Synopses & Reviews
Faunalia is a controversial Pagan festival with a reputation for being wild and emotionally intense. It lasts five days, eighty people attend, and the two main rituals run most of the night. In the tantalisingly erotic Baphomet rite, participants encounter a hermaphroditic deity, enter a state of trance and dance naked around a bonfire. In the Underworld rite participants role play their own death, confronting grief and suffering. These rituals are understood as "shadow work" - a Jungian term that refers to practices that creatively engage repressed or hidden aspects of the self.
Sex, Death and Witchcraft is a powerful application of relational theory to the study of religion and contemporary culture. It analyses Faunalias rituals in terms of recent innovations in the sociology of religion and religious studies that focus on relational etiquette, lived religion, embodiment and performance. The sensuous and emotionally intense ritual performances at Faunalia transform both moral orientations and self-understandings. Participants develop an ethical practice that is individualistic, but also relational, and aesthetically mediated. Extensive extracts from interviews describe the rituals in participants own words. The book combines rich and evocative description of the rituals with careful analysis of the social processes that shape peoples experiences at this controversial Pagan festival.
Many modern pagan rituals and festivals are a bit controversial, notonly with other religions and more conservative elements of society, but also with actual historians of religion, who claim that modernpaganism is a recent invention rather than the ancient religious system that many of its followers believe it to be. Be that as itmay, its practices are quite interesting: and faunalia, with its darkly erotic combination of elements is one such. In this study,perhaps the first one on the subject, the author applies principles of relational theory and the latest work in sociology of religion tothis festival. Tho major parts of the festival (Baphomet and Underworld rites) are described, examining their effect on the moralorientations of the participants, and their understanding of self and others and the relationship between the two. The author draws onmany interviews with participants, allowing us to see the ritual and its effects on the individual from their points of view.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
About the Author
Douglas Ezzy is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia.
Table of Contents
4. Death: The Underworld Rite
6. The Baphomet Rite