I love the Vikings view of ‘religion’ - their gods were not blameless. If a battle had not gone well they would hurl spears into the clouds aimed in anger at the very gods who’d ignored them. They were expected to respond and help if sacrifices etc were made to them! The point being that they knew their gods were fallible.
They definitely were at heart very human, with different strengths and weaknesses. Their strengths had to be earned and learned. Their weaknesses caused by fate and misfortune. But they worked with humans. Other cultures’ gods do not. They command and instruct and expect total faith and obedience. Browse “Norse Mythology for Smart People” to understand more of the Vikings and their beliefs.
Asatru is the name of the religion nowadays, the Old Way, that honours the gods of the Vikings, along with giants and ancestors. It is a registered religion in Iceland. Nowadays the religions of Christianity and Islam provide a career path for many and a flock for others to join, and have swamped old beliefs, naturalist, pagan, around the world with more sophisticated and convoluted versions only understood and interpreted by those with the power. These new religions demand obeisance to the gods and their earthly representatives.
Quoting from the Jains (who have no gods or priests) “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being” though many other religions accept the killing of animals, with respect. Omit the words "any creature or living being" and you have the basis of many ancient and pagan religions that they applied to the earth, the whole planet. Which we abuse very day. They gave respect to the Earth - the only planet not named after a God.
Animism is a belief that a spirit pervades everything, and may be the cause of it.
As a youth I was convinced that if there were a god it would not be superior to Man. That caused too many problems based on anthropomorphism. I thought a god would be an underlying guidance that in my youth I thought as as simply energy, or Om. Nothing has shaken this belief since (even though my Dad was a Plymouth Brethren preacher!).
Panpsychism tries to fill the last gap in physics. That is, what actually drives the universe? We thought we knew what everything was - matter/energy and spacetime. Dark matter screwed that up - 95% of the universe is unknown to us. This ‘becoming’ or ‘being’, driving force can be called consciousness. Not in the sense of awareness, just in the sense of coming together with some purpose perhaps. No direction other than evolution. More here.
Rather this benign force than the that delivered by the christians, moslems, all deists and their crusaders, missionaries, puritans and others, who did many things in the name of their god as power hungry men and women do the world over. And spot the difference between politics and religion, both governing by rules and punishments.
Quintessance: the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies. 2 : the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form. 3 : the most typical example or representative the quintessence of calm. (Says the Miriam Webster Dictionary). Wikipedia adds: In physics, quintessence is a hypothetical form of dark energy, more precisely a scalar field, postulated as an explanation of the observation of an accelerating rate of expansion of the universe. The first example of this scenario was proposed by Ratra and Peebles.
All things bright and beautiful,
Each little flower that opens,
The rich man in his castle,
The purple-headed mountain,
The cold wind in the winter,
All things dull and ugly,
Each little snake that poisons,
All things sick and cancerous,
Each nasty little hornet,
All things scabbed and ulcerous,