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Encyclopedia > Animism
Spirituality Portal

The term Animism is derived from the Latin anima, meaning "soul".[1][2] In its most general sense, animism is simply the belief in souls. In this general sense, animism is present in nearly all religions. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Image File history File links Portal. ...


In a more restrictive sense, animism is the belief that souls inhabit all or most objects; it attributes personalized souls to animals, vegetables, and minerals wherein the material object is—to some degree—governed by the qualities which comprise its particular soul. Religions that are animistic in this more restrictive sense generally do not accept a sharp distinction between spirit and matter, and they generally assume that this unification of matter and spirit plays a role in daily life.[3]


This article discusses the term animism mainly in its more restrictive sense.


Originally souls were pictured as very similar to persons and only in later non-animistic religions in the course of a long development did they lose their material characteristics and become, to a high degree, 'spiritualized'.[4] British anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor argued in Primitive Culture (1871) that this belief was the most primitive and essential form of religion.[3] Though animism itself is not a religion in the usual Western sense, it does contain the foundations on which religions are built.[5]

Contents

Origin

Most authorities incline to the view that the idea of a soul is the original nucleus of the animistic system, that spirits are only souls that have made themselves independent, and that the souls of animals, plants and objects were constructed on the analogy of humans.[4] Image File history File links Emblem-important. ...


Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud thought that primitive men came up with the animistic system by observing the phenomena of sleep (including dreams) and of death which so much resembles it, and by attempting to explain those states. The chief starting-point of this theorizing must have been the problem of death. What primitive man regarded as the natural thing was the indefinite prolongation of life — immortality. The idea of death was only accepted late, and with hesitancy.[4] Freud regarded it as perfectly natural for man to react to the phenomena which aroused his speculations by forming the idea of the soul and then extending it to objects in the external world.[5] The justification for attributing life to inanimate objects was already stated by Hume in his Natural History of Religion [Section III]: "There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious."[6] For other uses, see Psychiatrist (disambiguation). ... Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ...


The term

Animism was the term used by anthropologist Sir E. B. Tylor, as a proposed theory of religion, in his 1871 book, Primitive Culture. He used it to mean a belief in souls. According to Tylor, all religion rests on, or stems from, a belief in gods or supernatural beings, which in turn stems from a belief in souls.[7] Thus, for Tylor, all religions are forms of animism.[8] Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... Edward Burnett Tylor. ... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


However, "animism" may refer to a specific group of religions--specifically, religions that attribute souls to non-human entities.Japanese Animisem is the belif in kami, or spirits. They belive that everything has a spirit. This is a popular belief in the majority of African religions and thus animism is often associated with Africa. The term also contains negative connotations, like the word "primitive", and is used primarily to group non Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions, particularly in Africa, and to mark them as less "sophisticated" in concept because they lack the anthropocentrism found in Judeo-Christian-Islamic dogma. Anthropocentrism (Greek άνθρωπος, anthropos, human, κέντρον, kentron, center), or the human-centered principle, refers to the idea that humanity must always remain the central concern for humans. ...


It is important to point out that Tylor did not restrict the term "animism" to religions that attribute souls to non-human creatures. He does state that "in primitive religion souls occupy all physical entities",[9] but for Tylor, "animism" is simply "belief in souls"; it doesn't matter whether these souls occupy all entities or only humans. Therefore, a religion that attributes souls to only humans is still a form of animism by Tylor's definition: "Tylor uses the term 'animism' for religion per se, modern and primitive alike."[10].


Examples

In North America during the early 20th century, an urban legend existed, based on reports of the experiments of Dr. Duncan MacDougall, that all human beings, regardless of size, lost 21 grams at the moment of death, and it was believed that the departure of the soul accounted for this loss of mass. [11] North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... An urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... Dr. Duncan MacDougall was an early 20th century doctor in Haverhill, Massachusetts who sought to measure the weight purportedly lost by a human body when the soul departed the body upon death. ...


Among the Basutus it is held that a man walking by the brink of a river may lose his life if his shadow falls on the water, for a crocodile may seize it and draw him in.[12] The mountainous and largely arid land that came to be Basutoland was populated by San (bushmen, Qhuaique) until the end of the 16th century. ... Genera Mecistops Crocodylus Osteolaemus See full taxonomy. ...


In Tasmania, North and South America and classical Europe is found the conception that the soul — σκιά, umbra — is identical with the shadow of a person.[12] More familiar to Europeans is the connection between the soul and the breath. This identification is found both in Indo-European and Semitic languages. In Latin we have spiritus, in Greek pneuma, in Hebrew ruach. The idea is found extending other planes of culture in Australia, America and Asia.[12] Slogan or Nickname: Island of Inspiration; The Apple Isle; Holiday Isle Motto(s): Ubertas et Fidelitas (Fertility and Faithfulness) Other Australian states and territories Capital Hobart Government Constitutional monarchy Governor William Cox Premier Paul Lennon (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 5  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ...


