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.


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.


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.

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.


Why Modern Animism is Not For Everybody

modern animism

It seems that we are undergoing a shift towards spirituality vs. religion. In that shift, many are looking towards magic, ritual, and a Harry Potter type of spirituality with no rules. That may seem to be what Pan Society offers. We don’t have dogma. There is no Ten Commandments. You can do what you like. This can seem perfect, but let me tell you why modern animism is not for everybody.

What is Modern Animism?

First let me lay the groundwork. We call Pan Society “modern animism” to differentiate it from the contemporary tribal animism that has existed in an uninterrupted state for millennia. If they are the country mice, we are the city mice. We are most likely urban dwellers, consumers of technology, cut off from our ancestors, and living in isolated communities. We don’t have community traditions or networks. Our roots connecting us to Nature aren’t dead, but they need nurturing. We are united by the shared the belief that everything is alive, sacred, and One.

We Are Not Looking Back

Some animists look to reconnect by going back to the past. They want the religion of their ancestors. Sometimes it’s to reclaim what was stolen from them. Sometimes it’s to feel more authentic, special, or powerful. There is nothing wrong with any of that. Pan Society recognizes that the river only flows in one direction. It doesn’t go back. As modern animists, we live in the present moment with modern beliefs, lifestyles, politics, and problems. We accept that the past happened and are living in the now. This is not to say that the past doesn’t matter. It’s most holistic. The past, present, and future matter, and we’re looking ahead.

We Believe in Sovereignty

Many people are attracted to animism for the freedom. They want to be able to take what they want, do what they want, and have no borders or boundaries. That’s more Wild Child or Rebel energy. Pan Society is a bit different. We do believe in freedom, but it’s bounded by responsibility. So, you can choose your own path, but it’s contained by the right use of power. We don’t take from others (including plant, animal, human, mineral, or spiritual “people”) to have what we want. They are sovereign, and we respect their sovereignty as we express our own.

We Believe in Connection

Intimacy is hard! It requires vulnerability and honesty. Quite often, it requires forgiveness. Nobody wants to risk being hurt, so it’s often easier to be superficial, hang back, and withhold your truth. Unfortunately, you can’t engage much from there. So modern animism is risky. The reward is that we live in relationship with the world around us. By letting our roots spread out into the many realms (plant, animal, human, spirit, and mineral), we have a much stronger foundation. We’re bend more easily during the tough times and feel less alone.

We Clean Up Our Mess

I can’t say that this is universally true of modern animists, but when you are aware of your connections, you’re more likely to clean up after yourself. I am mostly talking about emotional baggage, but also the physical space around you. If I am tweaked by something, that shows me where I still need healing. That’s a sovereignty issue. That’s for me to deal with. So, I clean it up. If it’s intergenerational, my family benefits too. My community benefits. Everyone benefits! So, we leave the world a better place than when we found it.

We Take Our Time

Being authentic means looking at hard, deep stuff. Most people want what’s easy, quick, and fun. Modern animism is a lifestyle. It takes a long time to reprogram ourselves out of the commercial, me-me-me, image driven values of modern society. It takes a long time to develop a relationship with the land, animals, ourselves, our people, and the rest of creation. Healing is a process. So, it’s not about immediate gratification or goals. It’s about the experience.

We Are Holistic

Some spiritual not religious folks focus on the wow factor of crystals, tarot cards, or meditation. They like the flash and tricks of being able to do something unique. That becomes the focus of their spirituality.

Or some like to keep their spirituality more philosophical or intellectual. It’s not something that they do. It’s something that they think.

That’s cool, but at Pan Society, we’re in it for the big picture. There is more to animism than rituals or talking to the dead. In fact, your version of it may not include any of that. It’s more about removing the barriers between mind, body, and spirit. It’s about showing the sacredness of life in your speech, relationships, eating, play – everything. Spirit isn’t in one thing. It’s in everything.

The bottom line is modern animism might look like too much work for some people. It could be too hard. If so, it’s okay if it’s not for you. Your path is the right path. It may lead here some day, and it may not. However you choose to lead your life is just fine. Be you.

