My first days at Pacifica: First year student reflections

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 14, 2018 3:16:01 PM

My Pacifica Experience. A guest post by Somatic Studies Specialization student Chanda Williams.

1. Leading up to the start of classes, what excited you most about the program and Pacifica?

I feel as if this has been a decision long in progress. Since I learned about Pacifica, I was intrigued and wanted to study in all of the programs! So I needed time to get clarity regarding my passions and my work in the world. I was most excited to see the reading list for my Somatic Studies courses, and to discover that I already owned a few of the books. I considered that to be a great sign that I am on the right path. I also looked forward to meeting my cohort and learning more about them.

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Posted in: graduate school, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute, somatic

From Information to Inspiration: An Interdisciplinary Career Based on Myth, Music, Depth Psychology, and the Arts

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 12, 2018 2:58:10 PM

From Information to Inspiration: An Interdisciplinary Career Based on Myth, Music, Depth Psychology, and the Arts: An Interview with Kayleen Asbo, Ph.D. A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

As a cultural historian, Kayleen Asbo has crafted a fascinating career by weaving together mythology, depth psychology, music, literature, and women’s studies. She uses this interdisciplinary tapestry to teach, lecture, perform, and lead cultural, historical, and spiritual pilgrimages around the world in a remarkable set of venues. She has perfected the ability to offer experiential learning through her sheer passion for what she does. She cannot imagine how each of these fields could be contemplated as being separate from one another.

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Posted in: Mythology, art, depth psychology, mythological, music

Mythology, Cosmology, and Symbolism of Ancient Egypt, Part 2

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 30, 2018 1:57:21 PM

Mythology, Cosmology, and Symbolism of Ancient Egypt, Part 2 of 2: An Interview with Egyptologist, Dr. Edmund Meltzer A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D. Access Part 1 here:

In his decades-long career as an Egyptologist, Dr. Edmund Meltzer has participated in archeological excavations in Egypt, translated hieroglyphic texts, published dozens of articles and books and taught worldwide. His major research areas include ancient Egyptian religion, language and texts, the history of Egyptology and the reception of ancient Egypt in the Classical and post-ancient world.

In Part 1 of this 2-part dialogue, Meltzer, who is currently teaching in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, shared some of his vast knowledge about Egyptian mythology and the role of certain deities, as well as offering scholarly perspectives on the concepts of ritual and magic. Here, in Part 2 of 2, he makes some compelling observations about the cultural traditions of ancient Egypt and how that cosmology impacts modern individuals today.

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Posted in: Mythology, symbol, ancient egypt, cosmology, symbolism

Mythology, Cosmology, and Symbolism of Ancient Egypt, Part 1

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 30, 2018 1:45:23 PM

Mythology, Cosmology, and Symbolism of Ancient Egypt, Part 1 of 2: An Interview with Egyptologist, Dr. Edmund Meltzer A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Ancient Egypt taps into the power of the mind’s eye. With its soaring pyramids, sacred tombs, complex hieroglyphs, ancient temple walls, legends of exotic pharaohs, and colorful pantheon of gods, it is easy to be captivated by the landscape of a culture that richly and deeply stirs the imagination.

Egyptologist Dr. Edmund Meltzer had a ”predilection for ancient things and the distant past” from a very early age. His supportive parents nurtured his interests with books about ancient civilizations and mythology. Growing up in New York City, he had easy access to the Brooklyn and Metropolitan Museums, and to excellent second-hand bookstores where he browsed relics and acquired a wide assortment of contemporary and antique Egyptological books. He began to study hieroglyphs, and decided he was going to be an Egyptologist by the time he entered high school.

Through his undergraduate and graduate studies in Near Eastern Languages and Studies, as well as American archaeology, Edmund met librarians, professors, scholars, and other Egyptologists who strongly influenced his passion. His long and illustrious career includes work in Egypt as a site supervisor on the Akhenaten Temple Project–East Karnak Excavation, as well as being a researcher, teacher, fellow, journal editor, professor, and tour lecturer. Among his many achievements, he has authored a large body of scholarly publications, many of which can be found online.

Pacifica Graduate Institute recently invited Edmund to teach in the Mythological Studies program. He graciously shared his prolific knowledge and discussed the fascinating ancient past of Egypt and the Near East with me in a written exchange.

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Posted in: Mythology, symbol, ancient egypt, cosmology, symbolism

Depth Psychology, Art, and the Archetype of the Walled Woman

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 24, 2018 1:26:14 PM

Depth Psychology, Art, and the Archetype of the Walled Woman: An Interview with Conceptual Artist Tracy Ferron, M.A. A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Immurement, the concept of confining people inside walls, is a historical reality. Women, especially, have been victims and sacrifices of this macabre practice.

For Tracy Ferron, a conceptual artist and student of depth psychology, the archetypal theme of “walled women” first surfaced in a powerful dream. At the time, she was deeply engrossed in research on Big Pharma and societal complexes of power in a class at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she completed her master’s degree in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life in June 2017. During this process, powerful feelings of hopelessness and frustration arose, dovetailing with her personal life where she felt quite “stuck” in shifting her life’s direction after nearly 20 years spent raising five children.

