Offering a new template for future exploration, Susan Greenwood examines and develops the notion that the experience of magic is a panhuman orientation of consciousness, a form of knowledge largely marginalized in Western societies.
In this volume she aims to form a "bridge of communication" between indigenous magical or shamanic worldviews and rationalized Western cultures. She outlines an alternative mythological framework for the latter to help develop a magical perception, as well as giving practical case studies derived from her own research.
The form of magic discussed here is not fantastic or virtual, but ecological and sensory. Magical knowledge infiltrates the body in its deepest levels of the subconscious, and unconscious, as well as conscious awareness; it is felt and understood through the connection with an inspirited world that includes the consciousness of other beings, including those of plant, animal and the physical environment.
This is anthropology from the heart rather than the head, and it engages with the messy area of emotions, an embodiment of the senses, and struggles to find a common language of listening to one another across a void of differences. The aim is to provide a non-reductive structure for the creative interplay of both magical and analytical modes of thought. Passion is a motivator for change, and a change in attitude to magic as an integrative force of human understanding is the main thread of this work.
Table of Contents
Section I: A Bridge of Communication; 1. On the Trail of the Rainbow Serpent; 2. Towards a Place of Connection; 3. Moving out of the Hall of Mirrors: The Practice of Magic; 4. Liberating Magical Imagination; Section II: Lifting "Mind Forg’d Manacles"; 5. Healing the Sleep of Rationalism; 6. "Opposition is True Friendship": Integrating the Psyche; Section II: Working with Magical Consciousness; 7. "Re-Dreaming": A Language of Communication; 8. All Knowing is Personal: Participating with Spirit Worlds; 9. Working between Two Worlds: Interactions of Cultures and Environment
Susan Greenwood is an anthropologist who lectures internationally. She is a Lecturer and past Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, and a former Lecturer and Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her books include Magical Consciousness: An Anthropological and Neurobiological Approach with Erik D. Goodwyn (Routledge, 2017)