For some of the Native Americans and First Nations the Roman custom of receiving the breath of a dying man was no mere pious duty but a means of ensuring that his soul was transferred to a new body.[12] Other familiar conceptions identify the soul with the liver or the heart, with the reflected figure seen in the pupil of the eye, and with the blood.[12] A Sioux in traditional dress including war bonnet, circa 1908. ... First Nations is a Canadian term of ethnicity which refers to the aboriginal peoples located in what is now Canada, and their descendants who are neither Inuit nor Métis. ... The term Roman religion may refer to: Ancient Roman religion Imperial cult (Ancient Rome), Sol Invictus Mithraism Roman Christianity Category: ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... For the bird, see Liver bird. ... The heart and lungs, from an older edition of Grays Anatomy. ... The human eye The pupil is the central transparent area (showing as black). ... For other uses, see Eye (disambiguation). ... Human blood smear: a - erythrocytes; b - neutrophil; c - eosinophil; d - lymphocyte. ...


Although the soul is often distinguished from the vital principle, there are many cases in which a state of unconsciousness is explained as due to the absence of the soul.[12] In South Australia wilyamarraba (without soul) is the word used for insensible. So too the autohypnotic trance of the magician or shaman is regarded as due to their soul's visit to distant regions or the netherworld, of which they bring back an account.[12] Capital Adelaide Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Premier Mike Rann (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 11  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $59,819 (5th)  - Product per capita  $38,838/person (7th) Population (End of September 2006)  - Population  1,558,200 (5th)  - Density  1. ... Autosuggestion is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the persons own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. ... An altered state of consciousness is any state which is significantly different from a normative waking beta wave state. ... John Dee and Edward Kelley evoking a spirit: Elizabethans who claimed magical knowledge A magician is a person skilled in the mysterious and hidden art of magic, which can be described as either the act of entertaining with tricks that are in apparent violation of natural law, such as those... The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means... For other meanings of the word underworld see Underworld (disambiguation) In the study of mythology and religion, the underworld is a generic term approximately equivalent to the lay term afterlife, referring to any place to which newly-dead souls go. ...


Sickness is often explained as due to the absence of the soul and means are sometimes taken to lure back the wandering soul. In Chinese tradition, when a person is at the point of death and their soul believed to have left their body, the patient's coat is held up on a long bamboo pole while a priest endeavours to bring the departed spirit back into the coat by means of incantations. If the bamboo begins to turn round in the hands of the relative who is deputed to hold it, it is regarded as a sign that the soul of the moribund has returned (see automatism).[12] An incantation is the words spoken during a ritual. ... For other uses, see Death (disambiguation), Dead (disambiguation), Death (band) or Deceased (band). ... Automatism is the practice or theory of the spontaneous production of words (speech or writing), drawing, painting or other creative production, or behavior in general, without conscious self-control or self-censorship. ...


More important perhaps than all these phenomena, because more regular and normal, was the daily period of sleep with its frequent fitful and incoherent ideas and images. The conclusion must have been irresistible that in sleep something journeyed forth, which was not the body (see astral travel). In a minor degree, revival of memory during sleep and similar phenomena of the sub-conscious life may have contributed to the same result. Dreams are sometimes explained in animist cultures as journeys performed by the sleeper, sometimes as visits paid by other persons, by animals or objects to the sleeper. Seeing the phantasmic figures of friends at the moment when they were, whether at the point of death or in good health, many miles distant, may have led people to the dualistic theory. But hallucinatory figures, both in dreams and waking life, are not necessarily those of the living. From the reappearance of dead friends or enemies, primitive man was led to the belief that there existed an incorporeal part of man, which survived the dissolution of the body. The soul was conceived to be a facsimile of the body, sometimes no less material, sometimes more subtle but yet material, sometimes altogether impalpable and intangible.[12] For other uses, see Sleep (disambiguation). ... For information about the music group see Astral Projection (group) Astral projection is an out of body experience (OBE) technique, sometimes associated with the occult and the New Age movement, where it is said that the astral body, or double, which some believe to be one of several co-incident... For other uses, see Memory (disambiguation). ... Dreaming is the subjective experience of imaginary images, sounds/voices, thoughts or sensations during sleep, usually involuntarily. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... The term dualism is the state of being dual, or having a twofold division. ...


If the phenomena of dreams were, as suggested above, of great importance for the development of animism, the belief expanded into a general philosophy of nature. Not only human beings but animals and objects are seen in dreams and the conclusion would be that they too have souls. The same conclusion may have been reached by another line of argument.[citation needed]Folk psychology posited a spirit in a person to account, amongst other things, for their actions. A natural explanation of the changes in the external world would be that they are due to the operations and volitions of spirits.[citation needed] For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... This article is about the physical universe. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


But apart from considerations of this sort, it is probable that animals were regarded as possessing souls, early in the history of animistic beliefs. We may assume that man attributed a soul to the beasts of the field almost as soon as he claimed one for himself.[citation needed]


The animist may attribute to animals the same sorts of ideas, the same soul, the same mental processes as himself, which may also be associated with greater power, cunning, or magical abilities. Dead animals are sometimes credited with a knowledge of how their remains are treated, potentially with the power to take vengeance on the hunter if he is disrespectful.[citation needed]


It is not surprising to find that many peoples respect and even worship animals (see totem or animal worship), often regarding them as relatives. It is clear that widespread respect was paid to animals as the abode of dead ancestors, and much of the cults to dangerous animals is traceable to this principle; though we need not attribute an animistic origin to it.[12] A totem is any entity which watches over or assists a group of people, such as a family, clan or tribe (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary [1] and Websters New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition). ... Animal worship covers religious and ritual practices including the worship of a living animal considered as a deity incarnate, animal sacrifice as well as the respect for the bones of a slain animal. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original meaning. ...


