The time has come for new animists to come together as kin. Because we are few and far between, it’s not always possible to find fellow animists in our own hometowns. The internet gives us the chance to come together.
I have always lived in an animist reality. The nonhuman world has been alive to me since childhood, ensouled and intelligent. Seeking like-minded people in my youth, the closest I could come to shared experience was with the neo-pagans. For the most part, however, the pagans I met seemed content with staying on the surface. Rituals and pleasures, good times and good friends are all fine things, but they were not enough for me. The neo-pagans I knew looked to other people’s traditions for guidance. They seemed reluctant to trust their own experiences or to enter the frightening depths of the here and now. Not all neo-pagans, of course, but the ones I met.
They also looked at me askance whenever I raised my hands in shameless spiritual joy. I remember after one outdoor ritual, everyone was huddled in protective spaces against the weather. Then, one lone dancer emerged from his tent into the chilly rain to skip naked across an open field.
“Look at him,” said a man standing next to me under the awning, disdain curling his lip. “What a showoff!”
We watched the dancer for a moment in silence, then I said, “Maybe he’s just in love with the rain.”
“Maybe he’s just an asshole who doesn’t know enough to keep his pants on.”
“Or maybe he’s filled with the holy spirit,” I suggested.
“Holy Spirit, my ass. Hey,” my neighbor under the awning gave me a suspicious look. “Are you a Kee-ristian?” He moved away from me and I watched the dancer spin, arms open wide, and wished with all my heart that I had the courage to join him.
The Kee-ristians were the next stop on my journey. The Holy Spirit was beating against my chest from the inside like the wings of a caged bird. The voice of my gods were growing louder and more insistent, and I could hear every living thing now, singing with green voices to the Creator. At least the Christians weren’t afraid of the Holy Spirit, I thought, and I spent five years in an evangelical church and felt understood, because they, too, heard the voice of a beloved god.
But the loving Jesus god of the Christians has long since been perverted and turned to the service of the Dominators. How could I stay in the church? I was saddened by the punishing politics that followed their joyful worship. They hated the animal body and I loved the animal body and our human life on earth, so I left the Christians and went into the woods.
And there, at last, in the woods, I found my gods and my friends in loving profusion. Animism is not a religion for me or a tradition, not a practice or an idea. Animism is my reality. Rocks and trees that speak are not poetry to me; cloud people and tree people are not metaphors. They are real. I hear them. I see them watching me. They are alive, ensouled and bursting with intelligence.
The trees took me in and made me one of their own. Together with the tree people, I formed a circle deep in the woods, and experienced a connection with the divine so deep that it was erotic, transforming, and terrifying in its intensity. I had come home in my spiritual life, but I was still lonely for human kin.
I started reading “groups” on facebook and blogging here. Through the internet, I’ve found a few people who share my experience. People who, like me, find in animism the best description of the reality in which we live. Perhaps you are also a new animist? Then, we are kinfolk, my friends and we should be together.
The best resource I’ve found to date is the New Animism Info blog. The best of the blogs that identify as animist are brought together here. Not blogs that represent one of the updated ancient religions or indigenous traditions (as wonderful as they are and with due respect given), but animists who speak from personal experience in the here and now. We are the new animists. We live in a world the New Animism Info blog calls “colonial” and I call “Dominator,” but we see past the lies of the Dominators to the animist reality, and we are ready to share our vision and come home to Eden.
Through writing, music, art, and magic, we can call the animist reality into new life. We can sing the rocks awake. We can paint and dance and dream and live the animist reality into rebirth.
It is possible. Come on! Let’s get together! If you blog then enable your comments liberally. Create e-mail accounts you can safely share. Take a chance and write to one another. Check out New Animism Info. Speak your truth to others. Read your poetry out loud to me. I want to hear your voice.
Hey, remember that lonely dancer in the rain? Soon after the ritual, we found one another and we found that we were kin. We’ve been married twelve years. He taught me to stand, a naked and unashamed animal, in my living world. Stand naked together, now, friends. Do not be unashamed!