Animistic Links


Resources related to The Animistic Soul Re-Emerges







Articles on Nature, Psyche, Soul and Spirit 

Articles by David Abram on Animism 

Articles on Trauma and Soul 

Native American/Indigenous Wisdom 


Wilderness Solos

Websites related with Animism 



Audio & video for the soul




Articles on Nature, Psyche, Soul and Spirit


A Psyche the Size of the Earth  by James Hillman  - For the pioneers of psychology as therapy, the deepest levels of the psyche merge with the physical body (Freud) and the physical stuff of the world (Jung). These well-known basics of psychological theory show that the human subject has all along been implicated in the wider world of nature. How could it be otherwise, since the human subject is composed of the same nature as the world? Yet psychological practice tends to bypass the consequences of such facts. An individual's harmony with his or her "own deep self" requires not merely a journey to the interior but a harmonizing with the environmental world. Sometimes I wonder less how to shift the paradigm than how psychology ever got so off-base. How did it so cut itself off from reality? Where else in the world would a human soul be so divorced from the spirits of the surroundings? Even the high intellectualism of the Renaissance, to say nothing of the modes of mind in ancient Greece or contemporary Japan, allowed for the animation of things, recognizing a subjectivity in animals, plants, wells, springs, trees and rocks. Psychology, so dedicated to awakening human consciousness, needs to wake itself up to one of the most ancient human truths: we cannot be studied or cured apart from the planet.


Coping With Environmental Transitions: Some Attentional Benefits of Walking  by Raymond De Young  3/10  - Coping with the challenges of global climate disruption and the peaking of the rate of fossil fuel production will require behavioral change on a massive scale. There are many skills that will help individuals deal with this coming transition but none more central than the abilities to problem-solve creatively, plan and restrain behavior, and manage the emotions that result from the loss of an affluent lifestyle. These abilities require a mental state called vitality.  This article discusses mental vitality as being based upon the capacity to direct attention. Functioning effectively, despite the distractions and challenges of an electrifying and changing world, fatigues this capacity. Restoring one’s ability to direct attention is explained as a likely precondition to effective problem-solving, planning, and self-regulating, thus making such restoration essential for high levels of individual performance in general and for thoughtful coping in particular.


Our Psychic Connections to Nature: Now there is a name for the emotional distress caused by ecological destruction  by David Bollier  3/1/10  - A handful of psychologists are starting to conclude that human consciousness has a deep interconnection with nature — and that interfering with our sense of place and love of nature can cause severe emotional distress. “Solastalgia” means “the pain experienced when there is a recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault.” It is “a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home’.” Home is being destroyed. You can’t leave, you can’t do anything about it, and it makes you heartsick. As global warming continues, it’s a condition that is likely to afflict most of us.  We believed, wrongly, that mind and nature operated independently of each other. In fact, nature is a recursive, mindlike system; its unit of exchange isn’t energy, as most ecologists have argued, but information. The way we thought about the world could change that world, and the world could in turn change us.


Do Kinder People Have an Evolutionary Advantage?  by Yasmin Anwar  3/4/10  - Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are wired to be selfish. In a wide range of studies, social scientists are amassing a growing body of evidence to show we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive.  They are building the case that humans are successful as a species precisely because of our nurturing, altruistic and compassionate traits.  One team is looking into how the human capacity to care and cooperate is wired into particular regions of the brain and nervous system. A recent study found compelling evidence that many of us are genetically predisposed to be empathetic.


Letters from Amok: The State of the World in Pen and Ink  by Chellis Glendinning   2/20/10  - Ecopsychologist Chellis Glendinning shares letters from fellow writers and poets from around the world and contemplates what they are saying about the state of the planet and the collective psyche – from the perspective of animistic souls:  The way out of the encroaching psychic stranglehold, my correspondents are writing, will not come via belief in being saved by the can-do, big-system management of an Obama or a Marine Corps or a Verizon -- but , first and only, by admitting the truth. Sight, smell, hearing, pain, joy, urge, motion – these are the favored terrains of my pen-wielding comrades. Breaking through the numbed-out daze global society insists upon becomes a journey into mindfulness of the senses, they are proposing.  Indeed, the sensate and the sensual are the identical realms practitioners in the field of trauma recovery are looking to for guidance. Deep down, the body and the psyche know how to heal, they are finding. Similarly, is it possible that people all across this beleaguered planet know how to re-inhabit life?


Ecological Intelligence: Do Humans Have What it Takes to Survive?  by Daniel Goleman  2/19/10  - At the beginning of the twenty-first century, society has lost touch with what may be the singular sensibility crucial to our survival as a species. Ecological intelligence melds cognitive skills with empathy for all life. Just as social and emotional intelligence build on the abilities to take other people's perspective, feel with them, and show our concern, ecological intelligence extends this capacity to all natural systems. To tap into this intelligence, we need to get beyond the thinking that puts mankind outside nature.  The neocortex, the thinking brain, evolved as our most versatile neural tool for survival -- what the hardwired reflexive circuits of our brain cannot help us understand, the neocortex can discover, comprehend, and marshal as needed. We can learn the now hidden consequences of what we do and so cultivate an acquired ability to compensate for the weakness of our pre-programmed ways of perceiving and thinking.  We face an evolutionary impasse: the ways of thinking that in the ancient past guided our innate ecological intelligence were well suited to the harsh realities of prehistory.  But ensuing centuries have blunted the survival skills of the billions of individuals who live amid modern technologies. Today's threats demand that we hone a new sensibility, the capacity to recognize the hidden web of connections between human activity and nature's systems and the subtle complexities of their intersections.


Hope, Hopelessness And Faith  by Kurt Cobb  12/27/09  - We often hear people say that it is impossible to live without hope, by which they mean hope for something better than the current set of problems we face.  There may be something to this.  To believe that an unbearable present will only be followed by an unbearable future is truly debilitating. For those involved in issues of sustainability, peak oil, climate change, and relocalization it might be better to feel a certain hopelessness in our situation. For hope implies dependence on forces outside ourselves. In hope's place I nominate faith.  Not religious faith, but what George Santayana calls "animal faith." Hope is part and parcel of our pathology.  But faith, animal faith, is commitment to the moment.  This is not a faith based on belief, but rather on experience, the experience we gain with each small act and the competence that grows in us as a result of those acts. 


Retrieving the Sacred  by C. Michael Smith, PhD  7/25/08  - We can always find the Sacred at the heart of things, at the heart of any situation or life process because it is always present there, in the heart of each creature, and in our own hearts. It is our orienting axis (axis mundi). To be without connection to it is to be without connection to our center and core of aliveness. It is to be without purpose, depth of satisfaction, and the sense of a meaningful life. Such a life has no inward unity but is dispersed, our energies scattered amongst the 10,000 things. No soul healing is complete if the relation to the Divine Spirit is neglected. Connection to the Spirit is what life in the world is about. If we miss that, we miss life’s meaning and purpose. A soul without that is cut off from the very source.


Writers and the War Against Nature  by Gary Snyder  11/07 - There is a tame, and also a wild, side to the human mind. The tame side, like a farmer’s field, has been disciplined and cultivated to produce a desired yield. It is useful but limited. The wild side is larger, deeper, more complex, and though it cannot be fully known, it can be explored. The explorers of the wild mind are often writers and artists. The “poetic imagination” of which William Blake so eloquently spoke is the territory of wild mind. It has landscapes and creatures within it that will surprise us; it can refresh us and scare us; it reflects the larger truth of our ancient selves, both animal and spiritual.


Nature and Madness  by Paul Shepard - Beneath the veneer of civilization, in the trite phrase of humanism, lies not the barbarian and the animal, but the human in us who knows what is right and necessary for becoming fully human….  There is a secret person undamaged in each of us, aware of the validity of these conditions, sensitive to their right moments in our lives. All of them are assimilated in perverted forms in modern society…. We have not lost, and cannot lose, the genuine impulse. It awaits only an authentic expression.


Message Delivered by a Bear  by Paul Shepard  1994 – Shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer, Paul Shepard spoke at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in the "Writings on the Imagination" lecture series. His subject was "The Origin of the Metaphor: The Animal Connection." He ended his remarks with "a letter delivered to me by a bear," a letter to humanity from the Others, the animals, telling us what they have observed about us during our evolutionary journey. These were the last words he spoke on a public occasion.


A Look at Man Through the Vapid Eyes of His Captives  by Pierre Tristam  3/7/10  - On the capture and use of large wild animals for human entertainment, how they express their frustration, and how the look in their eyes is exactly like that of prison inmates.  It’s time to stop this captivity and allow remaining wild animals to be wild.


