Panentheism - of Greek origin meaning “All -in-God” is a belief system which posits that the Divine exists (be it a monotheistic god, polytheistic gods, or an eternal cosmic animating force), and interpenetrates every part of nature, timelessly extending beyond it. Panentheism is differentiated from pantheism, which holds that the divine is not a distinct being or beings but is synonymous with the universe.
Simply put, in pantheism, the divine is the whole; however, in panentheism, the whole is in the Divine. .
Animism - Latin origin (anima) meaning “soul or life” refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle and awareness.
Animism encompasses the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) world, and Souls or Spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in all other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains and rivers, and other entities of the natural environment..
Before I begin, I want to stress to readers that the following essays are MY experience, MY beliefs and the way I was taught. I know and understand that many other paths and traditions exist and I try to honour those as best I can. I cannot expound on them or offer suggestions. THIS is my way, THIS is my tradition. Feel free to disagree. I do hope, however, that before you quickly turn aside, you take a tiny bit of this philosophy with you, to ponder and ruminate, for it is Ancient, one of the oldest philosophies and religious persuasions known to man. Let us honour it, and be aware of it, before the corroding sands of time and the so-called ‘progression’ of civilization destroys it forever.
As a panentheist and animist, it is my belief the Divine dwells in individual form throughout all of Creation. As parts of the Whole, each created being is a Strand, a thread, a cord, which composes the Universal or Cosmic Web. My Strand intersects with you, here, on this blog as yours intersects with mine. Animals are Strands, rocks are Strands, plants are Strands. Grass, birds, insects, clouds and stars are Strands. Every day and in millions of ways, Strands connect or disconnect from other Strands. The Web is Eternal, created and maintained by the Mother. Even the Gods reside on the Web and cannot over rule it. It is the Universe, it is the World, it is the Cosmic Song.
With this worldview, I see the Universe as holy, sacred and honourable. I venerate Gaia, I pay homage to Creation and Life. I bow in reverence before the sea, before trees, rivers, flowers, stars and standing stones. They are alive. They pulsate with an energy undetectable and unnoticed by most.
This visionary and intuitive understanding of the Cosmos is what sets shamanistic occult paths apart from many others. This belief system has been held worldwide in many cultures; in the Pre-European Americas, South America, Central America, southeast Asia and Africa. This is the philosophy of Spinoza and Einstein. We panenthesists are in good company.
I hope in these series of essays to expound on some particulars of panentheism and animism and how to incorporate this wisdom into daily practice. It is my hope to always honour the Old Ways and to try to educate and encourage a deeper understanding of the Web and the Spirits that surround us and share this sphere with us.
I offer my Strand , my life, to She Who Has No Name. May She abide in my continued adoration.