Archive for the ‘animism’ Category

Feral Fun and Games

Wilding Tales

+Giulianna tipped me off to a free story game created by Joli St. Patrick, called Wilding Tales. St. Patrick describes the game as “a small, intimate story of post-collapse community. It’s an experiment in distilling story-gaming to its barest essence.”

Wilding Tales consists of a handful of print-and-play pamphlets that you use in conjunction with a deck of ordinary playing cards to tell a brief (an hour or so) story. As St. Patrick describes it:

It’s not post-apocalyptic in the usual, Mad Max-y sense, it just asks “what if the Establishment finally had to pull the plug next week, and all those counterculture types just became… culture?” Play is very human-scale and ephemeral; we’re here for a glimpse and a few funny or beautiful moments.

Download the game for free, and get the instructions for how to fold and cut the printouts.

The Quiet Year

Giulianna also pointed me to another post-apocalyptic game by Joe Mcdaldno called The Quiet Year. Where you could describe Wilding Tales as a collective story-telling game, you could describe The Quite Year as a collective map-building game.

Although Mcdaldno doesn’t publish The Quiet Year for free per se, a simple print-and-play PDF edition only costs $8. However, the author does offer this and other games of his in exchange for good deeds (find out more about buying Mcdaldno’s games with good deeds).

The Fifth World

And, finally, it looks like the long awaited game The Fifth World will soon pass from alpha testing to a public beta! +The Fifth World reports from a playtest yesterday: “the last big question before we start getting the public beta ready: are the individual needs enough to drive the game without any other structuring mechanic? I’m happy to report that yes, they are!”

Legacy and land

As I pour over the census pages that track my family’s past, I find over and over that my ancestors scarred the soil.  The words “Farmer” and “farm laborer” indicate the occupation of most of the men who came before me.  I should not have felt surprise at this.  The reason for expansion, as Jason Godesky points out in A Short History of Western Civilization, rests in the fact that we kept using up the soil and so had to seek new soil to rip apart in order to grow our grains.

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“The Land Owns Us”

Having written recently about ownership in animist thought and about animism in general, I thought this video would make a nice compliment to those thoughts.  My thanks to both Willem and Jason for previously sharing this.

Animism Baptism

Several factors have come together in my life recently that focus on the subject of animism.  I have spent time reading The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abrams, playing The Fifth World–a role playing game that takes place in the new world after the collapse of civilization and global warming have changed the face of the plant.  And I listened to a CD that I received from Urban Scout entitled “Grief and Praise”–a lecture of sorts by an animist shaman named Martín Prechtel.  These sources swirled in my soul, opening up my eyes and my other senses and my mind and changing the way I experience the world.

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The Importance of Being Ernest Goes to Camp

When reading about  the concept of ownership among indigenous tribes, you usually find that the concept held little to no meaning.  Tribe members share physical objects, and “possession” usually has no meaning outside of usage.  To quote the good folks at Anthropik:

Because the cultures of the Fifth World have rediscovered magic and the animist sense of the living world, they do not see their transient possessions and elegant technologies as things they “own”—“ownership,” if it means anything at all, is denoted by use, more than anything else. In other words, “ownership” of something means, “I have a relationship with this spirit, and we are having an exchange right now—please don’t interrupt until we’re done.” Thus, the question here is not about the equipment or technology available in the Fifth World, but of the spirits that are friendly to, and have a relationship with, the people of the Fifth World.[1]

However, upon reading these words, I realized that I already had familiarity with this concept.  In that venerable classic film Ernest Goes to Camp, when Krader Mining Corp. tries to buy the land from Chief St. Cloud, he asks them, “Who can own a tree?  Who can own a rock?  Only the Great Spirit.”

No one should feel surprised that those words stuck with me.  I can’t remember how many times I watched that movie as a kid.  They resounded in my mind as I wandered the Ozark hills above Greers Ferry Lake.  They reverberated in my heart as I paddled along the courses of the Caddo and Ouachita Rivers.  They stuck in my throat as I shelled out tens of thousands of dollars in rent in New York City.

Someday we will return to a time when no one dares the audacity to claim ownership over the ground that gives us life.  Until then, I will try to ready myself, chanting Chief St. Cloud’s words.  Know what I mean, Vern?

~I wrote this blog in e-prime~
~You should only find the verb “to be” amid the quotes I have cited~

The inhumanity of animals

We are animals.

I’m abandoning all attempts to write in e-prime for this blog because I want to use the language of civilization against itself. So let me say this again.

We are animals.

When those words strike your brain, what kind of signals do they send off? What kind of picture do they paint? Do you picture viciousness? wanton, bloody destruction? claws, teeth, fangs? Or do you picture the squirrels that live in the trees, eating the fruit of the trees, building their homes with material given to them by the trees? What about the rabbit munching clover? Or the coyote that stalks them both, crouched in the grass, scenting the air, waiting for an opportune moment to pounce?

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