A Lesson in Earth Civics  by Chellis Glendinning  - Cultures, past and present, that maintain beliefs and practices based on a respectful relationship with the natural world share more than a set of common cosmological qualities; they share a set of common social practices. These practices are of special interest to us because they model the very social forms we long for, struggle to reproduce--yet rarely seem to attain. What occurs when human beings live in intimacy with the Earth? The kind of society we formulate is likely to be participatory, democratic, egalitarian, leisurely, ecological, and sustainable. Like the elliptical wholeness of the natural world, such social practices shape and are shaped by the psychic state of the people, springing from healthy psyches and simultaneously guarding against the emergence of psychological aberrations like addiction and abuse. 


All Spiritual Traditions Arise from the Land  by Jonathan Merritt  - The original peoples inhabited every land from the Siberian tundra to the Amazon rainforests, the Pacific islands to the American plains, the African deserts to the Himalayans.  How could they survive and thrive, lacking fur and fang, claw and wing, except by listening to and living in intimate connection with the land?

  In this time of crisis, as we face multiple ecological catastrophes, the land calls us to pay attention again to the voices of the plants and animals and dirt, of the waters and weather—not just as chemical and biological phenomena, but as living beings with whom we are in constant relationship.  It’s time for us to slow down, to walk in the forests, by the streams and along the beaches, even on our sidewalks among our people, listening.  It’s time to sit together outside beside our fires, to listen to each other and to the land.  The world is singing to us, calling us back to connection.  If we open ourselves to that wisdom and let the ancient traditions arise again, we may yet survive. 


Ecosteries  by Kirkpatrick Sale  9/01  - If humans survive this collapse – and that is by no means certain given the kinds and levels of our assaults on the earth – they will have an opportunity to recast human arrangements and it will be necessary for these survivors to have some body of lore, and some vision of human regeneration, that instructs them in how to live in harmony with nature and how to fashion their technologies with the restraints and obligations a love of nature demands, seeking not to conquer and dominate and control the species and systems of the natural world (for the failure of industrial civilisation will have taught them fully of that), but rather to understand and obey and love and incorporate nature into their souls as well as their tools.


The Columbian Legacy and the Ecosterian Response  by Kirkpatrick Sale  10/90  - The future is not easy to contemplate, but it is, obviously, where we are going to spend the rest of our lives, and if those lives are to be anything more than the nasty, brutish, and short passages we experience at the close of the twentieth century, it has to be an ecological future. Now, it seems to me that there are only two possible paths to achieving such a future: either by design or by catastrophe. In either case I would argue that the challenge for us is the same: to start now to establish small, local, bioregionally guided alternative institutions that can provide the information by which human communities can live in harmony with nature, the strategies by which such communities would go about doing this, and the model of how it is actually to be carried out.


The Western World View: Past, Present And Future, Interview with Richard Tarnas by Russell E. DiCarlo  -A world view is a set of values, of conceptual structures, of implicit assumptions or pre-suppositions about the nature of reality – about human beings, about the relationship between humans and nature, about history, the divine, the cosmos – which constellate an entire culture's way of being and acting. A world-view shift reflects a very profound archetypal dynamic in the psyche that closely resembles a perinatal process – a birth process. One has been within a "womb," a matrix of thought, a conceptual matrix, a conceptual womb for quite a while. You've developed within it until that conceptual matrix is no longer large enough to contain your evolving mind. It becomes seen as a problem, or constriction, as something to be overcome, and a crisis is created. After a very critical period of transition, of tension, of deconstruction, of disorientation, a sudden new birth is precipitated into a new conceptual matrix. There is a sudden revelation of a new Universe, which seems to open up. In this experience of a shift in world view, one re-experiences one's own birth on an intellectual level. It involves a very deep archetypal death and re-birth process.


Is the Modern Psyche Undergoing a Rite of Passage?  By Richard Tarnas  - We have sought ever deeper insight into our individual biographies, seeking to recover the often hidden sources of our present condition, to render conscious those unconscious forces and complexes that shape our lives. Many now recognize that same task as critical for our entire civilization. What individuals and psychologists have long been doing has now become the collective responsibility of our culture: to make the unconscious conscious.


Humanity's Rite Of Passage: A World Tended By Adults  by Carolyn Baker  10/12/09  - So-called "civilized" humanity has been exiled from its rootedness in nature and the organic process of human development so conscientiously observed and nurtured by indigenous peoples. Consequently, the culture of modernity is not only disconnected from the earth, but in a large sense "developmentally disabled". An integral aspect of the disability is modern humanity's disavowal of the initiatory process in the care and training of children. Carl Jung asserted that initiation is an archetype or fundamental motif inherent in the human psyche. That is to say that something in us wants and expects engagement in the initiatory process, not only at the age of puberty, but throughout our human experience.  If the reality of initiation is deeply embedded in our humanity, it is likely that survival and navigation of the collapse of civilization will be enhanced by our perception and response to collapse as an initiatory process.


Rituals For Lover Earth  by Charles Eisenstein  10/10/09  - Humanity today is transitioning into a new Story of the People, a new Story of Self, and a new Story of the World. I sometimes articulate it as "The connected self living in joyous cocreative partnership with Lover Earth."  Rituals connect us to what is real within these stories. Rituals bridge the distinction between symbol and reality: they don't just mean something, they are something. They are actions in themselves. When tribal peoples conducted a ritual reenactment of the creation of the universe, they weren't just narrating or representing that creation, they were actually participating in it.


Wilderness Rites Of Passage:  Healing, Growth, and Initiation  by John Davis, Ph.D.  The goal of wilderness rites of passage is not just the development of a more informed relationship with the natural world or a better, stronger sense of self, but a sense of coming home. On wilderness rites of passage, one finds oneself and one's journey to be part of a larger whole. The need for control over one's environment deepens into trust and a sense of harmony with one's environment. Nature is not a background against which to be challenged and grow. Rather, nature comes front and center as the foundation and container for the story of one's life. The Earth itself comes alive and, at the deepest, wilderness rites of passage become a gift to the Earth as well as one's people. Nature sees itself through the quester's eyes and feels itself in the quester's joy. Rather than including Nature in our story, we find ourselves woven into Nature's story.


Meditation on: A Hopi Elder Speaks  by Sally Erickson  12/15/09  - Right now I hear a call to non-action: to simple, clear awareness, and to the willingness to sit in that awareness.  That’s the call I hear.  I want to create space for that, for myself and for others who hear a similar call.  Most other activity at this particular time feels like struggle to me.  And struggle is the word the Hopi Elder advises me to banish from my vocabulary.


Would We Listen to Nature if Our Lives Depended on It?  by Derrick Jensen  11/6/09  - What would a society look like that was planning on being in that particular place five hundred years from now? What would an economics look like? If you knew for a fact that your descendants five hundred years from now would live on the same landbase you inhabit now, how would that affect your relationship to sources of water? How would that affect your relationship with topsoil? With forests? Would you produce waste products that are detrimental to the soil? Would you poison your water sources (or allow them to be poisoned)? Would you allow global warming to continue? If the very lives of your children and their children depended on your current actions—and of course they do—how would you act differently than you do?


"Re-learning" what we've forgotten  by Chris Maser  - On how to regain the economy of reciprocity with each other and our bioregion and biosphere, and thus become appropriately adapted to our planet. 


Revolutionary Ecology: Biocentrism & Deep Ecology  by Judi Bari  1995  - Starting from the very reasonable, but unfortunately revolutionary concept that social practices which threaten the continuation of life on Earth must be changed, we need a theory of revolutionary ecology that will encompass social and biological issues, class struggle, and a recognition of the role of global corporate capitalism in the oppression of peoples and the destruction of nature.  I believe we already have such a theory. It's called deep ecology, and it is the core belief of the radical environmental movement.  In this article, I will try to explain, from my perspective as an unabashed leftist, why I think deep ecology is a revolutionary world view. (Includes sections on how biocentrism contradicts capitalism, communism, and patriarchy, and what that implies for bringing human societies into balance with nature.)


Spiritual Ecology  by Carolyn Merchant  1992  - A description and catalog of the varieties of eco-spirituality existing before 1992, including the Council of All Beings, Nature Spirituality, Pagan Spirituality, Native American Land Wisdom, Mainstream Religion, Ecological Creation Spirituality, and Ecological Process Theology.  Merchant concludes: The main project of spiritual ecology is to effect a transformation of values that in turn leads to action to heal the planet. Whatever religion or form of spirituality one practices, it is possible to find a connection to the earth and to the political work that needs to be done to change the present way of managing resources. Some religions are more radical than others and some envision a more radical political transformation than others. With most individuals practicing some form of religion and with increasing attention to the ecological consequences of current ways of doing business, a spiritual revolution may help to support human and ecological justice in the twenty-first century.


