less than 1 minute read

South America Religion

Indigenous Peoples' ViewConceptualizing Space-times, The Axis Mundi, Shamans And Ritual, European Contact, Conclusion

Unlike Western systems of worship, religious thought and action from South American indigenous perspectives pervade every aspect of existence. As cultural systems, indigenous South American religions encompass quotidian life and become especially salient at times of life crises and during festival and protest activity. With more than three hundred languages grouped into a dozen or more macro families, cultural, and hence religious, diversity is enormous. Such complexity and diversity are compounded by the fact that South American indigenous numinous systems are understudied and the underpinnings of history and archaeology are informative and provocative but inadequate. The European conquest and subsequent colonial era violently introduced hegemonic Roman Catholic Christianity with highly variable affects on indigenous sacrality. Nevertheless, commonalities exist. This entry offers indigenous perspectives on pools of religious elements that adhere and cluster in a multitude of cultural systems ranging across vastly different topographical and ecological zones and boundaries. All elements are not found everywhere, but systems of religious adhesions that constitute native thought and culture expressing ineffable, reverential dimensions of life, death, afterlife, and the cosmos do exist.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Reason to Retrovirus