The Academy, the Otherworld and Between
Keywords:Feminist witchcraft, Goddess Spirituality, modern Paganism, researcher positioning
The paper discusses twenty-five years of research, beginning with feminist witches in New Zealand, moving to the small but diverse Pagan community of Malta, then to European Pagan communities more broadly, and recently to larger themes pertinent to Paganisms globally, such as nationalism, trans-nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and local/global influences and processes. My career and this paper are preoccupied with researcher and Pagan identities and positioning, and with the socio-cultural contexts in which they are crafted, including the academic one. An anthropologist is always and inevitably, to some degree, a liminal being, whose position as a perpetual ‘in-betweener’ has long been problematized within the discipline. For those who research witches and Pagans, this liminality is amplified because our research participants, too, are liminal in the societies they inhabit, and because seeking liminality – or going ‘between the worlds’ – is fundamental to Pagan rituals and everyday life. In this narrative I show that while an anthropologist’s positioning is inherently problematic, liminality can be comfortable and explicable by employing the metaphor of the hag who, though liminal, can fully occupy multiple worlds.
Batten, Juliet. Celebrating the Southern Seasons: Rituals for Aotearoa.Auckland: Tandem Press, 1995.
——. Power from Within: A Feminist Guide to Ritual–making. Auckland: Ishtar Books, 1988.
Blain, Jenny, and Robert Wallis. Sacred Sites, Contested Rites/Rights: Pagan Engagements with Archaeological Monuments. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2007.
Campbell, Joseph, with Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth. Edited by Betty Sue Flowers. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
Christ, Carol P. “Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological and Political Reflections.” In Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader on Religion, edited by Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, 273–87. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979.
Duerr, Hans Peter. Dreamtime: Concerning the Boundary between Wilderness and Civilization. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1985.
Eliot, Thomas Stearns. Selected Essays. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1950.
Greenwood, Susan. Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld: An Anthropology. Oxford: Berg, 2000.
Hume, Lynne. Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1997.
Jackson, Michael. Paths toward a Clearing: Radical Empiricism and Ethnographic Enquiry. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.
Kirtsoglou, Elisabeth. For the Love of Women: Gender, Identity and Same–Sex Relationships in a Greek Provincial Town. London: Routledge, 2004. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.4324/9780203414415.
Lewis, Ioan. Religion in Context: Cults and Charisma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Luhrmann, Tanya. Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Magliocco, Sabina. Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo–Paganism in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. http://dx.doi.org/10.9783/97808 12202700.
Rountree, Kathryn. “Archaeologists and Goddess Feminists at Çatalhöyük: An Experiment in Multivocality.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 23, no. 2 (2007): 7–26. http://dx.doi.org/10.2979/FSR.2007.23.2.7.
——. ed. Archaeology of Spiritualities. New York: Springer, 2012.
——. “The Case of the Missing Goddess: Plurality, Power and Prejudice in Reconstructions of Malta’s Neolithic Past.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 19, no. 2 (2003): 25–44.
——. ed. Contemporary Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe: Colonialist and Nationalist Impulses. New York: Berghahn, 2015.
——. Crafting Contemporary Pagan Identities in a Catholic Society. London: Ashgate, 2010.
——. Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual–Makers in New Zealand. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.
——. “Goddess Pilgrims as Tourists: Inscribing the Body through Sacred Travel.” Sociology of Religion 63, no. 4 (2002): 475–96.
——. “Goddesses and Monsters: Contesting Approaches to Malta’s Neolithic Past.” Journal of Mediterranean Studies 9, no. 2 (1999): 204–31.
——. “Is Dialogue between Religion and Science Possible? The Case of Archaeology and the Goddess Movement.” In Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science, edited by James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer, 797–818. Leiden: Brill, 2011.
——. “Localising Neo–Paganism: Integrating Global and Indigenous Traditions in a Mediterranean Catholic Society.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 17, no. 4 (2011): 846–72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2011.01722.x
——. “M?ori Bodies in European Eyes: Representations of the M?ori Body on Cook’s Voyages.” Journal of the Polynesian Society 107, no. 1 (1998): 35–59.
——. “Neo–Paganism, Native Faith and Indigenous Religion: A Case Study of Malta within the European Context.” Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 22, no. 1 (2014): 81–100. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12063.
——. “The New Witch of the West: Feminists Reclaim the Crone.” Journal of Popular Culture 30, no. 4 (1997): 211–29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-3840.19 97.3004_211.x.
——. “The Past is a Foreigners’ Country: Goddess Feminists, Archaeologists, and the Appropriation of Prehistory.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 16, no. 1 (2001): 5–27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537900123321.
——. “Performing the Divine: Neo–Pagan Pilgrimages and Embodiment at Sacred Sites.” Body and Society 12, no. 4 (2006): 95–115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/135 7034X06070886.
——. “The Politics of the Goddess: Feminist Spirituality and the Essentialism Debate.”Social Analysis 43, no. 2 (1999): 138–65.
——. “Re–inventing Malta’s Neolithic Temples: Contemporary Interpretations and Agendas.” History and Anthropology 13, no. 1 (2002): 31–51. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/02757200290002879.
——. “Re–making the M?ori Female Body: Marianne Williams’ Mission in the Bay of Islands.” Journal of Pacific History 35, no. 1 (2000): 49–66. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/713682828.
——. “Tourist Attractions, Cultural Icons, Sites of Sacred Encounter: Engagements with Malta’s Neolithic Temples.” In Thinking Through Tourism, edited by Tom Selwyn and Julie Scott, 183–208. Oxford: Berg, 2010.
——. “Tara, the M3, and the Celtic Tiger: Contesting Cultural Heritage, Identity and a Sacred Landscape in Ireland.” Journal of Anthropological Research 68, no. 4 (2012): 519–44. http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/jar.0521004.0068.404.
Schechner, Richard. “Collective Reflexivity: Restoration of Behaviour.” In A Crack in the Mirror: Reflexive Perspectives in Anthropology, edited by Jay Ruby, 39–82. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1982.
Starhawk 1979. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979.
Strmiska, Michael, ed. Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. Santa Barbara: ABC–Clio, 2005.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.