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Posted in: archetypes, Psychology, art, depth psychology

Campus Updates | Pacifica Graduate Institute

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 23, 2018 11:06:04 PM

Dear Pacifica Community,

Over the past week progress has been made in the Carpinteria-Montecito-Santa Barbara area in our recovery from the fires and mud flows. While we are grieving the many losses, of lives, of property, of livelihoods for some community members, we are also very grateful for the vast amount of work which has been done towards recovery. On Sunday, January 21, highway 101 was re-opened in both directions between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. Pacifica is also participating in this recovery: earlier in the week we re-opened the Lambert campus, hosted several tracks of students there as well as a track at the Pepper-Tree Inn in Santa Barbara. We have held a community meetings to discuss and coordinate a number of steps facilitating recovery. At the present time several plans to keep Pacifica fully operational are currently being implemented with the Lambert campus open but not the Ladera campus–we do not yet have a firm time line on when we can return there. Students, please note that all offices and departments are available to assist you. You can contact departments via phone or email. Please refer to our directory for phone numbers and contact information

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Posted in: Pacifica News, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Montecito Flood Updates | Pacifica Graduate Institute

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 15, 2018 9:57:49 AM

Dear Pacifica Community,

On Saturday evening we learned that evacuation orders for Summerland and Carpinteria were being lifted, in addition to the opening of some roads and continued closure of others, as well as some alternate routes and methods of transportation. The Ladera campus, however, still remains in the mandatory evacuation zone because of road conditions there, so we must wait to reopen that campus. Throughout this time we have carefully monitored and adhered to the frequently changing County of Santa Barbara warnings, as safety for faculty, staff, and students is our number one priority.

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Posted in: Pacifica News, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute

A Community in Grief | Pacifica Graduate Institute

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 12, 2018 7:25:19 PM

This afternoon a small group of Pacifica staff and faculty living north of the Milpas exit off the 101 freeway in Santa Barbara came together in community. Simultaneously, Pacifica staff and faculty living in Carpinteria and further south also met. Joined via Zoom by others unable to access either in-person meeting spaces, we held our first community gathering since the dreadful mudslide that has destroyed a portion of the small town of Montecito after a heavy rainstorm on early Tuesday morning, January 9th. Despite being seperated by the mud and debris that has shut down the 101 freeway, we took comfort in coming together.

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Posted in: Pacifica News, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Only Blood Can Change: The Artist as Activist and Alchemist

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 11, 2018 1:12:35 PM

blood_and_change_I_mary_a_wood_2017.jpgA guest post by Mary A. Wood

“The essential function of art is moral. Not aesthetic, not decorative, not pastime and recreation. . . . But a passionate, implicit morality, not didactic. A morality which changes the blood, rather than the mind. Changes the blood first. The mind follows later, in the wake.” —D.H. Lawrence

“Alchemy starts in desire; desire needs direction.” —James Hillman

Blood is thicker than water—or so the saying goes. Like a myth in miniature, a complete worldview is illuminated in just five words. The bond of family or tribe, whether formed through birth, marriage or intense shared experiences (such as military service) is evident as well when we speak of “blood brothers,” “bloodlines,” and “blood oaths.” Blood itself has always been highly symbolic. It “evokes life’s precious value” as it courses through veins, yet when it escapes it “congeals into a dark haunting symbol of death” (Ronnberg 396). Those that work with blood, such as the surgeon and nurse, share a specialized sphere with the priest who daily transforms water and wine into imaginal blood. Through a multitude of ritualized signals and ceremony (such as uniforms, insignia, and dedicated locations where their work is conducted) all continue to be set apart from the rest of society much like the ancient shaman, alchemist and healer. As “workers of blood” these modern-day practitioners fulfill vital and even sacred roles, yet they are not alone—the artist and the poet are also inheritors of the talents, and the duties, of those who work with blood—“the poet is the transcendental doctor” (Novalis, qtd. in Hillman, Alchemical 340). When the bonds of blood begin to boil over and congeal into unconscious, ominous masses, it is not the physician, nor even the politician, but the artist and poet that can best halt the contagion.

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Posted in: Mythology, art, mythological, humanities, alchemist

Trial by Water Update | Pacifica Graduate Institute

Posted by Krystyna Knight on Jan 11, 2018 1:06:29 PM

Here is the latest update on our recent trial by water...and mud.

Since accessibility to both of our campuses cannot be guaranteed for this upcoming weekend, we have rescheduled the classes for our Myth and Counseling cohorts, which were supposed to be on campus Friday through Sunday. While we have confirmed reports that the Lambert campus is unharmed, we still do not know in detail the condition of the Ladera campus.  However, there has been some observations that there is no widespread or severe damage.

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Posted in: Pacifica News, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute