|Reference code: ||PT/FB/BL-2006-062.02|
|Location: ||Arquivo PCA - Pasta 18/2006|
|The Pilgrimage project: A study of motivations and experiences in sacred spaces|
|Publication year: ||2010|
The aim of this project was to understand the interaction between motivations to go on pilgrimage, religious behaviours and experiences, and psychological outcomes. We were also interested in looking at sacred spaces and individuals affiliated with contrasting types of religiosity.
Various European sites were selected according to their representativeness of traditional Christianity and Paganism. Four hundred and fifty pilgrims to the Roman Catholic sites of Fátima, Lourdes, the Pagan site of Stonehenge, and the New Age town of Glastonbury were asked to fill in a questionnaire. This included standardized measures of positive and negative affect (PANAS), personality (EPQ), magical/paranormal ideation, as well as measures of religious belief/experience and activities, a newly developed scale on motivations to pilgrimage, and a qualitative section. Longitudinal data was collected using a reduced version of the questionnaire 8 to 12 weeks after the respective pilgrimage.
Spiritual Growth and Community/Care were the major motivational dimensions for pilgrims at both Christian sites, while Pagan pilgrims scored highest on Cosmic/Nature Closeness and Sensation Seeking motivations. Results for Positive and Negative Affect showed that Christian pilgrims were significantly higher on positive affect than Pagan pilgrims, while Pagan pilgrims scored significantly higher on negative affect. Items asking
about physical illness and mental health problems presented no significant differences between groups, so these differences in affect may be attributed to the characteristics of the pilgrimage (e.g. the ritual activities) and the motivations to be a pilgrim, instead of base individual differences. Pagan pilgrims also had significantly higher scores on magical/paranormal ideation and spiritual experiences.
These results are approached within a broad framework highlighting the behavioural and social-cognitive differences between Pagan and Christian belief systems. Specifically, we suggest that Pagan rituals elicit higher arousal than Christian ones, and are less supported by a social and belief structure. This makes Pagan pilgrims more likely to experience negative affect (e.g. fear) and a higher frequency of unusual experiences. Historical evidence from Classical Paganism is drawn upon to support these conclusions. Some of these results have been presented at two international conferences. Four papers are about to be submitted to various journals and a monograph proposal is under preparation.
|Accessibility: ||Document does not exist in file|
|Secondary author(s): |
|Harris, A., Aus der Au, C., Wiech, K., Soares, P., Friese, W.|
|Document type: |
|Number of reproductions: |
|Farias, M., Harris, A., Aus der Au, C., Wiech, K., Soares, P., & Friese, W. (2010). The Pilgrimage project: A study of motivations and experiences in sacred spaces. In Aquém e além do cérebro. Behind and beyond the brain. Proceedings of the 8th Symposium of Fundação Bial (p. 214). Porto: Fundação Bial.|
|Indexed document: ||No|
|Keywords: ||Pilgrimage / Motivation / Spiritual experience / Affect / Personality|
The Pilgrimage project: A study of motivations and experiences in sacred spaces