Practical Animism Online Course

Reclaiming Kinship Through Earth-Honoring Ritual

with Dr. Daniel Foor

January 1 – April 6, 2021

Registration is now closed.


Animism is a way of 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 others. Animism is largely about ethics or core values that get expressed through more or less fancy practices, rituals, and everyday habits.

Animism gets at what people often mean when expressing a call to indigenous traditions or shamanism but does so in ways that avoid some pitfalls of those terms. 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 also tend to be concerned with the welfare of our diverse human kin. Humans are people. Plants are people. Mountains and rivers are people. Ethics, rituals, and healthy community all follow from this.

This course arises from guiding hundreds of days of ritual focused on relating with spirits of place over the past two decades. Participants will learn to more firmly anchor their everyday lives and rituals in animist values, be they newly crafted or from intact traditions. The approach is non-dogmatic and inclusive to people of diverse ancestries. Daniel shares conceptual frameworks, and the heart of the work is experiential. Daniel is not an Indigenous person or presuming to represent any specific tradition (Indigenous or otherwise); this is a core values approach to loving the Earth. If you’re seeking training in a specific ritual system, this isn’t that. No need to believe in anything to join, interest alone is plenty.

As our courses have developed over the years, we have incorporated participant feedback to include three optional weekly community calls (one at an Oceania-friendly time, one for BIPOC-only participants, and one for LGBTQ+ -only participants) in addition to a weekly live Q&A call with Dr. Foor and small group breakouts. See How it Works below for more course structure details.

“Thank you for this carefully presented, respectful and marvelously organized course — with something for the brain, the ear, the eye and the heart in each unit. EVERYTHING worked. Very successful combination of deeply reflective ‘lectures,’ thoughtful readings, and deeply leading questions for reflection. Gives a whole new meaning to the inadequate label ‘course.’ Re-shaped my world.” ~ Past Participant


The course is offered in two parts. Both Part One and Part Two are included in registration.


January 1 – February 16, 2021

Part1 1 Gorilla


Kinship, Intimacy, and Animist Psychology

  • Affirm an ethic of humility and friendship for the work ahead
  • Distinguish animism from shamanism and indigenous ways
  • Start to bridge psychological wisdom with animist teachings
  • Practice speaking directly with our other-than-human kin
  • Enjoy resources from important voices in the “new animism”


Eating, Killing, and Giving Thanks

  • Explore psychological implications of plants and animals as people
  • Bring attention to the intimate killing that sustains our lives
  • Connect with the spirit of at least one tasty food plant or animal
  • Learn a ritual of gratitude to weave into daily consumption of family
  • Expand knowledge of ancestral rituals for honoring food as life


Respecting the Ancestors and Tradition

  • Understand the human dead as part of the sacred ecology of place
  • Reflect on impacts of colonialism on your diverse ancestors
  • Invite connection with an ancestral guide from your lineages
  • Learn to respectfully greet ancestors of place near your home
  • Explore diverse animist perspectives on ancestors and place


Boundaries, Consent, and Sacred Space

  • Examine cultural conditioning that minimizes others’ existence
  • Practice clear boundaries and saying ‘no’ including with the spirits
  • Explore role of permission and consent in our ecological crisis
  • Ritually test your ability to give and receive a ‘no’ during ritual
  • Learn protocols for establishing and honoring sacred space


Celebrating Diverse Bodies and Wisdoms

  • Deconstruct limited views of animals due to cultural conditioning
  • Expand vocabulary for the sacred by reflecting on our animal kin
  • Reflect on ancestral and local-to-your-home animal affinities
  • Humbly seek connection with an animal teacher for your life
  • Consider older wisdoms on other-than-human kin known as animals


Extinction, Grieving, and Opening the Heart

  • Explore ritual skills for working with grief, loss, and heartache
  • Contextualize your devotions amidst the current extinction crisis
  • Learn ways to respectfully approach the waters near to your home
  • Craft personal grief ritual to offer near a local body of water
  • Engage traditional perspectives on spirits of and near the waters


Altars, Regular Tending, and Cultural Healing

  • Consider how power dynamics and differentials inform ritual etiquette
  • Greet local stones/mountains as one source of wisdom and perspective
  • Ritually appeal to the larger web for greater self-understanding
  • Further deconstruct false splits between humans and nature
  • Engage traditional teachings on destiny and unique soul-level gifts

“This course was really powerful for me. I so appreciate (really, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate) Daniel’s lack of preciousness in his presenting of the material. I love the emphasis on ‘Practical’. I feel and experience the sincerity of all that is offered and I don’t get that yucky-cultural-appropriation vibe. This helps me to take in the material and really make it mine– to do the practices through my ancestral ways and through the real way I am living now.

My whole body relaxes and I breathe easier during the Q&A audios when he answers the questions that are presented with everyday practicality while also honoring the work. Everything really worked for me–especially that there were many ways the material was presented–exactly the way I love to learn! Videos, readings, auditory, various kinds of people presenting their versions of the topic– perfecto!! And an added bonus for me as a psychologist learning to bring this more into my work with clients: Daniel being a therapist with some examples of both shortcomings and honorings of psychology was very helpful. I love this balanced approach!!! Thank you!” ~ Past Participant


February 19 – April 6, 2021


Deeply Rooting into One Very Specific Place

  • Apply ritual etiquette and intuition to locate a ‘sit spot’ near your home
  • Start to reclaim dynamic relationships with previously overlooked Earth kin
  • Practice heart-aware listening for the sacred qualities of a place
  • Bring vulnerability and receptivity without dominating the relationship
  • Consider themes common to intentional outdoor solitude practices


Friendship and Healing with Our Green Kin

  • Release hang-ups about not being a plant person (whatever that means)
  • Learn to prioritize love and friendship before botanical or herbalist training
  • Practice letting in the kindness and generosity of the green-bloods
  • Make connection with a plant near your sit spot for healing and guidance
  • Engage resources on plants as sources of love, wisdom, and companionship


Praising and Feeding the Earth as Deity

  • Withdraw projection of personal pain and gender norms on the Earth
  • Consider implications for healing trauma and early attachment
  • Expand into diverse ritual applications of the practice of making offerings
  • Offer ritual at your personal ‘sit spot’ to feed the divinity of this Earth
  • Explore themes in cross-cultural teachings on Earth as an elder deity


Blood, Sex, Tears, and the Water Spirits

  • Consider your sit spot in light of the local watershed and water cycle
  • Explore water ritual themes (grief, the erotic, ancestors, food, healing)
  • Reflect on personal strong and weak areas with respect to elemental water
  • Craft ritual using skills from previous lessons to honor local water spirits
  • Engage cross-cultural sources on how to honor water spirits and deities


Honoring Place-Specific Blessings and Challenges

  • Learn ways to think about the deeper qualities or sacred medicines of places
  • Ask nicely to understand deeper layers of magic at your specific place
  • Offer ritual to reflect back the specific qualities you perceive at this place
  • Share about your specific magical place with others in the course
  • Enjoy resources on place-focused rituals from diverse cultures


Ancient Ones Who are Animals, Plants, and Places

  • Learn inclusive ways to think about deities, archetypes, and weird old gods
  • Distinguish between deities of ancestry, place, and chosen tradition
  • Consider ritual and cultural etiquette for approaching different deities
  • Humbly offer ritual to convey respect to an elder power at your sit spot
  • Explore resources on place-specific deities with active priesthoods


Animism as Lifestyle, Culture, and Public Policy

  • Assess for congruence between core values and what you show others
  • Reflect on past and current vocations through an animist lens
  • Learn ways to harmonize ritual skills with cultural and political advocacy
  • Take one tangible action to advocate for the local Earth and peoples
  • Enjoy contemporary animist voices in law, science, politics, and the arts

“Daniel is a wonderful teacher. It was wonderful to have the lectures and the live talks where people asked questions and shared concerns and difficulties. Daniel really gets this stuff. The course was super respectful of participants, oppression and cultural issues of all kinds, and of course, our nonhuman kin that were the focus. Practical Animism was a great help in feeling my way toward being right-sized and aiming for integrity despite being embedded in our problematic culture. It was great at being non-dogmatic and non-purist, while impeccably exhorting us to go deeper into relationship and find our roles in a living world with lots of troubles and complexity.

The course was also packed with additional links and sources, and the FAQ itself was inspired and really big. Daniel was very responsive to questions and concerns, did a great job fielding them with so many people, and the team backing him up with responses and taking care of technical stuff were quick and capable. Definitely recommend this course for anyone wanting to develop their animist muscles.” ~ Past Participant

How it Works

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The course is divided into Part One and Part Two, each with seven pre-recorded lessons and seven live calls with Dr. Foor (registration includes both parts). You can engage the course via laptop or desktop computer, phone, or tablet.

Weekly lessons include a teaching video with an experiential practice that is also available as audio or transcript. Each lesson also features extra resources (articles, videos, links), questions for reflection, and homework invitations. Weekly 90-minute calls (one per lesson) include Q&A with Dr. Foor and small groups held by ancestral healing practitioners/trainees. The Q&A portion of these calls is recorded and transcribed. There are three additional weekly community calls, one at an East and South Asia & Oceania-friendly time, one for BIPOC-only participants, and one for LGBTQ+ -only participants. Community features also include a (totally optional) Facebook group, and map and connect feature for reaching out to participants in your area.

