How to Really Love Your Space

how to love your space

A pretty white cottage with a circular driveway lined with flowers sits along the road to town. I don’t drive past it often, so I was surprised when I saw it looking grey and forgotten one day. It seemed to happen over night – like the life just went out of it. And the “for sale” sign showed that that’s exactly what happened. 

This is what happens when our spaces are not enlivened with love. They droop, sag, and fade. Sometimes with us still in them.

Loving your home is one way to practice animism. If you love your space, it will love you back by vibrating comfort, joy, and safety. 

Not sure how to love your space? Keep reading!

Keep It Clean

Think about the way energy flows. We need space to breathe. We perk up when things are clean and uncluttered. A clean window makes the view look so much brighter. An uncluttered table top makes a space feel more inviting. Trimmed hedges make a huge difference in how the approach feels. Cleaning is an act of love and care. Trust me. Your home will appreciate you taking the time to tidy up and declutter. You will feel better too.

Laugh Here

Laughter is energy. When you bring joyous energy into a space, it resonates with life. So sing here. Dance. Listen to music. Bring joyous energy into the space. Let it flow. Your home is a living thing that responds to the energy within it. Make it joyful.

Make It Pretty

Take time to bring in soft, pretty touches like cut flowers or a nice wall hanging. Put in flower beds or potted plants. We all feel better when we feel pretty. Your home will too.

Cook Here

Think about all your best memories with people. I’ll bet most of them involve food, don’t they? Food is love. If you want to love your home, cook here. Feed people here. Eating with others is a way to bring love into your house. A house that knows love is a happy home.

Now, I don’t mean throwing a frozen pizza in the microwave. I’m talking Thanksgiving, candlelight dinners, and hearty breakfasts. Good, healthy, home grown food. Junk food isn’t love. Real food is love. Put some time into it. Cooking is a fundamental life skill. Lots of people don’t have relationships with their homes because they don’t do simple things like self care. Don’t outsource your life. Live it. Live it in your home.

Create a Sense of Safety

Many people grew up in dysfunctional households. Home was a place to escape. It was rush in, get clothes, sleep, shower, grab something quick to eat, and get out. Home wasn’t a place to where they wanted to linger.

If you want your home to feel like a loved space, you have to have a sense of safety there. For some, that may mean getting black out blinds, a security system, fluffy blankets, or a dog. Do whatever you need to do to make your home a sanctuary.

Relationships are built on safety. You can’t have a relationship with your home if you don’t feel safe here.

Give Gratitude

Whether you live in a modest one room studio or a grand palatial estate, give gratitude for what you have. Say “thank you” to your favorite room for its view or comfort. Thank the kitchen for the warmth and nurturing you get there. Thank the walk way for the feeling that you get when you know your work day is over and you’re about to enter your sanctuary. Your house feels it.

Live Here

Many people don’t live their lives. They are consumers and achievers. They use things and act on people. The animist way of living is to have a relationship with people and things. It’s a give and take exchange. When you live in your space, your home becomes a part of your life, not just something that you act upon and move through.

Pay attention to how your home feels. When it feels dull, brighten it up. When it feels lonely, be more present when you are there or bring some lively people in. Respond to it.

We’ve all seen houses that seem bright and alive and homes that feel dull, dusty, and lifeless. If you spend at least one third of your life in a space, it’s part of you. You nurture it and it nurtures you. So feed it. Love it. Enliven it.

What do you do to really love your space? Share with us!

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.

Practicing Connection During the Outbreak

practicing connection

When fear breaks out, people can respond by lashing out, becoming emotional and irrational, and hiding from the world. Don’t forget your humanity. Humans are social creatures. We need each other. Together we can get through anything. So here are some ideas for practicing connection during the outbreak.

Spread Hope

I saw a video that was shot on balconies in northern Italy. The people were singing to each other. Italy is suffering a horrible medical catastrophe and people are singing to each other. Things like this keep hope alive. Laughter, smiles, love, and song keep the immune system strong. It keeps our connections strong. No matter what, love each other. We all have a choice whether we are going to be Badluck Shleprock or a beacon of hope. Spread hope.

