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8 - New Age, Sami shamanism and indigenous spirituality

from Part II - Comparing New Age beliefs and practices

Trude Fonneland
Affiliation:
University of Tromsø
Siv Ellen Kraft
Affiliation:
University of Tromsø
Steven J. Sutcliffe
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Ingvild Sælid Gilhus
Affiliation:
University of Bergen, Norway
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Summary

Prior to the late 1990s the New Age spiritualities of Northern Norway differed little from those found elsewhere in the country and in the areas of their origin. Since then, a Sami version of neo-shamanism has been established, along with a new focus on the uniqueness of the arctic north, and expressed through New Age courses and events, as well as through various secular or semi-secular tracks. Reborn as the wisdom of indigenous people in general and the Sami in particular, Sami shamanism caters for spiritual needs, but also for the more mundane needs of tourism, place branding and entertainment, and – last but not least – for Sami nation building and the ethno-political field of indigenous revival.

On one level the story of particular developments in a specific place, Sami shamanism also belongs to broader tendencies in contemporary post-secular society. It will in this chapter serve as a case study through which to explore two issues of general relevance. We are concerned, first, with the interplay between secular and spiritual dynamics, inside and outside of the New Age market. The broader influence of New Age spiritualities tends to be limited to hybrid products – products whose New Age components are open to different interpretations – with or without spiritual references, and which are ascribed at least one function of a more prosaic or secular character (Kraft 2009a).

Type
Chapter
Information
New Age Spirituality
Rethinking Religion
, pp. 132 - 145
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2013

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