Dissertation Title:

A Marvelous Misfortune: Numinosity in Times of Chaos


Katherine Marsai

Date, Time & Place:

April 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm
Room B, Ladera Road campus


Hidden within the many distractions of our modern day culture are people who have faced some of the darkest aspects of life and its unthinkable circumstances.  These same people have also triumphed over their difficulties in extraordinary ways.  This qualitative research dissertation explores the deep structure of numinous events in times of crisis and how these experiences affected the participants’ perceptions of future challenges.  Three depth psychological lenses were applied to each narrative: Jung’s concept of holding the tension of the opposites, Somé’s stages of initiation, and characteristics of Native American visionary experiences.  The findings suggest that participants experienced an archetypal experience of the numinous, rather than a culturally or religiously defined experience.  This suggests a picture of the numinous that is archetypal, meaningful, and relates to today’s challenges.  It also suggests that as lonely and alienated as we may feel in modern times, numinous experiences provide a venue for a deep sense of community and belonging.


Parking is available on the Ladera Lane campus.  Shuttle service is not available.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Track K, 2006
  • Chair: Dr. Nuria Ciofalo
  • Reader: Dr. Honor Griffith
  • External Reader: Dr. Karen Jaenke
  • Keywords: Narrative Inquiry, Jung, Numinous, Synchronicity, American Indian, Indigenous