How To Practice Panism


So, you want to be an animist and you don’t know where to start. We’re glad you’re here. This article can help you on your journey!

The first thing to know is that Panism is a lifestyle that flows from your beliefs. It’s not the beliefs themselves. So essentially, it’s a way to just be a more authentic, whole version of yourself. If you believe that everything is alive, sacred, and connected, how does that show up? Don’t get distracted by the rituals, holy day celebrations, manifesting, gods, peak experiences, or Other World or Inner World travels. Those are great, but may make you miss the forest for the trees. If you keep it simple – especially in the beginning- you will find your way.

Know Yourself

The first step in Panism can be to know yourself. Who are you? What do to believe? What do you want? Where do you begin and end? What are your boundaries? What do you want? This is a journey that can take a lifetime as you’re ever evolving. There can be so much programming to undo – yours, society’s, and your ancestors. Take the time to figure this out. It’s your life. What better way to spend it than as a journey of self discovery? Sovereignty is the ultimate expression of integrity.

Share Yourself

Once you know who you are, you are in the perfect position to connect. Nobody is an island. We are part of the matrix. We yearn to belong. When we are Sovereign, we can do that in a way that doesn’t harm. Our contact is mutually beneficial to other people, plants, animals, the mineral and spiritual kingdoms. So reach out. Connect.

Grow Yourself

Lots of people want to be comfortable. Many strive to be on top and stay there. Forget about that! If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Get into the wheel of life and grow beyond your comfort zone. The universe is expanding and you can too. As your awareness grows, let your being grow to match it. This could mean your life gets bigger … or smaller! It could mean you shine more… or less. It could mean anything. Everything is possible.

Love Yourself

As you journey through life, I hope you fall in love with yourself over and over again. When you see your beauty and light, it makes it easier for others to, too. We all need  a light to guide us. Be that for someone else. Enjoy theirs. Spread the love.

A Cheat Sheet

If that’s not concrete enough, let me give you a cheat sheet. Observe, then Act. Or Observe, Act, Self-Correct.

Have you watched any of Tisha Michelle’s videos on Pan Society’s Youtube channel? She’s showing you what to do. She observes something mindfully. Has an insight. Then she acts on it. She evaluates whether it’s in alignment with her values and purpose . If so, she’s happy with it and keeps on going. If not, she self corrects. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be any fancier than that.

If you notice, I didn’t say anything about prayer, ritual, do this, or don’t do that. In Panism, you can do it your way. If you engage in the fullness of life, you will find your way. Live mindfully. The “wrong” path may end up being the right one. The meandering trail could give you exactly what you need. And sometimes the fast track puts you in line for what you need next. Trust that everything is as it should be.

The plants, animals, minerals, and spirits are here to assist you. If you are ready for them, reach out to them. If you aren’t, be where you are. It’s all good.

Do No Thing

no thing

I was talking to a woman about my long drive to work, and she asked, “Do you listen to podcasts? Music?” When I told her no, she replied, “Do you plan your day?” Again I replied no. I could tell from the look on her face that she didn’t understand and thought I was wasting a colossal amount of time. I thought, “Clearly she doesn’t understand the value of doing no thing.

We are taught from a young age that we’ve always got to be doing something. If mom says, “What are you doing?” and we say, “Nothing,” she’s probably going to give us something to do that we don’t want to do.

When we go to school, we are told there is a right and wrong answer to everything and our job is to figure out the right one. So we learn to value thinking, which is doing something. We figure that if we just throw more intellect at it, we will find an answer.

If we are stuck in a rut or have a problem, one of the first things we are asked is, “What are you doing about it?” If we don’t know what to do, we will do things that don’t work like avoid it, drink, spend money we don’t have, or have affairs just so we can feel like we’re doing something.

“When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” ~Lao Tzu

Let me offer you an alternative. Do no thing. Just for a while. When your head is busy with too much stuff, it needs to empty. Doing no thing is holistic. Animism embraces duality so emptying creates balance. We counter busyness with emptiness, stuff with no thing. It may sound counter intuitive, but relaxing and emptying gives us room to see solutions. When there is too much swirling in our heads, we can’t see the forest for the trees.

