Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A phenomenological inquiry into the process and effects of finding meaning with astrological symbolism
by Kozlova, Elena, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2011, 304; 3495280
Abstract (Summary)

This study reviewed the history and evolution of Western astrology in relation to psychology and science, and proposed a qualitative approach to the investigation of astrology‘s value for meaning finding. The review of existing research literature demonstrated minimal research on astrology‘s meaningfulness and subjective validity for those who believe in it. This study explored the phenomenon of meaning finding with the use of astrological symbolism and used a phenomenological qualitative method rather than a quantitative approach as it is more suitable for assessing the systematic and symbolic nature of astrology. The phenomenological method approaches the studied phenomenon as a system and is not based on the principles of object/subject dualism or causality. In addition, different modalities of creative expression were used during the interview process to evoke in-the-moment experience of finding meaning. Metaphoric and symbolic meanings were found through creative role play and elements of psychodrama. The results of the conducted research indicate that astrological symbols are suitable agents for finding meaning because of their metaphoric, archetypal, manifold, and fluid meaning nature. The participants found meaning by reorganizing, expanding, and evolving their initial understanding of life experiences by comparing their literal and symbolic meanings accessed with astrology. One aspect of meaningfulness is that it is relational and results from interrelating one‘s literal experience with a broader philosophical, transpersonal, or spiritual context. A particular value of astrology for the participants was its spiritual framework used for guidance and its symbolic nature, which allowed the meanings to evolve and change over time. In addition, study of astrology provided the participants with psychological benefits such as verification of self-concept, extended self-knowledge, and a sense of certainty and purposefulness, among others. The results also indicated that understanding self, others, and cultural trends, as a whole, contributes to the sense of meaningfulness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Frager, Robert
Commitee: Bogart, Greg, Mayer, Michael
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Transpersonal Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Experimental psychology, Quantitative psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Astrological symbolism, Creative expression, Finding meaning, Meaningfulness, Qualitative reserach
Publication Number: 3495280
ISBN: 978-1-267-18547-1
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