Dissertation Title:

Imagination and Poetry: The Transmutation of Revelation into Art


Craig Deininger

Date, Time & Place:

March 30, 2016 at 11:00 am
Studio, Lambert Road campus


Imagination is generally recognized as an agent of fantasy, applicable to wishful thinking, childish naiveté, and many other apparently impractical or unproductive aspects of conventional, adult life. However, such renderings divest imagination of its unmistakable correspondence with reality through deep personal experience, and through its direct influence on one’s creative capacity and personal development. Imagination refreshes and renews. It opens terrains in which new possibilities can be inwardly visualized and experienced within a highly immaterial and versatile medium. Although imagination cannot be contained as an object of study, its presence is made known via its effects and its practices. This dissertation therefore strives to correspond with exceptionally abstract and near-transcendent phenomena through postulations based upon the tangible perception of these effects and practices.

What distinguishes imagination from intellectual conceptualization is its immediate and deep correspondence with experience. Imaginative perception is gnostic perception because it sees into the depth of a thing. Due to its inseparable involvement with wholeness, the range of imagination is broad and deep. It attends as much to outer phenomena as it does to the psyche of the subject who imagines. Therefore, fields of study such as gnosis, intuition, phenomenology, symbolism, astrology, mythology, religion, alchemy, depth psychology, science, poetry, and personal spirituality serve as central yet diverse channels into the investigation of the mechanics and characteristics of imagination.

The necessary functions of intermediaries, (like the alchemical spirit Mercurius, the mythological Hermes, and the figure of Khidr from the mystic Sufi tradition), are employed to personify the dynamics that host a meeting among any distinct subjects. Through the influence of these metaphorical (and literal) agents, faculties capable of deep perception are awakened in the imaginer. Subsequently, deep experiences are made more readily available. The most profound of these experiences are addressed as revelations, which are highly transient and highly potent. This dissertation therefore explores ways in which, to whatever degree, the numinosity of revelatory events can be made to live on in the plane of material existence after their divine presentations have evaporated.



This is due to Pacifica’s conditional use permit, which restricts campus parking. Please call 896-1887 or 896-1888 for a shuttle pickup from the Best Western. A Pacifica shuttle driver will pick you up within 10 minutes or so and take you to the campus.

Thank you for your kind consideration

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, Track G, 2008
  • Chair: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
  • Reader: Dr. Dana White
  • External Reader: Dr. Lydia Reineck
  • Keywords: Imagination, Poetry, Gnosis, Revelation, Symbolism, Mythology, Depth Psychology, Alchemy, Mysticism