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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Indian state of West Bengal is home to one of the world's most vibrant traditions of goddess worship. The year's biggest holidays are devoted to the goddesses Durga and Kali, with lavish rituals, decorated statues, fireworks, and parades. In Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls, June McDaniel provides a broad, accessibly written overview of Bengali goddess worship. McDaniel identifies three major forms of goddess worship, and examines each through its myths, folklore, songs, rituals, sacred texts, and practitioners. In the folk/tribal strand, which is found in rural areas, local tribal goddesses are worshipped alongside Hindu goddesses, with an emphasis on possession, healing, and animism. The tantric/yogic strand focuses on ritual, meditation, and visualization as ways of experiencing the power of the goddess directly. The devotional or bhakti strand, which is the most popular form, involves the intense love and worship of a particular form of the goddess. McDaniel traces these strands through Bengali culture and explores how they are interwoven with each other as well as with other forms of Hinduism. She also discusses how these practices have been reinterpreted in the West, where goddess worship has gained the values of sexual freedom and psychological healing, but lost its emphases on devotion and asceticism. Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls takes the reader inside the lives of practicing Shaktas, including holy women, hymn singers, philosophers, visionaries, gurus, ascetics, healers, musicians, and businessmen, and offers vivid descriptions of their rituals, practices, and daily lives. Drawing on years of fieldwork and extensive research, McDaniel paints a rich, expansive portrait of this fascinating religious tradition.

Synopsis:

In Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls, June McDaniel provides an exhaustive, accessibly written overview of Bengali goddess worship or Shakti. McDaniel identifies three major forms of goddess worship, and examines each through its myths, folklore, songs, rituals, sacred texts, and practitioners. She traces these strands through Bengali culture and explores how they are interwoven with each other as well as with other forms of Hinduism and other forms of religion. McDaniel also discusses how Shakti practices have been reinterpreted in the West, where goddess worship has gained the values of sexual freedom and psychological healing, but lost its emphases on devotion and asceticism. She takes the reader inside the lives of practicing Shaktas, including religious professionals, hymn singers, philosophers, visionaries, gurus, and even a businessman, and offers vivid descriptions of their rituals, practices, and daily lives. Drawing on years of fieldwork and extensive research, McDaniel paints a rich, expansive portrait of this fascinating religious tradition.

Synopsis:

The Indian state of West Bengal is home to one of the world's most vibrant traditions of goddess worship. The year's biggest holidays are devoted to the goddesses Durga and Kali, with Lavish rituals, decorated statues, fireworks, and parades. In Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls, June McDaniel provides a broad, accessibly written overview of Bengali goddess worship. McDaniel identifies three major forms of goddess worship, and examines each through its myths, folklore, songs, rituals, sacred texts, and practitioners. McDaniel paints a rich, expansive portrait of this fascinating religious tradition.

About the Author

June McDaniel is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Religious Studies Program at the College of Charleston. She is the author of The Madness of the Saints: Ecstatic Religion in Bengal (1989) and Making Virtuous Daughters and Wives: An Introduction to Women's Brata Rituals in Bengali Folk Religion (2002).

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195167917
Author:
Mcdaniel, June
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
McDaniel, June
Author:
null, June
Location:
New York
Subject:
India
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Hinduism
Subject:
Cult
Subject:
Hinduism - General
Subject:
Theology | Hinduism
Subject:
Religion and Theology | Hinduism
Subject:
Spirituality-Divine Mother, the Goddess, Quan Yin
Subject:
Kali (Hindu deity) - Cult - India -
Subject:
Shaktism - India - West Bengal
Subject:
Religion & Theology | Hinduism
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Hinduism-General
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references.
Series Volume:
2002s-88
Publication Date:
20040431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.00x6.00x.82 in. 1.19 lbs.

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Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal New Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195167917 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls, June McDaniel provides an exhaustive, accessibly written overview of Bengali goddess worship or Shakti. McDaniel identifies three major forms of goddess worship, and examines each through its myths, folklore, songs, rituals, sacred texts, and practitioners. She traces these strands through Bengali culture and explores how they are interwoven with each other as well as with other forms of Hinduism and other forms of religion. McDaniel also discusses how Shakti practices have been reinterpreted in the West, where goddess worship has gained the values of sexual freedom and psychological healing, but lost its emphases on devotion and asceticism. She takes the reader inside the lives of practicing Shaktas, including religious professionals, hymn singers, philosophers, visionaries, gurus, and even a businessman, and offers vivid descriptions of their rituals, practices, and daily lives. Drawing on years of fieldwork and extensive research, McDaniel paints a rich, expansive portrait of this fascinating religious tradition.
"Synopsis" by , The Indian state of West Bengal is home to one of the world's most vibrant traditions of goddess worship. The year's biggest holidays are devoted to the goddesses Durga and Kali, with Lavish rituals, decorated statues, fireworks, and parades. In Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls, June McDaniel provides a broad, accessibly written overview of Bengali goddess worship. McDaniel identifies three major forms of goddess worship, and examines each through its myths, folklore, songs, rituals, sacred texts, and practitioners. McDaniel paints a rich, expansive portrait of this fascinating religious tradition.
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