The first thing you want to know in a review of this book is that while it is in no way a disingenuous work, the title may throw you off at first. "Applying Eastern metaphysics to your life here in the West" would be too dry for a book, and of course the East/West nomenclature itself has become increasingly problematic (or better to say "we have become increasingly aware of its problematic nature", but that's another book and another review), but Mélusine Draco's book has far more to do with integrating Zen and Shinto concepts into your spiritual practice than it does with examining Animistic belief in the West. This may seem like a pedantic niggle, but I only harp on it because this is actually the right book for a certain audience and I fear it may be overlooked by the casual browser.

In fact, Western Animism is quite a good book. It has an excellent primer section where our author lays out a view of what Zen and Shinto are, and how they overlap and intersect with Eurocentric paganism as we typically think of it. By Chapter 3 Draco is describing ways to incorporate eastern takes on animist belief into your pagan life. The chapter on the meditation garden I found particularly thought-provoking, not so much as a map for redesigning my yard so much as a different way to think about sacred space as it pertains to ritual.

Western Animism is a compact book at about 96 pages, but I genuinely appreciate when an author has an idea, gets in to it, and gets out before they start to ramble. This is a concise and directed work that can provide you with a lot of new food for thought.

~review by Patricia Mullen

Author: Mélusine Draco
Moon Books, 2019
pp. 96, $10.95

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