Prophetic visions and the role of mediums; possession ceremonies and ecstatic trance; the social contexts and practices of invocation: these are a number of the intriguing topics addressed by this comprehensive undergraduate textbook, the first of its kind to offer a thorough overview of the fascinating and multifaceted subject of spirit possession. The subject is now widely studied in a number of fields - including religion, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies - and for some time there has been a need for a book which offers a multicultural, multi-disciplinary and multi-thematic treatment which can satisfy growing demand and form the basis of focused modules in the area. Summoning the Spirits meets that requirement. Avoiding technical jargon and abstruse theorising, the book offers a representative snapshot of the way the topic is being treated by academics across the world. Its subject range, too, is global, covering such topics as Vietnamese len dong possession rituals in the United States; the practice of espiritismo (or mediumship) in Cuba; spirit possession in the Brazilian new religion of Santo Daime; invocation and divine possession in contemporary Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia; and different expressions of Charismatic Christianity in Europe. Analysing themes which recur from context to context (such as agency and meaning, power and gender, cultural hybridism, and globalisation), an international team of contributors presents a variety of novel and challenging approaches. This is the ideal starting-point for students looking for a way into the subject.
Summoning the Spirits
Possession and Invocation in Contemporary Religion