Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Celtic siren: A case study of William Sharp's seduction experience in which the numinous other is understood and interpreted
by Klippel, Shirley A., Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2005, 349; 3281463
Abstract (Summary)

Although a case study of William Sharp's encounter with the numinous is the focus of this study, research into the numinous experience in general is presented along with an alternative world view to the dominant Western rationalistic one. Evidence is provided that the Celtic and the Hindu approach come from the same source and that they, in comparison, to the West's dualistic, one-sided view, offer a nondualistic option in which the numinous can be more fully understood.

This study is interested in a specific type of numinous experience in which the intensity between the manifest and the unmanifest aspects of the psyche confront each other and an explosion of psychic energy is released, causing a dramatic change. Analysis of both philosophical and psychological perspectives is undertaken, and it is found that while the psychological approach provided understanding of the human (manifest) side, the philosophical approach with its focus on beingness or in Heideggerian language Dasein, provides a perspective from the spirit (unmanifest) side. Michael Washburn captures the impact of the exchange of energy between the two sides: the spirit is personalized and the body is spiritualized.

A mythological approach compares Sharp and Fiona to other more famous "couples" and supplements the theoretical studies. For example, Heidegger taught that Dasein must stay close to its center, its essence; otherwise it gets lost in "the they." This concept is reinforced by Lady Philosophy, who informs Boethius, "You are suffering merely from lethargy, the common illness of deceived minds. You have forgotten yourself a little, but you will quickly be yourself again when you recognize me." Lady Philosophy represents the soul and the inner teacher and is a counterpart to Fiona Macleod, who is considered Sharp's soul and inner teacher.

The conclusion of this study is that the numinous experience can be understood as a normal human-development experience, is not necessarily religious, and has a sensuous component.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gardner, Barbara
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Keywords: Celtic, Mysticism, Numinous other, Scotland, Seduction experience, Sharp, William
Publication Number: 3281463
ISBN: 9780549232575
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