Erik Davis

Recent Posts

Jungian analysts Erel Shalit and Joseph Cambray contemplate the work of Jung’s colleague and friend, Erich Neumann

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 20, 2016 3:44:16 PM

In this fascinating conversation, Jungian analysts Erel Shalit and Joseph Cambray contemplate the work of Jung’s colleague and friend, Erich Neumann, a Jewish analyst who introduced analytical psychology to Israel when he fled there from Germany during the years surrounding World War II. Recent publication of the correspondence between Jung and Neumann has fueled a revival of sorts into Neumann’s works, including significant contributions such as The Great Mother, Jacob and Esau, Introversion and Extroversion, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, and Art and the Unconscious. Neumann, whom Jung referred to as a “companion on the road,” had a strong influence on Jung’s own work, compelling him to revise “An Answer to Job,” among others.

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Limitless Growth, the Destructive Myth of our Times: PART TWO of a Report on a Talk Given by Dr. Vandana Shiva at Pacifica’s 40th Anniversary Conference

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 14, 2016 9:35:45 AM

By Bonne Bright. Read Part One of this Report here.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, author and activist, has courageously spent the last decade working on soil solutions to climate change, steadfast in her belief that if governments can’t make the shift, people can.

In her recent talk at Pacifica’s “Climates of Change and a Therapy of Ideas” conference, she focused on the dangers of genetically modified crops and the big business that seeks to capitalize on it. Monopoly rights on seeds and plants are increasingly being imposed through global patents, she notes, by which certain corporations develop proprietary processes for breeding plants and animals, thereby allowing corporations to claim the resulting seeds and animals are their own inventions.

The genetic modification of organisms (GMO) is leading to privatization of what should be common, Shiva insists, presenting great danger to the future of food. The scientists who have the genetic capability to transfer genes from one species to another don’t have the capacity to understand what it means, she noted, offering number of examples of challenges—even tragedies—stemming from the imbalance of power held by large corporations seeking to turn a profit.

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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

The C.G. Jung—Erich Neumann Connection: An Interview with Dr. Lance Owens

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 3, 2016 4:08:16 PM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Dr. Lance Owens has dedicated the past thirty or more years of his life to studying C.G. Jung, whose willingness to engage with and understand his visionary experiences has transformed so many lives. Owens has also recently become profoundly interested in the life and work of Erich Neumann, who was arguably one of Jung’s most gifted students, and who eventually became a close friend of Jung’s. Through the influence of Jung, Neumann made his own creative and compelling contributions to the field of depth psychology through works such as The Great Mother (1955), The Origins and History of Consciousness (1954), and Depth Psychology and a New Ethic (1949) among others.

Lance Owens’ interest in Neumann was amplified by the publication of letters between Jung and Neumann in 2015, correspondence that revealed the tremendous respect Jung had for his friend and for the Neumann’s capacity to grasp many of the depth concepts that were so critical to Jung for his own reasons. In fact, Owens’ himself has also uncovered such a deep regard for Neumann that in a recent email to me, he wrote quite poignantly, “Neumann has become one of those ‘dead friends of the soul’ that come to help and haunt us, with their questions, and their answers, and the facts of their own lives. I do now believe that hearing Neumann’s voice, across the decades, is a crucial event in understanding the development of Jung’s movement, and of Jung’s own experience.”

During our recent conversation, Lance explained how Neumann, having grown up in an integrated German family in Berlin, realized in his twenties that there was no place for him in German culture. Rather, he embraced his Jewish roots in spite of not being a practicing Jew. When Hitler took power in 1933, Neumann left Germany for Israel, stopping over in Zurich for six months in order to spend time in analysis with Jung.

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'Tending the soul' Pacifica celebrates its graduates

Posted by Erik Davis on Jun 1, 2016 10:50:31 AM

By Ted Mills, News-Press Correspondent. As published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on May 29, 2016.

Pacifica Graduate Institute celebrated the graduation of 250 students this weekend, with several small ceremonies in different fields spaced out over two days offering a more intimate event than larger schools.

It was also a time for the school to celebrate its 40th year in existence.

The school, which is based on the psychological teachings of Carl Jung, started in a two-story house in Isla Vista, where idealistic young men and women hoped to help returning veterans from Vietnam deal with mental health.

It now has two campuses near Summerland, and on Saturday was welcoming about 1,000 people who came to see their family members start a new phase in life.

Some students are young, continuing their education right after their undergrad life - "but they are old souls," noted professor emeritus Allen Koehn - and others are in their 60s and 70s, deciding to make a life change. In this case they are going on to become therapists and counselors, at least in the group that graduated in the morning.

The ceremony is also different for the time it gives each graduate on the podium to speak a little about their studies.

