Decolonizing Spirituality

Web of Life Animist Church has been particularly nurtured and supported by the lands we commonly call “Oregon” and “Arizona”. These lands have been taken from the Native peoples who have lived there for thousands of years. We honor the Tohono O’odham, Multnomah, Clackamas, Chinook and the Yaqui Peoples, plus all those whose names are unknown. Currently Web of Life hosts circles and trainings for people all across what many call “The Americas”, and all Indigenous and displaced Peoples of this continent are acknowledged here.

It is important for visitors/settlers to be respectful of the air, water, animals and land on this stolen continent, as well as the traditional ways of the Land Protectors of Native nations who still live here.

Solidarity with the people of Palestine. End the genocide. Ceasefire now.
Total liberation tomorrow. End the occupation.

For all “Spiritual” and “Wellness” focused people (especially white folks), racial, gender and queer equity work are not separate from Spirituality, actually they are directly related to creating authentic wellness in our communities. The work is ours to do, and no one can do it besides us. Web of Life Animists has been committed to decolonizing our church practices and website for some years, and it is never done.

As colonization spread across the planet, it brought many wounds, falsehoods, and lies to our ancestors. Over the generations, our DNA, Minds, and Souls have absorbed colonized ideas about every aspect of life, including what is real and not, valued or not. Also included is shame, self-loathing, “sin”, time, gender, nature, sexuality, “history”, “race”, and the list goes on.

We cannot create an Earth honoring and just culture for ALL Peoples until we specifically and consciously address the ways in which we have been colonized in our minds, hearts and souls. As Animists and Earth honoring People, we sense how everyone is connected, and the connection extends beyond Humanity. WE are the Earth and the Earth is US.

Learning to see the tendrils of Colonized Mind (which includes white, cis, male and human supremacy) within our thoughts, beliefs and actions, helps us remember our place in the circle of sacred humanity. Not doing so continues to inflict systemic and personal harm on our Black, Indigenous, Queer and Brown family members, as well as all our beyond-human kin.

As Animists we know that the Sacred is in All, and we are All connected in an equal way to the sacred Web of Life. We also know that the systems and structures of the dominant culture are rooted in, and sustained by, racist and queer phobic policies that have looted land, labor and lives of countless People of Color around this beautiful Earth. 

It is our job as Animists, especially those in the congregation who wield white privilege, to do consistent and helpful work within our selves, and in our communities, that actively dismantles the “Colonized Mind” (description to come) which has created, and perpetuates, White supremacy culture

Through colonization, white supremacy has traveled the Earth. This racism is a self-perpetuating system that continues to fuel exploitation, oppressions, inequities, and brutalities that people of color experience.(a) White Supremacy culture can be dismantled and dispelled by many consistent Anti-Racist ACTIONS taken in this, and future, generations. 

Our church commitment to the following Actions:

  1. Amplify the offerings, needs and voices of People of Color in the Web of Life congregation.
  2. Donate to, and follow the lead of, community organizations and initiatives led by and primarily serving people of color and those in queer communities, to engage with justice issues in our community. 
  3. Share resources for white congregants to examine privilege and unpack racism in thoughts and actions.
  4. Continue to bridge the worlds of Spirituality and Social Justice in anti-racist ways.  

For Web of Life Animist Church’s past, we changed our language (shaman to animist), our domain name (3 times over 10 years), and consistently changing our website to reflect current needs of accountability, inclusion and anti-appropriation. In our present, we include anti-racist/social justice language and actions into our Statement of Beliefs as well as our training programs and healing circles.

We offer monthly donations to The Loveland Foundation, the NAACP Empowerment Fund, Iskashitaa Refugee Network, the Community Food Bank of Southern AZ and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

Donations from Web of Life have recently been sent to World Central Kitchen for Palestine, support supplies and bail funds for divestment protestors in Phoenix, assistance fund for escaping Palestine.  Donations of varying sizes are shared with ministers in extraordinary times of need. Donations of life sustaining items are regularly offered to people in Tucson, and organizations who support unhoused, refugee and women, queer and children community members. 

Are you looking for ways to support Black-owned businesses? Start here.

The time is NOW to simply start where we are and be radically honest with Self and community. We cannot move forward with ideas like “We are All One” until we fully address the racism and gender oppression that is present in the structures of the dominant culture, and our own internalized bias that is getting in the way of true equality.

Web of Life urges all spiritual practitioners who wield white privilege to stop using words and actions that hurt Black, Latinx, Indigenous People of color and the Queer community. If you do not know how to do that, Google it.

We are ready for this work. It is necessary work.

If you have a suggestion to strengthen our actions? Please kindly contact us through the contact page.

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