Mythological Studies and Dream Tending

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on May 19, 2017 10:09:28 AM

A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.

At Pacifica, Joseph Campbell once said, "dream work can be a yogic practice." I'll never forget him sharing that with us. To this day, his insight informs my practice of Dream Tending. Touching into the same loam, the mythic imagination, Dream Tending opens a way to listen to the movements of psyche as she tells the stories that implicate us in larger mythological motifs. To tend a dream is to befriend the living images, each with an intelligence of its own, each with a story to tell.

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Posted in: The Psyche, Mythology, graduate school, images, active imagination

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

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Fact or Fiction?

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Feb 17, 2016 3:44:30 PM

A guest post by Dr. Dennis Patrick Slattery.

Now that the heat of the long-awaited release of the next installment of the Star Wars epic, franchise, industry, and monster money-maker has passed and the fires of enthusiasm have cooled a bit to a delightful glow, one might ask: what is it about this series of science fiction films, the brain-child of George Lucas, which has now been passed on to the brilliant director, JJ Abrams, whose task it was to retrieve some of the excitement of The Return of the Jedi (1983) by offering a plausible sequel to it, but revitalized and, well, made to reflect more inclusively the world we inhabit today?

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Mythology, film

Pacifica Graduate Institute Mythological Studies Program

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

 

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Posted in: Mythology

The Hero's Journey: Creating My Own Star Wars Adventure

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Dec 23, 2015 2:48:56 PM

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a box office hit. The excitement over the film brings us back to the original 1977 Star Wars film and its popularity. Star Wars was iconic. Why was it so popular? Aside from changing the way films were made (see Time's latest article with director J.J. Abrams) the story of the orginial Star Wars film closely follows Joseph Campbell's formula of The Hero's Journey.

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Posted in: Joseph Campbell, Mythology, transformative, film