Often I start my day with no thing. I sometimes walk in silence without thinking, or I drive to work with no music, no podcast, and no sound. I sit in silence and give myself space to empty. That emptiness helps to keep we well boundaried.

I don’t waste time on things that aren’t important because I have greater clarity. I don’t ruminate, worry, or spin my wheels because I have inspiration, ideas, and solutions. We all do. They are all around us. We just have to make the space to see them.

Think of it this way. Have you ever seen those Where’s Waldo pictures? If you took away half of the items in those pictures, how much easier would it be to see Waldo? Now if you took away all the background noise, now how easy is it to find Waldo? That’s what you are doing when you do no thing.

So the next time you are challenged to power through something or are sitting up worrying, stop. Chill. Let your body relax. Release the tension. Breathe. Do no thing for a while. And let me know if it helps.

Creating a Love Spell

love spell

I got a request for a love spell. Since it’s a violation of someone else’s sovereignty to bring a particular person to you, this ritual will help you to remove any blocks to love, then increase your attractiveness so that love can find you.

Be careful! You can only attract things that vibrate with your own frequency. This means that if you still need to learn something that is painful, you may attract a repeat of what you have already had. This doesn’t absolve you of any growth. You may have to say no to some opportunities before you get what you say you want. Practice discernment.

Making Space for What You Want

On a Friday or a full moon, cleanse your space. Light a candle. Get in a meditative, clear space. Think about all the things you believe are blocking you from having the love that you desire. Be honest. Don’t blame other people or outside influences. Think about what you bring to the picture.

Are you not nice? Do you fear commitment? Do you choose people who are unavailable or don’t share your values? Is work, working out, your friends or hobbies more important than a relationship? Do you put any effort into your appearance? Are you a homebody? Are you really critical or judgmental?

On a piece of paper, write down all the things that you are sincerely willing to give up in order to get what you want. When your list is complete, say aloud, “I now release these blocks from my life so that I may make space for love to enter.” Speak true. Feel the sincerity of the words, and then burn the paper in the flame. Allow yourself to feel the barriers burning away as the paper burns. As the last of the paper burns, say, “So be it.”

Follow through with ridding yourself of the things you do to create obstacles to love. Show your commitment through action. Nothing comes from wishing. You have to act.

Asking For What You Want

Once you’re finished with the first list, write down the qualities and characteristics of the person you wish to attract. Go for broke. You won’t get 100% of what you want, but you can certainly have most of it. I’ve seen this happen too many times to doubt it. Make it bullets or four pages. It’s up to you.

Clarity is more important than details. You may want to include your must haves as well as your must not haves. It’s wise to know your limits. It’s also a good idea to use positive language.

Here are some things you might want to include just to get your started.

  • likes dogs
  • wants children
  • is self sufficient
  • has a good relationship with family
  • non-smoker
  • makes me laugh
  • is emotionally stable
  • is addiction free
  • shares my spiritual values

Get a pink pull out candle, also called a 7 day candle. This is a fat candle that is in a tall glass jar that can be removed from the jar. Cleanse the jar and candle with the smoke of incense or sage.

Carve a sigil or symbol that marks this candle as yours. Carve in other symbols that represent what you want. For example, hearts are symbols for love. If you are invoking and spirit helpers or deities, you can make symbols for them as well.

Into the bottom of the jar place honey, coins, and flower petals. These are offerings to the deities you are asking for help.

Smear the candle with a thin coat of honey or oil. Rub glitter or spices, such as cinnamon, into the honey or oil. The glitter makes it easier for the spirits to see the candle. The cinnamon will attract them by the smell.

Place the candle on your altar with your wish list beneath it. On the next new moon, light it and say something like, “I am willing to receive this love now” or something in your own words that declares your intention. Visualize it coming to you. Feel in your heart that it is on the way. Leave the candle burning until it burns out.  It will take five to seven days.

