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Animism - A message from childhood


Cosmic_Fool
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Animism is the belief that everything is alive and animated by a spirit or soul. By everything I mean animals, plants, rocks, rivers, the weather, made things etc… Animism can form a complete belief system in itself, or it can form part of a more complex set of beliefs.

 

Animism is perhaps one of the oldest belief systems known to man, while also being found on most continents at some time or other. More importantly to me, animism still exists and is observed even in the ‘developed’ cultures of the west. For you see animism is something that comes very easily to small children and before the indoctrination in scientific or religious belief takes hold, most children will have no problems accepting tales of talking animals and plants, singing moons, smiling suns and belligerent rain clouds.

 

In fact if you want a fairly workable example of an animistic world, you need to look no further than the popular pre-school TV show – ‘Tellytubbies’. In Tellytubby Land the, ah, ‘people’ live side by side with flowers that talk and an animated vacuum cleaner called ‘The Noo-noo’. Further more the sun is shown as very much alive and the wind communicates via the windmill directly to the minds of the ‘Tubbies’, though I don’t think that the TV screens on the tummies will catch on, except maybe for techno-pagans. :) Even the earth speaks via the use of phone like devices it manifests as needed. In fact the only parts of their world that doesn’t speak are the rabbits, perhaps because they don’t wish to be labelled as ‘fluffy’… :D

 

Animism forms a critical part of my belief system, as does the ability to interact with these animating spirits. This communication is facilitated by achieving an altered state of consciousness, usually via the use of meditation, at least by me. Sometimes the connection is little more than a feeling of the life-force concerned, an awareness if you will, but at other times it is much more intimate. Sometimes the act of communication is sudden and initiated by the other party. Perhaps you have experienced this, you are walking a long and suddenly your attention is drawn to a pebble, or a bush. You don’t know why but you feel you must pick it up or touch it. Next time this happens don’t ignore it, but try and ‘listen’, to sense if there is a message for you.

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:lol: :(

 

Good topic, To an extent I agree with some of this, sure when your 10 yrs old, dont ya believe your toys come alive at night. However, it is something I have yet to look into in detail.

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I have an animistic background too.

Mainly via Taoism and Shinto.

I think that the main difference between the specifics of those oriental beliefs and mine is that I don't see "the spirit" of objects in terms of Khami as they do, i.e. actual entities, individuals.

I see it in a far less litteral sense.

The "spirit" of a tree, animal or rock being closer for me to the "soul" that we have discussed in other threads and this leads of course to questions regarding just how individualistic this spirit or soul is.

As we've already discussed; is it an all pervading energy or is it specific to individuals or objects?

For me the answer lies somewhere between the two.

I see this spirit as part of a universal whole but capable of taking on the characteristics of the individuals that it inhabits.

Hence the apparent instances of "residual memory".

 

Not a particularly easy combination to justify I admit because if the spirit were an all pervading universal force; how does it retain individualistic residual memories, why aren't such memories simply "absorbed" into the whole?

 

If this spirit is absorbed back into a universal whole upon death; why don't we all share residual memory. :blink:

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Hmmmm, interesting.

Affording 'inanimate' objects a spirit and life and personality is something I do all the time and always have, I never grew out of it you might say.

 

I can see a resemblance between this and what I understand of fey craft, but there it's not so much the plant or rock or weather that has the spirit as much as it has a patron fey that lives in symbiosis with it. For example, if you have a plant in your garden that is dying you might be advised to make an offering to it's fey, try to communicate with it to discover the problem or if all else fails, try to arrange a seed or cutting from the plant for the fey to survive. Rambling sorry.

 

Thing is, while I can see the benefits and the naturalness of believing in animisim I'm not sure if it's a real thing or just a human desire to anthropomorphicise things and not feel so alone in the world.

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If this spirit is absorbed back into a universal whole upon death; why don't we all share residual memory. :D

47831[/snapback]

 

Vodou's an animistic path, and we answer the question as follows - we believe that humans have two souls, the "gros bon ange" and the "ti bon ange" the Big Good Angel and the Little Good Angel respectively. We believe that on death the gros bon ange goes back to join the Divine and is reabsorbed into the universal, while the ti bon ange, which is what makes you you - your memories, personality, etc - then goes on to the afterlife. It's the ti bon ange that can be called on for help from the living.

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Hmmmm, interesting.

 

Thing is, while I can see the benefits and the naturalness of believing in animisim I'm not sure if it's a real thing or just a human desire to anthropomorphicise things and not feel so alone in the world.

47835[/snapback]

 

 

Well it could be either, and for me its the same with the gods; am I dealing with a real independent being/spirit or is it just a bit of my subconcious projecting itself out there to talk to me.

 

Thing is either could be true so I look at it this way; if they are real then I don't want to upset them by telling them I don't think they are there. If it is just me then being polite doesn't do any harm.

 

Kev

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Vodou's an animistic path, and we answer the question as follows - we believe that humans have two souls, the "gros bon ange" and the "ti bon ange"  the Big Good Angel and the Little Good Angel respectively. We believe that on death the gros bon ange goes back to join the Divine and is reabsorbed into the universal, while the ti bon ange, which is what makes you you - your memories, personality, etc - then goes on to the afterlife.  It's the ti bon ange that can be called on for help from the living.

47883[/snapback]

 

 

Hmmm, now thats something I have never considered before Crow, I must think further on it. Up to now my feeling is that the 'piece' of the Divine Spirit in things that formed its soul was shaped by the body that housed it and when the physical body died the 'sould' came apart losing much of the personal data in the process.

I see this as the way that some experience past lives (bits of data resurfaces in a person) and the way that you can have half a dozen Cleopatras in the same room :o_wave:

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and the way that you can have half a dozen Cleopatras in the same room
mmmm...yes, I've often pondered over that one.

Tell you what though, the combination of this:

We believe that on death the gros bon ange goes back to join the Divine and is reabsorbed into the universal, while the ti bon ange, which is what makes you you - your memories, personality, etc - then goes on to the afterlife.  It's the ti bon ange that can be called on for help from the living.
and this:
I must think further on it. Up to now my feeling is that the 'piece' of the Divine Spirit in things that formed its soul was shaped by the body that housed it and when the physical body died the 'sould' came apart losing much of the personal data in the process.
could certainly be used to answer this:
If this spirit is absorbed back into a universal whole upon death; why don't we all share residual memory.
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My head hurts!!

 

Never did get the gist of algebra ;)

 

 

Actually I think I can expand a bit on this with this wot I wrote back on the old site. No definite conclusions but it was me figuring things out a bit.

 

Kev

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I see this as the way that some experience past lives (bits of data resurfaces in a person) and the way that you can have half a dozen Cleopatras in the same room ;)

47986[/snapback]

 

If I can be very slightly off topic for a moment, my personal belief on reincarnation and people claiming to remember things from other lives isn't that they actually did live before; they're just being chattered at by a restless ti bon ange, and what they take to be memories aren't actually their own.

 

I have no idea if other vodou practitioners feel the same way, that's just my thoughts on the matter. :wub:

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This really fascinated me. I think energy resides in everything so a lot of this made sense...except for the tele tubbies and I hope that they will never make any sense to me :)

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Animism is probably the oldest religion and to me it is a belief in a spirtual realm that humans are able to share. I don't see this as a personification of the spirit realm, instead I see it as a belief that everything has energy. Some crystals have energy, like quartz so a spirtual realm is not that hard of a concept IMHO.

 

I don't buy into reincarnation as far as spirits coming back to talk to people but I can buy the concept a type of memory, like cellular memory which may explain why some people feel they have lived before. It's the same with people who see ghosts. It may be they are seeing a kind of visual memory from the past that somehow. Einstien belived that the past, present and future exists at the same time, but on different levels so this seems to make some sense with those who are in the know of quantum physics. :lol:

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:lol: Never in my life did I imagine that I'd discuss quantum physics theory in the same conversation as animism.

Einstien belived that the past, present and future exists at the same time,
Not exactly, he pointed out that it was/is/will be/might have been/could be :D theoretically and mathematically possible. It also however fits in quite snugly with string theory and membrane theory. All of which could easily be used to provide theoretical scientific answers to many of our questions regarding the nature of souls/spirits at a specifically individual level as well as the apparent interactions via animism, reincarnation, transmigration and even otherkin.
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  • 9 years later...

I think I might be some kind of animist, I feel quite strongly some kind of spirit or life force within all living things and also sometimes natural non living things, but I was wondering about something like a tesco carrier bag.. Doesn't feel like it has much soul to me... But on the other hand the plastic was made from oil which is a natural product made from living creatures that dies millions of years ago.. So I thought perhaps there is spirit within the atoms that make up the bag just like in anything else but perhaps that essence is in a more dormant state. After all the molecules that make up that bag will eventually be transformed into something new and might even be a part of a living being one day..

Hmmm.

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I was having a conversation with daughter about her mum talking to the plants that she looks after. We decided that a useful thing about animism is that it can have a profound impact on our relationship with the earth and world around us. We've evolved to think socially and if we can empathise even with the life history of a tescos carrier bag then we can more easily imagine all the environmental impacts of its production.

 

Edited by OfTheEarth
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