Pokaiņi

The ‘Latvian Stonehenge’

in Anthropological Journal of European Cultures
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  • 1 Latvian Academy of Culture rm@latnet.lv
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The ideologies, beliefs and practices associated with new cult places in post-Soviet Latvia are discussed. When social movement for the restoration of an independent nation state started at the end of the 1980s, new pantheistic cult sites gained a certain topicality. In relation to such sites esoteric New Age style ideologies and practices were constructed. Pokaiņi forest - a remote place in Latvia, abundant in stone piles and big stones, has been interpreted as an ancient sanctuary of global significance, as a cosmological and healing centre. Latvian scholars - archaeologists, geologists and folklorists - are treating Pokaiņi as a site with traces of ancient agricultural activity, and its popularity is attributed to the 'use of good management'. The historical perspective of the Pokaiņi phenomenon and modern interpretations of its perception are discussed in the context of revitalisation movements. The analysis of the complex socio-cultural situation of Latvia in the turn of the twentieth and the twenty- first century reveals the reasons, facilitating the emergence and significance of Pokaiņi and similar phenomena in post-Soviet Latvia.

Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

(formerly: Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures)

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