Sol in Motion: A Discussion with Poet, Activist, and Pacifica Graduate Student, Charles Williams

Posted by Angela Borda on Jul 13, 2021 2:37:58 PM

Angela: Thank you for speaking with me today, Charles. I’m intrigued by the diversity of your professional and personal pursuits. You are a capoeira instructor, a poet or spoken word artist, a counselor, and a graduate student. Let me first start with your time at Pacifica. What drew you to the school and what has your experience in the Depth Psychology, Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices Specialization been like so far? Do you know what you’ll be focusing on for your dissertation?

Charles: For my dissertation, I’m doing a phenomenological study about Capoeira Angola. The intention is to produce a description of the multiple ways Capoeira Angola can heal its practitioners from trauma experienced in their lifetime.

When we talk about Capoeira Angola, we’re talking about the mother of Capoeira, as it was birthed in Africa and took shape in Brazil. Some Capoeira teachers believe it may have come from a ritual dance in Angola. I tie in the past because Capoeira Angola is an affect response to trauma, for those who were enslaved and captured, a way to recapture their personhood, their identity and hold onto their culture, their beliefs. Present day, regardless of where practitioners are from, that story still exists for liberation. If we hold onto trauma, we can become victims. The metaphors and archetypes of Capoeira tie into depth psychology. To add to that, you have this collective of people who are with you as a support system. In Capoeira, Angola there is no hierarchical system, no creation of division, everyone is equally important, whether you just started or have been practicing for years. The idea is for all of us to win. You only lose if you lose your cool.

Initially I went to visit Brazil in 2010 because I was interested in pursuing a Ph.D. at UCLA in their "World Arts and Culture" program, and wanted to focus on how the spiritual aspects of capoeira can affect people in their daily lives. When I returned after being there for a month, I realized that spirituality is an individual pursuit. Therefore, with my interest in psychology and spirituality I began to wonder if there was such a thing as spiritual psychology. My counselor at the University of Santa Monica told me about Pacifica, a spirit-based program. I wanted to continue my studies in that vein, where space would be held for a spiritual approach. I already had my own counseling practice, and I wanted to bring in other modalities of healing. After some contemplation, I decided to go with DPT. I want to be the best I can be for me and those I work with.

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Posted in: creativity, depth psychology, individuation, interview, poetry

Archetypal Data and Divine Gifts: An Interview with Pacifica’s Safron Rossi, Ph.D.

Posted by Angela Borda on Jun 8, 2021 9:40:04 PM

“Astrology provides images to be pondered for their symbolic richness and mythical amplification; they afford archetypal data, divine gifts.”
—James Hillman

Dr. Rossi will be leading the online course “Archetypal Astrology and Personal Mythology: Part I: Fire, Earth, Air and Water: The Elements of the Zodiac,” that will go from July 31–September 4, 2021. She is a core faculty member of Pacifica’s Jungian and Archetypal Studies M.A./Ph.D. program, and I’m delighted to speak with her about archetypal astrology and her upcoming course.

Angela: Astrology is something that many civilizations have created, although the systems are different, the idea being that something about the interaction of the stars and where and when we’re born into the world can be read like a map, that the moment you are born defines in some way what challenges and strength you will have, how you will relate to the world, and ultimately, what your destiny might be. How does archetypal astrology resonate or depart from this common understanding of astrology?

Safron: I would say that archetypal astrology emphasizes certain threads. Archetypal astrology is anchored in C.G. Jung’s psychology and his notion of the archetypes. So one of the primary ideas is that our birth chart, the planets, signs and their configurations, symbolize the archetypal patterns of the psyche. In other words, archetypes are living forces within us and astrology maps out those forces symbolically.

Another key idea is that astrology is archetypally predictive rather than concretely predictive. This differs from ancient ideas about astrology, but some modern approaches as well. Astrology does not tell us what is going happen so much as it indicates how we experience what happens. Another way to put it is that events don’t happen to people, rather people happen to events. So from this perspective, astrology is about understanding ourselves better, the archetypal patterns at work in us, which leads to having a more meaningful grounding to our lives.

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Posted in: James Hillman, creativity, depth psychology, individuation, interview, Jungian & Archetypal Studies, astrology, Divine

Matriotism and America Dreams: An Interview with Minh Tran

Posted by Angela Borda on Jun 2, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Minh Tran is a Ph.D. student in Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program, as well as being a licensed family therapist. He has been selected to be a featured artist in the Artist Spotlight at LACPA. The featured project he was selected for is “America Dreams,” an intellectual musical exploring matriotism and social artistry. I’m delighted to talk with Minh about his project:

Angela: What can we look forward to in “America Dreams,” the presentation you will be giving on June 6th for the LACPA?

