Accepted paper:

Making sacred places and convergence rituals

Authors:

Mare Kõiva (Estonian Literary Museum)
Rahel Laura Vesik (Estonian Literary Museum)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates and compares two kinds of contemporary rituals dedicated to the Sun and Moon: 1) the ethnic (pagan) rituals performed around equinoxes and solstices, and 2) occasional rituals performed by contemporary masters of rituals.

Paper long abstract:

This paper investigates and compares two kinds of contemporary rituals dedicated to the Sun and Moon: 1) the ethnic (pagan) rituals performed around equinoxes and solstices, and 2) occasional rituals performed by contemporary masters of rituals. The rituals reflect combinations of Pagan, Christian, and secular approaches, use texts from old manuscripts, with additions from different cultural areas. The aim of the paper is to reevaluate and deconstruct these rituals using Hobsbawm and Ranger's (1983) concept of invented tradition, studies of new religiousity/spirituality (cf. York, 2001), ritual theories (Bell, 1992). The presentation in based on Eastern European (Estonian, Bulgarian, Slovenian) material. Instead of the term "bricolage" I have used "convergence", a more widely accepted characteristic describing various phenomena in new media and cultural disciplines. From the point of view of the emergence of a belief or ritual, the personal worldview and ethical evaluations of the person formulating the ritual and belief, "convergence" is more information-laden. In both cases under examination (a, b) the rituals are tailored to resemble traditions of the past, including prayers to stellar objects. Typically to modern rituals they are very much person/individual-centered, and we can characterize them as the convergence rituals. The purpose of the rituals is to involve participants in the cultural process of constructing a ritual, to direct city dwellers in finding a new inner balance.

panel P138
Religious practices in transition: ethnographical and theoretical studies of religions in multiethnic and/or multicultural situations