coming to sacred space, be prepared to be in that space. This means be mentally grounded and freshly bathed (purified). Leave your work or relationship stress outside the space. Bring an open mind and open heart. When a group of people come together, all those energies influence the group. If everyone comes ready to share space and participate fully, this benefits everyone.

Turn off your cell phone. Or better yet, don’t even bring it into the space.

If you think you might have to use the bathroom, do it ahead of time.

If you’re supposed to bring something, do your part. You may be asked to bring food. You could be asked to bring something for the altar. You won’t be asked to bring a hostess gift, but this is customary to bring a gift, food, or donation.

If you are asked to donate, give something. There may be costs for the space, materials, or food. This can only be sustained if everyone gives something. The rule of thumb is to contribute the value of what you receive. If you don’t think it’s worth anything to you, don’t come. Leave the space for someone who can benefit.

Of course, if you truly have nothing to contribute, it’s okay. Your presence is welcome. Just know that community events are made possible by the donations, volunteers, and participation of the community itself. If no one does those things, there is no community and no event. Don’t wait for someone else to do it if you can.

Dress is usually “come as you are.” So make yourself comfortable. Ritual clothing is generally optional. If the event is sky clad, you’re generally told ahead of time repeatedly so that there is no mistake.

Be On Time

Some spaces and events are really relaxed, but if there is a ritual, be on time. Everything is all about energy. When you go in and out of sacred space it really disrupts the energy. I once participated in a ritual where nobody respected this boundary. It made the ritual rather powerless.

Keep It Clean

Leave your loving mark wherever you go, and leave the space better than you found it. It assures that you’re welcomed back and shares your love with the world.

Don’t Take Pictures

There are many reasons why taking pictures is not permitted. First, this is sacred space. Do you take pictures during church, a pow wow, or a funeral? Most of us don’t. It’s unseemly.

If you are taking pictures, you’re not fully participating. You will have a better experience if you are fully present. Your movements and flash may also take participants out of their experiences and bring their focus on you.

Finally, it’s a deeply personal experience. Unless you ask everyone for their permission (and the facilitator’s), it’s not appropriate to assume that it’s okay to intrude on someone else’s sovereignty.

Be Present

It’s exciting to be in a great place seeing new people or those you haven’t seen in a while. It’s natural to want to socialize. Keep it to times that are designated for that. During ritual, focus on the event. Side conversations are a distraction to those who are in devotion.

Everyone’s energy adds to the event. You can be distracting, a dead weight, or part of the joy and vibrancy. Why not uplift? Let’s work with the energy to make it a fabulous event for everyone.

Respect Magical Tools

When in doubt, don’t touch anything. Generally speaking this refers to the altar, altar tools, and ritual clothing. To be safe, until you get the hang of rituals, assume that everything is a no touch zone. Items may be cleansed or charged, so unless you know for sure that it’s okay to touch, don’t.

Move Clockwise

Generally speaking, we move in a clockwise fashion (anti clockwise in the southern hemisphere). This is not random. It’s purposeful. We do this to build the energy. It is also the direction of the sun and life.

When we “unwind” the energy, or if we’re reaching out to the ancestors in the Other World, we move counter clockwise. When it doubt, just watch others.

Maintain Confidentiality

What happens in sacred space stays in sacred space. (This is another reason for the “no pictures” rule). You can’t expect people to be vulnerable if they are subject to gossip later. Be cool. Be kind. Keep everything to yourself.

Make Yourself Comfortable

You’re a sovereign person. If you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to. If you just want to watch, make sure that is permitted. If you want to leave, that’s okay. (FYI- The general rule of sacred space is once you’re in, you stay in until it’s closed. Leaving is disruptive. This is one reason why some events do not allow newcomers. So, if you are on the fence about staying, talk to the facilitator beforehand to create an exit strategy).

When weighing the choice between taking care of your own needs and disrupting the sacred space, take care of yourself first. If you are uncomfortable, resentful, negative, or feeling unwell, staying with that energy will impact the group.

Some people have special needs, like perhaps you can’t stand very long. It’s okay to sit. Just let someone know so that you can be in a place that suits everyone involved. Some rituals have food. If you have special dietary needs, it’s best to bring something for yourself that you can eat so that you can fully participate should the hostess forget.