"I felt more inside and more closer to the students' experience," said Joe Cambray, the school's new provost. "What came out of their cohort experience, of being part of a group that met regularly over the 21/2 years - it really gave them a sense of community. They felt more able to be challenged by what has happened and to be more fluid and flexible."

"Having been with them and watching their process and watch them evolve, it's just incredible," said Dr. Koehn.
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Posted in: Education

Limitless Growth, the Destructive Myth of our Times: Part One of a Report on a Talk Given by Dr. Vandana Shiva at Pacifica’s 40th Anniversary Conference

Posted by Erik Davis on May 24, 2016 9:54:49 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright. Read Part Two of this Report here.

The idea of limitless growth is the most destructive myth of our times, began Dr. Vandana Shiva, in her inspiring plenary talk at “Climates of Change and a Therapy of Ideas,” Pacifica’s recent 40th anniversary conference held on the Ladera campus in Santa Barbara, CA.

Vandana Shiva, who trained as a physicist at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, is Founder and Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology and for Navdanya, the movement for seed saving and ecological agriculture. She is also the author of numerous books including Staying Alive, Ecofeminism, Seed Sovereignty and Food Security: Women in the Vanguard (Ed.), Soil Not Oil, Earth Democracy and Who Feeds the World.

In her moving lecture, Shiva reminded the hundreds of Pacifica students, alumni, and faculty—along with many members of the larger community who gathered in the Barrett center—that we are now living in an age recently dubbed the “Anthropocene,” the “age of man,” and pointed out some of the cultural and ecological issues that have led to the multitude of critical situations we now collectively face. 

Shiva is a powerful voice for preserving the earth and healing culture and planet through conserving natural seeds, promoting biodiversity, and helping people connect to the land through organic gardening.

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Challenging the Community Psyche To Dream Forward, Pacifica Turns 40

Posted by Erik Davis on May 20, 2016 9:21:25 AM

By Mark Whitehurst, PhD / As Published in Voice

Asking “big questions” for over 40 years, Pacifica Graduate Institute celebrated their anniversary with challenging ideas, reflections on the past, and a tribute to internationally renowned scholar and psychologist James Hillman. The April conference was held at the sprawling 35 acre Ladera Campus, in Montecito.

“Oh what a journey it has been,” reflected Stephen Aizenstat, Chancellor and Founding President of Pacifica, as he welcomed honored guests, alumni, and friends. “Ideas have worked us and added to our edge... We must now dream forward... asking what is next?” he continued.

The event opened with a video clip of James Hillman speaking about important questions such as, “What horse did you ride in on?” and “Where are you in the world of psychotherapy?” Hillman, who pioneered the field of Archetypal Psychology and author of New York Times best seller, Soul Code has a collection of his papers in the Pacifica archive and was closely associated with the Institute from its earliest days. Hillman was one of the speakers at the formal dedication of the Institute in 1986 at the Lambert campus.

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Posted in: Pacifica News

Poem by Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D. in Celebration of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Forty Year Anniversary 2016

Posted by Erik Davis on May 16, 2016 9:48:51 AM

By Dennis Patrick Slattery 

Pacificas Then and Now

Between similar and same

appears  a cavern of dry ice bluish in sunlight.

Some of us repel deep into the cave’s

narrowing crevasse

but such descent will not alter

history’s melting cap.

My history, your memory

frame themselves through the shutters

of the present.

Now is when a crouching likeness

poses on steel claws where

you, I, and selected others

 people the same space

in time’s rhythmic heart

where Uranos-Pluto conjunct.

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Ecotherapy: Nature Reconnection as a Powerful, Transformational Healing Practice: A Short Interview with Linda Buzzell

Posted by Erik Davis on May 10, 2016 11:25:53 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

If the name, Linda Buzzell, sounds familiar to you, it’s no surprise—particularly if you are moved as I am by the growing ecological crisis that is unfolding around us. Linda Buzzell, MA, LMFT, PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) has been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years and has specialized in ecopsychology and ecotherapy since 2000. She co-edited the 2009 Sierra Club Books anthology, Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. From my perspective, Linda is a true pioneer in the field, with a wonderful gift for sharing her passion for the planet in a multitude of ways that appeal to a broad audience.

In addition to writing regularly for Huffington Post, Linda generously shares her time to do interviews and events that illustrate the value (and, arguably, the imperative) of reconnecting with the natural world. Linda recently joined me as a panelist for an online event, “Earth, Climate, Dreams” sponsored by Depth Psychology Alliance, and she is leading an upcoming weekend workshop, Ecotherapy: Nature Reconnection as a Powerful, Transformational Healing Practice, at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, May 13-15, 2016.

Linda recently sat down with me to answer a few questions about the power of ecotherapy:

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Posted in: nature