For me animism means that everything has a spirit. Every tree, every animal, every blade of grass, every rock. Even things that we would not normally consider alive, like mountains, planets, or stars. A good example is "Spirited Away". In the movie, a girl meets the spirit of a river. Dictionary.com defines animism as:"
the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and theuniverse itself possess souls.
the belief that natural objects have souls that may existapart from their material bodies.
the doctrine that the soul is the principle of life and health.
belief in spiritual beings or agencies."
Believing animism gives me a different outlook than most people. Recently someone posted on facebook about wanting to become a vegetarian for ethical/spiritual reasons. For me this is a non issue. Plants have spirits just like animals do. No matter what you eat you're still killing something that has a soul. No matter what I'm eating, I give thinks to the spirit of the food. When I weed my garden, I apologize to the spirits of the weeds. It's not so much about not killing as it is showing respect for the things that you kill. Nothing can live without taking life from something else. And it doesn't end with "living" things. For example, if I ever build a house, I will ask permission of the land I'm building it on.
Many cultures have rituals to give thanks to the spirits that support human life. In societies where animism is a prevalent belief, rituals are conducted to show respect and give thanks to spirits of crops, weather, land, water, building materials, etc. In a culture where people traditionally only stop to give thanks once a year, and respect for our fellow beings is practically nonexistent, we could learn a lot by looking to these other cultures.
That's my two cents about animism. Be sure to join me next week for my blog about angels. Today's blog has been brought to you by the letter A.