Depth Psychology List

Depth Psychology Blog

This blog offers information and education about Jungian and Depth Psychology oriented approaches by psychotherapists, counselors, coaches, speakers, authors, healing professionals, and dozens of other modalities. You'll read personal stories from these practitioners about the power of symbols, the unconscious, dreams, archetypes, Jungian thought, nature, ecopsychology, mythology, and so much more. 
  • 10 Jul 2016 1:48 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    "We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves...The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined." — N. Scott Momaday

    View more depth psychology image quotes

  • 09 Jul 2016 2:17 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    silhouette of woman practicing yoga on the beach at sunset

    “The body is merely the visibility of the soul, the psyche; and the soul is the
    psychological experience of the body
    —C.G. Jung

    “Yoga is most often understood as the union of the individual with the transcendental self,
    with what Jung terms the Self.”
    —Judith Mills

    In recent years, the practice of yoga has made headlines in the mainstream media as parents in U.S. school districts challenged its inclusion in the curriculum at public schools, insisting it amounts to religious indoctrination and that it violates religious freedom.[1] In the U.S. today, while mainstream yoga is largely focused on physical poses and breath work, historically it evolved over millennia in the context of the spiritual and religious traditions of India. As such, it is not a religion, but rather a philosophy that enables mindfulness and a sense of well-being, among other benefits. No matter where you fall in the debate on whether—and where—it should be taught to children, practitioners of depth psychology and those seeking positive transformation appreciate yoga for its powerful potential to heighten spirituality and increase consciousness.

    C.G. Jung, who valued yoga for its evidence-based experiential approach, perceived “important parallels” with psychoanalysis. He made a comprehensive study of yoga, delivering multiple lectures over the course of several years focusing on a psychological interpretation of kundalini yoga. He asserted that as yoga, being the oldest practical philosophy of India, is the mother of psychology and philosophy (which are one and the same thing in India) and therefore the foundation of everything spiritual.[2]

    Yoga, meaning union in Sanskrit, seeks to create awakening through somatic experience, cultivating states that connect us more wholly with something larger than our ego selves—the ground of being, the web of life, or what Jung termed the “Self”—effecting a transmutation of consciousness that stems from attention to inner experience. The experiential, embodied practice puts us in touch with our physical being and grounds us more fully in the earth, anchoring us to something immutable, even as our breath and movement serve to make us more consciously aware and to shift inherent patterns and blocks we may be experiencing.


    “Yoga teachers are well aware of how the practice of yoga brings awareness through the layers of the body, often dredging up previous traumas and somatic awakenings,” Cheri Clampett, who is a certified yoga therapist with over 25 years of teaching experience, and the co-author of The Therapeutic Yoga Kit confided. “When these two complimentary fields come together, they offer deep avenues of healing for the soma and psyche.”

    What are those avenues of healing, exactly? While yoga serves to balance and unite opposing forces to create a harmonious being, Jung went as far as to describe the intersection between depth psychology and yoga as the capacity for liberation, for each to lead to a “detachment of consciousness…a freeing from the passions and from the entanglement with the realm of objects…a psychical experience, which in practice is expressed as a feeling of deliverance.”[3]

    Practitioners have long reported the capacity for yoga to evoke the numinous, a term Jung borrowed from psychologist Rudolf Otto to describe something beyond the ordinary; inexpressible or mysterious—something spiritual or sacred that carries us past the ego experience of the everyday self and reveals our divine belonging, our wholeness in potentia.[4] Indeed, yoga has been known to lead to the awakening of Kundalini, a force described as primordial energy, Shakti or universal power, which can be constellated a combination of ritual spiritual and somatic practices. When its ascent culminates in topmost chakra in a “blissful union of Shiva and Shakti,” it leads to a “far-reaching transformation of the personality.”[5]


    For Jung the Kundalini is the anima, or soul. “From the standpoint of the gods, this world is less than child’s play; it is a seed in the earth, a mere potentiality,” he wrote. “Our whole world of consciousness is only a seed of the future. And when you succeed in the awakening of Kundalini, so that she beings to move out of her mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is a world of eternity, totally different from our world.”[6]

    Jung believed that yoga originated as a “natural process of introversion,” and that such introversions characteristically lead to personality changes. While Jung viewed these inner processes that evolved from yoga as universal, he felt the methods that led to them were culturally specific.[7] For this reason, Jung discouraged westerners, whose core beliefs are founded on a perception of separation—of dual and opposing poles in the realms of mind and matter, nature and psyche— from practicing yoga, fearing it could lead westerners into territory they were not culturally prepared to encounter. He suggested the west would develop its own “yoga” to explain or engage the unconscious in due time, ideas now being debated in the field of Jungian psychology.