Check on Your People

How are your people doing? Do you have elderly neighbors who need food, medication, or their grass cut? Can you help? What about your distant family? Do they need something? You know, sometimes something as simple as a phone call can brighten someone’s day. Is there a senior center nearby that needs something? What about a homeless shelter? If you don’t know of anyone personally who needs help, check out Pine Ridge. The needs there are always desperate and grow even moreso in times like these.

Do Your Part

We each have a mission in life. Doing your part helps to keep the wheel of life spinning. If you opt out, someone else will have to do their part and yours. Participate. I know it’s tempting to give up, but we need everyone to show up.

Share

I’ve been paying attention to social media posts and comparing it to what I see in my local area. It seems that there are great disparities from place to place. I am not 100% sure about what’s going on, but it seems that low income areas have higher incidents of shortages and panic. If you have resources, skills, or knowledge that you can share with people who have less, share. It’s really that simple. There is enough to go around if we share.

Practice Kindness

While grocery shopping recently, the store was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it. The shelves were more bare, and yet people seemed to be going out of their way to be kind. Cashiers were cheerful. Customers were patient. Some held the door open to others. No one was hoarding or grabbing for anything. There was plenty for everyone.

One brusque person can set off a storm of ugliness that infects the whole bunch. Fortunately, a single act of kindness can do the same thing. Practice random acts of kindness. It helps us to stay connected.

Believe

Jim Butcher said, “Magic comes from what’s inside you. It’s part of you. You can’t weave together a spell you don’t believe in.”

It’s easy to descend into negativity when under stress. Darkness can test your faith. Believe. Darkness is the womb that births new things. If you go dark now, what is birthed will be more darkness. Believe. Believe in a brighter day, connection, love, health, life, hope, kindness, and renewal. The sun always returns. We all create tomorrow together. Staying connected in a loving way births lovely things.

Practicing connection is always part of the modern animist lifestyle. Practicing connection when the chips are down defines us. It’s easy to do anything when it asks nothing of you and when you are doing well. It’s not so easy when there are reasons not to. Connect because it’s what you believe in. It’s who you are.

Sovereignty in a Time of Disease

soveriegnty

Wayne Dyer said, “When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out because that’s what’s inside.” The corona virus is squeezing us. What’s coming out? Are you really a modern animist? We’re all being tested.  How do you practice sovereignty in a time of disease outbreak?

How you conduct yourself is up to you. Here are some ideas.

Take Care of Yourself First

Nature has a order. Children needs adults to protect them, provide for them, and nurture them until they are mature enough to do it for themselves. The elderly and sick also need this support from adults. Adults are Atlas who holds up the sky for everyone else. As an adult, your primary responsibility is to yourself. If you have dependents and animals, you are also responsible for them. If adults can’t care for themselves, the whole system collapses.

There are always going to be dependent people. When we have a society of responsible adults who can take care of themselves, the load is easier on those who bear it. “Responsible adult” means someone who provides for his own food, healthcare, transportation, shelter, clothing, water, and other necessities.

During a disease outbreak, you make the call whether it’s in your best interest to isolate or serve in some way. That choice impacts others. Choose wisely.

Remember also that sometimes exercising sovereignty is knowing when to ask for help. If you can’t do it alone, no one will know if you don’t speak up.

Reduce Your Vulnerabilities

All adults want to feel secure and competent- especially if you are to assume responsibility for yourself. The more vulnerabilities you have, the less power you perceive yourself to have. The less power you have, the more fear you have. This is not a great place to be when there is a disease outbreak. Fear creates mistakes and panic. You can’t hold up the world if you are afraid. So how to you become less fearful?

Have Resources

The most commonly used resource is money. Money buys products, services, and experiences. It can assure your safety in some cases. However, in times of disease outbreak, the things you need may not be able to be bought at any price. So what do you do when your money is useless?

