Circles of healing around the world: an exploration of the association between spiritual healing and circles in art

Markwick, Laura (2004) Circles of healing around the world: an exploration of the association between spiritual healing and circles in art. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Inspired by the strong visual presence of the circle in this author’s prior research into spiritual vibration as a formative influence in art, this thesis extends existing research into the shape’s spiritual associations. The pioneering work of Jung on Mandala Symbolism (1973) highlights the opportunity to achieve this in the search for an answer to why, above all other shapes, it is the circle which is associated with spiritual healing.

This thesis thus traces the trajectory of the circle’s spiritual healing associations around the world, and documents such ascribed associations in the key cultural contexts of its employment for healing as a visual art form, supported by unique contributions from contemporary spiritual practice. From these cultural contexts, on the primary criterion of availability of documentation, selection of a case study is made for the purpose of conducting an in depth analysis of the circle at work – specifically the case of Hildegard of Bingen.

The visual drivers of this research are informed by the inter-disciplinary overlap of art documentation and history, architecture, art therapy, psychology, alternative healing, medicine, spirituality, sociology and anthropology. The implications of the research include a reappraisal of the originality of Jung’s psychological theories regarding the mandala, the observation, from a group of different cultures, of points of congruence in the beliefs surrounding the circle for which academic comparison is novel, and the identification of possible answers to the question of why it is the circle which associated with spiritual healing.

Item ID: 7964
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Keywords: circles in spirituality, mandalas, circles in visual art, Hildegard of Bingen, circles in religion, circles as symbols, circles in Buddhism, circles in Hinduism, circles in Christianity
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2010 06:14
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl Sculpture and Painting) @ 33%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1901 Art Theory and Criticism > 190104 Visual Cultures @ 33%
22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220402 Comparative Religious Studies @ 34%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals) @ 50%
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