A Leap Into the Abyss
“Depth after enthralling depth, we would not have ‘arrived’ at the heart of the matter, that fabled ‘fountain’ of truth – for reality is a hesitant allegory, a precocious child beholden to no particular tune, and with no final lessons. Even the manic search for meaning is itself a clever ruse, and the finding…a fool’s convenience. The hole goes even deeper – and yet it is not the kind of depth that ‘arrives’, it is a depth that presses on, loops up away from the ground, and takes flight into the air – its journey tracing out the majestic arc of a fathomless, uncircumcised circle.” – Adebayo Akomolafe
Where is the soul, the essence of the self? This seems to be a persistent question among scientists and spiritualists alike, and yet, it seems to remain as elusive as always. Centuries have passed and still we are left with the same uncertainty about the essential qualities of our existence. New forms of science have opened a Pandora’s box to a liminal world where no singular thingness can be eternalized. We ramble onward in an attempt to reify its parameters, in hopes that it is real even though it eludes our detection. And with this obsession of inherent essence comes with it a promise of an inherent meaning to our existence. For if we are whole, if our essence is true, so must our existence hold meaning, so must our existence be unified.
We are haunted by this platonic idealism, it permeates our language, our search for truth, our interactions and our own social organizing. We hold dear to the Ideal because we fear to face that great post structuralist Abyss so romanticized in the writings of existentialism. It is in this Abyss that another promise awaits, the one rumored to cause madness and meaninglessness. So we dance around it, timid of the unknowns, wary of possibility, scared to let go of our sense of self and its tangible parameters. What can we be if no essential quality of the world exists? What do we become if we are ephemeral? What then is our purpose? These are of course the classic questions of existentialism, and they must be tackled if we are to move forward into a new foundation of magic.
The current paradigm of magic has led only to hollowed out versions of itself because we have carved out the deep material elements of its relational identities. For the sake of power and the ambiguous confirmation bias that gives proof to power, magic has become a colonized idealism, no longer grounded in the deeper mythos of a living Earth. What was once an immersive conversation with the mythic realm has become a removed imagining of an individual’s projected idealism upon the world. Our greatest mistake was to assume that eternal ghosts were somehow more real than the relationships that made up the world, and we have been suffering this mistake ever since. The material by which we interacted, the ever changing world of realism, was considered the ephemeral and lesser world, whereas the ideal was seen to be eternal and therefore more tangible. Thus, the physical being of people were then seen to be lesser creatures as well, removed from a divine essence, a failure of impure means, a corruption of flesh.
Idealism has served only to separate the physical from the spiritual, it has framed the discussion of our existence in terms of unfounded truths and imaginary quantities. Our ideas of fact and fiction, right and wrong, this and that, they were all a kind of consequence to the dichotomous perversion of idealism. As this gave way to dualism, culture became its victim. Our language became that which removed us from the intersectional communicative experience of a sensual world. This is because language was no longer an empathic animistic conversation with reality, but rather a capturing of reality into small boxes by which each “thing” was separated from the other so we could discern its properties. Our madness was the vivisection of the connective experience, a separation caused by our need to trap the reality of interbeing into quantifiable states. But we soon realized such a thing was impossible.
Each time we sought to trap a thing’s true essence, we had to cut it away from the vital relationships which made it functional. Each cut into reality was a disconnection from it. In order for us to capture a “thing”, we had to effectively project our assumptions onto it. When we looked at a tree we would assume its nature, and this could only be accomplished by separating the tree from all the processes by which it could emerge. The sunlight, the water, the agency of fungal networks, and so much more, became merely ingredients by which the true essence of the tree would persist in a physical shell. To solve this conundrum of an ever changing interconnected world that was without form or essence, we assumed that the eternal essence of a thing was in some other place, somehow more real than the one we were in. We called this place heaven or truth, and we sacrificed our agency over to it. We comforted ourselves with the ideal because it meant that we could somehow maintain control over the world. We could make sense of each thing and therefore make sense of ourselves. It meant that we could excuse ourselves from the responsibility of how we damaged and affected the world. Idealism was the way by which we could destroy the world and become better for it. It was the excuse that gave us a right to hierarchy for it placed value upon power above everything else.
