The term animism (from Latin anima (soul, life)) commonly refers to belief systems that attribute souls to animals, plants and other entities, in addition to humans. The soul, according to many religious and philosophical beliefs is the self-awareness, or Consciousness, unique to a particular living Life is a state that distinguishes Organisms from non-living objects such as non-life and dead organisms being manifested by growth through Metabolism Animism may also attribute souls to natural phenomena, geographic features, everyday objects and manufactured articles. Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία - geografia) is the study of the Earth and its lands features inhabitants and phenomena More generally, animism is simply the belief in souls. In this general sense, animism is present in nearly all religions. British anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor argued in Primitive Culture (1871) that this belief was the most primitive and essential part of religion.  Though animism itself is not a religion in the usual Western sense, some scholars believe that it contains the foundations on which religions are built. 
--Sir E. B. Tylor, as a proposed theory of religion, in his 1871 book, Primitive Culture. The anthropology of religion involves the study of religious institutions in relation to other social institutions and the comparison of religious beliefs and practices across Cultures Sir Edward Burnett Tylor ( October 2 1832 &ndash January 2 1917) was an English Anthropologist. A religion is a set of Tenets and practices often centered upon specific Supernatural and moral claims about Reality, the Cosmos He used the term 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.  He did not restrict the term "animism" to religions that attribute souls to non-human entities.
According to Tylor, "in primitive religion souls occupy all physical entities", but Tylor's "animism" is not limited to "primitive" religion. For Tylor, animism is simply "belief in souls", it doesn't matter whether these souls occupy all physical entities or only humans. Therefore, a religion that attributes souls only to humans is still a form of animism by Tylor's definition. For Tylor, all religions, both "modern" and "primitive", are forms of animism. 
However, "animism" is often used to refer to a specific group of religions—specifically, religions that attribute souls to non-human entities. A majority of African religions base their beliefs on these attributes, thus animism is often associated with Africa. Members of Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions sometimes apply the term to other religious traditions, particularly in Africa, to mark those traditions as less "sophisticated".
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.
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 Émile Durkheim argued that religious beliefs have emotional and social, rather than intellectual, functions). Émile Durkheim ( April 15, 1858 – November 15, 1917) was a French Sociologist whose contributions were instrumental
Finally, many now see Tylor's theories as ethnocentric. Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own Culture. 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). Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning " Knowledge " or "knowing" is the effort to discover, and increase human understanding Sociocultural evolution(ism is an umbrella term for theories of cultural evolution and Social evolution, describing how Cultures and societies
The justification for attributing life to inanimate objects was 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. "
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. A psychiatrist (also archaically called an alienist) is a Physician who specializes in Psychiatry and is certified in treating Mental disorders Sigmund Freud (ˈziːkmʊnt ˈfʁɔʏt born Sigismund Shlomo Freud (May 6 1856 &ndash September 23 1939 was an Austrian Psychiatrist who founded 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. 
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.  In South Australia wilyamarraba (without soul) is the word used for insensible. South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country 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. Autohypnosis is a form of self-induced trance without the aid of a Psychiatrist or Hypnotist. An altered state of consciousness, (ASC also named altered state of mind is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking Beta wave state A magician is a person skilled in the mysterious and hidden art of magic, the ability to attain objectives acquire knowledge or perform works of wonder using Supernatural In the study of Mythology and Religion, the underworld (gr κάτω κόσμος) is a generic term approximately equivalent to the lay term Afterlife 
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. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National An incantation or incantations are the words spoken during a Ritual, either a Hymn or Prayer invoking or praising a Deity, or in magic 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). Death is the termination of the biological functions that define living Organisms It refers both to a specific Automatic behavior, from the Greek automatismos or self action is the spontaneous production of often purposeless verbal or motor behavior without conscious self-control or 
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. Sleep is a Natural state of bodily rest observed throughout the animal kingdom The conclusion must have been irresistible that in sleep something journeyed forth, which was not the body (see astral travel). Astral projection (or astral travel) is an esoteric interpretation of a type of Out-of-body experience that assumes the existence of an " Astral In a minor degree, revival of memory during sleep and similar phenomena of the sub-conscious life may have contributed to the same result. In Psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store retain and subsequently retrieve information 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. Dreams are the images sounds thoughts and feelings experienced while Sleeping, particularly strongly associated with Rapid eye movement sleep. 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. Dualism denotes a state of two parts The word's origin is the Latin duo, "two". 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. 