With the rise of species, deities and the cult of individual animals, the path towards anthropomorphism and polytheism is opened and the respect paid to animals tended to be reduced or lost entirely, especially in its strict animistic characters.[12] For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... This list of deities aims at giving information about deities in the different religions, cultures and mythologies of the world. ... An anthropomorphic character; a cat ascribed human characteristics. ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ...


Diversity

Today Animists live in significant numbers in countries such as Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, India, Gabon, the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Thailand, Timor Leste, and the United States. The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country on the Atlantic coast of western Africa. ... The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor, is an island nation in Southeast Asia, consisting of the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecussi-Ambeno, a political exclave of East Timor situated on the western side of...


Modern Neopagans, especially Eco-Pagans[13], sometimes describe themselves as animists, meaning that they respect the diverse community of living beings and spirits with whom humans share the world/cosmos[14]. Many Pagans and Neopagans believe that there are spirits of nature and place, and that these spirits can sometimes be as powerful as minor deities. Polytheist Pagans may extend the idea of many gods and goddesses to encompass the many spirits of nature, such as those embodied in holy wells, mountains and sacred springs. While some of these many spirits may be seen as fitting into rough categories and sharing similarities with one another, they are also respected as separate individuals. On the other hand, some Wiccans may use the term animist to refer to the idea that a Mother Goddess and Horned God consist of everything that exists[15]. This Pantheism, in which God is equated with existence, is different from animism because it imputes value to individual living beings and/or objects only because they might reveal a larger reality or divinity behind everything. Animists respect beings for their own sake - whether because they have souls or because they are persons. Neopaganism or Neo-Paganism is any of a heterogeneous group of new religious movements, particularly those influenced by ancient, primarily pre-Christian and sometimes pre-Judaic religions. ... Pagan and heathen redirect here. ... Neopaganism (sometimes Neo-Paganism, meaning New Paganism) is a heterogeneous group of religions which attempt to revive ancient, mainly European pre-Christian religions. ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ... Pagan and heathen redirect here. ... Clootie wells (also Cloutie or Cloughtie wells) are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas. ... For other uses, see Wicca (disambiguation). ... A Cucuteni culture statuette, 4th millennium BC. A mother goddess is a goddess, often portrayed as the Earth Mother, who serves as a general fertility deity, the bountiful embodiment of the earth. ... The Pashupati-like figure on the Gundestrup cauldron The Horned God is a modern syncretic term, invented to link together numerous male nature gods out of such widely-dispersed and historically unconnected mythologies as the Celtic Cernunnos, the Welsh Caerwiden, the English Herne the Hunter, the Hindu Pashupati, the Greek... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... For the philosophical movement, see Existentialism. ...


Overview

In some animistic worldviews found in hunter-gatherer cultures, the human being is often regarded as on a roughly equal footing with animals, plants, and natural forces. Therefore, it is morally imperative to treat these agents with respect. In this worldview, humans are considered a denizen, or part, of nature, rather than superior to or separate from it. In such societies, ritual is considered essential for survival as it wins the favor of the spirits of one's source of food, shelter, and fertility and wards off malevolent spirits. In more elaborate animistic religions, such as Shinto, there is a greater sense of a special character to humans that sets them apart from the general run of animals and objects, while retaining the necessity of ritual to ensure good luck, favorable harvests, and so on. In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... Shinto ) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ...


Most animistic belief systems hold that the spirit survives physical death. In some systems, the spirit is believed to pass to an easier world of abundant game or ever-ripe crops, while in other systems, the spirit remains on earth as a ghost, often malignant. Still other systems combine these two beliefs, holding that the soul must journey to the spirit world without becoming lost and thus wandering as a ghost (e.g., the Navajo religion). Funeral, mourning rituals, and ancestor worship performed by those surviving the deceased are often considered necessary for the successful completion of this journey. Map of the Navajo Nation The Navajo Nation (Diné in Navajo language) encompasses all things important to the Navajo. ... For other uses, see Funeral (disambiguation). ... Margaret of Spain, Empress of Austria, in Mourning, 1666; note the children and servants in mourning dress behind her. ...


Rituals in animistic cultures are often performed by shamans or priests, who are usually seen as possessing spiritual powers greater than or external to the normal human experience. The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means... This article is about religious workers. ...

Urarina shaman, 1988

The practice of head shrinking as previously noted among Jivaroan and Urarina peoples derives from an animistic belief that if the spirit of one's mortal enemies are not trapped within the head, they can escape slain bodies. After the spirit transmigrates to another body, they can take the form of a predatory animal and even exact revenge. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1215x1800, 1038 KB) Summary Urarina Shaman, Photo by Bartholomew Dean Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1215x1800, 1038 KB) Summary Urarina Shaman, Photo by Bartholomew Dean Licensing File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The shaman is an intellectual and spiritual figure who is regarded as possessing power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, primarily that of a healer ( medicine man). The shaman provides medical care, and serves other community needs during crisis times, via supernatural means (means... Shrunken head from the upper Amazon region, in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford A shrunken head is a real human head that has been prepared for display. ... Jivaroan (also Hívaro, Jívaro, Jibaroana, Jibaro) is a small language family of northern Peru and eastern Ecuador. ... An Indigenous Peoples of the Peruvian Amazon (Loreto), they refer to themselves as Kachá (lit. ... Transmigration can has several meanings: Transmigration of the soul is a common term for reincarnation. ... This snapping turtle is trying to make a meal of a Canada goose, but the goose is too wary. ...


