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.
Update: I’m taking a break from this blog during summer 2016, but will leave it online as a resource and contact point for people interested in contemporary animism. New posts may still appear on an occasional basis. I like hearing from fellow travellers, and can be contacted via the form at the bottom of this page.
Here are some links to previous posts:
Responses to the natural world on 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, Protecting the Vulnerable, Something Astonishing is Happening, Age and Beauty, Some Portraits of Older Birch Trees. Midsummer Moments Summer’s End: Back to the Limestone. Beech Trees in Autumn. Welcoming the Darkness at the Winter Solstice. A Cloud Walk with Raven Conversation Operation Newt. Life Through a Lens. Wandering and Seeing Feb-March 2016. The Season of Song (2016).
Animism and natural history: Animists, Naturalists and Spirituality, Peregrine Dreams-1, Befriending Beech Trees, Birds and other People, Humankind and Ashkind/Shadow over the Ash, The Personhood of Trees, The Beauty of Vultures, Eco-Animism, Astrology, and Underworld Deities – Part One, Animism on T.V? Part 1 – Gordon Buchanan with Guillemots and Black Bears, and Part 2- Charlie Hamilton James in Peru, and Other Rainforest Stories. Jim Crumley on Eagles, Swans, and Bears.
An Animist’s Bookshelf: On Graham Harvey’s books: Handbook of Contemporary Animism, First Impressions , Animism, Respecting the Living World, and other titles and Food, Sex, and Strangers. Also: Wakeful World on Emma Restall Orr’s book on animism. The Bioregional Economy, a U.K View on Molly Scott Cato’s Bioregion book. Double Death on Deborah Bird Rose’s ‘Wild Dog Dreaming’. Natural Magic, on Nigel Pennick’s book of that name. End of Life Experiences, two books by Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick. Subtle Bodies, on Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West, Geoffrey Samuel and Jay Johnston eds. Radical Ecopsychology? A Review of Andy Fisher’s book. “Wrecking the Earth”- Thoughts Provoked by Michael McCarthy’s ‘The Moth Snowstorm‘.
Animism in Poetry and Stories: Two Corvid Stories, Ted Hughes’ Crow and the Battle of the Birds, Ted Hughes, Shaman of the Tribe? Notes from the Tuning Fork, Ted Hughes and the Calder Valley, Part-1, Part -2, Part 3, and Part 4. The Poetry of John Burnside. Love in Death. Ted Hughes and Oracular Corvids.
On Aspects of place: Ground Nesting at Midsummer and Walking by the Weorf Spirits of Place, Notes on Animism as Deep Political Ecology. As Summer Fades (memory, image, symbol). Life through a Lens, July-August 2015. The Biggest lake in England, Once.
On Animism and social justice: Protecting the Vulnerable, Animism on T.V? Part 2, Charlie Hamilton James in Peru and other Rainforest Stories. Spirits of Place, Notes on Animism as Deep Political Ecology. Alternatives to Austerity. Nurturing the Emotional and Spiritual Base of our Communities. Protest in Context, an Astrological Note on the U.K 2015 General Election. Economy as Ecology, Postcapitalism in the Writings of J.K Gibson Graham. Austerity Watch – Cut to Death.
On Divinatory/’spiritual’/magical/extra-ordinary (pick your own term) encounter and relationship: Peregrine Dreams – 2, Equinox Greetings, Roe Deer Rite and The Common Kingfisher, a Personal Story, Birds and Me, Two Personal Stories, The Blackest Earth, Reclaiming Alchemy Telepathy (feeling at a distance): Animism, Healing, and Science. Am I Going Mad? A Note on Hearing Human and Other Voices. Spirit Possession, Deities, and Gnats. Roots Left Hanging in the Air.
On astrological ‘showings’ that seem to me to raise profound questions about our place in cosmic Nature: Equinox Greetings, Is Anybody Out There?, The Beauty of Vultures, Part 2 and Appropriating Sedna Reconnecting Astrology with its Animist Roots. A Crescent Sun: Time for Some Citizen Astrology? Protest in Context, An Astrological Note in the Wake of the 2015 U.K Election. Photographing the Underworld? A Note on NASA’s Pluto Fly-by. Taking Soul Birds Seriously.
On various aspects of animism: Telepathy, Healing, and Science. Animal Rites. Animism and the Moment of Death. As Summer Fades (memory, image, symbol). Posts on Animist Ethics, include Note on Animist Ethics, Respecting Other (Human) People, and Those Cruel Wars, Part 1 and Part 2. See also Changing Men? and We Are Stardust, A Quick Look at Paracelsus.
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 wish to use them please credit Brian Taylor.
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