New pre-recorded lessons are released on Fridays at 12pm US Eastern/New York Time. Live calls with Dr. Foor are on Tuesdays at 3:30pm US Eastern/New York Time. See Schedule below for additional call times. We send an email reminder in advance of each live call with Dr. Foor, and when lessons are released.

Once enrolled, you will have lifetime access to the course and all course materials.

What’s Included

  • Learn from anywhere. Fourteen 30-minute-long instructional video lessons, each with closed captioning, downloadable pdf transcript, and downloadable mp3 audio

  • Real-time guided practices. Experiential practice that guides you through the method included in each lesson, and as audio excerpts for repeating

  • Ask questions live. Fourteen live 90-minute group support conferences with Dr. Foor and course supporters (60 minutes of Q&A and practice with Dr. Foor and 30 minutes in supporter-led breakout groups)

  • Catch up later. Video and audio recordings and pdf transcripts of each group of the fourteen live calls

  • In-depth learning. A wealth of additional multimedia resources (articles, websites, interviews, additional videos) with each lesson

  • Community sharing. Optional opportunities to engage with other learners in the private Facebook group, live calls, map-and-connect feature, and additional community calls (at Australia-friendly times)

  • BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Community Calls. Participants in these demographics can optionally enjoy BIPOC-only and LGBTQ+ -only weekly calls

  • Get real support from experienced ritualists. Access to trained ritualists who support the course, in the live calls and Facebook group

  • Research and learn through FAQ.  An extensive FAQ page with common questions answered by Dr. Foor during previous courses

  • Lifetime access. Ongoing access to all course material – you will never lose access to the course

“Daniel’s practical approach to deep and layered issues of animism works for seekers at all levels. I came away from this course with a refreshing new way of seeing the world and all the Other Than Humans, even though I thought I was a lifelong animist. Thank you, Daniel, for all your guidance, relational wisdom, and good humor. The live calls I was able to participate in were also very rewarding, led by some talented and wise students of Daniel’s.” ~ Past Participant

“Incredibly timely and important work shared in this course. Very accessible presentation which was deeply meaningful on many levels. Daniel’s ‘realness’ as a teacher comes through and helps me to feel encouraged and included. As a lifelong student who has studied many approaches, this material speaks to me in a way that none else has done. I’m so grateful!.” ~ Past Participant


Part One: January 1 – February 16, 2021

Part Two: February 19 – April 6, 2021

Course lessons are prerecorded and released at 12pm US Eastern/New York Time on Fridays.

Live Q&A calls with Dr. Foor are on Tuesdays from 3:30-5pm US Eastern/New York Time. Live attendance is optional; recordings and transcripts will be posted within 48 hours. Live calls begin with Q&A with Dr. Foor and end with small-group breakouts for connection and sharing, facilitated by course supporters.

East and South Asia & Oceania community calls are on Tuesdays from 1-2pm Eastern Australian/Melbourne Time (Mondays at 9pm US Eastern/New York Time). All course participants are welcome for connection and sharing.

BIPOC-only community calls are Sundays from 4-5pm US Eastern/New York Time and all self-identifying BIPOC participants are welcome for connection and sharing.

LGBTQ+ -only community calls are Wednesdays from 4-5pm US Eastern/New York Time and all self-identifying LGBTQ+ participants are welcome for connection and sharing.

We use the free Zoom platform, which can be either online, through an app, or via telephone call-in number.

See the calendar for specific course dates and times.

“I’ve been a practicing pagan for 18 years, and I appreciated the way this course showed me a different angle on earth-based spirituality. One of the biggest things I gained from the course was observing the way you as a teacher navigate the topics of colonization and cultural appropriation when addressing a wide audience. I am a teacher too, and this stuff comes up a lot in my work, since I teach about The Sacred Hunt (ethical and spiritually connected hunting and archery) to mostly white folks, and many people come seeking this topic with a native american framework of ideas, while I encourage everyone to find a framework based in their own religious practice and/or ancestry. You’ve been a great mentor in how to address these concerns in a somewhat gentle but still compelling way.

“Daniel’s Animism online course is a chance to learn the basics of deep spiritual connection to place in a way that can be customized to your own life and location. He skillfully dodges the usual pitfalls of culturally appropriative practices, and shows his students how to honor the beings and elder powers around them through direct relationship rather than borrowing another culture’s rituals. The depth of his own spiritual practice shines through his work, and it is clear that his wisdom is born out of personal experience and dedication. If you are looking for a doorway into a more alive and magical connection to the world around you, this course will give you many good tools.” ~ Past Participant


It’s ok! The live calls are optional, and the main course calls are all recorded (video and audio) and transcribed into a pdf, except for the small group time at the end of each call, for privacy. You can attend as many or as few as you like. You can always go back and revisit all of the course material at any time. The additional community calls are not recorded.

