MSc course

Secular Spiritual Awakening

Study the phenomenon of spiritual awakening as a psychological phenomenon, outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. We will examine both temporary awakening experiences and wakefulness as an ongoing, permanent phenomenon. We will look at the triggers and contexts associated with awakening, and at the characteristics of the phenomenon, including difficult issues that may arise

This option examines the phenomenon of spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. We look at the triggers and contexts in which it occurs, as well as at the different types of awakening, and the characteristics of the ‘wakeful’ state. We will examine temporary awakening experiences, and ‘wakefulness’ as a permanent, ongoing state. We will further discuss the close relationship between awakening and intense psychological turmoil, otherwise known as ‘spiritual emergencies.’ We will examine why spiritual awakening sometimes causes disturbance and disruption, with some similarities to psychosis. We will also consider the cultural – and even evolutionary – significance of ‘secular spiritual awakening’.


Accordion Content
  1. Interpret spiritual awakening in a secular context
  2. Examine the phenomenon of spiritual awakening, its triggers, varieties and characteristics
  3. Explore the human experience of spiritual crisis (or spiritual emergency)
  4. Join live webinars, combining discussion and experiential work
  5. Discuss your own ideas and experience about self-transformation with peers and the tutor in interactive forums

Course leader

Dr. Steve Taylor

Senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of several books on psychology and spirituality.

Enquire now for February 2023

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