The capturing of reality by this vivisection and its subsequent imprisonment by projected idealism is the origin of hierarchy and colonialism. It is the act of separating living relationships from their emergent forms for the sake of empowering an eternalized ideal. It was a rejection of the agency of each unique differentiation. Whether the ideal is the soul, the state, or some other lofty imaginary essence, it is an ideal that can only be maintained by the othering of existence and reality’s subservience to the intangible. This is why the ideal is so powerful, for it assumes a truth that can be neither proven nor disproven, and therefore adopts a position of power through its mystification.
For example, one ideal that terrorizes the world is none other than the Nation. For it is in the Nation that we project our ideas of self worth and superiority. It is in the name of the Nation that we commit atrocities and build borders and enslave the world for our comforts. Yet the Nation is none other than a collective of people that have conspired to strip away the agency of the land and its constituency. It is a vehicle by which violence is monopolized in exchange for a sense of belonging and superiority. People are left unsure, hopeful and afraid of its possibilities, and this makes them subservient to its power. It promises them privilege,value and meaning over the rest of the world’s denizens in exchange for the sacrifice of their agency. At its imaginary core, it is tyranny.
All idealism is like this, a spectral tyrant, requiring the sacrifice of your agency by threatening you with the possibilities of loss if you do not submit to its possession. In many cases it has an infected army at its beck and call, willing to do battle on its behalf for the sake of its memetic propagation. It persists because it carries with it the meaning of its followers. They follow the ideal because it provides them with an excuse to take power at the cost of another.
This idealism has prevailed into our current time. It is the basis of our culture and it is embedded into the institutions of science, politics, religion and magic alike. Our social constructs are thus emanations of the ideal. They are removed from our Interbeing with the Earth by several degrees, and in being removed, they have induced a pathological madness in us. The most prevalent form of this idealism is seen in dualism, the separation of the material and spiritual realms. The majority of all thought in these times is some variety of dualism and projected idealism. And yet, the ideal can never truly exist. It suffers an epistemological crisis at every turn.
We must then confront the act of knowing. We must come to understand how knowledge can be obtained to better help us sort out the real from the ideal. It is in this confrontation that we shall find the ideal as merely a stand in for something far more unique and interconnected. It is clear that if we are to move towards a new understanding of reality and magic, we will need to find a new way to understand what it means to exist as a real agency in a non dual framework. The dualism of spirituality and materialism can no longer prove solvent in a post structuralist world where the ideal is merely a phantom. We must create a framework by which reality exists without ephemeral homunculi operating matter via miraculous interventions, and where by form is emergent and unique without the need of essence. In order to bypass dualism we must then come to the concept of realism in a new light and reconceptualize the foundations of existence under a new paradigm.
Awakening to Our Interbeing
‘To be entangled is not simply to be intertwined with another, as in the joining of separate entities, but to lack an independent, self-contained existence. Existence is not an individual affair. Individuals do not preexist their interactions; rather, individuals emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating . Which is not to say that emergence happens once and for all, as an event or as a process that takes place according to some external measure of space and of time, but rather that time and space, like matter and meaning, come into existence, are iteratively reconfigured through each intra-action, thereby making it impossible to differentiate in any absolute sense between creation and renewal, beginning and returning, continuity and discontinuity, here and there, past and future.’ – Karen Barad
There can be no form without relationship. If anything is to exist, it must do so in relationship to other things. If it has no relationship to anything else within existence, then it doesn’t matter whether it exists or not. If it can not relate, it can not affect, and therefore it can not be. This is the principle axiom by which Interanimism is formulated. This axiom is not an ideal within itself, but rather the reality by which we come to understand existence. It is the paradox of onto-epistemology, alive and continually proving upon itself. It is the dance by which the knower and the known come to mutually inspire each other.
