Showing posts with label animism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animism. Show all posts

May 02, 2013

"Bird Language"

A short essay on mid-twentieth-century cowboying (unexpurgated) and the languages of nature. 
As the old man sang, each new verse detailed another page of the cowboy’s improbable voyage along the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Kansas, which was a sequence of increasingly unlikely and anatomically doubtful accounts of said cowboy’s congress with a host of shady characters including a horse, a rattlesnake in a pile of sticks, and an old woman who gave him nothin’ but hell. And a social disease. If my memory serves me correctly, it concluded with several verses about his ending up in what would now be termed a “long-term relationship” with a cow, and what the cow did when she caught him “puttin’ on airs” with a buffalo who “was no better than she should be”, but by then we were laughing too hard for me to remember much of anything.
Read the rest. It does move on to birds and animals eventually!

September 11, 2005

Animism, Disney, and Morels

It started when someone passed on a quote from an article in the August 2005 issue of Vanity Fair about Disneyland:

I thought about everything it was and it wasn't, the cornucopia of image, illusion, and icon, and realized, very much to my delight, that Disney is a freaking pagan cult, that this goody-two-shoes American institution is promoting a primitive, animist religion dedicated to investing everything with life, to animating everything from teacups to trees, from carpets to houses, from ducks to mice, with the pulse of human aspiration.

Graham Harvey, author of the newly published Animism: Respecting the Living World, commented,

Interesting that 'animism' is still defined as the projection of life onto inanimate objects. Wikipedia's animism article and the discussion pages also evidence the same debate--well, it does now that I've added some stuff about the 'new animism'.

I also thought of what Colorado writer David Petersen said in On the Wild Edge: In Search of a Natural Life, published recently by Henry Holt:

These days, our annual morel quest has matured to the level of ceremony, complete as all hunting is for me, with rituals and taboos. This confession provides, I must hope, a passable transition into a brief explication of my own personal spirituality, which I call neo-animism . . . .In sum, here's how it seems to me: if you depend on wild nature for your physical and mental well-being (as we all do, whether we know it or not); if you desire a sustainable, workable, and healthy human society and crave a sense of belonging, spiritual permanence, and personal worth; and if you agree with Aldo Leopold that the collective human destiny is tied inextricably to the fate of the natural world, then you naturally become a homespun animist. (pp. 122-4).

And speaking of morels, here is a new book available on hunting them.