This panel explores the importance of emotions in the context of newly created contemporary rituals and the sense of embodied experience of the divine they aim to bring about. We invite ethnographically grounded papers exploring these issues in different religious contexts.
Ritual is being reclaimed across a wide spectrum of religious communities in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Through the re-interpretation of traditional rituals and/or the creation of new ones, people in different religious contexts seek to revitalize nature religions, experience the presence of the Virgin Mary, establish a contact with the spirits of their home country or come to terms with difficult decisions such as an abortion or a divorce. Participants in and creators of these new rituals often seek an embodied experience of the sacred that serves as evidence of direct contact with the numinous. Emotions play an important role in the process of creating a sense of embodied sacredness that emphasizes the immanent nature of the divine. In this panel we would like to analyze the specific function of ritual as a vehicle for the expression of emotions: those of participants as well as those that the creators of ritual wish to solicit. We are particularly interested in exploring the ways in which ritual experiences manifest themselves through the body. What kind of 'healing' experiences do the participants report? What kind of physical and spiritual relationships do they establish? This panel seeks papers that explore these issues in a variety of contexts, such as those of new religious movements, modern Paganisms, and 'feminist' interpretations of more conventional rites, as well as pilgrimage and religious migration.