My first post for The Pagan Blog Project 2013 is Animism (from the Latin anima, meaning soul or life). It is true to say that I am an Animist, as I believe, and have had experience of, many things in the natural (and non-natural) world being en-spirited.
According to Wikipedia, Animism is:
The religious world-view that natural physical entities—including animals, plants, and often even inanimate objects or phenomena—possess a spiritual essence. Specifically, animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the religion of indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development and/or infiltration of civilization and organized religion.
Basically, Animism includes the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and the physical (or material) world, and that all things have a spirit or soul, whether they be humans, plants, animals, rocks, mountains, rivers, places and so forth. I would even go so far as saying that man-made objects have a spirit (as they have been formed from natural materials – and all is just energy, just vibrating at different rates). Moreover, Animism is not just specifically limited to indigenous tribes. Many established spiritual paths and religions also believe in some form of animism, such as Shinto, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Paganism. My Celtic ancestors certainly believed in animism. For example, The Elder Mother who en-souls Elder trees – you cut them at your peril!
So how does Animism work in my own life? Well, as a shamanic witch I’m well aware of how the spirits influence my own life. They help me to be aware of the web of life and how all things are interconnected; how there are no coincidences but instead meaningful events of synchronicity. Moreover, knowing that all things are ensouled helps me have more regard for this earth and my impact on it, a higher degree of responsibility for my environment and what lives within it. I also derive more pleasure and wisdom – a flower is not just a flower for my sense benefit but a living sentient being that I can communicate with. My friends are not just within the human species but with all species and entities – I am never alone! Animism has truly broadened my horizons, not just sensually but knowledge and wisdom also.