The Soul Stands Ajar: Aesthetic Encounters as Portals to Wonder & Meaning

Posted by Melissa Ruisz Nazario on Nov 26, 2018 3:18:33 PM

A guest blog post by Mary A. Wood, Ph.D., co-Chair of the M.A. Program in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” —Emily Dickinson

There are moments in life when time seems to stand still—moments when we find ourselves transfixed, and eventually transformed. These moments can be cosmic in scale, as reflected in the awe that we feel when beholding a rare solar eclipse, or an approaching storm. These moments may also be quite intimate, but no less moving, such as when we witness an animal emerging from hiding or when we hear an exquisite song. We recognize, and always remember these moments because they are announced by bodily sensations; we gasp, our hearts beat faster, and tears often flow.  Our bodies tell us that the ordinary has given way to the extraordinary.  These experiences are best described as “aesthetic,” as we find ourselves living, at least for a few moments, as creatures that are gloriously and achingly alive.

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Posted in: Psychology, depth psychology, archetypes, Spiritual, mythological, soul, transformative, The Psyche, symbolism, sacred, humanities, symbol, art, C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell, James Hillman

Epigenetics, Ancestors, and Living Your Calling

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 21, 2018 1:05:45 PM

Epigenetics, Ancestors, and Living Your Your Calling: An Interview with Heather McCloskey Beck A Guest Blog Post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Encouraging others to find their gifts and live their calling is a topic that has been deeply moving for Heather McCloskey Beck, who authored Take the Leap: Do What You Love 15 Minutes a Day and Create the Life of Your Dreams (2013, Conari Press). Synchronistically, decades ago, while walking on a beach in Montauk, Long Island, Beck was inspired and outlined in the sand an idea that came to her about how to create a happy life. Although the water had already swept away her markings by the time she returned from her walk, the idea resonated with her so strongly that when she returned to her campsite, she wrote it down and mailed it off to a friend.

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Posted in: the body, somatic, Pacifica Students, active imagination, depth psychology, soul, James Hillman

The Humanities, the World, and the Practice of Psychotherapy

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 7, 2016 2:20:03 PM

The Humanities, the World, and the Practice of Psychotherapy¹

A guest post by Michael P. Sipiora, Ph.D.

“What does it take to be a therapist? Being a good person and knowing at least the last 200 years of cultural history.” Tony Barton (personal communication, 1987)

“By historically situating psychotherapy, and thus by acknowledging the ways that psychotherapy has unknowingly substituted for missing community tradition, has provided a covert moral framework about the way of being human, and has obscured the sociopolitical causes of psychological suffering, psychotherapy would model the ability to confront one’s own unconscious contributions to the political and philosophical problems of our time and to be freer to more explicitly present thoughtful, nuanced, moral conceptions of human being” Phillip Cushman (1995, p. 299).

“If you are for the American republic, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, if you are for these things you are against the American empire. The task of the consulting room is in part to keep the pores open to what goes on in the empire. The job of psychotherapy is to keep one suffering the decline of the republic” James Hillman (1992, p. 235).

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Posted in: Therapist, clinical psychology, Psychotherapy, James Hillman, Psychology

Spirit, Soul, and the Secular: An Interview with Thomas Moore

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Mar 17, 2016 8:49:13 AM

A guest post by Bonnie Bright, Ph.D.

Depth Psychology is often associated with “soul.” Many great thinkers in the field have shared some important thoughts on the topic, and perhaps none more so than psychologist and author, Thomas Moore, whose best-selling book, Care of the Soul, is one of the most recognized and appreciated works on the topic. Thomas Moore is speaking at the upcoming Climates of Change conference in celebration of Pacifica’s 40th anniversary in April 2016.

When I sat down recently with Thomas to discuss the topic of soul and spirituality, my first request was that he elaborate on the difference between spirit and soul. Moore’s understanding of the topic is rooted firmly in the past, going back to some of the earliest teachers of soul. While he explained his perception of the difference between spirit and soul in some detail, what struck me is that soul thrives on the “holy” and that there is a “non-human” dimension to it.

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Posted in: James Hillman, Current Affairs, C.G. Jung, nature, soul

A Tribute to James Hillman: Reflections on a Renegade Psychologist

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Nov 2, 2014 8:23:00 PM

The texts and inspiration behind the newest publication on James Hillman.

A Tribute to James Hillman: Reflections on a Renegade Psychologist, eds. Jennifer Leigh Selig and Camilo Francisco Ghorayeb. Mandorla Books, 2014. Print.

A guest post by Dr. Jennifer Selig

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Posted in: James Hillman

City and Soul: The 2014 James Hillman Symposium

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Oct 28, 2014 2:53:00 PM

A guest post by Dr. Jennifer Selig

It was with great pleasure that I recently attended The 2nd Annual James Hillman symposium City and Soul at the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture. On the Institute’s website they describe their mission: “For over thirty years, the Dallas Institute has conducted original programs that enrich and strengthen the cultural heart of our great city.”

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Posted in: James Hillman