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Animism: How Spiritual Beliefs Evolve

"Painting of Gaṇeśa riding on his vehicle...

Evolution of Beliefs

Scientists say that animal deities eventually led to goddesses and then to gods. You can see some of that progression in the Egyptian goddesses and gods, who are often shown with the heads of animals—the animal that each one derived from.

As peoples lives changed, as gathering wild plants and hunting gradually changed to gardening and herding animals, and then eventually to farming, the beliefs of the peoples evolved as well. The belief in animal deities was usually just one stage in their religious development.

Animal Deities Today

Yet even today there are animists in many parts of the world, and there are still those who honor animal deities. Ganesha, for example, honored by more people in India than any other god or goddess. And Jaguar is still honored in the rainforests of South America.

This site explores the beliefs of many cultures around the world that so honored the spirits of certain animals that they came to revere them as deities.


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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Animism: How Spiritual Beliefs Evolve « White Cranes linked to this post on July 22, 2011

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