Shaping the Sacred: Andean Shamanic Ritual, Mystical Tourism, and the Exploration of Authenticity in Pisaq, Peru
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The impossibility of establishing a rational and definite explanation of inexplicable sacred phenomena is something that has not discouraged both scholars and “accidental bystanders” from developing theories and explaining stories on their perception and interpretation of mysterious occurrences. This thesis discusses the way in which people authenticate their convictions by means of these phenomena within the framework of shamanic ritual and religious cosmology in Pisaq, Peru. It describes and analyzes local religion, practiced ceremonies by both local and external actors and shows how people use seemingly incomprehensible religious-based phenomena to authenticate their belief-system. Furthermore it explores how the sacred changes under the weight of external influences such as esotericism and the mystical tourism industry, how both external and local actors engage in Pisaq’s religious arena, and how all this helps to shape an authentic sacred.