Yes. We have tried a few iterations of when and how to include small-group learning and connection with our courses. Based on participant feedback, we will be holding small group breakouts as part of the main Q&A calls with Daniel, for 35-40 minutes at the end of the calls. These are held by trained course supporters and provide time for connection and sharing. In previous quarters, we have had the option of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ small groups as a part of this, but due to the technical challenge of making sure we meet the needs of participants requesting those groups, we are now instead including separate, additional weekly BIPOC-only and LGBTQ+ -only calls. Small groups within the main calls will not offer BIPOC and LGBTQ+ options, as these affinity spaces will now have their own weekly calls.

Great question. The time you put in really depends on your own pace, curiosity, and level of support desired. For participants engaged in the course material as we go (because remember, you will also have lifetime access to the course), the minimum is about an hour a week to engage with the pre-recorded lessons. Many also elect to explore the resources included with each lesson, join the weekly 90-minute live calls or watch the recordings afterward, and/or engage with the optional Facebook space. With those elements, it could be 3-4 hours a week. It’s really up to you. There are also opportunities for additional community calls each week. If either applies to you, there are BIPOC-only and LGBTQ+ -only weekly hour-long calls, and a weekly call at an Asia/Oceania-friendly time open to all. It would be possible to spend 10+ hours a week on this course, if you so choose.

We offer the course in its entirety, with both parts included. In previous years, we had offered the course as separate parts, but have since realized that for the integrity of the offering, we want participants to have access to the full course material (even if it takes a while to work through, or is revisited later). If you have previously taken only Part One of the course and would like to take Part Two, simply send us an email at and we will help you.

No, this course is for personal healing and spirit work, and does not presume to train people to guide this work for others. That said, any of the content in this course will support your own practices.

Yes. We are strongly committed to keeping the work accessible to people of diverse backgrounds and variable means. If you need financial assistance beyond the available payment plans please see our application for payment plans and partial scholarship spaces.

If you would like to join us in keeping this work accessible or if you have enjoyed financial assistance previously and now wish to extend this gift to others, please consider a donation to our scholarship fund.

At this time, we are unable to offer CEU’s, although we are looking into it for future offerings.

Yes! We provide a transcript for each lesson and live call, and the videos in the lessons include optional closed captioning.

That’s totally fine; we understand. The course Facebook group is optional, definitely not mandatory. In the past, we have experimented with in-course discussion boards, and other networking tools. We have found that people don’t use them much, and have grudgingly realized that the most participant connection happens on Facebook. Alas. Some people like to create a “dummy” Facebook account just for the course, as the discussions and resources tend to be engaging. But again, completely optional.

“Thank you Daniel for the courage it must have taken to follow this path, to bring voice and clarity to something that I may have not listened to before and for bringing honesty, light and even humour to some dark but beautiful truths. A somewhat skeptic before this class, I’m finishing it with great reverence and renewed awe for so many familiar things around me that feel freshly illuminated. I will carry this class and all I have learned from it deep in my heart.” ~ Past Participant

About the Instructor

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Daniel Foor, PhD, is a licensed psychotherapist and a doctor of psychology. He has led ancestral and family healing intensives throughout the United States since 2005 and helped thousands of people to restore healthy and empowering relationships with their ancestors. He is the author of Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing (2017).

Over the past 25 years Daniel has trained with teachers of Mahayana Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and diverse Indigenous paths, including the older ways of his English, Irish, and German ancestors. He is a student of Yoruba culture and makes regular pilgrimages to work with elders in West Africa as an initiate (ọmọ awo) of Ifá, Ọbàtálá, Ọ̀ṣun, and Egúngún in the lineage of Olúwo Fálolú Adésànyà Awoyadé from Òdè Rẹ́mọ.

Before relocating to Western North Carolina, Daniel guided hundreds of days of outdoor, place-oriented ritual in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an amateur naturalist, Wilderness First Responder, and passionate about ways in which other-than-Indigenous people can also reclaim depth relationship with land and place while being in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

Training as a therapist, living in other societies, and immersion in different lineages of ritual inform his kind and non-dogmatic approach to ancestor and earth reverence. Although he draws inspiration from lineages of established practice, his offerings are inclusive, and he holds work for cultural and earth healing as inseparable from spiritual teaching and practice. Daniel lives with his wife, daughter, and cats in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, traditional homeland of Tsalagi peoples.