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Religions 2018, 9(10), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100300

Rewilding Hearts and Habits in the Ancestral Skills Movement

Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities, California State University, Chico, 400 West First Street, Chico, CA 95929, USA
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 22 September 2018 / Accepted: 28 September 2018 / Published: 7 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethnographies of Worldviews/Ways of Life)
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Abstract

This ethnographic study of the ancestral skills movement focuses on the ways that participants use tools in practices such as fire making and bow hunting to ritualize relationships with the more-than-human natural world. Ethnographic methods were supplemented with Internet research on the websites of teachers, schools, and organizations of this movement that emerged in North America in the 1980s and has recently experienced rapid growth. At ancestral skills gatherings, ritual activities among attendees, as well as between people and plants, nonhuman animals, stone, clay, and fire helped create a sense of a common way of life. I place ancestral skills practitioners in the context of other antimodernist movements focusing on tools, crafts, self-reliance, and the pursuit of a simpler way of life. The ancestral skills movement has a clear message about what the good life should consist of: Deep knowledge about the places we live, the ability to make and use tools out of rocks, plants, and nonhuman animals, and the ability to use these tools to live a simpler life. Their vision of the future is one in which humans feel more at home in the wild and contribute to preserving wild places and the skills to live in them. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion and ecology; ritual; nature; social movements religion and ecology; ritual; nature; social movements
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Pike, S.M. Rewilding Hearts and Habits in the Ancestral Skills Movement. Religions 2018, 9, 300.

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