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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.