Recent anthropological studies of consciousness and altered states of consciousness have influenced New Age and contemporary forms of spirituality. This workshop seeks to understand, illustrate and define this relationship of concept, imagination and deed.
Imagination has a starred and heart felt presence in the recent anthropologies of consciousness, selfhood and the roving human processes of passing belief, transcendence and illusion. Contemporary studies of altered states of consciousness (ASCs in anthropology) and exceptional human experiences (EHEs in psychology) detail, distil, galvanise and reflect the myriad forms of New Age inventions, passions, perspectives and resultant beliefs, concepts and actions. This workshop seeks to chart the influence of this welter of anthropological studies of inner imagined worlds both on persons and movements. From the dubious legacy of Castaneda to the ethnopsychological studies of indigenous peoples and the myriad anthropologies of contemporary religious experience, such a perspective allows for consciousness to be explored from cross-cultural, experiential, theoretical and methodological perspectives. Whether and how much such anthropologies can and do influence our world views today will be the foremost concern of the workshop.