Practical Uses of Mythology

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 21, 2017 10:36:42 AM

A guest post by Craig Chalquist, Ph.D.

What good is the study of myth?

I love this topic so much I could write a book on it. In fact, I have, to be called Myths Among Us: When Timeless Tales Return to Life (World Soul Books, 2017). The book spends 658 pages on the question of what good is mythology, with real-life applications and many stories.

Here I’ll offer some brief examples taken from the life arenas of self-knowledge, work, finance, diversity, and persuasion.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Mythology, C.G. Jung

Holding the Tension: One Woman’s Journey from Immigrant to Therapist

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 13, 2017 10:48:54 AM

An Interview with MFT Consortium Stipend Recipient, Naris Kesheshe
A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When she was 13 years old, Naris Kesheshe—who recently finished her third year in the Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute—was dramatically uprooted from her native culture in Iran and forced to start anew as an immigrant to the United States.

The culture shock she experienced from moving from an all-girls school in her native country to a school in the U.S. where both genders were integrated was just one of several catalysts for her, and the ultimately, the trauma of her entire experience eventually led her to study whole group dynamics, sociology, and the psychology of the person and the whole psyche.

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Posted in: Counseling Psychology, C.G. Jung, soul, depth psychology

Dreams, Calling, Suffering, and Individuation: Finding Light in the Darkness

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Aug 4, 2017 3:21:44 PM

Dreams, Calling, Suffering, and Individuation: Finding Light in the Darkness An Interview with Jungian Analyst and New Pacifica Core Faculty Member, Fanny Brewster. A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Fanny Brewster first came to Pacifica as a student because she was interested in studying dreams. Once armed with her doctorate and a strong foundation in depth psychology and dreamwork, she identified a desire to go on and become a Jungian analyst, and synchronistically, now finds herself returning to Pacifica to teach as core faculty in the Clinical Psychology program there.

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Posted in: depth psychology, dreams, individuation

Embodied Alchemy®: Tending the Vessel

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 23, 2017 10:06:51 PM

A guest post by Tina Stromsted, Ph.D., Dance/Movement Therapist, Jungian Analyst

“What makes alchemy so valuable for psychotherapy is that its images concretize the experiences of transformation that one undergoes in psychotherapy […] Alchemy provides a kind of anatomy of individuation.” ~ Edward Edinger

How do we evoke the light in the dark body? How do we embody the soul spark, bring it to consciousness, and live it more fully in our daily lives?

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, somatic bodywork, alchemy

Dionysus as God of Drama, Psychology, and Transdisciplinarity: Depth Psychology and the Arts

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 19, 2017 11:19:09 PM

Changing society requires changing our ideas about education, specifically about disciplines, began Susan Rowland in her stimulating talk on Dionysus and the power of transdisciplinarity. The Greek god Dionysus, perhaps best known as the god of grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy, doesn’t attempt to divide things up, but rather mixes them up instead.

Dionysus has a drum, which covered a lot of the artistic practice of the time of the ancient Greeks, Rowland relates. At that time, when Dionysus presided over the Athenian dramas, going to the theater was not a leisure activity, but a major civic action, which involved politics and religion, as well as the arts.

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Posted in: Mythology, Psychology, art, depth psychology

Pacifica Doctoral Student Harry Grammer named CNN Hero

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 14, 2017 4:02:51 PM

We are excited and honored to announce that Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology Specialization doctoral student Harry Grammer has been named a CNN hero.

Harry is founder and president of New Earth, an Los Angeles based organization "provid[ing] youth with mentor-based creative arts and educational programs including poetry, music production, gardening, and fitness. New Earth currently serves 500 young people per week who are incarcerated in Los Angeles County detention facilities and placement homes and in the Orange County Juvenile Hall.

Upon release from incarceration, young people join our New Earth Arts & Leadership center in Culver City, CA where they receive career training, jobs, a fully accredited High School education program, mentorship, case management, nature expeditions, arts programming and wrap-around services that help them re-enter their communities with all the support and nurturing they need to make a successful transition." [1]

Please enjoy the two videos below, produced by CNN, featuring Harry Grammer.

You can also read more about Harry and his own story of being on probation in his youth, and how he came to found New Earth at

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Pacifica Events, Pacifica Students

Dreaming as Response: The Global Dream Initiative

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 12, 2017 10:21:42 PM

Concurrent session with Dr. Steven Aizenstat and Dr. Douglas Thomas, Response at the Radical Edge: Depth Psychology for the 21st Century
Summary article by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When we move out of identification with images that arise at critical moments in our lives (whether from dreams or other modalities), and into relationship with the image, we get information from the images. In other words, if we can grasp that the image we encounter is “not me,” we can benefit from its underlying wisdom.

