Tag Archive for Pacifica

Depth Psychology: Empowering Multicultural Women in the Wider World—An Interview with Media Mogul Nely Galán

Depth Psychology: Empowering Multicultural Women in the Wider World

As a Latina and a self-made media mogul who has produced hundreds of television shows, headed a TV network, and generated a significant amount of income, Nely Galán ironically felt an odd sense of relief when the economy crashed in 2008, bringing many of her projects to a halt. In hindsight, Galán believes she had been feeling incongruent in her career because she was in a field where much of the focus was on achieving success, and where individuals were not valued for being their authentic selves.

By that point in her life, she had been through psychotherapy and understood how powerful it could be. After going back to school to complete a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on depth psychology, Galán realized the extent to which depth psychology provides a powerful lens for introspection and for examining ideas about diversity.

In her own Latino culture, Galán recognized that women often don’t engage in psychotherapy because there is stigma attached. Because of her connections, Galán realized she had the capacity to gather women from many different cultures together in a safe setting where they could tell their stories, many of which included experiences with psychotherapy. By founding the “Adelante Movement,” a series of free events that she hosted all over the U.S., Galán opened the door for more multicultural women to speak freely about feeling alone and needing help. “Adelante,” in Spanish, means “move forward.”

The data that Galán collected from those conversations ultimately formed the basis of her New York Times best-selling book, Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self Reliant, and Rich in Every Way. The book offers advice, grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy, about finding happiness in many aspects of life—not just economically, but also in areas like family, love, and spirituality.

Galán is on a powerful journey to bring depth psychological applications to the wider world and to provide important and innovative opportunities for transformation in individual, group, and community work. Listen to the full audio interview or read my detailed summary article of the interview at http://www.pacificapost.com/empowering-multicultural-women-in-the-world

 

Epigenetics, Ancestors, and Living Your Calling

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Jungian analyst, Robert Johnson’s work on “Living your Unlived Life” has been deeply inspirational to Heather Beck, author of Take the Leap: Do What You Love 15 Minutes a Day and Create the Life of Your Dreams. Beck is also earning a Ph.D. in the Somatic Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Beck has recently become interested in epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in the DNA sequence*. She believes that we are born “fully locked and loaded” with gifts that we ourselves have determined before our birth. However, the moment we are born, our lives are prone to social enculturation from parents, family, communities, religious organizations, governments, and schools.

These enculturations have a way of taking us off our pathway, at times limiting us to the projections of what others want for us rather lives to truly unfold and to express our own unique genius.

Examining the patterns that are running rampant in our lives, sometimes through the generations, offers us opportunities to learn about ourselves, identify limiting beliefs, and break those patterns that no longer serve us—opening us to insights about our true path in life…

Listen to my latest audio interview, “Epigenetics, Ancestors, and Living Your Calling” with Heather Beck, or read a detailed summary article here on Pacifica Post

Interview—From Information to Inspiration: An Interdisciplinary Career Based on Myth, Music, Depth Psychology, and the Arts

Mary MagdaleneBonnie Bright | Depth Insights: Seeing the World with Soul

As a cultural historian, Kayleen Asbo has crafted a fascinating career by weaving together mythology, depth psychology, music, literature, and women’s studies. The work of bringing together so many different fields stems from her burning passion and desire to create something that is truly unique. Her love of music, along with what she calls her “medieval imagination” (through which she views things in terms of their “hidden wholeness”) have been a key piece of her journey.

The age of enlightenment, powered by reductionism and rationalism, is becoming ever more narrower, she notes. By following not only our “passions of the mind,” but also responding to what our hearts truly want, we’ll be led to those unexpected places of insight where the frontier of wisdom lies. As this discovery process moves from “information” to “inspiration,” we gain understanding of how the world is connected in a far deeper and more profound way than we ever could have imagined.

Asbo (a new member of the faculty in the Myth program at Pacifica) wrote her doctoral dissertation on the myths of Mary Magdalene throughout art, music, and culture. She believes that the archetypal figure of Mary Magdalene is critically important to our culture, offering a profound capacity to go between worlds. At a mythic level, and at a time of much grief and suffering on the planet amongst people and nations, politically and environmentally, Magdalene invites us to hold these two positions of witnessing suffering and holding hope, Asbo points out. At a time when we are yearning for images of wholeness, Magdalene provides guidance for a direction that’s healing and whole-making, serving as a map for all of us to help us locate ourselves.

Listen to my audio interview with Kayleen Asbo, or read a detailed summary article about our conversation here on Pacifica Post here

Archetypal Reflections: Dr. Keiron Le Grice on Jungian and Depth Psychologies

C.G. Jung contended that our personalities are made up of a multitude of archetypes, Dr. Keiron Le Grice, Chair of the Jungian and Archetypal Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, reminded me when he recently sat down with me to share his insights into the field of depth psychology. Each archetype asserts its own aims, moods, and ideas on our personalities, influencing our lives on a day-to-day basis. Jungian and depth psychologies, by aiming to make what is unconscious conscious, offer an entrance point into recognizing and understanding the various deep forces that move through us from one day to the next, engendering a deep comprehension of the psyche and the motivations, instincts, and impulses that are at work in our lives.