Be a Good Guest

If you’re not leading or hosting, be a good guest. Help with the clean up. Keep your helpful suggestions, political opinions, corrections, dietary commentary, or spiritual expertise to yourself. When it’s your event, you can run it the way you want to. Most community events are acts of love. They are not done to boost anyone’s ego, make a ton of money, or recruit followers. Stay humble and grateful so that we may enjoy their generosity in the future.

Nurturing Your Relationship With the Land

relationship with the land

There are lots of reasons why modern people don’t have a relationship with the land. Most are city dwellers. For them, “land” is a public park or a small backyard rather than wide open spaces with no light pollution.

Most Americans are immigrants, so our ancestral “home” is somewhere else.

We don’t have family homesteads where our dead have been buried for hundreds or thousands of years. Most of us aren’t even living in the same house we grew up in.

Modern people don’t grow anything, take anything from the land, or give anything back. Our food comes from the grocery store, not the land.

We don’t have pilgrimage sites- these special places where we go singly or as a community to connect with the divine. So we don’t see the land as a being to love and protect.

We’re mobile, and we like it. We can be around the world in a day. If I want to uproot my family for a job, relationship, or flight of fancy, why not? Nothing is holding me back. We’re independent and free. And all this separates us from the earth beneath our feet.

I believe recapturing our relationship with the land is fundamental to our sense of belonging. It’s a way to feel comfortable with being authentically wild again.

So How Do We Nurture a Relationship With the Land?

Animist relationships are holistic. So a relationship with the land is spiritual, cultural, physical, social, and emotional. I can’t tell you how to do that or what might make it meaningful to you. I can give you some suggestions to get you started in your exploration of that. Just get creative. Think about the many dimensions through which we relate and start with the one that seems easiest (to set yourself up for success).

        • Find ways to live with the land instead of off of it. In other words, engage in reciprocity. Tend something. Give gratitude to something. Plant something. Consider the long term impact of how you use the land.
        • Listen to the land. Sleep on the ground and hear her heartbeat. Listen to the Schumann resonance to bring you back to your own natural energy rhythm.
        • Think big picture. Many of us have knee jerk reactions to ecological problems that can create negative unintended consequences. When we learn to live connected to all of Nature, this happens less.
        • Consider the divine intelligence that birthed you where it did. Honor that by honoring the space around you and the people within your family.
        • Go to sacred sites. Worship there. Sing. Dance. Pray. Feel. See why so many people find it special.
        • Slow down. Watch an ant, bee, or hummingbird go throughout its day. Learn from how it interacts with the land.
        • Consider changing the way that you think about the land. Are you the owner or caretaker? Does it take care of you or you take care of it? Or do you belong to each other? Be careful how you speak. Words are power.
        • Go outside at night or early in the morning. Listen to the creatures. Get to know the sounds of your home.
        • Watch the sky. Observe it at different times of day and in different weather. What can you smell in the wind?
        • Where does your heart long for? It may not be where you live. The land remembers you and will call you back. Do you have the heart to hear it?
        • Consider how you harvest food and medicines. This applies whether you grow it yourself, wildcraft it, or buy it from a store. How do your habits impact the ecology and population?
        • Contemplate where your dead lie. How are they tended?
        • When you visit rural areas, linger. Stay more than a weekend. Savor it. Relate to it rather than just using it or acting upon it.

      I’d love to hear how YOU express your relationship with the land. Share!

The Power of Naming and Unnaming

unnaming

Names are powerful. They create identities, boxes, outline boundaries of who belongs and who doesn’t. When we unname, we erase those lines and set things free. If we are serious about creating a Tribe and getting to a space of Oneness, we have to think about the power of Naming and Unnaming.

Black and White Americans

Why do Americans classify ourselves by color? No other nation in the world does that. If you’re Dominican, you’re Dominican regardless of whether your skin is light or dark. Same with Egyptian, Cuban, Indian, or Filipino. When we ignore nationality and identity in favor of color, we Unname people.

Unnaming removes us from our power, identity, and belonging. It gives us a color label that acts as a symbol that divides us into two camps: Higher Value and Power and Lower Value and Power.

Hyphenated Americans

Have you ever thought about why America has so many hyphenated Americans? You know, Italian-American, Asian-American, African-American.

Why so many distinctions?

Did you know that other countries don’t do this? In fact, many find it strange. Many take the stand point of, “You’re not Irish (for example) if you didn’t live here.” It makes sense. Culturally we’re not Irish. So, why do we cling to those distinctions?

