Phenomenology of Spiritual Experiences

“The Phenomenology of a Spiritual Experience.”

A look at the spiritual experience from the individual’s perspective. Even though a spiritual experience is a highly personal and individual experience, are there common factors that appear in these experiences as they occur among different people, in different places, in different cultures, and in different time periods? This talk will be based on a phenomenological study done using first person narratives and other subjective accounts. Spiritual experiences of members of various groups were examined, including mystics, paranormal, neocrophanies (experiences just prior to death), new age groups, Marian apparitions, charismatics, Wicca, and others. There are about a dozen characteristics that were found in all experiences, and additional characteristics
unique to each group.

Sara Towe Horsfall, PhD Sociology

Sara Towe Horsfall was a Professor at Texas Wesleyan University for 15 years, with interest in theory, social psychology, and religion. She received her PhD from Texas A&M University in 1996. Before focusing on a career in Sociology, she worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent in England, Greece and India. Music is a serious hobby: she spent several years as a church choir director, started the Brazos Valley Classical Guitar Concert Series, plays classical guitar and was a parttime classical guitar teacher for many years. Books include: Music Sociology: Examining the Role of Music in Social Life (Paradigm Publishers, 2013); Social Problems: An Advocate Group Approach (Westview Press, 2012), A Neighborhood Portrait: Polytechnic Heights of Inner City Fort (ed. Sunbelt Eakin 2002), Chaos, Complexity and Sociology (ed. with Ray Eve and Mary Lee, Sage Publications 1997), Identifying the Spiritual Experience ( Texas A&M University 1996).

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