Water and Moon Kuan-Yin Bodhisattva statue replica from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, USA

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  • Hello Suzanne and Jean-Paul, a quick note (the contact button on your site doesn’t seem to be working, or this would have been an e-mail) to say that I’ve been fascinated by your material.

    I’m also an animist and astrologer whose practice has long revolved around close relationship with particular ‘other-than-human people’(to borrow Irving Hallowell’s now widely used neologism), but coming from a non-Buddhist perspective, there are also points of difference between our approaches. I’m a friendly pluralist, so wouldn’t want to start a bun fight over any of this, but for example, I’d balk at describing the forces ranged against us either as ‘dark’, or a ‘Predator culture’, and wouldn’t want to use the vocabulary of psychopathology in this context. Most predation in the ‘natural world’ is, after all, simply a way of obtaining food …

    I’d like to reccomend Graham Harvey’s writings. Do you know them? He’s head of religious studies at the Open University (in the U.K), a prolific writer, and a Pagan animist. My perspective is rather different from his, but I enjoy reading his work, even when I disagree with him. Along with David Abram, he seems to be propounding a ‘new animism’ which is about ecological relationship rather than belief in an ‘ensouled world’ (I suspect he would say that was dualistic language that distracts us from valuing the agency, intelligence, and selfhood of other animals). I’ve responded by arguing for a hybrid understanding, but find his argument against transcendental religion persuasive(hence the importance of valuing the dark, the earthly, and the embodied, as much as the light … ).

    with all best wishes

    Brian.

    Well,

    I

  • Hello Brian Taylor,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments, observations and suggestions. I apologize for not responding before now, but your comments came at a time when I was totally preoccupied with settling back into my life in Colorado, after having lived in Amsterdam for 12 years. So I was not at all in a headspace to respond meaningfully.

    Relocating our lives has been a full-time job, and still is, so I’m still not in a space where intellectual/conceptual “bun fights,” as you put it, have any interest for me. Not only are we still trying to put our lives back together in the place I’ve called home for 40 years, but the world (both human and natural) is in an accelerating state of chaos and breakdown, from my eco-psycho-spiritual point of view. That’s where my intellectual attention is now. I may start writing in the Dharmagaians Blog again, but I’m not ready to do that yet.

    Thanks again for writing!

    Best wishes,

    Suzanne

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