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. Sir Edward Burnett Tylor ( October 2 1832 &ndash January 2 1917) was an English Anthropologist. Herbert Spencer ( April 27, 1820 – December 8, 1903) was an English Philosopher; prominent classical liberal For the former National Basketball Association player see Andrew Lang (basketball. Among these phenomena are:
Two animistic theories of the origin of religion have been put forward. An altered state of consciousness, (ASC also named altered state of mind is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking Beta wave state See also Unconscious mind. Unconsciousness, more appropriately referred to as loss of Consciousness or lack of consciousness is Death is the termination of the biological functions that define living Organisms It refers both to a specific Clairvoyance (from 17th century French with clair meaning "clear" and voyance meaning "visibility" is the apparent ability to gain Dreams are the images sounds thoughts and feelings experienced while Sleeping, particularly strongly associated with Rapid eye movement sleep. Death is the termination of the biological functions that define living Organisms It refers both to a specific A wraith is an apparition of a person living or dead that may appear shortly before or after death A hallucination, in the broadest sense is a Perception in the absence of a 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 A shadow is an area where direct light from a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object Reflection is the change in direction of a Wave front at an interface between two different media so that the wave front returns into the medium from which A religion is a set of Tenets and practices often centered upon specific Supernatural and moral claims about Reality, the Cosmos One, often termed the "ghost theory," mainly associated with Herbert Spencer but also maintained by Grant Allen, refers the beginning of religion to the cult of dead human beings. Herbert Spencer ( April 27, 1820 – December 8, 1903) was an English Philosopher; prominent classical liberal Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen ( February 24, 1848 - October 25, 1899) was a Science Writer, Author and The other, put forward by Dr. E. B. Tylor, makes the foundation of all religion animistic. Sir Edward Burnett Tylor ( October 2 1832 &ndash January 2 1917) was an English Anthropologist.
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. "Sun god" redirects here For the Ramsey Lewis album see Sun Goddess (album. In Mythology, a lunar deity is a God or Goddess associated with or symbolizing the moon see Moon (mythology. They may, it is true, be associated 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.
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. See also List of deities A deity is a Postulated Preternatural or Supernatural Being, who is always 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. Eschatology (from the Greek, Eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of" is a part of Theology The animistic origin of religion is therefore not proven.
According to religious scholar Karen Armstrong, the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which some consider more advanced than animism, rest on an animistic basis. Karen Armstrong (born 14 November 1944 in Wildmoor Worcestershire) is a British author of numerous works on Comparative religion, who first rose to prominence with 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 Book 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. Elohim ( אֱלוֹהִים, אלהים) is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of Divinity. " When literacy arrived through the Egyptians, Elohim had survived long oral tradition to become the Creator Himself
Animism is commonly described as a religion. A creator deity is a Deity in a Creation myth responsible for the creation of the World (or Universe) 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. Philosophy is the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence knowledge truth beauty justice validity mind and language 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. Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple Gods (usually assembled in a pantheon) together with associated Mythology and Rituals 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:
"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. Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed by the continental United States The rite is only performed in the neighbourhood of the object 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. This article concerns the concept of fetishism in Anthropology. GEnie (General Electric Network for Information Exchange was an online service 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. An elemental is a mythological being first appearing in the alchemical works of Paracelsus.
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.
In many animistic world views found in hunter-gatherer cultures, the human being is often regarded as on a roughly equal footing with animals, plants, and natural forces. A hunter-gatherer society is one whose primary subsistence method involves the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild Foraging and Hunting  Therefore, it is morally imperative to treat these agents with respect. In this world view, humans are considered a 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. 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). The Navajo Nation ( Diné in the Navajo language) is a semi- autonomous Native American homeland covering about 26000 square miles (67339 square Funeral, mourning rituals, and ancestor worship performed by those surviving the deceased are often considered necessary for the successful completion of this journey. A funeral is a Ceremony marking a person's Death. Funerary customs comprise the complex of Beliefs and practices used by a Culture to remember Mourning is in the simplest sense synonymous with Grief over the Death of someone
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. Sacrifice (from a Middle English verb meaning "to make sacred" from Old French, from Latin sacrificium: sacr, "sacred" 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. In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon (in Greek, Χάρων &mdash the bright) was the Ferryman of Hades
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. The Pontianak, Kuntilanak, Matianak or "Boentianak" (as known in Indonesia, sometimes shortened to just kunti) is a People resort to magical or religious means of repelling their spiritual dangers.
