Vol 10 No. 1 (2008)


The Open University
I am currently a Ph.D student at the Open University, UK, in Religious Studies, and a former faculty member of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
Loughborough University
Senior Lecturer in English. Author of *Conceiving the City: London, Literature, and Art, 1870-1914* (Oxford University Press, 2007) and many articles on late-Victorian literature and culture.
This essay explores the ways in which certain British writers reimagined Greece in the period 1914-66. It is especially concerned with the ways in which Greece represents a ‘pagan’ space in which characters encounter modes of living and belief far removed from those they are used to. With particular reference to John Buchan, Sarban, and Robert Aickman, the essay argues that the disparity between ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ Greece led writers into the deliberate fictionalisation of Mediterranean islands in search of a ‘paganism’ that may or may not actually exist.
Research MA
Research MA student at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Religious Studies, subdepartment of the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents.
The variety of religious positions commonly grouped together under the heading “Neo-Paganism” call for no homogenous reading of that phenomenon. As recent research on contemporary forms of paganism has flowered in recent years, emphasis has been given to the nuances and complexities of this kind of new religious currents. For instance it is clear that contemporary pagan currents, such as Wicca, Ásatrú, and Roman paganism, tend to vary significantly between themselves on matters of theology, sociological profile, and political tendencies. While varieties in the social manifestations of given groups can be partly explained by diverging religious/ideological content, it also holds true that ideological formations will be determined in part by the society in which they emerge. This means that a contemporary pagan current such as “Ásatrú” is not necessarily describable as one single tendency on a global scale, but will unavoidably be shaped by local conditions. Thus varieties within currents will tend to follow national and geographical borders, being always locally situated, and adapted to local political, social, and religious conditions. This article discusses the emergence and development of contemporary Norse paganism in Norway in light of the abovementioned framework. Special notice is given to the interplay between public discourses on issues such as paganism, the occult, neo-Nazism, and the relationship between the church and state in Norway, and the self-fashioning of reconstructionist Norse pagans. Through a partial comparison with the thoroughly discussed American context of contemporary Norse religion an argument is advanced that Norwegian Ásatrú came to bear certain distinct marks that are due to and only explicable by specific, local cultural conditions.
Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene e.V.
Gerhard Mayer studied psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history of art at the University of Freiburg. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Freiburg in 2000 with a dissertation about the reception of "occult" films from the viewpoint of adolescents. Since 1996 he has been working as a scientific collaborator at the IGPP. His research interests are questions of Cultural Studies relating to the frontier areas of psychology, anomalies, media research, (neo-) shamanism, magical practices and beliefs.
With an increasing interest in shamanism in western societies during the last decades the character of the shaman was–with an act of identifying–implanted into the cultural perspective of many subcultures. Due to the widespread psychologization of shamanism an overgeneralized and oversimplified view of traditional shamanism gives a matrix which creates the different popular conceptualizations of the figure of the shaman. In this paper, four areas explicitly referring to the figure of the shaman are described, demonstrating the fascination it holds and the manifold possibilities of interpretation. The four areas are: neoshamanism, the ‘urban shaman’ as cultural critic and rebel, technoshamanism/cybershamanism, and the field of performing and visual arts. Looking at these areas one can find ten elements of the shaman myth which form the popular image of shamanism in western societies and which constitute the attractiveness and the fascination of the figure of the shaman. Referring to some philosophical concepts of the German philosopher Karl Jaspers the figure of the shaman can be understood as a powerful cipher of transcendence.
Recently awarded PhD with the University of KwaZulu Natal. Worked independently in 2007 ahead of applying for a position with said institution in 2008.
No abstract required due to essay format