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The Island Mystic/que: Seeking Spiritual Connection in a Postmodern World


Brinklow, L, The Island Mystic/que: Seeking Spiritual Connection in a Postmodern World, The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics, Springer, SD Brunn (ed), Netherlands, pp. 97-113. ISBN 9789401793759 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-94-017-9376-6_4


Since ancient times islands have been equated with sacred space. They have been seen by Pagans and Christians as places where land and sea are closest. The Celts called them "thin places" where the veil between heaven and earth is thinnest and humans can feel connected to the cosmos. The ocean has been arguably the most powerful and enduring metaphor for the eternal while the island represents the self. The shoreline where they meet is an especially powerful liminal space, where, as Prince Edward Island author David Weale says, "The eternal makes love to the temporal." Today islands have become a refuge for people escaping mainstream society as vacation getaways or as a place to strip down to essentials and get in touch with nature and the self: the outer journey mirrors the inward journey. Artists find islands attractive for their inward journeys to creativity. On islands they can connect with a place geographically, psychically, spiritually, and emotionally, surrounded by the ocean, which is a powerful symbol for the unconscious, a metaphor for limitless possibility and inspiration. Indeed, for some island-dwellers, island living is another kind of pantheism, often expressed through art and writing. Based on research on island artists who are poles apart, Newfoundland and Tasmania, I explore the role islands play in artistic and spiritual expression.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:spirituality, artistic expression, pantheism, thin places, Newfoundland, Tasmania, liminality
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Environmental sociology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Brinklow, L (Ms Laurie Brinklow)
ID Code:110396
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2016-07-26
Last Modified:2017-10-16

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