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Thread: Hello! And, where to go?

  1. #1
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    I have always felt the, let's say, presence of various spirits in/of nature, I guess? Or forces?

    Hello! And, where to go?

    Good evening.

    I'm very new to the topic of paganism (or whatever term applies to my beliefes and experinces), yet, at the same time I feel like some aspects have been in my life since I was a little boy.

    To keep it short: since I was about seven or eight years old, I've known that there are 'spirits' (for lack of a better word) in every aspect of the nature and natural forces and, of course, the elements. I remember when I was little and playing alone in the woods that I'd meditate or simply speak to some spritis whenver I could sense them and that sometimes one would play with me or even show me how to manipulate the elemts to some extent.
    I had some friends whom I shared those experinces with, but I'd always had a feeling that for them it was more play-pretend than really experincing anything.

    Anyway, then puberty happened and I thought I'd have to "man up" and start to live in the "real world" and call myself an atheisit and beliving in science only. To say it short: my mental health plummeted and trough the years there was always this horrible feeling of loss and emptiness where once those experinces and connections and contact with those "nature spirits" have been.

    Today, by accident, I stumbled upon a video about the concepts of Shintō and, by extend, paganism and some things rang many bells in my head. That's why I'm here. I wish very deeply to re-connect with my previous experiences and find a way to be able to practice what I believe and feel.

    From the little of what I've told (feel free to ask for more information) could anybody please point me in a direction/to a sub-forum/a path where I could connect with people who have similar experinces? Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    Heya and welcome to our community,
    Firstly I'd like to express my sympathy over the limiting nature of traditional masculinity. Personally my attachment to maleness is somewhat tenuous these days, however I found myself much happier when I stopped chasing what a "man" should or should not be. If you want more reading on that topic this is called "toxic masculinity," that is the idea that traditional notions of maleness, social expectation, and gender roles not only restrict and harm us, but result in social harm. Your observation that men are supposed to be logical and dry, and not be sensitive to emotions or intuition is correct in the context of western culture and recognition of how that can cause harm is important for doing your best for yourself.

    The religious belief you have expressed, that spirits, gods, or other entities exist within nature, objects, or phenomenon is called animism. Modern Shinto is an essentially animistic faith as all objects and creatures, especially old or notable ones, and especially in nature, have some sort of spirit. These kami come in innumerable forms and natures.

    Most of neopaganism has some degree of animism, though this varies substantially. Most neopagans would awknowledge that spirits exist in nature and plants, sometimes in other natural objects like rocks. It's much less common for full on animism among pagans, ie that literally all distinct objects can or might have a spirit, but it happens. Last year I assisted a woman who was quite distraught over needing to replace her car because she felt a social connection to it and felt as though she was somehow letting the car down or dishonoring the memory of this possession.

    In any case some degree of animism is extraordinarily common among the classical religions. The Greeks recognized local gods and those tied to specific locations, like nymphs of springs, wells, and trees, or gods of particular rivers or mountains. This was largely restricted to natural phenomena, so no car gods, or images in the fashion of gods. Supposedly ancient druids believed all natural objects had spirits, and also believed in reincarnation among these spirits, though this is somewhat contentious due to the difficulty of reconstructing druidic, and to a lesser expect general Celtic, practice. Most religions recognize some kind of invisible world, which may or may not be animistic, but cedes that there are spirits in the world which cannot be perceived or understood in most circumstances.

    If you have specific things you might want to check out on the forum, use the search function, or start a new thread to ask particular questions and get community answers.
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  3. #3

    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    Welcome aboard. The sneaking suspicions of children are probably the single most effective recruiting force towards paganism. It’s an honest worldview, felt genuinely by babies, lol.

    - - - Updated - - -

    -morbid curiosity, but why would car gods be silly and horse gods not be silly? Food for thought. Paganism is a wide umbrella, not unlike Hinduism. If you want to know where to look next, people would need to know exactly what you’re looking for.

    I could talk your ear off about Druidism and shamanism - but I’m an atheist. There are no gods in my pagan world, full of spirit and other ehatsits aside. That’s the great burden of non traditional relugiisity, there are no cheat sheets. That does mean that there are no limits, also. So… that’s nice.
    Last edited by Rhythm; 14 Jul 2021 at 11:38.

