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Title: The journey of the Jaguares : spirit mediumship in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer
Author: Pierini , Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 0069
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates the lived experiences of spirit mediums in the rapidly expanding Brazilian mediumistic religion known as Obras Sociais do Ordem Espiritualista Crista 'Vale do Amanhecer ' (Social Works of the Spiritual Christian Order 'Valley of the Dawn'). In the Vale do Amanhecer spirit mediumship is aimed at both healing patients with the help of spiritual beings who are embodied by trance mediums during rituals, and at helping spirits of the deceased to move towards the afterlife. Drawing on long-term fieldwork conducted in Brazil between 2009 and 2012, this research focuses primarily on how mediumistic experiences inform the mediums' sense of self, examining in turn the process of learning to become a medium and the therapeutic uses of mediumistic development. Part One defines the study methodologically and situates it among the literature on spirit mediumship and possession. Part Two situates the Vale do Amanhecer within the network of Brazilian religiosity and mediumistic practices. Part Three addresses doctrinal knowledge around past lives and the afterlife, the practice of mediumship and 'disobssessive healing', that is, spirit release. In Part Four I am concerned with the analysis of mediums' narratives, demonstrating how spiritual experiences interweave with therapeutic trajectories within mediumistic development, rearticulating the mediums' sense of self. Through an analysis of embodiment, I focus on the process of learning in mediumistic development approaching it as a multilayered experience, which is embodied, intuitive, performative, conceptual, and intersubjective. I argue that doctrinal knowledge before being conceptually transmitted is experienced on a somatic level. Bodily experience in trance grounds notions of a multidimensional and extended self, which in turn informs the interpretation of ritual. Accordingly, through the analysis of case studies of mental disorders, alcohol and drug addiction, I discuss how mediumistic development in the Vale is also used therapeutically.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available