I think it’s a way to rename ourselves. To claim an identity that is not based on color or the mainstream mindset. We want to belong to something, yet don’t see what that something is in the community around us so we look to our roots.

“Only the right name gives beings and things their reality. A wrong name makes everything unreal. That’s what lies do.” ― Michael Ende, The Neverending Story

The Power of Names

In some cultures, true names are kept secret. They hold power, and we don’t want to give others power over us. In some cultures, names change as we evolve and are initiated into new identities. When used in this way, our names give us strength, identity, and belonging.

Names can also control, categorize, elevate, or diminish people. They can put us in boxes and take our power away. If we belonged to a respected clan and are removed, the unnaming weakens us. It leaves us without community, status, protection, and belonging.

Yet, there are times – such as when we divorce – when we unname ourselves by taking back a maiden name. We do this to proclaim our freedom and self-determination. So when used consciously, names are a way of expressing sovereignty and Oneness. It’s a way to tell the world who we are.

Creating Belonging

I see the hyphenated American trend as an attempt at belonging and creating roots. It’s a reaction to being unnamed and classified by color. We look around and don’t see people like us. Our ancestors were immigrants. We still don’t have a relationship to this land. Our spiritual beliefs may be different. Perhaps we also have different values. So we reach back to when we did feel connected and hyphenate ourselves to show separation.

In America, color means power. If you’re White, you have it. If you’re Black, you don’t. You don’t get to decide who you are. Other people judge based on skin tone. That decision somewhat forces you to live a prescribed culture. If we want to come together, we’ve got to remove the color labels and see ourselves as Americans first like the rest of the world. We can’t have an equality or a cohesive American identity until we do.

Choosing Your Language

Those in power have a history of unnaming. Sometimes it’s out of carelessness and ignorance. Sometimes it’s purposeful. When Christopher Columbus came to the new world, he was aiming for India and called the people in the Americas “Indians.” That name stuck and the identity of the Pima, Iroquois, Shoshone, Taino, and others was obliterated because Columbus had more power.

We can say that we don’t do that anymore, but it’s happening right now with shamanism. So many claim to be shamans, but they have no connection to the true shaman of the Manchu-Tungus speaking people. Using that word to incorrectly or to describe spirit walkers from other traditions unnames all the spirit walkers from the Sami, Peruvian, African, and Asian cultures around the world.

We all have a choice to accept the labels that others try to force upon us or choose our own. We have a choice about what language we use to label others. Do your words name or unname? Do they create connection or divide?

The Animist Hack Everyone Should Know

animist hack

Creating sovereignty and connection isn’t second nature. In fact, it can be downright impossible if you aren’t aware of this animist hack that everyone should know. To make it easy from the get go, I’m going to give it to you right here.

We Are Set Up To Fail

The first thing you should know is that our society sets us up to fail. So, if you are following the mainstream path, you’re never going to break free. The system is based on competition and fear so that people in power keep power. This creates a system of master and servant.

This permeates every aspect of our society – churches, businesses, families, politics, romantic relationships – everything. The key to sovereignty is to see this dynamic and stop playing the game.

The Hero, Victim, Oppressor Triangle

In this system, everyone has a role. They are either Hero, Victim, or Oppressor. These roles are not static. They can change based on circumstances. For example, I might be the victim of my parents’ heavy handed rules, but I might be the hero of the family when I excel in school. As long as we’re playing our parts, the triangle is maintained and we stay in a master/servant relationship.

Meet the Victim

The Victim is the one who relinquishes power. It’s the “poor me” position. She sees herself as a victimized, powerless, oppressed, hopeless, helpless, and without responsibility for the situation.

Meet the Hero

The Hero is the one who takes responsibility for the Victim. He feels good, strong, and powerful by saving others. He may even feel guilty if he’s not helping, so this is compulsive behavior. Another term for this guy is the Enabler.

Meet the Oppressor

This may sound like a match made in Heaven for he Hero and Victim because they both get their needs met. Unfortunately, being a Victim can create low self esteem. So the Victim can push back against an attitude of “You can’t do it. You’re helpless.”

Being a Hero can feel like a burden too. He can feel unappreciated, overworked, and doesn’t have time to take care of his own needs. So he eventually melts down or blows up. When either of these things happen, that person moves to the Oppressor position. (The Oppressor may also be an outside third party – like a parent or political party – that the Victim and Hero take a stand against).

