Animism is a belief system that does not accept the separation of body and soul, of spirit from matter. As such, it is based upon the belief that personalized souls are found in animals, plants, and other material objects, governing, to some degree, their existence.
Animism is commonly described as the most primitive form of religion. Others do not see it as a religion at all. They argue that Animism is in the first instance an explanation of phenomena rather than an attitude of mind toward the cause of them, a philosophy rather than a religion. The term may, however, be conveniently used to describe a form of religion in which people endeavour to set up relations between themselves and the unseen powers, conceived as spirits, but differing in many particulars from the gods of polytheism.
Animism: Respecting the Living World