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The Extent and Application of Animism

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

A Shinto Shrine dedicated to an area.

Somewhere in your journey into the Spiritual and Magickal, you have likely encountered mention of the concept of Animism. Animism is a belief system or worldview that ascribes spiritual or supernatural qualities to all living and non-living things in the natural world. It is one of the oldest and most widespread belief systems in human history, with its roots in many indigenous cultures around the world.

The core belief of Animism is that all objects, including plants, animals, rocks, rivers, mountains, and celestial bodies, possess a spiritual essence or soul, and are capable of exhibiting agency and intentionality. Animists often believe that these spiritual essences or souls can interact with humans and affect their lives, and that they should be respected, honored, and communicated with.

Animism often involves a belief in a complex web of interconnectedness and interdependence among all living and non-living things, where everything is considered to be part of a larger spiritual ecosystem. Rituals, ceremonies, and offerings are often performed to establish and maintain harmonious relationships with the Spirits of Nature, and to seek their guidance, protection, and blessings.

Animism can be found in various cultures and religions, including indigenous and tribal belief systems, shamanism, folk religions, and some forms of Paganism. It is often closely tied to practices related to hunting, agriculture, and the natural environment, and is characterized by a deep reverence and respect for nature and its inhabitants. In recent times, Animism has also gained attention as an important ecological and environmental philosophy that emphasizes the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the need for sustainable and respectful relationships with the natural world.

Although Animism is mostly associated with things of the natural world, it can also be applied to things which are man-made or which is not found in nature itself, such as buildings, houses, furniture, and other man-made objects and items.

To some, the concept of inanimate natural objects such as stones and the like having an intelligence or “soul” of sorts is generally acceptable in the Occult world and various paradigms, however, to apply the same concept to man-made and non-natural items and objects is frequently overlooked.

To understand the idea of all things having a “soul”, we will briefly discuss what a soul is. We have written about this extensively in many of our books, so we will only touch upon the matter here. Everything has a soul – some are intelligent and self-aware (as seen with humans, animals etc), yet others are simply a concentration of the item or object’s energy.

Moving on, the idea that all natural things have a form of a soul, whether self-aware or not, is commonly accepted and ancient. In fact, many natural formations and locations, such as mountains, rivers, lakes and so on are regarded as having not just a soul, but being Deities or Beings in their own right – now, whether these locales are the physical representations of Beings, or if they took on such a life of their own due to people’s belief in them as being Deities (as seen in Thoughtforms and Constructs) can be debated – but the fact still remains.

Now, the purpose of this blog post is not to speak about the classical form of Animism (or rather, the nature-based form of Animism)…but rather Animism that encompasses all things, including that which is created by people.

By now, you are likely sick and tired of hearing us mention that Magick is Energy and thus everything is Energy – however, we will mention it time and time again as it is the key to all things, as well as the key to understand all things.

Keeping the above in mind, everything that exists has Energy attached to it, and not just general Energy, but its own personal Energy as well. From the smallest grain of sand, to the largest mountain…and likewise, from a table to an entire building or even an entire city.

Just regard this for a moment…sitting where you are. Everything around you has its own Energetic imprint and is unique in this regard. Everything has a semblance of a “soul” – whether it is intelligent and self-aware or not. Rather profound, isn’t it?

Everything that has a physical form has a soul – whether intelligent and self-aware or not – remember this. In our book, Magus Volume II: The Firmament, we discuss the relationship between souls and bodies (their physical forms) in greater detail.

Now, although profound and overwhelming, what does this mean to you? What does this mean from a Magickal perspective? How can you make use of this? If you know us by now, you should know that whatever we write about has a practical application attached to it – as theory remains theory unless it can be practically applied.

The answer is a simple statement – the applications are vast.

Keeping Energy and the Laws of Energy in mind, one of the first things that become obvious is that like seeks like and like attracts like. If you hold on to broken items and you keep it around in your house, it will attract energy which resembles its broken state to itself, which will reflect within the area as well…and we are sure that we need not tell you that this is a bad thing.

Likewise, a dirty and cluttered area will attract energetic dirt and clutter. Hoarded items will attract stagnant energy. Energy from moving water (small fountains) will attract energy of movement and so on (as seen in Feng Shui), a well-lit area will attract clear and positive energy and so on. We can go on and on about this.

As if that was not enough…allow us to expand even more on the practical implications of Complete Animism (yes, we dub this “Complete Animism” to encompass all physical things in this world, whereas “Animism” only regards natural items).

Let us take, as an example, your home. Whether you regard it to simply be a construct of bricks, wood and so on has no impact on the fact that it has a soul of its own. So, as seen with various Asian and Pagan systems, if you treat your home as a living thing – by speaking to it, taking care of it, even building an altar to represent and honor it and provide it with offerings, even naming it – you will not just interact with its current “inanimate” soul…you will cause it to gain an Intelligence of its own (again, as seen with Thoughtforms).

This in an of itself is of great value – its newfound Intelligence can protect itself (in other words, your home), your property, the contents of your home and even its inhabitants from physical and spiritual harm and intrusion and much more. Its inanimate soul will become animate and self-aware…and so your home and property will become as a living thing…with the physical form of it being its body or physical representation, and its soul being its Intelligence.

The above can be applied to absolutely anything and everything – buildings, cars, various items…the list is endless.

Make no mistake – just because its intelligence and self-awareness is brought about by you, does not make it lesser than, say, something that already is intelligent and self-aware, such as a human soul or Entity – remember this. Life is life, self-awareness is self-awareness…regardless of what brings this about.

Another great example of Complete Animism can be found with weapons, most notably the Samurai and their swords. Historically, the Samurai believed that a part of their soul, or the whole of their soul resides within their sword and it is a living thing. This is only one example, as this same concept can be found around the world with many different cultures and their weapons. So, in fact, Complete Animism is not so otherworldly and obscure as you may think…it is simply overlooked and disregarded.

…and on this high note, we will conclude this blog post. Take some time and think about what we have presented here. A whole new world of applications will make itself known to you with everything that you see, and has the potential to expand your awareness and regard of all that it around you.


All of our writings, including our blog posts, are copyrighted to us (Rheiner and Vanessa Le Roux under the pseudonyms of Baron and Baronessa Araignee) and our business Araignee Arcane Services. Our writings are original and not copied content.

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