The Oppressor is the one who takes the “This is your fault!” position. He blames, yells, and criticizes, but doesn’t actually take any action to solve problems. The Oppressor uses guilt, manipulation, shame, confusion, and insults to maintain his power.

A Hero can’t be a Hero without an oppressor. A Victim can’t be a Victim without an oppressor. So all roles have to be established for the triangle to continue.

The Triangle in Motion

To make this more clear, let’s walk through an example to see how this works.

“Sheila” and “Guy” are “the perfect couple.” She is a princess (Victim) that Guy (Hero) loves to spoil. He works hard and keeps her in comfort all day. This makes her feel very special.

One day Guy comes home from work. There is no food in the house. Guy says, “Do you think that you could just once go to the grocery store? I cook every night. I don’t ask you to clean up or make dinner, but is it too much to ask to not have to do everything?” (Oppressor)

Sheila responds, “You’ve got some nerve! You act like I contribute nothing. What about all the times that I sit here with your mother. Do you think I like doing that? I could be spending my time in so many other ways than hanging out with her. You have no idea how much time I spend doing things for you!” (Oppressor)

After a few minutes of this, Sheila breaks down and starts to cry. (Victim) Guy responds, “Oh, baby! No, no, no! I am sorry! It’s not that serious. We can just order out. I don’t want you to cry. It’s fine. It’s fine. Let me just get some take out. (Hero)

And each person goes back to their most comfortable role and the Hero, Victim, Oppressor triangle is intact.

Other Examples

Other examples that may be more relatable to your life are:

  • One parent who is very strict (Oppressor). The other (Hero) who goes behind her back to soothe the child (Victim).
  • A demanding, disorganized, difficult boss (Oppressor). The overworked secretary is the Victim when she is working hard to keep up with the boss’s demands. She’s the Hero when she saves the boss from his poor planning.
  • The alcoholic (Victim and Oppressor). The supportive partner plays the Victim when he’s complaining about how the alcoholic is hurting her. When she’s rescuing him from his mistakes or making it easy for him to drink, she takes on the Hero role.

The Animist Hack

There is a way out of this. The animist hack is to practice Sovereignty and Connection at the same time. One without the other doesn’t cut it.

Sovereignty is about knowing who you are. Sticking to your values. Taking responsibility for what is yours without blaming or condemning. It’s stepping into your power and using it while maintaining healthy boundaries. It’s also about not allowing others to make something your responsibility when it’s not.

In victory, we allow others to maintain their dignity so that we can stay cordial and connected. In defeat, we admit our wrongs, apologize, and make it right without either going too far overboard or holding a grudge.

We’re only Victims by our own permission. You are not inadequate. You may be unskilled, unsupported, or not confident, but nobody who takes a stand is a Victim. If you don’t have skills, learn them. If you don’t feel supported, cultivate connections.

A humble Hero is no hero at all. When he cares for someone, he doesn’t do it to feel worthy. He knows he’s already worthy. When he helps, does it because he cares and is connected to his family and community. And it’s help. He doesn’t rescue. His self esteem is such that he doesn’t need outside validation to know he’s worthy.

When someone is ugly or mean, we let that be about them, not us. When we do that, they are not oppressing us. They are harming themselves. This doesn’t mean that their actions don’t negatively impact us. Negativity impacts all of us – especially the creator of it – because we are One. So have a care what you put out, circulate, and allow into your energy bubble.

Connection is about allowing others the space to be sovereign. It’s sometimes about agreeing to disagree. Sometimes it’s about teamwork and solidarity. It’s always about remembering the big picture – that is that we are all One. We don’t have to be the same. We allow our differences to enrich us, not make us insecure or detract from us.

A Tip From Nature

In animism we look to Nature to guide us. So to take a tip from nature, let’s look at horses that pull carriages or dogs that pull a sleigh. Did you see Ben Hur? It’s not natural for animals to work together in a coordinated way. They’re wild. They are sovereign. They have to be trained to do this.

While tribal humans have figured out how to do this, “civilized” ones have not. If we want to be masters of our own fate while being a part of a tribe, we have to learn how to do this too. Otherwise we’re always at the mercy of our roles, and we can’t truly, honestly, or deeply engage with other people or Nature. So let’s pull together.

