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Dissertation Title:

Reigniting Religious Imagination Through Celtic Spirituality

Candidate:

Carol Ann Quinlivan

Date, Time & Place:

August 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm
Studio, Lambert Road campus


Abstract

Depth psychologist C.G. Jung bemoaned the loss of imagination within religion. Jung’s mystical experience was far too deep and intense to be captured in any language other than that of the soul. Rather than striving for an exact or literal meaning, the soul delights in plurality as well as multiple levels of understanding, and realizations. Like the symbol of a spiral, such religious experiences continue to reach deeper into a knowing that defies categorization. This study utilizes archaeological, historical, mythological, archetypal, and mystical perspectives to examine the unique expression of religious imagination found among Ancient Celts.

The concept of the Celts has many realities, depending upon the entry portal into the mystery of this ancient multi-faceted culture. A coherent picture of the past, given the array of disparate evidence, challenges the reader to tolerate discrepancies biased historical anecdotes, faulty understandings of early language development, and the visible archaeological evidence in order to avoid or be swayed by a one-dimensional vision. Regardless of the ambiguities and complexities inherent in exploring research from multiple disciplines, a primary function of the imagination is to fuse incongruent realities into new patterns of meaning.

This inquiry explores the seamless transition between a pre-Christian and Christian religion, which was welcomed by Celts deeply rooted in the earth and imbued in ritual living. Ireland’s isolation provided a womb to shelter Christianity from Romanization, thus birthing a form of spirituality uniquely Celtic. The following chapters illustrate how a mythical understanding of the past inherent in Ancient Celts freed them from literalism and a dualistic worldview. This study affirms the power of our collective consciousness to retrieve a multitude of metaphors and imagery to ignite religious imagination and re-claim the autonomy and dignity of our souls. The project’s intention is to examine what was lost in the collective psyche during postmodern times, which can be reimagined and reignited by utilizing the more pluralistic Celtic vision as a template. The Celts were capable of seeing beyond the senses into a consciousness fed by the symbolic language of the soul.

Note

*PLEASE NOTE: ALL ORAL DEFENSE ATTENDEES MUST SHUTTLE TO CAMPUS FROM THE BEST WESTERN. THERE IS NO GUEST PARKING ON CAMPUS*

Details
  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, Track E, 2006
  • Chair: Dr. Dennis Slattery
  • Reader: Dr. Norvene Vest
  • External Reader: Dr. Richard Groves
  • Keywords: Celtic, Imagination, Soul-making, Spirituality, Feminine Principle, C.G. Jung, Mystical