Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Ancestor Worship

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200237-1

Most religions deals with the attempt of human beings to understand something or some power which is mystic and supersensory, and the practice of ancestor worship is one such kind. The word “Ancestor worship” is coined by the famous British Philosopher and Sociologist Herbert Spencer in the year 1885 and is referring to a ritualized summoning of deceased kin. According to Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917), one of the founding fathers of Anthropology, the spirits grew out of attempts to explain life after death. He also considered that the spirits are separate entity from the body and a human have two souls, i.e., free soul and the body soul. The free soul remains alive after the death also whereas the body soul will disappear after the post-burial ceremony. Ancestor worship is much more related to the animistic belief in the souls and the spirits of the dead ancestors. The worship is not purely considered as a religion itself, but religious appearance component, which identifies an...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Tribal StudiesIndira Gandhi National Tribal UniversityAmarkantakIndia