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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.

The expression Animism (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.

The expression Animatism 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 the same:

All natural entities have a spiritual property.

The only difference lies in the way how to address these properties. The Personification 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.

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