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question for animists

Discussion in 'Shamanism DIR' started by Theweirdtophat, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Theweirdtophat

    Theweirdtophat Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering how non living things have souls. I could understand plants having souls but how can rocks and metal have a life force? Just wondering. :)
     
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  2. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein I'm not deaf, I'm just a real bad listener
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    All things are made up of energy. You, me, the planets, dirt, metals, the planets, stars, etc. are all ultimately made up of energy expressing itself in various ways. At the foundation of this energy is consciousness.
     
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  3. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    A soul is just the essence of something; it's nature and character. All things have a nature.
     
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  4. Theweirdtophat

    Theweirdtophat Well-Known Member

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    I could understand although I was always under the impression that only things that were born, grow and die have soul. Plants have seeds and they grow but metal and rocks don't die, at least that's what I thought.
     
  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    That's certainly what the dominant culture in my country thinks, though as children, we all understood otherwise. Children routinely treat "inanimate" objects as persons. We then teach our children that this is a bad thing in my culture, and something to be grown out of.

    Plus, birth and death are something of a construct. There is only transformation, and all things in this-world are subject to transformation, or change.
     
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  6. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    That's a good question. For me, it's how close someone is in relation to the object. For example, you hear that a person's "spirit" is in their last favorite antique before he passed away. Maybe you hear the grandmother's spirit is in the food she made. I believe these are literal spirits within the object and food.

    Atoms and energy were not created; they have always existed. However, the movement of them does not happen on its own accord. Rather, some call it spirit, but it is technically energy that acts behind the movement. We call it spirit because energy can help create babies to grow in a mother's womb. Rocks are a part of nature and the earth, so they assist in our survival. A lot of things that have to do with our survival and spiritual life we define what's behind it all as "spirit." As an animist, because everything from nature is a part of our survival, every thing has a spirit.

    Inanimate objects are made from natural items. We make everything from what we get from the earth. It makes more sense to me that spirits exist within the objects people own and land people live on.

    Spirits in things like pay phones and escalators, I raise an eyebrow. It isn't impossible there are spirits within these objects; it's highly a unique and usual way of seeing things.

    I'd love to hear more answers myself.
     
  7. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    This is a really good question. I hope someone familiar with animism and western concepts chimes in. I believe animals have group souls with others of their species. But 'inanimate' objects?? For example I heard the earth has a soul some call Gaia. Rivers, mountains are said to have spirits but how that all works I'm not clear. I think there is something called 'elemental souls/spirits' associated with natural things.
     
  8. Sol Nigrum

    Sol Nigrum New Member

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    In my own practice plants, trees, rocks, mountains, cemeteries, clouds, wooden chairs, etc. all have a spirit attached to them. The reason for this is because of their intimate connection to the universe in some way or another. If one has a belief in the idea of the soul then we shall find it easy to understand that if man may have a soul then things other than man too can have souls. In practice, it is simple. I don't enter a cemetery without dropping a few coins to the spirits residing there, I don't cut a branch off a tree until I give the tree suitable offerings (milk to the roots is common), etc. It is an extremely potent way of bringing spirituality into every aspect of your life, so that you will live and breath your spiritual path and thus come closer to personal Gnosis or awakening. Just my two cents, nothing more.
     
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  9. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    The idea that "things" have these separate things "souls" or "spirits" is an invention of certain Western thinkers who tried to fit indigenous beliefs into Western categories. Things are/have spirit; it's not something separate (although there may be spirits that aren't associated with material things). At least in my conceptualization of it.

    I think it's also a western construct to call the soul or spirit a "life force." It really doesn't apply in my practice of animism. And, the categories of living and non-living, animate and inanimate, are different in different societies. Personally, I use fuzzy set theory to conceptualize.The set of living things includes anything that is even a little bit possibly living, in fact even zero percent. Therefore what we in the West consider nonliving in my way of thinking could be 0.001 percent living...
     
    #9 beenherebeforeagain, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  10. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    Have you ever felt the energy of a thunderstorm?
     
