Please read the following from The Book of Thoth* by Aleister Crowley [p. 42]:

            The theory of Animism was always present in the minds of the mediaeval masters. Any natural object possessed not only its material characteristics, but was a manifestation of a more or less tangible idea on which it depended. The Pool was a pool, true; but also there was a nymph whose home it was. In her turn, she was dependent on a superior kind of nymph, who was much less closely attached to any given pool, but more to pools in general; and so on, up to the supreme Lady of Water, who exercised a general supervision over her whole dominion. She, of course, was subject to the General Ruler of all the Four Elements. It was exactly the same idea as in the case of the police constable, who has his sergeant, inspector, superintendent, commissioner, always getting more cloudy and remote until you reach the shadowy Home Secretary, who is, himself, the servant of a a completely intangible and incalculable phantom called the Will of the People.

A nominalist animist would be a person who did not believe in any of the spirits. This is similar to monotheism, which posits just one spirit, God(dess). A monotheist is, therefore, a nominalist up until one gets to the greatest semantic domain, and then s/he anthropomorphizes that domain into God(dess). I contend this Domain of Domains is exactly that Consciousness in your head right now as you read these words...


Crowley [ibid.] continues:

           We may doubt how far the personification of these entities was conceived as real by the ancients; but the theory was that while anyone with a pair of eyes could see the pool, he could not see the nymph except by some accident. But they thought that a superior type of person, by dint of searching, study and experiment, might acquire this general power. A person still more advanced in the science could get into real connection with the superior, because subtler, forms of life. He could perhaps cause them to manifest themselves to him in material shape.

Crowley [ibid.] continues:

            A good deal of this rests upon the Platonic Ideology, which maintained that any material object was an impure and imperfect copy of some ideal perfection. So men who wished to advance in spiritual science and philosophy strove always to formulate for themselves the pure idea. They tried to proceed from the Particular to the General; and this principle has been of the greatest service to ordinary science. The mathematics of 6+5=11, and 12+3=15, was all in bits. Advance only came when they wrote down their equations in general terms. X2-Y2=(X+Y) (X-Y) covers all possible cases of subtracting the square of one number from the square of another. So the Meaningless and Abstract, when understood, has far more meaning than the Intelligible and Concrete.

  1. *Weiser Books; San Fransisco, California and Newburyport, Massachusetts; 2007; copyright 1944 Ordo Templi Orientis.