Psychosocial Disembodiment of Sacred Spaces in a Religious Siege

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The Marawi siege of 2017 destroyed both the St. Mary’s (Catholic) Cathedral and the Dansalan (Islamic) Mosque. We posit that the destruction of such spaces brings about feelings and thoughts of disembodiment among religious followers. This study asks the question: How do religious followers experience personalized disembodiment as sacred spaces are devastated? We elicit visual representations and collective narratives through a focus group discussion with drawing activities among Christians and Muslims in Marawi. Results reveal that Christians and Muslims experience disembodiment by psychologically fusing the material destruction of their sacred spaces with the decimation of their own bodies. Findings of this study present the vital role of sacred spaces in escalating and deescalating armed conflict.