The belief in human immortality in some form is almost universal; even in early animistic cults the germ of the idea is present, and in all the higher religions it is an important feature.
The Maoris ate their enemies' hearts to gain their courage, but to whatever degree animistic beliefs may have once contributed to their cannibalism, it is certain that long before Captain Cook's visit religious sanction for the custom had long given place to mere gluttonous enjoyment.
His world-conception is highly animistic. He feels the thrill of life everywhere, in plants, earth, stars, the total universe.
But these beliefs are far from being confined to the uncivilized; Greek philosophers like Porphyry, no less than the fathers of the Church, held that the world was pervaded with spirits; side by side with the belief in witchcraft, we can trace through the middle ages the survival of primitive animistic views; and in our own day even these beliefs subsist in unsuspected vigour among the peasantry of the more uneducated European countries.
In fact the ready acceptance of spiritualism testifies to the force with which the primitive animistic way of looking at things appealed to the white races in the middle of the last century.
(h) It has been shown above how the animistic creed postulates the existence of all kinds of local spirits, which are sometimes tied to their habitats, sometimes free to wander.
There is, however, no proof that the belief is animistic in the proper sense.
An animistic theory of disease was held by Pastor J.
In the animistic attitude we have in- Anim- deed the true background of the genuine Roman religion; but its characteristic and peculiar development is a kind of "higher Animism," which can associate the "spirit" not merely with visible and tangible objects, but with states and actions in the life of the individual and the community.
2919 2) the conception of Vesta was still material and not anthropomorphic. The Penates were the numina of the store-cupboard, at first vague and animistic, but later on, as the definite deus-notion was developed, identified with certain of the other divinities of household or state religion.
But it is difficult in practice to distinguish the two phases of thought and no clear account of animatism can yet be given, largely on the ground that no people has yet been discovered which has not already developed to a greater or less extent an animistic philosophy.
On theoretical grounds it is probable that animatism preceded animism; but savage thought is no more consistent than that of civilized man; and it may well be that animistic and panthelistic doctrines are held simultaneously by the same person.
In like manner one portion of the savage explanation of nature may have been originally animistic, another part animatistic.
Dreams are sometimes explained by savages as journeys performed by the sleeper, sometimes as visits paid by other persons, by animals or objects to him; hallucinations, possibly more frequent in the lower stages of culture, must have contributed to fortify this interpretation, and the animistic theory in general.
But apart from considerations of this sort, it is probable that animals must, early in the history of animistic beliefs, 'have been regarded as possessing souls.
It is therefore not surprising to find that many peoples on the lower planes of culture respect and even worship animals (see Totem; Animal Worship); though we need not attribute an animistic origin to all the developments, it is clear that the widespread respect paid to animals as the abode of dead ancestors, and much of the cult of dangerous animals, is traceable to this principle.
With the rise of species, deities and the cult of individual animals, the path towards anthropomorphization and polytheism is opened and the respect paid to animals tends to lose its strict animistic character.
All over the world agricultural peoples practise elaborate ceremonies explicable, as Mannhardt has shown, on animistic principles.
As an example of this stage in one of its aspects may be taken the European belief in the corn spirit, which is, however, the object of magical rather than religious rites; Dr Frazer has thus defined the character of the animistic pantheon, "they are restricted in their operations to definite departments of nature; their names are general, not proper; their attributes are generic rather than individual; in other words, there is an indefinite number of spirits of each class, and the individuals of a class are much alike; they have no definitely marked individuality; no accepted traditions are current as to their origin, life and character."
Animistic in many of their features too are the temporary gods of fetishism, naguals or familiars, genii and even the dead who receive a cult.
Two animistic theories of the origin of religion have been put forward, the one, often termed the "ghost theory," mainly associated with the name of Herbert Spencer, but also maintained by Grant Allen, refers the beginning of religion to the cult of dead human beings; the other, put forward by Dr E.
Tylor, makes the foundation of all religion animistic, but recognizes the non-human character of polytheistic gods.
The more general view that polytheistic and other gods are the elemental and other spirits of the later stages of animistic creeds, is equally inapplicable to Australia, where the belief seems to be neither animistic nor even animatistic in character.