The Spirituality of the Earth  by Thomas Berry  1990  - I speak of the earth as subject, not as object. I am concerned with the maternal principle out of which we were born and whence we derive all that we are and all that we have. In our totality we are born of the earth. We are earthlings. The earth is our origin, our nourishment, our support, our guide. Our spirituality itself is earth-derived. If there is no spirituality in the earth, then there is no spirituality in ourselves. The human and the earth are totally implicated each in the other.  Not to recognize the spirituality of the earth is to indicate a radical lack of spiritual perception in ourselves.


Alienation, Neo-shamanism and Recovered Animism  by Bruce Charlton, MD  2002  - Animism is not a religious or philosophical doctrine, neither is it an ‘error’ made by people too young or too primitive to know better - animism is nothing less than the fundamental mode by which human consciousness regards the world. Consciousness just is animistic. And this perspective is a consequence of human evolutionary history.  Humans evolved sophisticated brain mechanisms for dealing with the complex social situations that formed a dominant selection pressure throughout primate evolutionary history; and in animistic thinking these social mechanisms are flexibly applied to interpret complex aspects of the world in general. Information on animals, plants and landscape are fed into a system that codes them into social entities with social motivations, and models their behaviour in social terms.


The Wounded Healer  by Paul Levy - Our wounding is a “numinous” event, in that its source is transpersonal and archetypal, which is to say that our wound is the very way by which the divine is making contact with us. The origin of both our wounding and the healing that precipitates out of our wound comes from beyond ourselves, as it is beyond our own personal contrivance. Our wounding activates a deeper, transpersonal process of potential healing and illumination that we could not have initiated by ourselves….  Our personal wound is, in condensed and crystallized form, the footprint and signature of the collective wound in which we all share and participate. It is liberating and healing to step out of pathologizing ourselves and re-contextualize our personal conflicts, problems and wounds as part of a wider transpersonal pattern enfolded throughout the global field of human experience.


Transformed by the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche  - Interview with Bill Plotkin, author of Nature and the Human Soul  4/30/08  - The opportunity of the Great Turning is to create soulcentric societies – those that are imaginative, ecocentric, cooperation-based, just, compassionate, and sustainable.  Every human being has a unique and mystical relationship to the wild world, and the conscious discovery and cultivation of that relationship is at the core of true adulthood.  True adulthood is rooted in transpersonal experience – in a mystic affiliation with nature, experienced as a sacred calling – that is then embodied in soul-infused work and mature responsibilities. This mystical affiliation is the very core of maturity, and it is precisely what mainstream Western society has overlooked – or actively suppressed and expelled.


Groundwork  by Bill Plotkin  - Meditation does not help us to sink our roots into the DEEPER impulses, emotions, and images of the soul. There we will find, in addition to our deepest individual desires and passions and grief, pockets of a KIND of fear and a KIND of anger that can motivate us to actively embody in the world what our souls most deeply desire. Doing so creates a healthy, balanced, joyous, and sustainable world. Meditation practice, alone, won't do that. To paraphrase James Hillman, we've had 2500 years of Buddhist mindfulness meditation, and the world's getting worse. Why would we WANT to "achieve a state of inner peace" while witnessing, for example, genocide and environmental devastation?  For personal and societal transformation, we need the soul's wildness and passions and unique desires AS WELL AS the healing of our egos and the equanimity of the peaceful mind.  


Spiritual Implications of Climate Change  by John Croft  10/07  - We live in an amazing time, a time that has been long in preparation and will never again be repeated. We stand at the pivot of history. Gaia herself seeks to have our species leave its adolescence behind and assume its responsibilities of adulthood. This task is going to take the harvesting of the gifts and wisdoms granted to us by all 31 of the civilisations of the last five thousand years. It needs the insights and abilities of all the first nations indigenous cultures of every continent. We need to distill the wisdom and insights of all sages, teachers, and spiritual students, swamis, gurus, prophets, saints and martyrs that have ever existed. Nothing can be left out, nothing can be forgotten – we need it all.


Nature is Not a Paradigm  by Morris Berman  1987 - The Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries represented a major metapolitical shift; the whole mode of discourse changed. The biggest factor was the demise of the magical world view, the loss of an affective and symbolic mode of communication. Nature was now seen as dead – a perception historians of science refer to as the "mechanical philosophy” – and this perception was quickly extended to everything. There has been, as part of this mode of discourse, a very dramatic impact on the human psyche.  To succeed in Western industrial society, it pays to behave mechanically, to ignore feelings and concentrate on appearance and behavior. This involves a repression of your dream life and of the life of your body, of your capacity to love. It seems to me that the very qualities that make for success in our culture make it very difficult to be vulnerable, to love others, and ultimately, even to love yourself. These are problems we all struggle with.


Comprehensive Compassion, an Interview with Brian Swimme

by Susan Bridle  2001  - A visionary cosmologist explains why this may be the most critical yet potentially transformative time on the planet in 65 million years. What's necessary is for us to understand that, really, at the root of things is community. At the deepest level, that's the center of things. We come out of community. So how then can we organize our economics so that it's based on community, not accumulation? And how can we organize our religion to teach us about community? And when I say "community," I mean the whole earth community. That's the ultimate sacred domain—the earth community.


Taking Refuge In Earth: Summoning The Earth To Witness  by Cynthia Jurs  - When we recognize all the parts of the whole Earth in community together, all the great diversity of life, all living in relationship to one another, we have Sangha right here in front of our eyes, in all the ten directions: friends, enemies, young, old, rich, poor, 4 legged, 2 legged, winged, finned and growing roots.


The Twelve Principles:  Heart Essence of The Way of Nature

by John P. Milton  (According to John, these are the core sacred principles that the teachings of the world's liberating, earth-honoring lineages have in common.)


Greetings From The Gravity Well  By Tim Bennett 12/23/07

The curtains may not be completely torn down, rings and all. Life may prevail. It’s possible. And so I will hold it as such. A possibility. A hope. Held not despite my fellow human beings, but BECAUSE I AM ONE.


Finding Our Calling As The World Unravels, Part 1  by Carla Royal  9/24/08  - My questions to people as they contemplate joining with others are larger than how are you going to form community for the sake of survival.  Survival is not enough.  We need to be asking deeper questions.  Questions like: What is Life asking of you?  Who will you be in the face of the current predicament?  What is your calling as the world unravels?


Reclaiming The Soul In A Soul-Murdering Culture  By Carla Royal

12/12/07  - This culture extends into every corner of the earth and every corner of our minds.  It is insidious.  It is unrelenting.  It devours.  It will even take our souls if we let it, and we do let it.  But surely our soul is the one thing this culture can't take from us unless we allow it.  We don't have to allow it.  We don't have to surrender our soul, and if we have, we can reclaim it.  Perhaps in this culture the most we can do is to reclaim our soul.  Reclaim it from the machine, from the institutions, from the busyness, maybe even from God.  And perhaps in the reclaiming we will learn something about how to negotiate this culture and its collapse. 


Saturn, Uranus, and Aquarius Revisited  by Dawn Bodrogi  12/30/09  - No coincidence that the Age of Aquarius has been heralded in with what we now call mass communication. Group Think rules by lowest common denominator, rather than what is wisest or best for us. Group Think distrusts intellectuals and artists and anyone who dares to express what is unique and different from the norm. Group Think tells us that our unique contributions will not be accepted. From body fascism to terrorism, evidence of the Aquarian Age is at our door.


Transcend and Transform Your World  Tom Kenyon  11/14/07

Advice from the star people—in this case, the Hathors, channeled through Tom Kenyon.  Personally, I’ve found their advice to be sane and sound, to have integrity and to resonate with my inner knowing.  I’ve also found their music, through Tom, to be deeply healing.  To find out who the Hathors and Tom are, click here. 



Articles by David Abram on Animism


The Air Aware: Mind and mood on a breathing planet  by David Abram  9/09  - I suggest that mind is not at all a human possession, but is rather a property of the earthly biosphere—a property in which we, along with the other animals and the plants, all participate. Mind, in this sense, is very much like a medium in which we’re situated, like the ineffable air or atmosphere, from which we are simply unable to extricate ourselves without ceasing to exist. Everything we know or sense of ourselves is conditioned by this atmosphere. If we allow that mind is a biospheric quality, an attribute endemic to the wide sphere that surrounds and sustains us, we swiftly notice this consequence: each region—each topography, each uniquely patterned ecosystem—has its own particular awareness, its unique style of intelligence.