    Indeed, yoga, like many eastern or mystical spiritual traditions, is rooted in the idea of non-duality; that is, that all creation, including humans, is an aspect of the divine and is not separate from it. While this kind of transcendent consciousness is potentially available to each of us at any given moment, our ego-identity often stands in the way of that sense of unity. Yoga, in part through enabling us to engage our bodies and to be more in the present moment, allows us to suspend the thoughts, ideas, concerns, and conditioning that typically stand in the way of our sense of the sacred.

    Jung makes a compelling description of the kind of transcendence one might experience in awakening to these kind of psychological or spiritual truths. On the subject of freeing ourselves from outer and inner entanglements, Jung wrote that “consciousness is at the same time empty and not empty. . . . no longer preoccupied with compulsive intentions but turns into contemplative vision.”[8]

    Lionel Corbett, M.D., Jungian analyst and author of Psyche and the Sacred, writes about this apparent dissolution of boundaries, noting that “innumerable people have been able to …have numinous experiences of union with the larger psyche. In such moments,” Corbett suggests, “the world and the personal self seem to flow into each other, both part of a greater unity, with no sense of separation or personal unity…. In such an experience, the personal self is lost in the larger Consciousness of the Self, revealing our essential continuity with it.”[9]

    Corbett points out that Jung, in much of his work, displays a spiritual sensibility that is compatible with the great non-dual spiritual traditions, even while remaining dualistic in his thinking in others. Both these approaches are valuable to psychotherapy, Corbett insists, yet most Jungian therapists ignore Jung's non-dual thinking. Corbett intends to expand on some of the important implications of non-duality for psychotherapy at the Yoga Meets Depth Psychology program offered by Pacifica Graduate Institute in July.

    Another Jungian analyst contemplating the value of the interface between yoga and psychotherapy is Dr. Joseph Cambray, who proposes that Jung’s incorporation of yoga practices and principles in his version of depth psychology started largely with the Red Book in which Jung documented his exploration of his unconscious and his active imagination encounters with various images and figures during that time. In fact, Jung revealed that during this intense period of confrontation with the unconscioushe frequently turned to yoga to eliminate powerful, wrought up emotions that had been stirred up.[10]

    The correspondence between yoga and depth psychology emerged in subsequent theorizing that included references to the yogic literature, points out Cambray, including Jung’s Kundalini seminars in which Jung endeavored a western symbolic analysis of the Chakra system. As a long time psychotherapist (and past President of the International Association for Analytical Psychology), Cambray asserts that the interface of these two approaches provides profound advantages for contemporary psychotherapy.


    Mindfulness is another powerful tool for accessing states of unity and flow according to Dr. Patricia Katsky, psychotherapist and Vice-Provost at Pacifica Graduate Institute who, in conjunction with Dr. Juliet Rohde-Brown, Director of Clinical Training for the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Pacifica, and long-time Buddhist meditation teacher, is exploring the critical characteristics of the mind states that are common to the three fields of yoga, depth psychology, and Buddhist meditation.

    Similarly, the two clinicians are inquiring into the implications of "deep play”—a mind state comparable at an adult level to the meaningful childhood play of our past. “Deep play experiences are capable of bringing us into healing contact with the numinous,” writes Katsky. Indeed, in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung recounted his own experience of how the act of play created a powerful psychic state in his own life. After spontaneously recalling a childhood memory of play, Jung felt compelled him to take it up again as an adult. Each day, before his patients arrived, Jung succumbed to the urge to “play,” mindfully building an “small town” of stones. For him, it released a “stream of fantasies” and led to an inner certainty that it was helping him to discover his own inner myth. “In the course of this activity my thoughts clarified, and I was able to grasp the fantasies whose presence in myself I dimly felt,” he wrote.[11]

    In psychotherapy, Katsky proposes that the therapist mind state of “evenly-hovering attention” is one form of deep play, and submits that the practice of yoga can bring one to similar inner states of release and nourishment, leading us to rich self-reflections, creativity, greater contact with the imaginational world, and to deepened consciousness, including numinous experience.

    Ultimately, yoga, like many of the world’s wisdom traditions, can become a portal to the present moment, to being anchored in our bodies and on the earth through the embodied use of breath and movement. This, in turn, may give rise to a dissolution of boundaries, enabling us to feel more relaxed, connected, and unified with a larger ground of reality—even ultimately awakening us to numinous experiences of the sacred. Depth psychology, with its emphasis on engaging the unconscious in order to achieve greater wholeness, can lead us to similar states. 

    “At the intersection of yoga and depth psychology lies the threshold where psyche meets soma,” asserts David Odorisio, a depth practitioner who has created a professional practice that integrates the spiritual heritage of the world’s wisdom traditions with Jungian and depth psychologies in an accessible and embodied way. “This mysterious meeting point between soul and body holds unlimited—and often untapped— archetypal wisdom, vitality, healing, and wholeness.”