I’m Dating an Animist. What Can I Expect?

animist relationships

So, you’ve fallen for a modern animist an you’re not sure what to expect. Unfortunately, we are not a cookie cutter type of group so there will be wide variations from person to person. However, there are some things that are probably going to be common among us. If you want to know what to expect when dating an animist, read on.

We Have a Relationship With the Natural World

Most of us express our animism through our thoughts and behaviors. We don’t just restrict our spirituality to our beliefs. This means that we tend to have a relationship with the natural world. We might really love animals, talk to our plants, literally hug trees, sing to the dolphins, pray to the Sun, and dance under the stars. It’s not something we have to do. It’s something we are called to do. They are our brothers. It’s like having a family reunion or checking in on your mom.

We Have a Relationship With the Spirit World

The animist world isn’t limited to what you can see. Many of us also include the spirits of those who have passed on, those yet to be, and otherworldly beings who are not physical in this plane. We may have a practice where we tune into them every day. Or for some of us, we simply have an awareness that these other creatures exist.

We Do Things Others Consider Superstitious

Some of us have rituals that others consider superstitious. For example, you might carry iron to protect yourself against fairies or refuse to go straight home after a wake to make sure that the departed doesn’t follow you home. While they might seem silly to you, they are very serious for us. If you’re not tolerant of things like this, it could get really uncomfortable.

We Aren’t Judgy

Everybody knows what it’s like to be judged. It’s not pretty. We appreciate sovereignty, so we don’t tend to be judgy. This might be a bit of a freak out if you’re used to opinionated people, gossip, and hard lines between who is in and who is out. We won’t expect you to join us in our beliefs if that’s not your thing, but don’t pressure us to do what we don’t want to either.

Just hang loose. The world is our playground. Everyone is family, so we are more carefree about accepting people as they are, where they are.

You’ll Have Lots of Space to Be You

Dating an animist may mean that you have more time on your hands than you anticipate. We really like the freedom to be ourselves and will give you space to do the same. If you’re used to a partner who wants to be your whole world and who thinks that a couple has to do everything together, you might be in for a disappointment. We like you just the way you are. You don’t have to like everything we like.

Animism is Who We Are

Modern animists are very diverse. We live in urban high rises, drive the kids to soccer games in mini vans, breed chickens on the homestead, and live out in the wilds. Some of us show our faith in how we dress, eat, and talk. Others seem to blend right in to mainstream society. But in our hearts, we are part of the cosmos. We are the past, present, and future; masculine and feminine; sacred, mundane, and profane. We are One.

If you want to have a great relationship with an animist, just treat us with love and respect. We’re not so different.

Making the Decision to Wear Ritual Clothing or Not

ritual clothing

Sooner or later, most animists come to a point where they decide whether to wear ritual clothing or not. If you are contemplating this, here are some things you might want to consider.

Why Ritual Clothing?

Before we talk about why one might want to wear ritual clothing, let’s talk about why someone might prefer not to.

Animism is a spiritual path of Nature. Nature is “come as you are.” You can connect anywhere, anytime. You don’t need to dress up or wear anything in particular to connect. However, there are some reasons why you might want to don special attire.

  1. Create a sense of unity. If you are doing a group ceremony, wearing the same clothes creates a sense of belonging. It’s why a choir and monks wear robes. It’s why Boy Scouts and Walmart employees have a uniform. It helps everyone know at a glance who belongs.
  2. It could signify position. Pan Society doesn’t designate rank like the Catholic Church, for example. We don’t have popes and bishops. However, we do have amocaras. It could be useful to know who is leading a ceremony or ritual. If you are the only one in ritual clothing, it’s easy to guess that that person is you.
  3. The clothing is part of the ritual itself. When we are doing ritual, everything that goes into it is part of the ritual. If I don a mask, wear purple, or choose a ribbon, that’s intentional. It’s done for what it brings to the event.
  4. Ritual clothing can help create sacred space. When we don ritual clothing, it changes our mindset. It can transport us to a space of time between time. That helps to make the ritual more potent.
  5. Ceremonial garb can be protective. When we enter into the space of time between time, we can be vulnerable. It can help to have protective gear.

What To Wear?

What you choose to wear for your rituals is totally up to you. There aren’t any formal Pan Society guidelines. You’re a sovereign being. Choose.

Since modern animism is a path of Nature, perhaps foregoing clothing altogether appeals to you. It can help you to feel closer to Nature. Removing a layer of fabric can heighten your skin’s sensitivity. I tend to moon bathe in the buff, and it’s exhilarating. Just make sure that you have the privacy to do so. You don’t want to be arrested or surprise children.