Storytelling and Wonder  by David Abram  3/07  -         Our animal senses know nothing of the objective, mechanical, quantifiable world to which most of our civilized discourse refers. Wild and gregarious organs, our senses spontaneously experience the world not as a conglomeration of inert objects but as a field of animate presences that actively call our attention, that grab our focus or capture our gaze. Whenever we slip beneath the abstract assumptions of the modern world, we find ourselves drawn into relationship with a diversity of beings as inscrutable and unfathomable as ourselves. Direct, sensory perception is inherently animistic, disclosing a world wherein every phenomenon has its own active agency and power.  We are born of this animate earth, and our sensitive flesh is simply our part of the dreaming body of the world. However much we may obscure this ancestral affinity, we cannot erase it, and the persistence of the old stories is the continuance of a way of speaking that blesses the sentience of things, binding our thoughts back into the depths of an imagination much vaster than our own.


The Invisibles  by David Abram  2006  - In truth, it is only we of the literate, technological West who tend to construe “the spirit” as something utterly insubstantial, entirely beyond all sensory ken. It is only literate, Christian civilization that assumes the spirit is something entirely outside of the world that our breathing bodies inhabit. The word “spirit,” of course, derives from the Latin spiritus – a word that originally signified “wind” and “breath”— an ancestry it plainly shares with the English term “respiration.” By severing the term “spirit” from its very palpable, earthly provenance as the wind, alphabetic civilization transformed a mystery that was once simply invisible into a mystery that was wholly intangible -- incapable of being felt by any of the bodily senses. But the spirits are not intangible; they are not of another world. They are the way the local earth speaks when we step back inside this world.


Animism, Perception, and Earthly Craft of the Magician  by David Abram 2005  - Although the term "animism" was originally coined in the nineteenth century to designate the mistaken projection of humanlike attributes -- such as life, mind, intelligence -- to nonhuman and ostensibly inanimate phenomena, it is clear that this first meaning was itself rooted in a misapprehension, by Western scholars, of the perceptual experience of indigenous, oral peoples. Twentieth-century research into the phenomenology of perception revealed that humans never directly experience any phenomenon as definitively inert or inanimate. Perception itself is an inherently relational, participatory event.


Waking Our Animal Senses: Language and the Ecology of Sensory Experience  by David Abram  2002  - When we are really awake to the life of our senses — when we are really watching with our animal eyes and listening with our animal ears — we discover that nothing in the world around us is directly experienced as a passive  or inanimate object. Each thing, each entity meets our gaze with its own secrets, and if we lend it our attention we are drawn into a dynamic interaction wherein we are taught and sometimes transformed by this other being. If we really wish to awaken our senses, and so to renew the solidarity between ourselves and the rest of the earth, then we must acknowledge that the myriad things around us have their own active agency, their own active influence upon our lives and our thoughts (and also, of course, upon one another). We must begin to speak of the sensuous surroundings in the way that our breathing bodies really experience them — as active, as animate, as alive.



Articles on Trauma and Soul


Shamanic Transference  by Paul Levy  3/27/10  - Shamanic transference is not a style of transference, or a practice of a particular tradition, but is a natural interchange that is fundamental to every human relationship (please see my article We are all Shamans-in-Training). In the depth of any transference, the currency of exchange which genuinely creates psychological health and spiritual wealth is a dialectical relationship based on eros, authentic human relatedness, channeled tel-empathically through the heart. The shamanic doctor of the soul skillfully embodies this way of being in all his relations. Indigenous people call this being a real human being.


On Soul Loss And Recovery  by C. Michael Smith, Ph.D., 3/23/09  - Care of the soul and recovery of the soul are the common ground of ancient indigenous shamanic systems of healing, and modern dynamic and depth psychologies, and indirectly, even of cognitive behavior therapy. The word “psychology” means expression of soul, logos or intelligible account or study of soul. The word “psychotherapy” means service or healing of soul. Of course shamans have ideas, practices and skill sets that differ in conception and understanding from modern psychologies, but this can be a plus because shamanism brings a time-tested and highly effective way that can educate the modern psychologist in powerful and effective methods of finding and bringing back on line parts of the person that have flipped off due to trauma, shock, childhood abuse, accident, serious sickness or major surgery.


Technology, Trauma, and the Wild  by Chellis Glendinning  - Nature-based people lived every day of their lives in the wilderness. We are only beginning to grasp how such a life served the inherent expectations of the human psyche for development to full maturation and health. In nature-based people who today maintain some vestiges of their relationship to the Earth and their Earth-based cultures, we can discern a decided sense of ease with daily life, a marked sense of self and dignity, a wisdom that most of us can admire only from afar, and a lack of the addiction and abuse that have become systemic in civilization.  The loss of these psychological and cultural experiences in the face of an increasingly human-constructed and eventually technology-determined reality, and the loss of living in fluid participation with the wild, constitute the trauma we have inherited.  The hallmark of the traumatic response is dissociation: a process by which we split our consciousness, repress whole arenas of experience, and shut down our full perception of the world. Dissociation results not only from direct traumatizing experience, but also from the kinds of social changes that took place in the historical process of domestication.


America the Traumatized: How 13 Events of the Decade Made Us the PTSD Nation  by Adele M. Stan  12/30/09  - In America today, it seems we all have a touch of post-traumatic stress disorder, as evidenced by our increasingly vitriolic political environment, where reality is denied and histrionics run riot. Anger, we're told, is the natural reaction to trauma; in people with PTSD, the anger is out of control. By that measure, the millennial decade has brought us 10 years of PTSD politics -- with no end in sight.


Healing Transition Trauma In The New Decade  by Carolyn Baker 12/30/09  - Do not think, dear reader, that you have been able to avoid being traumatized. In fact, if you are alive on planet earth today, you are living and will live the rest of your life in a state of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While you may not have lived through a traumatic event, you cannot escape the effects of a plethora of traumatic events around you, and what is more, you will be reminded of those events on some level every day of your life.  Trauma – past and present – is an enormous contributor to our daunting difficulties in creating and maintaining supportive and harmonious living communities.


In Terror's Grip: Healing The Ravages of Trauma  by Bessel van der Kolk  - Effective treatment of PTSD must involve promoting awareness, rather than avoidance, of internal somatic states.  This allows feelings to be known, not just sensed as harbingers of threat that must be avoided.  Mindfulness, awareness of one’s inner experience, is necessary for a person to respond according to what is happening and is needed in the present, rather than reacting to certain somatic sensations as a return of the traumatic past.  Such awareness will free people to introduce new options to solve problems and not merely react reflectively.


The Body Keeps The Score: 
Memory & the Evolving Psychobiology of Post Traumatic Stress  by Bessel van der Kolk  - For more than a century, ever since people's responses to overwhelming experiences were first systematically explored, it has been noted that the psychological effects of trauma are expressed as changes in the biological stress response. In 1889, Pierre Janet, postulated that intense emotional reactions make events traumatic by interfering with the integration of the experience into existing memory schemes. Intense emotions, Janet thought, cause memories of particular events to be dissociated from consciousness, and to be stored, instead, as visceral sensations (anxiety and panic), or as visual images (nightmares and flashbacks). Janet also observed that traumatized patients seemed to react to reminders of the trauma with emergency responses that had been relevant to the original threat, but that had no bearing on current experience. He noted that victims had trouble learning from experience: unable to put the trauma behind them, their energies were absorbed by keeping their emotions under control at the expense of paying attention to current exigencies. They became fixated upon the past, in some cases by being obsessed with the trauma, but more often by behaving and feeling like they were traumatized over and over again without being able to locate the origins of these feelings.


Yoga and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  - An Interview with Bessel van der Kolk, MD  - What most people do not realize is that trauma is not the story of something awful that happened in the past, but the residue of imprints left behind in people’s sensory and hormonal systems. Traumatized people often are terrified of the sensations in their own bodies. Most trauma-sensitive people need some form of body-oriented psychotherapy or bodywork to regain a sense of safety in their bodies.   The main challenge for the trauma sensitive is to learn how to tolerate feelings and sensations by increasing the capacity for interoception or sitting with yourself, noticing what’s going on inside—the basic principle of meditation. They need to learn how to modulate arousal.  Their challenge is to learn how to notice what is happening and how things can and will shift, rather than running away or turning to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate.


