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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prepare by gathering what you want for your altar. Think about what this time means for you. Summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the peak of masculine energy. Do certain colors bring this idea out for you? What about things that represent the sun and the fiery element of summer, like candles? How much light is too much? What about solar symbols? What’s growing right now? Would you like to add any food elements, either for decoration or as an offering?
Do you want to bring in the idea of duality? Yin and yang; earth and sky; fire and ice; the god and goddess; oak and holly? What other things represent this time for you?
To Dress or Not to Dress?
How do you want to dress? Is this a formal, sacred celebration where you ritually bathe and don special clothing or is this a “come as you are” event? Either is fine. If you choose to wear ritual clothing, you just may want to decide that in advance so that you are prepared.
Flame or Blaze?
For this observance we are going to need fire. It can be a long lasting candle, many candles, a small camping fire, or a bonfire. Again, it’s your choice. You may need to plan ahead just to make sure you have what you need. Bigger isn’t better. It’s just a personal choice.
On the eve of the solstice, set up your altar. Purify your body. Don your apparel. Bring out some water and/or other libation. Create your sacred space – hopefully in a place outside where you can see the sunrise.
Now you are either going to take a nap and get up by 11:45 p.m. or not go to sleep. You want to start before midnight.
For this observation, sit up through the night, contemplate the energy of the sun, the seasons, the land, and Nature herself. Let your mind stay open and empty to whatever the elements want to say to you. As you do this, you can stare into the flames, sing, dance, or do whatever you feel called to do that doesn’t put you in your thinking mind. You want to stay in a place of open wonder and contemplation. This doesn’t have to mean that it’s solemn. It can be joyous, pure, and vulnerable. You just don’t want it to be about entertainment, a spectacle, or a performance.
Watch the northeast sky for a break in the horizon. As the sun lightens the night sky, give gratitude for the warmth, food, and life that it brings. If you can’t see the actual sun disc, just face in the direction that it would be if you could see it. Once it’s fully over the horizon, drink a toast to the sun. Speak your gratitude and make an offering of your libation on the ground.
Close your ceremony by saying something like, “This sacred ceremony of the summer solstice is now closed. Thank you, Sun. Hail and farewell.”
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.
is self sufficient
has a good relationship with family
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.
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.
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.