Dorene Koehler

The Mouse and the Myth

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Rituals mark significant moments in our livesperhaps none more significant than moments of lightheartedness, joy, and play. The rituals that bond humanity create our most transcendent experiences and meaningful memories. Rituals of play are among the most sacred of any of the rites in which humanity may engage. Although we may fail to recognize rituals of play, they are always present in culture, providing a kind of psychological release for their participants, child and adult alike. Ritual is central to storytelling. Story and practice are symbiotic. Their relationship reflects the vitality of the soul. Disneyland is an example of the kind of container necessary for the construction of rituals of play. This work explores the original Disney theme park in Anaheim as a temple cult. It challenges the disciplines of mythological studies, religious studies, film studies, and depth psychology to broaden traditional definitions of the kind of cultural apparatus that constitute temple culture and ritual. It does so by suggesting that Hollywoods entertainment industry has developed a platform for mythic ritual. After setting the ritualized “stage”, this book turns to the practices in Disneyland proper, analyzing the patrons traditions within the framework of the park and beyond. It explores Disneylands spectacles, through selected shows and parades, and concludes with an exploration of the parks participation in ritual renewal.
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344 printed pages
Original publication
2017

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