Soul Retrieval: An Interview with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche  2/08  - Soul retrieval and life-force retrieval are distinct, but they are integrally related. Somehow, the soul appears to serve as a deeper foundation of the life force. If the soul is healed, the life force is strong. If the soul is damaged, the life force declines. Sometimes we may be hit with a challenge, and before we can deal with it we are hit by another challenge. When there is a constant onslaught, we may feel like we can't cope anymore. As we are engaged with one problem, other deeper issues come to hurt us internally, and there is a pervasive imbalance of energy. When this cycle persists, soul retrieval is very necessary.  If you are deeply affected by a big shock or trauma that happens in your life, it will be because of the accumulation of past imbalances.



Native American/Indigenous Wisdom (See also Indigenous Links)


A Basic Call to Consciousness: The Hau de no sau nee Address to the Western World, Geneva, Switzerland, Autumn 1977


Spiritualism: The Highest Form of Political Consciousness

The Hau de no sau nee Message to the Western World   1977 – Part 1a of A Basic Call to Consciousness - Ours is a Way of Life. We believe that all living things are spiritual beings. Spirits can be expressed as energy forms manifested in matter.  The original instructions direct that we who walk about on the Earth are to express a great respect, an affection, and a gratitude toward all the spirits which create and support Life.


Voices from White Earth: Gaa-waabaabiganikaag  by Winona LaDuke  10/93  - If you look at the whole of North America, you find that the majority of the population is native in about a third of the continent. Within this larger area indigenous people maintain their own ways of living and their cultural practices. This is our view of the continent, and it is different from the view of most other North Americans.  Going beyond North America, I want to talk about the Western Hemisphere and the world from an indigenous perspective. My intent is to present you with an indigenous worldview and our perception of the world. There are a number of countries in the Western Hemisphere in which native peoples are the majority of the population. Overall, the Western Hemisphere is not predominantly white. Indigenous people continue their ways of living based on generations and generations of knowledge and practice on the land. On a worldwide scale there are about five thousand nations. Nations are groups of indigenous peoples who share common language, culture, history, territory, and government institutions. That is how international law defines a nation. And that is who we are: nations of people who have existed for thousands of years.


How the Conquest of Indigenous Peoples Parallels the Conquest of Nature  by John Mohawk  10/97 -  A powerful lecture with vivid descriptions of the history of the predator culture in the West from the time of Classical Greece, up to and including the global economy – from a Native perspective.  Mohawk: I propose to you that we live in an age of utopian excess that is driving us away from doing what would be sustainable and survivable and is diverting us into participating, in ways we’re not even conscious of, in activities that are destructive in the long term. The actual trend over the centuries has been toward a politics of conquest and plundering. And we have rationalized our behavior in the context of that conquest and plunder. Most of us don’t ask ourselves, when we make choices about what we’re going to buy, How does this purchase implicate me in the plunder?



The Ice Is Melting  by Oren Lyons  10/04  - I was one of a group of Indian leaders who went to Geneva in 1977, the first time indigenous people had ever gone to the United Nations. We were people from North, Central, and South America who had never met before, yet we were able to come to an agreement, were able to choose leaders and speakers and topics all in one day. Even though it was difficult, we did it. The reason is that we had a common understanding and belief. A thousand years ago there came to us a spiritual entity called Great Peacemaker. He brought to us his whole concept of democracy, laid it before us. The Peacemaker said to build our nation on peace, equity, unity, and health. The Peacemaker was very fundamental. He said, You can't have peace without health, you can't have justice without equity, you can't have continuity without unity. And there has to be reverence and respect. Those are words that we have to bring back again. He gave us very sound principles to build a nation on.  My first message to you is that the kind of leadership we have must be changed. The second message I bring you is that global warming is real. It is imminent. It is upon us. It's a lot closer than you think, and I don't believe we're ready for what's coming.


Mitakuye Oyasin is a Lakota Sioux prayer. The phrase translates as "all my relations." It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks.


Indigenous Mind  by Winona Laduke


A Native View Of Nature  by John Mohawk - An interview by Charlene Spretnak


First Nations and the Future of the Earth  by Rebecca Adamson


The Leadership Imperative, An interview with Chief Oren Lyons by Barry Lopez  2/07


Animists: The Spirit of Place - An exhibition of photographs and commentary by Phil Borges taken in Siberia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Peru, and the Ecuadorian Amazon.  8/2000  - Animists: The Spirit of Place reflects upon a time when we were all deeply bonded to the place where we lived. The artist states: "It was a spiritual connection seen to be vital for maintaining both the health of the community and the well being of the individual". During the Enlightenment this spiritual communication fell out of favour. There are only a few traditional cultures remaining who spiritually communicate with their environment. These photographs depict some of these people for whom the environment still holds a sacred enchantment .... people who still know the The Spirit of Place.  Includes quotes by photo subjects.


The Earth is our Mother by Tashunka WitkoWith photographs by Edward S. Curtis, quotes and music by Native Americans. Video 8:27


The Message The Plantagon message to the leaders of the world from the indigenous peoples of all nations, spoken by Oren Lyons, 1/13/08.


Oren Lyons: Value Change for Survival   Interview with Oren Lyons on global warming, 1/09/07.


Red Crow Westerman - Speaking To The World Native American History and the American Indian Movement


Indigenous Native American Prophecy (Elders Speak part 1)


The Plastic Medicine People Circle  by Helene E. Hagan  1992  - The author is a psychological anthropologist who has worked with Native American issues and lived for four years on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota while working on an elder oral history project.  In this article she details the psychological dangers to non-natives who are duped into participating in the ceremonies and rituals of fake shamans – both those who are supposedly Native American and those who are obviously Caucasian – and the concerns of authentic Native Americans regarding these “plastic medicine people,” whom she names.


A Theft of Spirit?  by Christopher Shaw 8/95  - An exploration of Native views regarding the expropriation of Native American traditions by white people, particularly the New Age mix-and-match amalgamations of Native ideas that are often marketed as indigenous spirituality, but could present a long-term threat to Native culture.





Avatar Official Movie Site  with trailer


Na'vi Vocabulary


Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora (James Cameron's Avatar) by Maria Wilhelm & Dirk Mathison - In Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora we are introduced to Pandora—a pristine and beautiful moon in a distant solar system—its exotic ecosystems, and the indigenous race called the Na'vi. By piecing together photographs, scientific field notes, and research data, citizens on Earth have collected the information in this field guide as a way to highlight the lessons Pandora can teach the people of Earth, who have struggled to survive as their planet's critical resources are depleted.


James Cameron on Charlie Rose  2/17/10  - The director of Avatar talks about its environmental and paradigm-changing message, audience reactions to it, storytelling and movie making.


Avatar in the Amazon  by Melaina Spitzer  1/29/10  - If there were ever a place that came close to the magical world of Pandora in James Cameron’s new film Avatar, it would probably be the Amazon. There may not be butterflies that look like flying squid, but in the Amazon can you eat giant worms and lemon flavored ants for dinner in a forest that is home to both the jaguar and the pink dolphin. Reporter Melaina Spitzer joined a group of indigenous leaders from the Amazon in Ecuador’s capital Quito, to see Avatar on the big screen in 3D.  With video.


The Pachamama Alliance is a co-creative initiative between Western activists and Ecuadorean rainforest peoples, which bussed a hundred Indigenous people from the jungles and highlands down to a theater in Quito to see Avatar in 3D. Pachamama is an indigenous Andean name for the world, for reality as a sacred being and context for life.  It is like the term Mother Earth, expanding to include the universe and all time.  Pachamama is something for awake people to be aware of, to care for, to learn from, to appreciate, to celebrate – in its greatest and most local manifestations – for it carries Life.  The Pachamama Alliance promotes that kind of sacred but grounded life-mindfulness and planetary stewardship.


Avatar and its holistic promise  by Juriaan Kamp  2/1/10  - Avatar portrays the beauty of holism - that word that has defined the new age movement since the sixties. Holism attracted hippies then. It now attracts masses worldwide. That is the message of Avatar.  To be clear: holism is not some distant dream. It is our everyday reality. We live in an interconnected world. That has always been the case. Ancient cultures were aware of that.  It is only our Cartesian perspectives from the past few centuries that have spread a different message: that we can chop up reality and make a lot of money while selling the pieces.  It was science that led Descartes and his contemporaries to the fragmented approach to reality. Yet modern science is increasingly telling a different story. The good news is that the success of Avatar is showing that many millions of us are already - consciously or unconsciously - embracing, or at least feel attracted to, the holistic vision.