    Join these and other world-renowned scholars and practitioners July 15-17, 2016, for Yoga Meets Depth Psychology: Embodying the Sacred, Encountering the Soul, an experiential, transformational weekend immersion at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. Pacifica faculty, including expert-level Jungian analysts and depth psychologists, will present alongside internationally recognized yoga teachers to highlight and illuminate the rich intersections of these diverse yet complementary fields. Details and registration here

    Recommended reading: 

    The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932 by C. G. Jung, edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Princeton University Press, 1996

    Jung and India. Spring Journal, Volume 90, Fall 2013, edited by Al Collins, Elaine Molchanov, and Nancy Cater

    Jung and Yoga: The Psyche Body Connection, by Judith Harris. Inner City Books, 2000.

    “Jung’s Encounter with Yoga,” by Harold G. Coward, Journal of Analytical Psychology23(4), 1978, pp. 339-357,

    Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.G. Jung, edited by Aniela Jaffe (1961). Vintage Books, 1989.

    Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality Beyond Religion by Lionel Corbett. Spring Journal, 2007.


    [1] See “Beyond 'Namaste': The benefits of yoga in schools” by Dana Santas. CNN, May 10, 2016:

    [2] Jung and Eastern Thought by Harold Coward, State University of New York Press, 1985, p. 11

    [3] In The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, C.G. Jung, p. 83

    [4] See “On Psychic Energy” in Jung’s Collected Works, Vol. 8.

    [5] Sonu Shamdasani, in his introduction to Jung’s The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, p. xxv

    [6] In The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, p. 26

    [7] Sonu Shamdasani, in his introduction to Jung’s The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga

    [8] C.G. Jung in “Commentary on ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower’ ” in Alchemical Studies, Collected Works Vol. 13, para. 65

    [9] Psyche and the Sacred: Spirituality Beyond Religion by Lionel Corbett. Spring Journal, 2007, p. 25

    [10] Sonu Shamdasani, in his introduction to Jung’s The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, p. xxv

    [11] Jung, in Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Vintage Books, 1989, p. 174

    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D., is a graduate from Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program. She is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has trained extensively in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.

  • 06 Jul 2016 7:38 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Ecopsychology: On Educating Ourselves as Ecopsychological Beings in a Psychological World—An Interview with Dr. Lori Pye

    As an activist working with NGOs to stop shark finning in Central America years ago, Dr. Lori Pye was once a target of a malicious act intended to intimidate her.

    ecopsychological beingsThe experience plunged her into a sort of psychological crisis. Finding herself face to face with a stark and undeniable image of ecological devastation, she had an epiphany: our own psychological destruction is being expressed in destruction of the ecological world.

    The experience profoundly renewed Dr. Pye’s focus on ecopsychology. At the same time, she was also reading the work of James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology. Both of these topics inspired her to take meaningful action in the form of founding Viridis Graduate Institute for Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities

    For Pye, ecopsychology revolves around the idea that we are disconnected from ourselves. Because we don’t know who we are as a species, nor what our role is toward to the planet, we tend to act in very unconscious ways. The idea behind Viridis Institute is to educate individuals about the goings-on in their own ecosystem and in how we each function as an ecosystem from a psychological perspective.

    Our culture is looking for effective leaders who can address change in a fast-changing world, Pye notes. Ecopsychology answers this call—both in the “academy,” the field of academia—and in the culture. Bringing together both a scientific, empirical approach and the aesthetics provided by the humanities can help us collectively address the cumulative and dire issues we face right now.

    Those who relate to the activist archetype, when educated and trained in an ecopsychological and depth psychological way, often discover that much of their own psychology plays into global events, Pye believes. Jung proffered that individual psychology is reflected in the psychology of a nation. Activism with intelligence, with a psychological dimension, helps us to powerfully, effectively, and ethically make a difference and to assess the consequences of what we are doing. “The impetus of ecopsychology is to educate the psyche. It’s to engage in a psychological conversation with an ecological organism, and engage with an ecological conversation with a psychological organism,” she states.

    We need a psychological education, and imagery that can lead us into a different future, Pye emphasizes, and that change starts with each individual doing ecosystemic work on him or herself. We can all be educated on our sense of “who we are as an ecosystem or ecological organism living in a psychological world.”

    Download the audio interview here  (approx. 32 mins)

    Listen/stream audio on YouTube

    Learn more about Dr. Lori Pye and her work at


    lori-pye-2016Dr. Lori Pye is a Founder and President of Viridis Graduate Institute. Dr. Pye’s background consists of environmental & marine conservation, undergraduate and graduate academic instruction. As an environmentalist, Dr. Pye worked with international NGOs to co-develop the Eastern Tropical Pacific Biological Seascape Corridor with the Ministers of the Environment from Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador.

