From Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained
The belief that every object contains a spirit or soul. The word animism is derived from the Latin word animus, meaning ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’. Its basic principle may be stated simply as ‘everything is alive’ or ‘everything has a soul’. Animism is one of man’s oldest beliefs, with origins probably dating back to the Palaeolithic age; animistic beliefs are still widespread today among native cultures, and some modern neopagans also describe their belief system as animist, with the goddess and horned god who make up everything that exists, while pantheists similarly equate ‘God’ with ‘existence’.