44. Animism: Coming Into Kinship with All Life - Daniel Foor

We are in relationship with plants, animals, fungi, mountains, metals, fire, bodies of water, spirits of wind and weather, deities, human ancestors, star people, and others we don't have words for, whether we are aware of it or not. In this conversation Dr. Daniel Foor and I talk about reclaiming kinship through earth-honoring ritual, getting right with your ancestors and with the land you're living on, finding your own unique medicine, and so much more.


  • Making animism practical

  • $300 herbal medicine giveaway! (ends May 1st)


  • Living humans are only one kind of person

  • Animism isn't necessarily spiritual- that other beings also exist and that we are accountable to them is just fact

  • The distinction between animism, shamanism, and indigenous ways

  • Food and the psychological implication of realizing that both animals and plants are people

  • Understanding the human dead as part of the sacred ecology of place

  • The impacts of colonization on trusting our own knowing

  • Being consent-minded and respectful of boundaries: how to hear no from (and say no to) the spirits/ancestors

  • "Colonialism is a massive systemic consent violation"

  • Expanding our vocabulary for the sacred by recognizing the incredible diverse of bodies and wisdoms of the world

  • Contextualizing our devotions amidst the current crises the earth is undergoing (we need to get really good at grieving, but also not lost in it)

  • Finding your own medicine and soul level calling

  • Hierarchy is an intrinsic part of nature

  • Seeing where you're at as the Holy Land (even if you're in suburban Baltimore)

  • Everyone has an ancestral connection with plants (let go of your story that you're not a "plant person"!)

  • Earth as deity (and exploring how we project a gender binary onto the this ancient, complex, multivalent being that is dreaming us up)

  • Down to the water to pray: grief, the erotic, ancestors, food, healing

  • Understanding deeper layers of magic at your specific place

  • Considering inclusive ways to think about deities, archetypes, and weird old gods

  • Harmonizing ritual skills with cultural and political advocacy- not compartmentalizing an animist approach to just our spiritual life, but taking it out to the wider world as well

  • Daniel's three steps to get your life together (so real)


Get the PDF transcript of this episode here.

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26. Ancestral Reverence as Devotion to the Earth - Daniel Foor

Your body is your ancestor altar, how hungry ghosts affect the living, the earth as the repository of ancestral wisdom, & more...

In the Intro:

  • Cleatus B. Wright , January 20, 1929 - February 27th, 1929

In the Interview:

  • The hunger for our ancestors

  • The story of Daniel's first ancestral connection, and the healing that followed

  • The ancestors are the collective wisdom of our species in all its beauty and trauma

  • Time collapses when in communion with the ancestors

  • Not all of the dead are equally well

  • The deeply embedded alcoholism in my fatherline

  • Addiction as the hunger of the dead moving through the bodies of the living, and the act of taking the substance as a form of ancestral communion

  • There are very few personal problems- a look at unmetabolized ancestral pain and systemic injustice

  • The dead can change

  • Ancestral forgetting as a function of the damage wrought by colonialism

  • We don't arrive at healing by exiling those who commit harm: an approach for white folks wishing to address their slave owning/colonizing/oppressive ancestral legacy (rather than ignoring it or living in perpetual guilt)

  • The role of the ancestors in social and earth justice

  • The interweaving of ritual, genealogical research, and healing

  • Synchronicity

  • They are shaking us awake in the burning house- the growing sense of urgency coming to us from the ancestors at this pivotal point in human history

  • The dead are in the earth, and the ancestors are animating the earth that is our bodies

  • Approaching activism in a more ritual oriented way

  • When a child is a returning of an ancestral lineage, mothering is my main form of ancestral reverence, and remembering that our children are the future ancestors of our further descendants

  • Are souls that die suddenly lost in limbo?

  • I ask Daniel a vulnerable question about my mom, who died in a car accident in November 2015

  • The most important way that we prepare for death is to be ethical and kind

  • Animism: living humans are just one kind of person / coming into relationship with the wider web of being