Knowledge is not something that can be obtained through any objective state of being, rather in order for one to become aware of reality and understand it, they must effectively interject into that which they observe so they can measure the parameters of the object. Yet by doing so, they alter the original state of parameters that the object was in before the occurrence of the interjection. This means that all acts of knowing are interjective phenomenon that require real intra-action with a relational existence.
By intra-action I mean that each act upon an object is effectively co-creating both the actor and the object because it introduces a new parameter of relationships. The relationship of interbeing between the two are co-constitutional, they act as feedback loops that mutually affect one another. So every intra-action is the perpetuity of our diffractive interbeing. It is a new becoming, an endless cycle of change emerging from a relational existence.
Therefore, knowledge is not something that can be obtained separately from our interbeing with reality, but rather it must include our interbeing if it is to be understood. Knowledge and being are inseparable, and we must accept that if we are to understand reality, the very act of coming to understand it is itself an act of interbeing. This sets up a terrible conundrum for idealism because knowledge of an ideal should only be obtained without the possibility of an intra-action with the ideal, for if an ideal could be affected by the material world it would no longer maintain its eternal essence. However, if an intra-action can not occur, then how can the ideal be relatable and therefore exist? It is here that we see idealism crumble in the face of non dualism. This means that what we consider to be the ideal, is actually just a mirage of material circumstances in reality. The ideal is not itself real, but rather it is a specter of the agent’s dissonant assumptions trapped within an echo chamber of material limitations.
Interanimism and Agential Reality
This brings us to Interanimism, the notion that existence is mutually inspiring and co-creating itself, animating its interbeing through intra-active relationships. Rather than seeing the world filled with particulated essences or souls, what would reality be like if we saw all matter as an emergent function of relationships and agency as the phenomenology of entanglement? Let us explore this.
When we make the agential cut into matter, we come to find that there is some kind of pattern or quality to an atom that can be derived from the event. As we cut into atoms we see yet again smaller particles in relationship to one another. But what becomes of the overarching parameters of the atom when we intra-act with the deeper relationships that give it form? If the atom is a construct composed of smaller constructs, and we eventually come to a point where no further reducibility can be uncovered due to quantum interference effects, is it truly accurate to assume that matter is itself an essential substance of some kind? Are we not lying to ourselves in affirming matter as a primary condition of existence when our very interjections into matter, for the sake of knowing it, change how it emerges? Could it be that idealism has infected our ideas of matter, setting us on a wild goose chase for some kind of irreducible essence once again? And if we were to ever find this irreducible essence, would this not also be subject to the same fallacy of becoming incapable of undergoing intra-action, making it non existent? After all, if it were an irreducible essentiality, then it must be by that very standard unaffectable as well. Do you see the absurdity in this train of thought?
Rather than committing reductionist fallacies, we must come to observe matter as it really is, an emergent phenomenon of relationships. An atom is a construct of its relational existence, it doesn’t have any true form until something comes into relationship to it to produce limitations upon its known fields of probability. Therefore material is a process, a relational construct that emerges from the liminality of our interbeing. And to understand this is to free yourself of the idea that matter is just a dead deterministic phenomenon. All forms are merely emergent constructs of relationship, all materially relevant. It is in the deep sensual nature of the material world that we can find the non dual experience of our Interbeing. From our mutual affectations are we formed and reformed again and again, as diffractions of our universality. Within each form of existence is itself a unique relationship with our Interbeing. There is no single place in space or time that is like any other, and yet this can only be possible because we are constantly co-creating one another.
Agency can now be seen in this new light of materialism. It is no longer a homunculus that is separated and free from the entanglements of existence. If it was, it would not affect anything and for all practical purposes be non existent. Agency becomes the emergent network of diffractive intra-actions that are always coming into new modes of mutual interbeing with one another, reaching new emergent forms of meaning and becoming.
This process of co-organization, this emergent uniqueness brought about by intra-action, is the basis of our agential experience, and the experience that is being had is one of attention. This is where attention and awareness derive, from the ability to respond to stimulus and be stimulated in turn. This means that material is agential. It holds with it a phenomenological experience of co-constituted being and knowing. An atom may not be conscious like a human, but it is indeed an agent undergoing the diffraction process in its own way.
