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Performing with the Dead
Trances and Traces
Christopher "Kit" Danowski
Intellect Books, 2024
A methodology for incorporating concepts drawn from ancestor trance in Afrolatinx ritual into Western theatrical training.

In this book, Kit Danowski constructs a methodology called kanga (from the Bantu for tying and untying), using three methods based on aspects of the Afrolatinx ritual and modified for performance contexts: spell, charm, and trance. This methodology enacts and complicates distinctions between performance and ritual, serving as a contribution to respectful and responsible intercultural performance practices. The methodology is bricoleur, drawing from ethnography, psychoanalytic theory, and phenomenology. Kanga in practice leads to a state of consciousness that Danowski calls hauntological. This borrows from Derrida but is redefined to refer to the study of haunted states of consciousness, where reality is coconstituted by the living and the dead and ancestral spirits are invoked to do the work once reserved for characters.

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The Place of Enchantment
British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern
Alex Owen
University of Chicago Press, 2004
By the end of the nineteenth century, Victorians were seeking rational explanations for the world in which they lived. The radical ideas of Charles Darwin had shaken traditional religious beliefs. Sigmund Freud was developing his innovative models of the conscious and unconscious mind. And anthropologist James George Frazer was subjecting magic, myth, and ritual to systematic inquiry. Why, then, in this quintessentially modern moment, did late-Victorian and Edwardian men and women become absorbed by metaphysical quests, heterodox spiritual encounters, and occult experimentation?

In answering this question for the first time, The Place of Enchantment breaks new ground in its consideration of the role of occultism in British culture prior to World War I. Rescuing occultism from its status as an "irrational indulgence" and situating it at the center of British intellectual life, Owen argues that an involvement with the occult was a leitmotif of the intellectual avant-garde. Carefully placing a serious engagement with esotericism squarely alongside revolutionary understandings of rationality and consciousness, Owen demonstrates how a newly psychologized magic operated in conjunction with the developing patterns of modern life. She details such fascinating examples of occult practice as the sex magic of Aleister Crowley, the pharmacological experimentation of W. B. Yeats, and complex forms of astral clairvoyance as taught in secret and hierarchical magical societies like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Through a remarkable blend of theoretical discussion and intellectual history, Owen has produced a work that moves far beyond a consideration of occultists and their world. Bearing directly on our understanding of modernity, her conclusions will force us to rethink the place of the irrational in modern culture.

“An intelligent, well-argued and richly detailed work of cultural history that offers a substantial contribution to our understanding of Britain.”—Nick Freeman, Washington Times


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Postcolonial Hauntings
Play and Transnational Feminism
Sushmita Chatterjee
University of Illinois Press, 2024

Often examined separately, play and hauntings in fact act together to frame postcolonial issues. Sushmita Chatterjee showcases their braided workings in social and political fabrics. Drawing on this intertwined idea of play and hauntings, Chatterjee goes to the heart of conundrums within transnational postcolonial feminisms by examining the impossible echoes of translations, differing renditions of queer, and the possibilities of solidarity beyond the fraternal friendships that cement nation-states. Meaning-plays, or slippages through language systems as we move from one language to another, play a pivotal role in a global world. As Chatterjee shows, an attentiveness to meaning-plays discerns the past and present, here and there, and moves us toward responsive ethics in our theories and activisms.

Insightful and stimulating, Postcolonial Hauntings centers the inextricable work of play and hauntings as a braided ethics for postcolonial transnational struggles.


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The Posthuman Condition
Consciousness Beyond the Brain
Robert Pepperell
Intellect Books, 2009
"Where humanists saw themselves as distinct beings in an antagonistic relationship with their surroundings, posthumans regard their own being as embodied in an extended technological world."

Synthetic creativity, organic computers, genetic modification, intelligent machines--such ideas are deeply challenging to many of our traditional assumptions about human uniqueness and superiority. But, ironically, it is our very capacity for technological invention that has secured us so dominant a position in the world which may lead ultimately to (as some have put it) 'The End of Man'. If we are really capable of creating entities that exceed our own skills and intellect then the consequences for humanity are almost inconceivable. Nevertheless, we must now face up to the possibility that attributes like intelligence and consciousness may be synthesised in non-human entities--perhaps within our lifetime. Would such entities have human-like emotions; would they have a sense of their own being?

