Foreword Hello People explores soul through the eyes of an animist: The belief that all living things have souls, from plants, to clouds, to animals. Taking into account our ability to translate what soul means to us individually, be it an inner core, the journey of finding the second half to the previously broken duo or the belief that all living things have souls. Creatively and laterally exploring animism, Hello People begins with a humorous commentary on the naturally grown substances we put in our bodies to feel a particular high or pain relief. Depicted through illustrations and playful stories, this feature questions what affect natural substances has on our soul, playing with drugs and playing with fire. The following feature expands on the differences between our souls as time goes on, from the infant soul to the old soul. Attaching these types of souls with particular attributes in nature such as cloud and wind, it builds a sense of intrigue. It is written in a way that is relatable to the reader, allowing them to place himself, herself or someone they know into a particular soul type. The third takes a darker turn, commenting on consumerism and our want to wear clothes that have been made with â€˜the helpâ€™ of animals, such fur coats and wool socks; bringing together child like drawings of animals with contrasting darker imagery of the clothing they turn into. Signposted with short stories that allow us to view particular objects through the eyes of an animist, Hello People brings the reader back to nature and shares a point of view on soul that is continually overlooked for the sake of aesthetics and convenience.
Hello People Gill Fewins Foreword by;
Images Shot on Location In;
The Dolomites, Italy, Broadstairs, Kent & Rochester, Kent by Gill Fewins
â€œAnimists are people who recognise that the world is full of persons, only some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others.â€?
- Graham Harvey
What is Soul? Perceptions of soul vary depending on individual, cultural and philosophical beliefs. The notion that every human being has a soul is universally debated, however how much thought has been put into the soul of other living things, such as animals, or plants? Moreover what about natural phenomena, such as the weather, the sea, or mountains? Animism may mean different things to different people. As a school of thought, it can be depicted in various ways depending on the individual. Exploring the notion of soul is personal. To me it means something different to what it means to you. From an Animist perspective we can explore the natural occurrences in the world, through new eyes. We can strip away the material, the industrial, the vanity. We can engage with natural phenomena and gain new found respect for its power. We can learn how harmony between different souls can both kill us, and make us stronger.
We are here.
“Be what you would seem to be- or, if you’d like it put more simply - Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Perception, Perspective & Playing with Fire The decisions we make affect who we are in this life. For example, if we decide to eat poisonous plants, we put our bodies at risk of failing us; we may die. However, our soul remains unaffected. If we decide to smoke tobacco, we are indulging our mental cravings, and in turn showing weakness. Furthermore we are slowly damaging our bodies, disrespecting this life, and the lives of other souls around us. Everything we do has a positive and negative effect. We are playing with fire. But with the promise of new life just around the corner, why should our souls care? Our souls laugh at fire, they perceive it to be menial, it is only our bodies that must respect fire, it can kill our bodies, or thanks to its warmth and light, it can save our bodies. Disconnect between body and soul is repairable through the practise of training our minds to live beyond the body and alter our perceptions. We can experiment with other, natural souls around us, who can teach us what it is to be on a higher level, away from mortality, and into the freedom of the unknown.
Woah! So chilled. I could clench my fist with all the tension in my body, and release, all the tension is gone. I can feel it seep out of my skin, and away from my consciousness. Mmmmmm, I could sleep for a thousand years. I feel no pain, i swear i could sit with my leg behind my head and still feel perfectly comfortable. In fact, thats what iâ€™m going to do. I will sleep with my leg behind my head, for a thousand years.
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It’s like a release. It’s as if all that stress of work, relationships and utilitarian worries that have been piling on your shoulders just releases. For a brief moment, you are relaxed. You are still aware of the troubles you face, but it’s as if you brain reboots itself from stressing about getting shit done, into a more manageable mode of ‘let’s do this!’ It’s a kick-start to your day, a pre-bedtime wind down, a cheeky little fag to accompany that cool, crisp glass of wine. A lifeline you’d feel lost without. A filthy habit you crave time and time again. You know it’s wrong, but it feels so right. It’s not your friend, but you crave and depend on its affection. It’s a doubleedged sword, designed to lure you in, and with every drag, stab at your body with its harsh, blackened toxicity. It’s smoking, and it’s the best.
Playing With Fire Blinking and squinting, I sit on the sun, blinded by light emanating from below. I feel no burn, no heat, no fire, I feel illuminated, happily exposed. Leaning over the edge of my perch, I look down below, I see fields and life all around, some bask in the light; some cower in the shade that I am creating. I lean over a little further, daring to lose my seat, the sun tilts under my weight. One inch too far, the sun spins, and I fall.
