the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls.
the belief that natural objects have souls that may exist apart from their material bodies.
the doctrine that the soul is the principle of life and health.
belief in spiritual beings or agencies.
historical examples

their religion is animistic, and their pantheon includes eighty-four gods.
encyclopaedia britannica, 11th edition, volume 15, slice 7 various

the east indies, where the population is native, are animistic.
the necessity of atheism dr. d.m. brooks

the facts are conceived in an animistic way, and a pragmatic animus is imputed to them.
the place of science in modern civilisation and other essays thorstein veblen

i find also no animistic ideas, or practices; no folk-lore and no magic.
quaker hill warren h. wilson

we do not discover these animistic influences so strongly entrenched in ancient egypt.
myths & legends of babylonia & -ssyria lewis spence

this, of course, is vitalism, and vitalism in its extreme or animistic form.
studies in the history and method of science various

it can scarcely be taken as an animistic agency engaged in the process.
the place of science in modern civilisation and other essays thorstein veblen

it would seem that dotty did not definitely personify the element, but was rather in the animistic stage.
nature mysticism j. edward mercer

a logical conclusion from the animistic viewpoint, said thwaite.
the record of currupira robert abernathy

leibniz profoundly influenced the course of what we may term “animistic” thought by his doctrine of monads.
nature mysticism j. edward mercer

the belief that natural objects, phenomena, and the universe itself have desires and intentions
(in the philosophies of plato and pythagoras) the hypothesis that there is an immaterial force that animates the universe

1866, reintroduced by english anthropologist sir edward burnett taylor (1832-1917), who defined it (1871) as the “theory of the universal animation of nature,” from latin anima “life, breath, soul” (see animus) + -ism.

earlier sense was of “doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial soul” (1832), from german animismus, coined c.1720 by physicist/chemist georg ernst stahl (1660-1734) based on the concept of the anima mundi. animist is attested from 1819, in stahl’s sense; animisic is first recorded 1871.
animism [(an-uh-miz-uhm)]

the belief that natural objects such as rivers and rocks possess a soul or spirit. anima is the latin word for “soul” or “spirit.” (see voodoo.)
animism [(an-uh-miz-uhm)]

the belief, common among so-called primitive people, that objects and natural phenomena, such as rivers, rocks, and wind, are alive and have feelings and intentions. animistic beliefs form the basis of many cults. (see also fetish and totemism.)

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