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Emerging From the Chrysalis

Rituals of Women's Initiation

Bruce Lincoln

Publication Date - September 1991

ISBN: 9780195069105

184 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Now reissued in an expanded edition, this unique book offers the first full-length treatment of women's initiation rites in five cultures. Asserting the critical importance of such rites in a world dominated by men, Lincoln shows that in these societies women's initiation involves not only a transformation of the self but also of the cosmos. Considering initiation rites among the Tiyyar of South India, the Navajo, the Tiv of West Africa, and the Tukuna of the Northwest Amazon, Lincoln argues that unlike men's rites, women's rites do not impart a change in hierarchical status, but rather a "cosmic" change which offers religious compensation for women's generally low socio-political status. Lincoln concludes with a brilliant reconstruction of ancient Greek initiation rites based on his original interpretation of the Demeter and Persephone myth. With a new chapter and bibliography, Emerging from the Chrysalis will be stimulating reading for those interested in ritual and its cultural impact.

About the Author(s)

Bruce Lincoln is Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

    Talikettukalyanam: The Marriage of Opposites
    Kinaaldá: Becoming the Goddess
    Tiv Scarification: The Pattern of Time
    Festa das Moças Novas: The Cosmic Tour
    The Rape of Persephone
    On the Nature of Women's Initiations
    Afterword: Rethinking Rituals of Women's Initiation

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