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 United States at the burgeoning and principally misunderstood circulate of latest spiritual cults. Robert S. Elwood makes an attempt to additional our figuring out of those occult, mystical and japanese religious hobbies within the usa via putting them in a a distinctively American context, demonstrating that they're neither new or alien.

This compact quantity combines extraordinary volume of old info with present interpretative theories approximately inner most pilgrimages and sectarian differentiation. the writer covers a variety of emergent, non-normative spiritual types and notes that they've omprised myriad members, every one following comparable styles of private excursus or quests for internal consciousness. After discussing the typical beneficial properties of such non secular festiveness, Ellwood highlights Shaker Spiritualism, Theosophy, and as illustrative of a continual and sundry culture of non secular experimentation in America.... probably this book's maximum contribution is to make it most unlikely any more to disregard those religions as real expressions of religious main issue which mainline church buildings try out vainly to demonize
-- Religion experiences Review

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

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Society. Excursus Religion Visits to the Other Shore If emergent religion is the alternative to which those who turn away from established religion of the temple have recourse, their journeys are individual excursions. If the emergent religious tradition has certain unifying themes, and a hidden history which shows continuities among its many manifestations past and present, for each voyager the journey is unique and solitary because it enacts a personal subjective quest. However much both goal and pilgrim path may conform to well-trodden patterns, the expecomes to a person conditioned by normative culan excursus away from the familiar and toward that pre-exist or rience ordinarily tural religion as which draws just because it is strange, yet in its very strangeness seems to offer a promise of new kinds of self-discovery.

It is restraints. a time of the reversal of The subject is ritually dation and the plenitude of a coincidentia oppositorum, are well expressed in the language which compares liminal states to death, the womb, invisibility, bisexuality, Liminality is and journeys in the wilderness. originally a process state, a state of transition. But — — some especially when the quest seems endless it can become a permanent state, a continual calling. This is the meaning of monks and holy wanderers of all sons, who manifest it to themselves and to the world through special garb and a reversal of ordinary usage in the matters of sex, family, money, authority, and habitation.

That to move out of the structure of caste religion is what might be obligations. In America, excursus called "established means" of touching mediums the liminality borne by such avatars of otherness as spirit and Zen masters. "^ they 2 "means of ultimate transforma- something beyond, of which persons, groups, and symbols are only images. That, according to Victor Turner, is the ideal of a social or perhaps eschatological state which transcends structure. In this state individuals are related in the "I-thou" manner rather than through taneous.

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