Every time an intra-action occurs, there is a resulting degree of agency emerging. As more intra-action and entanglement occurs, the emergent agency becomes more attentive, more aware, more enlivened. This is applicable to all interbeing within our existence. Agency is not a special or rare occurrence, but it is rather the basic emergent function of ALL EXISTENCE. That is right, awareness seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
Agency is just as much a physical phenomenon as it is a mental one. The two are the same thing. All phenomenological experience is the actual experience of the interplay of our physical world. We are aware not because something separate from this world is being imprinted upon us, generating a subjective experience, but because our entire being is constantly reorganized in a brilliant interplay of relationships.
Because of this, there is no individual will, there is no singular essential soul, there is no boundary by which the self is truly self. Rather, existence is best understood as an ongoing relational process of interanimism, where agency is inspired by the intra-active entanglements of mutually constituted relationships, and where forms are the manifestations of this agency. However, what is extremely interesting is that because there is no ability for singularity or individualism to occur, conversely there is also no perfected wholeness happening. Every slice of spacetime is thus an entirely unique unparalleled slice of existence, a multitude of entirely unique agential unfoldings. There is neither a perfect whole or a perfect part, but rather an integral process of unique diversification that lends to an existence of dynamic awareness. We trade out essentialism for a diffractive uniqueness that can never be considered separated from the process of interbeing nor entirely collectivized towards any essential totality.
On the Dreaming Earth
“If we speak of things as inert or inanimate objects, we deny their ability to actively engage and interact with us—we foreclose their capacity to reciprocate our attentions, to draw us into silent dialogue, to inform and instruct us” – David Abram
As a person who came to magic and animism from a naturalist point of view, bioregional animism is something that speaks deeply to me on a mythic level. It is often very difficult for me to explain to people that my personal mythology of magic is rooted in the physical world and that I don’t abide super-naturalism like other folk do in the magical communities.
Gods are not separate disembodied ideals, but are instead the emergent agencies from the vast networks of ancient entanglements within which we are embedded. Gods arise not as archetypes, but as the long lived intellects of ecosystems and bioregions. As a bioregion, or any massive networked system for that matter, begins to experience multi emergent synergistic qualities that are unique to its paradigm, the agency of that system becomes more capable of awareness and attention. It develops its own paradigmatic memory and it seeks its own teleodynamic harmony.
Spirits are the liminal agencies of the rocks, the trees, the rivers and all the other functionaries of the more than human world. They are not themselves astral or ethereal, but are physically present in the waking dream of the land. They are nature’s diffractive agencies, emerging out of the entangled relationships of various enlivened constructs. The ancestors are the culminating influences of the past embedded onto the present, all their gravitational waves pushing us forward into the expanse of the universe.The ancestors are not ghosts that pop up like some spooky ethereal being, but are the past actions of our ancestors imprinted upon the informational matrix of our reality which produces an emergent agency capable of communicating with the living, forever affecting and inspiring our future.
I call on these mythic beings because I am seeking to commune with the reality of our interbeing. I call on my ancestors because I must become aware of how deeply we are affected by them, even though they have changed form. In many ways their death hasn’t stopped their meddling in our world, to the point where one must wonder if they ever really died at all. Their wisdom and stories are embedded into the fabric of our reality and this has vast implications. I call upon the Gods because I know that my human agency isn’t enough to understand the desires of the land. I need to embed myself into the non rational dreaming intelligence of the land. I need to slow down and listen to how it speaks to me. And for this I must make pacts with the spirits of the land so I may have allies in my quest to dismantle my own internalized and externalized forms of oppression.
