Indigenous Religions

Indigenous religions that consist of the traditional customs and beliefs (Paganism, Animism, Totemism, Shamanism) of particular ethnic groups, refined and expanded upon for thousands of years, often lacking formal doctrine.

 

Indigenous religions, formerly found on every continent, but now marginalized by the major organized faiths. Despite this, they often persist as undercurrents of folk religion. This category includes African traditional religions, Asian Shamanism, Native American religions, Mesoamerican Religion, Aztec Religion, Inuit Religion, Austronesian and Australian Aboriginal traditionsEthnic religion, and arguably Chinese folk religion (overlaps with Far Eastern religions).

 

Indigenous religions is a category used in the study of religion to demarcate the religious belief systems of communities described as being “indigenous“. This category is often juxtaposed against others such as the “world religions” and “new religious movements“. The term is commonly applied to a range of different belief systems across the Americas, Australasia, Asia, Africa, and Northern Europe, particularly to those practiced by communities living under the impact of colonialism.

Bùi Hữu Nghĩa Shrine in Cần Thơ.

Vietnamese Folk Religion

Vietnamese Folk Religion Vietnamese folk religion or Vietnamese indigenous religion (tín ngưỡng dân gian Việt Nam, is the ethnic religion of the Vietnamese people. About 45.3% of the population in Vietnam are associated with this religion, making it dominant in Vietnam. Vietnamese folk religion is not an organized religious system, but a set of local...

Typical layout of Dravidian architecture which evolved from koyil as kings residence.

Dravidian Folk Religion

Dravidian Folk Religion The early Dravidian religion refers to a broad range of belief systems which existed in South Asia before the arrival of Indo-Aryans. Scholars do not share a uniform consensus on early Dravidian religion but many scholars associated it with Neolithic societies of South Asia which was later assimilated into...

Jeongsusa Sansingak, Mountain Spirit Shrine (Ganghwa-gun) - Jeongsusa meaning clean water - clear the body and mind, because fresh water sprang up at the east side of the temple was built by Priest Hoejeong AD 639,and was rebuilt by saint priest Hamheo Daesa in 1426.

Korean Shamanism

Korean Shamanism Korean shamanism or Korean folk religion, also known as Shinism or Sinism (신교, 神敎; Shingyo or Shinkyo, “religion of the spirits/gods”) or Shindo (신도; 神道, “way of the spirits/gods”), is the polytheistic and animistic ethnic religion of Korea which dates back to prehistory and consists in the worship of gods (신 shin) and ancestors (조상 josang) as well as nature spirits. When referring specifically to...

The "Holy See" temple in Tây Ninh is the centre of the main Caodaist church.

Caodaism

Caodaism Caodaism (Đạo Cao Đài, Chữ nôm: 道高臺) is a monotheistic syncretic religion officially established in the city of Tây Ninh in southern Vietnam in 1926. The full name of the religion is Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ (The Great Faith [for the] Third Universal Redemption). Cao Đài, literally the “Highest Lord” or “Highest Power”) is...

Traditional music parade in Seoul.

Cheondoism

Cheondoism Cheondoism or Chondoism; Cheondogyo; 天道教; 천도교; literally “Religion of the Heavenly Way”) is a 20th-century Korean religion, based on the 19th-century Donghak religious movement founded by Ch’oe Che-u and codified under Son Pyŏng-Hi. Cheondoism has its origins in the peasant rebellions which arose starting in 1812 during the Joseon dynasty. Cheondoism incorporates elements of Korean shamanism. It places emphasis...

The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kōtoku-in, Kamakura, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan (National Treasure)

Shinbutsu-shugo

Shinbutsu-shugo Shinbutsu-shūgō (神仏習合, “syncretism of kami and buddhas”), also called Shinbutsu-konkō (神仏混淆, “jumbling up” or “contamination of kami and buddhas”), is the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism that was Japan’s only organized religion up until the Meiji period. Beginning in 1868, the new Meiji government approved a series of laws that separated Japanese native kami worship, on one side,...

Harimizu utaki (Harimizu Shrine), a Ryukyuan shrine in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture.

Ryukyuan Religion

Ryukyuan Religion The Ryukyuan religion (琉球信仰), Ryukyu Shintō (琉球神道), Nirai Kanai Shinkō (ニライカナイ信仰), or Utaki Shinkō (御嶽信仰) is the indigenous belief system of the Ryukyu Islands. While specific legends and traditions may vary slightly from place to place and island to island, the Ryukyuan religion is generally characterized by ancestor worship (more accurately termed “ancestor respect”) and the respecting of relationships...

