Purification, which involves ceremonial acts or customs employed to gain purity in order td create sacred spaces, represents a vital aspect of religious practice both historically and cross-culturally (Cunningham 2003.(1988]:48). Preparations for passing into sacred spaces of worship are important elements of ritual life for nearly all faith communities. Mt thesis has two important research goals: (1) to examine the purification practices of contemporary Paganism; and, (2) analyze the degree to which contemporary Pagans have adapted a syncretic approach to these cleansing rituals. With regards to the former goal, I address the following three questions: what is the significance of religious purification rituals historically and cross-culturally?; why is purification especially important to contemporary Pagans?; and how have different forms of Paganism varied in their purifying methods? With regards to the latter research goal, I critically review diverse cultural traditions and belief systems variously integrated into contemporary Pagan practices of purification. The influence of Native American, European, and other Old and New World traditions and techniques are all considered in the context of this thesis. Taken as a whole, this type of overview is significant as the scholarly literature on contemporary Paganism and Pagan purification rituals remains sketchy and incomplete at this stage.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
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Honors in the Major Thesis
Blackwelder, Sara K., "Syncretism in contemporary pagan purification practices" (2010). HIM 1990-2015. 970.