Transformative, exceptional human experiences at music festivals : a transpersonal phenomenological exploration

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Bannerman, Brittany A.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
This study investigated co-researchers’ accounts of mystical and transcendent exceptional human experiences (EHEs) and integration processes in the context of two music festivals (i.e., Shambhala and Burning Man). Six co-researchers who had attended one or both of the festivals and experienced a life-changing EHE therein were recruited and interviewed. Emergent themes were analyzed using transpersonal, phenomenological, heuristic, and hermeneutic research methods. The identified themes unfolded within three parts: Entering Mystical Kingdoms, Illuminating the Exceptional Human Experience, and The Essential Gifts of the Exceptional Human Experience. These parts explicated meaningful festival characteristics, the triggers and phenomenology of the EHEs themselves, and the EHEs’ transformative effects and integration processes, respectively. Prominent overarching themes emerged that involved acceptance and surrender to the EHE, its transformative effects, and its integration process. The findings provide important implications for mental health and psychotherapy regarding EHE integration, guidelines for potential experiencers, and areas for future research.
awakening , exceptional human experiences , music festivals , mystical experiences , spiritual resonance , transcendental experiences