Crystallising the Angels – A methodological proposal for the study of angels

  • June Boyce-Tillman


This will explore the complex issues involved in the study of angels, examining various frames to accommodate the variety of data available.  The data includes accounts of people’s experiences and questionnaires associated with them, reported visionary experiences and a variety of artistic sources. These will include images (such as Hildegard’s choir of angels), poems (such as those of Rilke), historical accounts (such as the biblical account of the Annunciation) and music (such as Elgar's’ Dream of Gerontius and hymn texts).  The methodology will build on Fiona Bowie’s cognitive empathetic engagement (2014), adding to this, methodologies from the area of Performance-as-Research (Boyce-Tillman et al 2013).  These will be put together within the developing methodology of crystallization which “combines multiple forms of analysis and multiple genres of representation into a coherent text”, to build a rich account of the phenomenon problematizing its construction, highlighting researchers’’ positionality and examining socially constructed meanings to reveal the indeterminacy of knowledge claims (Ellingson 2009).  Within these it will draw on Boyce-Tillman’s analysis of elements within the spiritual experience (Boyce-Tillman 2016) into the areas of Metaphysical, Narrative, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Extra-personal and InterGaian.