Nature worship

Nature worship is any of a variety of religious, spiritual and devotional practices that focus on the worship of the nature spirits considered to be behind the natural phenomena visible throughout nature.[1] A nature deity can be in charge of nature, a place, a biotope, the biosphere, the cosmos, or the universe. Nature worship is often considered the primitive source of modern religious beliefs and can be found in theism, panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism, shamanism, paganism. Common to most forms of nature worship is a spiritual focus on the individual's connection and influence on some aspects of the natural world and reverence towards it.[2]

Forms and aspects of nature worship

See also

References

  1. ^ A Dictionary of Religion and Ethics edited by Shailer Mathews, Gerald Birney Smith, p 305
  2. ^ The New International Encyclopædia, Volume 14 edited by Daniel Coit Gilman, Harry Thurston Peck, Frank Moore Colby, pp 288-289
Aadi Perukku

Aadi pirappu (pronunciation ) commonly known as the Aadi monsoon festival and also written as Aadiperukku is a Tamil festival celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Adi (mid-July to mid-August). The festival pays tribute to water's life-sustaining properties. For the blessing of mankind with peace, prosperity and happiness, nature worship in the form of Amman deities are organized to shower Nature’s bountiful grace on human beings.

Aetherius Society

The Aetherius Society is a new religious movement founded by George King in the mid-1950s as the result of what King claimed were contacts with extraterrestrial intelligences, whom he referred to as "Cosmic Masters". The main goal of the believer is to cooperate with these Cosmic Masters to help humanity solve its current Earthly problems and advance into the New Age.It is a syncretic religion, based primarily on Theosophy, but also incorporating millenarian, New Age, and UFO religion aspects.

Emphases of the religion include altruism, community service, nature worship, spiritual healing, and physical exercise. Members meet in congregations not unlike a church. John A. Saliba states that unlike many other New Age or UFO religions, the Aetherius Society is for the most part considered uncontroversial, although its esoteric and millenarian aspects are sometimes ridiculed. The religion may be considered to have a relatively conventional praxis, and members come from mainstream society. The society's membership, although international in composition, is not very large. David V. Barrett suggested in 2011 that the worldwide membership was now into the thousands, with the largest number of members being in the United Kingdom, United States (particularly Southern California), and New Zealand.

Astrolatry

Astrolatry is the worship of stars and other heavenly bodies as deities, or the association of deities with heavenly bodies.

The most common instances of this are sun gods and moon gods in polytheistic systems worldwide. Also notable is the association of the planets with deities in Babylonian, and hence in Greco-Roman religion, viz. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

The term astro-theology is used in the context of 18th- to 19th-century scholarship aiming at the discovery of the original religion, particularly primitive monotheism. Unlike astrolatry, which usually implies polytheism, frowned upon as idolatrous by Christian authors since Eusebius, astrotheology is any "religious system founded upon the observation of the heavens", and in particular, may be monotheistic. Gods, goddesses, and demons may also be considered personifications of astronomical phenomena such as lunar eclipses, planetary alignments, and apparent interactions of planetary bodies with stars. Astro-theology is used by Jan Irvin, Jordan Maxwell and Andrew Rutajit (2006) in reference to "the earliest known forms of religion and nature worship", advocating the entheogen theory of the origin of religion.

Celtic animism

According to classical sources, the ancient Celts were animists. They honoured the forces of nature, saw the world as inhabited by many spirits, and saw the Divine manifesting in aspects of the natural world.

Dravidian folk religion

The early Dravidian religion was basically a form of animism. The worship of tutelary deities, nature worship, ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife (contrary to the "reincarnation" belief) are basic to the ancient Dravidian religion.

Gods and other spirits are not separate from nature or humanity, but possessing positive and negative, good and evil characteristics. There is also evidence that a form of shamanism and spirit possession was part of the ancient Dravidian religion. Theyyam or Buta Kola, kinds of shamanistic dances, are one of many rituals that trace their origin back to the ancient Dravidian folk religion.These beliefs also had some influence on Hinduism and influenced the creation of the Āgamas. Dravidian linguistic influence on early Vedic religion is evident, many of these features are already present in the oldest known Indo-Aryan language, the language of the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE), which also includes over a dozen words borrowed from Dravidian. The linguistic evidence for Dravidian impact grows increasingly strong as we move from the Samhitas down through the later Vedic works and into the classical post-Vedic literature. This represents an early religious and cultural fusion or synthesis between ancient Dravidians and Indo-Aryans that went on to influence the Indian civilization.

Earth religion

Earth religion is a term used mostly in the context of neopaganism.Earth-centered religion or nature worship is a system of religion based on the veneration of natural phenomena. It covers any religion that worships the earth, nature, or fertility deity, such as the various forms of goddess worship or matriarchal religion. Some find a connection between earth-worship and the Gaia hypothesis. Earth religions are also formulated to allow one to utilize the knowledge of preserving the earth.

Estonian neopaganism

Estonian Neopaganism, or the Estonian native faith (Estonian: Maausk, literally "Native faith"), is the name, in English, for a grouping of contemporary revivals (often called "Neopagan", although adherents of Estonian native religion generally don't use the term) of the indigenous Pagan religion of the Estonian people.

It encompasses Taaraism (Estonian: Taarausk literally "Taara Faith"), a monistic religion centered on god Tharapita founded in 1928 by intellectuals as a national religion; and Maausk as a much broader definition of "Native Faith", encompassing grassroots movements of local gods worship, nature worship and earth worship. Both kinds of movements are administered by the Maavalla Koda organization. According to Ahto Kaasik, an unspecified 2002 survey revealed that 11% of the population of Estonia claimed that "out of all the religions they have the warmest feelings towards Taaraism and Maausk".

Finnish neopaganism

Finnish Neopaganism, or the Finnish native faith (Finnish: Suomenusko: "Finnish Religion") is the contemporary Neopagan revival of Finnish paganism, the pre-Christian polytheistic ethnic religion of the Finns. A precursor movement was the Ukonusko ("Ukko's Faith", revolving around the god Ukko) of the early 20th century. The main problem in the revival of Finnish paganism is the nature of pre-Christian Finnish culture, which relied on oral tradition and of which very little is left. The primary sources concerning Finnish native culture are written by latter-era Christians.

There are two main organisations of the religion, the "Association of Finnish Native Religion" (Suomalaisen kansanuskon yhdistys ry) based in Helsinki and officially registered since 2002, and the "Pole Star Association" (Taivaannaula ry) headquartered in Turku with branches in many cities, founded and officially registered in 2007. The Association of Finnish Native Religion also caters to Karelians and is a member of the Uralic Communion.

Gerald Birney Smith

Gerald Birney Smith (May 3, 1868 – April 2, 1929) was a Christian author, educator, and administrator at the Chicago School.He was born in Middlefield, Massachusettss and attended Brown university in 1891. He taught at Oberlin Academy, Worcester Academy, and was an active educator his entire life. While at the University of Chicago, when Shailer Mathews was absent Smith would take up duties of Dean of the department.

He wrote about topics such as Nature worship and also edited the American Journal of Theology and the Journal of Religion.

Halumatha

Halumatha is a denomination of the Hindu religion mainly followed by Hatkar and Kuruba Gowda. The majority of members of Halumatha are followers of Advaita and Nature Worship.

Hargrave Jennings

Hargrave Jennings (1817-1890) was a British Freemason, Rosicrucian, author on occultism and esotericism, and amateur student of comparative religion.

List of Celtic deities

The Celtic pantheon is known from a variety of sources such as written Celtic mythology, ancient places of worship, statues, engravings, religious objects, and place or personal names.

Celtic deities can belong to two categories: general deities and local deities. "General deities" were known by Celts throughout large regions, and are the gods and goddesses invoked for protection, healing, luck, and honour. The "local deities" that embodied Celtic nature worship were the spirits of a particular feature of the landscape, such as mountains, trees, or rivers, and thus were generally only known by the locals in the surrounding areas.After Celtic lands became Christianised, there were attempts by Christian writers to euhemerize or even demonize the pre-Christian deities. For example, the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythological sources have commonly been interpreted to be a divine pantheon, despite certain redactors' interjecting that the Tuatha Dé Danann were merely mortals, or else that they were demons.

List of nature deities

In nature worship, a nature deity is a deity in charge of forces of nature such as water deity, vegetation deity, sky deity, solar deity, fire deity or any other naturally occurring phenomena such as mountains, trees, or volcanoes. Accepted in panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism, shamanism and paganism the deity embodies natural forces and can have characteristics of the mother goddess, Mother Nature or lord of the animals.

