Animism for the Religious Naturalist

Animists see a world that is full of other-than-human persons, including salmon persons, tree persons, and even rock persons. It is difficult for many Westerners to understand the concept of other-than-human persons, especially when talking about (seemingly) “inanimate objects” like rocks. But for the animist, there is no such thing as inanimate matter, because it is all a part of the complex self-regulating living system called Gaia. Animism is not about the projection of consciousness or agency onto non-human things, but about respect and reciprocity within a more-than-human community that transcends the subject-object dichotomy.

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Pagan with a small “p”

For every gem of genuine ecological wisdom I have found in the Pagan community, there is a deluge of crystals and correspondences, divinities and divination apps, wizards and wishful thinking. Maybe it’s time to face up to the fact that, while I am spiritually and religiously “pagan” with a small-p, culturally I am not a capital-P “Pagan”.

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