If you opt for ritual clothing, this can be very elaborate with hats, cloaks, shoes, jewelry, scarves, belts, headdresses, and so on. It’s completely up to you. Let yourself be inspired.

Choose every aspect of it intentionally. Color is very powerful. For example, white is often used for initiations. Lots of people use feathers or other animal parts to bring in the energy of specific animals. People often choose crystals, greenery, and natural fabrics for their ritual wear.

You could also go very simple to keep it humble. A plain, hand sewn tunic or robe could serve perfectly well. Just let it reflect your personality and purpose.

Remember there are no hard and fast rules. Do what feels right for you and the event. You will learn to trust yourself as you grow in your practice.

The Spiritual Purpose of the Corona Virus

corona virus

Last night, to combat social isolation and give people peace of mind, Pan Society held a virtual intuitive practice session. Not surprisingly, all the questions revolved around the corona virus outbreak. While you might expect dire warnings of doom and gloom, the gathering was surprisingly heart-warming and inspiring. Here is what we learned about the spiritual purpose of the corona virus.

It’s Part of the Quickening

In many spiritual circles, we hear stories of a quickening, an acceleration of the vibratory rate of people and the planet. This quickening will help carry us to a new way of being that is more peaceful, spiritual, and whole. One of the messages that came through last night was that the corona virus is part of that.

Everything evolves, but that usually unfolds slowly. It takes a month for the moon to go from new to full and back again. It takes three months for spring to arrive, ripen, and give way to summer. Human babies take nine months to fully form. Life expectancy for Americans is 79 years. So, things take time – most of the time. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes create big changes very quickly. And they are natural phenomena, too.

When the contagion ends, life will not be the same. Innovations are happening already that change the way we live. We can’t go back. Our material world is changing, and so is our spiritual expression. The corona virus is speeding that up.

It’s a Return of the Feminine

For so long, society has embraced the masculine energy of assertiveness, achieving, checklists, goals, doing, directness, logic, and independence. Social distancing is forcing us to get acquainted with feminine energies. We are sitting still because we can’t go, go, go. We must be patient and passive because there are no options. Where some of us used activity to avoid connection, because of social distancing, many of us now yearn for connection.

Introspection was not only a luxury, it wasn’t something we particularly valued. Now we have loads of time for it, and it’s kind of sexy. So is creativity. Life is not about doing as much as you can as fast as you can, so now there is time for meandering and exploring. We’re digging the balance. We’re feeling more whole.

We’re Creating Communities Again

Before the corona virus, many of us didn’t know our neighbors. We’re now looking out for each other. Not just the people who live nearby, but vulnerable populations that we don’t even know!

Families who didn’t talk or were fighting before are now checking up on each other. We are reuniting and pulling together. We are talking about things that matter instead of avoiding each other. In Italy and New York, quarantined people are singing to each other on their balconies. In Germany and Spain, people applaud the health care workers.

We Are Falling in Love With Nature Again

People who might go into a green space or a beach once a year are now crowding the outdoors. The bowling alleys, movie theaters, and restaurants are closed for indoor seating, so we have to look to other places for entertainment. Where are you going to go where you can spread out?

And we’re hearing about the benefits of sunlight and exercise, so Nature is the perfect escape. And we’re loving it. Perhaps this gratitude towards Nature will help us to recognize her value and protect her when this is all over.

We’re Moving Towards Vulnerability

The masks are coming off. They have to. We can’t put up a front and pretend to be the coolest, best, wisest, or prettiest anymore. Disease is forcing us to come face to face with death and our imperfections. Even heroes have frailties. No one is perfect. Maybe for one it’s about admitting that he’s scared. For another it could be asking for help. It could be facing one’s mistakes, selfishness, smallness, or lack of strength. The gloves are off. We’ve got to get real. And that’s a fabulous place from which to start anew.

We’re Embracing a Different Kind of Hero

Money used to be the way that we keep score. If I have the address, car, clothes, and title to show I am important and worthy, then I am!

Money only goes so far in the age of the corona virus. The currency now is things like kindness, charity, bravery, compassion, laughter, and wisdom. Those who have that are far more valuable than people who have position and authority. Cashiers, truck drivers, nurses, farmers, electricians, and factory workers are keeping the rest of us going.

