Accepted Paper:

Re-enchanted bodies: the significance of the spiritual dimension in Danish healing rituals.  

Author:

Ann Maria Ostenfeld-Rosenthal (Institute of Public Health)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will address patients’ and healers’ changing notions of body and soul as reflected in my study of spiritual healing and patients with medically unexplained symptoms and the significance of patients’ spiritual bodily sensed experiences in relation to a healing process.

Paper long abstract:

As a consequence of the Cartesian dualism body and soul have for a long time been conceived of as separate entities of a different nature. These notions of body and soul are changing. This is especially evident in New Age concepts of body and self, illness and healing as it is also reflected in my study of spiritual healing and patients with medically unexplained symptoms on which this paper is based.

The paper will address the following questions: What are the characteristics of patients' and healers' changing notions of body and self? How do patients link body and spirit and what does it mean in relation to a healing process? With a point of departure in on the one hand patients' and healers' notions of body and self, illness and healing and on the other hand patients' experiences of 'the sacred in the body' I want to argue that when bodily sensed spiritual experiences take on a personal meaning it opens a possibility for 'religious sceptics' to believe in the existence of a spiritual world playing an important role in relation to the healing process.

Panel W011
Body and soul: on corporeality in contemporary religiosity