Animism is the belief that objects and ideas including animals, tools, and natural phenomena have or are expressions of living spirits or vital essences. The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus (breath). // The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning breath (compare spiritus asper), but also soul, courage, vigor, ultimately from a PIE root *(s)peis- (to blow). In the Vulgate, the Latin word translates Greek (πνευμα), pneuma (Hebrew (רוח) ruah), as...


Animal Souls

Kinship is central to Animistic systems. Everything is related in some way as kin, and if it cannot be found to have such a relation it often is not even deemed to exist. Thus animals are kin to humans and people often have an animal spirit. Your animal spirit contributes to your personality. There are many different animal spirits, and here are a few examples. Amongst the Noongar of South Western Western Australia, for instance, people are divided between Wardungmaat (Crow legs or kinship lineage) or Manitjmaat (of White Cockatoo kinship lineage). Engogamy means that a Wardungmaat person must have a Manitjmaat spouse, these terms being passed through the matrilineal line. Kinship is the most basic principle of organizing individuals into social groups, roles, and categories. ... The Noongar (alternate spellings: Nyungar/Nyoongar/Nyoongah),[1] are an indigenous Australian people who live in the southwest corner of Western Australia from Geraldton on the west coast to Esperance on the south coast. ...


Alligator: People who possess the Spirit of the alligator may have a personality full of aggression and anger, but also possess great skills of survival and adaptivity.


Beaver: Those who hold the beaver Spirit are usually strong builders. They love to collect, and have a creative mind.


Coyote: The Spirit of the coyote is a prankster, but has insight and are very playful. The coyote symbolizes duality and the ability to present both sides of an issue. Coyotes also love clowning and humor. They may be sarcastic.


Plant souls

Just as human souls are assigned to animals, so too are trees and plants often credited with souls, both human and animal in form. All over the world agricultural peoples practice elaborate ceremonies explicable, as Wilhelm Mannhardt has shown, on animistic principles. The coniferous Coast Redwood, the tallest tree species on earth. ... For other uses, see Plant (disambiguation). ... Wilhelm Mannhardt (1831- 1880) was a German scholar and folklorist. ...


In Europe the corn spirit, sometimes immanent in the crop, sometimes a presiding deity whose life does not depend on that of the growing corn, is conceived in some districts in the form of an ox, hare or cock, in others as an old man or woman. In the East Indies and Americas the rice or maize mother is a corresponding figure; in classical Europe and the East we have in Ceres and Demeter, Adonis and Dionysus, and other deities, vegetation gods whose origin we can readily trace back to the rustic corn spirit. Traffics album John Barleycorn Must Die contains a well known version of the John Barleycorn folksong. ... Immanence, derived from the Latin in manere to remain within, refers to philosophical and metaphysical theories of the divine as existing and acting within the mind or the world. ... Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Binomial name Bos taurus Linnaeus, 1758 Cattle are domesticated ungulates, a member of the subfamily Bovinae of the family Bovidae. ... For other uses, see Hare (disambiguation). ... Look up cock in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Indies, on the display globe of the Field Museum, Chicago The Indies or East Indies (or East India) is a term used to describe lands of South and South-East Asia, occupying all of the former British India, the present Indian Union, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and... RICE is a treatment method for soft tissue injury which is an abbreviation for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. ... Zaramama (grain mother) or Mama Zara was the Inca mythology goddess of grain. ... The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures, social structures and philosophical systems of the East, namely Asia (including China, India, Japan, and surrounding regions). ... In Roman mythology, Ceres was the goddess of growing plants (particularly cereals) and of motherly love. ... This article is about the grain goddess Demeter. ... In Greek mythology Adonis (Greek: , also: Άδωνις) is an archetypal life-death-rebirth deity of Semitic origin, and a central cult figure in various mystery religions. ... This article is about the ancient deity. ...


Forest trees, no less than cereals, may have their indwelling spirits. The fauns and satyrs of classical literature were goat-footed; in Russia, the tree spirit of the Russian peasantry takes the form of a goat. In Bengal and the East Indies woodcutters endeavour to propitiate the spirit of the tree which they cut down. In many parts of the world trees are regarded as the abode of the spirits of the dead. Just as a process of syncretism has given rise to cults of animal gods, tree spirits tend to become detached from the trees, which are thenceforward only their abodes. Here again animism has begun to pass into polytheism. This article is about a community of trees. ... The coniferous Coast Redwood, the tallest tree species on earth. ... Grain redirects here. ... A faun, as painted by Hungarian painter Pál Szinyei Merse In Roman mythology, fauns are place-spirits (genii) of untamed woodland. ... A bald, bearded, horse-tailed satyr balances a winecup on his erect penis, a trick worthy of note, on an Attic red-figured psykter, ca. ... The Dryad by Evelyn De Morgan Dryads are tree spirits in Greek mythology. ... This article is about the domestic species. ... For other uses, see Bengal (disambiguation). ... The Indies, on the display globe of the Field Museum, Chicago The Indies or East Indies (or East India) is a term used to describe lands of South and South-East Asia, occupying all of the former British India, the present Indian Union, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ...


Object souls

Some cultures do not make a distinction between animate and inanimate objects. Natural phenomena, geographic features, everyday objects, and manufactured articles may also be attributed with souls. Physical map of the Earth (Medium) (Large 2 MB) Geography is the scientific study of the locational and spatial variation in both physical and human phenomena on Earth. ...


In the north of Europe, in ancient Greece, and in China, the water or river spirit is horse or bull-shaped. The water monster in serpent shape is even more widely found, but it is less strictly the spirit of the water. The spirit of syncretism manifests itself in this department of animism too, turning the immanent spirit into the presiding djinn or local god of later times. The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ... For general information about the genus, including other species of cattle, see Bos. ... Genie is the anglicized word for the Arabic jinni. In Semitic mythology and Islamic religion, a jinni (also djinni or djini) is a member of the jinn (or djinn), a race of spirits. ...


Animism and death

In many parts of the world it is held that the human body is the seat of more than one soul. On the island of Nias four are distinguished: the shadow and the intelligence, which die with the body; a tutelary spirit, termed begoe; and a second spirit, which is carried on the head. Similar ideas are found among the Euahlayi of southeast Australia, the Dakotas and many other tribes. Ancient Egyptian religion held that the soul was separated between the Ka, Ba, and Akh (breath, dreaming soul, and warmth of life given at birth, respectively). They also believed that the heart was the seat of intelligence, which would be judged against Ma'at (truth) in the underworld (Duat). Just as in Europe the ghost of a dead person is held to haunt the churchyard or the place of death, so do other cultures assign different abodes to the multiple souls with which they credit man. Of the four souls of a Dakota, one is held to stay with the corpse, another in the village, a third goes into the air, while the fourth goes to the land of souls, where its lot may depend on its rank in this life, its sex, mode of death or sepulture, on the due observance of funeral ritual, or many other points. Nias (Indonesian: Pulau Nias, Nias language: Tanö Niha) is an island off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. ... A tutelary spirit is a god, usually a minor god, who serves as the guardian or watcher over a particular site, person, or nation. ... A Sioux in traditional dress including war bonnet, circa 1908. ... Egyptian goddess Isis protecting a mummified pharaoh, a late Ptolemic relief from the Philae Temple, which was first built in the thirtieth dynasty, c. ... Akh redirects here. ... For other uses, see Maat (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Underworld (disambiguation). ... In Egyptian mythology, Duat (also called Akert or Amenthes) is the underworld, where the sun traveled from west to east during the night and where dead souls were judged by Osiris, using a feather, representing Truth. ... For other uses, see Ghost (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Funeral (disambiguation). ...


From the belief in the survival of the dead arose the practice of offering food, lighting fires, etc., at the grave, at first, maybe, as an act of friendship or filial piety, later as an act of ancestor worship. The simple offering of food or shedding of blood at the grave develops into an elaborate system of sacrifice. Even where ancestor worship is not found, the desire to provide the dead with comforts in the future life may lead to the sacrifice of wives, slaves, animals, and so on, to the breaking or burning of objects at the grave or to the provision of the ferryman's toll: a coin put in the mouth of the corpse to pay the traveling expenses of the soul. But all is not finished with the passage of the soul to the land of the dead. The soul may return to avenge its death by helping to discover the murderer, or to wreak vengeance for itself. There is a widespread belief that those who die a violent death become malignant spirits and endanger the lives of those who come near the haunted spot. The woman who dies in childbirth becomes a pontianak, and threatens the life of human beings. People resort to magical or religious means of repelling their spiritual dangers. Ancestor worship, also ancestor veneration, is a religious practice based on the belief that ones ancestors possess supernatural powers. ... Marcus Aurelius and members of the Imperial family offer sacrifice in gratitude for success against Germanic tribes: contemporary bas-relief, Capitoline Museum, Rome For other uses, see Sacrifice (disambiguation). ... Michelangelos rendering of Charon. ... A Pontianak or Kuntilanak or Matianak (as known in Indonesia, sometimes shortened to just kunti) is a type of vampire in Malay folklore. ...


Independent spirits

Side by side with the doctrine of separable souls with which we have so far been concerned, exists the belief in a great host of unattached spirits. These are not immanent souls that have become detached from their abodes, but have instead every appearance of independent spirits.


Differences between animism and religion

Animism is commonly described as a religion. Others do not see it as a religion at all. They argue that Animism is in the first instance an explanation of phenomena rather than an attitude of mind toward the cause of them, a philosophy rather than a religion. The term may, however, be conveniently used to describe a form of religion in which people endeavour to set up relations between themselves and the unseen powers, conceived as spirits, but differing in many particulars from the gods of polytheism. An example of this may be taken the European belief in the corn spirit, which is, however, the object of magical rather than religious rites. Sir James G. Frazer, in The Golden Bough, has thus defined the character of the animistic pantheon: For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ...

they are restricted in their operations to definite departments of nature; their names are general, not proper; their attributes are generic rather than individual; in other words, there is an indefinite number of spirits of each class, and the individuals of a class are much alike; they have no definitely marked individuality; no accepted traditions are current as to their origin, life and character.

This form of religion is well illustrated by the Native American custom of offering sacrifice to certain rocks, or whirlpools, or to the indwelling spirits connected with them. The rite is only performed in the neighbourhood of the object, it is an incident of a canoe or other voyage, and is not intended to secure any benefits beyond a safe passage past the object in question. The spirit to be propitiated has a purely local sphere of influence, and powers of a very limited nature. Animistic in many of their features too are the temporary gods of fetishism, naguals or familiars, genii and even the dead who receive a cult. With the belief in departmental gods comes the practice of polytheism. The belief in elemental spirits may still persist, but they fall into the background and receive no cult. A Sioux in traditional dress including war bonnet, circa 1908. ... It has been suggested that Canadian canoe be merged into this article or section. ... A fetish (from French fétiche; from Portuguese feitiço; from Latin facticius, artificial and facere, to make) is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular a man-made object that has power over others. ... For other uses, see Genie (disambiguation). ... Elemental - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


Those who argue that animism is a religion see that worship is directed toward these spirits, that are commonly called "lesser gods." Their help and intervention is sought, sacrifices are made, and their instructions received through divination are obeyed.


Animism and the origin of religion

Religion Portal

Two animistic theories of the origin of religion have been put forward. The one, often termed the "ghost theory," mainly associated with the name of Herbert Spencer but also maintained by Grant Allen, refers the beginning of religion to the cult of dead human beings. Image File history File links P_religion_world. ... For other persons named Herbert Spencer, see Herbert Spencer (disambiguation). ... Grant Allen (February 24, 1848 - October 25, 1899) was a science writer, author and novelist; an able upholder of the evolution doctrine and an expounder of Darwinism. ...


The other, put forward by Dr. E. B. Tylor, makes the foundation of all religion animistic, but doesn't recognize the non-human character of polytheistic gods. Although ancestor-worship, or, more broadly, the cult of the dead, has in many cases overshadowed other cults or even extinguished them, while we have no warrant, even in these cases, for asserting its priority, but rather the reverse. In the majority of cases the pantheon is made up by a multitude of spirits in human, sometimes in animal form, which bear no signs of ever having been incarnate. Sun gods and moon goddesses, gods of fire, wind and water, gods of the sea, and above all gods of the sky, show no signs of having been ghost gods at any period in their history. They may, it is true, be associated will with ghost gods. In Australia it cannot even be asserted that the gods are spirits at all, much less that they are the spirits of dead men. They are simply magnified magicians, super-men who have never died. We have no ground, therefore, for regarding the cult of the dead as the origin of religion in this area. This conclusion is the more probable, as ancestor-worship and the cult of the dead generally cannot be said to exist in Australia. Edward Burnett Tylor. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original meaning. ... A solar deity is a deity who represents the Sun. ... In the study of mythology, a lunar deity is a god or goddess associated with or symbolizing the Moon: see Moon (mythology). ...


The more general view that polytheistic and other gods are the elemental and other spirits of the later stages of animistic creeds, is equally inapplicable to Australia, where the belief seems to be neither animistic nor even animatistic in character. But we are hardly justified in arguing from the case of Australia to a general conclusion as to the origin of religious ideas in all other parts of the world. It is perhaps safest to say that the science of religions has no data on which to go, in formulating conclusions as to the original form of the objects of religious emotion. It must be remembered that not only is it very difficult to get precise information of the subject of the religious ideas of people of some other cultures, perhaps for the simple reason that the ideas themselves are far from precise, but also that, as has been pointed out above, the conception of spiritual often approximates very closely to that of material. Where the soul is regarded as no more than a finer sort of matter, it will obviously be far from easy to decide whether the gods are spiritual or material. Even, therefore, if we can say that at the present day the gods are entirely spiritual, it is clearly possible to maintain that they have been spiritualized pari passu with the increasing importance of the animistic view of nature and of the greater prominence of eschatological beliefs. The animistic origin of religion is therefore not proven. Look up deity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For the eschatological beliefs of various religions, see End Times. ...


According to freelance scholar Karen Armstrong, the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which some consider more advanced than animism (in its more restrictive sense), rest on an animistic basis. At the root of these religions, Armstrong claims, is the extremely ancient el or al, the mysterious force that caused a grain of wheat to grow or not to grow, or a raindrop to fall or not to fall, etc. According to Armstrong, the wording of Genesis preserves an older, "animistic" religious view that viewed the creative force as multiple, spirits or beings: Genesis calls the Creator Elohim, the plural of el, which translates as "the creative forces." When literacy arrived through the Egyptians, Elohim had survived long oral tradition to become the Creator Himself [16] Karen Armstrong (b. ... For other uses, see Genesis (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Hebrew word. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


Animism and mythology

Mythology Portal

Little need be said on the relationship between animism and mythology. A large part of mythology is based upon a belief in souls and spirits — that is, upon animism in its more general sense. Myths that portray plants, inanimate objects, and non-human animals as personal beings are examples of animism in its more restrictive sense. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (379x900, 144 KB) Io and Zeus/Jupiter by Antonio Correggio. ... For other uses, see Mythology (disambiguation). ...


