Intimacy and Ritual: A Study of Spiritualism, Medium and Groups, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Intimacy and Ritual

A Study of Spiritualism, Medium and Groups, 1st Edition

By Vieda Skultans


112 pages

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Hardback: 9780367338084
pub: 2019-09-09
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Originally published in 1974 Intimacy and Ritual is a sympathetic study of spiritualist activities and their relation to the practitioners’ secular lives. The book, in particular, looks at the therapeutic function of spiritualism. Based on the author’s fieldwork as a ‘participant observer’ among spiritualists in a South Wales town, the research covers spiritualists services and meetings as well as interviews with spiritualists in their own homes. The book gives an accurate account of spiritualist doctrines and beliefs about the spirit world. The book postulates that spirit possession always relates to illness and shows how this is often the physical counterpart of social malaise. Throughout the study, spiritualism is seen in terms of the coping techniques and the rewards which it offers its members. The book shows that spiritualism is more highly regarded as a problem-solving source than the formal care-giving organizations, such as psychiatrist hospitals and the social work agencies. Healing activities are interpreted as a symbolic enactment of male and female roles ideally conceived, and spiritualist messages offer symbols and explanations of illness and misfortune.

Table of Contents


1 Introduction

2. The Actors

3. Privacy and Pain

4. Healing Rituals

5. Church and Circle

6. Symbol and Explanation

7. Religious and Therapeutic Encounters



About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Spiritualism

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1974 and 1992, draw together research by leading academics in spiritualism, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The collection examines spirituality from a broad range of disciplines, from the spirituality in the Christian church, spirituality in Africa, and Afro-American religions, as well as examining the areas of channeling, mediumship and spirit possession. In this 3-volume set, there are two incredibly unique and insightful bibliographic source collections, examining both primary and secondary source listings across the subject of spiritualism and one volume providing field research into spirituality in the Christian church and in the occult. This collection is an incredibly useful tool for researchers examining the broad area of spiritualism and will be of interest to researchers, academics and students of anthropology, religion and sociology.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Spirituality