Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community / Edition 1

Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community / Edition 1

by Sarah M. Pike
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0520220862

ISBN-13: 2900520220866

Pub. Date: 01/24/2001

Publisher: University of California Press


Recent decades have seen a revival of paganism, and every summer people gather across the United States to celebrate this increasingly popular religion. Sarah Pike's engrossing ethnography is the outcome of five years attending neo-pagan festivals, interviewing participants, and sometimes taking part in their ceremonies. Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves

Overview


Recent decades have seen a revival of paganism, and every summer people gather across the United States to celebrate this increasingly popular religion. Sarah Pike's engrossing ethnography is the outcome of five years attending neo-pagan festivals, interviewing participants, and sometimes taking part in their ceremonies. Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves incorporates her personal experience and insightful scholarly work concerning ritual, sacred space, self-identity, and narrative. The result is a compelling portrait of this frequently misunderstood religious movement.

Neo-paganism began emerging as a new religious movement in the late 1960s. In addition to bringing together followers for self-exploration and participation in group rituals, festivals might offer workshops on subjects such as astrology, tarot, mythology, herbal lore, and African drumming. But while they provide a sense of community for followers, Neo-Pagan festivals often provoke criticism from a variety of sources—among them conservative Christians, Native Americans, New Age spokespersons, and media representatives covering stories of rumored "Satanism" or "witchcraft."

Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves explores larger issues in the United States regarding the postmodern self, utopian communities, cultural improvisation, and contemporary spirituality. Pike's accessible writing style and her nonsensationalistic approach do much to demystify neo-paganism and its followers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900520220866
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
01/24/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
314

Table of Contents

List of Figuresix
Prefacexi
Acknowledgmentsxxv
Introduction: We Cast Our Circles Where the Earth Mother Meets the Sky Father1
1.Driving into Fairie: Place Myths and Neopagan Festivals11
2.Shrines of Flame and Silence: Mapping the Festival Site41
3.The Great Evil That Is in Your Backyard: Festival Neighbors and Satanism Rumors87
4.Blood That Matters: Neopagan Borrowing123
5.Children of the Devil or Gifted in Magic? The Work of Memory in Neopagan Narrative155
6.Serious Playing with the Self: Gender and Eroticism at the Festival Fire182
Conclusion: The Circle Is Open but Never Broken219
Notes227
Bibliography259
Index273

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