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Organic Inquiry

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 3 months ago

Organic Inquiry


Birdsong, sweet

resonant.... penetrates deep

my body

links me to this bird.

I sing a response

joy heart




How can this experience of a moment of communication between a human and non-human form be understood and translated through research? Is a fuller communication possible? If humans could communicate with non-human forms in ways that were understood by humans, what could we learn from other species that could assist us in protecting and nurturing the planet, rather than destroying it as we are now doing? If humans could hear the voice of other species what changes would we make?

These and other questions concerning the emotional, intuitive, non-ordinary, numinous or spiritual experience in relationships, art making and other life processes are being explored through a research method called Organic Inquiry. This method came to my awareness as I called for a method that would allow me to translate and explore the inner realms of consciousness and experience.

"Organic inquiry is a qualitative methodology which acknowledges that every research study has an inherent and expanding nature which may be realized through subjective and intuitive methods. Rather than aiming at generalized and replicable results, organic inquiry seeks to present the data and analysis in such a way that the individual reader may interact with it and be personally transformed." (from the website: Serpentina)

This method came out of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California where the work of four former women graduate students took shape through it. They have written a book:



Jennifer Clements, Dorothy Ettling, Dianne Jenett, & Lisa Shields


The website Serpentina, gives this description of Organic Inquiry:


"As the name implies, the method of each organic study is a creative process and therefore the researcher is called to pay attention to the suggestions of the inner voice of the research itself which speaks by way of dreams, coincidences, or intuitive knowing and to adjust the operation of the method accordingly. The method is never frozen but is constantly responding to the creative shouts and whispers of the primary wisdom of the research itself.


The organic researcher who is revealing her or his own personal story is in a vulnerable and humble place that subdues the ego so that the unconscious world of dreams and non-rational influence may take its place in the evolution of the research. This chthonic, underground realm is a rich source of inspiration that tends to elude a researcher who chooses to operate within the boundaries of strictly objective and rational methods, assuming control of the research. It is our experience that topics of an intimate and sacred nature can best be explored with methods which are also allowed to operate beyond the confines of ego.


Transpersonal psychology has stepped forward from prior systems of psychology by stating its intention to honor all modes of human experience, not only mental and emotional but physical and spiritual as well. Organic inquiry has emerged out of this transpersonal movement's call to consciousness which acknowledges the inseparability of one individual's experiences and actions from those of the greater community and thereby calls for impeccable honesty and responsibility instead of a sense of superiority or competition. This requires an attitude of reverence toward all aspects of the research."


The possibility for exploring new realms in new ways is wide open with this method. Shamanic journeying is one technique used for data collection with broad implications. Organic Inquiry is an opening to embracing reality as multi-dimensional, different from the narrow scope of traditional research methods and has the potential of reflecting a human/non-human experience and interface that could dramatically change every aspect of life as we know it. Organic Inquiry opens the way for the emergence of further research methods to explore outside the limits of academic convention.


The following link provides a fuller description with references to some of the research conducted while employing this method.



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