Animism In a Living Universe

GUEST: Christine VanPool, Anthropologist, University of Missouri
What is animism? Broadly defined, animism is the belief that everything has a spirit: trees, birds, rainstorms, rocks. Animism encompasses the beliefs that all elements of the material world have life. It is a foundational aspect of the sacred traditions of indigenous peoples worldwide.

Most of the world is made up of an­i­mists. Al­most all of Af­ri­ca, South­east Asia, ru­ral China, Ti­bet, Ja­pan, ru­ral Central and South America, indig­e­nous Pa­cif­ic Islands–pret­ty much ev­ery­where embraces an­i­mis­tic be­liefs–ex­cept West­ern Eu­rope, the Middle East, and North America.

CI’s founder, anthropologist Felicitas Goodman, incorporated animism into the ritual of Ecstatic Trance Postures — she invited the spirits to participate in our rituals for without their help, we cannot enter the Alternate Reality. Goodman “activated” rattle and spirit masks by “feeding” them blue cornmeal and blessing them. Christine will elucidate the long tradition and global practices of animism, and the worldview where all is animate and alive and sacred in an intelligent Universe.