There are human resources – family, friends, and neighbors are resources. If you have cultivated relationships, you can work together to do things that would be harder or impossible to do alone. It’s like Stone Soup. If we all get together and pool resources, we can share the work, food, hardship, and happiness.

Information is another resource. If you have useful information, you can make wise decisions. Of course, it’s only as good as your ability to interpret it.

Land is another resource. It gives you a place to live, provides food, and helps you to stay healthy. If you care for it, it can care for you. There other resources, but you get the idea.

Develop Skills

Skills allow you to take charge, do things for yourself, help others, and be independent. Some skills can help you to acquire money if you use them in employment. Other skills- like emotional regulation- help you to get along better with others.

The more skills you have, the fewer problems you have because if something comes up, you can just deal with it if you have the appropriate skills. Otherwise you struggle.

Skills also give you options. If I can weave a basket, I have a choice whether I want to weave one, buy one, or sell one. If I can make natural medicines, I can go to the doctor, care for myself, care for others, or do nothing. Choice is a huge component of stress. The more options I have, the more secure I feel.

What skills you cultivate are entirely up to your values and desires. Some suggestions are: communication, emotional intelligence, wild crafting, sewing, hunting, medicine making, cooking, writing, leadership, driving, food storage, carpentry, auto repair, small engine repair, energy healing, conducting rituals, and gardening.

Help Others

Now assuming you’re healthy, can take care of yourself, and have skills, you’re in a position to help others. Situations like disease outbreak overwhelm the system. Too many people have the same needs all at once. Too many people need help all at once. If you are in a position to serve, how can you help so that everyone else can stay safe? Here are some suggestions.

  • Make grocery store or pharmacy runs for people who are in isolation.
  • If it’s safe and you are well, go to work so that products and services continue to be produced.
  • Care the for sick.
  • Check on your neighbors, the homeless, or other vulnerable populations.
  • If you have food or supplies to share, share.
  • Care for the animals that belong to the sick.
  • Can you fix something for someone who is unwell?
  • If you are unwell, you can voluntarily isolate and ask for help meeting your needs so you can stay in isolation so that you don’t expose others.
  • Can you house others so that someone can stay in isolation?
  • Are there kids who need care so that their parent can stay in isolation?
  • Are you leading, helping, healing, and inspiring – or creating panic and anxiety? Calm and joy are great healers.

A disease outbreak is not my problem or your problem. It’s our problem. We can all get through if we do our part. When we show up in the world as our highest, best, and most skillful selves, we all benefit.

Sovereignty and Connection While Traveling

sovereignty and connection

Engaging in conversations about sovereignty, connection, and Oneness, it becomes clear that people don’t really understand those concepts. Or maybe they do intellectually, but they don’t know how to put them into practice. We are going to be hitting this hard to help you bring it into your life. All you have to do, really, is observe and be present with what’s happening every day all around you.

Take traveling. I recently returned from a trip. While traveling, I encountered a lot of people who clearly do not have these values. Here is what I mean.

Clean Up After Yourself

I hit the loo in the Charlotte airport. The first toilet seat I saw had urine all over it. The sinks had water splashed all over the place so there was no dry place to put anything.

We all have the option to do whatever we want. That’s sovereignty. I get that some people might not want to skin contact with a toilet seat and so they do what they have to do to avoid it. When it makes a mess for someone else, that is violating someone else’s desire for cleanliness. So, if you want to avoid contact with the seat and respect the person who comes behind you, clean up after yourself.

If you want to splash water all over the sink, or just do it inadvertently, clean up after yourself. Give the person behind you the same clean conditions that you’d want. Do this even if it wasn’t clean before you got there. That’s living the values of reciprocity, respect, kindness, sustainability, gratitude, and love.

If You Are Sick, Stay Home

If you have an illness that can impact others, stay home. I was once on a flight where we had a delayed departure because a passenger was not fit to fly and refused to disembark. Consequently, we had to wait for a doctor to confirm this and remove the passenger before we could leave.

