Category Archives: Animism

For Sale: Neopaganism “As Is”

By | Animism, Community Issues, Witchcraft & Magic | 32 Comments

On the Origins, Problems, and Future of Neopaganism My goal here is to do more than just lift up a corner of the old wool carpet of neopaganism to reveal the dirt underneath. I think it is high time we just flip the whole bloody thing over and yell about how no one vaccumed under it for decades but just cleaned up what was visible. Lazy, right? Get your dusty brooms out of those closets and get ready to clean house! My intent in writing this long article is to use my best “professor of contemporary pagan studies” voice and define neopaganism, to explain how neopaganism and the paths within it make up a movement and not a religion, to point out where things went wrong, and to help foster a discussion on how and if things can be changed for the better at this point. You may find frustration and disillusionment in my words. I may make you angry or sad. Or, I may make you grateful that someone finally spelled out all the fake-lore and flaws for you. I ask you to keep in mind that in person I am a very sarcastic and silly person from a…

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Everything You Need to Know About Animism

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness, Folk Magic, Spirit Work | 23 Comments

“There is no environment ‘out there’ separate from us. The environment is embedded in us. We are as much a part of our surroundings as as the trees and birds and fish, the sky, water and rocks.” ~ David Suzuki What is Animism? The Latin animus means “the rational soul, intelligence, consciousness, and mental powers” and the feminine anima means “soul, living being, mind, and breath”. If you collect all the words for soul from all the languages around the world, almost all of their roots simply mean “breath”, insinuating that the soul and spirits in general are invisible and intangible. In the 1670s, the term anima mundi, meaning “soul of the world”, was used to describe the teachings of ancient Greek philosophers Pythagoras and Plato who believed the world and the universe itself was infused with an animate soul. In 1866, English anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Taylor popularized the already existing term animism from the Latin anima combined with the suffix -ism (attached to words associated with practices, beliefs, doctrines, worship, etc).  He defined animism as the “theory of the universal animation of nature.” Animism became the go-to term for anthropologists to describe and define the beliefs of non-Christian and prehistoric indigenous…

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Animism at the Dinner Table

By | Animism, Bioregionalism, Cooking | 18 Comments

Some of you may not be aware of this, but food is my first passion above herbalism and above magic. I am a mom, then a cook, then a plant lover, and then a witch. The artist is in there too, but often gets to create through food rather than illustration most of the time. My parents taught me to cook from a very young age, from the garden, from scratch, from whole foods. I cooked while I was going to school and then went to culinary school out of high school rather than university. I worked at hotels and restaurants all over the great cities of Canada: Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Victoria. I saw the truffle seller come in the back door and peddle her fragrant wares out of a basket by candlelight in a restaurant in Montréal. I remember picking herbs fresh from the gardens of a lakeside hotel to cook dinner for a wedding in rural Ontario.  I’ve cleaned endless fir needles out of pounds upon pounds of wild harvested chanterelle muhrooms for a cafe in Victoria. I’ve felt the steam of the line kitchen, the heat of the deep fryers, and the feel of flipping a…

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The Witch and the Wild

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness, Storytelling, Witchcraft & Magic | 15 Comments

If you have not yet done so, please go and read Peter Grey’s life-altering essay “Rewilding Witchcraft” before continuing with my piece. The co-owner of Scarlet Imprint has much to say that desperately needs to be heard by the magical community. I will sit here and wait and sip my tea while you do so. Then come back and I’ll pour a mug for you and we’ll talk. e are doomed. The earth and nature are not doomed. We are doomed, we humans. If we want to be honest with ourselves about the future of life on earth then we must be on the side of nature and not on the side of humanity. We have made the earth uninhabitable for ourselves, but nature will survive and notice our decline and demise as much as a the ocean notices one boat sinking into its depths. Green vines will swallow our cities of concrete and metal, trees will uproot parking lots and highways, animals will nest in our abandoned houses, the roofs of our temples will collapse letting in sunlight and starlight… and nature will not care, nature will not laugh, nature will not cry. Our witchcraft, nay, our very being must become more…

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The Song of the Land: Bioregional Animism

By | Animism, Ecological Consciousness | 7 Comments

greenmantle covers the black earth. Green of different shades and different sizes, the tiniest plant to the tallest tree. The green is full of life; flowers, berries, seeds and the animals and insects who eat them and call them home. The blue sky is filled with life, with feathered birds, winged insects, floating seeds, and invisible pollen floating in the invisible wind. The greenmantle breathes the sky in and out, the world’s largest air purifier. Beneath the greenmantle of frenzied orgiastic life lies the bones of the dead: bones of animals and humans, husks of dead insects, rotting trees from long-dead forests, and season upon season of dead plants layered into rich, fertile humus which feeds the green above. Within this dark mass of death is the roots of the living, of trees and plants and fungi, connected like a massive nervous system forming the brain and consciousness of the land. Beneath the dead and the roots are minerals and stones. Beneath the stones are fresh waters, deep, dark and intrinsic to the health of the life far above. Snow runs down mountains, melting into streams, the streams connecting into lakes and rivers, the rivers flowing out to the sea….

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