Thursday, August 6, 2009

Love the Animal Body!

You are an animal. Oh, yes, you are! Don’t believe me? Try looking down. You’ve got skin and hair over muscle, bone, and blood. And get a load of those mammalian genitals. Mmm, baby, you’re an animal all right!

You’re also spirit, you are soul. Your Creator gave you soul, like he gave every animal soul, like he gave soul to everything everywhere without exception. Life is permeated with soul the way snow is permeated with white and the night time is one with the blackness. So, the question, “Am I an animal or am I a spiritual being?” is a non sequitur. You are both at once, like Sun is light and heat at once. Try to separate them and you die.

From where I stand in animist reality I can see that human beings are spirit-animals, our fleshly bodies as complex and beautiful and sacred as our souls. Body and spirit are one. In the animist world, the body is good and sex is good.

For tens of thousands of years, humanity thrived in an animist world. It was only about 5000 years ago, during the rise of the monotheists, that humanity began to reject the body and a mythology of the disembodied soul rose to prominence. In this new system of belief, the body is considered weak and disgusting, and the imperfect and ephemeral nature of the flesh tears it apart from its perfect and immortal Creator. We can only speculate as to why this change of thinking occurred. Maybe we humans discovered the fear of death and rejected the part of us that dies. Maybe as we lost our connection with the other animals, we began to look at animals as dead things, as meat, and we hoped to distinguish ourselves from this dead meat by claiming a unique right to spirit.

Or it could be, and here is where I lay my bet, that the rise of the dominators created a new reality of suffering, which led us to dissociate ourselves from the earth and its suffering forms. Whatever the instigation for this myth of the disembodied soul, humans in newly civilized areas of the world began to think of themselves as essentially spirits encased in temporary physical shells. We fled the garden and its joys of the flesh and cast ourselves out into a newly minted dominator world of torment and death.

Most of our churches and religions continue to preach loathing for the body and embrace the mythology of the disembodied soul. They champion the fear of death, offering us immortality in exchange for our earthly lives. This smoothes the way for the dominators to use our bodies to generate wealth and fight their wars.

One of the key tenets of the new animism is a belief that the body is good. Just as we seek intelligence and spirit in all material being, so we embrace the material being of our spirits and minds. This fundamental love for flesh and form inspires us to love and care for our bodies, leading to good health and shameless sex.

You are the animal body. Embrace it! Revel in it!
Smell, taste, touch, listen, and look around you at this amazing world.
Oh, praise the Creator of the flesh!
I will love and care for my body until the day that I return it to the soil.

7 comments:

Fishbowl said...

Not only do I agree that their is no distinction between the body and soul, I also subscribe that there is one soul.

Good article in exploring animist ethics.

Heron said...

Yes. The separation of body and soul by the monotheist religions was a disaster for humans. Soul is happy when bodied is pleasured. Body is happy when soul is pleasured. My animal body is something to celebrate and sex is a sacred act.

I too will love and care for my body until the time comes to return it to the soul.

Thank you for saying what can't be said too often.

Anonymous said...

Do animists believe in the immortality of the soul? I agree that the body is beautiful and good. However, the physical body is temporary, while the soul enjoys eternal life. See www.near-death.com for many true experiences of people who went out of their bodies to visit other realms - where beings vibrate at a higher rate than our physical bodies can.

Sally

t23 said...

consider also how our spirituality went from earth based to sky based, from caves, kivas, and natural sacred spaces to temples and such.

puny human said...

Sally asks "Do animists believe . . .?" but I can't speak for other animists about the issue of the immortality of the "soul." Animists believe that all material being is animate, but each animist community (or individual) enjoys its own beliefs about other things.

Heronmist said...

My Testament:

I believe that both my body and my soul are immortal. But what is not immortal is the ego that currently self-regards 'me' as 'me'. Just as my body will dissipate on death and become part of the body pool of all creation. So will my soul become part of the soul pool. I have been in the universe for ever and will be for ever again. Bits of my awareness will remain aware. But the complex formation of awareness that makes me currently human will be gone. When the time comes I'll give back what I have been given, the particular bundle of awareness I am blessed with and the life on the beautiful planet I live on.

Anonymous said...

I believe we go on to live other lives after our spirit leaves our body (the ultimate "recycling" of the soul, or "spirit-within" as I prefer to call it). I've told my family, when this happens, to honor my earthly body by burying it directly into the Mother's body--no embalming, no coffin, sans clothing-- so the earthworms and other soil creatures can feast on it; in this way, the body, too, is immortal as it is transmuted into nourishment for other living beings. Blessings for this day! --Mayah p.s. great drawing! thank you for this thought-provoking blog!