Sunday, August 2, 2015

Practices: The Study of History 2

Polytheistic Animists study history to increase their knowledge, wisdom and agency in the world. You can study history as a Poly-An practice by yourself or with one or more others. I suggest selecting a starting point in time and place, or a topic or goal, and then diving in through the catalog of your local library. Many libraries have consortiums, usually at the county or state level, with catalogs that can draw from dozens of libraries in the region.

Avoid the pop-internet, since the material you find there is often shallow and highly opinionated, but make use of youtube documentaries and online university courses. Be cautious of limiting yourself to textbooks, which are crowded with dominator propaganda. Instead, read widely in print, magazine articles, too, and include a variety of points of view in your selections. If you are a slow reader, or have never engaged in learning activities after high school or college, then young adult books are a great way to start.

Help one another learn. Share book titles and cool ideas. One person in a group may have lots of resources to share on a particular topic, while others will be starting from scratch. I encourage highly educated and resourced people to seek out Sacred Green circles or churches that are looking for teachers and offer to serve.

Studying history is not just memorizing facts. Discussion is essential. Our discussions about history develop intellectual skills and critical thinking, create new cognitive connections and generate new understandings. There are no objective, black and white conclusions to be drawn from history — the past is always viewed through the lens of our personalities, cultures, and current systems of belief, so come to the study of history with a open mind. As you become more proficient at reading and talking about what you read, and as you build up a base of background knowledge, your study will become easier and lots more fun.

If you’re having trouble getting started, drop me an email and tell me a bit about your background and interests. I’ll send you some book titles to get you started. Read on, Poly-Ans! Get smart!

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