Minh: It’s a choreographed essay with its roots in a presentation I made for a course at Pacifica in Cultural Psychology, on America and social justice. That was the genesis. The Spotlight series the LACPA has this year, reached out to me to see if I wanted to elaborate more on the topic and present more on what “America Dreams” is about. The origin of the choreographed essay was inspired by a music video of a Vietnamese singer who was choreographing with her hands. I was so inspired by it. And at the gym, one fine morning, my active imagination was at work, and I started to think about my essay and my hands just started moving, and it started to look good, and I just went along with it. So the hand movements were new to me, but they are choreographed movements. In my clinical practice, I work with kids also, and I started experimenting with elaborating with my hands like puppets, and it became natural. I started paying more attention to hand gestures as a form of communication during telehealth sessions. On a conscious level I was drawing inspiration from Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Milton H. Erickson, the “wizard of the desert.” His form of hypnotherapy widens what we think of as hypnotherapy.

My intention is to queer the line between edification and entertainment. I hope people who experience “America Dreams” walk away entertained, inspired, and moved on some level, as we are by a great concert or movie. But I want people to also think deeply about topics of the times. I want the art to speak to the times.

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, creativity, depth psychology, individuation, immigration

Artemis as Axis Mundi: Gelareh Khoie’s Exploration of Depth Psychology

Posted by Angela Borda on May 26, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Gelareh Khoie is pursuing her Ph.D. at Pacifica in Jungian and Archetypal Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology. A writer, artist, DJ, and teacher, her studies have ranged from the mythology of disco to the archetype of Artemis. I’m delighted to learn more about her.

Angela: You write beautifully, are a natural story teller, and you have an article up at “Personality Type In Depth”. I read “Artemis as Spirit of the Wild” with interest.

Here is a quote that stood out:

“As the light and dark sides of the functions made their appearances in my life, Artemisian threads helped me cope with traumatic circumstances by continually providing a stream of life-affirming power. Indeed, the Artemis sensibility traveled in lockstep with my growing function maturity. Ultimately, as is her wont, Artemis helped me give birth to new consciousness by revealing the fecundity inherent in my wounds. For Artemis is the cool-headed and unsentimental realist who demands that we look at our true selves with unvarnished eyes and insists that we accept the darkness and the danger of the deep wilderness, the very darkness that gives life its richness.”

Is Artemis part of your dissertation research and how has your study of her continued to influence your understanding of the human psyche?

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Posted in: archetypes, creativity, depth psychology, individuation, Jungian & Archetypal Studies

Healing Intergenerational Trauma through Collective Mourning: An Interview with Pacifica’s own Heesun Kim, a Fulbright semi-finalist

Posted by Angela Borda on Mar 24, 2021 3:25:38 PM

Heesun Kim is a bright presence in our Ph.D. program for Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices, where her studies focus “on exploring the critical connections between psychology, spirituality, and holistic healing practices.” She has recently been honored as a semi-finalist in the Fulbright program. Many alumni of the program have gone on to become winners of the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize, as well as serving as heads of state. Heesun’s proposal is titled “Jeju Shamanism: Healing Intergenerational Trauma through Collective Mourning” and I’m delighted to discuss it with her.

Angela: Heesun, thank you so much for talking with me. You’ve said that your Fulbright project, if accepted, would “focus on how Jeju shamanism addresses intergenerational trauma and collective mourning as a community healing practice.” Please tell us a little bit about Jeju shamanism and how it intersects with your own family history in Korea. Is it a topic you found during your studies at Pacifica or is it something you’ve been aware of for a long while?

Heesun: Thank you for inviting me, Angela. Jeju is a beautiful island located in the southern part of South Korea. Unlike most of the mainland Korean regions, which have nearly lost their shamanic tradition due to rapid industrialization and western influences, Jeju Island still preserves the shamanic tradition through myths, folksongs, and oral traditions in rituals. The island has a tragic history of a massacre between 1948 and 1954; approximately 30,000 civilians were killed when Korean authorities and right-wing vigilantes, with the US military's compliance and oversight, brutally suppressed a popular uprising.  

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Pacifica Events, creativity, soul, depth psychology

Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit with Deborah Anne Quibell, Ph.D.

Posted by Angela Borda on Mar 1, 2021 3:42:00 PM

Deep Creativity: A Video Interview with Deborah Anne Quibell, Ph.D.

By Angela Borda

“Along the creative’s path, the smallest of things demand our gasp, our loving attention, our fixed gaze, and our compassionate noticing. To gasp is to take in or breathe in the world around us. In depth psychological language this is known as the primary, aesthetic response of the heart.” 

— Deborah, Deep Creativity

In the process of writing the book, we realized we were fleshing out new ways of looking at creativity, new lenses informed by our mutual backgrounds in depth psychology. We compiled these lenses into “The Fifteen Principles of Deep Creativity.”

We chose the word principles to suggest our fundamental thoughts, the underpinnings of the union of depth psychology and creativity.

