Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness

The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness Cover

Book: The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness by Susan Greenwood

This work is an anthropological study of magic and Consciousness conducted through an examination of nature spiritualities. Often collectively termed ‘nature religion’, nature spiritualities are concerned with developing intense personal
relationships with nature, as demonstrated by my own encounter with the Snowdonian elements above. In Western cultures, nature, the earth, or ‘the environment’ as it is now frequently called, has been progressively devalued by some dualistic conceptions of the universe that separate humans from nature. A definition of the environment as ‘all material entities which exist on planet Earth but which are not human’ reveals the fundamental separation between humans and the natural world (Simmons, 1993:1). The central theme of this work is to examine how practitioners of nature spiritualities overcome this cultural alienation and relate with nature as a living and inspirited cosmos.

The sociologist Max Weber observed that the ‘fate of our times’ was characterized by rationalization, intellectualization and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world’ (1948:155). Through the use of Friedrich Schiller’s disenchantment phrase, he was referring to the degree in which rationalization had displaced Magical Elements in modern Western societies (Gerth and Wright Mills, [1948] 1970:51). Non-Western cultures have not been so affected and the anthropologist Victor Turner has astutely noted that African thought, which consists of autonomous linked world-views, ‘embeds itself from the outset in materiality’, but this materiality is ‘not inert but vital’ (1975:21).

The methodology that I adopt for this research is one of direct involvement. I have dealt at length with the complexities of conducting anthropological fieldwork from a participatory approach in previous works. This is notoriously difficult when studying magic due to the varying and often derogatory attitudes to what is seen as the non-rational and non-logical in Western social science.

Buy Susan Greenwood's book: The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness

Books in PDF format to read:

Nathan Elkana - The Master Grimoire Of Magickal Rites And Ceremonies
Sir James George Frazer - The Golden Bough A Study Of Magic And Religion
Susan Greenwood - The Nature Of Magic An Anthropology Of Consciousness