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Totemism — definition, meaning and difference from animism and fetishism

Totemism — definition, history and features of the concept

Belief in the supernatural accompanies man all the time of his existence. All inexplicable people ranked as otherworldly phenomenon.

The first religions appeared at the dawn of the primitive communal system, they were in the nature of a primitive belief. One of the religions was totemism — the branch of animism.

What is a totem, and why did people believe in the invisible connection between different objects? What forms of totemism have survived to our times?

Consider the article.

Totemism - definition, meaning and difference from animism and fetishism

History of totemism

The first religions of mankind are called the pro-religion. Historians and scientists refer to them in four main forms:

It is not known for certain which protroreligiya of the above was the first. It is believed that all four forms appeared approximately in the same period of history.

Historians explain that all the major forms of beliefs were present in all prehistoric Proto-religions.

What is animism like protroreligiya? Modern scientists define it as faith in the spiritual world, that is, the existence of an intangible beginning.

Animism implies belief in the spirits of nature, dead ancestors, patron spirits. This is the animation of everything that surrounds a person and is incomprehensible.

Observing the phenomena of nature, primitive people animated them and attributed certain qualities. Over time, people began to perceive the spirits of nature as intelligent beings who control their lives.

In order to appease the wrath of the spirits of nature, they began to bring gifts and sacrifices.

Also, people believed that there was a posthumous world in which the soul of a deceased person was sent. There are also various entities and spirits.

Totemism - definition, meaning and difference from animism and fetishism

The definition of totemism is built on the belief in an invisible connection between a person / tribe / genus and a particular animal or plant. This animal / plant was called a totem. People believed that the totem protects them and protects them from the hardships of life.

Scientists believe that primitive man began to deify the animal and plant world, because the whole way of life was associated with him.

Examples of totemism are the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, Indians of North America, the aborigines of Australia and the population of central Africa. What is the difference to the cult of worship totem? Gifts are made to the elected patron, they commit religious services and ask for protection or mercy.

When a new member of the tribe comes into the world, a totem service is performed immediately with a request to endow the infant with certain qualities and protect it from evil.

Totemism distinguishes from other beliefs the presence of taboos. Taboo is a prohibition to perform certain actions. Taboo was associated with a ban:

  • kill totem animals;
  • eat totem meat;
  • kill tribesmen;
  • demonstrate to the alien tribes their affiliation to the totem.

Rituals were performed whenever the tribe suffered from drought and lack of food, from the attack of warring tribes, and in any emergency. People believed that only a totem can help them cope with adversity.

Fetishism was closely associated with totemism — belief in the mystical power of the subject. This object could be a stone of bizarre shape and an object created by hands, a plant or a planet. Statues of deities, which ancient people worshiped, also became fetishes.

But even in our times, the cult of fetishism has been preserved in Africa in a somewhat modified form.

Totemism - definition, meaning and difference from animism and fetishism

The magic of primitive people

The ancient people considered everything incomprehensible and unusual to be magical. If a person met on his way any object that attracted attention (a pebble, a spine, a part of the animal’s skeleton), he could make it his fetish.

Over time, the belief in fetishes grew stronger, and already a whole tribe could worship an object and consider it its patron.

Fetish was placed in the center of the tribe, brought him gifts and gave praise for help. People sincerely believed that it was the fetish that helped them and protected them from harm.

However, there was a flip side of fetishism: if the subject did not meet expectations, he was subjected to torture.

Fetishism did not disappear with time, but gained a new form. Religious scholars claim that belief in amulets and amulets is a modern form of fetishism. Magic is closely related to fetishism in its original and modern form.

Also, the magic retains the features of totemism and animism, because magical rituals are appeals to different forces of nature or the spirits of animals or the dead.

Over time, a group of people separated from society, which was only engaged in conducting magical rituals for the tribe. The first magical rituals were performed by the shamans, since it is shamanism that is inherent in its connection with the spirits of nature and animals. In the future, the magical practices expanded their scope.

In the modern world, magic is closely connected with the ancient cults of the Proto Religions, world religions and the study of energies.

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