    She has led international conferences on diverse issues: Nature and Human Nature, The Mythology of Violence, The Aesthetic Nature of Change, and These Women: Honoring Women in Archetypal and Depth Psychology. Dr. Pye’s unique contribution to the developing field of ecopsychology brings together the sciences and humanities through the examination of literature, art, ecological, biological, and depth psychological principles essential to the processes of transforming deeply rooted unconscious narratives that drive human practices, civic illiteracy, policies, and decisions about how we design and craft our world in both creative and destructive ways.

    Dr. Pye has multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals and has taught internationally and serves on the Editorial Board for Ecopsychology Journal. She currently lectures at Viridis Graduate Institute, University of Santa Barbara (UCSB), and Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital Psychiatric Residency Program. Learn more at

    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D., is the principle and founder of Depth Insights which offers a semi-annual scholarly eZine, radio podcasts, and educational webinars. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also completed her Ph.D. She founded Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's first free online academic community for those who are active and interested in the fields of Depth and Jungian Psychologies in 2010 and, a directory to find or list depth-oriented therapists and practitioners by location or services.

  • 27 Jun 2016 8:21 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Child Walking In Woods To Glowing Red DoorWhen 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.”

    Meade’s latest book, The Genius Myth, focuses on how a person navigates a period of such turmoil and uncertainty. Meade’s use of the word “genius” is based on the old sense, he notes, referring to the unique spirit that is in each person’s soul, a concept often obscured in the modern world. One example of how the individual soul is oppressed is in that of transgendered individuals, Meade points out, especially children for whom the issue is active in them for some mysterious reason. The notion of the individuality of each soul makes it more feasible to respect the differences we all live in spite of appearances or backgrounds. One’s “complex” of abilities and gifts is what makes each individual unique and valuable. In a collective society, the uniqueness of life is often overlooked, yet this is the very thing that often provides meaning and purpose in an individual life.

     In the face of what Meade terms, the apparent “unraveling of the world,” I wonder how each of us might tap into the genius within. It is important to distinguish the genius myth from the hero’s journey—introduced into the mainstream by the legendary Joseph Campbell, Meade responds. This is what Meade does in his new book, The Genius Myth.

    Discussions in Depth Pschology, Click Here to listen to the Interview with Michael Meade

    Meade describes the hero as a person making “dramatic moves in the outer world,” emphasizing that in the hero’s journey, the accomplishments are in the outer world. Further, the hero is associated with a masculine way of being from a depth psychological sense, as the “hero” is linked to power and strength. The Genius Myth argues that the genius was already there before we were born, and is not only something we bring to the world, but even something that brings us to the world. It is about discovering the genius within.

    Meade, who works extensively with youth suicide situations, has found that many youths who committed suicide in the United States feel empty inside. The culture contributes to this feeling, imposing the belief that one must “make something of themselves.” Meade’s stance is that each of us already is something. We have to make ourselves aware of who we are.

    Given the dramatic changes going on in the world—and the rapidity of that change—along with “the rattling and even hollowing out of institutions,” there’s not much in the outside world a person can depend upon for orientation and coherence, Meade declares. We must look inside to find the orientation of our lives and ways to cohere. One idea is that of an inborn genius that encompasses not only the gifts and abilities of a person, but also our purpose and destiny.

    Meade refers to the need for “vertical imagination.” In mythology, he notes, there’s an old idea that there’s always two stories going on: one is the ongoing story of the world, and the other is the story of the individual soul in the world. The soul involves the depth of a person, and in depth, a person is naturally connected to nature and the world around them. Our world has become rather flat, Meade suggests: Everybody is connected all the time, but it’s a horizontal connection. The connections don’t go deep enough to contain the growth of soul that is needed for either the individual or world, and we can see that in the consequences of that in increasing polarization and division, exemplified very tragically in the aftermath of the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, as well as in other current events.

    People get back into an imaginative creative connection to the world through vertical imagination. Our connection goes deep into the soul on one end, where it connects not only to deep emotions but also the depth of feeling for being—for being present in the world and being connected to the world in depth, Meade believes. The other connection goes upward where one is connected to the great “high ideas” and the great imagination where people used to consider themselves connected to the stars. The human was originally intended to be the channel between the stars of the sky and the core of the earth, he insists. Each human is in that connection if they awaken to it.

    The problems we are experiencing, whether in nature or culture, will not be solved without a vertical imagination. Healing needs to happen in our culture—not only in connection with genders— but also between races, in the political arena, and in ecosystems, waterways, and forests, among other things. According to Meade, we are living in a time when everyone’s genius nature is being called upon; perhaps there is even an acceleration of calling and vocation as “both nature and culture need an awakening of the genius in as many people as possible.”

