Inside and Outside: How the Unconscious Reveals Itself Through Art

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 1, 2018 8:50:39 AM

Inside and Outside: How the Unconscious Reveals Itself Through Art, An Interview with Artist Margeaux Klein. A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When she was just eight years old, Margeaux Klein had a profound epiphany that shaped her life’s journey. She had been invited to visit the studio of her best friend's mother, an artist who always seemed so moody and mysterious. Margeaux remembers seeing the messy brushes, odd-looking tools, and the plethora of texture and colors, and it was like “a sort of white light came down from the heavens.”

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Posted in: art, soul, depth psychology, Pacifica Students, music

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

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

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

Photography and Writing: Into the Heart of Traditional Cultures in Times of Global Change

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 7, 2017 9:41:44 PM

Photography: Into the Heart of Traditional Cultures in Times of Global Change. An Interview with Writer and Photographer, Michael Benanav, M.A. A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Michael Benanav is a critically-acclaimed writer and photographer who has traveled to a lot of places that are well off the beaten path, often finding himself in remote mountains and landscapes, walking, being in nature, and living quite simply. There, in the wilderness, he often runs into nomads, and he quickly became fascinated by their way of life. Benanav, whose work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, Geographical Magazine, Lonely Planet Guidebooks, and CNN.com, was naturally drawn to spending time with them.

These profoundly archetypal lifestyles inevitably appear in Benanav’s work. In his first book, a travel narrative entitled Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold (2008), he joined one of the last working camel caravans in the world, which runs an ancient salt trading route in the Sahara desert in Mali. Leaving Timbuktu, the route veers 500 miles north into the vast desert to salt mines located “in the middle of nowhere,” hundreds of miles away from any village. There's no electricity, no telephone; not even fresh water, Benanav reports.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Connecting Cultures, Ecopsychology, art, indigenous psychology

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

A presentation by Susan Rowland, Response at the Radical Edge: Depth Psychology for the 21st Century Summary article by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

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

Jung, Art, and Transformation: On Charlotte Salomon's "Life? or Theater?"

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 9, 2017 4:41:07 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Lisa Pounders has always had an interest in art and poetry, and has long been inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell—even painting his directive, “Follow your own bliss” above a window in her art studio years ago. Her story is not unlike that of others who have attended Pacifica Graduate Institute: when she enrolled in the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life program, she felt she was responding to a “mysterious sense of calling” that many other students and alumni have also reported. Her own sense of summons had to do with the sense that creativity and what she initially learned about C. G. Jung’s ideas about the unconscious were intrinsically linked. Making the connection explicit (especially through a Master’s degree in Creativity) seemed a powerful way to move her own life forward.

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Posted in: transformative, C.G. Jung, art, theatre