If, like me, some of your most important relationships have been with birds – or with trees or flowers, amphibians or reptiles, insects or stones, or particular places – you may well have been following recent debates about new animism with great interest. This blog has been set up as a space for musing upon the broad theme of dialogue with sentient worlds, and thinking about the interface between animist spirituality, natural history, and cultural politics, in a postmodern Western context.
Following Graham Harvey and others, I take animism to refer to a sense or belief that the teeming complexity of nature -understood as a matrix of interdependent communities of beings amongst whom humankind exists as a problematic member species- is pervaded by Spirit and/or mind and consciousness, by multiple intelligences, and by relationships of many kinds.
What, then, might respectful relationship mean? What happens when we humans relate ‘spiritually’ to other-than-human beings? What do we mean by spiritual? How are we to talk and write about such intimate experiences? How might they inform the rest of our lives?
If you’d like to contact me there’s a form at the bottom of this page.
Here are some links to previous posts:
Responses to the natural world on my/our doorstep (and beyond): A Right Royal Visit, There’s Toads About, Yellow Bird’s Nest, Late Snow, Praising Limestone, Ground Nesting at Midsummer, Alienated Nature, Representing Invasive Species, Humankind and Ashkind/Shadow over the Ash
On the relationship between animism and natural history: Animists, Naturalists and Spirituality, Peregrine Dreams-1, In the Wake of a Sparrowhawk, Befriending Beech Trees, Birds and other People, Humankind and Ashkind/Shadow over the Ash
On poems and stories about relationship with ‘the natural world’: Two Corvid Stories, Ted Hughes’ Crow and the Battle of the Birds , and Ted Hughes, Shaman of the Tribe? also Notes from the Tuning Fork, Ted Hughes and the Calder Valley, Part-1. and Part -2. and Part 3, and Part 4…
On significant ‘spiritual’/magical/extra-ordinary encounters or relationships with other-than-human beings: Peregrine Dreams – 2, Equinox Greetings, Roe Deer Rite and The Common Kingfisher, a Personal Story, Birds and Me, Two Personal Stories
On human and other-than-human ceremonies: Animal Rites
Responses to books: see Natural Magic, on Nigel Pennick’s book of that name, Relational Magic on Susan Greenwood’s ‘Anthropology of Magic‘, Double Death on Deborah Bird Rose’s ‘Wild Dog Dreaming’, and The Bioregional Economy, a U.K View on Molly Scott Cato’s Bioregion book.
Remembering, How I became an Animist is a series of autobiographical reflections written for an ‘issue’ of ….
the Animist Blog Carnival – a linked discussion of themes chosen by contributors, published simultaneously at the beginning of each month. For example, I hosted the August 2013 ‘issue’, which has links to other animist’s contributions on Birds.
The photograph of a Bee Orchid was taken at Conwy R.S.P.B reserve, in July 2012. Bee Orchids not only mimic the appearance of a female bee, but emit pheremones in order to lure male bees into ‘pseudocopulation’ as a method of pollination. The species’ northward spread is being monitored in relation to climate change.All photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.
If you want to contact me, please leave a message here: