The Reality of Spirits (Paranthropology)

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The Reality of Spirits

Edith Turner, first published in Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring-Summer) 1997

Quote:Edith Turner, a Field Associate of the Foundation, is a distinguished anthropologist who teaches at the University of Virginia. She is known for her fieldwork in Africa with her late husband, Victor Turner, and for her more recent work among the north Alaskan Eskimo (the Iñupiat), results of which are to be found in her book, The Hands Feel It: Healing and Spirit Presence among a Northern Alaskan People (Northern Illinois University Press, DeKalb, Illinois. 1996.)

Quote:Try out that spirit world ourselves? No way!

But at intervals, that world insisted it was really there. For instance, in the Chihamba ritual at the end of a period of ordeal, a strong wave of curative energy hit us. We had been participating as fully as we knew how, thus opening ourselves to whatever entities that were about. In another ritual, for fertility, the delight of dancing in the moonlight hit me vividly, and I began to learn something about the hypnotic effect of singing and hearing the drums.

Quote:Four months later in November, when I was settled among the Eskimos at Point Hope, Alaska, sitting in Ernest Frankson's house, Ernest pulled into the room the body of a ringed seal. His wife laid the seal on some cardboard and proceeded to take off the skin. She allowed me to help cut off the blubber. Then she made a slit down the stomach and displayed to view the internal organs. Wondering, I contemplated them carefully. It was striking to see the dark red parts, liver, spleen, intestines, lungs, heart, and so on, settled together, sliding together with such orderliness and easy movement.

Two days later I caught on, as my diary records. Those internal organs were the same organs that I had seen on the shaman TV screen in July.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-09-10, 07:50 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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A Visible Spirit Form in Zambia

Edith Turner

Quote:A number of anthropologists have reported witnessing things when in the field with other societies that would be considered impossible psi phenomena in their home, western cultures. A particularly famous (or infamous) encounter with other worldview reality involved anthropologist Edith Turner, the widow of the eminent anthropologist Victor Turner and editor of the academic journal, Anthropology and Humanism. In 1985, she was invited by the Ndembu people of Zambia to participate in a healing ritual under the leadership of a tribal healer known as Singleton.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-09-10, 07:54 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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The Mist Wolf


Stephen Schwartz

Quote:....It goes on monotonously. Everything else is silent. Suddenly, I notice that there is a white mist-like form taking shape around and in front of Rolling Thunder’s body. Sometimes I can see it, sometimes not. But it becomes stronger, steadier, until it is continuously present. It is almost dark now, but the fire gives enough light to see. Then it takes form, slowly at first, but as if gathering energy into itself it takes form. I can clearly see that the smoke-like figure is a wolf. Rolling Thunder moves as rhythmically as a clock. Sweep. Sweep. Flick. Sweep. Sweep. Flick.

After about 30 minutes the form begins to fade, first losing shape, then becoming increasingly insubstantial. Finally, it is nothing more than a chimera, there and not there. Then it is gone. Rolling Thunder straightens up, and stops. He makes a kind of gesture, and somehow we are released and come forward. The boy is very peaceful. His mother also has come forward, and she leans over him, kissing his forehead. The wound is completely healed. It looks like your skin does when a scab falls off leaving smooth unlined pink skin, shiny in its newness. I am astonished. Clearly so is everyone else. 

I go over to Hugh Lynn, who is in animated conversation with a British scientist, Douglas Dean, who has come down from New Jersey to see this. Hugh Lynn asks me, “What did you see?” “Yes, what...?” Dean says. I tell them, and when I say the mist took form, they exchange a look, and Hugh Lynn asks, “What shape?” When I tell them I saw a wolf, another look passes between them, and they tell me that have seen the same thing.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-09-10, 08:01 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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Quote:Jack Hunter, PhD, is author of Spirits, Gods, and Magic: An Introduction to the Anthropology of the Supernatural; Engaging the Anomalous; and is editor of an anthology titled Greening the Paranormal: Exploring the Ecology of Extraordinary Experience. He is also coeditor, with David Luke, of Talking With The Spirits: Ethnographies From Between The Worlds. He is also founder of the journal, Paranthropology.

Here he describes different approaches taken to the realm of spirits by scholars in anthropology. He recalls his own fieldwork studying spiritualist mediumship in the United Kingdom. He presents various cases suggesting that spiritual entities are part of the natural world. However, he acknowledges that it is exceedingly tricky to distinguish between living agent psi and autonomous spiritual entities.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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"Spirits are the Problem": Anthropology and Conceptualising Spiritual Beings

Jack Hunter


Quote:This paper examines a variety of different theoretical perspectives on the nature of spiritual beings from within the discipline of anthropology. It takes a broadly historical perspective, outlining the devel-opment of key approaches from the earliest pioneers to the present day. It is argued that reductive explanatory models fail to account for the complexity of spiritual beings as social agents, especially in the context of the author's own research into contemporary trance mediumship, which forms the basis for this exploration of anthropology’s engagement with spirits. It is suggested that an ontologically open-minded, participatory and experiential approach to the nature of spiritual beings, which emphasises the many processes involved in their manifestation as socially active agents, represents a potentially fruitful direction for future research.