  4. #4
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    To be honest this is somewhat of a difficult question to answer. Mostly due to the fact there is no clear cut, one size fits all answer.

    Consider Animism for instance. You basically have two general broad camps. In one camp you have the idea that all things have a spirt. So even the twig from a broken branch has a spirit. In the other camp you have the idea that only the larger aspect of a thing has a spirit. So, using the twig analog, the tree itself has a spirit but the twig does not. Yet any "Fruit" or "Seed" born of the parent contains a new "spirit" That or it contains a fragment of the "Super Spirit" of the major species.

    Yet those theories (Animism & Animatism) mainly apply to the idea of animals and plants. What you might call Two-legs, Four-legs, Winged Ones, fin'd ones and the Green Peoples. Yet the idea of Animism also in some cases applies to the idea of stone people's as well. Some will argue that for them the spirit of stone applies to any fragment of rock, especially Igneous and at times Metamorphic.

    Just to define it, Animatism is the belief that some people or creatures are possessed of such power that anything that steps in their tracks will be harmed / killed. To avoid that those people tend to be carried or those places avoided. Usually applied to individuals though. Often associated with rulers of some sort or powerful priest / priestess.

    Another aspect being mentioned is Shamanism. The thing here is that in many cultures Shamanism is a practice not a religion. The Shaman or shamanic figure observers the religious beliefs and practices of the culture in which they live. They act as a go between with the spirit world and the living world. Many times, they will actually assist the religious / spiritual leaders of the community. Their role within the community may place them as healers, warriors, associated with fertility / fecundity, death & crossing, birthing & rites of passage, any of them or all of them.

    It is more of a Neo-shamanic influence that has seen the Medicine Person or Shamanic Practitioner become a religious character.

    Lots of different things to consider and terms to learn
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  5. #5
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    It is better to go out and meet the entity-things than it is to talk to people about them.

    I don't know what those things are, but I will suggest that giving them names and fabricating stories about them only further obscures them.

    Just meet them head on. You don't need a set of instructions provided by a priori religious beliefs.
    Every moment of a life is a horrible tragedy, a slapstick comedy, dark nihilism, golden illumination, or nothing at all; depending on how we write the story we tell ourselves.

  6. #6
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    I have always felt the, let's say, presence of various spirits in/of nature, I guess? Or forces?

    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
    Heya and welcome to our community,
    Firstly I'd like to express my sympathy over the limiting nature of traditional masculinity. Personally my attachment to maleness is somewhat tenuous these days, however I found myself much happier when I stopped chasing what a "man" should or should not be. If you want more reading on that topic this is called "toxic masculinity," that is the idea that traditional notions of maleness, social expectation, and gender roles not only restrict and harm us, but result in social harm. Your observation that men are supposed to be logical and dry, and not be sensitive to emotions or intuition is correct in the context of western culture and recognition of how that can cause harm is important for doing your best for yourself.

    The religious belief you have expressed, that spirits, gods, or other entities exist within nature, objects, or phenomenon is called animism. Modern Shinto is an essentially animistic faith as all objects and creatures, especially old or notable ones, and especially in nature, have some sort of spirit. These kami come in innumerable forms and natures.

    Most of neopaganism has some degree of animism, though this varies substantially. Most neopagans would awknowledge that spirits exist in nature and plants, sometimes in other natural objects like rocks. It's much less common for full on animism among pagans, ie that literally all distinct objects can or might have a spirit, but it happens. Last year I assisted a woman who was quite distraught over needing to replace her car because she felt a social connection to it and felt as though she was somehow letting the car down or dishonoring the memory of this possession.

    In any case some degree of animism is extraordinarily common among the classical religions. The Greeks recognized local gods and those tied to specific locations, like nymphs of springs, wells, and trees, or gods of particular rivers or mountains. This was largely restricted to natural phenomena, so no car gods, or images in the fashion of gods. Supposedly ancient druids believed all natural objects had spirits, and also believed in reincarnation among these spirits, though this is somewhat contentious due to the difficulty of reconstructing druidic, and to a lesser expect general Celtic, practice. Most religions recognize some kind of invisible world, which may or may not be animistic, but cedes that there are spirits in the world which cannot be perceived or understood in most circumstances.

