Let's begin by defining the religion I practice: Polytheistic Animism.
Animism in itself is not a religion. It’s a cultural, or experienced, reality in which all that exists is both matter and spirit.
By matter, I mean all that has physical form. By spirit, I mean everything that is not matter, such as soul, light, energy, intelligence, consciousness and so on. Matter cannot exist without spirit. Spirit cannot exist without matter. To the best of my knowledge, animism was the reality of all pre-historic humans, and is still the reality of the remnant of tribal peoples today.
Various religions and cultures may develop within an animist reality. I don't claim to belong to any of the animistic tribal religions or cultures. I was born in New Jersey in 1953, grew up a white girl on the streets of Philadelphia, collected a number of college degrees and now live in a small New England town. I’m not a tribal anything.
But I know that matter and spirit arise together and cannot be separated, and everything else that I know and live flows from this essential fact.
My reality is animist, and therefore, I believe that everything that exists materially also exists spiritually, including trees and dogs and oceans and mountains and the chicken somebody else killed for me to eat for dinner tonight. The sun has soul (essence, spirit) and the galaxies have soul. All things have soul, all being is intelligent, each being with its own kind of intelligence, all being is consciousness, each with its own kind of consciousness.
All the beings and existences that we commonly understand to be nonmaterial, then, must also be material, albeit in ways we might not be able to experience with our human senses. Gods, angels, demons, devas, light and so on, each have a material existence. I believe that there are many greater-than-human (GTH) beings whose material form we can’t see, but who exist nevertheless. They may be as much greater then we are as a galaxy is greater than an ant, or as much greater than we are as angels are greater than humans.
Billions of galaxies. Billions of stars. Billions of grains of sand and blades of grass. Billions of ants and humans and chickens. And, what, only one intelligent life form that’s greater-than-human? One “G”od? Give me a break! The very idea is absurd!
Billions of GTH beings must exist in the multiverse. And a number of them are clustered here, around our planet earth. My culture is animist, my religion is polytheistic. I believe in many gods.
A typical definition of religion is, "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of human life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency, usually involving practices and observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." My religion, Polytheistic Animism, is a set of beliefs and practices, a moral code, a cosmology and a polytheistic theology, grounded in an animistic cultural reality.
I’ve tried to define Polytheistic Animism in a nutshell. I know it’s a lot to take in all at once, and my vocabulary may be hard to understand at first, because there are so many new or differently defined words I’ve had to develop. Bear with me. It will all make sense in time.
All the best to you,