On this episode of “Death in The Garden,” we had a conversation with Rune Hjarnø Rasmussen of Nordic Animism, a project which aims to recover Euro-traditional animist knowledge and share it with a contemporary audience as a means of understanding ourselves, our kinship relations with other-than-humans, and ultimately working towards a resilient future for all life on earth. Rune is a Danish historian of religion, which an extensive background of fieldwork studying contemporary animist religions. Nordic Animism “bridges scholarship with cultural activism,” and Rune discusses many of the social issues that are most relevant in our times through an animist and mythic lens.
We talked about what animism is, and what it means to be in kinship relationships with the rest of the living community. We discuss the role of violence, death, and eating as something we can’t avoid, even within kinship relations, and the challenges that brings. We discuss the desacralization of our relationships with animals and plants which once held totemic value, and how that played a role in opening us up for the industrialization of food production. We discuss ecofascism, and the importance of uplifting heritage and cultural uniqueness consciously. We talk about the entanglement of white supremacy and colonialism in our collective histories, and how to engage with Euro-traditional ecological knowledge with consideration of the modern context. We break down the difference between cultural exchange and cultural appropriation, discussing how conscious cultural exchange is imperative in the globalized world that we all now live in. We talk about the complexity of being descendants of settlers, and how to be respectful of history while still seeking belonging in the places we live. Finally, we talk about Ragnarok and the Year of Aun, two Nordic myths that can help us understand our current societal and ecological predicaments.
Please like, subscribe, and share this podcast if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to financially support the multimedia project Death in The Garden, please consider becoming a paid subscriber on Substack, or joining our Patreon.