Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes

Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes
Edited by Wendy Griffin
ADF Publishing, 2014

sw087_nonfiction_MacLeod-Sharon-Paice_Sacred-Lands-and-Spiritual-Landscapes

Review by Sharon Paice MacLeod.

This lovely little volume is an exciting and unique addition to the corpus of writing on NeoPagan Spirituality! It represents a selection of papers presented at Cherry Hill Seminary’s first Symposium, held in conjunction with the University of South Carolina following an earlier Pagan Studies Conference in Claremont, California. It contains a Preface by Holli S. Emore, the Executive Director of Cherry Hill, and an Introduction by “NeoPaganism’s favorite academic,” Ronald Hutton. The conference was held in 2013 and was entitled, “Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes: The Cosmography of the Pagan Soul.”

The book contains six academic articles on the role of landscape in various aspects of NeoPagan belief and practice. The papers are each quite different from each other, and all are extremely interesting. Most of the presenters are Pagans and also academics, a trend that I (as another Pagan academic) am heartened to see.

Having Pagan Academics present and publish their work is an important step in having our religions taken seriously by those outside the movement. It also serves to show that we are smart, serious, and we know what we’re doing.

The first essay by Wendy Griffin discusses the role of land, community on the land, and landscape in the Feminist aspects of Paganism and Goddess worship. Sara Amis presents a charming essay on being a Southern Witch, adroitly presenting information about Southern folk magic and its relationship to Pagan magic.

Christina Beard-Moose presents some findings on her research on Pagan pilgrimage and moments of ecstatic connection, and Hayes Hampton writes about connections between Pagan rock and perceptions of the land and countryside. Elinor Predota shares some of her research on young Glaswegians’ response to urban parks and forest, followed by Jeffrey Albaugh’s essay on “Internal Dialogue with the Wild.”

Rather than providing a Pagan’s Digest Condensed Version of each paper, I strongly suggest you get a copy for yourself. By so doing, you will be supporting a Pagan Press and giving a boost to those who are not only swimming against the tide in terms of their religious beliefs, but also breaking new ground in academia. You’ll be glad you did.

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