Animism is from the Latin, anima, (“breath, spirit, life”).
It is the belief that everything has a soul, or spirit. Animists believe that there’s a supernatural power (some form of Universal Spirit, Deity or other Holy entity) that organizes and animates the material universe. Now, most people believe that human beings all have a soul or spirit, but only animists believe that everything else does too.
All of the planets and stars, everything from each of the animal, vegetable and mineral realms. Imagine the 4 Elements for a moment. The Element of Air, that controls everything from the lightest wisp of breeze to a full blown tornado. The Element of Fire, that rules over all fires from a single flame to the complete and total rage of a volcano. The Element of Water, from streams and creeks, to lakes and ponds, to oceans and seas to torrential downpours and blizzards. The Element of Earth, from the tiniest of pebbles to the tallest of mountains, all the way up to this big gorgeous planet of ours.
Every living creature, from the most microscopic organism up to the honey fungus in the Blue Mountains of Oregon that measures a whopping 2.4 miles across.
All of these things and more is believed (by the Animist) to have some soul or spirit that can either guide them or others throughout their lives.
As a Pagan, I regularly call on the Spirit of different animals, the Moon and the Earth to guide me. So in addition to being a Pagan, I am also an Animist.