Quote:My own quest to understand the nature of spirits arose first of all from my under-graduate study of a group of developing spirit mediums based in Bristol, who also became the focus of my current PhD research. Far from being abstractions, only speculatively spoken about with little real-world relevance (as I had initially thought of the idea of spirits and gods), the ostensible spirits I encountered at the Bristol Spirit Lodge were tangible. Manifested in three-dimensional space through the bodies of entranced mediums, these ostensible spirit entities emitted a very strong sense of ‘presence.’ They could be talked to and questioned directly, and even interacted with physically through their hosts. They were more than simple abstractions. Each spirit presented itself (physically and psychologically), in a distinctive and surprisingly consistent manner across weeks, months and even years of development, and through this process were able to build up a friendly, usually jovial, relationship with the regular sitters. Furthermore, these spirit entities apparently possessed some form of agency, in that they were seemingly able to affect change in the world around them (inspiring weekly séances, for example), and were quite capable of influencing the actions and behaviours of the social circle that built up to support and develop them. In a sense the spirits and the group were mutually sustaining one another, the spirits and the group were intimately connected with one another.



Quote:...talking about here has some relevance to Carl Jung's notion of the 'Psychoid,' a term that refers to the capacity of the Jungian archetypes (and, I believe, the ‘psyche’ more generally), to be simultaneously 'out there' and 'in here.' Jung conceived of the Psychoid as 'the bridge to matter in general,' and psychologist Jon Mills refers to it as a 'liaison between mind and body' (Mills 2014: 237). From this perspective, then, spiritual beings might be understood as a co-creation of internal biological, psychological and cultural influences interacting with ontologically distinct external stimuli, with spirits emerging at the intersection. Such an interpretation would account for both pan-cultural similarities (biological structures and onto-logically distinct entities), and cross-cultural differences (psychological and cultural filters).



Quote:In my own research I have moved away from asking 'why questions' (such as 'why do people believe in spirits'), towards 'how questions,' namely questions about the possible processes involved (i.e. 'how do people communicate with spirits'). The rea-son for this is two-fold. Firstly, the question 'why do people believe in spirits' can quite simply be answered with 'because people have experiences that seem to sug-gest the presence of spirits.' This is Hufford’s ‘experiential source hypothesis.’ I my-self had an experience of this type while participating in a mediumship development session at the Bristol Spirit Lodge, during which my left arm, at the very least, seemed to take on a life of its own - an agency that felt as though it was distinct from my own consciousness - and perhaps it was, after all this does fit well with the Lodge's emic interpretation of such occurrences (Hunter 2011: 138-139).

Secondly, asking 'how do people communicate with spirits' presents researchers with the opportunity to engage with this research without the constant need to ques-tion the reality of spirits, which can often distract from what is actually going on...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Some Other Sphere Ep #63: Dr Jack Hunter - The Anthropology of the Supernatural


Quote:My guest for this episode is Dr Jack Hunter. Jack is an anthropologist whose research explores the borderlands between consciousness, religion, ecology and the paranormal. He is a tutor with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and teaches on the MA in Ecology and Spirituality and the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. His books include Greening the Paranormal: Exploring the Ecology of Extraordinary Experience, Manifesting Spirits: An Anthropological Study of Mediumship and the Paranormal and Spirits, Gods and Magic: An Introduction to the Anthropology of the Supernatural.

The latter title is the focus of our interview, as I talk more with Jack about Anthropology and how its principles and methods in the field can be used to understand the nature of paranormal phenomena and potentially help to issue in a sea-change in the Western world in how that is understood and appreciated.

More information on Jack and his work can be found at: https://jack-hunter.webstarts.com/.

You can now also support Some Other Sphere through Ko-fi. To by the podcast a cup of coffee, please go to https://ko-fi.com/someotherspherepodcast. Thank you!
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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[quote='Sciborg_S_Patel' pid='44043' dateline='1628499312']

Some Other Sphere Ep #63: Dr Jack Hunter - The Anthropology of the Supernatural

That is a very interesting podcast! The style is also a few light years removed from the typical Skeptiko podcast - LOL!

I like the idea that some cultures are less dominated by the mode of consciousness that Westerners take as standard.

Jack Hunter's book looks like something I may buy:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spirits-Gods-Ma...575&sr=8-1
(This post was last modified: 2021-09-15, 09:24 PM by David001.)
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Direct link to New Thinking Allowed for this entry, lets you search the text

Quote:Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, PhD, is Dean of Integral Education at the California Institute for Human Science and Program Director of the MA/PHD program in Integral Noetic Sciences which has an optional concentration in Anomalous Studies. He founded the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. He has also authored or edited eight books including: Integral Ecology (co-authored with Michael E. Zimmerman), Metatheory for the Twenty-first Century (co-edited with Roy Bhaskar et al), and Dancing with Sophia (co-edited with Michael Schwartz). In 2018 he founded The Institute of Exo Studies which draws on over 50 disciplines to help make sense of anomalous and extraordinary experiences of our multiverse. His website is https://www.exostudies.org.

You can download his paper, Our Wild Kosmos! at https://whatsupwithufos.com/wp-content/u...tudies.pdf.

Here he explains that non-human intelligence can be thought of as natural to the earth (faeries and elementals), from outer space (i.e., ETs), or from celestial realms (angels and devas). His “integral” approach involves taking into consideration the huge spectrum of possibilities as evidenced in the academic, esoteric, and UFOlogical literature. He maintains that no single approach is sufficient to capture the complexity of the phenomena.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2022-03-31, 08:16 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
(2022-03-31, 08:14 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote:

Direct link to New Thinking Allowed for this entry, lets you search the text

I liked the interview, and I want to think about it for a bit, however, I wonder if anyone can suggest the definition of "Integral" in this context.
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(2022-03-31, 10:48 PM)David001 Wrote: I liked the interview, and I want to think about it for a bit, however, I wonder if anyone can suggest the definition of "Integral" in this context.

The paper goes into it...Seems to get complex so not sure there is an easy definition but from what I am gathering it is about taking paranormal phenomena as a whole and seeking to understand UFOs in that context...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell



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