Now, here is the most important step! Act as if the love spell is already working. See evidence around you that something has changed. Notice how much happier you are. Smile! Show the world. Beam with expectation that your luck has changed. Be nice. Notice all the ways that the universe is responding to your desire. When the guy(s) or girl(s) shows up, say yes. Too often people say they want something and then dismiss it when it shows up. If you’re not serious, it will go away.

Another Option

Manifesting is a great way to be proactive and help yourself. There is another option. You can trust that everything is just perfect the way that it is and allow life to unfold at its own pace. There is no right or wrong way to live. Your experience will help you decide what works best for you.

New Moon in Gemini Solo Ritual

new moon ritual

Don’t have a moon circle near you? No worries! Here is a new moon ritual for the new moon in Gemini that you can do alone. While day and time of the actual new moon is the optimal time for this, you can do it a day ahead to about to two days after to take advantage of this energy. The more important your intention is, the more exact you want to be about the time.

Set Your Intention

It’s a good idea to sync your intention with the energy around you. This way, the strong energy in the heavens is working with you. You can focus on one energy or mix and match. So what’s going on right now? If your ritual happens on the dark moon (when no light is visible in the sky), this is a liminal time that’s good for reaching out to the ancestors, resting, and banishing. If your ritual happens on the new moon (when the moon first reappears), it’s a good time for bringing new things into the world.

Since Gemini is ruled by Mercury, this is a time to focus on communication. Gemini is an Air sign so things that have to do with intellect, creativity, writing, logic, independence, innovation, or detachment would also be appropriate for your new moon ritual. This particular new moon also has the qualities of spontaneity and change. Is there anything here that you’d like to banish (on the dark moon) or bring into the world (on the new moon)? Let that be your intention.

Here are some examples:

  • I confidently communicate with strangers.
  • Job change comes quickly and easily.
  • I am a published author.
  • My boundary issues are resolved.
  • I see answers to my problem around ______.
  • Fun dating prospects that match my wish list land on my door step.

Create Your Altar

Set up your altar in a way that reflects your intentions and the moon. Let this be as simple or elaborate as you like. Be sure to leave an offering for the spirits you intend to call into your circle. This can be anything that seems appropriate, for example: coins, chocolate, a flower that is blooming now, alcohol, tobacco, seashells, or cherries (because they are ripe now).

Purify and Center

Cleanse your ritual space with a prayer, water, fire (candles), or smoke (incense, sage, or palo santo). If you would like to call to the quarters, call in your ancestors, or the elements, do that now. Sit in meditation to center yourself for about ten minutes. You can do this silently, with music, or by chanting a mantra – whatever works best for you. Take your time. It’s better to wait until you are in the right heart space before moving on than to rush.

Write or Doodle

Since Gemini is about communication, write about what it will be like when you have what you want. Let it come from your stream of consciousness . Don’t think too hard on it. This can be bullet points or paragraphs. No one else will see this so don’t worry about punctuation or spelling. Nothing is too big or too small. Dream wildly. No editing about whether or not you think you deserve it or can have it. Just write.

If you’re not  writer, doodle. We’re not looking for art to hang in a gallery, just images or symbols that represent your heart’s desires. Stick figures or abstract images are fine.

As you write or doodle, let your body fill with the knowing that this is yours. Let your ancestors, gods, or whatever energies you called into your circle support you and bring this to you. Feel it. Know it.

Claim It!

When you feel that your writing is done, energetically cement it by speaking it aloud. Say something like, “I accept ______. It’s mine for the asking. So be it!” Let yourself feel the truth of what you speak. Speak with conviction. If you don’t believe it, the universe won’t take you seriously.

Close Your Circle

Give thanks to the energies that you called in. Release them and close your circle. Put your altar tools away. Ritually dispose of any offerings.

What Does This Mean? Definitions for the Curious.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Macrocosm- the world, the universe, the whole

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

Manifesting– another word for magick

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

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

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

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

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

Occult– that which is unexplained, mysterious.

