Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From Christian to Pagan soul: An archetypal journey
by Gilliam, Scott Duncan, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012, 206; 3552950
Abstract (Summary)

Out of our collective past, from the land of shadow, ancient images and ways of being have begun stirring in the souls of people who identify as Pagans. This phenomenological and heuristic study examines the archetypal nature of moving from a Christian to a Pagan identity or soul, focusing on contemporary Neopagans in the United States who once identified as Christians. This study explores the archetypal nature of this journey to foster understanding of one of the fastest growing religions in the United States today (Adler, 1986) with as many as a million adherents (Hedrick, 2011).

This study seeks to address a lack of information in American psychological literature about spiritual diversity and, in particular, the unique challenges of counseling Neopagan clients. The intention of this work is to inform therapists working in the fields of depth and counseling psychology about Neopaganism and Pagans so that this population may be treated with understanding and respect.

This study asks the question: "In a world with a dominant Judeo-Christian world-view and a negative view of Paganism and Pagans, what draws someone into becoming a Pagan?" Furthermore, it asks, "What could be revealed by exploring the archetypal nature of the journey from a Christian to Pagan soul?" To answer these questions, the study produces a phenomenological portrait of this journey, discussing the source from which the desire to become Pagan springs and where, as a collective phenomenon, the growing popularity of Paganism may be leading all of us. This study invites the participation of the soul, and becomes an act of soul-making, to bring images of the Pagan soul to life in the imaginative, empathetic reader.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nelson, Elizabeth
Commitee: Anderson, Virginia, Denney, Michael
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychotherapy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Pastoral Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Counseling psychology, Dagan studies, Depth psychology, Pagan psychology, Spiritual diversity
Publication Number: 3552950
ISBN: 978-1-267-91854-3
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