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"Historians of religion usually assume that religions developed upwards from some common germ which they call Totemism, Animism, Solar or Astral Myth, Nature Worship in general or Agrarian in particular, or some other name implying a systematic interpretation of the facts."--Cyril Charles Martin

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Animism (from Latin anima (soul, life)) is a philosophical, religious or spiritual idea that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in other animals, plants, rocks, natural phenomena such as thunder, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment, a proposition also known as hylozoism in philosophy. Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names or metaphors in mythology. Religions which emphasize animism are mostly folk religions, such as the various forms of Shamanism, but also Shinto and certain currents of Hinduism emphasize the concept.

Throughout European history, philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, among others, contemplated the possibility that souls exist in animals, plants and people.

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