Practical Animism Online Course
Reclaiming Kinship Through Earth-Honoring Ritual
with Dr. Daniel Foor
May 13 – September 26, 2019
General registration is now closed, but Part One participants can still register for Part Two through September 2 here. We will offer this course again in May 2020. We will announce registration for next year’s course in the newsletter.
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 (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 also tend to 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.
This course arises from guiding hundreds of days of ritual focused on relating with spirits of place over the past two decades, and this is the second annual iteration of this offering, previously called Animism and Earth Reconnection (2018). Participants will learn to more firmly anchor their everyday lives and rituals (be they newly crafted or from intact traditions) in animist values. The approach is non-dogmatic and inclusive to people of diverse ancestries. I share conceptual frameworks and the heart of the work is experiential. I’m 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.
Learn About the Course
How it Works
The course is divided into Part One and Part Two, each consisting of seven pre-recorded lessons that include extra resources, questions for reflection, and homework (see below for full descriptions). New lessons are released on Monday mornings (Eastern Time). There is additionally a live conference accompanying each lesson (also seven in each part) featuring Q&A time with Daniel (first 45 minutes) and small group sessions facilitated by course supporters (final 30 minutes). Each live group session is recorded and transcribed. Course supporters are all experienced in animist ways and are actively engaged in the private Facebook group throughout the course.
Part One: May 13 – July 18, 2019
Part Two: July 29 – September 26, 2019
Lessons: Prerecorded and released at 9am Eastern time on Mondays.
Live conferences: Alternating Wednesdays at 3pm and Thursdays at 11am (all Eastern U.S. time). Live attendance is optional; recordings and transcripts will be posted within 48 hours.
Cost and Value
By enrolling in this course, you’ll enjoy:
Fourteen 30-minute-long instructional course videos, each with closed captioning, accompanying transcript, and audio version
Fourteen live 75-minute group support conferences with Dr. Foor and 20+ course supporters (45min of Q&A with Dr. Foor and 30 minutes in supporter-led breakout groups)
Recordings and transcriptions of each of the fourteen live Q&A sessions
A wealth of additional multimedia resources (articles, websites, interviews, additional videos) with each lesson
Optional opportunities to engage with other learners in the private Facebook group, small groups during live calls, and participant map-and-connect feature
Invitation throughout the course to ask Dr. Foor directly for support with the material as well as support from 20+ supporters
An extensive FAQ page with common questions answered by Dr. Foor during the current and previous courses
Ongoing access to all course material
Cost is $400 USD for the full course (Part One and Two) and $225 for Part One only. Registration is now closed. If participants decide after completing Part One to enroll in Part Two, the additional cost is $225. Both the full course and the individual parts have payment plan options on the registration page (For Part One participants, registration for Part Two is open through September 2, 2019).
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.
Testimonials from Past Participants
“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.”
“I’m so impressed with Daniel’s capacity to bring vibrancy to this course, and this deeply spiritual material, online. Rather than demonstrating disdain for the medium, which I’ve experienced in other distance learning scenarios, his enthusiasm for our coming together in this way and his upwelling of generosity made the time-space-distance issue so much less of a barrier to learning. I am grateful that through Daniel’s bright willingness to embrace this technological connection, both as amazing and as flawed as it may be, I was able to get more from this course.”
Brilliant collections of material and presentation.
Top academic grist!
Psyche language savvy- way, way awesome!
AND- It all still warms my fluffy-bunny-mystic side as well!
Extraordinary body of perspectives.
I have had several deep, ground shifting challenges and insights; confronting VAST grief, engaging ancestral patterns, deepening my relationships with other than humans, and sorting through my position in cultural puzzles. All surprising shifts.”
“I am so thankful that I decided to take Daniel Foor’s Animism and Earth Reconnection Online Course [the former title of the course]. It has surprised me in the various ways it has impacted my life so deeply. It has helped me feel and hold individual and collective grief for the ways in which we are impacting the planet and the dependency we have on one another for life itself. It has brought more intentional ritual into my life which has helped me expand into connective relationships and gratitude for the elemental, animal and other non-human kin. It has exponentially expanded my understanding and ability to develop a more cohesive language and ways of expressing the animist values that I’ve always held.
I am also so appreciative of the variety and comprehensive approach in the learning styles and context that this course offers: through video lessons, historical and current articles, live video teachings and discussions, a collection of videos and clips from elders and movies, questions and ritual practice to engage and reflect upon, as well as putting me in connection and dialogue with a large community of lovely humans who share animist values and practices.
I highly recommend this course, and a heart felt thank you Daniel and Seyta for your incredible efforts to bring this offering to so many!”
“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.”
~ Murphy Robinson, Founder of Mountainsong Expeditions, Creator of “The Huntress Intensive: Taking Aim at the Sacred Hunt”
Lesson One: 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”
Lesson Two: 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
Lesson Three: 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
Lesson Four: 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
Lesson Five: 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
Lesson Six: 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
Lesson Seven: Finding Your Place in the Natural Disorder
- 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
Overview of Part Two
July 29 – September 26, 2019
Lesson One: 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
Lesson Two: 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
Lesson Three: 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
Lesson Four: 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
Lesson Five: 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
Lesson Six: 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
Lesson Seven: 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
About the Instructor
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 (Inner Traditions, 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. For more info see: Daniel’s full bio.