I crouch down and see the colonies marching towards me, the little dots are coming for me, through the grass they march. I run but every direction is the same, there is nothing but colonies. I can feel the heat now, surging through my veins and blazing my skin. Too hot, I am too hot. I run until I cannot bear the thought of another step. Suddenly the noise stops, as abruptly as it started, there is nothing. I gasp for breath. I am so thirsty. I remove my jumper, and drop it on the ground. Once my lungs fill with air, I step slowly forward, and through the ominously empty landscape, I see iridescence. Water? Glistening, inviting me forward, shining like a jewel on the distant horizon.
I am falling, flailing, grasping and gasping. My smile is fading as I am falling. I land hard, yet soft. Horizontally I lie; everything is the wrong way round. I narrow my eyes and focus. I see blades of tiny grass, with colonies living in between the grassy roughage. Ouch! They donâ€™t like me, ants.
I walk for what seems an eternity; my desperation and thirst driving me towards my desired treasure. Finally I see the glistening droplets at my feet. I kneel and sup to quench my thirst, yet with every drop I take, my thirst only heightens. This water is backwards, I feel more dehydrated than before.
I must find my feet, I look down and wiggle my toes. Oh, there you are. I gather my limbs and push up. I am tall, much taller than the grass. I extend my arms and stretch out my torso, remarkably unscathed. I squint in the luminous glow of my former throne, I am no longer illuminated, I am merely basking in the reflections of my former self.
I lie back, deciding its best not to drink anymore. I feel anxious, paranoid. Where am i? Why canâ€™t I rid myself of this feeling? The panic is excruciating. I can hear the water trickling, the sound, rather than comforting, only makes me angry. Water is not what everyone says it is.
I look around, there is no one like me, just blazing light, and the earthly greenery on which I stand. It is so quiet here, no breeze, no sound. Slowly I start to hear a rustling, it sounds like bushes, or leaves brushing amongst themselves softly. Louder and louder, closer and closer. I look around sharply to my left and right, as the panic sets in: I hear you noise, yet I cannot see you.
My breathing is fast, furious. When will this feeling subside? Everything is not what it seems.
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Dreaming, but not. It’s like you have been like this forever, yet, it has been no time at all. It’s like marmite, either i love you, or i hate you; there is no inbetween. I no longer have a purpose, i cannot do anything. Where is my pocket? Why can’t i put my hand in my pocket? Why is this so funny? I’m useless. Why am i so useless? I feel like crying.
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“The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.” - Miguel De Cervantes
Mortality, Change & Reincarnation Mortal body. Immortal soul. Our bodies may have a finite time before they must die, but our souls live on forever. We are reincarnated into another form, and although we may look different, act differently and communicate in different ways, fundamentally, we are who our soul has always been. Change is only a possibility on a physical and mental scale. Emotionally and beyond, we are who we always were, and we cannot change this. Our environments, our limitations and our actions affect us, but the immortal nature of our souls means we cannot be broken. We are wiser with every moment, stronger with every experience, better with every life in which our soul lives.
The Infant Soul Clouds are visible masses of either droplets or frozen crystals of water. These particles are suspended in the Earths atmosphere. Clouds are formed when Earth’s atmosphere is saturated by either the cooling of the air, or by the addition of water vapor to the atmosphere. With sufficient saturation, precipitation will occur.
Prone to spontaneous, anti-social behaviour, clouds may act on a whim. They know little about modern culture, and prefer to inhabit more rural, secluded environments, away from civilisation. They can have both positive and negative impacts on others. Emotion is limited in its’ complexity. With clouds, what you see is what you get. Bi-polar: Clouds may experience extreme highs, but it isn’t long before they are brought back down to earth by shattering lows. The cycle is an on going, unbreakable, repetitive system.
The Baby Soul
Rock is a naturally occurring solid composite of one, or more minerals or mineraloids. Over time, rock is eroded by other souls such as the weather, water, and plants.
Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Rock lives in a black and white world. It loves structure, and lives it’s life obsessing over order and tradition. Rock seeks to protect itself and the society it lives in, all the while searching for a sense of belonging. Rock has a sense of morality, and chooses to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, depending on what it feels is neccessary. Strong-willed and eager to learn, rock adapts to survive in the society it lives in, changing its shape to allow for other, like-minded souls.
The Young Soul The Sun is a star, which is at the centre of our solar system. It consists of hot plasma, which is intertwined with magnetic fields. It is over 100 times the size of the Earth, and is our primary source of energy. The temperature of the surface of the sun is 5.5 million degrees Celsius, while it’s core is 15 million degrees Celsius.
Hero. Driven to succeed, the Sun seeks glory. The Sun strives to stand alone. It wants to show the world how bright it can shine. The competitive nature of the Sun means it is forever seeking out ways in which it can outshine all other souls. The Sun WILL achieve remarkable feats of strength and endurance. It will achieve success because the sun lives for itself. It is exploring how best to express itself to the world and like an athlete, has incredible focus and determination in achieving its dreams.