However, many mythologies focus largely on corporeal beings rather than "spiritual" ones; the latter may even be entirely absent. For instance, Australian mythology focuses largely on corporeal, non-spiritual beings.[citation needed] Stories of transformation, deluge and doom myths, and myths of the origin of death do not necessarily have any animistic basis. This article is about great floods. ...


As mythology began to include more numerous and complex ideas about a future life and purely spiritual beings, the overlap between mythology and animism widened. However, a rich mythology does not necessarily depend on a belief in many spiritual beings.


Animism in philosophy

Philosophy Portal

The term "animism" has been applied to many different philosophical systems. It is used to describe Aristotle's view of the relation of soul and body held also by the Stoics and Scholastics. On the other hand monadology (Leibniz) has also been termed animistic. The name is most commonly applied to vitalism, a view mainly associated with Georg Ernst Stahl and revived by F. Bouillier (1813-1899), which makes life, or life and mind, the directive principle in evolution and growth, holding that all cannot be traced back to chemical and mechanical processes, but that there is a directive force which guides energy without altering its amount. An entirely different class of ideas, also termed animistic, is the belief in the world soul (anima mundi), held by Plato, Schelling and others. Image File history File links P_philosophy. ... For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... Scholastic redirects here. ... The Monadology (Monadologie, 1714) is one of Gottfried Leibniz’s works that best define his philosophy, monadism. ... Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (July 1, 1646 in Leipzig - November 14, 1716 in Hannover) was a German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, diplomat, librarian, and lawyer of Sorb descent. ... Vitalism is the doctrine that vital forces are active in living organisms, so that life cannot be explained solely by mechanism. ... Georg Ernst Stahl (October 21, 1660 - May 24, 1734), was a German chemist and physician. ... Year 1813 (MDCCCXIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Year 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday [1] of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (January 27, 1775 – August 20, 1854) was a German philosopher. ...


Sir Edward Burnett Tylor

For more details on this topic, see Edward Burnett Tylor.

Tylor argued that non-Western societies relied on animism to explain why things happen. He further argued that animism is the earliest form of religion, and reveals that humans developed religions in order to explain things. At the time that Tylor wrote, this theory was politically radical because it made the claim that non-Western peoples and in particular, non-Christian "heathens", in fact do have religion. However, since the publication of Primitive Culture, Tylor's theories have come under criticism from three quarters. First, some have questioned whether the beliefs of diverse peoples living in different parts of the world and not communicating with one another can be lumped together as one kind of religion. Second, some have questioned whether the basic function of religion really is to "explain" the universe (critics like Marrett and Emil Durkheim argued that religious beliefs have emotional and social, rather than intellectual, functions). Finally, many now see Tylor's theories as ethnocentric. Not only was he imposing a contemporary and Western view of religion (that it explains the inexplicable) on non-Western cultures, he was also telling the story of a progression from religion (which provides poor explanations) to science (which provides good explanations) (see cultural evolution). Edward Burnett Tylor. ... David Émile Durkheim (April 15, 1858 - November 15, 1917) is known as the founder of modern sociology. ... Ethnocentrism (Greek ethnos nation + -centrism) is a set of beliefs or practices based on the view that ones own group is the center of everything. ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Cultural evolution is the structural change of a society and its values over time. ...


List of phenomena believed to lead to animism

Lists of phenomena from the contemplation of which "the savage" was led to believe in animism have been given by Sir E. B. Tylor, Herbert Spencer, Andrew Lang and others; an animated controversy arose between the former as to the priority of their respective lists. Among these phenomena are: Edward Burnett Tylor. ... For other persons named Herbert Spencer, see Herbert Spencer (disambiguation). ... For the former National Basketball Association player, see Andrew Lang (basketball). ...

An altered state of consciousness is any state which is significantly different from a normative waking beta wave state. ... Unconsciousness is the absence of consciousness. ... A disease is any abnormal condition of the body or mind that causes discomfort, dysfunction, or distress to the person affected or those in contact with the person. ... For other uses, see Death (disambiguation), Dead (disambiguation), Death (band) or Deceased (band). ... Clairvoyance, from 17th century French Clair meaning clear and voyant meaning seeing, is a term used to describe the transference of information about an object, location or physical event through means other than the 5 traditional senses (See Psi). ... For other uses, see Dream (disambiguation). ... Generally, an apparition is act or instance of appearing. ... Look up dead in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A wraith is an apparition of a person who is still alive, seen as an omen that the person is about to die. ... A hallucination is a sensory perception experienced in the absence of an external stimulus, as distinct from an illusion, which is a misperception of an external stimulus. ... In audio signal processing and acoustics, an echo (plural echoes) is a reflection of sound, arriving at the listener some time after the direct sound. ... Shadows on pavement A shadow is a region of darkness where light is blocked. ... The reflection of a bridge in Indianapolis, Indianas Central Canal. ...