Shamanism Buddha Meditation Forest Faith Prayer

Chinese Shamanism

Chinese Shamanism Chinese shamanism, alternatively called Wuism (巫教; wū jiào; ‘wu religion, shamanism, witchcraft‘; alternatively 巫觋宗教 wū xí zōngjiào), refers to the shamanic religious tradition of China. Its features are especially connected to the ancient Neolithic cultures such as the Hongshan culture. Chinese shamanic traditions are intrinsic to Chinese folk religion. Various ritual traditions are rooted in original...

A vodoun market in Lomé, Togo, 2008.

West African Vodun

West African Vodun Vodun (meaning spirit; also spelled Vodon, Vodoun, Vodou, Voudou, Voodoo, etc.) is practiced by the Fon people of Benin, and southern and central Togo; as well in Ghana, and Nigeria. It is distinct from the various traditional African religions in the interiors of these countries and is the main source of religions with similar names found among...

Exterior and cutaway view of an Iroquois longhouse

Longhouse Religion

Longhouse Religion The Longhouse Religion is the popular name of the religious movement also known as The Code of Handsome Lake or Gaihwi:io (Good Message), founded in 1799 by the Seneca prophet Handsome Lake (Sganyodaiyoˀ). This movement combines and reinterprets elements of traditional Iroquois religious beliefs with elements adopted from Christianity, primarily from the Quakers. Anthropologist Anthony F. C. Wallace reported...

South Africa Basotho Chieftain Medicine Man

Medicine Man

Medicine Man A medicine man or medicine woman is a traditional healer and spiritual leader who serves a community of indigenous people of the Americas. Individual cultures have their own names, in their respective Indigenous languages, for the spiritual healers and ceremonial leaders in their particular cultures. The medicine man and woman in North America Cultural...

Straw basket made by the Gullah culture of coastal Georgia & South Carolina, USA

Hoodoo

Hoodoo (Folk Magic) Hoodoo is a traditional African-American spirituality created by enslaved African-Americans in the New World. It is specific to the distinct African-American lineage in North America. Hoodoo is the product of enslaved people who faced terrorism and unimaginable suffering on a daily basis yet refused to relinquish all of their power...

Kwakwaka'wakw Cedar sisiutl mask.

Mythologies of The Indigenous Peoples of The Americas

Mythologies of The Indigenous Peoples of The Americas The indigenous peoples of the Americas comprise numerous different cultures. Each has its own mythologies. Some are quite distinct, but certain themes are shared across the cultural boundaries. North America There is no single mythology of the Indigenous North American peoples, but numerous different canons of traditional narratives...

Voodoo ritual in St. John's Bayou, New Orleans

Louisiana Voodoo

Louisiana Voodoo Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo describes a set of spiritual beliefs and practices developed from the traditions of the African diaspora in Louisiana. It is sometimes referred to as Mississippi Valley Voodoo when referring to its historic popularity and development in the greater Mississippi Valley. It is a cultural form...

A Haitian Vodou altar to the Petwo, Rada, and Gede spirits located in Boston, Massachusetts

Haitian Vodou

Haitian Vodou Haitian Vodou is an Afro-American religion that developed in Haiti between the 16th and 19th centuries. It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional religions of West Africa and the Roman Catholic form of Christianity. There is no central authority in control of the movement, which comprises adherents known as Vodouists or “servants of the...

Statues of jhākri at Banjhakri Falls and Energy Park in Gangtok, Sikkim, India

Witch Doctor

Witch Doctor A witch doctor was originally a type of healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft and is now more commonly a term used to refer to healers, particularly in regions which use traditional healing rather than contemporary medicine. Original meaning of the term In its original meaning witch doctors were not witches themselves, but...

White Sülde Tngri temple in the town of Uxin Banner in Inner Mongolia, China.

Mongolian Shamanism

Mongolian Shamanism Mongolian shamanism, more broadly called the Mongolian folk religion, or occasionally Tengerism, refers to the animistic and shamanic ethnic religion that has been practiced in Mongolia and its surrounding areas (including Buryatia and Inner Mongolia) at least since the age of recorded history. In the earliest known stages it...

Obatala priests in their temple in Ife

Yoruba Religion

Yoruba Religion The Yoruba religion comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria which comprised Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti as well as Lagos States and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, commonly known as Yorubaland. It shares some parallels...

A Buryat boy in a shaman ritual

Shamanism in Siberia

Shamanism in Siberia A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia, follow the religio-cultural practices of shamanism. Some researchers regard Siberia as the heartland of shamanism. The people of Siberia comprise a variety of ethnic groups, many of whom continue to observe shamanistic practices in modern times. Many classical...

Indian Art Petroglyph Native American Ancient

Ethnic Religion

Ethnic Religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic religions are often distinguished from universal religions, such as Christianity or Islam, which are not limited in ethnic, national or racial scope. All ethnic religions are several thousand years old, which most being of an unknown age because they stem from indigenous...

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