I’ve been on a flight where a passenger had food poisoning. He fouled both bathrooms before leaving the aircraft before take off. So there was no working bathroom on the flight.

I was on an international flight seated next to a passenger with a really bad cold. It was a ten hour flight with no escape. Needless to say, a cold is a gift that keeps on giving. I ended up really sick, and probably a lot of other people, too.

People get sick. Things happen. When you know you are ill, consider others. If you need emergency care, die, or spread disease so that you can do what you want, the cost to others may be very high.

Consider The Impact of Your Choices

When you buy a seat on an airplane, you have the choice whether to pay for checked bags, choose your preferred seat, or fly with more comfort. Naturally we all want to be the most comfortable that we can. That’s sovereignty. It’s all good. Do you.

If you are flying with a buddy and one of you chooses an aisle and the other chooses a window, any interaction that you have will impact the person in the middle. So, if you are sharing food, talking, and passing things back and forth, you are encroaching on the middle seat passenger’s space and comfort. If it happens once or twice, no big deal. If it happens for the duration of a four hour flight, you’re grossly violating that person’s sovereignty. You’re definitely not promoting connection.

Go With the Flow

I am the first one to say, “Be yourself. Do you.” When you are in a crowded airport where people are rushing to get to their flight on time, it’s a time for “other awareness,” not individuality. Go with the flow – I mean, literally. Don’t stop in the middle of the walkway or stand on the left. You prohibit people who are in a hurry from moving around you. The left side is for movers, not standers. Maybe you are not in a hurry, but others are. Consider their needs. This is shared space.

If you are getting into a shuttle, don’t step inside and stop, thus blocking the entrance. Move out of the way so that others can get in. Move your belongings so that they aren’t obstructing the walkway. Flowing is about considering other people. If you want to stop or move more slowly, do it to the side where you don’t impact others.

We all make the world that we live in one choice at a time. The balance of sovereignty and connection is ongoing. When we give too much of ourselves, we can lose ourselves. If we don’t pay enough attention to our needs, we suffer. Yet if we don’t make an effort to connect, we can feel lonely and isolation. If we connect too much, we can be exhausted and depleted.

To be in balance, we have to weigh our needs with the needs of others. It’s not always easy, but it’s a really important concept to learn if you want self-esteem, confidence, connection, and intimacy in your life. Once you learn it, expand it to include the animals, plants, mineral, and spirit communities. You will see your sense of aliveness soar.

Non-Animists are From Mars, Animists Are From Venus

animists are from venus

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.

 

Animist Revival, Duality, and Spiritual Boundaries

spiritual boundaries

I recently discovered that there is an animist revival happening! Lots of people who lost touch with their animist roots are now being drawn to reawaken this part of themselves. Mixed culture people are deepening their knowledge and practice of their animist side. Tribal people are benefiting and recoiling from this explosion.

To navigate this in a healthy way, it’s good to look at where we came from. When we do this, we can move forward in a more mindful way.  So let’s review our past.

The History of Cultural Destruction

Throughout history, conquerors have taken territory, killed people, and changed cultures. We can see the evidence of this in language. In modern times, we see that English speaking areas that weren’t originally English territory were conquered by England. Spanish speaking places were conquered by Spain. Portuguese speaking places were conquered by Portugal, and so on.

The British Empire was the last huge empire and the one that conquered the land where I live, so I will focus on them as they are the one I know most about. Please be aware that this didn’t just happen to Native Americans and people of color. It happened to aboriginal Australians, the Scottish, Irish, and others as well.

British strategy was to systematically destroy the culture of the local people to reduce opposition and impose control. They forcibly removed them from their lands dislocating them from their ancestors. In many cases, they forbade them from hunting and forced them to farm, starve, or subsist on the government handouts that were theirs by right of the peace treaties. So in essence, they took away their lifestyles and government became their benefactor.

The British also took children from their parents and sent them to boarding schools. In these schools, the children experienced rampant hunger, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Children were not allowed to wear their traditional clothing, speak their language, or engage in their spiritual practices. In the case of Native Americans, their hair, which was a source of power, was cut.

