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The Problem of the Mysteries in Eighteenth-Century Thought
The age of Enlightenment – the so-called age of reason – was also, paradoxically, the age of the Eleusinian mysteries. By attempting to reveal Demeter's secret cult, British, French, and German thinkers and freemasons of the eighteenth century revealed more than they bargained for: the pagan origins of Christian doctrines such as the Trinity and the afterlife, and through the mythical gift of law and agriculture to Eleusis an alternative narrative of the origins of civilisation to the Bible.
The Tradition of Segnature, Indigenous and Trans-Cultural Shamanic Traditions in Italy
Shamanism is thriving as an exotic import and a hidden native tradition in Italy today. This ethnographical work uncovers two faces of Italian shamanism. The first is trans-cultural shamans who creatively adapt rituals and beliefs from indigenous cultures worldwide. Second, extensive fieldwork shows how regional folk magic practices of segnatoriand segnatrici constitute a little-known but enduring form of native Italian shamanism. By documenting these parallel worlds, contemporary magic workers appear to be the heirs of ancient local healing traditions. Offering rare insights into vernacular religion, this book vividly portrays shamans' past and present in the Italian peninsula.
Since its emergence in the nineteenth century, the Theosophical Society has wielded enormous influence across diverse fields, none more so than the study of religion. This volume explores this legacy in North America, Europe, and India, demonstrating its impact on the conceptualization of “religion” and its influence on methods of comparison. Unveiling overlooked entanglements, the volume challenges standard narratives in the history of religious studies and interrogates the deliberate neglect of theosophy’s influence in the “secular” academy. In doing so, the work confronts lingering ghosts, urging a reappraisal that enriches the study of religion and offers prescriptions for its future.