    Michael goes on to offer two ways to access our inner genius, not the least of which is to glean what we can from traumatic circumstances or rejection by one’s family or community, both instances where the genius is often awakened most strongly. Jung wrote that genius hides behind the wound, so whenever we harbor a wound, we may believe that our genius was an integral part of our survival. “Something deep in the human soul awakens when things fall apart,” Michael penned in Why the World Doesn’t End.

    Meade closes with some thoughts on what he views as the two layers of hope: One is the sort of naïve hope that has to ultimately be deconstructed, and there is also despair, meaning “to be without hope.” It’s generally essential that we, at times, fall into despair because at the root of despair is another level—a second layer—of hope. That layer, in depth psychology, might be called imagination—imagination being the deepest power of the human soul. “When we think that all is lost, we are actually falling closer to the deepest ground of soul, which, you could say, has the power of imagination,” he insists. “Imagination is what we need in order to begin to reimagine and recreate the world.”

    Meade recounts an Irish myth that teaches us that when the center can no longer hold—as currently appears to be the case in a current political, economic, and ecological sense—we must go to the margins and find the thread that intrigues us there. Then, upon pulling those threads of genius, the center is remade. “A person doesn’t need to be heroic,” Meade insists. “A person just has pull the the threads of their own life as close to the center as possible and they are contributing to the renewal of the world. If enough people were pulling the threads, we would be participating in the re-weaving of the world.” Further, if this re-weaving strikes a chord with you, it’s probably not a coincidence. “There is an old deep sense that we are being called on—we have always been called on—to be our own selves. That’s the real job of a person.”

    Jung called this process “individuation,” Meade affirms. Individuation is not only the natural calling for the individual, but the world itself is calling on people to come to consciousness and individuate on an individual level/ Once enough of us are doing that, the imagination of assisting the world to renew itself becomes possible.

    Michael Meade is presenting a weekend workshop, “The World is Churning: The Myth of Genius, The Genius of Myth, July 8-10, 2016, at Pacifica Graduate Institute. “Pacifica is one of the few homes in the entire culture for depth psychology and mythology,” Meade notes. “It’s one of the very few places where those two essential studies are being honored.” At the workshop, Meade plans to discuss creativity, imagination, and the genius in the soul in order to discover how to encourage this in ourselves so we can do meaningful work in the world. “Pacifica is the right place to do that,” Meade proclaims.

    Get more details or register for the “The World is Churning: The Myth of Genius, The Genius of Myth” with Michael Meade, July 8-10, 2016, at Pacifica Graduate Institute:

    Mosaic-Multicultural.jpgMichael Meade, D.H.L., is a renowned storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology. His hypnotic and fiery storytelling, street savvy perceptiveness, and spellbinding interpretations of ancient myths are highly relevant to current culture. He is the author of many books including Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Souland The World Behind the World. Meade is founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to education and cultural healing. For more information, visit

    Bonnie Bright Ph.D. is the principle and founder of Depth Insights which offers a semi-annual scholarly eZine, radio podcasts, and educational webinars. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also completed her Ph.D. She founded Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's first free online academic community for those who are active and interested in the fields of Depth and Jungian Psychologies in 2010 and, a directory to find or list depth-oriented therapists and practitioners by location or services.

    Note: This blog originally posted at Pacifica Post June 27, 2016

  • 22 Jun 2016 8:07 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Counseling is an applied healing art that helps us address suffering, enrich personal lives, activate our potential, to live more fully, and to develop more adaptive capacities to life in the view of Dr. Matthew Bennett, a psychotherapist and lecturer who teaches Counseling program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. More, psychotherapists and counselors that have a depth psychological orientation are prepared for a “broad spectrum slice of the human experience,” which for Bennett, includes the ability to be emotionally present in difficult emotional circumstances or even to simply better hold and tolerate emotionally powerful situations.

    Depth psychology is grounded in the humanities, Bennett reminded me when we connected for an interview on the topic, and therefore it can contribute to an individual experiencing a fuller and richer life. Being able to identify with different kinds of people and to accommodate varying perspectives are just some of the advantages that depth training can contribute to a therapeutic practice. In addition, if one is willing to be a student of the human mind, and of the context provided by mythology and literature, it all serves to “broaden us out”—in a depth psychological way.

    Jung spoke of his own work in archeological terms, which does imply a depth that is “going toward the center,” Matthew points out. All depth psychological orientations anchor us, and mythology, storytelling, dreams—even reading fiction—each express some dynamic of what it means to be human. Each contains energetics that are useful in reconciling opposing points of view. That’s how depth becomes breadth, Matthew says. It enables us to countenance the deeper or chthonic layers of life and to draw closer to the archetypes, where things become not only more dynamic and more irrational, but also more powerful.