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  11. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    To my way of thinking, not everything in the universe has to do with us: yes, a person may become closely attached to some material object, or their "spirit" in some sense is in their food, but those things also have their own independent existence, not connected to humans, and hence, their own "spirits." And maybe everything has spirits plural, rather than a singular that is the prevalent concept here in the West.

    Most indigenous cultures ascribe "Personhood" to all manner of things in the environment: animals, plants, rocks, waters, clouds and winds, astronomical objects...very few cultures ascribe personhood to ALL things, or at least, they don't worry about the personhood of EVERYTHING in their environment. Personhood is reserved for only some things (not even all humans are persons, in every culture--In Western culture, indigenous peoples were rarely seen as fully human, but instead as sub-human or only partly human, after all).

    So why shouldn't manufactured things have/be spirits, too? Many people treat their cars or computers or houses just as if they are persons, talking to them, asking them to do things. If trees and animals and even rocks and water can have spirits, why not things people have made? Because in the end, iron and other metals are just parts of rocks that have been separated from their matrix and enriched in concentration. The same iron can flow through our blood as be in rock or in a pan with which we cook.
     
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  12. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Many animists simply call that "The Great Mystery." Most indigenous peoples do not try to explain everything in the world. Heck, even most people in the "advanced" nations don't try to explain everything. We live in an environment made up of spirits, some of whom we recognize as persons, even if they are not human beings. Human persons can engage in relationships with other-than-human persons, who we might otherwise classify as animals, or plants, or rocks, or waters, or automobiles...

    I don't have an answer for how it works, but I know if I'm on a mountain, there are lots of rock spirits and tree spirits and pika spirits and all kinds of other spirits there...and at the same time, they are all part of the mountain spirit, and indeed, while I am there, I am also part of that mountain spirit. When I get in my car, my car and I blend together to become one spirit, along with the road, the other car/driver spirits, and so on...
     
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  13. The Hammer

    The Hammer Wyrd Wide Web
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    Everything has an underlying energy about them, whether they are animate or inanimate. It's this energy that is labeled the 'soul'. Everything has energy, thus everything has a soul. "Consciousness", in the human sense, is not necessary.
     
  14. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    You never had a pet rock check out? :confused:
     
  15. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    We are stardust, we are golden,
    We are billion year old carbon...

    Hey, I just saw Joni Mitchell on the cover of Fashion Magazine, so sue me!

    :p

    Seriously, I agree. Everything changes. Let us not forget E=MC2.
     
  16. Theweirdtophat

    Theweirdtophat Well-Known Member

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    I heard non living things had a "presense" while living things had a soul . I heard Romans used to believe in that but whether it's a presense or a soul, it's still energy. Do you animists agree?
     
  17. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It really depends on how one is using the word "soul."

    I tend to not use the word at all, and basically replace it with the word "spirit." I would not regard "presence" as a synonym for "spirit," because presence is only one component of the spirit of something and sometimes not a component at all. The spirit of a thing is the total of it's essence or character; it is its nature. It includes tangibles and intangibles. Futures and pasts. Also, relationships. Fundamentally, the spirit of a thing is ineffable. It can not be fully known. But it is always there.
     
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  18. Theweirdtophat

    Theweirdtophat Well-Known Member

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    It's a good answer really. :) Are animists usually just animists or can they be polytheistic as well?
     
  19. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Where did you hear that? For me, the distinction is semantics; it is likely though that other people have different views. It isn't like all animists think alike.:D

    Not sure I agree that presence, spirit or soul is "energy" in the senses that Western people typically use. I don't object to someone using that terminology, but lot of Westerners, under the influence of materialism, might argue that it isn't energy because no energy not accounted for by material processes can be detected, and is therefore imaginary.;)
     
  20. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I tend to regard animism as intrinsically theistic, because it is a worldview that instills a respectfulness and valuing (sacralization, worth-ship) of the world above and beyond what is common in our current culture. I do not really make a distinction between my animism and polytheism; I use the term gods and spirits interchangeably, though strictly speaking they do not mean exactly the same thing in my religion.

    The main words I use to describe my theology are animistic/polytheistic/pantheistic (in no particular order).
     
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