Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pacifica Graduate Institute Celebrates 40 Years

My doctoral alma mater, Pacifica Graduate Institute is celebrating its 40th anniversary. A truly magical place, where students of Mythology and Jungian Depth Psychology are held in the bossom of the foothills overlooking the Pacifica coast and the literary legacy of great teachers and mentors of mythology and depth psychology. The school houses a number of archival collections including those of Joseph Campbell, Marija Gimbutas, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, and reknown classicist & Pacifica professor, Christine Downing. In honor of their 40th anniversary, Pacifica alumni have published a book collecting memories and tributes to our beloved alma mater. Below is a reprint of my article.

Tending the Mind and Soul at Pacifica 
More than fifteen years before entering Pacifica, I wrote my thesis for an M.A. in English on Flannery O’Connor’s work. While I delved into the fascinating world of O’Connor’s themes and character’s, hoping someday to write great works, I found myself jealous of her extended stay at the Yaddo writer’s retreat in New York where she was enveloped for a time in a world of supportive peers and mentors.
It was about midway through my second semester at Pacifica when I realized that I had unwittingly found my own creative retreat. Yes, the schedule was rigorous and the standards were high, but for three days each month, the rest of the world was put at bay while the pursuit of knowledge and our passions became paramount. Always arriving in the mantle of burn out, the Pacifica setting and community never failed to foster a rejuvenation of my spirit and objectives.
Perhaps this was especially important since the Pacifica curriculum functions as a sort of medicine wheel process in which we not only accumulate knowledge, but also activate our inner workings. As we delved into many of the most profound questions, ideas, and stories of humanity, we had the support of the comforting campuses, the caring faculty, and the shared experiences of our cohorts. For example, right from the start of the Folk Story class I was in the grip of powerful archetypes. As I worked on my presentation, I became so caught up that I would work ridiculously long hours on it, even more than thirty-six hours straight as I finished. It was only a ten-minute presentation. This was absurd, and of course, I ran over time and had to be cut off, and I could have sworn that I was only speaking five minutes when I was stopped. After my presentation, we took a break, and I went into the garden and cried—but not alone. Few words were needed as friends sat with me while I finally found myself slipping from the grip of the archetypes. I would never have survived this journey alone. Yet, it absolutely helped me to evolve into the kind of person and writer that I had hoped to become.
Though I’ve been gone a little while now, I still treasure the special friendships and professional liaison’s that my time at Pacifica yielded. We cannot share a soul journey such as this without making deep friendships along the way.

~Get your copy of the PGI Alumni Tribute book

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual - Sneak Peak

If you've been looking for new ways to deepen your personal practice in energetic, spiritual, and psychological self-care, you may find my new book just the resource you need.

There are many wonderful tools for soul care and development, but I would argue that Ritual is one of the most universal and perennial techniques available to us. The problem is that we have greatly lost the art of Ritual in our rationalistic culture, and for those of us who would be open to the intuitive techniques Ritual provides, we simply aren't sure how to make safe and effective Rituals. Worse, popular media has focused on the most dangerous and perverse forms of Ritual that it can dredge up or imagine in order to sensationalize movies and news.

Ritual, in and of itself is not bad. It is an intuitive tool that can be abused, but in its finest forms, can help us to engage the subtle realms of our minds and our world.

In my new book, Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual, I explain what Ritual is and how it is relevant in today's world. I also outline key components for doing safe and ethical Rituals. Part One of the book offers theory and clarifications to prepare the reader for the menu of Rituals offered up in Part Two.

In Part Two, you will find a variety of Do-it-yourself Rituals to help you clear heavy energies, bring in light/refined energies, and to help you make transitions in your life. These Rituals help you to work at multiple levels, including psychological, emotional, energetic, and spiritual.

Click Here to take a peak inside at the Table of Contents and first pages of introduction.  The book is available at your favorite bookseller or online.