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A Topographic Event

A Buddhist Lama’s Perception of a Pilgrimage Cave

Jesper Oestergaard

This article discusses a Buddhist lama's perception of a cave, situated in Maratika in the eastern part of Nepal, which is a pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Buddhists. In the Buddhist perspective, Maratika is believed to be the location where the mythological hero Padmasambhava achieved immortality and where he left various traces in the landscape, such as footprints in rocks. Mythology and geography thus intersect in Maratika, whereby myth is spatialized and landscape is temporalized. Through a description of a series of events, in which a specific, newly discovered trace was an object of joint attention between the lama, Karma Wangchuk, and myself, the article illustrates how the perception of the landscape is a mediation between dripstone formations on the walls of the cave and the mythology of Padmasambhava.

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Kyrgyzchylyk

Searching New Paradigms for Ancient Practices

Gulnara Aitpaeva

This essay discusses the concept of kyrgyzchylyk (rather inadequately rendered in English as 'Kyrgyzness') as a way of transcending different boundaries: the Soviet past, Koran-based Islam, rational thinking. Several aspects of the concept and its meaning in everyday life are discussed; in particular the idea of kyrgyzchylyk as spirituality is examined. Moreover, the concept can be seen as transcending the boundaries between traditional beliefs and Islam. Traditional practitioners - healers, clairvoyants, epic storytellers, sacred sites custodians and others - are seen as becoming powerful people through their practices, and the role of kyrgyzchylyk in the context of the traditional worldview is assessed.

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Introduction

Knowledge, Ignorance, and Pilgrimage

Evgenia Mesaritou, Simon Coleman, and John Eade

on. In this special issue we extend the scope of debate still further by looking at processes of production of knowledge and ignorance that unfold within as well as beyond pilgrimage sites. Such an examination illustrates the labor, politics, and

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Jackie Feldman

2010 ). In the case of pilgrimage sites, distance in space makes particular ways of knowing and of exercising power relevant. Maurice Halbwachs’ (1992 [1941]) chose Holy Land pilgrimage as a prototype for the sacralization of space and the social

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Memory as Absence and Presence

Pilgrimage, “Archeo-Theology,“ and the Creativity of Destruction

Simon Coleman

This article explores forms of history and memory constructed around the Christian pilgrimage site of Walsingham, England. While exploring different ways of appropriating the past exhibited by pilgrims, ranging from “reliving,“ “remixing,“ and “reframing,“ the article argues that Walsingham's powerful symbolic resonances emerge in part from its role as a context for “archeotheology,“ whereby a sacramental religious ideology is reinforced by the forms of ruination evident at key points of the site.

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Reassembling the Lucky Gods

Pilgrim Economies, Tourists, and Local Communities in Global Tokyo

Tatsuma Padoan

This article intends to analyze the emergence of new subjectivities and economic discourses, and the semiotic construction of sacred places in global Tokyo as inventively constituted within the popular urban pilgrimage routes of the Seven Lucky Gods (shichifukujin). While a specific neoliberal discourse in Japan linked to tourism and the media has promoted the reinvention of traditional pilgrimage sites as New Age “power spots” informed by novel forms of temporality and subjectivity, urban communities living in those places, with their specific concerns and problems related to the local neighborhoods, often generate pilgrimage spaces that are radically different from those of the “neoliberal pilgrims.” I will thus argue that the pilgrimage of the Seven Lucky Gods emerges as a double discourse through which religious institutions and urban collectives semiotically assemble themselves not only by rebranding older sites as neoliberal power spots through media and tourism practices, but also by creatively producing hybrid subjectivities, sacred places, and alternative ontologies that are set apart from neoliberal economies.

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Marc Roscoe Loustau

Why do post-pilgrimage slideshows help Transylvanian Hungarian Catholics perform domestic devotional labor? There is growing interest in breaking open pilgrimage research, and scholars have recently begun studying rituals of return—including pilgrims’ practice of using photographs to narrate their journeys after returning home. I contribute to this effort by sketching out the general characteristics of Transylvanian Hungarian Catholics’ post-pilgrimage slideshows about the Medjugorje shrine. I then give a detailed description of an exemplary case: a married couple’s presentation for their children gathered around the family computer. Although we might expect pilgrims to routinize stories and images from a chaotic journey, many slideshows were quite disorganized and impressionistic. This disorganization helped travelers tailor their stories to the diverse spiritual interests of guests in a changing Transylvanian Hungarian Catholic religious landscape. Family members’ conversations also dramatized how neoliberalism in Romania has emerged alongside new global pilgrimage sites like Medjugorje. Medjugorje appeals to pilgrims because it is a privileged site for advertising national wares on the global market.

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Materiality as an Agency of Knowledge

Competing Forms of Knowledge in Rachel's Tomb in Tiberias

Nimrod Luz

that against the current flux and uncertainty of what counts as truth, we need to take materiality more seriously in our ethnography of pilgrimage sites. Further, complementing previous understandings that have emphasized sacred texts as sufficient

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Imagining Futures of Energy

Views from Central Asia

Markus S. Schulz

place in Central Asia. Despite low expectations about the enlightenment potential of what Walter Benjamin analyzed as “pilgrimage sites to the commodity fetish,” 3 this specialized expo on future energy seemed to offer at least some opportunities for

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John Eade

The millions visiting pilgrimage sites across the world attest to the continuing social, political, and economic significance of religion. The popularity of pilgrimage is partly driven by the expansion of global communications and the travel and