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Laments of the Soul: Tending the Imagination of Global Fear

Published Dissertation Abstract


Teresa Michelle Nowak, PhD

Rooted in the depth tradition of Jungian and Archetypal Psychology, this creative study witnessed the perspective of Other in the midst of widescale panic and anxiety about the state of the world as an act of soul-tending. Answering Jung's and Hillman's call to follow images for deeper insight of psychological meaning, this research honored the intelligence of an ensouled world found in the multidimensional psyche. This dissertation used an imaginal way of knowing through Organic Inquiry, a storytelling methodology that places emphasis on the sacred in research for potential spiritual transformation. It employed both an alchemical imagination and an ecopsychological stance that psychic images are dynamic co-creators that project to us through the dreaming psyche of the anima mundi. The research consisted of eight participants who dialogued with psychic images of global fear through guided active imagination sessions and answered in-depth questions to assess transformation. This scholarship bridged psyche (spirit) and soma (matter) by capturing a phenomenological vision to an embodied experience; it tended somatic, psychological, and emotional responses for subtle-body wisdom, or gnosis. Archetypal motifs revealed through thematic and hermeneutic analysis were amplified mythopoetically as an underworld journey, or spiritual "dark night of the soul? of the world. The research discovered a luminous shift to peace in the face of ear during each encounter. It supports the spiritual and alchemical ideas that darkness can be transformed through the internal flame, or sacred indwelling.

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