Mittwoch, 13. Juli 2011


New Animism defined

"Arguably the proper label for the type of religion practiced among traditional indigenous people who employ shamans. Rather then being "shamanists" or adherants of "shamanism," these people may be usefully named "animists." While the term was coined by Edward Tylor ( a founder of the discipline of anthropology) to define the essence of religion as 'the belief in spirits" and has played a significant role in theories about the origins of religion, it is used here in a new way. The old theory of animism alleged that indigenous people and the earliest human ancestors had made a mistake in believing in spirits. The new theory, associated with Nurit Bird-David, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Signe Howell, and others, sees animism as a relational ontology- the recognition that the world is full of persons, only some of whom are human. In Irving hallowell's terms, there are human persons and other-then-human-persons, including rock persons, tree persons, cloud persons, and perhaps "spirit persons."

Animist worldviews and lifeways make it necessary for there to be shamans becasue (1) humans are relatively weak and need to seek help ( in the form of knowledge, healing, or defense) from more powerful other-then-human-persons and (2) humans often offend other-then-human-persons and need mediators in order to restore respectful relationships. In this context, shamans may be defined as those persons trained and skilled at working for their community when it is necessary to seek help from or reconciliation with the wider community of life. In turn, as Graham Harvey has argued, animism makes shamans both possible and necessary because thier roles are about dealing with the problems of the living world."

from:Graham Harvey and Robert J Wallis : Historical Dictionary of Shamanism



The belief that social organization and environmental policies should be based on the bioregion rather than on a region determined by political or economic boundaries.



"A phrase coined by Irving Hallowel, Influenced by the Ojibwe of southern-central Canada. It refers to the widest possible community of living beings. For example, in the Ojibwe Language not only are humans, animals, fish, birds, and plants living, relational beings, but so too are objects-persons such as rocks and certian weather systems (the thunder-beings). The word spirits is sometimes attached to other words, as in rock spirit or tree spirit, to suggest that some rocks or trees are different from others. Hallowell's phrase has gained currency becasue it does not misrepresent the indigenous thought and experience that some rocks, trees, and storms, act as persons: that is, as relational, intentional, conscious, and communicative beings. This worldview and lifeway is now being called animism, which makes shamans both possible and necessary.

The phrase should not be misunderstood to imply that humans are the standard against which other "persons" might be compaired. Rather, the phrase arises among humans trying to talk with other humans. It is implicit that eagles might speak of eagle-persons and other then eagle persons, and so on. The understanding that humans are not the only persons also involves the notion that not all shamans are human. In Amazonia, for example, it is common knowledge that the most powerful shamans (or persons with shamanistic abilities, pay'e) are anacondas. Ambiguity and uncertainty about the way in which an other-than-human-person relates or acts toward humans may require human shamans to seek to alter their perspective to see what others see and deal appropriately with the resulting knowledge."

from:Graham Harvey and Robert J Wallis : Historical Dictionary of Shamanism

The goal of this project is to allow the land to express itself through us again. To reincarnate the old traditions and lost tribes, to see that new traditions are being born as new expressions of the land & skies consciousness, to commune with the land and sky and celebrate our oneness with it.

To help support a diverse system of developing ecological and spiritual cosmologies much like indigenous minds have always done, through the act of communion!