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Accepted Paper:

Creative Ecospirituality : A Study of Crafted Rituals in Switzerland  
Salomé Okoekpen (Université de Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

This participation draws on ethnographic observation of two contrasting events stressing on "creativity" as to constitute personal rituals and experiences in order to reconnect to "Nature" or "Earth". It will question how ritual creation allows the grounding of participant's ecological engagement.

Paper long abstract:

In Switzerland, contemporary spirituality references have been increasingly combined with ecological awareness (Grandjean & all., 2018; Becci & al., forthcoming). This is especially observed in the setting of public events and festivals, staging multiple performances in which spirituality, environmental and social activism easily entangle (Becci & al., forthcoming). This participation analyzes two events that took place in the Lake Geneva region; a two day workshop led by the famous spiritual activist Starhawk and a three day alternative art and electronic music festival. The first featured a practical workshop on permaculture and activism in a local farm. The second, set in a nightclub of Geneva's former industrial district, aimed at reuniting artists, spiritual practitioners and participants on the issue of "how to live on our planet". Comparing these two contrasting events is interesting as they both stress on "creativity" as to constitute personal rituals and experiences in order to reconnect to "Nature" or the "Earth". Interestingly, no precise definitions of the aforementioned notions were provided to participants as these would be tacitly understood or assumed to be personal.

I will raise the question of how these events, located in different contexts, similarly engage participants to actively participate in creativ rituals as a way to ground their ecological engagement. This contribution is based on ethnographic participant observations as well as recording and analysis of conferences. It highlights the central place given to the senses in artistic and activist milieu also expressing concerns over ecology.

Panel P080
(Re)connecting with Earth Beings: ritual innovation and affective entanglements in contemporary ecopolitics