What is Animism ?
Animism is a religion/belief in a Central-Asia. This belief all humans were believed by. Animism has a close connection with Shamanism. Animism means coming from Animi. Animi word is used for heart, soul, life. Animism is In each object in nature, there is a soul, a primitive religious view that asserts the objects and nature in general. In philosophy, it is the system that recognizes that every object is governed by a spiritual being or spirit.
The Rules of Animism
- Respect the souls.
How to worship in Animism?
The Theories of Animism
The development and understanding of primitive cultures and religions came about after European explorers discovered Africa, India, and the New World – the Americas and Australia. These colonialists brought their religion, Christianity, with them, and used their own standards and understanding of religion and culture as a yardstick for the new civilizations they encountered. According to authors who’ve written about this period, the colonialists were mostly missionaries. Thanks to their own personal viewpoints, the missionaries labelled cultures as primitive if they ascribed souls to things other than human beings and believed these spirits were able to communicate with all things and influence their everyday life. With the growing support of Darwin’s theories at the time, the European intellectuals were further convinced of the primitive nature of the cultures and religions of the native tribes they encountered.
Sir Edward Tylor published a book entitled Primitive Culture in 1871, which delineated the alleged progression of religion from animism to polytheism and later monotheism. Tylor judged cultures by the standards of 19th century Europe, and therefore viewed animism as a flawed religious system. In his studies, he alleged that, in order for cultures to possess religion in its most basic form, they needed to believe in spiritual beings minimally. From that point, he purported, their belief system would evolve and became more complex, developing doctrine and performing rites to influence deities and demons. Some scholars believe Tylor may have been too disconnected from cultures with animistic beliefs and did not understand how fundamental their religious views were to their day-to-day struggle to survive.
In 1960, anthropologist A. Irving Hallowell published his essay Ojibwa Ontology, Behavior, and World View. The author proclaimed the Ojibwa people of North America ascribed the qualities of a person, such as sentience, ability to communicate and personal choice, to things like the weather, cookware, stones etc. Hallowell sought to challenge the Western definition of a person.
Anthropologist Nurit Bird-David was influenced by Hallowell’s work. In 1999, she published an article based on Hallowell’s premise and added that perhaps the soul of an individual is not rigid and bound to that person, but rather that the boundary between souls is fluid. The soul is further defined by its relationship with others and the environment, the author alleges. In 2005, anthropologist Graham Harvey published his book Animism: Respecting the Living Worldand supported the view that not all persons are human. He also defined animism in terms of the relationship between things.
Examples of Animism
Totemism is viewed as a subcategory of animism. Similarly, fetishism is the ascribing of power to an object, for instance in Voodoo. Voodoo practitioners serve the spirits and deal with the hidden world of mysteries, spirits, invisibles and angels. Shamanism is also viewed as a subcategory of animism. Authors claim shamans communicate with, and enter, the spirit world by putting themselves into a trance. In order to cure illness in the body, they believe they need to heal the soul. Skilled shamans purportedly communicate with benevolent spirits, while the less adept, or black shamans, often rely on the succor of evil deities.
Animistic Way of Life
The various animistic subcategories are linked by their primal desire to survive through communication with spiritual beings and the particular circumstances and kinship effected by them. In order to survive, the people would need to eat animals, even though they regarded animals as persons. Authors point out the animals interacted closely with each other and humans on a familial level. Animists also expressed their kinship with plant life, when they sourced plant food to eat. One culture offered invocations to their food sources, some authors claim.