Excerpts from “Rhythms of Feather and Smoke”
Welcome to the Living World of Animism*, which predates any form of monotheistic (one god above all others) religion, by many thousands of years. In fact, until approximately 5,000 years ago, all cultures on the planet interacted with their living world in a variety of Animistic ways. Animism is so flexible and consistent that it has been the backbone of diverse traditional cultures all over the world, including every ancient tribe of what we now call Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Animistic cultures are, and always have been, those that foster and cultivate the shamanic arts, which are the tools and methods with which humans most effectively communicate with the living worlds.
*The word “Animism” is one word from one language, Greek, and it means that there is “Spirit”, or “Life”, in everything. The idea can and will be described with many other words, known and not yet known.
Each one of us is made of the same elements of which the Earth is made, and we are initiated as Earthlings by our actions, both individually and collectively. Yes, we are also made of stardust, and back to stardust we will go. Animists understand this. Animists also know that while we are here, we are a part of this living organism called Earth and that it, and all life upon it, continually speaks with us. Unfortunately many have been conviced this is no longer true. It is our individual and collective responsibility to align once again with the stream of reality where the rhythms of rattle and drum, the power of our feathered friends and the smoke of helpful plants are honored by every human being.
I bought your e-book last week and didn’t put my Kindle down till I was finished. I read it all at once in the middle of the night. Then I wept. I want to read it again. I have grown so much in the past 4 years, partly because of the confidence I’ve gained in myself after finding lost parts of who I am.
Deep within, you know the truth. The multidimensional realities that so many people experience every day are not dead. The living world is very much alive, and it speaks to anyone who will listen. The only thing that seems dead is the public acceptance of such realities, but even that is not dead. It is simply sleeping, waiting for people to admit their truth one by one. All we need to do now is to learn, or simply to remember, how to listen to the world around us, and within us. Once we do this, everything else unfolds.
Some say that such truths are only available to people belonging to the “indigenous” cultures of the world, and that modern people of one type or another don’t have such truths inside of them. Since so many of us are a blend of cultures, our DNA has many Animist inner voices. As we claim our Animist nature, it is helpful to admit that we are “indigenous” to Earth and we naturally hear the Earth speak to us. Most who read these words are probably not affiliated or registered with a particular tribe or tribal nation, but all self-proclaimed Animists, registered or not, have an indigenous heart. As we remember our indigenous nature, we form the New Tribes that will take Shamanic Animism into the future.
It is important to recognize that for those of the New Tribes scattered around the United States, most or all of our cultural ancestors are newcomers in this beautiful place. However, our Animist nature is perfectly equipped to help us communicate with the lands around us, and teach us how to be respectful to other life forms, even if our culture did not teach us appropriately how to be in union with the web of life. For readers born and raised in the land of their ancestors, if you are coming home to the realization that you are a member of your Animist New Tribe, then it is time again to listen to the land and spirits of the place where you live. Being connected to a place, and learning how to feel at home there is a responsibility as well as a privilege. Much is asked of us in trade for the privilege of entering into conversation with the heart of a sacred place, and all places are sacred.
The double helix of our spiraling DNA holds all of our ancestors, which for each of us, consists of one or more of the old tribes of Animists. Due to cultural migration and mixing, over the generations we have become individual mosaics of various cultures. Even if your ancestry consists completely of European heritage, you are still a blend of many cultures. People today look at “Europe” as one entity, but for thousands of years, many, many tribes of significant variety inhabited this vast area of the European continent. The same is true for Africa, Asia and the Americas. Some groups were similar, while other groups hated each other. From our point of view however, all these pre-christian tribes would be considered “Animists”. From now on, when you think of yourself, know that you are a sacred gathering of your ancestral tribes, and they are looking to you to maneuver through this very new world.
Very few New Tribe members belong to a culturally traditional Animist Tribe. Even many who are members of one recognized Tribe have blended ancestry, or may be drawn to another path of spirituality (for example, christianity). Weaving more than one strand of spiritual and/or ancestral practice together is something that humans do well. We like to see connections, and create variety. It is in our genes. So, whether you consider yourself to follow one “Traditional” path or you are a spiritual weaver, we must all acknowledge that we are the ancestral beginnings of the New Tribes.
We live in times that our ancestors could only imagine, and if they did imagine the things we now find commonplace, such as the internet, cell phones and gene mixing, they would assume we were magicians, sorcerers, star people or gods. So, really, none of us are traditional anymore. We are being asked by our Animist ancestors to blend the wisdom of the old ways with the tools of the modern world, so we can make a new concoction that is useful and helpful for our descendents. The Animist meme needs to go on, and it is up to us to feel it, and share it.
“Rhythms of Feathers and Smoke” resonated deeply with me. As a person of mixed European ancestry living in the U. S., I felt an almost overpowering wave of relief after reading the author’s assurance that we all belong to an indigenous culture, even if we do not reside in the countries of our ancestors’ origin. Being very sensitive to the Earth and its wisdom has always left me feeling rather alone and displaced. I now realize I am not alone. I truly feel called to the author’s description of an Animist of the “New Tribes”. This book dispels some age-old myths passed haphazardly through generations and grants permission to shed that which does not serve us in this current society. I would highly recommend this book to anyone searching for an Earth based spiritual path. You definitely may find answers here.
You, yes you! You are the first ancestor of your personal New Tribe. Whether you have children or not, if you feel called by the living world to awaken and take your seat at the Animist table, then it is up to you to step forward as a Tribal Leader. Have the courage to ask your sacred ancestors for assistance to heal the soul wounds that have occured in the times between when the “Convert or Die” people first approached your ancient ancestors, and now. This may seem daunting, but consider it a life-long process. It is not important to strive for perfection, but it is vital that you are not held hostage by the torturers of the past. As you claim your place in your New Tribe, you will gain more allies willing to help you understand your gifts and reframe the negativity in your past.
Many Animists wait for their “Tribe” to come and claim them. Please do not fall into this hole, because it keeps you waiting far too long. Know that you are the One your Tribe has been waiting for. When the world begins speaking to you in a language that you can hear (language of intuition, dreams, synchronicity, visions and journeys), take it as a wonderful sign that it is time to establish your New Tribe identity. At that moment, there is no more waiting, and your living world can actively guide you in your quest for help, answers, and others with whom to gather. However, you must remember that this is a solitary endeavor, so there is no human Guru who can give you all your answers. Gathering with other seekers and practitioners can help you practice asking within for your own answers, and witnessing others on their New Tribe path is incredibly helpful to you as you do the same.
OTHER ANIMISTIC SUBJECTS INCLUDED in “Rhythms of Feather and Smoke”:
We are the Ones
The Problem with being Sensitive…is being Sensitive!
The Way of Changes
Memes vs. Genes
Jumping Reality Streams
All You Really Need
Home is Where the Heart is…
Learning your Magic
Tools of the Trade
You are the One your New Tribe has been waiting for.
The wisdom is simple,
The message is clear,
You are a part of the world,