Susan Greenwood - The Nature of Magic: An Anthropology of Consciousness

Susan Greenwood - The Nature of Magic: An Anthropology of Consciousness

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This book examines how and why practitioners of nature religion - Western witches, druids, shamans - seek to relate spiritually with nature through 'magical consciousness'. 'Magic' and 'consciousness' are concepts that are often fraught with prejudice and ambiguity respectively. Greenwood develops a new theory of magical consciousness by arguing that magic ultimately has more to do with the workings of the human mind in terms of an expanded awareness than with socio-cultural explanations. She combines her own subjective insights gained from magical practice with practitioners' in-depth accounts and sustained academic theory on the process of magic. She also tracks magical consciousness in philosophy, myth, folklore, story-telling, and the hi-tech discourse of postmodernity, and asks important questions concerning nature religion's environmental credentials, such as whether it as inherently ecological as many of its practitioners claim.