Ellwood: Islands of the Dawn

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9780824814878: Ellwood: Islands of the Dawn

Book by Ellwood Robert S

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UFO cults, the Order of the Golden Dawn, Spiritualism, and Theosophy are among the cults of the 19th and 20th centuries described by Ellwood (religion, U. of Southern California). He also delves into why such alternative religions tend to flourish in places settled by the British. An appendix discus

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Alternative spiritual movements have flourished throughout New Zealand's post-contact history, from little-known UFO cults and the exotic Order of the Golden Dawn to the popular and more widespread Spiritualism and Theosophy. Islands of the Dawn explores the history of these and other spiritual traditions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This intriguing work, the first book-length treatment of the subject, raises a fundamental question: Why have unconventional spiritual movements flourished in nineteenth-century British settler communities? New Zealand typifies such a community with its immigration experience, the "do it yourself" spirit of pioneer society, a tradition of social reform, and a nostalgia for Victorian romanticism. A study of its new religious movements raises tantalizing answers and uncovers several fascinating but little-known episodes of New Zealand history. Of particular note are the tale of the secretive occult order that long flourished in Havelock North; an account of a grisly 1950s UFO encounter in Hamilton; and the life story of Elizabeth Harris-Roberts, the turn-of-the-century radical and apostle of spiritualism. Islands of the Dawn represents a significant contribution to the history of New Zealand and of new religious movements worldwide. Its lively and readable style will appeal to scholars and others interested in alternative religions.

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