We live in a world under threat. Almost everybody will agree with that. Our world is beset by crises unimaginable. What is the biggest threat to the world today? Many say climate change, some say population. Others will talk of injustice, water, soil. And these are all enormous problems, and probably beyond the scope of modern politics to solve.

One major threat to our world, often not spoken about, is the war against the imagination, against dreaming, against the body and the senses, and against the emotions. The tools of this war are literalism, materialism, rationalism, concepts, abstractions, and the complete denial of what cannot be seen or measured.

Most non-Western peoples espoused an animistic perspective, believing that the whole of nature is, in the words of Thomas Berry, “a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects”. Holistic scientist Stephan Harding says that for these peoples, “nature is truly alive, and every entity within it is endowed with agency, intelligence, and wisdom.” For traditional peoples, rocks are considered the elders of the Earth. There are tree people, and sky gods, in fact the gods were everywhere. And forests are living entities. All this wisdom, just outside the front door! Go and have a deep look, and feel inside if something out there looks back.

But in the west we adopt a literalist view of things, making a distinction between matter and spirit, body and soul. We don’t believe that the things of the world can project upon us their ideas and demands. We don’t believe that phenomenon has the capacity to come alive and deeply inform us. We don’t believe that the world has a soul. We fail to participate in the world, and we become an orphan culture, never truly feeling at home. Reweaving our culture with deeper stories and a poetic understanding will help us come home.

In ancient worldviews our daily world of time and space was seen as a limited manifestation of the World behind the World, in the words of mythologist Michael Meade. The world behind everyday experience was considered the Real behind the real. Things in this world arose from the world of abundance, the eternal realm behind everything found in reality.

Can we reawaken the old, non-dualistic animism that has been dormant for so long? And recover our own lost indigenous soul, calling us back to life? How do we re-member ourselves? How do we remember what we have forgotten?