Individuation, a term coined by Jung, is a way that we can come to terms with this multiplicity of forces, and to attune to a greater organizing force, perhaps looked at as “the god within.” An archetypal view can enable us to find deep meaning in life, Keiron notes. We live in a time when we no longer have a religious, spiritual, or mythological framework to provide orientation in our lives. To be able to turn within, through the study of dreams and synchronicities that occur to us, through direct engagement with the unconscious and through spiritual experiences, we can begin to find our own personal sense of meaning. When we encounter the numinous, (a term coined by Rudolf Otto and adopted by Jung), that tremendous and fascinating mystery that underlies our experience can ground us in our own spiritual and moral autonomies. We need to each find our own individual myth at a time when the collective myths are rendered invalid by the dominant scientific rational perspective in the western worldview.

Keiron became interested in spirituality in his late teens, particularly dedicating himself to learning astrology (which led him to Jung’s writings), then studying philosophy and psychology at university in England. Disappointed at how mainstream academia bypassed Jungian ideas, Keiron read most of Jung’s Collected Works in his spare time, and pursued the work of Joseph Campbell after seeing him interviewed by Bill Moyers for The Power of Myth. He found himself most impressed with Jung’s Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, written in the 1920s, which focused on the role of archetypes in individuation, and described how these ideas really gripped him. He felt like he was tapping into a deep current in his life, he declares. In his late twenties, his interests in astrology, Jung, and Campbell evolved into a book, The Archetypal Cosmos, which was ultimately published in 2010.

For people who are predisposed to find their way in this field, there’s a “right time” for them, Keiron maintains. For him, discovering depth psychology so early in his life was perhaps something of an impediment to participating in the world because when one is powerfully drawn to the depths of the psyche, it can have a tendency to pull us away from the world, a concept even Jung made note of in his many writings. After having some profound spiritual experiences in his late teens and early twenties, Keiron reveals how he made a conscious decision to put some of it aside for a while and “build his ego” in Jungian terms. He believes, however, that his early exposure was helpful, providing a strong foundation as he took time to integrate and really discern which ideas were relevant and valuable to him and which were not.

Now, years later, as professor and chair of a Jungian and Archetypal studies program, Keiron is keenly aware that the “gifts” of Jungian and depth psychology are that they empower the individual to find a spiritual, mythic, or symbolic mode of being in the world, which, in his words, can counter a sense of existential meaningless which is so prevalent today. It may well be the responsibility of depth psychology practitioners to bring awareness and recognition around the dark side of the unconscious energies that have not been brought into conscious awareness and which manifest in destructive ways, he asserts.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Keiron points out, it says that if you “bring forth what is deep within you, it will save you, but if you do not bring that forth, what is within you will destroy you.” Some of that unconscious destructive energy seems to be surfacing in our time, so the more we can be aware of it, the more we can engage to mitigate it. We need to be able to channel the forces at work in the world constructively, in service of the deep psyche. The challenge of our time for those in depth psychology is to be able to communicate the tenets to a new audience, Keiron believes, to somehow convey the integrity of the ideas through a new medium in a way that they are not rendered superficial. It’s critical to connect people and bring them into community into a web, akin to the noosphere discussed in the writings of French philosopher and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955).[i]

Keiron has recently published a new book called Archetypal Reflections: Insights and Ideas from Jungian Psychology,which emerged in a way from exactly that kind of archetypal web he refers to. It is a compilation of short writings and reflections Keiron initially made online in the form of posts to graduate students in the hybrid Jungian and Archetypal Studies program at Pacifica. These reflections encompass a variety of depth psychological topics organized into themes, including archetypes, individuation, synchronicity, the evolution of consciousness, and the mind/matter relationship among them, delving into material that is essential for both seasoned scholars of depth psychologies as well as those who are new to it.

In discussing his current role in depth psychology, Keiron notes how gratifying it is to see students in the Jungian and Archetypal Studies program—who typically arrive in answer to some sort of call from psyche to be there—move from a more tentative longing to study these kinds of esoteric topics to really moving into a place of maturity, authenticity, and authority as they write about what resonates most with them. At Pacifica, Keiron and other faculty members really strive to cultivate the art of critical thinking for students to bring their own engagement and insight into the field in order to find their own truths in what typically ends up being a profoundly transformative journey.

Hearing Keiron mention this brings back warm memories of my own time doing coursework at Pacifica. I’m compelled to point out that there’s a kind of an inside joke among students there that it’s the “Hogwarts” (of Harry Potter fame) of graduate schools, a place that provides opportunities to learn concepts and skills that truly seem magical in many aspects. It definitely brings us into a more enchanted way of being in the world, Kieron confirms, and therefore counters the disenchantment of the modern worldview, bringing about opportunities to engage with the numinous, the spiritual power and mystery that shines through the psyche in so many ways.