These are themes rather than definitions; these are convictions rather than truths; these are perspectives rather than facts. They are the way we see the creative world and our place within it, and we offer that vision to you. Take a look at what Deborah has to say about Deep Creativity in her videos below.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, creativity, art, soul, depth psychology

Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit with Jennifer Leigh Selig, Ph.D.

Posted by Angela Borda on Feb 4, 2021 4:39:24 PM

Deep Creativity: An Interview with Jennifer Leigh Selig

By Angela Borda

Jennifer is a prolific writer with three screenplays and twenty-two books she has been involved with. Passionate about travel and photography, she is the co-author of Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit and will be co-presenting the Pacifica workshop of the same name with Pacifica scholars Deborah Anne Quibell and Dennis Slattery on March 5–7, 2021. She and Deborah Anne Quibell will also teach a three-month intensive March 8–May 31, 2021. Visit us for more information here. I was delighted to speak with Jennifer, as she is exemplary of Pacifica’s deep-thinking and inquiring spirit.

Angela: What teaching dynamic do you share with Dennis and Deborah and what kind of atmosphere and interaction can participants look forward to between the three of you and with them?

Jennifer: My relationship with Deborah and Dennis is one of the most important and rewarding relationships of my life, and I think that shows up in our teaching dynamics. From the beginning of our collaboration, it was really clear that we respect one another. We each so value what the other two bring—as teachers, as writers, and as human beings. And, there’s a genuine mutual affection for one another, a real love and care for one another that we don’t attempt to hide or to cloak under a veil of professionalism. I think that goes a long way to putting participants at ease, knowing they are in the company of good friends. We learn a lot from our interactions, and we see ourselves as co-learners along with our participants. I look forward to Dennis’ and Deborah’s sessions during the weekend, in the same way I always looked forward to reading their chapters when we were drafting the book. Also, they are both fantastic listeners, so I know that after presenting my sessions, when I open it up to them for discussion, they are going to ask great questions and offer astute comments.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, creativity, art, soul, depth psychology

Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit

Posted by Angela Borda on Jan 25, 2021 3:01:59 PM

An Interview with Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.

by Angela Borda

Dennis Slattery is a beloved professor emeritus of mythology at Pacifica, with over fifty years of teaching experience and 30+ books published, along with seven books of poetry. He is the co-author of Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit and will be co-presenting the Pacifica workshop of the same name with Pacifica scholars Deborah Anne Quibell, Ph.D., and Jennifer Leigh Selig, Ph.D., on March 5–7, 2021. Visit us for more information here. I felt very privileged to discuss Dennis’s work with him, as he is deeply thoughtful about the liminal realm of imagination and creativity within the context of mythology and depth psychology.

Angela: How does mythology intersect with creativity?

Dennis: Intersect is the right verb to use. The last volume of J. Campbell’s four-part Masks of God is entitled “Creative Mythology.” Myths themselves are creative expressions of the individual/communal soul. The call to create is a call to uncover the myth that is our own, and which communes with other souls. Both require a belief in the invisible forces at work in the world. I think that the unconscious is a creative terrain from which many of our inspirations spring.

Creating is a form of mythologizing ourselves further and becoming more conscious of what that feels like. Creative inspiration comes, in part, from the myth within that we are each living out. Creative expressions fuel that growing awareness.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, creativity, art, soul, depth psychology

Upcoming Pacifica Events: Spring 2019

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Jan 31, 2019 11:55:48 AM

Is personal, intellectual, or creative growth one of your goals for this year, or for your life in general? Do you long to connect with others interested in the intersections of art, soul, and depth psychology? Let one of Pacifica’s upcoming events this spring be the catalyst for you to plug into our like-minded community, and get ready to experience and engage in deep, meaningful conversations where you are able to hold space for each other and learn new, exciting ways to explore your creative potential.

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Posted in: Pacifica Events, Pacifica News, Santa Barbara, graduate school, creativity, art, vocation, Education, depth psychology, active imagination, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute, resources

Helping Foster Children Through Dream Work and Other Depth Psychological Tools

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Oct 29, 2018 11:00:00 AM

A blog post by Melissa Ruisz Nazario, based on an interview with Mai Breech, conducted by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Listen to the full audio interview with Mai Breech here. (approx. 27 minutes)

Mai Breech, a Psy.D. doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, has a long history of working with orphans and foster children. In 2007, she founded the Children’s Art Village, a grassroots non-profit organization providing art and music to children in Ghana, India, and Nepal so that they can express their creative selves through a means that doesn’t require language, but rather utilizes their creativity. Over the years, the Children’s Art Village has served over 3,000 children annually, and continues to do so. Typically, the programs are summer programs, offering art and music camps for these children in very different orphanages that she partners with. 

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Posted in: The Psyche, Therapist, Trauma, Psychotherapy, clinical psychology, Psychology, graduate school, creativity, depth psychology, dreams, Pacifica Students, Pacifica Graduate Institute, relationship, relationships