‘Look at me, I am the Sun.’
4. The Mature Soul Wind is the movement of air through the atmosphere. Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure. These differences in pressure are caused by air temperature, which may vary depending on other elements, such as the sea, the earth and the sun. Different strengths of wind are determined by the amount of contrast in temperature in different areas of the atmosphere. Without wind, other souls cannot survive, however wind also has the capability to cause catastrophic damage to everything in its path.
Soul Searching. A need to understand. The wind is searching for something greater. It wants to explore the world, learn from different cultures and seeks to understand other souls on a deeper level. The wind values authenticity and integrity above everything else. The wind wants cooperation. It seeks equality with strong desire and passion. The wind can be empathic, however it is also very self-critical. The wind seeks to better itself, and through the desire to learn from others, can be detrimental towards itself. There is inner turmoil in the wind.
The Old Soul Wrack is a collective name for several types of seaweed indigenous to the British Isles. They are very common, and as such have been given common names which make them easy to identify.
For Wrack, everything is smooth sailing. Wrack understands the nature of relationships between different souls. It lives a content life, fulfilled by what life has to offer; it goes wherever the path leads. It knows where it stands in the delicate eco-system. Rather than challenge and fight for survival or glory, Wrack lives itâ€™s life on a mantra of â€˜live and let live.â€™ Wrack has little attachment to the material. It lives its life in joy and wonder. It appreciates everything that surrounds it. Wrack has achieved a sense of personal freedom and as such, lives its life simply, naturally integrating itself amongst other souls to co-exist in harmony. Wrack is calm. Wrack is balanced. 34
Mortality Here stands an Oak tree. A natural form at it’s greatest point, alone, but not lonely. Here stands this Oak tree. Tall and proud, wise and content. How do I know this, I hear you ask. I know because Oak told me. Oak doesn’t speak to me; there is no need. Oak stands crooked yet strong, indicating a long, hard lived life, not over by any means. Oak was born before any of us and will out live both you and me. Branches indicate a desire to explore, but also an inviting stance. Oak wants to know me, but above all Oak wants me to know Oak. Oak is a giver. Oak knows that without Oak and others like it, I cannot live. But I know that in order for Oak and others like Oak to live, I need to help. You see there are others like me who do not consider Oak’s life when they harvest trees for resources. Oak isn’t selfish; it knows that one day Oak’s spirit will need to move on. However, living in this form, Oak is at it’s most resourceful. It allows me to breathe, and standing next to Oak, I feel more refreshed and healthy than I have felt in a long time. We stand, seemingly in silence, breathing together. Oak is not unshakable. In fact it is very easy to shake Oak: Wind twists and torments Oak’s frame, mischievous Wind. However wise old Oak is clever. Long ago Oak devised a way to use wind to its advantage. When Wind shakes, Oak scatters its seeds, and soon Oak will multiply into Oaks. Thanks, Wind. Oak is good at turning a negative into a positive, and although Oak feels no fear, Oak is weary of its own strength. Oak knows that Oak is strong, but it also knows that there are others who are stronger. Although Oak uses Wind to its advantage, it is also aware that Wind can, when it musters enough strength, uproot Oak and topple it to the ground. Oak respects the power of the Wind.
Oak respects the power of all elements. Sun for example, provides Oak with energy. Thanks, Sun. But Oak also knows that Sun can drain Oak. When it can, Sun will dehydrate Oak, and deny Oak of it’s much needed food source, water. Oak cannot hide from Sun. Oak must be protected. Thank goodness for Cloud. Cloud is Oak’s saviour. Cloud will block Sun and act as a barrier between them. When Oak is tired and lethargic, Cloud will come, relieve it’s ailments with precipitation, and put colour back into Oak’s leaves. Ah cool water, thanks, Cloud. We do not realise the love/hate relationship between Oak and the elements. But Oak doesn’t mind, Oak’s giving nature means it wants to help us. We allow Oak to grow tall and strong, so it can serve it’s purpose as a tree to the fullest, before moving on to its next form. Oak loves to people watch. After a long bout of Cloud cover, Oak enjoys nothing more than the warmth of Sun coming out to warm it’s roots. Not only that, but it also means People come out to bask in Sun’s warmth. Oak likes to see laughter. It feels no weight when small human People climb on its branches. The light tickle of human People feet pattering up and down its branches, make’s Oak feel loved. Don’t get carried away though, Oak does feel perturbed when dog People cock their leg on it’s trunk, Pesky dog People. But it’s a small price to pay to enjoy the view. Oak is patient. Oak is calm. Yet Oak knows of others who are not so friendly: Oak has heard of Holly. Holly is stubborn and wicked. Oak suspects Holly may have had a hard life in another form. Holly’s prickly, defensive nature makes it unfriendly. Oak doesn’t want to be like Holly. Holly is lonely. Oak wants to know the world, and serve the world. People, respect Oak. Oak is worth more than you know.
â€œMan is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.â€? - George Orwell, Animal Farm
Morality, Time & The Journey Responsibility is something, which as humans, we disregard when it comes to other souls. For some reason, we believe we are the leading race, and everything else living on it is for our benefit. In comparison to other souls, souls that inhabit a human form have very few limitations. The human form has evolved so rapidly over time in comparison to other forms that our limits are almost non-existent. The power we wield is by far more mature than any other species. However, this does not exonerate us from morality. Why we must kill other living forms, and why must we live in ways that are so detrimental to our environment? Over time we are making mistakes, which our souls in future life forms, will need to compensate for. We are born healthy, and thanks to the lifestyle in which we choose to live, we kill ourselves and cut short our journey. We are the only species who is scrambling for a cure to our ailments, without considering the way we live as a possible reason for the cause of those ailments. Like many other species on the planet, we may by victims to various cancers, but ultimately, we are the cancer of the Earth.
A Journey in the Life of a Soul #1 White Lillies The Lily is the symbol of the goddess Hera, symbolising purity and innocence. In life, the lily also symbolises fertility and eroticism. Finally, the lily symbolises death; once you die, you regain the innocence and purity you lost in the duration of your life: A full journey of symbolism in birth, life and death.
A Journey in the Life of a Soul #2 Avocado According to Aztec legend, the Avocado, is symbolic of love. Avocado trees can live for hundreds of years, with itâ€™s fruit growing in pairs on the tree; a symbol of enduring love which fruits and harvests, making way for new love to emerge as time goes on: An everlasting resurgence of love.
Take a walk. Walk slowly, carefully; do not miss a thing. Note the natural changes in temperature, the changing direction of the breeze, the dog relieving himself on the old Oak tree. Take it all in. Reach the river. Take a deep breath. Note the deep, rolling current of the water. Appreciate the seemingly calm nature of such a dangerously powerful natural occurrence. Keep walking. The sun begins to sink down into the water. Bright, light blues and yellows turn to oranges and reds. Clouds scatter, the cold sets in. Button up your coat. As the water drowns the sun, deep purples descend upon you. People scatter. Feel yourself alone.
Walk further up the river. Turn a corner and look up. Sigh. Slowly start the ascent up the steep hill. Reach the top. Unbutton your coat and catch your breath. Look to your left. See a bench. Lazily walk towards the mossy-stained, wooden seat and sit. Relax. Look around. Release the tension.
Alone you sit, with only the sound of bristling leaves from trees swaying in the wind. Faint sounds of car engines harmonise from the street below. The deep, calming purples are turning to black, twinkling lights glitter from the town below, some moving: Places to go, people to see. You have no commitments: This is time for you. Turn away from the town, and look up. Light begins to peak through the endless black sky. Small innocent specks, glistening gold: A dot-to-dot of scintillating stars. Reflect on the knowledge that there is a world out there, much bigger than you or I could ever comprehend. Feel insignificant, feel marginally scared. Feel humble, feel contented. Take a deep breath.
Look across the bench and imagine all the people who have sat here before you. Imagine their thoughts; their boredom, their desire to relieve stress, their tired feet resting a while on this old sturdy seat. Imagine their mutual appreciation for this sprawling view across the river that dissects the town below. Sit up and look at the backrest. See the plaque. Think of Leslie Darley. Look at the town below and imagine the love she had for this town as Mayor. Imagine Leslie enjoying this view before you. Ponder the thought of how many will enjoy it after you are gone.
Deep breath. Go home. Live life to the fullest.
In life, everything is random. This bizarre set of occurrences, seemingly random, sometimes good, sometimes bad, mix up together and make us, as humans, question our own choices, the relevance of our lives, our potential legacy and even our purpose. We know how minute we are, some describe themselves as insignificant. Yet to define yourself as insignificant is an injustice. Everyone has significance, because your own actions, whether intentional or not, have a domino effect on other things; it affects how other people act (not just humans). Whether you as a human are aware of that is irrelevant, your awareness or lack there of does not stop the effect your actions have. Your soul is something to be aware of; everyone should attempt to connect with his or her soul, away from your body. Itâ€™s not something I can define to you. Your connection with your soul is something only you can define, because soul is subjective: It is one of the few things in life, that no one can tell you is right or wrong. What I can tell you, is what I have experienced: Respect.
An abstract Artist's Book which explores the notion of Soul from an Animist perspective.