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

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

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

Panpsychism– the belief that everything has a consciousness

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

Polytheist– the belief and worship of many gods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wheel of life– see medicine wheel

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

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

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

Am I a Shaman?

am i a shaman

Have you read or heard something and now you are asking yourself, “Am I a shaman?” You are the final authority on your reality. No one can answer that question for you, however, let me provide you with some things to think about that might help to make this clearer.

What Is a Shaman?

“Shaman” is a Tungus (Russian) word that describes their name for a person who walks in the spirit world for the purposes of helping the living and dead. It really doesn’t have any meaning outside that context because culture matters. What the person does in that role, and how she does it, varies from culture to culture, so using the word “shaman” generically isn’t all that useful or accurate. 

Some indigenous or animist cultures have healers that don’t work in the spirit world, yet they are still called shaman by outsiders. So perhaps it is more useful to call each culture’s healers by the name that they use. For cultures that no longer have this tradition, I usually use the name spirit walker.

How are Spirit Walkers Chosen?

The answer to this question varies from culture to culture. Generally speaking, spirit walkers are chosen when the person is young. In some cultures, women can be chosen after child rearing is over and menopause sets in. 

The initiation often follows a severe illness, near death experience, or some life changing event. During this process, the old person dies so that the spirit walker can be born. After this process, the old personality’s life is over. He or she may not care about the things they used to care about, may not like the things they used to, and has a radically altered personality and lifestyle. After a transition period, he is generally much wiser.

Spirit chooses spirit walkers. One cannot decide to become one. It’s a demanding and often painful life. These people tend to be isolated and strange. The work they do demands a lot from them. Although they are respected and are a part of the community, they often live on the fringes because they have one foot in the spirit world. As such they don’t have the same cares as other people. They don’t tend to be materialistic, egotistical, or business minded. In no culture that I know of does the spirit walker do this as a business. It’s a calling, a service.

Some cultures say that a person can refuse the call. Some say that to refuse is to die. In some cultures, if the gift is abused, the spirit walker spirit leaves the healer. 

How Are People Trained for This Role?

Shamanism is an animist practice. It’s the belief in animism that gives power to the healer. The animist training for this role comes from culture. From birth spirit walkers are taught how to have relationships with Nature, people, plants, animals, and the ancestors just by watching how those around them live. Spirit walking is the ability to function in the nonmaterial world. Without this foundation, none of the work, love, or understanding required to do this work can exist. Everything is relational to animists. 

The skills required to do this work come from the spirit walker spirit that now inhabits the human body. The person is not the healer. The person is the hollow reed through which the spirit walker works. As such, there is no “training” that happens. Some describe it as being downloaded with the information from all spirit walker incarnations that ever served the community. It’s like the spirit walker spirit never dies, but continues to learn and grow, finding different bodies to inhabit to do this service.

These are generalizations. They do not apply to all people in all cultures at all times. There are always exceptions. When the spirit comes to westerners, they need guidance to understand what is happening to them. They may need guidance to learn the basics of how to connect with their spirit guides. 

Words of Warning

There are many people teaching shamanic skills now. Learning shamanic skills does not make one a spirit walker. One can have very effective healing skills without being a spirit walker. There are many forms of energy healing and faith healing that work very well. Spirit makes one a spirit walker.

In most indigenous cultures, this is not something that one desires or pursues. It is a burden, a responsibility, a sacrifice. If you feel called to this path, I urge you to consider what it means. Ask yourself if you have the necessary relationship with your ancestors and all of creation to do this well. Are you firmly plugged into the matrix of life to serve the whole web well? The primary role of the Healer archetype is to heal oneself. Are you balanced enough in ego and health to serve? 

Lots of people are on the shamanism bandwagon. Many people say that pathologies are spiritual. They say crises are calls to initiation. For example, I hear that highly sensitive people are very spiritual. Psychics and past life readers are telling their clients that they are shaman or were shaman in a past life. All symptoms are signs of dis-ease, however some really are mental or physical issues and should be treated as such.

So be careful. Consider the source and motivation of anyone who is saying they are a shaman or is suggesting that you are. If spirit choses you, you will know it. You will hear it from the spirit themselves. If you have to ask, “Am I a shaman?” the answer is probably no.