When these kids went home to visit their families, they could often no longer relate to them because they were so culturally different. They could also no longer speak to them because they couldn’t understand each other. The last residential boarding schools closed in 1973.

President Grant’s 1868 Peace Policy allowed the forcible conversion to Christianity. By 1872, sixty-three of the seventy-five Native reservations were administered by Christian religious denominations. Despite religious freedom being one of the founding rights for all Americans, Native Americans were denied religious freedom until 1978. The United States government was able to do this because did not recognize them as citizens.

“Culture” is defined as the shared language, customs, dress, laws, art, spiritual practices, beliefs, and traditions of a people. So in essence, the conquerors imposed cultural genocide on animist peoples around the world.

Animist Revival

spiritual boundariesIn recent decades people around the world feel a hunger for something different. We feel the disconnection from the land, from their ancestors, and from Spirit. We’re yearning for what’s wild, natural, magical, and spiritual. At the same time, we want to distance ourselves from the horror of our ancestors and identify with what our ancestors once oppressed to “prove” that we are not the bad guy. We’re finding the solution to all that in pagan and animist spirituality.

We’re bringing it into our lives in the only way we know – through the lens of western values. Westerners buy what we want, consume, sell, adopt, and merge. We use the pagan values of “We’re all One” to justify our acquisition. We use our habit of taking only the choicest bits to rationalize our buffet-style of belief and practice.

Duality

Duality is the idea that opposites are required for either to exist. We know in because there is out, light because there is dark, and male because there is female.

Antagonistic duality views thing in terms of good and bad. They fight the bad and promote the good.

Complimentary duality says that’s nonsense. Since both are required for the other to exist, you can’t eradicate one without obliterating the other. Each is purposeful.

What does this have to do with spiritual boundaries? It means that east needs west, old needs new, traditional needs modern, in needs out in order to be whole. Complimentary duality is a component of animism. You can’t live in the web of life without it.

That’s why we have Pan Society. To honor that. We offer people a way to live in complimentary duality in the community of others. To do that in a way that is respectful and constructive, we have to have spiritual boundaries.

Spiritual Boundaries

So, we have some problems, don’t we? We’ve made some mistakes, haven’t we? Let’s start today to remedy that by creating spiritual boundaries between native and non-native people, and just people in general, so that the animist revival doesn’t result in the second wave of cultural genocide.

Here are some possible solutions. Take whatever works for you and feel free to add your own.

Change The Way We Speak

How do you feel when someone calls you by the wrong name or mispronounces your name? Let’s change the way we speak. Let’s call things by their proper names.

Christopher Columbus called the people of the New World “Indians” because he mistakenly thought he was in India. They already had names. They are Montauk, Cree, Pima, Wintu, Matan, Macorix,  and many more. When we call them by their names, we show respect for their individuality and give them back their identity. (Keep in mind that for some people  “Indian” has become their identity. So it’s best to ask).

We use terms like witchcraft, pagan, animist, and other words to talk about our understanding of those words. Others may have different understandings so we aren’t communicating effectively. It creates confusion. I might be talking about an ancient practice belonging to a particular people at a particular time. Meanwhile you’re talking about the girl next door who has no cultural or spiritual knowledge of the roots of a belief or practice.

We can clear that up by using correct terms. If you’re talking about Wicca, say Wicca. Is it Neo-paganism? Say that. If it’s modern animism, say that. It will enhance communication and create healthy boundaries around what is X and what is Y.

We use the term shamanism to refer to all the mystical spiritual practices of indigenous peoples because they all look the same to us. We don’t know the differences, or perhaps don’t care. Or maybe we water it down and strip it of specificity to justify taking from tribal people.

“Shamanism” is the mystical practices of the Tuvans. Using the term generically erases individuality and culture.

