Download Alternative Altars: Unconventional and Eastern Spirituality by Robert S. Ellwood PDF

By Robert S. Ellwood

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The explosive occasions of Jonestown and Koreagate have riveted the eyes of the USA at the burgeoning and mostly misunderstood circulate of up to date spiritual cults. Robert S. Elwood makes an attempt to extra our knowing of those occult, mystical and jap religious events within the usa through putting them in a a distinctively American context, demonstrating that they're neither new or alien.

This compact quantity combines extraordinary volume of historic details with present interpretative theories approximately inner most pilgrimages and sectarian differentiation. the writer covers a variety of emergent, non-normative non secular types and notes that they have got omprised myriad contributors, every one following comparable styles of non-public excursus or quests for internal awareness. After discussing the typical positive factors of such religious festiveness, Ellwood highlights Shaker Spiritualism, Theosophy, and as illustrative of a continual and sundry culture of spiritual experimentation in America.... probably this book's maximum contribution is to make it very unlikely to any extent further to disregard those religions as actual expressions of religious hindrance which mainline church buildings try out vainly to demonize
-- Religion experiences Review

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Extra info for Alternative Altars: Unconventional and Eastern Spirituality in America (Chicago History of American Religion)

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Its strengths and weaknesses are, in fact, the opposing complement to those of the temple: it has protean flexibility where the latter has visible continuing structure; it has appeal to subjectivity as established religion evokes one's sense of family and community and place, as it continually changes, divides, regroups. — — As James T. Richardson has pointed out, a cult and one could add the emergent spiritual tradition as a whole has as its major criterion its "oppositional" character. ^^ Its beliefs and practices both are counter to those of the dominant culture, or when that culture is in a state of dissolution, to those of other subcultural groups.

Perhaps that because of is sociological background in the primordial American weak group ambience joined with the implicit status-consciousness of the later successful capitalists who have been its most typical adherents. One its finds in the literature of this tradition a basically pragmatic attitude which in failure is the real sin. in which semi-magic may be used as a all sons of semi-rituals and means of strengthening the positive thoughts which are the forces through which the ego attains success.

Also, the excursus religion will have some practices which simply reify the excursus experience. That experience is one of separation, liminality, and reincorporation as a body in another context; its rituals, especially those of initiation, may mimic it. One thinks of those Neo-Pagan and Witchcraft groups which mount impressive "classic" initiations, even to blindfoldings and mild scourgings. More likely, the ceremonies are simply rites of identity, giving one status in the group and demarcating the group from outside society.

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