Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Animism the World’s Oldest Religion

Animism is the World’s Oldest Religion. In Africa today Animist beliefs and organized religious practices such as Islam and Christianity are practiced side by side. The seen, unseen and worlds in between are naturally connected in the souls of African people.

Mama Africa
Every living thing has a soul

The belief of animism is probably one of man's oldest beliefs in objects are alive and have feelings and objectives; Animism is from the Latin word anima, meaning breath, spirit, and life. An animist is a believer in that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct unseen spiritual essence.

Animism is the belief that practically every object in the universe surrounding man has a soul and a personality such as he himself possesses. It is not astonishing that the early inhabitants of the earth  spent their lives with supernatural attributes of a spiritual essence such as trees that in the gloom and chill of winter stood gaunt, bare, and sterile, but in the early spring hastened to greet the welcome warm life-giving sun.

Besides the belief in a human soul, the African animistic mind sees in every natural object a living entity. Thus, trees, rivers, winds, and animals all possess the gift of life. Humans from the most remote periods of history in Africa from which there no written records most likely experienced the natural unbroken existence between the human and spiritual world.

Animist original humans in Africa, watching the marvelous changes in nature through trees and plants, which accurately marked not only the seasons of the year and even the periods of time in a day, could not fail to be awestruck with a feeling of wonder at the mysterious invisible power which silently guided such wondrous and perplexing processes.

Throughout Africa respect is given to distinct spiritual essences and the mysteries of the vast unseen world. Individual spiritual essences are shadowing the universe; mystically typifying creation and regeneration, and holding the key to the divine knowledge and wisdom to those who partook of it.

Animism in Africa finds connections with the mysteries of death, and giving shelter to the souls. Looking upon all objects as symbolic of life, death and the origin of species animists universally regarded nature as powerful beings and constituting the abiding places of spirits whose existence is bound up in the lives of the earth they inhabit.

The seen, unseen and worlds in between are naturally connected in the souls of African people.
The seen, unseen and worlds in between are naturally connected in the souls of African people.

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