That’s disrespectful. It is like saying all _____ people look alike. The differences matter! Just because anthropologists do it doesn’t make it right. This is the same type of conquering mentality that took children from their parents and essentially said, “I’m the expert. I know what’s best for you. You are who I say you are.”

spiritual boundariesMy mother’s people take pride in not being among those whose who lost their language, culture, and spirituality. If you go to my mother’s village and ask about shamanism, people will know right away that you’re an outsider who has done zero homework. (There are mystics. There are no shaman). Consequently, they probably won’t trust you.

So one of two things will happen. If you come upon someone who wants to take advantage of you, you will probably be suckered. Otherwise you will probably be corrected then ignored.

People are sick of having their culture distorted, ruined, and sold. They know the value of what was taken and don’t want to give up anymore. Not for any amount of money. They don’t want to be prostituted to tourists because they are poor. They don’t want their spiritual practices reduced to a few reproducable rituals that can be packaged and sold in a weekend workshop.

And that’s what it feels like.  So they protect it, by not sharing it.

If you approach with humility, respect and boundaries, the story would probably be different. Many tribal people have shared with outsiders who are humble and respectful. It’s not a matter of elitism or hate. It’s a matter of respecting the value of what we have. Both sides benefit from respect.

Lose the Entitlement

Outsiders can come in with an attitude of entitlement. They don’t understand that even people within the culture can’t do or have everything. There are boundaries. Sometimes it has to do with timing, age, gender, or readiness. We can’t just do whatever we want whenever we want. Why should you?

Obey Natural Laws

The sun does not shine at night. Salmon don’t spawn in the winter. Everything obeys natural laws. When you don’t know what the cultural boundaries are or follow the flow of Nature, you will make spiritual mistakes.

Womb circles are for women. This doesn’t mean we are not sympathetic towards people who identify as women. It doesn’t mean that they are not honored for who they are or can’t participate in other activities that are women only. It means that this particular event is open to those with a womb. Certain rituals are open to specific genders, ages, or people with a certain condition or have undergone a specific rite of passage. Those boundaries exist for a reason.

I’ve seen people literally lose their minds because they weren’t ready for the experiences they sought. People who don’t have the cultural knowledge to benefit can get nothing from an experience, engage in spiritual bypass, or be completely unprepared for it. So boundaries aren’t about keeping you out. They are about keeping you safe and maintaining the natural order.

Be a Student

When creating a mini dairy goat, you mate a mini with a full sized goat. The first generation offspring are called “experimental.” It isn’t until the fourth generation that those goats are registerable as minis. All that is to say that it takes a while to create change and stabilize that change. So be a student.

In today’s society, people take a workshop and emerge an expert. They teach or share as if they are knowledgeable about a subject. Because there is no on to contradict them, they become the expert. Real wisdom and context is lost.

Animism is a lifepath. It is always in the process of unfolding because every moment is new. Life’s always changing. Nobody becomes enlightened or awakened because it’s an ongoing process. We can have moments of enlightenment or be in the process of awakening, but that’s true of everyone. No one is spiritually better or further along. We’re all in it together.

So who is to say that “that guy” is the expert? Who’s to say that the child doesn’t see more clearly than you? This doesn’t take away from your wisdom or life experience. It just suggests that you never lose the ability to laugh at yourself, give the other guy credit, and remember that we’re all always learning.

Be Trustworthy

If you are invited to participate in a sacred ceremony or are given sacred knowledge, hold it in trust. Treat it with the same reverence that it is held within the native culture. If you alter it (and unless you are deeply steeped in the culture you probably will do that unknowingly if not intentionally), call it by a different name.

Don’t share it with people who would not have the right to it within the tribal context. Don’t teach it if you could not do so within the tribal culture. By all means, never sell it. In most tribal cultures, spirituality is never for sale. Treat is as wise ones within the culture treat it so that you don’t contribute to its destruction.

Respect the Sovereignty

If someone doesn’t want to share with you, that’s their right. They don’t have to. Like westerners, many tribal people are trying to get in touch with their lost roots. We are relearning our languages and reviving our customs. We’re regaining ourselves.

