Specialized Research Animism Is The Concept That Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Term Paper Paper: #1268512 Related Topics: Rogerian, Book Of Revelation, Worship, Religion Hinduism
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Specialized Research

Animism is the concept that lies at the core of every ancient religion. The term first came forth in anthropological writings of Edward B. Tylor in 1873 and since then, numerous researchers and historians have studied the concept of animism to better understand the force that drives primitive cultures. Animism is apparently connected with religious beliefs but research in the field reveals that many ancient cultural beliefs are also animistic in nature. In his book, Primitive Cultures, Tylor defined animism "a minimum definition of religion" which underscores the significance of this concept in formation of ancient religious beliefs.

Animism is derived from Greek word anima, which means soul, and ancient religions like Santeria and Hoodoo are based on the concept that everything in this world has a soul. But in its advanced form, animism affects most ancient cultural beliefs, rituals and religious values. Worshipping of trees, fire and idols is grounded in the...


resulting in some kind of active worship" (1970b, 11).

Such beliefs drive many ancient traditions. For example in Hinduism, cow is considered a sacred being, which must not be slaughtered under any condition. Similar beliefs exist in other primitive cultures too as Tylor writes: "trees generally regarded as maternal deities or forest spirits, to be respected even when their lives were sacrificed for human use (pagan woodcutters never felled a tree without first begging its forgiveness). Female tree spirits live on in myth and folklore as dryads, the Greek version of the tree-worshiping druid priestesses." In short the animistic belief that every object is sacred because it has a soul has resulted in conversion of inanimate objects like stones, trees into deities and supernatural forces. Animism lies at the center of ancient practices of 'polytheism', idol worshipping or 'pantheism'.

The religion of Santeria is a good example of animistic religions. The soul that animists believe exist in every object is given the name of Ashe in Santeria. Joseph Murphy writes in his book Santeria:

The sacred world of Santeria is motivated by Ashe. Ashe is growth, the force toward completeness and divinity. [Santeria is based on the]…

Sources Used in Documents:


Tylor, Edward B. 1970b. Religion in Primitive Culture (Primitive Culture, Part 2) London: John Murray, 1958.

Santeria, Joseph M. Murphy. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.

Taylor, E.B. "Animism." Primative Cutlure, London: John Murray, 1873

Cite this Document:

"Specialized Research Animism Is The Concept That" (2003, November 17) Retrieved August 11, 2022, from

"Specialized Research Animism Is The Concept That" 17 November 2003. Web.11 August. 2022. <

"Specialized Research Animism Is The Concept That", 17 November 2003, Accessed.11 August. 2022,

Related Documents
Shinto and Japanese Society the
Words: 3569 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 79079056

As a consequence, the society provides a culturally acceptable outlet for such expression, i.e., while under the influence of alcohol during a Shinto festival procession (also known as Japanese matsuri). During these public processions, which are generally held on annual basis, a large object (supposedly containing the spirit of a local deity) is carried shoulder-high through the streets, in order to revitalize the community with its supernatural presence. The bearers