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Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

Looking for Mary Magdalene.

Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

Oxford Ritual Studies Series,

Oxford and New York:   Oxford University Press

Anna Fedele offers a sensitive ethnography of alternative pilgrimages to French Catholic shrines dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing on more than three years of fieldwork, she describes how pilgrims from Italy, Spain, Britain, and the United States interpret Catholic figures, symbols, and sites according to theories derived from the international Neopagan movement.

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Fedele pays particular attention to the pilgrims’ life stories, rituals and reading. She examines how they devise their rituals, how anthropological literature has influenced them, and why this kind of spirituality is increasingly prevalent in the West. These pilgrims cultivate spirituality in interaction with each other and with textual sources: Jungian psychology, Goddess mythology, and “indigenous” traditions merge into a corpus of practices centered upon the worship of the Goddess and Mother Earth, and the sacralization of the reproductive cycle. Their rituals present a critique of Roman Catholicism and the medical establishment, and question contemporary discourse on gender.

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In this theoretically nuanced and ethnographically rich study, Anna Fedele carefully lays out the complex and imaginative worlds of Mary Magdalene’s contemporary spiritual pilgrims and their sacred landscapes of European forests, waters, caves, and rocks imbued with symbol and meaning. Immersing herself in their created ceremonies, she reports back to us with sensitivity and insight about their reinterpretations of gender, sexuality, community, and religion.”

Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

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This is a rich, thoughtful, and quite startling account of the new spirituality around Mary Magdalene, and around menstruation, darkness and the creativity of loss.

Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

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Oxford Ritual Studies Series, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

336 pages

SBN13: 978-0-19-989842-8: 

I SBN10: 0-19-989842-

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Edges of Freemasonry – Western Esotericism and the Enlightenment

 

 

  

Place: University of Tampere, Finland 

Dates: 7–8 September 2012.

Conference language: English.

www.edges.fi

This two-day conference is an international and academic event organized by the University of Tampere School of Social Sciences and Humanities in association with The Research Lodge Minerva No.27 of the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of Finland.

Edges of Freemasonry – Western Esotericism and the Enlightenment aims to investigate exceptional but prominent new currents in human sciences. The conference focuses on modern Freemasonry as a cultural and historically constituted phenomenon but also seeks to create a dialogue with wider contexts like the Enlightenment and especially the history of Western esotericism, which has increasingly attracted the attention of academic research. On this basis the conference organizers are hoping to establish a multi-disclipinary and discursive environment to study western cultural and intellectual life from standpoints hitherto somewhat neglected by scholarship.

The conference is open to scholars, researchers and post-graduate students from various disciplines as well as members of masonic lodges and the general public. The conference will take place at the

The call for papers as well as registration for the conference will open on 30th June 2011.

The keynote speakers of the symposium are Professor Ronald Hutton (University of Bristol, U.K.), Dr. Róbert Péter (University of Szeged, Hungary), Dr. Henrik Bogdan (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and Mr. Antti Talvitie, Architect MSc. (Seinäjoki, Finland).

Freemasonry is among the most widespread spiritual communities and has had a significant role in diverse ideological currents often named Western esotericism. Freemasonry, which is at least 300 years old, is firmly rooted in the tradition of the Enlightenment. Western esotericism and freemasonry have increasingly attracted attention from academic research. As a unique yet also controversial phenomenon freemasonry provides a dynamic standpoint for the study of western cultural and intellectual life which from this point of view has been much neglected.

The key themes are:

1 The historical constitution of freemasonry

2 The connections between Western esotericism and the development of modern science

3 Symbols as cultural artefacts and transmission objects between the personal and the transcendence

4 Extending the rational: rites, intuition and religious experience in western subjectivity

The conference board welcomes all scholarly presentations, also from postgraduates, related to the themes or concepts of the Enlightenment, freemasonry, esotericism or the occult.

The organizers hope that proposals for the general sessions will be sent not later than November 31, 2011. Speakers are asked to supply their contact information, the title of the presentation and a short abstract (400—600 words). Proposals for other sessions can also be sent later.

The abstract should preferably be sent via email to the conference secretary

Mr. Antti Harmainen (papers@edges.fi)

and to conference secretary

Ms. Katariina Lehto (papers@symposium.fi).

For further details of the conference, please see www.edgesoffreemasonry.net

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