The Nature of Magic : An Anthropology of Consciousness book cover
1st Edition

The Nature of Magic
An Anthropology of Consciousness

ISBN 9781845200954
Published May 1, 2005 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines how and why practitioners of nature religion - Western witches, druids, shamans - seek to relate spiritually with nature through 'magical consciousness'. 'Magic' and 'consciousness' are concepts that are often fraught with prejudice and ambiguity respectively. Greenwood develops a new theory of magical consciousness by arguing that magic ultimately has more to do with the workings of the human mind in terms of an expanded awareness than with socio-cultural explanations. She combines her own subjective insights gained from magical practice with practitioners' in-depth accounts and sustained academic theory on the process of magic. She also tracks magical consciousness in philosophy, myth, folklore, story-telling, and the hi-tech discourse of postmodernity, and asks important questions concerning nature religion's environmental credentials, such as whether it as inherently ecological as many of its practitioners claim.

Table of Contents

IntroductionNature Religion and Underlying Influences Reconnection with Nature'Calling to be Remembered': the Past, Ancestors, and Tradition Magical Consciousness The Wild Hunt: a Mythological Language of MagicLearning to be IndigenousA Tangled Web: Paradoxical ElementsNature in the City: Concluding Reflections

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Susan Greenwood is Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex.