Is it possible to be a Naturalistic Pantheist and an Animist? Animism has traditionally been seen as believing that everything is imbued with spirits. If that is animism then clearly one cannot be both a Naturalistic Pantheist and an Animist.
But Animism sees all things as imbued with divinity. So does Pantheism. Recently Neo-Animism has changed the terms of debate from seeing things as having “spirits” to seeing things are “persons.” Perhaps this has something to teach us as Naturalistic Pantheists. Perhaps we could begin to follow the Neo-Animist suggestion to see all things as persons, whether human persons or non-human persons e.g. plants, trees, animals, birds, insects or micro-organisms. We can treat them with respect and try to build relationships with them, honouring all life, recognising interactivity and seeing man as part of the natural world.
Perhaps we can refer to the “spirits of a place” as all the animals and living beings that live in a certain place. Or listen to the Japanese concept of the Kami (the spirits of the Shinto religion). The word means “outstanding” and could be used to refer to any aspect of nature that leaves us with a sense of wonder and awe, maybe a river, a mountain, a sunset, a waterfall, a tree, a rainbow, a storm, thunder and lightning, the sun, moon or stars. We can talk of these things as “spirits” or of Nature communicating to us, even in a naturalistic way.
How should we communicate or treat these “spirits”? We can leave offerings for them, sing to them, talk to them, spend time with them, treat them with respect and protect them.
Here’s a video on Animism…