Leaving Religion as a Letting Go Ritual in Narratives about Apostasy


In the current paper we turn towards the symbolic dimension of apostasy. An artistic representation of it can be found in the exhibition entitled “Apostasia: Rituals of Letting Go”, presented in Garage Gallery, in Prague, featuring folk and indigenous traditions, beliefs, and crafts. According to the authors of the exhibition, apostasy exemplifies resignation strategy and an exit. It brings liberating results by being an act of resistance against institutional violence. One way of coping with the oppressive character of this institution is a turn towards unorthodox knowledge systems, such as astrology, conspiracy, or folk beliefs. Following this inspiration, we will address the question of whether the act of apostasy reveals traces of the rite of passage, whether and how apostates highlight the stage of separation, transition, and incorporation of secular identity (Van Gennep 1960) in their accounts. We try to evidence the meanings people attribute to the act of apostasy and how they evolve but also what strategies apostates employ to give access to their biographies. The material we look at includes fragments of interviews with apostates and more recent posts which were published on the Facebook group “Apostazja 2020” following author’s invitation to share views about apostasy as a letting go ritual.


Magdalena Grabowska
Assistant Professor, Institute of Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Languages, University of Gdansk, Poland, Poland


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement


Apostasy, Discourse, Letting-go ritual, Narratives, Poland, Roman Catholic Church

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