Graduation Date

12-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Emphasis

Religion

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Program Name

Humanities

Program Director

Judy Halebsky, PhD

First Reader

Chase Clow, PhD

Second Reader

Joan Baranow, PhD

Abstract

Ecospirituality synthesizes aspects of ecology, spirituality, and feminism, emphasizing reciprocity and relationship. It can be seen as a spiritual expression of environmentalism, offering hope and ways to cope during the Anthropocene. During this era of heightened uncertainty and grief related to ecological collapse, one key capacity, imagination, will serve humanity as it recalibrates and restructures in response to the climate crisis. This textual analysis, creative research, and reflection will explore the process of cultivating anecospiritual imagination, a relational mindset supported by embodied experiences such as rituals and contemplative practices that honor a reciprocal relationship between humans and the natural world, including other species, the elements, and processes of birth, death, and regeneration.

This project contributes to the current conversations about an ecological identity across academic disciplines while also adding to the growing body of heuristic research. The author investigates how ritual and contemplative practices support a deepened connection with the natural world. By undertaking a heuristic investigation into the role of ritual and embodied contemplative practice to cultivate an ecospiritual imagination, this project contributes to the discourse related to situated knowledge, Celtic spirituality, contemplative practices, ecological grief, and environmental humanities.

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