Religion and Beliefs of the Olmec Civilization

Although there were humans in Latin America for centuries before them, the Olmecs are the oldest known civilisation.

They lived in the area of Mexico from 1200 to 400BC.

Olmec religion

The Olmec religion practised was Shamanism, believing that every person had an inner animal spirit.

The shaman himself was a healing man who would conduct religious rituals and sometimes practise bloodleiting. He was often too called upon as a medicine man to heal the sick.

In Olmec religion, it was believed that the Jaguar was the shaman’s equivalent in the animal world and many rituals centred around the animal. It is also believed that there were up to ten different deities worshipped or believed in by the Olmecs, based on sculptures and art work found.

Rituals took place in huge centres, especially built by the Olmec community for these ceremonies.