So you want to convert to animism and are wondering how do you initiate into Pan Society. Let’s look at that.
What is Initiation?
Initiation is the releasing of your old self and the welcoming of the new. It’s often marked with ceremony, symbolism, music, dance, ceremonial garb, in the presence of witnesses, but can be a spontaneous event that comes without notice.
Some initiations take place over time and require the prospective initiate to undergo trials, rites of passage, or education in order to cross the threshold.
You may desire a personal animist initiation. This is a pledge that you make to yourself to walk the animist path. No one can tell you what to believe or how to walk this path. It’s yours and yours alone.
You don’t need anyone to initiate you into Pan Society. You can do it in any way that feels appropriate for you. You can do it alone, with family, among friends, Spirits, the ancestors, or the gods. Your ceremony can be short, elaborate, in Nature, or in your own mind. Whatever feels meaningful to you is perfect.
A community animist initiation is like a wedding or adopting a child. The initiate and the community are forming a pact to relate, support, connect, and uphold and celebrate certain traditions or beliefs. Each party often agrees to be there for the other in good times and in bad. This is often very powerful because the initiation it witnessed and supported by others.
The Elders or teachers of the community agree to sometimes formally educate the initiate into the group’s cultures and traditions. Sometimes this is informal. This can happen before or after the initiation, but generally is more beneficial to do at least some education beforehand so that the pledge has a realistic idea of what s/he is getting into and can make an informed decision.
Initiated By the Gods
Now what if you have had a spontaneous initiation by the gods? Does that count? Absolutely! If you have been called by a god and have a relationship, no one can tell you that’s not legitimate. However, if you want to belong to a human community of animists, you may wish to also have a community initiation. After all, it’s challenging to practice sovereignty and connection if you’re not connected.
There are those who feel that initiations only come through the gods. Some feel that it’s an ancestral claim. At Pan Society, we feel that it’s all related. Everything is Nature. You don’t have to believe in the gods to be a Panist. There is more than one way to dedicate your life to the animist path.
Initiation is transformative. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly because it will spiritually and emotionally bind you to a path and/or people.
The initiation is the beginning of the journey, not the end. So be sure that it’s a path you want to travel and that this is the community that you want beside you. If you feel like initiating into animism is the choice for you, you are welcome here at Pan Society.