Animist Psychology

Earth, Ancestors, and Mental Health

A new course with Dr. Daniel Foor

 October 30 – December 22, 2020 

Registration is now closed. 

Animist Psychology Online Course Waitlist - Spring 2021

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Animist Psychology seeks to identify and build on common ground between ritual, psychology, and cultural healing. This course is a good fit for practitioners of ritual arts, mental health professionals and students of psychology, and anyone interested in the intersections of ritual, culture, and psyche. No need for psychological training or prior experience with animist, earth-honoring ritual to join. 

Ritual arts and psychology are deeply complementary and historically often one and the same; however, the field of psychology continues to grapple with heavy colonialist legacies, pressure from the larger scientific community to study the human psyche only in reductionist materialist ways, and a disproportionate influence of European-ancestored voices. Too often these biases replicate avoidable harm and the field of psychology misses opportunities to learn from effective approaches to psychological healing found in the world’s wisdom traditions. As a result, spiritual and religious practitioners, people without adequate resources, people wary of being judged harshly, and Black people, Indigenous peoples, and People of Color (BIPOC) too often feel excluded by the field of psychology and miss out on what is truly beneficial about psychotherapy and mental health services.

As a participant you can expect accessible and interactive learning, invitations to reflect at depth on your own journey through guided experiential practices, and an increased ability to identify and speak to important psychological and cultural dynamics in your personal lives and communities of practice. Topics include: colonialism and mental health, ancestral curses, archetypal possession, psychosis and spiritual emergency, belonging in places with major historical trauma, cultivating resilience in partnership with the ancestors and land, and a range of other considerations under the banner of Animist Psychology.  Resources included with each lesson favor ancestrally diverse voices both within and outside the psychological establishment, and additional calls each week (times vary for international inclusivity) include options for BIPOC and LGBTQI-only small discussion groups. Finally, the approach to learning is kind and inclusive with lots of space for questions, and peer discussion.

“I found the course material to be rich, deep, challenging, integrative and also affirming. I appreciated the discernment and clarity of Daniel’s teaching which brought words and language into areas of experience which I had previously felt, sensed and intuited, but which I lacked the ability to speak about. This freedom has generated a new kind of ‘inner dialogue’. Gratitude to all who made these classes possible.”

~ Past Participant in Ancestral Medicine Online Courses


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Animism, Colonialism, and Earth-Honoring Psychologies

  • Situate psychology amidst ongoing legacies of European colonialism
  • Identify alignments and tensions between psychology and animism
  • Explore animist epistemologies as key to a more relational psychology
  • Reflect on personal experiences with psychotherapy and healing arts
  • Enjoy resources from Indigenous and other animist clinicians
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Attachment Theory, Intimacy, and Loving the Earth

  • Explore parallels in relational dynamics with humans and the others
  • Consider attachment theory in light of bonds with other-than-human kin
  • Discuss strategies for loving amidst ongoing ecological catastrophe
  • Engage in a practice of valuing and tending to bonds with extended kin
  • Enjoy resources on the intersections of attachment/bonding and the Earth
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Ancestral Healing, Trauma, and Resilience 

  • Expand on the common ground between “inner work” and cultural healing
  • Identify cross-cultural strategies for transforming trauma into resiliency
  • Reflect on acquired resilience and how animist values can inform healing
  • Practice reframing individual challenges as ancestral and cultural legacies
  • Enjoy resources on healing justice from somatic-oriented therapists
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Spirit Contact, Psychosis, and Consensus Reality

  • Explore seemingly incompatible versions of consensus reality
  • Cultivate nuance and humility on the subject of psychosis and spirits
  • Extend prayer and respect to those already lost to the deep waters
  • Practice honoring limits to our nervous system and cognitive function
  • Enjoy resources from spirited clinicians on acute mental illness


Personality, Ego Inflation, and Possession States

  • Distinguish personality from disorder, healthy ego from inflation
  • Clarify helpful/intentional from harmful/undesired possession states
  • Explore psychological vulnerabilities as openings to archetypal forces
  • Practice identifying and uncoupling from a source of possession
  • Enjoy resources on archetypal possession and spiritual emergency