It is not surprising to find that many peoples respect and even worship animals (see totem or animal worship), often regarding them as relatives. A totem is any supposed entity that watches over or assists a group of people such as a family Clan or tribe ( Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Webster's ' Animal worship' is a term rarely used by modern scholars because it is subject to so many interpretations 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. This article does not discuss "cult" in the original sense of "veneration" or "religious practice" for that usage see Cult (religious practice 
The practice of head shrinking 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. Jivaroan (also Hívaro, Jívaro, Jibaroana, Jibaro) is a small Language family, or perhaps a Language isolate, of northern The Urarina are an Indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon Basin ( Loreto) who inhabit the Chambira, Urituyacu and Corrientes Rivers After the spirit transmigrates to another body, they can take the form of a predatory animal and even exact revenge. Transmigration of the soul (sometimes given simply as Transmigration) is similar and foreign in some ways to the philosophy of Reincarnation.
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.
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. Stories of transformation, deluge and doom myths, and myths of the origin of death do not necessarily have any animistic basis. The story of a Great Flood (also known as the Deluge) sent by a Deity or deities to destroy Civilization as an act of Divine retribution is a
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.
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. Aristotle (Greek Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC was a Greek philosopher a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic philosophy, was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early third century BC Scholasticism was the dominant form of theology and philosophy in the Latin West in the Middle Ages, particularly in the 12th 13th and 14th centuries On the other hand monadology (Leibniz) has also been termed animistic. The Monadology ( Monadologie, 1714 is one of Gottfried Leibniz ’s works that best define his philosophy monadism. The name is most commonly applied to vitalism, a view mainly associated with Georg Ernst Stahl and revived by F. Vitalism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from physicochemical Georg Ernst Stahl ( October 21, 1660 &ndash May 24, 1734) was a German Chemist and Physician. 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. Biography Early life Birth and family Plato was born in Athens Greece Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling ( January 27, 1775 – August 20, 1854) later von Schelling, was a German Philosopher
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, the United States and Mexico. The Republic of Zambia (ˈzæmbɪə is a Landlocked country in Southern Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (République démocratique du Congo often referred to as DR Congo, DRC or RDC, and formerly known or referred to ( Bengali: বাংলাদেশ inc-Latn Bangladesh) officially India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Gabon (gəˈbɒn or /gaˈbõ/ in French) is a country in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Republic The Republic of Guinea-Bissau (ˈgɪni bɨˈsaʊ República da Guiné-Bissau ʁɛˈpublikɐ dɐ giˈnɛ biˈsau is a country in Western Africa, and one of the smallest The Republic of Indonesia ( (Republik Indonesia is a Country in Southeast Asia. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Laos (ˈlɑːoʊs or /ˈlaʊs/ officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a Landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar ( pjìdàunzṵ mjàmmà nàinŋàndɔ̀ is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia. Papua New Guinea (or ˈpæpjuːə in Tok Pisin: Papua Niugini) officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania Peru (Perú Piruw Piruw officially the Republic of Peru ( reˈpuβlika del peˈɾu is a country in western South America. The Philippines ( Filipino: Pilipinas, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (fil ''Republika ng Pilipinas'' RP Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending "Sverige" redirects here For other uses see Sweden (disambiguation and Sverige (disambiguation. The Kingdom of Thailand (ˈtaɪlænd ราชอาณาจักรไทย, râːtɕʰa-ʔaːnaːtɕɑ̀k-tʰɑj East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste (officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste) is a country in Southeast Asia. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The United Mexican States ( or commonly Mexico (ˈmɛksɪkoʊ () is a federal constitutional Republic in North America.
Modern Neopagans, especially Eco-Pagans, sometimes describe themselves as animists, meaning that they respect the diverse community of living beings and spirits with whom humans share the world/cosmos. Neopaganism or Neo-Paganism is an Umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements particularly those influenced by historical 
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. Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller rustic" is a word used to refer to various religions and religious beliefs from across the world Neopaganism or Neo-Paganism is an Umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements particularly those influenced by historical 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. Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple Gods (usually assembled in a pantheon) together with associated Mythology and Rituals Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller rustic" is a word used to refer to various religions and religious beliefs from across the world Clootie wells (also Cloutie or Cloughtie wells) are places of Pilgrimage in Celtic areas. 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. 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. Horned gods, with Horns or Antlers appear in various cultures