Our first order of Talking About the Elephant: An Anthology of Neopagan Perspectives on Cultural Appropriation arrived on the doorstep this morning! (In fact, that was the first thing Taylor told me when he woke me up today.) For more information, click the link above.
This is my very first anthology that I've edited--I'm excited at how well it turned out! Cultural appropriation is one of those things that really doesn't get broached in the neopagan community very often, and just as when I came up with the idea for this anthology last year, I'm hoping that this book will help spark some discussion.
How important is the idea of service to what you believe? Is some form of service something you aspire to? Something you practice? Something you'd like to practice? Animism or neoshamanism often carries with it a philosophy of deep respect for and sense of connection to the world around us. How does this philosophy translate into actions for you? What specific ways have you found to give back to the world around you or help your community? Is there anything you'd like to be doing that you aren't doing?
If there are any other lifestyle changes you've made because of your beliefs that don't quiet fit under the heading of service, this might be a good place to mention them too.
I'm posting this here because, IMO, ecopsychology is animism for Western cultures. There are countless parallels between traditional animism and ecopsych, and some ecopsychologists integrate core shamanism and other spiritual practices into their therapeutic techniques. At any rate, it's something that I think any animist should consider reading. (Click the link to read my full review.)
I am hunting information on shape shifters - not just weres, but selkies, swanmays (I know, so D&D), any creature in legend that was known to alter shape from one (animal) to another (human).
Cross posting to a few places.
Spiritual Tattoo: A Cultural History of Tattooing, Piercing, Scarification, Branding and Implants by John A. Rush - a really interesting in-depth look at body modifications as spiritual practices, historically and today
Is it the death-rebirth motif that's important, or the end result (recreation of self with greater sensitivity and awareness?), or both/other?
Second, as I've been getting more into journeying, I've noticed there are some distinct differences between journeying and guided meditations, which I talk about more here. (The short version is that journeying is more intense, and I have a lot less control than I do in guided meditation.) Has anyone else noted significant differences between one and the other? Or do you consider them one and the same?
1. Never give your true name (the name given to you by birth, or a name gifted to you by gods). Do not expect to be given 'true names' by others either.
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So, do you have anything else to add? Do you agree or disagree? Do you (as I do) feel there are exceptions to some of the rules?) Do you feel that you work by an entirely different set of rules - and if so, why?
I'm pleased to announce that my newest book, DIY Totemism: Your Personal Guide to Animal Totems, just arrived on the doorstep! Would you like to bypass prefabricated totem animal dictionaries and rehashes of the same trying-but-not-trying-to-be-like-the-
I live in western North Carolina, and we have been having a drought - nearly no rain for the past two month until yesterday - thanks to Hurricane Fay dispersing over this area. Drought conditions actually began last summer, with some recovery over the winter, but overall precipitation has never really caught up.
For the past month or so, I'd really been missing water - not as in rain, but bodies of water... lakes I guess... I didn't realize I'd miss the lakes I'd always been around in Wisconsin and Minnesota (where I'd lived most of my life) so much when I moved down here, but there you have it. So I got a strong call to visit the French Broad River - which had hit a record low - about a week before I heard about the record low. It was a visible shock.
( Read more... )
Anyways, Hi! I generally go by Elodeer on the internets. I'm all sorts of crazy, but I've generally decided on the name "Moondancer" for the spirituality/religion that has come to rest on my shoulders. And by rest on my shoulders I mean I pretty much sat down one day, outlined everything I believed in, and then built up a religion around it. It's got a lot of shamanism, a lot of spirituality, a ton of animism. But it's not really just one of those things. Except maybe spirituality.
I work with all manner of deities, land spirits, animal spirits, totem-like entities, guide-like entities, i-don't-know-what-you-are entities...I work on healing, and I'm trying to learn to be patient and listen to the Earth and all that hokeypokey.
Hrrhuh. So yeah. I'm not really an expert or nothin, but I'm happily forging my own path. I figured I could give or gain some insight here, and since it's run by the lovely and totally awesome moonvoice, well, srsly, why stay away?
