The Problem with Yoga

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 4, 2017 10:39:51 AM

A guest post by Alanna Kaivalya, Ph.D.
Dr. Kaivalya will be presenting at the July Retreat Center Program Yoga Meets Psyche

Yoga is often praised for its far-reaching effects on nearly every aspect of the human being. The physical practices create health in the body. Breathing practices can alleviate stress and anxiety. Devotional practices inspire community and meditative practices can help to calm the mind. It sure seems like a one-stop-shop for all things awesome. But, years ago, I discovered a glitch in the system.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Pacifica Events, Mythology, soul, depth psychology, psyche, meditation

Tending Soul with Military, Veterans, and First Responders: A Depth Psychological Approach

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Apr 12, 2017 3:56:30 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

There is a certain kind of transformational process that demands the most and the best of us so that we can respond to traumatic situations, just as military, veterans, and first responders do on a daily basis. From a depth psychological perspective, this kind of transformation can be initiated through a psycho-mythic journey to warriorhood, believe Ed Tick and John Becknell, who offer archetypal and depth psychological frameworks for military, veterans, and first responders, including police officers, sheriff departments, border patrol, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), and dispatchers and other individuals who take emergency calls.

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Posted in: Counseling Psychology, archetypes, Pacifica Events, Mythology, clinical psychology, Psychology, depth psychology, military

Star Wars: A Missed Opportunity

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 20, 2016 4:14:44 PM

A guest post by Keiron Le Grice

Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke box-office records for commercial success, we might lament the filmmakers’ missed opportunity to deliver a narrative of enduring mythic significance and philosophical profundity to its expectant global audience. Had this opportunity been taken, how—in an alternate galaxy far, far away—might the storyline have begun and been developed?

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

Mythological Legends as Portals to Personal Shadow, Group Trauma, and Cultural Complexes

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 11, 2016 4:17:45 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Three of four Americans profess at least one paranormal belief, studies show, including a belief in ghosts, witches, or other magical entities.¹ There is a particular genre of folklore narratives called mythological legends, I recently learned, which are stories relayed as real experiences by real people, and which always involve paranormal elements such as highly unusual animals or ghosts. These specific kinds of folklore narratives are not historical, notes Evija Vestergaard, Ph.D., who researches mythological legends and links them to contemporary culture; rather they are about everyday people and their everyday experiences, which just happen to involve these fantastic creatures or components.

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Posted in: Trauma, Mythology, dreams

Michael Meade Interview, Author of The Genius Myth

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 27, 2016 9:28:41 AM

A Guest Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

When Michael Meade was thirteen, his aunt, seemingly by accident, bought him a book of mythology for his birthday. Though he felt profoundly aligned with the book and stayed up all night reading it, it would take another 20 years before it became evident it was his path in life, guiding him to his current calling as a renowned storyteller, author, and scholar in mythology and depth psychology.

 “The soul’s way of being is unique to each person,” Meade wrote in his acclaimed book, Why The World Doesn’t End. “It was seeded and sown within each of us from the beginning and it tries to ripen throughout our lives. What exiles us more than anything is the separation from our own instinctive, intuitive way of being. We are most lost and truly in exile when we have lost touch with our own soul, with our unique inward style and way of being in this world.”

In a recent interview, Meade shared insights with me into his own mythological and depth psychological view of how—though we’re living in a radical time when it seems like the world is falling apart; when “nature is rattling and culture seems to be unraveling”—being in touch with one’s innate genius is “an unerring guide to what a person’s life is supposed to be about.”

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Posted in: Mythology

A Local Athenaeum: Personal Reflections on Mythological Studies

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 8, 2016 3:10:44 PM

Contributed by Jonathan Young, Ph.D. As published in CASA Magazine.

Given the Mediterranean atmosphere of the Santa Barbara area, this is a fitting home for the world’s leading graduate program in the interdisciplinary study of mythology in all its multicultural forms. We tend to associate the myths with ancient Greece and Rome, but mythic stories, images, and rituals enrich all cultures, ancient and contemporary.

It was a series of visits to Santa Barbara by noted mythologist Joseph Campbell that led to the rise of this unique educational endeavor.

Many myths include a creation story, so let me start at the beginning. The school that was to become known as the Pacifica Graduate Institute grew out of a grant from UCSB following the Isla Vista riots. The funding was to launch a counseling center. The center provided counselor training and, beginning in 1976, offered a certificate. I was one of many local psychotherapists brought in to teach in this well-regarded counselor training sequence. The program grew into graduate courses and, in 1982, an M.A. degree program. The PhD in Clinical Psycholgy began in 1987.

The school moved in 1989 from an old craftsman farmhouse in Goleta to the Lambert Road campus near Summerland that had was originally the estate of philanthropist Max Fleischmann.

Those of us on the original faculty, who had been teaching in an old barn on Hollister, were dazzled by the beautiful new campus.

The emphasis on Depth Psychology drew heavily on the work of Carl Jung. Rapid growth stemmed from unique content that included classes in myth, literature, and world religions.

Joseph Campbell was an early supporter. He gave many public seminars and provided guidance, starting in the 1970s. After his 1987 death, the Campbell family chose the Pacifica campus as the home for his library. I had been strongly influence by Campbell while assisting him at seminars. So, in addition to teaching, I became the founding curator of the collection.

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Posted in: Mythology

Pacifica Graduate Institute Mythological Studies Program

Posted by Guest on Jan 22, 2016 1:06:42 PM


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Posted in: Mythology

Joseph Campbell and the Skywalker: Meetings with George Lucas

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 21, 2015 3:47:42 PM

A guest post by Pacifica's Special Collections Librarian Richard Buchen.

"... the first axiom of all creative art -- whether it be in poetry, music, dance, architecture, painting, or sculpture -- which is namely, that art is ... a presentation of forms, images or ideas in such a way that they will communicate, not primarily a thought or even a feeling, but an impact.

"The axiom is worth recalling here, because mythology was historically the mother of arts and yet, like so many mythological mothers, the daughter, equally, of her own birth."

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (New York: Penguin, 1976; first published 1959)

In April of 2002, the Joseph Campbell Library on the campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute was visited by a film crew directed by Tsukuru Matsuki from Kyodo Television of Tokyo. They were filming for an episode in a television documentary series called "Passion for Arts" which was aired nationally in Japan that year via TV Tokyo, and the broadcast included footage of the Joseph Campbell Library, as well as its Special Collections Librarian talking about The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The subject of this episode was not Campbell, but rather a man who had been deeply influenced by him, the filmmaker George Lucas.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Mythology, film

Approaches to the Study of Myth (MP3)

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 14, 2015 3:10:46 PM

The library has digitized Mythological Studies professor Dr. Christine Downing's lecture Approaches to the Study of Myth from five analog cassettes into eight freely available MP3 files. The lecture includes a general overview of the study of myth and several historical views on how myths were made and what their functions were thought to be. Individual topics discussed included Claude Levi-Strauss, James George Frazer, Jane Ellen Harrison, animism, mythology, and ritual.

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Posted in: Mythology

We Are All Parisian

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 25, 2015 3:09:22 PM

A guest post by Dr. Susan Rowland, Chair of Pacifica's M.A. Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program.

Dear Everyone,
Ten years ago when Al Quaeda bombed London, the Mayor of Paris said: “today we are all Londoners.” The following day, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said “We are all Londoners” in Trafalgar Square packed with all of London’s multicultural communities. As a Londoner, then a resident, always by birth, no one speech or event did more to lessen the sense of trauma I felt.

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Posted in: Current Affairs, Trauma, Mythology