Animism

Information

The term animism is derived from the Latin word anima,meaning breath or soul,which is probably one of the man's oldest beliefs and most likely existing since the Paleolithic age.Sir Edward Tylor,a late nineteenth century anthropologist,developed the theory which he named 'Animism'.

It is a belief, such as monotheism,shamathism and polytheism that is found in several religions.As per the record,there are about 40% 0f population in the world who follow animism.

As per Animism, a soul or spirit existed in every object,hence it was considered to be universal.Animism is the belief that spirits dwell within people and objects,which animate them.

It is the religious faith and life system of the tribal peoples of the world,which is a totally different from the western non-religious view of life.They experienced the loss of a member of their tribe or family and then experienced that person again through a dream or remembrance.

Hence the idea arose that the spirit or soul(anima) of the person had left the mortal body and now existed in another form.As people began to worship the more powerful of these spirits,the religion was born.The animistic form of religion is called 'folk religion'' such as 'folk Hinduism' or 'folk Islam'.Animism is the religion that believes that every object carries spiritual significance and events have spiritual causes.The primitive people,without a written tradition, believed the spirits or souls created life in human beings.

They beleived that all things in the world,including stones, plants, the wind, etc.have some kind of spiritual or psychological presence,which implies that things are 'ensouled' or 'animated' by a universal 'world soul', or by individual spirits of various kinds.These souls were pictured as vapors or shadows going from one body to another.Plants and trees are home to certain spirits,hence those are considered as sacred.

It is also believed that, the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship. These spirits all around nature are known as "diwatas", showing cultural relationship with Devatas of Hindus (India). Some worship specific deities, such as the Tagalog supreme deity Bathala, and his children Adlaw, Mayari, and Tala, or the Visayan deity Kan-Laon, while others practice Ancestor worship anitos.

There are variations in animistic practices in different ethnic groups.Magic, chants and prayers are often key features.Its practitioners were highly respected in the community,as they were healers, priests(katalonan), tribal historians and wizened elders that provided the spiritual and traditional life of the community.

Animism attracts, because it serves to the everyday needs and problems, such as the need to heal an illness,to get success in work,to restore a soured relationship,to get a good friend,to get right guidence for the future etc.Animism is found in many indigenous religions worldwide and it is an almost universal component of regional folklore.

After the famous colony of Roanoke disappeared in 1590, many Christian colonists believed the spirit of Virginia Dare, the first baby born in the New World, could be seen on moonlit nights in the body of a white deer, ghosting through the forest.

sacred tree Many regard Shintoism as a kind of animism. Animism refers to the collective worship of spirits and dead ancestors rather than individual gods. Derived from anima, the Latin word for soul, it was coined in 1871 by Edward Taylor to describe a theory of religion.

Animism and ancestor worship are often closely linked. Animism is not the worship of animals. Animism emphasizes a reverence for all living things. Many animists believe that every living thing and some non-living ones too even trees and insects and things like special rocks and landscape formations have a spirit.

Commonly these spirits merge with other spirits such as a common river or forest spirit and a general life spirit. Some spirits are conjured up before a tree is chopped down or food is eaten to appease them. Others are believed to be responsible for fighting disease or promoting fertility. Animist spirits are often associated with places or objects because they were thought to live close by.

Animism is the term used to describe the indigenous spiritual traditions practiced in the Philippines during pre-colonial times. Today, a handful of the indigenous tribes continue to practice it.

The traditions are a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored more or less in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship. These spirits all around nature are known as " diwatas", showing cultural relationship with Devatas.

Some worship specific deities, such as the Tagalog supreme deity Bathala, and his children Adlaw, Mayari, and Tala, or the Visayan deity Kan-Laon, while others practice Ancestor worship anitos. Variations of animistic practices occur in different ethnic groups. Magic, chants and prayers are often key features.

Its practitioners were highly respected citation needed (and some feared) in the community, as they were healers, priests/priestesses ( katalonan), tribal historians and wizened elders that provided the spiritual and traditional life of the community. In the regions, there is a belief in the existence of witchcraft or barang and mythical creatures such as the " aswang", " balay sa dwendi Bakonawa", despite the existence of the Christian and Islamic faiths.

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