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From Esotericism to Embodied Ritual: Care for Country as Religious Experience

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-26, 04:13 authored by Yin ParadiesYin Paradies, CW Joyce
Colonisation, genocide, ecocide, and climate derangement are ongoing, unfurling, global tragedies. In so-called Australia, spiritual practitioners can respond to these crises by deepening their engagement with Aboriginal perspectives/practices. This paper contends that some Eurocentric habitual categorisations subtly misinterpret Aboriginal experiences of the sacred, such as identifying creation myths as beliefs comparable to post-Enlightenment representations of the sacred and identifying the performance of sacred activity with similar characteristics to separateness and priesthood. This leads to erroneous characterisations of Aboriginal ritual practices as being based on a strong hierarchy, distinctive castes, and esotericism. We argue that an embodied and practice-based sense of sacredness guides Aboriginal spirituality. As a living culture, Aboriginal ongoing care for Country provides an enfleshed, real, palpable enactment of human spirituality. We argue that Aboriginal spirituality has been fetishised to the neglect of a call to care for Country in the most ‘mundane’ sense of tending to food, water, air, etc., as embodied religious experiences. Delving into dadirri and death, we elucidate contemporary cases of practical care for Country that illustrate how being on, in, and with Country can be a contemplative experience. We conclude by outlining how caring for Country ‘layers’ the various expressions of Aboriginal religious experience socially, psychologically, interpersonally, and ritually.

History

Journal

Religions

Volume

15

Article number

ARTN 182

Pagination

182-182

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

2077-1444

eISSN

2077-1444

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

2

Publisher

MDPI

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