Becoming An Animist | Nature is Sacred
Healing spirit channel is a pleasurable experience for a spirit or youkai, even one that is not wounded. This is part of the magnetism that draws spirits to the animist and powers the placate youkai ability. When bargaining with youkai the animist can offer to use this ability as a part of a bargain.
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We have not addressed the question of whether these beliefs are empirically real. But is should be clear that – rightly or wrongly – they are an genuine part of Buddhist culture. It is often a case of symbolism – a ritual that represents an abstract quality, like metta, that is actually real. The turtles and eels, on the other hand, you will likely find for sale just outside of the temple grounds. It is recognized in the modern world that such practises might not be so good for the actual animals.
Animists can contact a spirit guide at first level. Exactly what a spirit guide is depends on who you ask; some see it as a guardian spirit that accompanies each animist trough life, others as an aspect or shadow of the animist's own spirit. A spirit guide in not a creature and has no direct effect on the world; it can only interact with the animist himself.
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Alignment: Any. Animism is not in itself aligned, each spirit is an individual with its own concerns. Animists often strive to stay out of worldly concerns and maintain a neutral attitude, but this rarely works out. While uninterested in politics, animists care intensely about the spirits and people close to them. Most animists are part of tribal cultures, and their view of how to interact with spirits and youkai is colored by this. Some animists work for specific youkai and follow their convictions.
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The animist’s class skills (and the key ability for each Skill) are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), andSwim (Str).
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Animists see spirits where others find only dead matter or magical energies. Most of the spirits the animists interact with are invisible to everyone else. Wizards and clerics often claim these spirits do not exist, as they cannot be observed. Animists regard most monsters as youkai, and animist powers gives them power over a wide range of supernatural creatures. To the animist an earth elemental is an awakened earth spirit—a youkai—while a rock is an earth spirit at rest. They are both the same, just that one is active and awake while the other is dormant. This confounds and annoys those who try to rationally classify what is supernatural and what is mundane.
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912)
As for animist rites – how about when the Buddha-to-be cast his bowl into a stream demanding that it float upstream if he was destined to attain enlightenment? Is this some kind of ‘non-Buddhist’ ‘superstitious’ rite? How about when the Buddha’s mother conceived on a night when a white elephant entered her womb in a dream?
Emile Durkheim: An Introduction to Four Major Works
An animist is proficient with all simple weapons, the handaxe, shortbow, andthrowing axe, and with light armor and shields (except tower shields).