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Teachings of Tara

Sacred Place and Human Wellbeing in the Shimla Hills

Jonathan Miles-Watson

This article presents the case for a rethinking of the academy’s approach to sacred space through a demonstration of the way that a focus on unskilled actors reconfigures established approaches and interpretations. The article opens with an auto-ethnographic account of the powerful effect of Shimla’s Tara Devi temple on personal wellbeing and from this starting point spirals out to explore how Tara (and her sacred places) are connected to wellbeing both in the Himalayan region of Shimla and beyond. Through this process, arguments that I have previously made, concerning both the relation of sacred places to happiness (2010) and the way that sacred places operate in Himalayan North India (2012), are significantly complicated, leading to a reappraisal of the role that unskilled actors play in the constitution of sacred space. The article concludes by drawing these ethnographic reflections and theoretical considerations together to develop a key set of recommendations that call for policy-makers to engage sensitively with sacred places in the contemporary, post-secular city.

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Ziyareti

Imagined Sacred Places and Cultural Transmission among Georgians in Turkey

Tamta Khalvashi

This article attempts to analyse the role of collective remembering and imagination of certain traditions, practices and rituals that are related to sacred places through the process of cultural transmission and social change among Muslim Georgians living in north-eastern Turkey. For this purpose, I refer to nineteenth-century ethnographic narratives collected by the Georgian critic Zakarya Chichinadze, as well as my own fieldwork materials. I aim to show how these narratives mediate collective remembering of sacred places that is modified with additional imagined constructs.

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Galina Kharyuchi

The Nenets people have various forms of worshipping spirits in their sacred landscapes. The article examines the history, definitions, and classifications of forms of worship of the Nenets sacred places (khebidia ia). Cult structures (khekhe) include objects of nature as well as effigies of various deities installed at sacred sites or residential areas. Images of a master spirit carved in stone or wood (siadei) mark tribal or general significant sites of worship. The main activities carried out on these sacred sites relate to seasonal rituals of the life cycle and to subsistence practices such as fishing and hunting. The most important of them were sacrificial rituals.

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Two Venerated Mothers Separated by a Wall

Iconic Spaces, Territoriality, and Borders in Israel-Palestine

Nurit Stadler and Nimrod Luz

This article explores the role of sacred places and pilgrimage centers in the context of contemporary geopolitical strife and border disputes. Following and expanding on the growing body of literature engaged with the contested nature of the sacred, this article argues that sacred sites are becoming more influential in processes of determining physical borders. We scrutinize this phenomenon through the prism of a small parcel of land on the two sides of the Separation Wall that is being constructed between Israel and Palestine. Our analysis focuses on two holy shrines that are dedicated to devotional mothers: the traditional Tomb of Rachel the Matriarch on the way to Bethlehem and Our Lady of the Wall, an emergent Christian site constructed as a reaction to the Wall. We examine the architectural (and material) phenomenology, the experience, and the implications that characterize these two adjacent spatialities, showing how these sites are being used as political tools by various actors to challenge the political, social, and geographical order.

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A Working Model of a Sacred Place

Exhibits Appearing in Dreams and Other Miracles in a Small Museum at the Edge of the World

Elena V. Liarskaya and Anna Kushkova

Based on materials from expeditions to the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug during 2006 and 2007, this article discusses the role of a small museum in the local society of a district administrative center. The article focuses on a specific class of sacred Nenets objects in the museum's collection, called locally babushka (grandmother) and a “working model“ of a sacred site that is itself a sacred site for local residents, both indigenous and Russian, to explore the social relationships forged by the museum and its collection among local residents of all ethnicities. The museum and its objects are not removed from social life and rendered dead and preserved under glass. They remain alive in a network of relationships between human and non-human persons.

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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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Between Dreams and Traces

Memory, Temporality, and the Production of Sainthood in Lesbos

Séverine Rey

The monastery of Agios Rafaïl, built in the 1960s on the northern Aegean island of Lesbos, commemorates the ‘newly appeared’ Saints Rafaïl, Nikolaos, and Irini. Their ‘apparition’ is marked by different forms of memory and commemoration: first, the juxtaposition of their trajectories with Asia Minor refugees visited by dreams, the main agents of the discovery of these saints; second, the local Bishopric’s search for people who could be canonized as saints as a result of their heroism during the Ottoman occupation of the island. Temporalities of varying dimensions are interwoven within these discourses, as the past intervenes in the present and marks the continuity of destinies and of sacred places. The future (or its promise) is equally tied to these events under the form of hidden treasures.

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Remapping Sacred Landscapes

Shamanic Tourism and Cultural Production on the Olkhon Island

Anya Bernstein

This article looks at the particular ways in which shamanic sacred places are being constructed through tourist performances. Focusing on the guided tours in Olkhon Island conducted by a Buryat shaman, the article maps out the various meanings of this tourist phenomenon in the context of Buryat shamanic revival. It interprets tourist performances as forms of social action and as a paradigmatic example of how contemporary Buryats fashion their ethnic and religious identity, arguing that this form of shamanic tourism results in the greater articulation (rather than the diminution) of cultural heritage. Focusing on the intercultural production of sacred sites as one part of multi-faceted shamanic revitalization process, the article demonstrates that it is through reinvention of shamanism as a "genuine world religion" — which fashions sacred sites as equivalents of "temples" (in this case in tourist discourse)—indigenous activists stake out political ground for reclaiming sacred sites.

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Religious Tourism

Analytical Routes through Multiple Meanings

Emerson Giumbelli

Translator : Jeffrey Hoff

://pastoraldoturismo.com.br/2015/03/20/pastoral-do-turismo-prepara-estatuto-e-planeja-atividades/ Vukonić , Boris . 2006 . “ Sacred Places and Tourism in the Roman Catholic Tradition .” In Timothy and Olsen, 237 - 253 . Yel , Ali Murat . 2006 . “ Appropriation of Sacredness

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Jens Kreinath and Refika Sariönder

: 116 ). The meydan is considered a sacred place wherein the main ritual acts are performed ( Markoff 1993: 107 ; McElwain 1993: 146–150 ; Mélikoff 1994: 66–67 ). Music plays an important role during the cem , and the instrument typically used is a