Avatar Transforming - Its Power, Its Message, Its Possibilities  1/26/10

Avatar is stimulating some very juicy conversation...  1/27/10  - These two blog posts on Avatar by Tom Atlee provide his reviews of Avatar reviews, focusing on its message and its transformative potential.


Full-Blooded Awakening & Embodiment: A Review Of Avatar  by Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.  1/26/10  - Avatar moves and shakes many people quite deeply, not just because of the incredible special effects, but also because they have been reminded with considerable impact not only of their own primal nature-attuned core, but also of their estrangement or disconnection from it. So there's a simultaneous sense, however subterranean, of deep opening and deep loss, a more-than-intellectual recognition of having lost touch with something truly essential to us. In this sense, Avatar serves as an awakening force, a jolt to our core, inviting us to awaken from the entrapping dreams we habitually animate.  Earth is Pandora, getting ever closer to being one massive clearcut, and we know it, regardless of our distractions. The popcorn falls from our hands, waves of green energy branch through our torso, tears come, and something very deep in us starts to open, to unfurl, to reach through us with

unmistakable urgency, calling us to a deeper life...


The Holocaust We Will Not See  by George Monbiot  1/11/10  - Avatar half-tells a story we would all prefer to forget. It's profound because, like most films about aliens, it is a metaphor for contact between different human cultures. But in this case the metaphor is conscious and precise: this is the story of European engagement with the native peoples of the Americas. But this is a story no one wants to hear, because of the challenge it presents to the way we choose to see ourselves. Europe was massively enriched by the genocides in the Americas; the American nations were founded on them. This is a history we cannot accept.  (Monbiot goes on to tell the gory story of the predator culture’s conquest of the Americas, but pans the plot of Avatar as “silly.” – SD)


Avatar: Going Native, in 3D (Film Review) by Rob Williams  1/7/10  - For anyone considering the United States as Empire, “Avatar’s” evocative and disturbing storyline – “Aliens” meets “Dances With Wolves” meets “Lord of the Rings” – proves much more damning than not.  The Omaticaya, as the natives call themselves, revere a mystical energetic force called Eywa, an animist Spirit that infuses all living things.  Most compelling, perhaps, is the oddly deja-vu-like quality of “Avatar.” In the Age of Twitter, we are quick to forget our own history of violence against “the natives” and nature itself, and Cameron’s film brings back this history with disturbing three-dimensional vividness. The ultimate irony is this: as we destroy the real world – beautiful, connected, sacred, organic – the only “place” many of us think we can retreat to is the world of networked electronic technology, itself a “Cyberia” created by the mining of the planet’s natural yet finite resources.


Avatar Pulls The Political Trigger  by Michael Carmichael  1/6/10  - While Avatar is being hailed as a breakthrough to new levels of filmic techno-sophistication – its 3D and special effects are wrapped around a scintillating story line that is driven by thermonuclear political intensity.  Avatar is a hyper-political film from its gripping beginning to its illuminating end.  In a nutshell, Avatar’s political message is:  The American Military-Industrial Complex will utterly destroy the known universe.  The characters of Avatar are archetypes.  The story is driven by the conflict in Jake’s mind.  Torn between his commitment to his human DNA and his longing for restorative surgery to regain the use of his body, Jake finds liberation as a Na’vi warrior who dives deeply into the indigenous aboriginal culture of animism and the unadulterated exaltation of Nature.  Avatar is powerful art. 


Audiences Experience 'Avatar' Blues  by Jo Piazza  1/11/10  - James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle "Avatar" may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.  People saw that we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed.


Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible – Online Avatar forum


All Avatar Forums


James Cameron's Avatar delivers a powerful message of connectedness with Mother Nature  by Mike Adams  12/26/09  - Avatar delivers an urgent message for our modern world where many of the atrocities committed by the human invaders in Avatar are being carried out right now against our own planet.  When it comes to planet Earth, after all, humans are the imperialists. We have destroyed much of the natural habitat on our planet; we've poisoned the rivers and oceans; we've polluted the sky and burned up much of the planet's natural resources. In our quest for more energy, more consumption and more profit, we are stupidly destroying our own planet... and destroying our own future in the process. We are, in effect, both the invaders and the natives on this planet, and through our misguided collective consumption, we are destroying our own land, our own trees and our own home. And because life is so delicately interconnected, in destroying our own planet, we are only destroying ourselves.



Wilderness Solos


Sacred Passage and the Way of Nature Fellowship - John P. Milton - Vision Quests, Contemporary Solo Quests in Nature, Nature Quests, Sacred Passages, Meditation Retreats, Rites of Passage, Awareness Training, Dzogchen Training and Practice, Qi Gong and T'ai Chi Training, Study of ancient Shamanic Practices, and Traditional Wilderness Quest opportunities are all available through our Sacred Passage and The Way of Nature Programs.


The Animas Valley Institute  - Bill Plotkin  - At Animas, our focus is nature-based initiation, whose central goal is the descent to soul for the purpose of maturing the ego so that it becomes a vessel for a person’s deepest, world-transforming gifts.  Our intent is a foundational shift that elicits each person’s most creative, soul-rooted response to our precious, critical moment in history.


School of Lost Borders  - The School of Lost Borders, located in Big Pine, California, offers vision fast and rites of passage training which cultivate self-trust, responsibility, and understanding about one’s unique place within society and the natural world. Its programs provide guided opportunities, perspectives, teachings, and much needed self-reflection time in a non-judgmental yet challenging environment. Our purpose is to encourage the skills and attitudes necessary to discover, affirm, and authentically share one’s unique gifts. The School of Lost Borders draws on pan-cultural traditions in order to support and guide individuals through life transitions and initiations and into deeper contact with the natural world as well as their own innate humanness.


Wilderness Quest in the Utah CanyonlandsElias Amidon and Elizabeth Rabia Roberts - A nine-day rite-of-passage into the desert wilderness of southeast Utah – a fitting place to renew, clarify, or determine your life’s purpose and direction. We have been leading these Quests since 1991. 


Wilderness Awareness School  - A national environmental education organization established in 1983, based in Duvall, Washington, dedicated to caring for the earth and our children by fostering understanding and appreciation of self, community, and nature. Our mentoring approach honors individuality, encourages self-sufficiency in learning, and awakens a kinship with nature as it trains youth and adults to blend the awareness of a native tracker with the knowledge of a wildlife biologist. Our wilderness education courses draw on traditions from indigenous cultures worldwide, emphasizing nature as teacher, routines to enhance awareness, storytelling, self-motivated learning, and tracking as an interpretive tool. Our dynamic wilderness education courses combine ancient and modern ecological wisdom, and empower people of all ages to become stewards, mentors, and leaders.



Websites related with Animism


Paul Shepard 1925 – 1996 – Introduction to and celebration of Paul Shepard’s work, including tributes by many deep ecological writers.


Alliance for Wild Ethics  - David Abram & Friends  - The Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE) is a consortium of individuals and organizations working to ease the spreading devastation of the animate earth through a rapid transformation of culture. We employ the arts, often in tandem with the natural sciences, to provoke deeply felt shifts in the human experience of nature. Motivated by a love for the more-than-human collective of life, and for human life as an integral part of that wider collective, we work to revitalize local, face-to-face community – and to integrate our communities perceptually, practically, and imaginatively into the earthly bioregions that surround and support them. Our work is aligned with a new respect for the mysterious eloquence of earthly reality – a deeply immanent sense of the sacred quietly dawning across the planet.  While Alliance members bring different skills and strategies to bear in our various projects, an underlying method in all our efforts is the awakening of wonder.


Dharma Ocean Foundation – Reginald Ray – The Dharma Ocean Foundation offers us the chance to live within the brilliance of our deepest lives. Within our Buddhist lineage, meditation is the primary way to uncover this radiance, and the foundation offers a wide range of retreats and programs in the sitting practice of meditation. Introductory events include Meditating with the Body and Winter Dathün, both of which occur annually in Crestone, Colorado.


Ligmincha Institute – Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche - Founded in 1992 in order to preserve the ancient teachings, transmissions and practices of the Bon Buddhist tradition, Ligmincha aims to introduce these traditions in an authentic manner to the Western world, in such a way that they remain beneficial when integrated into modern Western culture. As the indigenous religion of Tibet and one of the world's most ancient unbroken spiritual traditions, the Bon Buddhist tradition has a rich and unique heritage. More important, today Bon remains a living tradition, a wellspring of timeless wisdom and knowledge that is highly relevant and applicable to our modern Western lives.


