Snyder, M. (2022). Spiritual experience & expressive arts: A heuristic inquiry into shamanistic psychology and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Liverpool John Moores University.

At the intersection of expressive arts and spiritual experience lies a journey made by many peoples and cultures throughout time. Using Heuristic Inquiry, this paper explores this intersection by asking the question, “What is the embodied spiritual experience of expressive arts?” With a group of eight co-researchers, concepts such as: liminality; co-creating reality; exploring the intersection of expressive arts and spiritual experience; breaking through blocks are explored. An outcome during this exploration has been how the co-researchers’ collective experiences could be categorized as a “shamanic journey,” made popularly known by anthropologist Michael Harner. A more surprising theme has been the “Monomyth” as conceived by comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell. This paper attempts to map spiritual experiences onto the Monomyth through collective experience. Through this exploration, perhaps not only are we capable of reconnecting to our primordial selves by using a shamanistic framework, but we may become the heroes of our own spiritual journeys by using the Monomyth as a roadmap.

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