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Animist paganism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores some typical expressions of Pagan animism, and explains that various tensions and trajectories within Paganism are helpfully illuminated by paying attention to the different phenomena that may be identified as animism. Most presentations of Paganisms key features refer to seasonal festivals in which human relationships with the wider-than-human world are central. The new use of animism to label worldviews and lifeways which treat the world as a community of persons also requires a reconsideration of totemism and shamanry. In totemism and shamanry, animism has a ready answer for those who allege the adoption of a romantic vision of the world. The old animism, a belief in souls and spirits, is particularly evident in the more esoteric versions of Paganism. The new animism, the practice of relational participation in a community of persons, is particularly expressed among Eco-Pagans.

Keywords: Pagan animism; shamanry; spirit; totemism



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