What is this dreaming intelligence? It is mythic sensing. It is both entirely somatic and semiotic. When you intra-act with the land, when you learn the languages of the birds and the plants and the bubbling brooks, a kind of woven song culminates inside of you. It is like having a symphonic conversation of sorts. You function within it and it reverberates within you. And as you learn to hear all of its moving parts you begin to respond and react differently to it. You slow down. You imagine more. You sense stories being told by the relationships of the land. Places begin to embody a mythic intelligence. Enchantment sprouts around you as you begin to give honor and respect to the webs of life. You begin to see yourself as an integral part of these stories because you are literally interwoven with the land, from the food you eat to the water you drink and the vibrations which tremble through your mind and body, you are consciously integrating into the land and learning its language. You are dreaming with it. It is a different kind of intelligence. It is non rational, mythic, somatic and an all around compulsory participation with its yearnings.
Entering the Mythic Mind
“As places animate the ideas and feelings of persons who attend to them, these same ideas and feelings animate the places on which attention has been bestowed, and the movements of this process-inward toward facets of the self, outward toward aspects of the external world, alternately both together-cannot be known in advance. When places are actively sensed, the physical landscape becomes wedded to the landscape of the mind, to the roving imagination, and where the mind may lead is anybody’s guess” – Keith Basso
In order to get a good grasp on Interanimism, it benefits us to consider the possible ways in which indigenous people view the world and their ancestors. There is a very poignant hypothesis by a dear friend and colleague of mine, by the name of Eric Chisler, in which he states that ancestors were never relegated to the grave as dead human beings, but were actually embedded into the land and its constituent beings. More than this though was that many of the early hunter gatherers, and even indigenous folk till this day, included the more than human world into their ancestry paradigms.
Eric’s idea was that any kind of relationship that was held in common with the more than human world was in a sense a co-constitutional existence by which the actions of the human people and “non human people” were considered as a united story. So the ancestors themselves inhabited those stories and those stories inhabited the places in which they were embedded. In this sense, to the Great Plains inhabitants of North America, the bison were considered ancestors because the relationships between the people and the herd were symbiotic. Their story was synonymous right down to their migration patterns. They inhabited the same places and they shared a common mythos. This can be verified in part by the Lakota language, where the term for the Great Mystery, ‘Wakan Tanka’, shared an etymological relationship with the bison which were called ‘Tatanka’. And Tatanka roughly translates to “he who owns us”, which is incredibly significant when understanding this to refer to ancestral lineage. Hence being the reason the Bison were considered the older brothers of the Lakota.
A lot of this has to do with the notion of how these ancient people identified themselves. It wasn’t from a central locus, but rather from a networked mythos that they derived identity. Even to this day there is some proof of this where various indigenous peoples don’t have names or property in the ideal sense, and if they do have names, many of these names come from events that define them rather than ideals that are projected upon them at birth. So they operated as creatures of the place wherein they were embedded, rather than as people with singular “selves” in control and separate from those places. They are not all collectivists nor are they individualists, rather they were like unique stories that were weaving into the land.
This meant that the herd or the forest or the mountain were all a part of their ancestry because their identity as a family included these things as part of the familiar network. The more important a place or a type of animal was, the more venerated it was as an ancestor. Someone’s great great great grandmother might actually be the mountain because the tribe all came from that person and began its collective story under the mountain itself. Their ancestry became a totemic experience of relationships to place and its inhabitants.
Now another frame of reference was how these people saw time. From an indigenous mindset linear abstract ideas did not exist in a substantial predominant way like they do in civilizations. They didn’t have written language so they didn’t utilize abstract eternal ideals as much. Rather the vehicles of their ideas were embedded into stories and myth. They expressed themselves and conversed with one another by incorporating the stories of place and ancestors into their everyday banter. In this respect, since they had no real concept of the “ideal”, they never really saw each other as individualists with souls. Rather they were just a part of a big family that incorporated their minds and beings into a greater interbeing.
Because of this, the ancestors were not an aspect of dead beings that somehow haunted us in the present, but rather to be an ancestor was to be alive as a different state of being. And this state of being was a kind of imprinting or embedding into the eco-sociological matrix of their places. So when you died you literally became the land, the flora and fauna etc. Your stories inhabited the land and were still very much a part of what made it what it was.
