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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Mare Kõiva, Tõnno Jonuks ORCID Icon, Mare Kalda, Andres Kuperjanov, Reet Hiiemäe

For most religions, nature has been an important medium and, to a smaller or greater extent, all religions use nature or its sacredness as a metaphor for religion. However, changes have occurred in the twenty-first century, and so nature, and especially natural sacred places, have become significant signs in major Christian trends, in pagan traditions emphasising continuity, and in vernacular contemporary religious practices. In terms of world view, alongside ethnic and new religions, the sacralisation of natural places (and nature as a whole) is among the messages of many humanistic movements until the ultra-green groups and regarding the equality of humans and nature. Although different religions use nature in very different ways, one of the most intriguing outputs in Estonia has been putting sacred places under state protection, which in 2008 was formulated as a state development plan. This article gives an overview of how sacred space is created or adopted, along with any monuments located there. The leaders of spiritual movements, as well as societies and organisations that valued cultural history and religion, served as initiators. Later on, the marking of public space with figures expanded to citizens’ and village movements, municipal powers, museums and individuals used to enrich the landscape. By such means, an ordinary landscape was rendered multi-dimensional and connections were forged between more distant history and folklore. 


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