Pantheism is the belief that God is the Universe or Nature.
It takes its name from pan meaning everything and theos meaning god in Greek. It can take three forms, Natural Pantheism, that Pan is
Nature, a force within the Universe; Spiritual Pantheism,
that there is a Universal Spirit that is present in all persons
and all things, that our personal spirit is merely part of the
Universal Spirit; and Universal Pantheism, that God is the
Universe, not a separate creator person, but the totality of
existence, with all its organization or order, its mystery and
Spiritual Pantheism was present in the Philippines before the Spanish conquest. It was never the major belief that it was over the Pacific Islands, where the Universal Spirit is still revered as Mana in all the Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian languages. Mana controls the destiny of everyone and everything. How important you are, how great a leader or faith healer, is a function of how much Mana you possess. In Pilipino traditional religions, there are layers of divinity, with a supreme creator God at top who is fairly inaccessible and not intimately involved in daily life, major gods below It, then Laon, the Universal Spirit which is present in all creatures, then anito, gods or spirits present in the world and intimately involved in daily life. How widespread the belief in Laon was, how important it was, and how Laon was related to, much of this knowledge was lost during the long domination by the Spanish and the Catholic Church.
Another name for the Universal Spirit is the Oversoul, a concept created by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Unitarian minister and president of the American Unitarian Association. "That Unity, that OVER-SOUL, within every man's particular being is contained and made with all other; that common heart, of which all sincere conversation is the worship, to which all right action is submission; that over-powering Reality which confutes our tricks and talents, and constrains every one to pass for what he is, and to speak from his character; and not from his tongue, and which evermore tends to pass into our thought and hand, and becomes wisdom, and virtue, and power and the whole; and wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson's friend Noah Webster included the word OVERSOUL in his dictionary; Oversoul (n) "the spiritual element of the universe which is infinite and from which finite souls draw their being and support. Merriam Webster's 10th Collegiate Edition defines Oversoul as "the absolute reality and basis of all that exists, conceived as a spiritual being in which the ideal nature imperfectly manifested in human beings is perfectly realized.
We, the Pantheists of the Philippines, are seeking to revive a religious reverence for the Universe, for Nature and for the universal spirit found in all things, which binds us together as one connected organism. We welcome Pantheists of all persuasions, whether scientific Pantheists who see God in the order and majesty of the universe, or spiritual Pantheists who relate to the spirit present in all things. We are simultaneously modernist and scientific, believing in evolution and the relatedness of all life, and nativist and traditionalist, revering the traditions of Pilipino people, especially our faith healers, who use spiritual forces to help people. We want to revive the reverence for Laon, the Universal Spirit, incorporating ideas of the Oversoul in this, and bring such of the Oceanic belief in Mana as suits our Pilipino life into our concept of Laon.email@example.com
Please do see the World Pantheist Movement's excellent site, with much information and position statements. We are very much part of this worldwide movement looking for a rational faith which will reconcile scientific knowledge and understanding with religion. From the World Pantheist Movement's home page:
In the WPM we take the real universe and nature as our starting and finishing point, not some preconceived idea of God. We feel a profound wonder and awe for these, similar to the reverence that believers in more conventional gods feel towards their deity, but without groveling worship or belief that Nature has a mind or personality that we can influence through prayer or ritual. Our ethics are humanistic and green, our metaphysics naturalist and scientific, but to these we add the emotional and aesthetic dimensions which humans need to joyfully embrace their place in the universe and to motivate their concern for nature and human welfare.
In the WPM we revere and care for nature, we accept this life as our only life, and this earth as our only paradise, if we look after it. We revel in the beauty of nature and the night sky, and are full of wonder at their mystery and power.
Oversoul, the site for a religion based on Emerson's concept of the Oversoul and from which the quote about and definitions of the Oversoul above were taken.
This site put online on August 7, 2003.
This site was originally a Geocities website. Yahoo took down the Geocities sites in October, 2009, but the original site has been preserved by Geocitrus at