Now this is actually reflective in Apache language. Keith Basso wrote a book called Wisdom Sits in Places and it was about how the language of the Apache was a story language. If they were to talk about their life in general, they would reference a place in which a story existed that would correlate to their own feelings and circumstances. To them language was about immersion into an animistic landscape by which their senses were involved. To make sense of the world and themselves, they literally used their sensual experiences.
The Travail of Colonialism
Perhaps the most radical implication of Eric’s hypothesis to emerge from this conception of the animistic culture of the more than human ancestors, is an explanation of the sociological trauma that caused the rise of civilization, and with it, the idealism that gave birth to hierarchy. The rise of civilization and the end of the hunter gatherer cultures is a long debated phenomenon, but what many anthropologists and archaeologists tentatively agree upon was that various places became overpopulated and squeezed in some nomadic tribes to stay within smaller ranges. As a consequence, the horticultural practices of the tribes evolved into agriculture.
It is here that we must confront a possible shift in the human mind and the rise of the ideals that created the disembodied gods. What we must question are the effects upon humanity when they actively began to destroy their environment in order to survive. If a culture was animistic and considered their environment to be their ancestors, how would the destruction of their great forests or the mining of their ancestral mountains affect their minds? The trauma of the loss of ancestors is the trauma by which identity of one’s community is erased.
The act of having to destroy the ancestors in order to survive created a fundamental shift in the mind of the indigenous human. This trauma of alienation from community created a rift between people and their ancestors. It is from this pain that a new conception of ancestors evolved into the gods. For the only way by which their ancestors and cultural identity could be preserved, the only way in which these people would not descend into madness, was if they eternalized those beings and made them non physical entities that transcended nature.
It was this slow but sure process of the idealization of their ancestors that these ghosts took on a new power that eluded relationships with the physical world. And it was their slow evolution into the ‘ideal’ that ancestors became the gods. As people were able to eternalize these entities, they also constructed hierarchies by which what was once a simple lineage of ancestors became a class system of some sort. The ability to commit to the ideal was the sacrifice of agency required to allow for systems of hierarchy, usually linked to divine rights, to come into being.
Some examples lie within myth itself. There is a story of the Aesir and Vanir fighting one another in a tribal war. However this myth could very well be an allegory for the invasion of the Indo-European tribes into the north, fighting the already settled culture of that time. The Irish have a very similar tale about the Tuatha De Danann taking over the land from the Fomorians and then again when the Milesians took it over from them. Curiously enough it is said that the Tuatha De Danann went to live inside the land of Ireland itself as part of another realm of existence, which signifies the same concept of embodied ancestry of which I speak. These myths were quite possibly the carried over stories of the ancestors that slowly turned into the gods.
Greek myth talks about this with the shift from the Titans to the gods. The Titans were demonized in the same way the hunter gatherers were hated by the city states. And the story of the Olympians taking power from the Titans was just the myth of the domination over the indigenous Greeks of that region.
Another great example is the myth of the creation of midgard in Norse mythology, particularly when Odin killed Ymir and used the body of Ymir to form the new world. Here you have a literal case in myth where a civilized war god destroys a primordial ancestor god and fashions land and sky stuff out of it.
Even the tale of the Fall in Genesis talks about this very thing. People were in the garden with god and he willfully hung out with them. He was practically their friend and family. They ate from the tree of life because they lived as an interconnected species. But the moment they ate from the tree of good and evil they started to see as god ‘sees’, and I think it really would be more accurate to call it the “tree of idealism” in this case. After that, we began to dichotomize things and we entered into dualistic thinking. God was no longer capable of being our friend or family because we idealized him in a way that alienated us from his physical location. We could no longer live a life in the garden because now the Earth wasn’t an interconnected experience, but rather a hostile one.
Perhaps the creators of the genesis story were some kind of tree people who worshipped a great ancestor tree that birthed not only them but the forests they lived in. There is after all evidence of Middle Eastern tree worship around the dawn of civilization. And perhaps their population was squeezed more and more into a corner of the forest, and they had to start adopting an agricultural lifestyle that required them to cut down their ancestors, which then drove them into madness and civil conflict as well from the consequences of the new generations supplanting the old. Either way, it makes for an interesting analysis on what seems to be a played out story.
