Spirits of the Space Age: The Imagined World of Brazil's Valley of the Dawn (Paperback)

Spirits of the Space Age: The Imagined World of Brazil's Valley of the Dawn By Kelly E. Hayes Cover Image
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Description


Since its inauguration in 1960, Brazil's capital city, Bras lia, has become an internationally recognized center for eclectic forms of modern mysticism. Among the dozens of New Age, Spiritist, esoteric, and occult communities that have sprouted in the city and its environs, the most spectacular is the Valley of the Dawn (Vale do Amanhecer).

Equal parts religious movement, enchanted city, utopian vision, and theatrical spectacle, the Valley of the Dawn is a unique psychic ecosystem. Community members consider themselves the spiritual descendants of an ancient race of extraterrestrials originally sent to galvanize humanity's cultural and spiritual evolution. Wearing dazzling garments that reference their past lives in different cultural eras, adherents perform daily ceremonies for karmic redemption and offer spiritual healing services free of charge to the public.

The Valley of the Dawn was founded by a charismatic spirit medium called Aunt Neiva, a widowed mother of four who came to Bras lia in 1957 to work in the construction of the new capital city. Over two decades, Aunt Neiva established a spiritual metropolis that today is home to over 25,000 people and the headquarters of a global religious movement with more than 800 affiliated temples worldwide.

Spirits of the Space Age details the Valley's historical emergence, placing it within the context of mid-twentieth century Brazil, and explores its "imagined world" --the imaginative and collectively shared representations that foster a common sense of identity, meaning, and purpose among Valley members. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, it offers a narrative portrait of a new religious movement as seen in and through the lives of Aunt Neiva, her most important collaborators, and contemporary adherents. By presenting a more complete picture of the Valley of the Dawn, this book counters the persistent media representations of the Valley as a cult. But it also illuminates how religious movements respond to their place and time even as they situate themselves in relationship to imagined otherworlds and times.

About the Author


Kelly E. Hayes is Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Indianapolis and is the author of Holy Harlots: Femininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil (2011).


Product Details
ISBN: 9780197516409
ISBN-10: 0197516408
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English