The Four Winds Society – Alberto Villoldo  -

Our mission is to train master practitioners in the shamanic wisdom and healing arts of the ancient Americas. We offer professional training leading to certification as a master practitioner of energy medicine for individuals dedicated to their own growth and to healing the earth. The training includes lectures, hands-on practice, experiential exercises, and ancient rites of passage.


Animal Dreaming – Scott Alexander King  - I call my path ANIMAL DREAMING: a fresh, new approach to Shamanic lore that is easily understood and integrated into today's modern lifestyle.  Following a more 'animist' approach, its message is simple: Look to the animals for guidance, interpret their medicine or Dreaming messages, and incorporate the acumen obtained into your life and give thanks. The animals never make mistakes and if we can heed their example, we will never make mistakes again, either. It is as simple as realising that if the Earth is our Mother, then perhaps we are her children.  She supports us, cradles us and whispers her support to us every hour of every day. She speaks metaphorically. She uses symbols, and her symbols are the animals.


Process Work InstituteArnold and Amy Mindell - Profound personal and group work based on the cross-disciplinary research of the Mindell’s and colleagues.


PrimitivismAn inquiry into ways of life running counter to the development of technology, its alienating historical antecedents, and the ensemble of changes wrought by both. This site is an exploration into primitivist theory, presenting works by many authors that contribute to an understanding of the tendency.


The E. F. Schumacher SocietyFree online edited texts of the society’s annual lecture program, begun in 1981, along with selected staff essays.  This is a treasure trove of Dharmagaian/deep ecological thinking.  Check out the newsletters and other resources on the site. Highly recommended!  


Sacred Fire Magazine:  The Antidote to Human Amnesia – For many, many thousands of years, humankind experienced every facet of the world as being alive with spirit. The earliest peoples regularly communicated with the plants, with the animals, and with the natural forces of the world.  This was not a religious practice, not a belief system. It was an everyday fact of life. These relationships were essential to our health and well being. Sacred Fire is here to promote listening. The kind of deep listening that comes from hearing, not with our minds, but with our hearts.  To bring balance back into the world, we need to listen to the people who have come before us, the ancestors.  We need to listen to the people alive today whose traditions remind us of the stories and lessons that served humankind for thousands of years.  And we need to listen to the living spirits of nature that are there to help us awaken to all of life.  Listen deeply.
  Be in conversation with the world.





Animism – Wikipedia: Animism (from Latin anima "soul, life") is a philosophical, religious or spiritual idea that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in other animals, plants, rocks, natural phenomena such as thunder, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment.  Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names or metaphors in mythology. Animism is particularly widely found in the religions of indigenous peoples, although it is also found in Shinto, and some forms of Hinduism and Neopaganism.


Archetype – Primordial, structural elements of the human psyche. Archetypes are irrepresentable in themselves but their effects are discernible in archetypal images and motifs. Jung also described archetypes as "instinctual images," the forms which the instincts assume. Archetypes manifest both on a personal level, through complexes, and collectively, as characteristics of whole cultures. Jung believed it was the task of each age to understand anew their content and their effects.


Depth Psychology Depth psychology explores the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious and includes both psychoanalysis and Jungian psychology.  "Depth" refers to what's below the surface of psychic manifestations like behaviors, conflicts, relationships, family dynamics, dreams, even social and political events. The "what" is some deep fantasy or image system inaccessible to purely literal-minded approaches.


Ecological literacy – Wikipedia: Ecological literacy (also referred to as ecoliteracy) is the ability to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible. To be ecoliterate means understanding the principles of organization of ecological communities (i.e. ecosystems) and using those principles for creating sustainable human communities. The term was coined by American educator David W. Orr and physicist Fritjof Capra in the 1990s thereby a new value entered education; the “well-being of the earth”.  An ecologically literate society would be a sustainable society that does not destroy the natural environment on which they depend. Ecological literacy is a powerful concept as it creates a foundation for an integrated approach to environmental problems. Advocates champion eco-literacy as a new educational paradigm emerging around the poles of holism, systems thinking, sustainability, and complexity.


Individuation A process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. Individuation is a process informed by the archetypal ideal of wholeness, which in turn depends on a vital relationship between ego and unconscious. The aim is not to overcome one's personal psychology, to become perfect, but to become familiar with it. Thus individuation involves an increasing awareness of one's unique psychological reality, including personal strengths and limitations, and at the same time a deeper appreciation of humanity in general.


Individuation and a life lived by collective values are nevertheless two divergent destinies. In Jung's view they are related to one another by guilt. Whoever embarks on the personal path becomes to some extent estranged from collective values, but does not thereby lose those aspects of the psyche which are inherently collective. To atone for this "desertion," the individual is obliged to create something of worth for the benefit of society.


In Jung's view, no one is ever completely individuated. While the goal is wholeness and a healthy working relationship with the self, the true value of individuation lies in what happens along the way.


Jung LexiconDesigned for those seeking an understanding of relevant terms and concepts as they were used by Carl Gustav Jung himself, there are choice extracts from Jung's Collected Works, but no references to other writers.


Mysticism - Wikipedia: mysticism (from the Greek) is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be dualistic, maintaining a distinction between the self and the divine, or may be nondualistic. Differing religious traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in different ways.


[These are relevant to the meaning I attribute to mysticism:]

• Deep intrinsic connection to the world (Satori in Mahayana Buddhism, Te in Taoism)

• Innate Knowledge (Irfan and Sufism in Islam)

• Experience of one's true blissful nature (Samadhi Svarupa-Avirbhava in Hinduism and Buddhism)


The term '"mysticism'" is used to refer to beliefs and practices which go beyond the liturgical and devotional forms of worship of mainstream faith, often by seeking out inner or esoteric meanings of conventional religious doctrine, and by engaging in spiritual practices such as breathing practices, prayer, contemplation and meditation, along with chanting and other activities designed to heighten spiritual awareness.


Paradigm shiftWikipedia: Paradigm shift (or revolutionary science) is the term first used by Thomas Kuhn in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) to describe a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. It is in contrast to his idea of normal science.  The term paradigm shift, as a change in a fundamental model of events, has since become widely applied to many other realms of human experience as well, even though Kuhn himself restricted the use of the term to the hard sciences.  Since the 1960s, the term has been found useful to thinkers in numerous non-scientific contexts.


PrimitivismWikipedia: Primitivism is the opinion that life was better or more moral during the early stages of mankind or among primitive peoples (or children) and has deteriorated with the growth of civilization. It is a response to the perennial question of whether the development of complex civilizations and technologies has benefited or harmed mankind.


Shadow(excerpts) Hidden or unconscious aspects of oneself, both good and bad, which the ego has either repressed or never recognized. Before unconscious contents have been differentiated, the shadow is in effect the whole of the unconscious. The shadow is composed for the most part of repressed desires and uncivilized impulses, morally inferior motives, childish fantasies and resentments, etc.--all those things about oneself one is not proud of. These unacknowledged personal characteristics are often experienced in others through the mechanism of projection. Responsibility for the shadow rests with the ego. That is why the shadow is a moral problem. It is one thing to realize what it looks like – what we are capable of. It is quite something else to determine what we can live out, or with. The shadow is not, however, only the dark underside of the personality. It also consists of instincts, abilities and positive moral qualities that have long been buried or never been conscious. An outbreak of neurosis constellates both sides of the shadow: those qualities and activities one is not proud of, and new possibilities one never knew were there.

  Jung distinguished between the personal and the collective or archetypal shadow.


Soul – Tibetan: (la) The soul is the most subtle balance of the five elements in an individual. In order to repair the damage or loss you do shamanic ritual of "Soul Retrieval"...which is like charging one battery from another battery. The other battery is not losing energy....  Every life force has a soul… we are asking to receive energy to heal our soul. There is a Tibetan term that refers to the brightness of the life force.... Tenzin Wangyal (The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism and Tantra,1998)


Soul - Wikipedia: The soul, in some religions, spiritual traditions, and philosophies, is the immaterial or eternal part of a living being, commonly held to be separable in existence from the body—the metaphysical part as distinct from the physical part. The soul is generally conceived as existing within humans and sometimes within all living things, inanimate objects, and the universe as a whole. In some cultures, non-human living things, and sometimes other objects (such as rivers) are said to have souls; these cultures hold a belief known as animism.  The soul is often believed to live on after a person’s death, and some religions posit that God creates souls.


The soul has been deemed integral or essential to consciousness and personality, and may be synonymous with spirit, mind or self.  Although the terms soul and spirit are sometimes used interchangeably, soul may denote a more worldly and less transcendent aspect of a person.  According to psychologist James Hillman, soul has an affinity for negative thoughts and images, whereas spirit seeks to rise above the entanglements of life and death.  The words soul and psyche can also be treated synonymously, although psyche has more physical connotations, whereas soul is connected more closely to metaphysics and religion.





