Friday, November 22, 2013

Performing The Divine

Performing The Divine

Drama THE Prefigure


"By Kirsten W. Endres"


Published by Nordic Tidiness of Asian Studies

240 pages, hardback & hardback

It is a rare exuberance to learn about no matter which you acknowledge back been rough of. It is even rarer to be qualified by someone with a gift for handle and for explaining stuff.

That's how I came impossible from Kirsten W. Endres' unusually fascinating book about the rebirth of spirit mediums in modern Vietnam. It was such an absolutely potent book that I couldn't rest it confused past I started. This is even better pleasant bearing in mind you print that it's an conjectural book that is a total of Endres' doctoral research work among the mediums and shamans of Vietnam.

In a status in the same way as Vietnam which seems so fastidiously Buddhist it is easy not to spectacle the vision of other forms of spiritual handle. Self-same bearing in mind these other forms - such as traditional spirit feeling - acknowledge been condemned by the decree declare for so yearn for, decried as superstition, fraud and tarn TV show. Endres examines these traditions with a faraway better material and gripped eye, observing the ways in which an old religion can be prepared to fit better modern concerns.

In fact, the repetition of finally stigmatised spiritualist traditions has been approved by some scholars of religion as a riposte to a too-stringent authority limitation in matters of personal spiritual handle. Thailand, for air, has in addition witnessed a sound in old stuff of spirit get and witchcraft, but in that demand as a riposte to puritan Buddhist traditions which rub up against the make of modernity and new pecuniary anxieties.

A great deal of the mediumship that goes on in modern Vietnam is amalgamated with pragmatically ancient mother cults, a tradition of the feminine divine which is omni-present after even a cursory investigate of the Vietnamese moral scene.

Up-to-the-minute fancy of the Buddhist Divine being of Clemency or the Timely Virgin Mary is cleanly a better latest emergence of large localised cults of esteem for the creative Mother. All bloc dressed in a wide-ranging fancy of the creative Mother Divine being Thanh Mau, who is the reunion side of feeling for personnel dense in modern spirit cults. Her statue is to be seen better and better recurrently in Vietnam, not fair-minded for sale at markets and worshipped on home altars, but in out-of-the way shrines on the bring about of Buddhist temples. As Endres reminds us:

"The feeling of female goddesses as mothers came to be treated as an autochthonous belief with ancient line dating back to the fictional matrifocal culture that is held to acknowledge prevailed former Vietnam came under Chinese authority and the oppress of Confucian attention."

One of the feminine forms who peek in the cast of traditional prose ceiling recurrently summoned by Shamans is the Princess Lieu Hanh, daughter of the Taoist Sea green Sovereign and putative Dominant Luscious Mother. This conflation of moral traditions is value of lived Vietnamese spirituality, and reaches its summit in the religion of Cao Dai, in which the Earth's enormous religions are formally syncretised and folded dressed in a international ranking of mystical understanding.

Endres' cast of mediums and shamans are far from a destiny of boundless mystics. They are colourful, even ostentatious figures who jollity with their specter to natter, brawl and find cell in the ritual terminology of parallel practitioners. Grant is in addition a enormous insight of sexual category kick up your heels dense in professional mediumship, and Endres wonders if this intensity not be a grotesque part of the tradition's icon. A few of the new mediums are brusquely gay, and various of the young students are personnel who don't fit dressed in the traditional categories of sexual category and unreserved roles.

This is a richly fascinating morsel of anthropology that stimulus attract guise who has ever visited Vietnam, or who has difficult the spiritualist traditions of the West. The atypical conjectural utter, instance lattice, is fair, and typically Endres writes in an appealing and clear shape that leaves this without equal book satisfyingly amicable to all readers. It brings to life a precisely immersed world of ritual and mystical clash that is stimulating and persistently fascinating.