Paganism

Paganism (from classical Latin pāgānus "rural, rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism. This was either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were hellene, gentile, and heathen. Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian.Paganism was originally a pejorative and derogatory term for polytheism, implying its inferiority. Paganism has broadly connoted the "religion of the peasantry". During and after the Middle Ages, the term paganism was applied to any unfamiliar religion, and the term presumed a belief in false god(s). Most modern pagan religions existing today—Modern Paganism, or Neopaganism—express a world view that is pantheistic, polytheistic or animistic; but some are monotheistic.The origin of the application of the term pagan to polytheism is debated. In the 19th century, paganism was adopted as a self-descriptor by members of various artistic groups inspired by the ancient world. In the 20th century, it came to be applied as a self-descriptor by practitioners of Modern Paganism, Neopagan movements and Polytheistic reconstructionists. Modern pagan traditions often incorporate beliefs or practices, such as nature worship, that are different from those in the largest world religions.Contemporary knowledge of old pagan religions comes from several sources, including anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to Classical antiquity.

Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena

Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena, sometimes called simulacra, are sightings of images with spiritual or religious themes or import to the perceiver. The images perceived, whether iconic or aniconic, may be the faces of religious notables or the manifestation of spiritual symbols in the natural, organic media or phenomena of the natural world. The occurrence or event of perception may be transient or fleeting or may be more enduring and monumental. The phenomenon appears to approach a cultural universal and may often accompany nature worship, animism, and fetishism, along with more formal or organized belief systems.

Within Christian traditions, many instances reported involve images of Jesus or other Christian figures seen in food; in the Muslim world, structures in food and other natural objects may be perceived as religious text in Arabic script, particularly the word Allah or verses from the Qur'an. Many religious believers view them as real manifestations of miraculous origin; a sceptical view is that such perceptions are examples of pareidolia.

The original phenomena of this type were acheropites: images of major Christian icons such as Jesus and the Virgin Mary which were believed to have been created by supernatural means. The word acheropite comes from the Greek ἀχειροποίητος, meaning "not created by human hands", and the term was first applied to the Turin Shroud and the Veil of Veronica. Later, the term came to apply more generally to simulacra of a religious or spiritual nature occurring in natural phenomena, particularly those seen by believers as being of miraculous origin.

Seiganto-ji

Seiganto-ji (青岸渡寺), Temple of the Blue Waves, is a Tendai Buddhist temple in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. In 2004, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other locations, under the name "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range". According to a legend, it was founded by the priest Ragyō Shōnin, a monk from India. The temple was purposely built near Nachi Falls, where it may have previously been a site of nature worship. Seiganto-ji is part of the Kumano Sanzan shrine complex, and as such can be considered one of the few jingū-ji (shrine temples, see article Shinbutsu shūgō) still in existence after the forcible separation of Shinto and Buddhism operated by the Japanese government during the Meiji restoration.It is Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage's No.1 (first stop) and an Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

Soul dualism

Soul dualism or multiple souls is a range of beliefs that a person has two or more kinds of souls. In many cases, one of the souls is associated with body functions ("body soul") and the other one can leave the body ("free soul" or "wandering soul"). Sometimes the plethora of soul types can be even more complex. Sometimes, a shaman's "free soul" may be held to be able to undertake a spirit journey.

Vegetation deity

A vegetation deity is a nature deity whose disappearance and reappearance, or life, death and rebirth, embodies the growth cycle of plants. In nature worship, the deity can be a god or goddess with the ability to regenerate itself. A vegetation deity is often a fertility deity. The deity typically undergoes dismemberment (see sparagmos), scattering, and reintegration, as narrated in a myth or reenacted by a religious ritual. The cyclical pattern is given theological significance on themes such as immortality, resurrection, and reincarnation. Vegetation myths have structural resemblances to certain creation myths in which parts of a primordial being's body generate aspects of the cosmos, such as the Norse myth of Ymir.In mythography of the 19th and early 20th century, as for example in The Golden Bough of J.G. Frazer, the figure is related to the "corn spirit", "corn" in this sense meaning grain in general. That triviality is giving the concept its tendency to turn into a meaningless generality, as Walter Friedrich Otto remarked of trying to use a "name as futile and yet pretentious as 'Vegetation deity'".

White magic

White magic has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for selfless purposes. Practitioners of white magic have been given titles such as; wise men or women, healers, white witches or wizards. Many of these people claimed to have the ability to do such things because of knowledge or power that was passed on to them through hereditary lines, or by some event later in their lives. White magic was practiced through: healing, blessing, charms, incantations, prayers, and songs. (manipulation of the world and its events). With respect to the philosophy of left-hand path and right-hand path, white magic is the benevolent counterpart of malicious black magic. The eternal dualism of night and day may compromise the totality of its sphere of action. Because of its ties to traditional Paganism (nature worship), white magic is often also referred to as "natural magic".

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