I first found this wonderful man and his writings linking from his Gravitar from a comment he once made at Lorna’s blog. Brian is a true Animist and on his Animist Jottings home page are lots of links to his wise and erudite writings of observations of Nature and his relationship therewith. I have been reading through them all for weeks now and am very pleased i found his site, and his photography is great too. Below, with his permission, i have pasted his picture and a few paragraphs from his A Bit About Me page. I also suggest reading his post Remembering (how i became an animist) as a good introduction also. And his many other stories are a delight to the spirit and the senses. I have noticed few Likes or Comments on his posts, so am happy to introduce him to a wider audience.
I have always told my students that yes read your books and do your rituals, but ultimately the only way to learn the old witchcraft and paganism, or even animism, is to go alone out in the woods, sit down and walk around, be silent and just look, listen and feel. Enjoy!
On Limestone Pavement, May 2013. Photo: P.Fincham.
“A gaggle of Jackdaws chatter their way along the top of the hillside. Our house, where I’ve lived for almost forty years, feels like a ship, sailing through time. The town continually rebuilds itself around me. Lives come and go, not least in the surrounding fields, woods, and moors. I’m told I was always something of a dreamer, but these days I take dreaming seriously. What brings me here is a hard won ‘spiritual’ connection with other-than-human beings.
Since the late eighties, when Kingfishers, then other birds and animals, began to enter my life in a profound way, I’ve been accumulating an archive of overlapping ‘field notes’ – diaries, dream diaries, birdwatching notes, and working journals. With my partner I instigated a non-hierarchical group that celebrated the seasonal festivals between 1988 and 1993. Since then I’ve been a contented solitary practitioner – meditating, dreaming, walking, watching, listening, wondering, sensing, conversing, thanking, petitioning, dowsing, being still, moving, celebrating, researching, recording, campaigning – but only realised quite recently that what I practice is a species of animism. I’m also an astrologer. Although I rarely ‘do charts’, astrology has become integral to how I see myself and the world.
I should perhaps say that this is not an escapist project. I’m appalled by the ever widening chasm/s in wealth and power, and the systematic assault on the welfare state, but will not be writing (much) about this here. What I now think of as animist practice has transformed my appreciation of the natural world, and has sometimes been helpful in challenging situations.
Most of my past involvements were in community politics, including self-help therapy and informal crisis support. I eventually found a niche working as a community development worker, mostly for users and survivors of the psychiatric system in Greater Manchester. After a difficult bereavement I returned to the groves of academe to do an applied social sciences PhD and wrote ‘Responding to Men in Crisis; Masculinities, Distress, and the Postmodern Political Landscape‘. This too shaped my view of the world. these days I’m drawn to broadly postmodern thinkers such as Val Plumwood, who relates monological rationalism to ecological crisis, or Patrick Curry and Graham Harvey, who are re-thinking divination and animism respectively.
My purpose in setting up this blog is to reflect on, and exchange ideas about animist ‘theory and practice’; how we think and what we do, so I’m looking forward to hearing from fellow travellers.
Brian Taylor, November 2012.”