Handbook of Contemporary Animism, 39-40



Performing the Animate Universe

Olu Taiwo


p. 493 1st part of the Dance of the Return Beat

"The first part is designed to connect the participant's awareness of the moment to their {his or her}

physical journal (defined ... as embodied memory and knowledge). ...

{This assertion might make clearer sense in the context of a Book of Life (as per the Apokalupsis of Ioannes) or of a Hall of Akas`ik Records (as per Edgar Cayce).}

However, the physical journal also focuses on the ... potential for writing lasting effort forms or engrams into the body."

p. 493 the 3 stages of the 2nd part of the Dance of the Return Beat

1st stage

"moving the imagination physically through the elemental states of Air, Fire, Water and Earth;

2nd stage

"guided visualization : meeting the guise by dreaming up an animal in a specific environment;

3rd stage

"embodying the animal's behaviours through movment ... ."

p. 494 sequel to the Dance of the Return Beat : "Animal Spirit Dance" derived from dreaming

"she noticed a wooden door to a potential outside where she was to meet her animal. She proceeded, with some trepidation, to venture outside by opening the door. ... When she opened the door, ... what greeted her was a deserted polar landscape ... -- at which point

a large polar bear came bounding up. They greeted ..., and she proceeded with her dream-body to become the animal ... . {This episode is contrary to all the features of genuine shamanry!!}

{In genuine Eskimo/Inuit shamanry, upon encountring in a dream a deity disguised as a polar-bear, one's dream-body is torn to pieces by said polar-bear deity, but those pieces promptly rejoin, and thereupon one hath (even in the world) miraculous powers thereafter.}

What followed was a journey into the secret recesses of ice in the polar region. She was amazed at the diversity and beauty in ... the amazing architecture of the ice both above and below the icy water teaming with life."

{None of this would seem ever to be bothered with in genuine shamanry. In the Siberian accounts, the shaman instead employeth (in the dream) mystic Arctic-Ocean whirlpools (= macrocosmic cakra-s) to access (by being sucked therethrough) unearthly mystic Otherworlds.}

{It is dubious whether these sorts of earthly observations could possibly be of any interest to a praeternatural spirit-guide of that species of animal.}

p. 495 the 3 contexts of the metaphysical framework of the Return Beat

"Substance is being, becoming and performance : the ground state of the universe is movement.

Movement and substance occur, manifest and flow in cycles : because the ground state of the universe is movement, we should attune ourselves the the rhythms, patterns and cycles of unfolding temporal space.

Participation in the flux and flow of universal becoming : there are various ways of learning to be attentive by developing ways to increase participation in the flows of exchange."

p. 495 ground-state

"The ground state of the universe ...

is a verb,

{This sort of verbiage is mere grammaticality, hardly metaphysical at all.}

an animatedness, a becoming that is an unfinished performance and ... we are all making reality as we live and become.

{This sort of declamation is sheer theatricality, akin to Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage ... ."}

This means ... representing an experience of a curved rhythmic flux within a performative and transcultural perception of rhythm ...within a living self-moving physical journal."

p. 495 the 3 expressions of the context "Substance "

"the Return Beat as "being"

the liminal point

{i.e., soul}

at the centre of

{i.e., as centre of control over}

my physical journal;

{i.e., body}

the Return Beat as


{i.e., self-transforming}

within my experience of

a curved rhythmic flux;

{i.e., a composite of cyclic processes}

the Return Beat as a

"performative" nexus

{i.e., behavioural connection}

between the perceptual structure of my mobile studio and the complex transcultural experience of my physical journal."

p. 495 transcultural becoming

"With this embodied consciousness we can express our transcultural becoming as we move through the perceptual flux of general space (De Quincey 2002)."

De Quincey 2002 = Christian de Quincey : Radical Nature : Rediscovering the Soul of Matter. Montpelier (VT) : Invisible Cities Pr. [purportedly based on Alfred North Whitehead, who, however, denied any metaphysical reality to space itself : "Whitehead ... rejects the notion of empty space" (HWhPThI"M&C", p. 262)]

p. 496 attractor for phase-alignment

"By ... the autopoietic or self-organizing entities ... everything must have ... a perceptual centre ... as a cognitive reference point and a visceral attractor for phase alignment (Van Nieuwenhuijze ...). This attractor embodies a nexus of our ... experience ..., which is an experience of

information returning through rhythmic and cyclical pathways".