In time, the people slowly cannibalized their ancestors and replaced them with ideals that could be carried around while being separated from the land. The transition into city states coincided with the transition of the ancestors into the gods, and this gave the gods dominion over the ancestral places rather than remaining communal grounds for the tribe. As people carried on into the civilized world, their connections to their ancestors came with them, although in various degrees of disconnection with the land. This was basically the fundamental shift from the indigenous mind to the modern mind. The trauma caused us to look for a way of avoiding the responsibility for destroying the ancestors and the places they inhabited. This was the result of idealism, and it was birth of the colonization of the Earth.
A New and Ancient Magic Emerges
As magical practitioners, this shift in our perspectives, from idealist metaphysics to relational metaphysics, inevitably overturns the modern paradigms of magic. No longer can magic be something controlled by the individual as a slave to the will, nor is it something that is driven by intent, because the individual and intention simply do not exist in an idealized fashion from this new perspective. There is no subject-object dichotomy anymore. The very idealized aspects of magic are the results of the great traumatic birth of idealism. This magic is rooted in methods of colonialism that seek to externalize our suffering through control and manipulation of the world around us, through the destruction of our ancestors.
We must seek a new and ancient magic in order to converse with the world around us. Magic must become a way of relating and seeking consensual entanglement with reality so one can co-create a deeper meaning within it. In this way it becomes the synthesis of conflict, the emergent synergy of justice. It is in every way a relational phenomenon. The Gods need not be abandoned, but rather we must find them homes and root them into the land. We must take them out of the empires which have corrupted them and rewild their hearts.
This of course is strangely different from what we have been taught for so long. But I really have to ask you, how much of your magic is affected by colonialism, capitalism, idealism and false dichotomies? And how aware are you of just exactly how these things shape your magical practice? Are you doing magic as an aspect of personal control? Are you seeking power over the world rather than with it? Have you given free reign to the illusion of separation and idealism?
There is so much baggage we have to unpack if we are to ever reclaim our own indigenous magic. There must be a paradigm shift by which a whole new magical consciousness can arise un-tethered by the bonds of the mythos of idealism. We must re-wild our magic by rooting ourselves into the formless world of liminality and Interanimism, for it is here that power is woven together to co-create meaning and matter.
As an interanimist, process philosopher, non-dualist, and new materialist, I see physical reality as true reality. All the phenomena of existence are materialistic. But matter is for lack of a better term, a relational process. Matter is not in itself essential, but rather an emergent quality of process. It is merely the emergent holonic resonance that gives identity, form, and structure to the material world. Reality is the process of our interbeing, and those processes’ materials are the emergent agents that are the phenomenological experience unto themselves.
Therefore I can not abide by notions of super-naturalism, but rather I must embrace the concepts of hyper-naturalism. I do not seek transcendence in order to achieve some greater mind, but rather our degree of mindfulness is directly proportional to our degrees of integration with the embedded nature of our interbeing. The more inscendent we become, the more integrated we become. And so it is that our degree of phenomenological experience is proportionate to our degree of connective interrelationships.
It is from this foundation that my magic has evolved. And it is from this foundation that my magic is far queerer than what is commonly understood by popular conceptions. For magic to me is not some secret force hidden by some kind of idealized mystery, rather magic is an openly normal foundation for the emergent qualities of our existence. I use the term magic because the history of magic is rich in supporting my interanimistic conceptions of it. Magic has always been a means of conversing with the more than human world through mythic sensing. It is a vehicle for co-creating meaning in an otherwise meaningless world, a force that binds the teleonomies of various agents together. Music, art, love and even battle are all said to contain within them a powerful magic that brings people into connective states of mind. Magic happens all the time in everyone and everything. It is the ‘mythic normal’ of our existence. It is the consensual entanglement of meaning and matter.
(All pics are of the Cross Timbers region of Texas in which I live.)