Effigies:  An Anthology of New Indigenous Writing, Pacific Rim, 2009, Edited By Alison Adelle Hedge Coke
 - Reviewed By Eva Saulitis - Our country’s most ancient stories say there was a time when humans and animals spoke the same language. Everything had spirit: the rocks, the trees, the ice, the wind, the waves. Everything communicated. The poets in this volume, in their cellular memory, recall that time. There’s no way to go back, to return to the distant past. But the common language is all around us, and, ultimately, it’s in us. Poetry (and its precursor, chant) brings us closer to it. The voices of Effigies remind us that the world is alive and it’s endangered, it’s wise and it’s beautiful, it’s silent and it’s storied, it’s spirit-filled and it’s dangerous. They speak out of the whirlwind of history and change. There’s only one thing to say on their behalf: listen. Ultimately, these poets teach us about survival. The basis of both shamanism and poetry is transformation. Through juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, the generative and the destructive, the human and nonhuman, they ask us to consider the world we’ve imagined, and the world that’s imagined us. Ultimately, these poems ask us to reimagine our world.


The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field by Ervin Laszlo  2009  - In The Akashic Experience, 20 leading authorities in fields such as psychiatry, physics, philosophy, anthropology, natural healing, near death experience, and spirituality offer firsthand accounts of interactions with a cosmic memory field that can transmit information to people without having to go through the senses. Their experiences with the Akashic field are now validated and supported by evidence from cutting-edge sciences that shows that there is a cosmic memory field that contains all information--past, present, and future. The increasing frequency and intensity of these Akashic experiences are an integral part of a large-scale spiritual resurgence and evolution of human consciousness that is under way today.


Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery  by Chogyam Trungpa, edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian


Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse  by Carolyn Baker 


Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body by Reginald A. Ray


Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World  by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown


Animate Earth: Science, Intuition, And Gaia  by Stephan Harding


The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World  by David Abram 


Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche  by Bill Plotkin


Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World  by Bill Plotkin


The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology  by Theodore Roszak


The Earth Has a Soul: The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung  by Meredith Sabini


Thinking Like a Mountain  by John Seed, Joanna Macy and Pat Fleming – a Deep Ecology classic.


My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization  by Chellis Glendinning


A Language Older Than Words  by Derrick Jensen


Dwellers In The Land: The Bioregional Vision  by Kirkpatrick Sale


Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas by Alberto Villoldo


Mending the Past and Healing the Future with Soul Retrieval by Alberto Villoldo 


Healing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen  by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche


Dreaming the Council Ways: True Native Teachings From the Red Lodge  by Ohky Simine Forest


Sky Above, Earth Below: Spiritual Practice in Nature  by John P. Milton  - Book or audio cassettes with study guide.


Born of the Earth: Your Journal, Poetry and Meditations in Nature by Shiila Safer - Born of the Earth is a delightful invitation to return to one's true identity. Use the guided meditations and poetry to take you deeper into yourself. Use the blank pages as a journal, to hold your spontaneous insight. This unique book gives you the opportunity, not only to dig your roots down into the richness of the Earth, but also to express your creativity at the same time! Deep in the heart of Nature you can find your true voice. Born of the Earth will help you strengthen your vital connection with Mother Earth.



Audio & video for the soul


The Green Beautiful - Part 1/9 - The Green Beautiful is a lyrical, funny and enchanting film about people on another planet whose ecocentric culture left industrialism behind ages ago, and who visit Earth again for the first time in 200 years.  The story is woven around the contrast between Earth’s industrial society and the aliens’ own leisurely, harmonious, healthy, telepathic, soulful, post-industrial culture.  This is a delightful French film with English subtitles, in 9 parts on YouTube.


Kevin Richardson: The Lion Whisperer  - Website of Kevin Richardson, an animal behaviorist who works with large predators in South Africa.  The site has his story, many photos and videos.


Kevin Richardson - The Lion Whisperer  - Facebook page for Kevin Richardson, showing how many animistic souls are responding to his work.


Jonathan Balcombe: "Second Nature"  3/16/10  - Humans aren't the only beings who communicate, feel emotions and have self-awareness. Drawing on the latest research, an animal behaviorist explains why people need to change the way they treat other living creatures.


Being with AnimalsInterview with author Barbara King  1/28/10  - Americans spend billions of dollars and countless hours caring for their pets. An anthropologist explains the bond between humans and animals and its importance to our evolution.


Joanna Macy on the Five Gifts of Uncertainty at Bioneers Conference (video)


Shambhala Center Talk: Waking Up for the Sake of Life on Earth  by Joanna Macy  4/6/09  - Joanna's talk in Boulder, CO, sponsored by the Shambhala Center and Transition Boulder.  (Audio 1 hr.+)


Sacred DemiseInterview with Carolyn Baker  (51 min.)


Your Wild, Sacred Soul  - Audio interview with Bill Plotkin  - Deep into his career as a psychotherapist and research psychologist, Bill Plotkin recognized that as we surround ourselves with the trappings of our culture, and distance ourselves from nature, a host of emotional and spiritual troubles emerge. He placed himself in nature's guiding hands and found his true calling in helping others find theirs. He now leads vision quests, in which individuals engage the natural world as both the medium and the context for a passage to adulthood, and a maturity that too often is beyond reach in our urban society.


The Work that Reconnects Training DVD  by Joanna Macy


Audio recordings of Pema Chödron


Sounds True audio recordings  with Clarissa Pinkola Estés


GAIAlogues  with Joanna Harcourt-Smith


Meditating with the Body: Six Tibetan Buddhist Meditations for Touching Enlightenment with the Body by Reginald A. Ray (Audio CD)


Your Breathing Body Volume 1  by Reginald A. Ray (Audio CD)


Nonviolent Communication Part 1 Marshall Rosenberg -  Explains the origin and mentality of ‘predator culture,’ beginning about 8,000 years ago, as a system of domination and hierarchy in which the few dominate the many through violent coercion and the language of violence.  Rosenberg contrasts this with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in which violence was much rarer, and says he developed nonviolent communication to help people to get back to a more natural, empathetic way of communicating, 


Caroline Casey interview – On religion, astrology, and her animistic view.  2008


Timewave 2013: The Future is Now --The Odyssey II  - A Film by Sharron Rose  - What lies ahead for the human race? Will we reach the destiny that awaits us? In the film 2012 The Odyssey, author Sharron Rose went on a quest to understand the many prophecies around the year 2012. In this sequel to that film, she travels far beyond the world of 2012.

  During this fascinating expedition into the nature of time itself, Ms. Rose speaks to many of the world’s experts on mythology, alchemy, astrology, anthropology and ancient history: Jose Arguelles, Gregg Braden, Riane Eisler, William Henry, Jean Houston, John Major Jenkins, Rick Levine, Dennis McKenna, Terence McKenna, Daniel Pinchbeck, Geoff Stray, Whitley Strieber, Alberto Villoldo and Jay Weidner. They discuss topics such as the shift of the ages, the galactic alignment, global warming, the pervasive role of the media in our lives, the secret place of refuge, the mystic work of Benjamin Franklin, renewal of the American spirit and the transformation of humanity.




:::Dharmagaians folders:Dharmagaians Illustrated:Photos DG:lynxemotions.jpg



What's amazing is that, as humans, if we dwell on anything, after a while we become fascinated by it. It doesn't matter what it is. The ability to dwell on things is uniquely human because we don't have such fixed action programs as other species do. We can forget about everything else and just dwell on something. I call it the power of gawking. We can pay attention to whales or to the hummingbirds and just become fascinated by them. It's noticing in a deep way, or contemplating, and my intuition is that as humans allow themselves to be fascinated by the other creatures, these species will awaken the psychic depths in the human that respond to their beauty. And then we become convinced that in some amazing way, they are essential to us. We can become amazed by how essential they are for our zest, our sense of well-being or happiness. Chief Seattle said that if the animals were not here, we would die of loneliness. I think that a deeper feeling of care begins with allowing ourselves to move into awe—with all of the different creatures, no matter which ones we've picked. If we would attend to them, we would see their colossal grandeur. Abraham Heschel said that awe is the first step into wisdom. You can just sit and watch fish and think of how they've developed over hundreds of millions of years and imagine what they're experiencing, and after awhile you're sunk into contemplation of ultimacy. This is what I think is the first step toward compassion. ~ Brian Swimme, Comprehensive Compassion




© 2009 Suzanne Duarte