Sometimes the easiest way to do that is with the love and support of others. Sometimes it is by shutting the world out. Respect the process. It’s not about you.

At the same time, it’s totally okay for you to have your own process and own ideas. If you want to return to your roots, fabulous. If a revival style practice works better, do that. Perhaps you want to start something totally new. Fabulous, do that. Or join us. You are welcome here.

The world’s ancient spiritual traditions have remained alive despite radical efforts to eradicate paganism. Thanks to the passion of dedicated people and the mystics who were entrusted with sacred knowledge, it thrives today.

There are many prophesies about the west eradicating the old ways. There are also many prophesies about the old and new combining to create something new and wonderful.

Yang has a history of dominating, distorting, and annihilating Yin. If we want to choose the path of wholeness, we have to learn to trust and respect each other’s ways and wisdom. That requires safety first.

Animism is a blessing that is meant to be experienced and shared. Healing the divide means that east and west, old and new, traditional and modern need to be friends. So let’s show proper respect and boundaries so that it can work for everyone.

It’s Not About the Rituals

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

I get a lot of requests for rituals. That’s awesome. I am glad people are interested in this. I am happy to share rituals, but I’ve got to tell you something. Animism is not about the rituals.

Did you know that one third of all lottery winners declare bankruptcy? Do you know why? I think it’s for the same reason that spirituality is not about the rituals. Because you can’t change in inside by changing the outside, and any method that skyrockets you beyond a growth point is likely to end in disillusion. Why? Because we didn’t create the foundation to support it.

This is the same thing with manifestation. Some people are great at manifesting. They can manifest all sorts of things really quickly, but if you look closely, they don’t seem to manifest a way of sustaining their gains. Again it’s because there is no foundation.

Let’s take a look at this. If you can’t find a partner, ask yourself why. What is going on in your life that is creating conditions where love that is likely. Do you have walls so high and thick that no one can get in? Is your life too full with other things that there is no space for someone? Do you give your time to unavailable people? Do you give your time to people who aren’t healthy enough to love you back? There is always a reason why things are the way they are.

So to bring it back to spirituality, if you are looking for spiritual meaning through doing rituals, chanting, learning healing, or learning how to speak with the dead, you’re focusing on the what shows up on the outside. If there is nothing inside to support it, it’s eventually going to feel empty because it is. Going through the process of learning and connecting creates the change on the inside. It grounds your practice.

So here is my advice. Read pagan mythology. Learn about pagan symbols so that you can understand the stories and the natural world. Talk to your elders. Get to know your ancestry. Watch. Participate. Ask questions.

Learn about what each step of rituals mean. Create your own rituals so that they are meaningful to you. Be a student. Find a community. Get a mentor. In other words, grow some roots. Whatever you put on top of them will flourish if you give it a strong foundation.

That said, I will get cracking on those ritual requests! Thanks for asking. It’s our pleasure.

Pan Society Mythology Explained

pan society mythology

Although the title of this post is “Pan Society Mythology Explained,” that’s rather a grand ambition. What I hope this article does is give a broad overview of the Pan Society world. Those who are new to animism may be confused by the lack of stories. Hopefully this makes it easier to understand.

Keep in mind that although “mythology” has come to mean stories that are not true, mythos really just means a set of beliefs about something. You don’t have to believe any or all of this to be a Panist. It just gives an explanation for our framework.

The Creation

In the beginning, there was the Void. In the Void, there is no time, space, thoughts, or form. The absence of matter is pure Consciousness. We think of it as the annihilation, but in actuality, it is fullness, Oneness, the absence of separation. It’s all things and no thing all at once.

From the Void came the Fire and Ice, the first two elements and creation beings. The yin and the yang. With these two came complimentary duality or the world where everything has a masculine and feminine energy that appear to be opposites, but can’t live without each other.  They had an idea, and Earth and Sky were born. (The fifth element, Aether, was always there as a part of the Void).

Each thing is alive with consciousness because the Void lives in all of us. Each time a being has an idea, it creates a new thing. In this way, everything is born. Everything is a creation being.

