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.


Wrapping Your Head Around Complimentary Duality

Wrapping Your Head Around Complimentary Duality

When you’re working on spiritual growth, there are times when you’re like a hermit crab. You have to crawl out of your comfy little shell and move into a new home because you expand. You need more space for all the ways you’re growing.

Other times you have to recreate your whole universe because the things you are learning don’t fit within your world view anymore. One of those world expanding things could be about wrapping your head around the idea of complimentary duality. What the heck is that?

Well, most of us grew up with this idea that the world is antagonistic. There is a constant battle of good and evil. We are either winners or losers. This is an example of dualism.

Dualism comes from the Latin word duo which means two. The two in this case are two poles. These two poles are opposites like light and dark or hot and cold. We only know one because of the other.

All of life is dualistic in nature. Even things we don’t think of as having an opposite do. Older language show this understanding in the way they are structured. For example, in English when we say the moon, there is nothing to indicate that the moon has gender. However, French, Spanish, Italian, Welsh, and German nouns all have gender. The moon is feminine; the sun is masculine. The earth is feminine; the sky is masculine.

Unlike with the western view of good guys and bad guys, winners and losers, many older cultures see these pairs working together to create balance. You can’t ever “conquer” darkness because it’s a necessary part of wholeness. It’s not bad because there really is no bad. The only time something is “bad” is when it’s the wrong thing at the wrong time or perhaps the wrong amount.

For example, many people don’t like bats or poisonous snakes. They both serve a purpose within nature, but you probably don’t want them in your house. They are better off in their own habitat where they can eat mosquitoes and mice. If you have one snake in the yard by the woodshed, it is no big deal. If your yard is overrun with them, that’s probably not so comfortable. So instead of thinking in terms of good or bad, try thinking about “Is this balanced” or “Is this in the right place at the right time?”

Here Are Some Ways to Make This Idea Useful.

If you see something that makes you think, ask yourself:

  • how is this energy present in me?
  • how does this fit within the whole? (whole life, universe, society, day, etc)
  • what opposite can I tap into to bring balance to this?
  • since this isn’t “bad,” how can I move into a space of acceptance with this?
  • if I don’t need to fix this, do I need to do anything at all?
  • if I try to annihilate this, how might I create imbalance?
  • how can I work with this?
  • if this is not the right thing at the right time in the right amount, what can I do to balance things out?

When you see things through the lens of complimentary dualism, it’s like looking at the yin/yang symbol. The symbol is a whole. It doesn’t work if you remove the white part. It would be meaningless and without context. At the same time, the energy of the white (masculine) side is different from the black (feminine). And there is no way to divide it so that you get a piece that is all white or all black. One depends on the other for balance.

This idea can help you to see how you fit within your family, job, neighborhood, community, and planet. It could give you a connection to your past through your ancestors and future through the descendants. It could help you to see that you’re important. What you do matters. You are connected to the trees, the sky, the animals. You’re in everything. Everything is in you. You can’t do anything without impacting the whole. What others do impacts you.

Are you feeling supremely powerful and important now? You should. You are. In the animist world, all things are. We are all One.