Harmful Spirits, Curses, and Cultural Troubles

  • Reach for common language on harmful spirits, curses, and psychic attack
  • Explore impacts of fear and cultural bias when addressing malevolence
  • Consider cultural troubles as a type of interference from harmful powers
  • Kindly review your life in a way that respects the reality of malevolence
  • Enjoy Indigenous and animist perspectives on danger and big trouble
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Belonging, Ecopsychology, and Becoming a Place

  • Consider the psycho-spiritual implications of home and belonging
  • Explore the strengths and limits of eco-psychology as animist praxis
  • Identify responsible ways for settlers to cultivate local Earth wisdoms
  • Practice disrupting false human-nature and culture-nature dichotomies
  • Enjoy resources on heart-aware decolonization and becoming a place


Integration, Cultural Healing, and Ways to Deepen

  • Explore different cultural frames for an ethic of service and relatedness
  • Identify the foundations of healthy psyche in your ancestral cultures of origin
  • Consider the long-term balance of critical thinking with love and kindness
  • Practice identifying ways to deepen your path of personal cultivation
  • Enjoy hopeful, inspiring resources from culturally encouraging clinicians

“In these times it feels like the unseen forces, like those of Big Nature and Ancestral Wisdom are making all kinds of effort to get our attention. How do we, the living humans, respond? Are these forces dangerous? What can we do to acknowledge them and create bridges between our lived experience and the palpable power of these unseen forces? [The Ancestral Lineage Healing] course provides information and safe practices that help to answer these questions.”

~ Past Participant in Ancestral Lineage Healing (content relevant to Animist Psychology)

How it Works

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The course is eight weeks long with a weekly pre-recorded lesson, a live Q&A call with Dr. Foor (recorded for playback), and three additional (optional) live calls each week. You can engage the course via laptop or desktop computer, smart phone, or tablet. Lessons consist of a roughly 60-minute content-dense teaching video (also available in audio and transcript form), a recorded experiential practice,  extra resources (articles, videos, links), questions for reflection, and self-reflective homework. The three additional live calls are a blend of larger group and small discussion spaces all facilitated by trained ritual supporters, and they are held in a variety of time zones accessible to participants in the Americas, Europe and South Africa, East and South Asia, and Oceania. Other community features include an opt-in private Facebook group and a map-and-connect feature if you wish to connect with participants in your area.

What’s Included

  • Learn from anywhere. Eight 60-90 minute instructional videos, each with closed captioning, downloadable pdf transcript, mp3 audio, and pdf lesson outline

  • Guided practices. Experiential practices to complement each lesson’s material, and accessible as separate audio files for playback

  • Ask the instructor. Eight hour-long Q&A video conferences with Dr. Foor, and the invitation to ask questions throughout the course

  • Global accessibility. Three live weekly community calls with trained course supporters held in a variety of time zones, with time zone conversion tools

  • Catch up later. Video and audio recordings, as well as pdf transcripts of each of the eight live Q&A calls

  • Community sharing. Optional opportunities to with engage other learners in live community calls, private Facebook group, and participant map-and-connect feature

  • Culturally inclusive spaces. Optional BIPOC- and LGBTQI-only small breakout groups in community calls

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

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

  • Dedicated care from our team. Attentive and friendly staff and course supporters to help along the way

Learn More About the Course from Dr. Foor


We offer several payment options, including monthly payments. All course payments are in US Dollars.

6 payments

$66 USDmonthly

4 payments

$97 USDmonthly

single payment

$350 USDonce

Options at checkout also include a 15% off bundle discount on registering for both Autumn courses – Animist Psychology plus Foundations of Ritual.


Our 30-day money-back guarantee ~ For anyone not satisfied with the course after having engaged at least one lesson, we will grant a full refund within 30 days of the beginning of the course.

We are strongly committed to keeping the work accessible to people of diverse backgrounds and variable means. Find more information on our Scholarship Application page.


Course Dates: October 30 – December 22, 2020

The full course schedule is below. Click on the clock icon next to each meeting time to see international time zone conversions.

  • Prerecorded lessons released on Fridays at 12pm US Eastern
  • Live Q&A with Daniel on Tuesdays at 3pm US Eastern
  • Community calls with small-group breakouts (all participants welcome to all calls, regardless of location)
    • Europe & South Africa Community Call, Sundays at 3pm CET/Berlin Time 
    • Americas Community Call, Wednesdays at 8pm US Eastern/New York Time
    • East and South Asia & Oceania Community Call, Thursdays at 8pm AEST/Melbourne Time 

See the calendar for specific course dates and times.