When you work with dreams from an animated point of view, notes Stephen Aizenstat, who pioneered the process of DreamTending[1], it brings the dream to life. When one comes into a relationship with the image, it allows the image its own innate intelligence, and it can speak to us what it knows.

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Posted in: dreams

The Core Complex of a Traumatized Psyche

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 7, 2017 4:50:43 PM

Opening Keynote presentation by Donald Kalsched, Ph.D., Response at the Radical Edge: Depth Psychology for the 21st Century
Summary article by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

“The false God changes suffering into violence. The true God changes violence into suffering,” begins Jungian analyst Donald Kalsched, quoting Simone Weil, French philosopher, mystic, and political activist [1], at the “Response at the Radical Edge” conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute. That day, Kalsched was up in the dark hours before dawn reworking his talk, which he gave a new title, “Healthy and Unhealthy: Hatred in the Psyche and In the Country.” He noted that the “false god” is abroad in the country at the moment, and while many in the field of Depth Psychology are working hard on behalf of “the true God” who turns violence into suffering, they are finding it difficult in a culture that supports the “false God” in this scenario.

Paul Russell [2], a respected analyst who taught in Boston, defined “trauma” as an injury to our capacity to feel. When our capacity to feel is injured, we cease to be able to imagine, because imagination depends on emotional literacy. In the process, archetypal aspects attempt to do the feeling for us, notes Kalsched, who has deemed this process the “self-care” system, which, in its attempt to sequester and protect can also end up persecuting us and keeping us from experience in order to preserve our innocence. However, we need to experience: the world actually needs suffering, Kalsched insists, citing poet John Keats along with archetypal psychologist James Hillman who loved to quote him, saying, “The world is a veil of soulmaking.”

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Posted in: The Psyche, Trauma, Pacifica Events

Why alchemical psychology matters to me

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 7, 2017 3:06:51 PM

A guest post by Robert Bosnak

It all started 46 years ago when, after a long and almost fatal illness, I ended up at the 1971 Eranos conference for my honeymoon. After close to a year in the hospital, Western medicine was no longer the ‘be all and end all’ of healing for me. I had experimented with psychedelics (it was the 1960s after all), and my perspective on life exploded. At Eranos, learned people talked about a cosmos alien to anything I had ever heard of and yet it all felt eerily familiar. I walked up to a comparatively young man standing by the open terrace doors during the intermission of a fascinatingly incomprehensible talk in French and said to him: “Dr. Hillman, I have used LSD and I’m trying to make sense of it.” I had his instant attention. I was 23 and he was 45. My children are now around the age he was then.

I started to attend the Jung Institute in Zurich and my wife and I became secretaries to the Eranos Foundation. From then on my fascination with alchemy never left me.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, alchemy

The Beating Heart of Standing Rock: Walking The Great Mystery With All My Relations

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jul 7, 2017 1:42:50 PM

A guest post by Joseph Bobrow, Roshi, Ph.D.

From April 2016 to February 2017, tens of thousands of people journeyed to Oceti Sakowin, Seven Fires Camp, in Cannonball, North Dakota in support of the water protectors on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in a momentous gathering of tribes, their allies, and people from all walks of life and all ages, standing in solidarity to put a halt to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and protect the water of 17 million living downstream. They won a major victory when the Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit to the builders (Energy Transfer Partners) and insisted on a thorough Environmental Impact Study. Soon after Donald Trump took office in January, 2017, he ordered that construction resume without the study [1]. The pipeline sprung leaks even while being tested. Now, it is in full operation.

The impacts from the remarkable community of solidarity and action at Standing Rock did not end when camp was closed, the teepees and communal structures razed, and the holdouts arrested. Other protest camps are springing up around the country, including Camp White Pine in Pennsylvania, where residents are working to stop the Mariner East 2 pipeline, and in Louisiana where a multifaith alliance is organizing a camp to block the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The ripples from Standing Rock was also felt on July 4, 2017, when tribes gather in Black Hills, SD for “Reclamation of Independence.”

To convey and keep alive the power and joy of Standing Rock, I want to share my experience as part of an action by 524 clergy on November 3, 2016. At Standing Rock multifaith spiritually-informed direct action was the interplay, in a remarkable contemporary context, of the principles of Native spirituality: The Great Mystery (Wakan Tanka, also Great Spirit) and All My Relations (Mitakuye Oyasin).

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Posted in: Trauma, Pacifica Events, Social Justice, community psychology