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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bio-Regional Animism in Five Minutes

Bio-Regional Animism in Five Minutes
By Fish bowl on
This is a speech that will be given by Fish bowl at a local unitarian church in his bioregion this coming Sunday.

Spirituality is everywhere to be found; it unfolds with the peddles of a rose, and gurgles in the song of a creek, and in the canyons, and running through the forest. This is the experience animism is built from. It is the belief in spirit. It does not distinguish from the spiritual and the material; instead, they are one and the same.

Today, New Animism seeks to discard the dualism of modern society, where we divide into us, them and the other, to realize there is only everything. Instead, we seek a way of relating our modern culture to a spirituality based upon how we interact with ourselves, other human people and other-than-human-people that are the trees, rivers, mountains, animals, energies, and scientific principles, that we interact with daily. Nature is not seen as collection of resources for human consumption, but as equals to humans to be related to. This does not mean we abandon modern society, but to relate our lives to what is needed for daily sustenance. We have to ask ourselves how we are using, what we are using, and what are we contributing back to nature and the universe This forces one to realize the essential truth, that life is sacrificed to sustain life.

This way of thinking demands that we be environmentally, ecologically, and socially aware and to implement change. This shift of consciences brings empathy with our environment and to feel the reality of its state of being. Humans are not above nature but as much a part of it in everyway. However, our form of intelligence has lead to an irresponsible attitude towards the things we need to sustain our own lives, subjugating our environments to mere material and forgetting the spiritual nature of everything.
Our planet is a vast network of ecosystems that work in highly concentrated ways, unique to their immediate environment. These ecosystems have been surveyed for their resources and been divided up on the market to be bought and sold by piecemeal. Do you know where you food comes from? Do you know what is in it? Most likely you don’t.

Our culture has become so disconnected from our eco-systems through a homogeneous market that we have long lost the sacredness of daily life. Bio-Regional Animism is form of New Animism that re-cultivates the sacred relationship of humans and the eco-systems they inhabit. We recognize the values and lessons taught by animist cultures from the past and the present, but understand that is one way in which a specific culture related to a specific ecosystem.

Bio-Regional animism is not a new religion or a even a new tradition of neo-paganism; rather, it is a way of relating to our environment in a deeply spiritual way. For me I came to it through studying the history, culture, and mythology of the British-Celts. In time the pantheon lost its human attributes and revealed themselves to me as the rivers, mountains, forest, animals, and plants of the ecosystems where I was living in at the time. In this way its synchronism can co-exist with other spiritual systems and life philosophies, if one is open to the possibilities.

All one needs is to listen to their intuition and hear the needs, desires, and unique understanding of their ecosystem. This is not only done with improvisational ceremonies and meditations but through scientific study of their environment. Understanding where your water comes from, the medicinal value of indigenous plants and the social activities of local wildlife builds the foundation for relating to your ecosystem. Bio-Regional animism is not the path for those who seek predefinitions and structure; instead, it directly challenges these notions, leaving us with the very soil under your feet and sky above our heads, and that is what we work with to grow our spiritual relationships.

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