Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Glenn Bauman


This study used a novel methodology of hermeneutic-poetic-phenomenology to explore perspectives of women living with ovarian cancer. Each had participated in a supportive care group process Soul-Medicine prior to volunteering. Three women, Beth, Carrie, and Denise contributed to this study. The methodology was grounded in Gaston Bachelard’s philosophy of poetic-phenomenology. Data was analyzed with attention to image-centred knowledge; material imagination; reverie; and horizons of hope to elucidate their implicated aspects of wisdom and the ways participant’s formed their personal wisdom integrating feminist theories of embodiment and bioethics.

Findings are framed through three images of a uniquely formed inner ‘wisdom-compass’, an ‘inner navigator’ who heuristically creates the compass and uses it for navigating daily life, and a ‘magnetic north’ of wisdom-poiesis orienting the individual towards embodying a wise life, revealed in dying. The embodiment lens frames an understanding of wisdom where embodiment, itself, forms a wisdom-labour creating a ‘hand-made’ compass used to guide wayfinding towards a wisely lived life.

Discussion on Embodiment includes: embodied relationality with ‘other’; embodied relationality with ‘self’; embodied relationality with nature; embodied relationality in wise care; embodied relationality with ‘ethical sensibility’ as including empathy, agency, subjectivity, epistemic power, (re) embodying lost knowledges; embodied ‘knowing’; embodied temporality; embodying wisdom’s invisibility; embodied reflectivity.

This study responds to the contemporary appeal study of the more intuitive, creative and holistic dimensions of wisdom often termed the sophian forms of wisdom. Discussion on findings for imagination and its role in wisdom includes four sophian dimensions of wisdom: (a) embodied-intuiting; (b) embodied-creating; (c) embodied-spirituality; (d) embodied imagining.

Implications are discussed for medical education, study and preservation of clinical phronesis in health care practitioners cultures of care, wisdom-activating conversations that elicit less legitimate forms of knowledge in patient and clinician such as ‘embodied knowing’.

It also invites the reader to reflect on their own wisdom and how, perhaps, this lies submerged from view amidst daily life with its tensions and struggles. The novel methodology is proposed as a possible path towards creating poetic renderings of a personal ‘wisdom-compass’.