Ritual Making Women: Shaping Rites for Changing Lives

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-08-08
  • Publisher: Routledge
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This book looks at the way in which women's making of ritual has emerged from the rapidly developing field of women's spirituality and theology. The author uses ethnographic material drawn from her personal experience in working with individuals and groups to show how the construction of ritual is a practice which uses storymaking and embodied action to empower women. She argues that ritual, far from being a timeless and universal practice, is a contextual and gendered performance in which women subvert conventional distinctions of private and public. She includes stories of women who have created or participated in their own rituals to mark significant changes and transition in their lives, and reflects on these in the light of ritual theory. The book interweaves narrative and interview material drawn from case studies with insights drawn from feminist theology and theory, social anthropology and gender studies to show that the making of ritual for women is a transformative process which empowers them in constructing identity and agency. The writer shows how women are drawing from both Christian feminist theology and broader understandings of spirituality to construct their own understanding of God/Goddess through the rituals they enact.

Author Biography

Jan Berry is Director of the Centre for the Study of Theology and Health at Holy Rood House, Thirsk, and teaches practical theology at Luther King House, Manchester, where she is covenor of the MA programme. Her particular interests are in feminist theology and spirituality, liturgy and worship, and pastoral studies. She is a minister of the United Reformed Church, and has considerable experience in creating and writing material for worship, particularly with women's groups. She has previously worked in local church ministry and university chaplaincy.

Table of Contents

Exploring the Power of Ritualp. 1
'Sisters are doing it for themselves'p. 9
Whose Story Is It Anyway? An Exploration of Methodologyp. 35
Letting Go and Moving On-Carol's Storyp. 63
Thresholds and Passages: Negotiating Change in Women's Ritual Makingp. 67
Knots and Dreams-Clare's Storyp. 95
Shapes and Patterns: Women's Ritual Makingp. 101
Shells and Fish-Jane's Storyp. 130
Re-(w)riting the Self: Narrative, Identify and Agencyp. 135
The Name That's Yet to Be-Jackie's Storyp. 166
Private or Public? The Communal Dimension of Women's Ritual Makingp. 172
This is My Body: Nicola's Storyp. 190
Performing the Body: Ritual, Sacrament, and Embodied Theologyp. 195
Re-imaging Rites: Where Next for Women's Ritual Making?p. 225
Summary of Datap. 234
Bibliographyp. 236
Subject Indexp. 247
Index of Authorsp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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