Papachristophorou [Abstract]

Ordinary stories, dreams, miracles and social interactions [Full text]

Marilena Papachristophorou [1]

AbstractStorytelling and vernacular religion are complementary on multiple levels in the example of Lipsi (southeast Aegean, Greece), where the use of common symbols proves to be more durable than practices, even when the framework of official religion has changed. It is on this narrative web, which unfolds as oral tradition, as ritual practices or as landscape, that community members portray their routes over space and time.. This flow of stories told by all members of the community at every kind of gathering makes a collective identity trait through which the islanders communicate their worldviews, their perception of local history and shape their present lives as well. In my ethnography of Lipsi, storytelling emerges as an “art”, in terms of aesthetic expression through performance. However, at the ‘very moment’ of this fieldwork experience, the natural and supernatural worlds are perceived as an indivisible whole whose parts are in constant communication, either through miracles, hierophanies and visions or through an abundance of wishes and invocations that people utter all the time in their everyday routine. In this paper I also report my own intersubjective amalgamation as a she-ethnographer within the fieldwork I conducted in the small Aegean island. The paper focuses on the storytelling practices of the community, presenting fieldwork data registered during 2005-2011, and 2014.

Keywords: Symbols, dreams, storytelling, vernacular religion, myth, saints, miracles, intersubjectivity, ethnography, fieldwork, worldviews, self-consciousness, Aegean islands, women, fertility

[1] University of Ioannina, Greece,,