Cover

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Contents

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p. v

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Human history has been a rather episodic affair. Depending on where and when one was born into it, the world may have looked comfortingly—or oppressively—certain, stable, and secure; or it may have been dizzyingly open-ended and uncertain. Ours is one of the latter episodes. The certainties that had held together much of Euro-American modernity—stories about human ...

One. Departures

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One. Power and Desire in Earth’s Tangled Web

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pp. 3-17

One of the defining narratives of Western culture has been a story of power and of knowledge: that science and technology—the disinterested pursuit of knowledge and its technical application toward human welfare— have established humanity as the reigning power on this Earth. Though this power might not always be equitably shared nor wisely deployed, it is a ...

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Two. Reimagining Earth

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pp. 18-43

The axis around which New Age and ecospiritual beliefs about the Earth revolve is the idea that modernity has alienated humans from the natural world, but that this alienation can be dissolved or cured. Three themes predominate in the expanding body of New Age and ecospiritual literature. First, there is the idea that the Earth is a living organism or being of which ...

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Three. Orchestrating Sacred Space

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pp. 44-62

Most societies distinguish places that are deemed especially significant, sacred or powerful, imbued with authority or prestige, or reserved for special uses, from those which lack such significance.1 The idea that sacredness inheres in a place, emanating from it of its own accord, is frequently taken for granted by believers in that place’s sacred status. The distinguished scholar ...

Two. Glastonbury

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Four. Stage, Props, and Players of Avalon

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pp. 65-92

Britain in recent decades has been a nation struggling to redefine itself amid a congeries of apparently irresolvable factions and tendencies: among them, long-standing English pride in a history glorified as the source of democratic ideals, of industrial and technological revolutions, and of a romantic, chivalrous, and royal past; a composite British identity, dominated ...

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Five. Many Glastonburys: Place-Myths and Contested Spaces

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pp. 93-142

The task of living in a place requires the elaboration of myths and historical narratives around and about it. I have introduced two of Glastonbury’s histories already: that told by scholarly historians (which figures its way into all the others to greater or lesser degrees), and that of the recently established alternative community. In the struggles between these and other interpretive ...

Three. Sedona

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Six. Red Rocks to Real Estate

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pp. 145-172

In an erudite essay on the many definitions of the U.S. Southwest, James Byrkit describes the characteristic physiographic features of this area, the boundaries of which are notoriously difficult to pin down: “Rugged mountains and large rocks; sharp, steep canyons; irregular basins and valleys; wide deserts; high plateaus; small but high-elevation meadows and parks; and ...

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Seven. Vortexes and Crossed Currents: Sedona’s Multichannel Wilderness

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pp. 173-208

Sedona’s New Age, or metaphysical, community—the terms are used interchangeably, though the latter has been in use for a longer time1—constitutes a tolerated and not particularly powerful minority of the city’s population. However, much of Sedona’s reputation in the world at large has resulted from its celebration by the New Age and alternative spirituality ...

Four. Arrivals

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Eight. Practices of Place: Nature, Heterotopia, and the Postmodern Sacred

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pp. 211-239

In the process of interpreting the sacralization of Sedona and Glastonbury, I have made reference to three distinct approaches or hypotheses. The first, a fairly conventional social-scientific view, typically interprets the construction of the sacred with the aid of social, psychological or political-economic explanations. The second, the explicitly religious perspective of the believer ...

Notes

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pp. 241-284

Bibliography

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pp. 285-316

Index

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pp. 317-326