Listen to the full interview with Keiron Le Grice here (Approx. 36 mins)

Learn more about the Jungian and Archetypal Studies program at Pacifica

legrice_keiron.pngKeiron Le Grice is a professor of depth psychology and chair of the Jungian and Archetypal Studies specialization at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, where he teaches courses on archetypes, alchemy, synchronicity, and the history of depth psychology. He was educated at the University of Leeds, England (B.A. honors, Philosophy and Psychology) and the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco (M.A., Ph.D., Philosophy and Religion). Keiron is the founding editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, and the author of four books––The Archetypal CosmosDiscovering ErisThe Rebirth of the Hero, and the recently published Archetypal Reflections: Insights and Ideas from Jungian Psychology. He has also taught for Grof Transpersonal Training (UK) and is commissioning editor for Muswell Hill Press in London.

NOTE: This blogpost was originally posted at Pacifica Post, July 22, 2016

When the Gods Come Calling: Dr. Jennifer Selig on Finding One’s Vocation

What happens when the gods come calling, from a depth psychological perspective, and how can one be ready when it happens? These are questions that arose when I recently sat down with Dr. Jennifer Selig to discuss her Salon on January 22, 2016: “The Right Address: How to Be Home When the Gods Come Calling.”

The title of Selig’s presentation is based on the double meaning of the word “address.” Not only can the word mean a physical “address” where you live or work— where you can typically be found—it’s verb form, while pronounced differently, signifies when someone calls you. “Calling” ties to the word “vocation,” which is based on the Latin vocatus, the past tense of vocare, “to call.” Vocation, from the early 15th century is defined as “spiritual calling.” Thus the word “vocation,” Selig notes, literally means to be called by the gods.

One’s vocation, as it turns out, is not as much about what we want to do as it is about where the gods would have us be based on the gifts they have bestowed on us.

In his book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, Hillman wrote, “We dull our lives by how we conceive them,” Selig reminded me, so vocation—or calling—is the place where we ultimately express the gifts and talents that come through us but are not necessarily of us; not restricted or constrained by our limited egoic perspective.

While a vocational school in contemporary culture is perceived to have a very narrow focus on teaching someone a specific trade they can practice in a fairly short period of time, Selig wants to take the word “vocation” back from that narrow perception. All of our lives are a vocation, no matter what kind of work we do in the world, she insists. For that reason, Pacifica is a true vocational school, opening students to the gifts that are wanting to come through them. Selig has noticed that very often, people are called to come to Pacifica without knowing why. They often step onto the campus and have a feeling of being home.

There are many ways of looking at and discerning what’s calling us. It is important as one leans toward their vocation to trust emotion and affect the body is one way of finding your calling. If you pay attention to where you feel the most energy in your work life; where you have the most joy, you can notice where the calling is strong. Myths, dreams, ritual, and synchronicity also show us paths and patterns. Selig points to works from some of the great pioneers of depth psychology, including Freud, Jung, Hillman, and Marion Woodman, to help point the way as we address questions around vocation.

Perhaps the most important thing to discerning calling is paying attention. James Hillman calls attention the cardinal virtue of depth psychology, Selig points out, noting that she has done some writing on that topic and believes it is crucial to pay attention to both the rational and the irrational—both using the brain for the rational or logos perspective, but also to plumb the irrational in the form of dreams, myth, story and image. It goes both ways, she insists: there needs to be balance of both the day and night worlds; the logos and the eros.

Is finding balance a fantasy, though? Selig suggests that rather than simply seeking balance, learning to live with the tensions that are inherent in our lives is tantamount to pursuing the call. For example, she asks, “How do we hold the tension between what “makes our heart sing” and having to pay the bills?”

“Yes!” I think, when she asks me this. Jung would have agreed: holding the tension allows a space to emerge in which a new thing can arise—the transcendent function at its best. Does holding the tension, then, open the way so that we are paying attention enough to hear the knock when it comes at our door? Suddenly I find myself I looking very much forward to learning more at Jennifer’s Salon presentation on January 22. Who will come knocking there…?

Click here to listen to the full audio interview with Dr. Jennifer Selig.

Sources
Hillman, James. (1996). The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling. New York, NY: Random House, p. 5.

Online Etymology Dictionary: vocation

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Jennifer Selig, Ph.D. is founding chair of Pacifica’s Jungian and Archetypal Studies Specialization and the M.A. Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program. Dr. Selig currently teaches in both programs, is a published author of many books including Integration: The Psychology and Mythology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and His (Unfinished) Therapy with the Soul of America; a photographer; and writer of non-fiction and screenplays.

 

This blog also cross posted at www.PacificaPost.com and www.DepthPsychologyList.com