Catriona MacInnes

Mythopoeic connections from the ancient to the contemporary; Scottish Gaelic imaginal realms, arts therapies and transition

My current doctoral research examines possible psychological trauma arising from multiple losses experienced in relation to the historic disintegration of Scottish Gaelic oral culture including traditional storytelling. The impact of such losses may have been passed on trans-generationally affecting feelings about self, identity, way of life and meaning.

Culturally adapted arts therapies might bridge past and present respectfully, sensitively addressing barriers to the growth of imaginative expression and transformation in individuals and groups, addressing impacts on mental health and supporting transcultural communication and interconnectivity in the contemporary setting of the Western Isles of Scotland.

In this paper, I propose to illuminate aspects of creativity in the non-directive, art therapeutic frame, using artistic enquiry underpinned by heuristic phenomenology. Recognising the connection of this arts-based enquiry to the unconscious, dreams and ‘otherworld’, reveals its potential function to enable numinous engagement with emerging personal and collective mythology. The relationship to Gaelic imaginal realms, mytho-poetics and storytelling narrative and greater understanding of the psychological function of mythical stories will be developed.

Catriona MacInnes, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland