In the early days of mankind everything was important. These were the
days of pure survival. Nature was even more important than the human
being itself. Thus, everything had a spiritual soul like any human
being. Those spiritual sources of nature were considered to have
greater power than the humans. Thus, nature, the humans, animals, and the
plants have to be treated with the same respect.
(from the Latin animus for soul) was introduced by the
anthropologist E. B. Tylor in his book "Primitive Culture" (1871).
Tylor's original use of the term has since been widely criticized.
Today the term is used with more respect and it is used to
summarize independent religions but sharing the same respect
for nature, e.g. see
Animism Or, Thought Currents of Primitive Peoples
by George William Gilmore published 1919.
is a term coined by R. R. Marett to refer to the belief of certain
cultures in supernatural forces and powers. Here, these forces are
inanimate and impersonal, which is not the case with the beliefs
classed as animism. Nevertheless, the fundamental belief is
All natural entities have a spiritual property.
The only difference lies in the way how to address these properties.
of a spiritual entity allows a communication like to a human being,
i. e.via talking.
Otherwise the effects of a spiritual entity can be felt
or experienced (only). Nevertheless, the
Powers of Nature
have a spiritual property which is an essential part of religious worship.