Title

Ritual, Spirituality, and Occupation: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Women’s Participation in Women’s Circles

Start Time

4-10-2012 8:00 PM

End Time

4-10-2012 9:30 PM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Women’s circles have historically existed in many forms, ranging from support and teaching groups that connect generation to generation, to ceremonies honouring the sacred. They are spaces in which women gather to honour and connect to one another, to their environment, and to themselves. Women have claimed that participation in women’s circles replenishes them spiritually and provides meaning and support in their lives. From the available literature and discussion with women who participate in women’s circles, we believe that the occupations associated with participation in women’s circles, or possibly the overall occupation of women’s group participation, can contribute to overall wellbeing in the participants. We are exploring the phenomenon of women’s participation in women’s circles, along with the meanings that women derive from the occupations associated with circle participation.

This project examines women’s participation in women’s circles, with a focus on the associated rituals and spirituality from an occupational perspective. This project will add to the growing body of research on the role of ritual in occupation, as the women’s circles tend to be highly ritualized. We are investigating participation in women’s circles as a form of occupation in the lives of women. As such, we will examine the meaningfulness and purpose derived from participation in women’s circles and how these are tied to participants’ daily lives. We will also explore why the participants have chosen (and continue to choose) to participate in women’s circles. The deep meaning that women derive from their participation in women’s circles (Beaird, 2006; Kimmel, 1995; Neu, 1995; personal communications) and the associated rituals are a unique example of human occupation.

We are using a phenomenological methodology to explore participation in women’s circles, using semi-structured interviews based on the women’s participation in the circles. We are recruiting from two separate women’s circles in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. The two different circles have slightly different purposes and structures, which will provide insight into diverse rituals and meanings held by participants.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Does ritual play a unique role in occupation and the meaning derived from participation?
  2. How can we as a research community promote the type of wellbeing gleaned from the women’s participation in circles to our communities?
  3. The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance had “spirituality” at it’s core, but how broadly do we define it? What does it contribute to people’s lives?

References

Beaird, G. J. (2006). The experience of transformation in circles of women: Development of voice in a sacred setting. (Doctoral dissertation). Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, California.

Kees, N.L. (1999). Women together again: A phenomenological study of leaderless women’s groups. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 24(3), 288-305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01933929908411437

Kimmel, E.B. & Kazanis, B.W. (1995). Explorations of the unrecognized spirituality of women’s communion. Women & Therapy, 16(2-3), 215-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J015v16n02_20

Neu, D.L. (1995). Women’s empowerment through feminist rituals. Women & Therapy, 16(2-3), 185-200. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J015v16n02_18

Park Lala, A. & Kinsella, E. A. (2011). Phenomenology and the study of human occupation. Journal of Occupational Science, 18 (3), 195-209. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2011.581629

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Oct 4th, 8:00 PM Oct 4th, 9:30 PM

Ritual, Spirituality, and Occupation: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Women’s Participation in Women’s Circles

Women’s circles have historically existed in many forms, ranging from support and teaching groups that connect generation to generation, to ceremonies honouring the sacred. They are spaces in which women gather to honour and connect to one another, to their environment, and to themselves. Women have claimed that participation in women’s circles replenishes them spiritually and provides meaning and support in their lives. From the available literature and discussion with women who participate in women’s circles, we believe that the occupations associated with participation in women’s circles, or possibly the overall occupation of women’s group participation, can contribute to overall wellbeing in the participants. We are exploring the phenomenon of women’s participation in women’s circles, along with the meanings that women derive from the occupations associated with circle participation.

This project examines women’s participation in women’s circles, with a focus on the associated rituals and spirituality from an occupational perspective. This project will add to the growing body of research on the role of ritual in occupation, as the women’s circles tend to be highly ritualized. We are investigating participation in women’s circles as a form of occupation in the lives of women. As such, we will examine the meaningfulness and purpose derived from participation in women’s circles and how these are tied to participants’ daily lives. We will also explore why the participants have chosen (and continue to choose) to participate in women’s circles. The deep meaning that women derive from their participation in women’s circles (Beaird, 2006; Kimmel, 1995; Neu, 1995; personal communications) and the associated rituals are a unique example of human occupation.

We are using a phenomenological methodology to explore participation in women’s circles, using semi-structured interviews based on the women’s participation in the circles. We are recruiting from two separate women’s circles in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. The two different circles have slightly different purposes and structures, which will provide insight into diverse rituals and meanings held by participants.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Does ritual play a unique role in occupation and the meaning derived from participation?
  2. How can we as a research community promote the type of wellbeing gleaned from the women’s participation in circles to our communities?
  3. The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance had “spirituality” at it’s core, but how broadly do we define it? What does it contribute to people’s lives?