So yep. That's me. I'm completely loopy right now. Ready to go to sleep. Word.
I joined this group for the reason that being that its all that I am for (animals have spirits I think, and spritality is fun). right in the group description also brings up some stuff I recently found out and would like to inquire others about, plastic shamanism and general scammers and people doing what some call misappropriation of culture and all that stuff. And I didn't even know about allot of the stuff going on till a few weeks ago (and though leo Rutherford and carlos castiana are a-ok people and sources for knowledge).
It all started with me just trying to find a good book on shamanism! So I asked in one place http://community.livejournal.com/
I definitely consider myself an animist, and I think I always have. I think the life force, or soul, can be sensed in all biologically living beings (in spite of that sensitivity usually being deadened in modern so-called "civilized" cultures), and I also think that other forms made up of all the elements have their own form of consciousness as well, which can also be sensed. An ongoing learning for me is cultivating that kind of sensitivity.
I would also say that I'm a Pagan, though I've never really become engaged in any particular group. I think part of that is that my view most closely resembles the Buddhist view of life, which often I don't think is shared by a lot of Pagans (which is fine) but it makes connecting difficult. On the other hand, I have had the opposite experience with Buddhists - even thought they may consider themselves green or nature-friendly, etc - there is often more of focus on the other tenets of Buddhism that to me leave out the more Pagan aspects that I'm interested in.
Interestingly, I have found a form of Buddhism that meets both ends of my own spiritual spectrum, which is the Bön tradition of Tibet. Bön was the original indigenous tradition of Tibet (before Buddhism was introduced from India), and it also encompasses all the major tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. It openly retains, however, the more pagan, animist, and shamanistic aspects of the indigenous culture (for instance, one of the teachers I know just led a soul retrieval retreat this past spring). This has made for an interesting history, because the mainstream Tibetan Buddhists have persecuted the Bön people for being "not Buddhist"/ supersticious / magicians / etc (similar to the prejudice you find in other areas of the world of the mainstream religion toward the indigenous peoples). Things are changing for the better in that regard - for instance the Dalai Lama has recognized and supports Bön as a legitimate tradition - but from what I hear prejudice still exists.
Anyway, the reason I'm getting into the detail is that I would like to post some of what I'm doing in my own life that is within and inspired by the Bön tradition. It seems to me that there are also a lot of similarities with Native American views, which I am also attracted to, but respect from afar, as I am of European descent. I am also interested in the pre-Christian religions of both Germanic and Celtic peoples, and for the moment I don't really do any kinds of practices associated with those, but am open to that as well.
I think that seeking out and believing there to be only a singular (pinnacle?) "answer" to any of the above quandries--or anything else in this seemingly infinite universe--is unnecessarily limiting one's selves to a much more narrow range of Results than might otherwise be possible. To return to more concrete examples in my own personal Animistic Practices, I have found that a wide variety of Animal Powers have enriched my life with different relationships with them all (not unlike my relationships with "real life" people). Crow has been everpresent since I can remember, but has never seemed to get too close--he stays within sight, but out of reach, as it were. Mother Bear has always been a protective presence in my life, whereas Coyote is more recent (not until I was 24ish), although he & I seem to resonate more intimately within one another. I.e., Bear has been with me my whole life, whereas Coyote could be said to represent me since I was around 24. But I have phases where another Animistic Spirit either comes to me or I call unto hir. I also find that I still have somewhat of a connection (a "Gift from the Animal Spirit", as some would say) with those whom I've worked for perhaps several months (a phase of my life), or others who seem to come and go--like Elephant.
I guess my point--if I have one--is to not Limit your options. If you pursue each Relationship with each Animal Power (etc.)--each on its own Individual terms--you will find the Relationships to be much richer and more rewarding. And even if there is such a thing as a "singular answer" for any of the above-mentioned, I think that this "truth" will become self-evident quite quickly, even adopting this more open-ended approach.
If we are all truly Reflective of the Infinite Cosmos (as above, so below), then we shouldn't limit ourselves with only Identifying with a single anything, but rather, we should embrace the Infinite that we are the Manifestation of.