Monday, October 26, 2015

Spirit Animal

Spirit Animal

Recently I saw an actress being accused of cultural appropriation when she talked about the Spirit Animal. How can referring to a concept that is core to all human tribes be dismissed as cultural appropriation?

The concept of the Spirit Animal has been core to human tribal culture for at least 125,000 years since humans first gathered in circles around fires at night and play-acted to imitate animals they had observed during their daily hunt for food.

Play-acting as an animal is probably one of the essential elements of human civilization, along with fire, using sticks and stones as tools, and talking, and probably occurred in tangent with the invention of clothing when we began wearing the hides of animals. As the basis of shamanistic practice, the Spirit Animal is at the very core of all religious rituals as a symbol of the animating spirit of all life.

When we first began to pretend to be animals is probably the moment we psychologically became aware of ourselves as separate from most animals since we can talk and imitate other, the only animal to do this.

Therefore, using the concept of the Spirit Animal is not cultural appropriation, since humans have been playing as animals since the moment we became human many thousands of years ago. The Spirit Animal is core to all human civilization. 

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