    Jung warned against getting too close to the archetypes, Bennett notes, because identifying with an archetype too strongly may potentially lead to one being consumed by it, so there is a need to take action—to come back from that world and operationalize and integrate what was found and experienced there. Bennett relates how certain old Zen stories tell of pilgrims who go out into the wilderness seeking enlightenment, but who always end back “bare of breast in the market, buying vegetables.” For Matthew, this signifies closing the circle, of coming back home again; of bringing what was learned into everyday life.

    Matthew, who spent three years in the Peace Corps in Warsaw, Poland—his own version of “venturing into the wilderness” I would dare to say—insists he found a new way of being in the world through the experience. “The kinds of capacities that depth psychology encourages and fosters allows us to be more in the world more fully and more vibrantly,” he insists.

    Peace Corps and Pacifica  Announce New Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

    The idea of wholeness is, in fact, a fundamental idea of Jung’s work, and it entails in part developing the ability to embrace the parts of ourselves that are not wholly conscious, welcomed, or appreciated. It’s important to engage those aspects of the world (and therefore ourselves) in order to make meaning. Reflecting on this, I am reminded of something Jung wrote about how critical it is to go out into the world and encounter people in everyday situations in order to relativize and amplify our understanding:

    Anyone who wants to know the human mind will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to put away his scholar's gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world. There, in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, Socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with real knowledge of the human soul[1]

    Bennett likens the idea to something written by Terence, the Roman slave who became a playwright: “I count nothing human as alien to me,” a statement that further illustrates how reality is grounded in human experience. Bennett goes on to point out that T.S. Eliot even insisted that magical formulas are for practical results, such as getting a cow out of a bog. Bennett’s own work has largely been connected to helping people be in this world, he notes, not to transcend out of it. In the end, that was the instinct that led him to the Peace Corps.

    Bennett, who served from 1991 to 1994, never intended to join the Peace Corps, but as he describes it, it was just something that “grew out of” him, and which unfolded in a series of small steps that led to it. He likens it to Tolkien’s hobbits, whose walkway approaches a larger road, that in turn leads to the whole world, and you “never know where you’re going to get swept off to”—which is also true of depth psychology, Bennett points out.

    Listen to the 28 minute interview with Dr. Matthew Bennett here.

    When our conversation turned to the question of whether Americans are too identified with our own culture, Bennett offered a clear perspective. The American culture is a powerful solvent, he suggests, making it easy for us to dissolve into it. It’s a big country with peaceful borders, vast resources, and intellectual vibrancy with fewer of the conflicts many other countries face. It’s easy for Americans to “float” through our culture and be “suspended” in it, Matthew insists: “Culture is a prism through which we view all of reality, and I think reality itself is culturally determined.” In a consensual reality, the more people decide and agree what is real, the more powerful an idea becomes, he notes: It’s good for us to step out of the culture and see what else is out there.

    Joining the Peace Corps and other similar kinds kinds of experiences serve to place people in new cultures. Matthew reminds me that there is a tradition of young people of means, particularly in Europe, to take a year off school and travel the world, and joining the military also provides a similar experience to some extent. To be able to turn around and view one’s own culture from afar is valuable and healthy. Often it’s said it’s harder to re-enter one’s own culture after such an eye-opening experience, he notes, and it illustrates how powerful and seductive one’s culture can be. Such insights include the meaning of truth, justice, and even life itself—and such beliefs as the role of men and women, among others. When we’re able to take back and take those cultural differences in stride, the more we’re going to be able to take those differences in stride when trying to help people who are culturally different.

    Having had the good fortune to study abroad myself during my undergraduate years, and to travel quite extensively since in a myriad of cultures that are vastly different from my own, I can relate. Being able to see how people live and think in ways that are often radically different from own very way of being in the world has opened my own eyes to new and different ways of seeing—changing me so much even that I occasionally find myself impatient when I feel others are unable to imagine a certain perspective I have gained and adopted through my experience. In depth psychological terms, identifying, opening to, and ultimately embracing the “other” is a required step toward wholeness.

    However, culture isn’t something that necessarily can be or should be transcended, Bennett believes. Like personality organization, another core interest for Bennett, each belief is like its own little culture contributing to a sense of self. Sometimes cultural information contains something almost akin to survival data. The combination of information, the lenses we engage, really flow from how we understand ourselves to be. The process of psychotherapy then, becomes the journey of beginning to understand it and empathize with it. For a therapist, it’s figuring out how a client “makes sense.”

    “Just that act of treating people as if they made sense, and trying to connect empathically with how it does make sense is really heart and soul of what I think psychotherapy and counseling are,” says Bennett. “Visiting other cultures and seeing the world sets you up up for that and makes it easier to do.”

    The Peace Corps, in partnership with Pacifica Graduate Institute, recently announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which will provide graduate school scholarships to returned Peace Corps volunteers who complete a degree-related internship in an underserved American community while they pursue their studies. The Coverdell Fellows Program gives returned volunteers the chance to build on their classroom experience by sharing their unique knowledge and skills with local communities.

