Making Invisible Visible: Body as a Medium to Supernatural Reality

Contesting Authority - Vernacular Knowledge and Alternative Beliefs - Marion Bowman

Kristel Kivari [+-]
University of Tartu, Estonia
Kristel Kivari is currently postgraduate student of department of Estonian and comparative folklore, University of Tartu, Estonia. Her work discusses the contemporary dowsing practices and use of such concepts as lines of energies and underground veins of water. She is also a member of Estonian Geophatic Association.


Pauses constitute the text, the poses are the essential part of performance, the elusive impulse gives birth to various expressions. In this article my attempt is to bring the non-verbal part of contemporary vernacular thinking into focus joining it to the web of stories and practices. The focus on the bodily aspect comes easily out form the discussed material itself: feeling and sensing the places are essential part of dowsing practice. Interpretations of bodily impulses exceed the limit of interest in the particular tradition, rather forming an important language that connects different ideas and practices of contemporary spirituality. Lying the authority on the senses sees the human body as the instrument for clairvoyance: the possibility to apprehend the supernatural reality intuitively as instant as non-mediated cognition, which is the foundation for further actions and generalisations. Practice itself: finding the unseen (the underground water streams, tubes, wires, also the lines and spots of supernatural energy) with the forked twig, metal rods or pendulum is a subject of different use as well as vernacular (among them scientific-sceptical) debates. The method usually serves the complementary to other forms of knowledge, although, the role of the authority, an experienced (professional) dowser or psychic is significant. In the range of this tradition the importance and use of the maps is discussed. The map that takes into account sensual (supernatural) parameters mixes different domains of authority: the purpose (research into paranormal, planning of the buildings or residential area), the position of the medium (the one who draws the map or holds the map), the practice and use of the maps (maps as the guides for different actions and inquiry). The material of study comes from Estonia, Tallinn, dominantly from the activity of Estonian Geopathic Association.

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Kivari, Kristel. Making Invisible Visible: Body as a Medium to Supernatural Reality. Contesting Authority - Vernacular Knowledge and Alternative Beliefs. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781792377. Date accessed: 20 Sep 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.29219. Oct 2022

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