“[Daniel], your grounded, thorough, thoughtful and socially conscious communication are deeply appreciated. Thank you for sharing a bit about your own personal path and experiences as well as your professional. I really appreciate how you are able to navigate both spaces with grace. Your speech cadence and rhythm helped me to integrate the course material in a deep way as you always seemed to be in your body, never rushing or using charisma that does not seem to be naturally you own. Your course material followed a very logical progression, felt efficient and focused. Your self awareness and ability to speak eloquently to your experience and privilege are very needed at this time I feel. I have been listening to your interviews and I am so glad I took this course as your ability to address histories of oppression and articulate a myriad of complex issues really allowed me to open deeper into this work as someone wanting this work to integrate with my political /social consciousness. I am glad you are bridging these many complex worlds . I hope to begin the next course soon. Thank you for doing this work and sharing it with such integrity.

~ Past Participant in Ancestral Medicine Online Courses


Information on all live calls is below. Click on the clock icon next to each meeting time below to see time zone conversions.

  • Prerecorded lessons released on Fridays at 12pm US Eastern
  • Live Q&A with Daniel on Tuesdays at 3pm US Eastern
  • Community calls with small-group breakouts (all participants welcome to all calls, regardless of location)
    • Europe & South Africa Community Call, Sundays at 3pm CET/Berlin Time 
    • Americas Community Call, Wednesdays at 8pm US Eastern/New York Time
    • East and South Asia & Oceania Community Call, Thursdays at 8pm AEST/Melbourne Time 

It’s ok! The live calls are optional. The main weekly Q&A call with Daniel is recorded (video and audio) and transcribed into a pdf. You can attend as many or as few of the live calls as you like. You can always go back and revisit all of the course material at any time.

No, this course is for personal healing work, and does not presume to train people to guide this work for others. There is a separate, more in-depth practitioner training (on ancestral lineage healing) for that purpose.

At this time, we are unable to offer CE credits, although we are looking into it for future offerings.

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 scholarship application.

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.

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.

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

Our offerings at Ancestral Medicine are rooted in feminist, decolonizing, anti-racist, LGBTQI-friendly, class-aware, international, earth-honoring ethics and a heart-aware and non-dogmatic spirit that seeks to meet each participant’s unique life experiences and ancestral storylines. Resources included with each lesson will favor ancestrally diverse voices both within and outside the field of psychology, and the weekly community calls include options for BIPOC and LGBTQI-only small discussion groups.

Although the course material comes with a debt of gratitude to Indigenous traditions and teachers, including the emergent field of Indigenous psychology, this is not a course on Indigenous psychology per se. Resources include voices from the 95% of humans who are other-than-Indigenous, and the teachings do not rely on an idealization of or legitimacy-by-association with Indigenous peoples.

Although some material may overlap with teachings in other Ancestral Medicine online courses, Animist Psychology focuses on psychological dimensions of ritual arts, ancestral engagement, and Earth reconnection in ways that are different and complementary to the other courses. The material aims to engage the subject matter at depth in both recorded lessons and live calls but does not require psychological training or prior completion of other courses.

About the Instructor

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Daniel Foor, PhD, is the author of Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing (Inner Traditions, 2017). His current focus is on training psychologically and culturally competent ancestral healing practitioners around the globe. He has guided ancestral and family healing ritual in eight countries and helped thousands of people to restore healthy and empowering relationships with their ancestors.  

Daniel holds a doctorate in psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. His doctoral research in psychology focused on the use of shamanic healing practices by clinical mental health professionals. Daniel has trained with teachers of Mahayana Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and diverse indigenous paths, including the remnant and returning traditions of his English, Irish, and German ancestors. He has made four pilgrimages to Yorubaland as a student of Yorùbá culture and initiate of Ifá, Ọbàtálá, Ọ̀ṣun, and Egúngún in the lineage of Olúwo Fálolú Adésànyà Awoyadé of Òdè Rẹ́mọ.

Training and working as a therapist, living in other societies, and immersion in different lineages of ritual all inform his kind and non-dogmatic approach to ancestor and earth reverence. His public offerings aim to be inclusive, and he holds work for cultural and earth healing to be inseparable from spiritual teaching and practice.

Daniel lives with his wife and daughter in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the traditional homeland of Tsalagi peoples.