Spirits in the Material World

While the spiritual message may be rosy, we are spirits living in the material world. We still have to deal with social distancing, loss of employment, scarcity of food and supplies, loneliness, fear, disease, and all the problems that come with it. Until we get to the other side, keep washing your hands and stay home. If you are an energy worker, send healing energy to the world. If you can assist the vulnerable and stay safe yourself, do that. Can you sew? Sew masks for medical professionals. Are you a computer programmer? You could donate your skills to help contain the spread. Whatever your talents and skills, we can all pitch in to help us all get through.

Why Teamwork is the Key to Getting Through the Contagion and Life

teamwork

Have you heard of the “Red or Black” game? It’s perfect for showing why teamwork is the key to getting through the corona virus contagion and life. It’s very simple. The objective is to finish the game with the most points. There are two teams and five rounds. All each team has to do is choose red or black.

Points are awarded as follows:

  • If Team A and Team B choose red, both teams lose 5 points.
  • If Team A chooses red and Team B chooses black, Team A gains 10 points, and Team B loses 10 points.
  • When Team A chooses black and Team B chooses red, Team B gains 10 points, and team A loses 10 points.
  • If Team A and Team B choose black, both teams gain 3 points.

In the game of life, red is a vote for me, black is a vote for we.

We are all playing this game every day whether we know it or not, only with a multitude of players. Let’s walk through it to show you what I mean.

Round One

A goes into the store and buys a truckload of toilet paper that sits in a closet. He’s reserving the option to sell it for $5 a roll. He is effectively choosing red.

B either doesn’t have any because A bought it all or takes one pack so that others can have some. She’s choosing black.

Score at the end of round one. A: 10, B: -10.

Round Two

A and B are both stir crazy. They can’t go to the gym because it’s closed. They have both heard that sunshine is good for the immune system.

A takes the family to a crowded park, let’s the kids play on the swing set, then stops off at the grocery store on the way home to save time. He is effectively choosing red again.

B goes into her backyard with a chair and a book and sits in the sun. She’s effectively choosing black again.

Score at the end of round two. A: 20, B -20.

Round Three

A and B are feeling isolated and alone.

A calls a couple friends over to drink beer and watch a movie. After all it’s just three people. A is choosing red again.

B hosts a virtual watch party with friends. B is choosing black again.

Score at the end of round three. A: 30, B -30.

Round Four

It’s been two weeks now of social distancing. They both having mild symptoms, yet both live paycheck to paycheck and need their jobs to continue paying rent and eating. A didn’t contemplate calling a doctor. B did but was told that she wasn’t sick enough to get tested. Both continued to go to work, effectively choosing red.

Score at the end of round four. A: 25, B -35

Round Five

Both A and B have elderly neighbors. A has a stockpile of food and supplies, but doesn’t share. He also doesn’t offer to go to the store for them or help them in any way. Once again, A chooses red. B doesn’t have a lot to share, but checks on them and helps them out when she can. Once again B chooses black.

Score at the end of round five. A: 35, B-45.

Winning the Game

Now, it may seem like A won the game. He did what he wanted to do and has the most points. However, the objective of the game isn’t to see which team ends the game with the most points. It is to end the game with the most points. That takes teamwork. A gained 35, but B lost 45, so the net total is -10.

If all it takes to “win” is +1, A lost the game for everyone each time he made a play because he consistently ignored the big picture. He chose “me” over “we” every time.

Sovereignty is about me. It’s about carrying my weight, making myself happy, stepping into my power and truth, and being the best I can be. Connection is about living in relationship with everyone and everything else.

I can’t have connection if my sovereignty comes at the cost of the team. I have to give as much as I take and support as much as a lean on them. Every time I choose me over we, we all lose. If I give it all away and take nothing, that’s a loss, too. It has to be me and we. We are in this life together. We need a balance of sovereignty and connection, not one or the other.

Life is teamwork. As children we are dependent. The adults carry our weight. When we are adults, we carry the children and pay it forward so that when we are elderly, we can lean on others without being a burden. We’ve already provided those behind us with the guidance and resources to help them help us. That’s teamwork. Everyone is cared for.

Another way to look at it is trust vs. fear. Making a black move is living in trust. Red is living in fear. Fear is infectious. Fear makes people move into their protective, taker space. It contracts our hearts and spreads mistrust. Trust opens, inspires, connects, and encourages growth and happiness. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to be? Think about that the next time you make a move. It matters.