Whether the higher polytheisms were produced in this fashion out of the cultus of the dead, may, however, be doubted.
The formation of clans and tribes, the transitions from the hunting to the pastoral life, and from the pastoral to the agricultural - the struggle with forest and swamp, the clearings for settlement, the protection of the dwelling-place, the safety of flocks and herds, the production of corn, - the migration of peoples, the founding of colonies, the processes of conquest, fusion, and political union - have all reacted on the elaboration of the higher polytheisms, before bards and poets, priesthoods and theological speculators, began to systematize and regulate the relations of the gods.
(4) The worship of trees, plants and animals is a particular phase of the wider series of nature-cults, only named here because of its frequency and its obvious survivals in some of the higher polytheisms, where, as in Egypt, the Apis bulls were worshipped; or where, as in Mesopotamia, the great gods are partly symbolized by animal forms; or where, as in Israel, Yahweh might be represented as a bull; or where, as in Greece, such epithets as Dendrites and Endendros preserved traces of the association of Dionysus and Zeus with vegetation; while sacred animals like the serpents of Aesculapius were preserved in the temples.6
The Mexican " departmental " gods answer to those of other polytheisms; there is an Aztec Ceres, an Aztec Lucina, an Aztec Vulcan, an Aztec Flora, an Aztec Venus.
How would you define polytheisms? Add your definition here.