Could Abd al-Rahman III have employed astronomical knowledge as a political management tool across the Islamic world?
This research explores how the self-proclaimed Umayyad khalifa Abd al-Rahman III could have employed astronomical knowledge as a political management tool with which to assert and claim his supremacy across the Islamic world. Via the combined methodologies provided by the disciplines of archaeoastronomy and medieval astrology, this investigation provides an integrated interpretation of both these fields' quantitative and qualitative results so as to better explore the caliph's worldview. This paper proposes how Abd al-Rahman III's self-proclamation and construction programme of the city-fortress of al-Zahra (a stroke) functioned as an orchestrated religio-political manifesto aimed at eclipsing his contending rivals.
A review of the experiences of Dutch astrologers with an academic education: why have they chosen to pursue an astrological career?
It is my experience that within my social environment an intellectual outlook is taken for granted, implying that astrology is written off as being inherently contradictory to critical rational thinking. In a small study I compared my experiences as an astrologer with a degree in History with 12 astrologers with a similar background. Personal difficulties, isolation and feelings of 'otherness' were reported, but also, in line with their academic training, a critical reflection on the presuppositions underlying intellectual opinion was expressed. Within the context of a relevant theoretical debate this approach touches on some broader cultural and academic issues as well.
Seidr Cosmologies - Oracular practices and personal cosmologies of contemporary Norse-inspired Pagans
Seidr is a set of shamanistic practices from pre-Christian Northern Europe, recorded in Icelandic medieval texts, and practiced today by some contemporary Pagans that are part of a Northern European Pagan movement (usually called Heathenry or Asatru). Old Norse sources show seidr included prophecy and some kinds of interaction between different worlds of the Old Norse cosmology, including communication with ancestors and other spirits. This research aims to expand the understanding of contemporary seidr in Britain, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, comparing practices and experiences of different oracular seidr practitioners, and if they contributed to different personal worldviews or cosmologies.
The 'sacred' within 'secular' conditions
This study explored the 'holy' in contemporary Norway, the word 'holy' or 'sacred' are traditionally used within the context of the Norwegian protestant church, which was the state church until 2012. From then on these two institutions separated and the Norwegian church are now on equal footing with other religions and spiritualities. In light of these social changes eighteen informants were asked to describe associations and experiences with the 'sacred' for investigating what it reflects within the considered 'secular' condition.