The Posthuman Condition
argues that such questions are difficult to tackle given the concepts of human existence that we have inherited from humanism, many of which can no longer be sustained. New theories about nature and the operation of the universe arising from sophisticated computer modelling are starting to demonstrate the profound interconnections between all things in reality where previously we had seen only separations. This has implications for traditional views of the human condition, consciousness, the way we look at art, and for some of the oldest problems in philosophy.

First published in the 1990s, this important text has been completely revised by the author with the addition of new sections and illustrations.

For further information see: www.post-human.net

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Prayers and Rituals at a Time of Illness and Dying
The Practices of Five World Religions
Patricia Fosarelli
Templeton Press, 2008

In the course of caring for the ill or dying, health care professionals are sometimes the only ones available to provide spiritual comfort to their patients. In our modern pluralistic society, where patients could come from any number of religious traditions, it can often be difficult to find exactly the right words in these situations.

Prayers and Rituals at a Time of Illness and Dying: The Practices of Five World Religions by experienced physician and theologian Pat Fosarelli offers clear instructions for health care professionals on how to better understand the needs of their Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish patients during these difficult times. Devoting separate chapters to each tradition, Fosarelli briefly outlines the basic beliefs and then looks at the main tenets of each religion, exploring the varied approaches that they take to illness and end-of-life issues. For each tradition, she also describes practices and offers suitable prayers. Each chapter suggests modifications that may be necessary for Western hospitals, modifications for children, and specific suggestions about what not to do or say in respect to different faith traditions.

This easy-to-use, pocket-sized resource will be referenced again and again by physicians, paramedics, hospital and military chaplains, pastoral counselors, hospice providers, and other medical professionals.


front cover of The Presence of Other Worlds
The Presence of Other Worlds
The Psychological and Spiritual Findings of Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2004

In 1974, Wilson Van Dusen published a groundbreaking study on the findings of Emanuel Swedenborg, a book that has inspired thousands to look more closely into Swedenborg's works and to consider the implications of living a useful and thoughtfully directed life. This updated second edition, published on the thirtieth anniversary of the book's original publication, includes a new introduction to this bestselling work.

An account of the monumental journey of an eighteenth-century scientist and philosopher into the depths of his own mind and to spiritual worlds beyond, The Presence of Other Worlds shows how Swedenborg's personal experiences radiate with insights about psychological and spiritual develpments that are relevant to modern-day seekers. It has been hailed since its first publication as a passport for all spiritual voyagers into the human psyche and the innter sanctum of the afterlife.

Dr. Raymond Moody, author of Life After Life, provides a foreword that explains the importance of Swedenborg's mystical experiences in connection with the near-death experience. Dr. James Lawrence presents a tribute to Wilson Van Dusen and his enduring legacy in an afterword.


front cover of A Psychology of Spiritual Healing
A Psychology of Spiritual Healing
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 1997

In this comprehensive work, Eugene Taylor uses the tenets of modern psychology, concepts from the world's religions, and a lifetime of spiritual experiences and interior exploration to show how true healing comes from within. Taylor asserts that "consciousness and healing are linked and this connection can best be understood within the context of a growth-oriented psychology of self-realization." Everyone has the capacity to develop a healing personality.

Drawing from such diverse interpreters of transcendental and psychological experiences as William James, Emanuel Swedenborg, Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Victor Frankl, and Abraham Maslow, Taylor explores the divisions between science and religious traditions; presents his own personal experiences, including his meetings with the Dalai Lama and Tenzin Norgay; and provides glimpses into the spiritual lives of others who have shared their experiences with him. The function of belief in the alleviation of suffering, the development of self-awareness, and the importance of human relationships form the basis for Taylor's psychology of spiritual healing. This cogent work both provides answers and raises questions for the spiritual seeker.


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