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Mary Magdalene Pilgrims and Contemporary Menstrual Rituals

By Anna Fidele


In recent years, the pilgrimage shrine of La Sainte-Baume has attracted an increasing number of non-Catholic pilgrims influenced by the ‘New Age’ and the Neopagan movement. These pilgrims consider Mary Magdalene as a sort of female counterpart of Jesus and the mountain of La Sainte-Baume, where according to a Christian legend she spent the last part of her life, as a ‘power place’ charged with ‘healing energy’. Based on 3 years of field work among Mary Magdalene pilgrims and drawing on Tanya Luhrmann’s idea of ‘interpretive drift’ (1989), the essay describes the way in which these pilgrims gradually shift from their previous Christian background towards what they generally identify as ‘spirituality’. The pilgrims reconceptualise La Sainte-Baume and its saint, and make their own a shrine they feel was misappropriated and unjustly monopolised by the ‘Church’.

Read the original article at: Periferia

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