Skip to main content

Places in Motion - Reading Response 3

Places in Motion: The Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims by Jacob N. Kinnard.
Thoughts on Chapters 6 - 8

The very first thing I thought of when reading about the supplanting of one ‘holy’ site over another was Mexico. When I traveled in Mexico a few years back I went on several tours, including one of Mexico City which highlighted the Templo Mayor (an Aztec temple); part of which rests under the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. Also, on a tour of Puebla, the Great Pyramid of Cholula has the Iglesia de Nuestra SeƱora de los Remedios sitting atop it. As I understand it, from tours I’ve taken and books I’ve read, placing a Catholic site on top of a previously pagan/indigenous site was a routine thing in both the Americas and Europe. I believe in European history it was referred to as the Interpretatio Christiana (Christian reinterpretation). I also seem to recall reading somewhere that something was found under St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican which was probably the remnants of an ancient Roman temple.

In chapter 7, I was very struck by Kinnard’s conflation of sacred space (that which is set aside) and an American identity of being chosen and of being entitled to both possession and freedom of use. As if Euro-Americans were chosen to inherit a ‘pristine’ and “idealized landscape devoid of Native Americans” (pg 171). And as if they were also entitled to define (as we have seen throughout the book) who is entitled to use a place and how. The identity of a place like Devil’s Tower / Mato Tipila) was, and still is, a definition created by Euro-Americans for other Euro-Americans. For there to even need to be a court case to determine who is entitled to use a space, and how, when that space is seen as having more than one definition, seems the epitome of colonial arrogance. How is the ‘right’ or ‘true’ identity of a place (religious or otherwise) ever determined fairly when one definition is completely outside the cultural context of the person making the decision?

My primary takeaway from this book is that religious/sacred spaces are cultural inventions. As such, they are constantly in a state of reinvention / redefinition, by both those who use the sites, and those who control the sites. There is, in fact, no pristine / original version of any cultural construct – even the idealized version of a perfect representation of nature in a National Park is a work of fantasy and perception. What I think I learned most from this book is that all sites and all religions are the same in that they are based on perception and narrative and defined by those with the power to do so at any given moment – a definition which has, and will again, change over time.


Popular Previous Posts

Planner Freebies - Hobonichi Weeks Cover Insert

In my search for the proverbial/mythical planner peace, I thought I might like a Hobonichi Weeks. Since it was Feb/Mar at the time, and I already had three other planners I was trying out, I decided to get an undated Fauxbonichi from Amazon for like $8.  Disliking the look of it, I bought a plastic cover and printed off the following insert based on a free dashboard design from Plan With Bee.  Click below to download/print my cover insert - just print it off, trim it down a bit, and insert in the plastic cover.

Planner Freebies - Temp and Period Tracker

So, probably in order to try to tame the chaos of my life, I have been diving deep into the planning world lately. I've been planning for years, eons even, but it used to be strictly functional (which is a polite way of saying my planners were ugly - not that all functional planning is ugly, but MINE WAS).  I would quickly scribble down stuff to be done, with any implement I had on hand, and cross things out and move them around to the point of being indecipherable by anyone but (hopefully) me. All with the no nonsense goal to get it down, get it done, and move on. I never decorated any of them, nor did I keep them for any reason - at the end of the year they went in the trash. But I never found the perfect planner - one that could accommodate every area of my life. And I still have not, so far. Though I am starting to decorate it, journal in it, and plan to keep them from now on. I would love to have a gorgeous BuJo, but I cannot manage to force myself to keep one due to the time

You Are a Badass at Making Money - Review

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero My rating: 3 of 5 stars The book was more focused on my emotional relationship to money than I expected. There were some assumptions about those attitudes which I didn’t feel applied, so I didn’t feel as connected to this book as the previous Badass. But there were still some really good points and strong takeaways. It reminded me to own what I want. View all my reviews