Monday, December 10, 2007

Animism Americana

I have long struggled with the conflict between the imperialism of my European heritage and the need to reconcile with a foreign land. the truth is that our DNA is a construct of thousands of ancestors before us who walked upon the land. For Native people this land is the same land their people have inhabited for thousands of years, which gives them an inherent intimate relationship with it. Those of us of colonial ancestors have a different dynamic to deal with, in that our genetics may not be of the land, but our experiences and culture is. We are the accumulation of personal experience, ethnic experience, of not only our ancestors but the living we interact with on a daily basis. We are more a result of our culture then our DNA.

This is where new animism diverges from the attitudes of modern paganism. The ancient culture simply do not exist, and the are brutal aspects of it that are no longer applicable. Animism is the base for all human expression, and it is buried in the mythology of our genetic ancestors, whether it is the Celts, Germans, Norse, Slavs. Romans, or Greeks, Africans, or Chinese. Animism is preserved to be rediscovered by the new animist. One has to be mindful that culture context these mythologies were persevered in, no longer exists but gives us valuable information on HOW to develop an animist model that is distinct to all that we are. Many look at the old myths and think "this is what we do and believe to express earth religion" - the animist sees in them "this is how the ancient came to their conclusions and world view, and this is how we can find a unique world view that reconciles our genetics and culture with the land we inhabit." This may seem a subtle to some but it is a very fundamental difference between the modern pagan and the new animist; However, a modern pagan can be a new animist.

There is a theory that there was a trans-generational historical trauma the Indo-European descendants have felt for thousands of years, in which they inflict upon others through the process of colonialization. New Animism and Bio-Regional Animism signifies a major step in healing the scars of this trauma.

Americana is a term used to describe the accumulation of many interconnecting and colliding cultures that has built the greater American culture. It is a broad sense of American ethnicity and incorporates many attributing influences; the African-American Slave Culture, the Latino Culture, the Creol Culture, the Native American Cultures, the New England Culture, the South west Culture, the Midwest Culture, the Appalachia Culture, The Pacific Northwest Culture, the French-Canadian Culture. Americana is expressed differently in different , and is the unique ethnicity of a given location, that was given by the combination of the land, the natives, and the incoming colonialists and slave cultures.

The Americana of the Appalachia country gave rise to the expression of Bluegrass; it is a combination of Irish and Scottish settlement with African Slave culture and Native American tribes of the region. The Northwest is a Collision of the Fur Trapping Cultures of the Russians, French, and English; the exploration cultures; the Gold Rush and Land Rush that brought Swedish, Irish, and Scottish; the Chinese rail workers; and the Plateau and Pacific Coastal Native cultures; all of this is Northwest Americana.

Instead of looking so much into the genetics of our heritage we should look at the ethnic identity of the Bio-Regions of North America as much as their Ecological Identity. Animism Americana places the expressions of these Americana Cultures into an Animist framework that is informed by, but not restricted to, our genetic ancestry. The end result is not going to be Celtic Animism or Norse Animism, or Slavic Animism, which can only exist within those cultures that most Americans have little to no involvement with. Instead, what we have is Northwest Animism Americana, Appalachia Animism Americana, Creole Animism Americana (etc. . ). Animism Americana implies along side ecological bio-regional identity, that ethnic identity of North American Bio-Regions be placed into a spiritual animist context.