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Author Topic: Animism and fluffiness  (Read 16170 times)
joshuatenpenny
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Religion: Asphodel, recon-derived eclectic paganism
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« Reply #3: September 04, 2007, 12:16:15 pm »

So my question is, animism isnt necessarily a fluffy bunny category, is it? Not in my humble opinion.  But I want to know you people's.

I know a lot of us here are animists.  I talked to plants and animals and stones long before I outright accepted I was a witch, way back when I was a kid, (okay so they talked back  Grin).  If it was just imagination, I wouldnt sometimes get answers back that I disliked.  Such as following conversation: "Ohhhh do you want to go home with me?"  Rock "no". 

What I tend to see as the "fluffy" animism is when you make a big to-do about "asking" each leaf and rock if it wants to be part of your magical working, but rather than actually listening for an answer, you asume that every leaf and rock would consider it such an honor that asking is only a formality. Doubly fluffy if you then blatantly disregard the potential preferences of the living and non-living objects around you when you are not doing overtly "spiritual" things.

Being willing to hear "no" from the rock you are planning to abduct is a mark of not-fluffy behaviour. In general, the fluffy/not-fluffy line isn't so much about specific beliefs and practices as it is about realism and accepting that spiritual things may not always be simple or pleasant or convenient to you.

I'm an animist, and I believe that all natural objects and some man-made ones have an indwelling spirit which you can potentially communicate/interact with. A hard-line animist would include all man-made things, but while I can discern a soul in my old Victorian woodstove, my partner's guitar, and many other hand-crafted or well used cherished things, I can not discern any indwelling spirit in a plastic fork or a roll of toilet paper. Perhaps those things do have an indwelling spirit, but it is so remote as to be irrelevant to any practical application I am aware of.

-- Joshua
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