    If you have specific things you might want to check out on the forum, use the search function, or start a new thread to ask particular questions and get community answers.


    Thank you for your reply and thoughts.
    And I'm glad (although sad that it has to come to this in the first place) that I'm understood on the subject on damaging expectations from masculinity etc.

    Your not eon animism was very interesting -- but I couldn't find much on it here in the forum. Could it be taht I was looking for the fron term; or do I have to look at a different place alogether?

    Thank you, too, for other detailed information. It was an interesting an welcoming first impression.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythm View Post
    Welcome aboard. The sneaking suspicions of children are probably the single most effective recruiting force towards paganism. It’s an honest worldview, felt genuinely by babies, lol.
    Thanks. Yes, I think that's a major reason why I also feel so very deeply connected and taht i's something that I need in my life, otherweise there'S somehting essential missing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    To be honest this is somewhat of a difficult question to answer. Mostly due to the fact there is no clear cut, one size fits all answer.

    Consider Animism for instance. You basically have two general broad camps. In one camp you have the idea that all things have a spirt. So even the twig from a broken branch has a spirit. In the other camp you have the idea that only the larger aspect of a thing has a spirit. So, using the twig analog, the tree itself has a spirit but the twig does not. Yet any "Fruit" or "Seed" born of the parent contains a new "spirit" That or it contains a fragment of the "Super Spirit" of the major species.

    Yet those theories (Animism & Animatism) mainly apply to the idea of animals and plants. What you might call Two-legs, Four-legs, Winged Ones, fin'd ones and the Green Peoples. Yet the idea of Animism also in some cases applies to the idea of stone people's as well. Some will argue that for them the spirit of stone applies to any fragment of rock, especially Igneous and at times Metamorphic.

    Just to define it, Animatism is the belief that some people or creatures are possessed of such power that anything that steps in their tracks will be harmed / killed. To avoid that those people tend to be carried or those places avoided. Usually applied to individuals though. Often associated with rulers of some sort or powerful priest / priestess.

    Another aspect being mentioned is Shamanism. The thing here is that in many cultures Shamanism is a practice not a religion. The Shaman or shamanic figure observers the religious beliefs and practices of the culture in which they live. They act as a go between with the spirit world and the living world. Many times, they will actually assist the religious / spiritual leaders of the community. Their role within the community may place them as healers, warriors, associated with fertility / fecundity, death & crossing, birthing & rites of passage, any of them or all of them.

    It is more of a Neo-shamanic influence that has seen the Medicine Person or Shamanic Practitioner become a religious character.

    Lots of different things to consider and terms to learn

    Oh, I can already tell that there's a lot to find out about these topics. I'm already very grateful that I foud this place.
    Thank you for your reply.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    It is better to go out and meet the entity-things than it is to talk to people about them.

    I don't know what those things are, but I will suggest that giving them names and fabricating stories about them only further obscures them.

    Just meet them head on. You don't need a set of instructions provided by a priori religious beliefs.
    You are absolutely right! Especially since I feel more...disrupted, the more I distance myslef from nature (trough work, living situation etc.) Thanks for helping me to re-focus on these really important and essential things.
    Last edited by Kjari; 15 Jul 2021 at 12:02.

  7. #7

    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    I’ve found much the same in my own life. That, to me, anything other than some religion of nature isn’t just missing something, but missing the thing. Missing the whole enchilada.

    here’s a fun one, vis a vis animism and your need for natural connections. If you could be the spirit of anything, animate or inanimate….what vessel would you choose, what suits you, spiritually?

  8. #8
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    I have always felt the, let's say, presence of various spirits in/of nature, I guess? Or forces?

    Re: Hello! And, where to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythm View Post
    I’ve found much the same in my own life. That, to me, anything other than some religion of nature isn’t just missing something, but missing the thing. Missing the whole enchilada.

    here’s a fun one, vis a vis animism and your need for natural connections. If you could be the spirit of anything, animate or inanimate….what vessel would you choose, what suits you, spiritually?
    That's an interesting question, and farily easy to answer for me: I'd be a wolf, no question asked. I've always imagined myself as a wolf when I'd stroll trough the woods as a child, haha.

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