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Animism is a way of approaching life that emphasizes relationships. Animists see the world as full of persons, both human and other-than-human, and prioritize living in respectful ways with these others. Animism is largely about ethics or core values that get expressed through more or less fancy practices, rituals, and traditions.
Animism gets at what people often mean when expressing a draw to indigenous traditions or shamanism but does so in ways that avoids some pitfalls of those terms (more on this distinction if it’s of interest). Some kinds of people animists might relate with include: plants, animals, fungi, mountains, metals, fire, bodies of water, spirits of wind and weather, deities, human ancestors, star people, and others we don’t have words for in English. Animists tend to also be concerned with the welfare of our diverse human kin (more on animism). Humans are people. Plants are people. Mountains and rivers are people. Ethics, rituals, and healthy community all follow from this.
After guiding hundreds of days of ritual work focused on relating with spirits of place over the past two decades, I’m finally presenting this material in a full-length online course. Participants will learn how to solidly anchor rituals they create (or already practice) in core animist values. As a doctor of psychology and mental health professional, I could have called this ‘Applied Animist Psychology’ but it’s too technical. The approach is non-dogmatic and inclusive to people of diverse ancestries. I provide a strong conceptual framework, and the heart of the work is experiential. No need to believe in anything, interest alone is plenty.
How the Course Works
The course is divided into Part One and Part Two, each consisting of seven lessons (see below for full descriptions). New lessons are released on Monday mornings about every two weeks and can be accessed for at least a year after the course ends.
Part One: May 13 – July 19, 2019 Part Two: July 29 – September 26, 2019
Lessons include an instructional video (25-35 minutes) with a ritual exercise, homework and questions for reflection, and a ‘further resources’ section (e.g., PDFs, video clips, blog posts, movie recommendations) highlighting diverse animist and earth-honoring traditions. Participants can share experiences with other learners through a private Facebook group, and all registrants also enjoy ongoing access to all course readings and video/audio recordings (roughly seven hours for both courses total) for a year. Participants can ask questions of Dr. Foor directly for the duration of the course and are invited to join fourteen live hour-long online group support sessions with Dr. Foor throughout the course (recorded for playback as needed).