{More actually and praecisely, the "information" is stored, beyond the mundane realm, by Akas`ik deities in their own transcendent caverns.}

pp. 496-7 inanimate objects versus autopoietic systems

p. 496

"with reference to Whitehead's notion that inherent in matter is an elementary proto-form of consciousness ... inanimate objects can be redefined as being spatial temporal events having an animating interiority or, according to Whitehead, having no "external adventures, but only the internal adventure of becoming ..." (A. N. Whitehead [1929]...:80). ... that objects are oscillating events in a state of becoming provides a useful distinction between animating

p. 497

events with an interiority that have no external adventure and autopoietic systems that do. This is explicated ... :

[quoted from Maturana & Varela 1980, p. 78 :] An autopoietic is ... a network of processes of production ... of components which ... through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes ... that produced them".

Maturana & Varela 1980 = Humberto R. Maturana & Francisco J. Varela : Autopoiesis and Cognition. BOSTON STUDIES IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, 42. This is a reprint of 2 texts :- Biology of Cognition (1970), by Humberto R. Maturana; and, Autopoiesis : the Organization of the Living (1973), by Humberto R. Maturana & Francisco J. Varela.

{Such "external adventures" would include willful communications on an intellectual basis with living entities. Although this many be true enough for gross physical matter itself, yet nevertheless the intelligent spirits (namely so-called "elemental spirits") abiding within "inanimate" matter can and frequently do communicate with humans in highly intellectual ways, far above any communications with subhuman beasts, and even well-above the levels of understanding of any but the most erudite of humans. In this regard, Whitehead's and author O.T.'s descriptions are woefully inadequate.}

p. 497 meanings of /anima/

"anima ... depending on context ... could mean the self's in-here-ness, the individual's soul as distinct from the out-there-ness of the individual's dfferent persona described in Jungian psychology.

It could also mean the feminine aspect present in the deepest recesses of the the male personality complex.

{This is a use (especially in his Red Book) by C. G. Jung of the term, namely as a goddess met in dreaming by males. Of course, by the same token /animus/ can aequally refer to a god met in dreaming by females.}

Essentially, however, the term anima refers to the animating principle within human beings ... ."

{Such "animating principle" is first and foremost regarded as capacity to keep the material body functioning : it is thus the propre link (occultly visible as a luminous cord) between soul and material body.}

{Because C. G. Jung dreaded being forcibly immured for life in the political state's insane asylum, he dared not reveal, while living, that he had often encountred, in his dreamings, a goddess who declared herself to be his own soul. (Hearing a deity talk to one's self was the prime reason for anyone's being involuntary committed to the state-operated insane asylum, in his time and it is as yet in ours; though in antient and in mediaeval times such divine-voice-hearing was quite usual for saints.) Instead, he restated this publicly in only the vaguest of terms.}

pp. 497-8 Yoruba /as^e/

p. 497

"the Yoruba ... Ashe can be translated as "so be it". However, it also relates to

the proto-animating principle of becoming, concerning the spatial and temporal existence of all things ... .

{In the context, "becoming" would mean (at least to the Yoruba themselves, in their own Lukumi` religion) 'becoming redincarnated into a succession of lives'.}

From this perspective, the world of the unborn (future) is constantly negotiating for its place to exist in the world of the living (present) while holding and carrying the world of the ancestors (past) inside its currently evolving form."

{This is stated in perhaps the most awkward and potentially misleading form possible. More clearly stated, the unborn are said to be at praesent in Heaven; the living in this world are considered dead in the perspective of the denizens of Heaven; and the as-yet-unreborn ancestors are said to be identical with the "unborn" in Heaven.}

p. 498

"the Yoruba {metaphysics}, where the world of the living ... is ... seen as sharing the same spatial and temporal fabric or substance and the world of the ancestors ... and the world of the unborn".

{The Otherworld can (not only according to Africans, but likewise according to all non-atheists) be witnessed in dreaming; which dreaming-universe could be said to share "the same spatial and temporal fabric" as the waking-universe.}

{O.T. is deliberately evading clear and unambiguous mention prime Yoruba (and universal African and AmerIndian) doctrines : both the doctrine of redincarnation, and the doctrine that the dream-world is the abode of deities. This calculated evasion is due simply to the government of the United Kingdom's proscribing and forbidding any mention of such in academic literature. (The United-States government is freer; less censorious, it alloweth such mentions in anthropological litterature.)}

p. 499 bliss-factor

"Bliss ... is about feeling divinity. The bliss factor ... can be seen as a universal factor for giving us the motive force inspiring our endeavours. ... Bliss opens ... creative possibilities ... within individual consciousness."

p. 499 some hypotheses incompatible with modern physics

"Einstein's ... space-time ... is at the heart of my thinking ... . {Really?! How absurd!!}

{Einstein's notion of "space-time" in his conjectural "relativity-theory" is well-known to be utterly irreconcible with space and time in quantum-mechanics, and is therefore rejected by every reputable physicist.}

If we are to accept the cosmological proposal that at the centre of any galaxy is a black hole ... ."

