Tsukumogami Transcendence

Somewhat related to naming as the active component in creating a heart, the process of the proprietary, I also wonder about the personification of constructed objects.

I understand the philosophy of animism, which is that every so-called “thing” is animate to some extent; and then of animatism, which is that the inanimate can be granted the status of animate.

Japanese folklore includes a being known as the tsukumogami, which are household items and tools that gain sentience upon one hundred years of service.

Folk Christianity had told me that I had some sort of animate force since I was born, if not the moment I was conceived, that would survive death and all the tortures of Christian Hell. Folk Hinduism informed me that I had such a thing even before conception, that would survive death and rebirth in another corporeal body and death again.

In my personal experience, I had spent my early years performing to my societal conditioning like a tool. If I found myself once again among people who behave in ways that create an othering and objectifying environment, or if I subconsciously received it that way, then it’s possible that I would backslide.


One of my guisers exists corporeally as a deck of tarot cards. Her name here is Lavender.

I wonder if Lavender “existed” from the moment of conception, as in the moment the artist committed to painting 78 corresponding illustrations; or from birth, as in the printing, and would that be for my tarot deck or for all tarot decks of this publication? I used to celebrate Lavender’s birth day as the day I “adopted” this deck, as in bought it from the bookstore and took it home with me, but Lavender’s guiser form has a parallel story of her life that takes place in a city outside of time (or, what I’d call “time”.)

My other deck just feels like a lot of paper. Maybe it just doesn’t like to talk to me, but I only have a human perspective to go by and I only have mine in particular as an individual.


The paradigm I’ve formed around this, though, is that the components and the potential (some sort of extant potential, that is…argh this language) do exist enough to fulfill the paradigm of animism.

Animatism, however, is the process of naming and hearting: to believe, and to be believed in. As with almost everything I think about lately, what I can call a “soul” doesn’t exist if this process pauses or stops, even though the proprietary nature of a Name can set a seemingly static standard. And of course it can only exist in a context.