    Matthew Bennett is presenting a 2-day workshop, Artifice of Eternity: Aging and Long-Term Care, July 16-17, 2016, at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Learn more or register at

    [1] C.G. Jung, "New Paths in Psychology." In Collected Works 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, p. 409

    Matthew-Bennett.jpgMatthew Bennett, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, lecturer, and administrator with experience in public sector mental health and substance abuse treatment. He has broad experience in program development. He was formerly founder and first Director of Training for the Ventura County Behavioral Health Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology and Chair-Elect of the Psychology Department at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California. His research interests include personality disorders, comparative personality theory, and internet applications for mental health. Dr. Bennett is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer ("Poland III, 1991-1993").

    Bonnie Bright PhD is the principle and founder of Depth Insights which offers a semi-annual scholarly eZine, radio podcasts, and educational webinars. She holds M.A. degrees in Psychology from Sonoma State University and in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, where she also completed her Ph.D. She founded Depth Psychology Alliance, the world's first free online academic community for those who are active and interested in the fields of Depth and Jungian Psychologies in 2010 and, a directory to find or list depth-oriented therapists and practitioners by location or services.

    NOTE: This blog was originally posted on Pacifica Post June 22, 2016

  • 20 Jun 2016 7:46 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)
    Read Part One of this Report here

    shivaBB.pngDr. Vandana Shiva, author and activist, has courageously spent the last decade working on soil solutions to climate change, steadfast in her belief that if governments can’t make the shift, people can.

    In her recent talk at Pacifica’s “Climates of Change and a Therapy of Ideas” conference, she focused on the dangers of genetically modified crops and the big business that seeks to capitalize on it. Monopoly rights on seeds and plants are increasingly being imposed through global patents, she notes, by which certain corporations develop proprietary processes for breeding plants and animals, thereby allowing corporations to claim the resulting seeds and animals are their own inventions.

    The genetic modification of organisms (GMO) is leading to privatization of what should be common, Shiva insists, presenting great danger to the future of food. The scientists who have the genetic capability to transfer genes from one species to another don’t have the capacity to understand what it means, she noted, offering number of examples of challenges—even tragedies—stemming from the imbalance of power held by large corporations seeking to turn a profit.

    Examples run from everything from the mass numbers of plants and animals that are born deformed due to the scientific testing (Dolly the sheep, the first professed “success” of genetic modification or cloning in animals, for instance, was the only one of 273 “Dollys” born that was not deformed) to three hundred thousand farmers in India who have committed suicide[i] since record keeping began in 1995, due to untenable changes to farmers’ livelihoods instigated by big businesses.

    In rural areas of India and elsewhere, World Bank is known to give loans for farming, but the loans require that chemicals to be utilized by the farmer in order to get the loan. Up to sixty percent of soil organisms are dead on farms in certain areas, and not a single pollinator can be found, Shiva notes. Other conditions sometimes require farmers to dig deeper wells and to grow certain crops like sugar cane, which requires 20 times more water than traditional crops may have required, depleting water tables in the area.

    Sometimes the bank offers to dig these new wells “free of charge” in return for owning rights to the land, ultimately resulting in dispossession and displacement. In some parts of India, 80% of people had to move because of drought. Eighty-four percent of those documented farmer suicides took place in an area where 95% of cotton is controlled by Monsanto, Shiva revealed.

    Further, climate data collecting is now a key offering from Monsanto. Aided by computer software/spyware incorporated into tractors and farm equipment that run on high tech (see photo)[ii], John Deere and others collect and consolidate the data collected by farmers on crops, soil, nutrients moisture, et cetera and sell it back to them. For $1,500, for example, farmers can enroll their entire farm into Climate Pro, which provides tools to monitor nitrogen levels for growing corn.[iii]

     In other words, telling farmers how much carbon they have in their fields is now being privatized, forced, paid for as a commodity, Shiva points out.


    Even terrorism is linked to the rise of large corporations that are peddling agricultural practices and products that capitalize on the imbalance of power, the displacement and dispossession of people from their lands, and climate change. ISIS (which is still the goddess of the earth in Egypt to her, Shiva notes) was spawned in part due to agriculture and changes to land and livelihood in Syria. In Syria, as in India, farmers were coerced into growing new “green” wheat which need huge amounts of irrigation, nearly ten times more water. This condition, in conjunction with climate change and drought, resulted in a million people being displaced and moving into cities where their difficulties were often compounded, creating disillusionment and despair.