The new animism

In an article entitled "Animism Revisited", Nurit Bird-David builds on the work of Irving Hallowell by discussing the animist worldview and lifeway of the Nayaka of India. Hallowell had learnt from the Ojibwa of southern central Canada that the humans are only one kind of 'person' among many. There are also 'rock persons', 'eagle persons' and so on. Hallowell and Bird-David discuss the ways in which particular indigenous cultures know how to relate to particular persons (individuals or groups). There is no need to talk of metaphysics or impute non-empirical 'beliefs' in discussing animism. What is required is an openness to consider that humans are neither separate from the world nor distinct from other kinds of being in most significant ways. The new animism also makes considerably more sense of attempts to understand 'totemism' as an understanding that humans are not only closely related to other humans but also to particular animals, plants, etc. It also helps by providing a term for the communities among whom shamans work: they are animists not 'shamanists'. Shamans are employed among animist communities to engage or mediate with other-than-human persons in situations that would be fraught or dangerous for un-initiated, untrained or non-skillful people. The -ism of 'animism' should not suggest an overly systematic approach (but this is true of the lived reality of most religious people), but it is preferable to the term shamanism which has led many commentators to construct an elaborate system out of the everyday practices of animists and those they employ to engage with other-than-human persons. The new animism is most fully discussed in a recent book by Graham Harvey, Animism: Respecting the Living World. But it is also significant in the 'animist realist' novels now being written among many indigenous communities worldwide. The term 'animist realism' was coined by Harry Garuba, a Nigerian scholar of literature, in comparison with 'magical realism' that describes works such as Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude or Ben Okri's The Famished Road. Alfred Irving Hallowell pronounced [hăluwel] (1892–1974) was an American anthropologist, archaeologist and businessman. ... This article is about the practice of shamanism; for other uses, see Shaman (disambiguation). ... Gabriel Garcia Marquez Gabriel García Márquez (born March 6, 1928) is a Colombian novelist, journalist, publisher, and political activist. ... One Hundred Years of Solitude (Spanish: Cien años de soledad) is a novel by Nobel Prize winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez that was first published in Spanish in 1967 (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana), with an English translation by Gregory Rabassa released in 1970 (New York: Harper and... Ben Okri (born on March 15, 1959) is a Nigerian poet and novelist. ... The Famished Road is the Booker Prize-winning novel written by Nigerian author Ben Okri. ...


See also

Animatism is a term coined by R. R. Marett to refer to the belief of certain cultures in supernatural forces and powers. ... Hylozoism is the philosophical doctrine that all or some material things possess life. ... Panpsychism, in philosophy, is either the view that all parts of matter involve mind, or the more holistic view that the whole universe is an organism that possesses a mind. ... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ... Folk religion consists of beliefs, superstitions and rituals transmitted from generation to generation of a specific culture. ... This article is about the practice of shamanism; for other uses, see Shaman (disambiguation). ... Shinto ) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ... The Midewiwin (also spelled Midewin and Medewiwin) is from the term for the Grand Medicine Society of the aboriginal groups of the Maritimes, New England and Great Lakes regions in North America. ...

Suggested reading

Technology, Internet and human evolution in the light of ancient theory of Animism.


The Story of B by Daniel Quinn The Story of B a 1996 novel written by Daniel Quinn and published by Bantam Publishing. ... For other uses, see Daniel Quinn (disambiguation). ...


Ishmael by Daniel Quinn Ishmael is a novel by Daniel Quinn. ... For other uses, see Daniel Quinn (disambiguation). ...


Heaven is Real by Robert Martinez Robert Bob Martinez (born December 25, 1934 in Tampa, Florida) was the fortieth governor of Florida from 1987 to 1991. ...


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a 1997 book by Anne Fadiman which chronicles the struggles of a Hmong refugee family and their interactions with the health care system in California. ... Anne Fadiman (born August 7, 1953) is an American author, editor and teacher. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Segal, p. 14
  2. ^ "Animism", The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed., Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), p. 72
  3. ^ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.
  4. ^ a b Freud (1950, 76).
  5. ^ Freud (1950, 77).
  6. ^ Taylor (1891, 1, 477).
  7. ^ Segal, p. 14
  8. ^ Segal, p. 14
  9. ^ Segal, p. 14
  10. ^ Segal, p. 14
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Cite error 8; No text given.
  13. ^ "Adler, Margot (2006), Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America" (Penguin)
  14. ^ Higginbotham, Joyce (2002), "Paganism: An Introduction to Earth- Centered Religions" (LLlewellyn)
  15. ^ "Cunningham, Scott (2002), "Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner" (Llewellyn)
  16. ^ Armstrong, Karen (1994), "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam" (Ballantine Books)

References

  • Bird-David, Nurit. 1991. "Animism Revisited: Personhood, environment, and relational epistemology", Current Anthropology 40, pp. 67-91. Reprinted in Graham Harvey (ed.) 2002. Readings in Indigenous Religions (London and New York: Continuum) pp.72-105.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1950). Totem and Taboo:Some Points of Agreement between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics, trans. Strachey, New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-00143-1. 
  • Hallowell, A. Irving. "Ojibwa ontology, behavior, and world view" in Stanley Diamond (ed.) 1960. Culture in History (New York: Columbia University Press). Reprinted in Graham Harvey (ed.) 2002. Readings in Indigenous Religions (London and New York: Continuum) pp.17-49.
  • Harvey, Graham. 2005. Animism: Respecting the Living World (London: Hurst and co.; New York: Columbia University Press; Adelaide: Wakefield Press).
  • Ingold, Tim. 2006. 'Rethinking the animate, re-animating thought', Ethnos, 71(1) : 9-20
  • Segal, Robert. Myth: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Wundt, W. (1906). Mythus und Religion, Teil II (Völkerpsychologie, Band II). Leipzig.

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CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Animism (2988 words)
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