Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Vol 23, No 2 (2010)

‘I’ve Got a Spirit Coming through Me': Music as Hierophany and Musicians as Shamans

Mark Jennings
Issued Date: 14 Dec 2010


The thesis that Pentecostal music and popular music share a similar emphasis on ecstatic trance experience is provocative, but until now there has been little in the way of a theoretical framework for comparing these phenomena. This paper begins with an explication of Mircea Eliade’s categories of hierophany and shamanism, both of which are useful descriptors of religious ecstatic phenomena. Eliade’s paradigms are then used to illuminate data gleaned from participant observation at an Australian Pentecostal church and excerpts from published interviews with Australian musician Xavier Rudd. This has implications for revealing the ‘proto-religious phenomena’ which are common to both religious and ‘secular’ musical contexts.

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DOI: 10.1558/arsr.v23i2.208


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