Animist Psychology

Earth, Ancestors, and Mental Health

with Dr. Daniel Foor

April 22 – June 15, 2021 

Registration is Now Closed

Overview

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, students of psychology, and anyone interested in the intersections of ritual, culture, and psyche. No need for in-depth 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 the approach to learning is kind and inclusive with lots of space for questions, and peer discussion.

“This course was exactly what I needed at this point in my life, intellectual, heartfelt, in-depth and provocative. So much was covered, and even though I did manage to keep up, I could probably redo it multiple times and always find something new requiring further digestion. It was truly unique and very engaging, managing a very tricky balance of content from what sometimes seemed like irreconcilable ways of thinking. Thank you.”

~ Jim L. (Melbourne, Australia)

Curriculum

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LESSON 1

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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LESSON 2

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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LESSON 3

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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LESSON 4

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
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LESSON 5

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
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LESSON 6

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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LESSON 7

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
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LESSON 8

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

“Powerful material as usual! So grateful to integrate with my growing animist worldview. Can’t recommend highly enough for both professionals and the general population.”

~ Victoria R. (Asheville, North Carolina, USA)

“This is an engaging and potentially challenging course that will take you deeper into the intersection of New Animism and the mental health field.  I’d recommend this course for anyone in a helping profession as well as any and all unrepentant psychology nerds out there.” 

~ Caitlin M. (Whiting, Indiana, USA)

How it Works

The course is eight weeks long with a weekly pre-recorded lesson, a weekly live Q&A call with Dr. Foor (recorded for playback) that includes small group breakouts, and three additional (optional) live calls each week. You can engage the course via laptop or desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet. Lessons consist of a 60-90 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 optional additional live calls are facilitated by trained ritual supporters and include a call open to all at a time friendly to participants in East and South Asia and Oceania; a call for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) participants; and a call for LGBTQ+ participants. 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.

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

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 questions live. Eight 90-minute Q&A video conferences with Dr. Foor and course supporters (via Zoom)

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

  • Culturally inclusive spaces. Optional BIPOC- and LGBTQI-only weekly community calls

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

  • Ask the teacher. Invitation throughout the course to ask Dr. Foor directly for support with the material

  • 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

“I am so grateful for this course, all the elements it included in depth, and the thorough care for a well-tended community experience. The generous material includes thoughtful, careful, intentional exploration of materials I wish had been part of my formal education in psychology. The community container was held with steady care, such that there was clear space for individual attending, interpersonal dialogue, and self-reflection within the greater field of relations. Even in an online course replete with much spoken word, there was enduring support and encouragement for listening beyond the known languages. Listening to the many other-than-human voices present in the psyche of earthen existence. Listening for what healing is available today and what part we might play in this moment. This course provides essential nutrients to the ecosystemic healing in which we all have a part to play, and it helps clearly and kindly re-route individual awareness to support humankind coming into right-sized balance with respect to the many others in the web of relations.”

~ Phlo S. (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

Investment

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 Spring courses – Animist Psychology plus Foundations of Ritual.

GUARANTEE

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.

“Daniel is one of the most powerful teachers I have ever had the opportunity to learn from.  I have three degrees, including two Master’s Degrees (one in Social Work), and I learned concepts, practices and ways of understanding from Daniel about people, the earth and life than I ever did in academia. Daniel blends his knowledge and lived experiences of both the clinical and non-clinical perspectives in this course, and teaches ways to connect with yourself and others from an animist perspective.  He delves into Psychology, mental health and how the Western perspective is one limited way to approach life and working with others. His teachings are from an intersectional, inclusive, trauma-informed and respectful approach that helps people across all ages, genders, socio-economic situations, faiths, abilities, and ethno-cultural groups expand their knowledge to find a deeper meaning in life. This course makes space to explore tough issues such as colonialism in a dignified way, so all participants can work through it collectively while building a community of informed and compassionate people with resiliency. This course is one of a kind, and I highly recommend it for mental health providers, as well as anyone who is looking to deeply understand themselves, and the world better.”

~ Phoenix Roots (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)

Schedule

Course Dates: April 22 – June 15, 2021

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

  • Prerecorded lessons released on Thursdays at 12pm US Eastern
  • Live Q&A with Daniel plus small groups on Tuesday at 3pm US Eastern/New York Time
  • Weekly community calls led by course supporters
    • East and South Asia & Oceania Community Call (all participants welcome, regardless of location), Mondays at 1pm Australian Eastern/Melbourne Time
    • BIPOC Community Call, Fridays at 4pm US Eastern/New York Time
    • LGBTQ+ Community Call, Mondays at 7pm US Eastern/New York Time

See the calendar for specific course dates and times.

“As far as content, people practicing healing arts of any kind are wise to include this course in our education/training. It illuminates and honors absolutely necessary perspectives that are underrepresented in many practices (perhaps especially psychology). What is also incredibly impressive, and what really underlies and carries all the material (which is in itself invaluable) is the integrity with which Daniel teaches, creates space, and carefully invites us to participate in our own personal way(s). As well, his knowledge and experience provide a depth of understanding and variety of perspective that feels deeply grounded while still holding all the appropriate doors open for what is still to be explored.”

~ Tecoya R. (North Bonneville, Washington, USA)

FAQ

Course Dates: April 22 – June 15, 2021

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

  • Prerecorded lessons released on Thursdays at 12pm US Eastern
  • Live Q&A with Daniel plus small groups on Tuesday at 3pm US Eastern/New York Time
  • Weekly community calls led by course supporters
    • East and South Asia & Oceania Community Call (all participants welcome, regardless of location), Mondays at 1pm Australian Eastern/Melbourne Time
    • BIPOC Community Call, Fridays at 4pm US Eastern/New York Time
    • LGBTQ+ Community Call, Mondays at 7pm US Eastern/New York Time

See the calendar for specific course dates and times.

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.

“I’ve taken two courses offered at Ancestral Medicine: Foundations of Ritual and Animist Psychology. I’m currently booked for more. What really surprised me was the heart-felt care that went into them: the lessons, the calls, the videos for additional questions, the community calls, the transcripts, audios + resources for further learning. It was a lot more than I expected and it conveys the ethic of Ancestral Medicine so perfectly. The course presents a path back to our own humanity. An awakening to relationships alongside vast, nuanced insight into the domains of life we (often unconsciously) impact. Daniel is an excellent teacher- clear and congruent in his views, highly articulate and effective at teasing out the subtleties between different views on the subject matter. Beyond that what really shines through is that he really cares, and he’s not afraid to show his humanity – the grief and sadness, but also his deep abiding love for our planet and the community of life that rests upon it. I’m so grateful this course exists as it has helped me make a fundamental shift in my attitudes and levels of awareness – helped in no small part by the example of a teacher who’s so well integrated, honest and embodied in his stance. Thank you to the whole Ancestral Medicine team for making this course what they are. I can’t recommend them enough.”

~ Maja P. (London, UK)

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 two daughters in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the traditional homeland of Tsalagi peoples.