Even, therefore, if we can say that at the present day the gods are entirely spiritual, it is clearly possible to maintain that they have been spiritualized pari passu with the increasing importance of the animistic view of nature and of the greater prominence of eschatological beliefs.
The animistic origin of religion is therefore not proven.
While a large part of mythology has an animistic basis, it is possible to believe, e.g.
In a sky world, peopled by corporeal beings, as well as by spirits of the dead; the latter may even be entirely absent; the mythology of the Australians relates largely to corporeal, non-spiritual beings; stories of transformation, deluge and doom myths, or myths of the origin of death, have not necessarily any animistic basis.
On the other hand monadology (Leibnitz) has also been termed animistic. The name is most commonly applied to vitalism, a view mainly associated with G.
An entirely different class of ideas, also termed animistic, is the belief in the world soul, held by Plato, Schelling and others.
This animistic tendency is a marked characteristic of primitive Man in every land.
The suhman can, it is believed, communicate a part of his powers to various objects in which he does not dwell; these are also termed suhman by the natives and may have given rise to the belief that the practices commonly termed fetishism are not animistic. These charms are many in number; offerings of food and drink are made, i.e.
But the Buddha, while rejecting the sacrifices and the ritualistic magic of the brahmin schools, the animistic superstitions of the people, the asceticism and soultheory of the Jains, and the pantheistic speculations of the poets of the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads, still retained the belief in transmigration.
This belief - the transmigration of the soul, after the death of the body, into other bodies, either of men, beasts or gods - is part of the animistic creed so widely found throughout the world that it was probably universal.
The most obvious characteristics of the ordinary Hindu are that he worships a plurality of gods, looks upon the cow as a sacred animal, and accepts the Brahmanical supremacy (see Brahmanism) and the caste system; and when it is a question whether one of the animistic tribes has or has not entered the fold of Hinduism, these two latter points seem to be the proper test to apply.
So completely did this system in the course of time sway men's minds that the cult, from being an expression of animistic beliefs, took on the colour derived from the "astral" interpretation of occurrences and doctrines.
The actual proportion of the total population of India (294 millions) included under the name of "Hindus" has been computed in the census report for 1901 at something like 70% (206 millions); the remaining 30% being made up partly of the followers of foreign creeds, such as Mahommedans, Parsees, Christians and Jews, partly of the votaries of indigenous forms of belief which have at various times separated from the main stock, and developed into independent systems, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; and partly of isolated hill and jungle tribes, such as the Santals, Bhils (Bhilla) and Kols, whose crude animistic tendencies have hitherto kept them, either wholly or for the most part, outside the pale of the Brahmanical community.
These powers are of a well-marked animistic type, and correspond to the Chinese Shin, save that they were not incorporated in the cultus.
Further, he set his face against the Tantra system, and against the animistic superstitions which had been allowed to creep into life again.
Yet traces of a pre-deistic and animistic period survived here and there; for instance, in Arcadia we find the thunder itself called Zeus (ZEUs Kepavvos) in a Mantinean inscription, 2 and the stone near Gythium in Laconia on which Orestes sat and was cured of his madness, evidently a thunder-stone, was named itself Zeus Kainreoras, which must be interpreted as " Zeus that fell from heaven "; 3 we here observe that the personal God does not yet seem to have emerged from the divine thing or divine phenomenon.
Lastly, there is usually to be discerned amongst such lower races a belief in unseen powers pervading the universe, this belief shaping itself into an animistic or spiritualistic theology, mostly resulting in some kind of worship. If, again, high savage or low barbaric types be selected, as among the North American Indians, Polynesians, and Kaffirs of South Africa, the same elements of culture appear, but at a more advanced stage, namely, a more full and accurate language, more knowledge of the laws of nature, more serviceable implements, more perfect industrial processes, more definite and fixed social order and frame of government, more systematic and philosophic schemes of religion and a more elaborate and ceremonial worship. At intervals new arts and ideas appear, such as agriculture and pasturage, the manufacture of pottery, the use of metal implements and the device of record and communication by picture writing.