Jump to content

Nature worship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nature worship also called naturism[1] or physiolatry[2] 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.[3] 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[4][5] and can be found in pantheism, panentheism, deism, polytheism, animism, Taoism,[6] totemism, Hinduism, shamanism, some theism and paganism including Wicca.[7] 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.[8] Due to their admiration of nature, the works of Edmund Spenser, Anthony Ashley-Cooper and Carl Linnaeus were viewed as nature worship.[9][10][11][12]

Criticism of "Nature Worship"[edit]

English historian, Ronald Hutton, has been critical of the antiquity of Nature Worship since at least 1998 until the present. He has argued that the gods of Ancient Mediterranean were not Nature Deities of any sort; rather, they were gods of "civilization and human activity," meanwhile the "Earth-Mother goddesses" are characterized by him as mere literary figures as opposed to deities, because he believes they lack any temples dedicated to them or a priesthood to serve them. He strongly juxtaposes this view by differentiating ancient pagans from Neopagans and Wiccans who profess to be nature worshippers as an essential component of their faith, which he believes is unlike any other in recorded history.[13] Despite having been charged by New Zealand Wiccan, Ben Whitmore, with having disenfranchised those Neopagans "who feel kinship and connection" with the gods and pagans of the Ancient World,[14] Prof. Hutton has reprised these views, virtually verbatim, in the second edition of his book, Triumph of the Moon.[15]

Forms and aspects of nature worship[edit]

  • Animal worship – Glorification of animal deities
  • Fire worship – Worship or deification of fire
  • Gaia philosophy – Broadly inclusive term
  • Gavari – 40-day long festival held in the Mewar region of Rajasthan, India
  • Green Man – Architectural motif
  • Holy well – Well or spring revered in a religious context
  • Megalith – Large stone used to build a structure or monument
  • Mountain worship – Faiths which regard mountains as objects of worship
  • Naturalistic pantheism – Form of pantheism
  • Naturalistic spirituality – Combined philosophy of spirituality and naturalism
  • Sacred groves – Grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture
  • Sacred herbs
  • Sacred mountains – Mountains central to certain religions
  • Sky deity – Deity associated with the sky
  • Standing stone – Large upright standing stone
  • Star worship – Worship of stars and other heavenly bodies as deities
  • Stone circle – Ring of standing stones
  • Thunder god
  • Totem – Emblem of a group of people
  • Tree worship – Significance of trees in religion and folklore
  • Water deity

See also[edit]

  • Ecospirituality – Spirituality expressed through ecology and environmental activism
  • Earth religion – Religion venerating the Earth and nature
  • Hinduism – Indian religion
  • Faunus – Roman deity of the countryside
  • Folk religion – Expressions of religion distinct from the official doctrines of organized religion
  • Goddess worship (disambiguation)
  • Natural religion – Concept in religious anthropology
  • Neopaganism – Religions shaped by historical paganism
  • Pan (god) – Ancient Greek god of the wilds, shepherds, and flocks
  • Pantheism – Belief that God and reality are identical
  • Panentheism – Belief that the divine pervades all of space and time and extends beyond it
  • Shamanism – Religious practice
  • Taoism – Religious and philosophical tradition
  • White magic – Magic used for selfless purposes
  • Wildlife totemization – Emblem of a group of people


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ "Definition of PHYSIOLATRY". Merriam-Webster. 2022-10-13. Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  3. ^ A Dictionary of Religion and Ethics edited by Shailer Mathews, Gerald Birney Smith, p 305
  4. ^ Uversa Press (2003). The Urantia Book. New York: Fifth Epochal Fellowship. pp. 805–810. ISBN 0965197220.
  5. ^ Weir, James (16 July 2008). "Lust and Religion" (eBook).
  6. ^ Tzu, Chuang Tzu (2010). The Tao of Nature (1st ed.). United kingdom: Penguin UK. pp. 25–100. ISBN 9780141192741.
  7. ^ Sanders, C. (2009). Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality. Crown Publishing Group. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-307-55109-2. Retrieved 2023-02-27.
  8. ^ The New International Encyclopædia, Volume 14 edited by Daniel Coit Gilman, Harry Thurston Peck, Frank Moore Colby, pp 288–289
  9. ^ Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine: Being a Continuation of the Arminian Or Methodist Magazine First Publ. by John Wesley. 1778. p. 914. Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  10. ^ Gill, S. (2006). William Wordsworth's The Prelude: A Casebook. Casebooks in Criticism. OUP USA. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-19-518091-6. Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  11. ^ Glickman, S. (2000). The Picturesque and the Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7735-2135-3. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  12. ^ Test, E.M.L. (2019). Sacred Seeds: New World Plants in Early Modern English Literature. Early Modern Cultural Studies. University of Nebraska Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4962-1289-4. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  13. ^ Hutton, Ronald. "The Discovery of the Modern Goddess." Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World. Eds. Joanne Pearson, Richard H. Roberts and Geoffrey Samuel. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998: p.89.
  14. ^ Whitmore, Ben. Trials of the Moon: Reopening the Case for Historical Witchcraft. Aukland: Briar Books, 2010: p. 2-3.
  15. ^ Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019: p. 33.