The notion that the world’s occurrences result from the actions of supernatural beings such as spirits or life forces, which can take the form of mountains, valleys, rivers, or vegetation, is known as animism.
Animism is the notion that all living things possess a spirit or life energy and is typically coupled with the idea that humans must learn to coexist peacefully with animals. In certain cultures, particular plants or animals are considered especially sacred and the focus of ceremonies.
Animism is the idea that things found in nature, such as trees, rocks, and winds, have souls. It was regarded as the most basic sort of religious belief system, shared by people at the most primitive stage of social evolution in 19th-century evolutionary theories of religion. Such evolutionary views were blatantly political since they elevated the religion of its proponents to the status of evolution. Today’s religious scholars often assume that all faiths have similar goals and are less interested in the specifics of their religious beliefs than they are in religion’s social roles.
Ritual is regarded as necessary in animist communities to gain the favor of the spirits that protect people from other evil spirits and give them food, shelter, and fertility.
Edward Burnett Tylor wrote Primitive Culture in 1871. It was a very controversial book at the time because it argued that animism was a form of religious practice in which credible evidence from the senses is turned into rules, norms, and bans about the body and its limited moral world. The book analyzed the primitive social institutions in society.
Tylor considered animism a simple definition of religion, where the idea that the soul may wander when a person is asleep served as proof of religion’s spiritual universality. According to this theory, religion stems from the twin notions that the soul may be able to live independently of the body and that it may therefore act as a free agent occupying the area between the living and the dead.
Therefore, animism relies on the belief that the soul can be liberated through sleep, trance, and liminal mental states, as well as an instantly transferable link between people and their physical settings. Animism is founded on the direct observation and reading of the natural world and the presence of people in it, in contrast to less physically oriented views of religion.
Animism is known as the idea that angels, devils, spirits, or apparitions roam the earth. These spirits communicate with and influence humans in various ways, for good or bad. For instance, animists think that evil spirits are to blame for demonic possession, madness, and inappropriate behavior.