Their religion was a nature-worship intimately connected with the veneration of ancestors.
Religion was inseparable from ordinary life, and, like that of all peoples who are dependent on the fruits of the earth, was a nature-worship. The tie between deities and worshippers was regarded as physical and entailed mutual obligations.
We see evidence of a uniform Nature Worship passing through all the normal stages down to theoanthropism in the latest period.
Paphos owes its ancient fame to the cult of the "Paphian goddess" llacNaFavavaa, or 7) IIacaia, in inscriptions, or simply n 8ea), a nature-worship of the same type as the cults of Phoenician Astarte, maintained by a college of orgiastic ministers, practising sensual excess and self-mutilation.'
He availed himself of the reviving interest in legitimism and Catholicism which was represented by Bonald and Joseph de Maistre, of the nature worship of Rousseau and Bernardin de Saint Pierre, of the sentimentalism of Madame de Stael, of the medievalism and the romance of Chateaubriand and Scott, of the maladie du siecle of Chateaubriand and Byron.
His cult survived the metamorphosis of the ancient Vedic nature-worship into modern Hinduism, and there still are in India fire-priests (agnihotri) whose duty is to superintend his worship. The sacred fire-drill for procuring the temple-fire by friction - symbolic of Agni's daily miraculous birth - is still used.
How deeply the orgiastic character was stamped on the priesthoods of north Semitic nature-worship is clear from Greek and Roman accounts, such as that of Appuleius (Metam.
In point of fact the one rested on old Hebrew tradition, the other had taken shape mainly under Canaanite influence, and in most of its features was little more than the crassest nature-worship. In this respect there was no distinction between the Temple of Zion and other shrines, or rather it was just in the greatest sanctuary with the most stately ritual that foreign influences had most play, as we see alike in the original institutions of Solomon and in the innovations of Ahaz (2 Kings xvi.
4 seq.), and from the allusion in Amos we are led to suppose that at one time the Nazarites had an importance - perhaps even an organization - parallel to that of the prophets, but of a very different religious type from the Canaanite nature-worship.
It may be held as undoubted that the later Manichaeans celebrated mysteries analogous to Christian baptism and the Lord's Supper, which may have rested upon ancient consecration rites and other ceremonies instituted by Mani himself and having their origin in nature worship.
Having for some time learnt to be aggressive, she girded herself for the difficult work of teaching the nations a higher faith than a savage form of nature-worship, and of fitting them to become members of an enlightened Christendom.
(2) The Shamalis or Shamsis preserve many traces of the old nature-worship. `Ali (i.e.
juives, 1901, pp. 192 sqq.) points to rites of nature-worship, and it is possible that in these the term Hosanna had some other application.
From the moral world the next step is religion; the moral law gives place to God; but the idea of Godhead, too, as it first appears, is imperfect, and has to pass through the forms of nature-worship and of art before it reaches a full utterance in Christianity.
4 Whether they could be regarded as so many manifestations of a single deity or as really distinct entities, there were at all events similar and well understood relations between each and its group; and although the cult was nature-worship and was attended with a licentiousness which drew forth the denunciations of the prophets, this is only one aspect of the local deity's place in the religious conceptions of his circle.
As Spencer thinks ancestor-worship the first form of religion, and as he holds that persons with such names as sun, moon and the like became worshipped as ancestors, his theory results in the belief that nature-worship and the myths about natural phenomena - dawn, wind, sky, night and the rest - are a kind of transmuted worship of ancestors and transmuted myths about real men and women.
If they are, we end where the pagan nature worship ended.
Originating probably, in the observation of the fertilizing effect of rains and streams upon the receptive and reproductive soil, baalism becomes identical with the grossest nature-worship. Joined with the baals there are naturally found corresponding female figures known as Ashtaroth, embodiments of Ashtoreth (see Astarte; Ishtar).
Even at Stonehenge, the oldest relic of prehistoric religion in England, where we picture in imagination the worship of the rising sun, nature worship degraded to a horrible depth by human sacrifice, we find struggling for expression the idea of a corporate religious life.
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