{No "black hole" hath ever been observed by astronomers; instead, a quasar is to be witnessed at the centre of each galaxy.}

{Einstein notions (HWhPThI"M&C", p. 260) "do violence to some of Whitehead's most profound metaphysical insights." Only very grudging and conditionally did Whitehead ever admit to Einstein continuous "space-time", only (HWhPThI"M&C", p. 263) ""Provided that physical science maintains its denial of 'action at a distance,' ... but that this ... is a characteristic ... without any metaphysical generality" (PR 307-08 ...). Since quantum physics famously does not deny action at a distance, we are now free to" reject Einstein conjectural space-time (reasons for denying any 4-dimensional continuum having been given by J.L.N. on p. 261).

HWhPThI"M&C" = Jorge Luis Nobo : "Metaphysics and Cosmology". In :- Michel Weber & Will Desmond (edd.) : Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Vol. I. (PROCESS THOUGHT, X/1.) Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, 2008. pp. 255-64.

{The major distinction-and-difference between a quasar and a conjectured "black hole" is that every quasar is seen emitting red-shifted luminance (as though gravitation were slightly restraining the emitting of the luminance); whereas a hypothetical "black hole" can emit no light. The "red shift" cannot be due to any matter falling into a supposed "black hole", for though the matter falling into the "hole" might (if luminous) be seen as very minutely red shifted when falling from our side, but if falling from the opposite side would (likewise only if luminous) be aequally blue-shifted : the latter of which is, however, never observed to be the case.}



Incantory Riff for Global Medicine

Ronald Grimes


p. 501 do beasts "like our music", or are they "fascinated" with our language?

""The Ainu say that the deer, salmon, and bear like our music and are fascinated by our languages. So", continues Snyder, "we sing to the fish or the game, speak words to them, say grace. ..." (1990:75)."

{The fact of the matter is that we sing to the divine controllers of the animals; and those divine controllers therefore misguide (betray) the animals to be ambushed and slain by us. (This much -- affirming of the betrayal -- is agreed upon in all hunter-gatherer cultures.)}

Snyder 1990 = Gary Snyder : The Practice of the Wild. San Francisco : North Point Pr.

p. 504 performances

"The performances ... are what earn the attention, the grace ... of the animals and plants and spirits, the council of all beings."

{Never the animals themselves, but rather the deities who control the animal-species, are invisible spectators at ritual events, according to all archaic religions (AmerIndian et al.); and likewise any "council of all beings" consisteth of such deities only (never, of course, including any of the material-world animals themselves).}

p. 506 where is nirvan.a?

"nirvana which is no place other than samsara. In short, ... the planet, ... earth's space and history".

{False! Quite actually, Maha-yana always hath as its goal incarnation in the 'Pure-Land' (S`uddha-loka), which is an immaterial divine universe utterly distinct and different from the material universe.}

{The paradoxical conundrum stating nir-van.a "is no place other than" sam-sara is intended to mean simply that we may contemplate and attain the divine world with our soul even while our material body is residing in the material universe; that though in our body be in the material world, yet nevertheless as regards our soul, we are not of the material-plane.}

pp. 507-8 so-called "deep-world performance

p. 507

In a gift economy, the animals are willing to trade their very skins and feather for a song and dance. ...

{[according to all aboriginal peoples :] In exchange for being entertained by religious ritual caerimony, the deities controlling animal-species are glad to betray their "protectee" animal-species to be slaughtered by merciless humans. (To the animals themselves, there is never proffered any choice.)}

p. 508

"creatures ... are the true congregation, ... And the kind of performance they require is ritualistic."

{Not "creatures", but instead the Creator (or rather, Controller)-Deities, are stated (by every religion of every tribe that hath ever existed), to require ritual religious caerimonies to their glory.}

{As usual, British anthropologists drastically misstate the facts, under orders from their censorious and deceitful government, which always persisteth in feigning that indigenes have no deities nor religion anywhere, and worship mere brute beasts instead. What a shameless insult, from such "Christian" purveyors of impudent falsehoods!}

p. 509 ordaining trees

"In Thailand, ... monks {praesumably with approval of, if not indeed under orders from, their abbots} have begun ordaining trees. ...

{It is utterly hypocritical to "ordain" a tree, unless a divine controller of that species hath appeared in a person's dream, demanding that such be done.}

At first the monk led people in sprinkling holy water on the trees. Later he upped the ante by requiring village leaders to drink holy water in front of a statue of Buddha by a tree. This way, community leaders ... pledged themselves to its protection."

{The "holy water" would be water consecrated, as praeparation for its being sipped by ghostly preta-s.}


Graham Harvey (ed.) : Handbook of Contemporary Animism. Acumen Publ, Durham; ISD, Bristol, 2013.