As Aether, Fire, Ice, Earth, and Sky were the original creation beings, they are in all things. Everything that came before us (animals, plants, mountains, rivers, etc) are our ancestors.

The Other World

Beings who are not in physical form reside in the Other World. Mythical beasts and creatures, as well as those who cannot be seen, also live here. This can include the dead, faeries, phoenixes, gods and goddesses. Time doesn’t exist there as it does in the apparent world. The Other World is both the past, present, and future. It includes Heaven and the Underworld. It is not “somewhere out there.” It’s right here. We usually just can’t perceive it. When the veil is thin, it’s easier.

The Apparent World

The Apparent World is the world that human being perceive as reality. If you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell or measure it, it’s a part of the apparent world.

Gods and Goddesses

Gods and goddesses are energies that are more powerful than humans. They are unpredictable and can’t be explained. Sometimes they help us. Sometimes they harm us. Think of Trickster. He keeps things interesting and keeps us reaching out to the gods! The gods need us and we need them. When the gods and goddesses no longer serve humanity, we abandoned them, and they lose power.

The World Tree

The world tree is the center of the earth. It is also a symbol for the universe. The branches go to the highest reaches of Heaven and the roots go to the deepest parts of the Underworld. The world tree is the doorway to travel the three realms – Heaven, Earth, and Underworld. It also serves as a symbol of the sacredness of all life. In fact, all trees serve as a reminder of the sacredness of life. This is why trees have a special place in Pan Society.

The Wheel of Life

This symbol is wholeness. It represents the lifetime of a person as well as the life cycle of nature. It’s based on the movements of the sun and moon and incorporates the seasons. Like the seasons, it shows that life moves in a circle from birth, maturity, decline, death, and rebirth. Perhaps the most important function of the wheel of life is to provide an example of how to live in harmony with the universe as the wheel shows a relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm.

If you are aware of how the wheel of life spins, you will never be lost. The Pan Society holy days mark the changes of season and remind us of where we are so that we can stay in tune.

A Consecration Ritual

A Consecration Ritual

We consecrate our tools and ritual objects to dedicate them for spiritual and ritual work.

These are basic instructions to help guide you through your consecration ritual, but feel free to change it up and make it your own.

You Will Need:

  • item you want to consecrate
  • a bowl of water
  • a bowl of soil
  • a candle (white)
  • incense  (if desired)

Figure out where the cardinal directions are in your ritual space. Place the bowl of soil on the north side of your space, the candle on the south side, the bowl of water on the west. You’ll notice that we have nothing to place on the east side but that’s because you will use your breath. Place the item you are consecrating in the center of your ritual space. Step outside the space

Light the candle and the incense, if you are using it. Take a few moments to get into the right headspace, especially if this is your first ritual.

Feel free to cast a circle and call quarters if that is part of your path. If it’s not or you are still on your journey, feel free to go to the next step.

Travel to the center of your ritual space and pick up the object for consecration.

Take your item to the bowl of soil on the north side of the ritual space. Take some soil form the bowl and rub it over your object while picturing earth energies flowing into your item. Say, ” With this soil, find my (item name) deeply rooted in my practice. Let the energy of the earth nurture growth.” Feel free to add any words you like.

Take your item to the east. Picture wind energy surrounding your item. Say, “Let the winds blow cool breezes of creativity and ingenuity over this (item name).”  Blow over your item. Feel free to add or change the words.

Head to the candle in the south of your ritual space. Pass your item over the candle and imagine fire energy around and in your item. Say, “Let the purifying energies of fire spark great energy into my ( name item). ” Feel free to change or add to make the words your own.

Take your object to the west and the bowl of water. If the bowl is big enough dip your item in the bowl. If not, dip your hand and scoop some water out. Sprinkle the water over your item and picture the water cleansing your item. Say, ” Let the water cleanse and purifying my (name object).” Feel free to change and add words to make them your own.

Return the item to the center of your ritual space. It is consecrated. Open your circle if you cast one.