    Too, in Nigeria where Boko Haram has proliferated, Lake Chad used to be 22,000 kilometers and supported 9 million people, but the “green revolution” diverted water for dams for irrigation of commercial crops. Ultimately, 80% of the water was diverted. When farmers and herders no longer had access to water, clashes broke out. There is a general tendency in the modern world to label recent developments as terrorism without looking more deeply at the issues the led to it, and without asking whether the growth of terrorist organizations could have been prevented.

    In 1987, Vandana Shiva decided she would spend the rest of her life defending seeds. “We have duty to pass them on in richness, health, diversity, integrity into the future,” she insists. Shiva started the organization Navdanya, meaning “nine seeds,” a women centered movement for the protection of biological and cultural diversity—a network of seed keepers and organic producers that keep seed banks Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, she firmly believes.

    Life is not invented, Shiva insists. You can’t fix the price of seed because it’s not an invention! Millennia of evolution have collaborated to create a seed. Think of all the pollinators, the sun, and the rain that contributed over millions of years. We collectively need an intelligent response to climate change because it increases resilience. On the organic farm Shiva maintains, pollinators have increased six-fold. Their water level has come up 60 feet from 120 feet to 60. Over time in her village in India, people starved during adversity, but every seed bin was full to ensure their future.

    Young people the world over are being treated with drugs for issues that emerge, at the core, from us being in wrong relationship with land, food, and the natural world, Shiva believes. Organic soils are a plant, water and oil solution. Social issues like overpopulation, literacy, and healthcare, would all be drastically different if people were able to stay at home and live on the land sustainably.

    For four decades of dedication to independent and ecological research, Dr. Shiva has been honored with many awards including The Right Livelihood Award, The Sydney Peace Prize, The Fukuoka Prize and the Lennon-Ono Peace Prize. She is also the author of numerous books and the founder of Navdanya, the movement for seed saving and ecological agriculture. She seems, to me at least, uniquely positioned to speak on behalf of the earth, the soil, and the seeds that desperately need our tending.

    What is it we will do now, Shiva demands. You don’t have to be violent to act, you don’t have to hate people to act, Shiva proclaims. What is our commitment to heal the earth and our planet? A lot of people hesitate and think that resistance is a negative act, but creative nonviolent resistance is not just a positive act it's a necessary act.

    We need a massive de-addiction to the money-making machine: economy as money-making has lost its way, Shiva ultimately affirms. Cosmic harmony is one continuum from the planet’s well-being to ours, and justice is the ultimate stabilizer.

    Read Part One of the report on Vandana Shiva’s conference talk here.

    Purchase audio or video of Dr. Shiva’s Pacifica talk at


    [i] Shashank Bengali. (August 10, 2014). “Farmer suicides reflect growing desperation in rural India”. L.A. Times:

    [ii] Photo from Robert Holly. (July 9, 2015). Monsanto’s Climate Corporation using big data to inform farmers. Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting:

    [iii] Robert Holly. (July 9, 2015). Monsanto’s Climate Corporation using big data to inform farmers. Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting:

    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D. is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. In addition to earning Master's degrees at Sonoma State University and Pacifica Graduate Institute (where she also earned her PhD), Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has completed extensive studies in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.

    NOTE: This post originally appeared on Pacifica Post June 14, 2016

  • 17 Jun 2016 2:34 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    “Meaninglessness inhibits the fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable—perhaps everything.” —C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 340

    View more depth psychology image quotes

  • 07 Jun 2016 11:15 AM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    Dr. Lance Owens has dedicated the past thirty or more years of his life to studying C.G. Jung, whose willingness to engage with and understand his visionary experiences has transformed so many lives. Owens has also recently become profoundly interested in the life and work of Erich Neumann, who was arguably one of Jung’s most gifted students, and who eventually became a close friend of Jung’s. Through the influence of Jung, Neumann made his own creative and compelling contributions to the field of depth psychology through works such as The Great Mother(1955), The Origins and History of Consciousness (1954), and Depth Psychology and a New Ethic(1949) among others.

    Lance Owens’ interest in Neumann was amplified by the publication of letters between Jung and Neumann in 2015, correspondence that revealed the tremendous respect Jung had for his friend and for the Neumann’s capacity to grasp many of the depth concepts that were so critical to Jung for his own reasons. In fact, Owens’ himself has also uncovered such a deep regard for Neumann that in a recent email to me, he wrote quite poignantly, “Neumann has become one of those ‘dead friends of the soul’ that come to help and haunt us, with their questions, and their answers, and the facts of their own lives. I do now believe that hearing Neumann’s voice, across the decades, is a crucial event in understanding the development of Jung’s movement, and of Jung’s own experience.”

    During our recent conversation, Lance explained how Neumann, having grown up in an integrated German family in Berlin, realized in his twenties that there was no place for him in German culture. Rather, he embraced his Jewish roots in spite of not being a practicing Jew. When Hitler took power in 1933, Neumann left Germany for Israel, stopping over in Zurich for six months in order to spend time in analysis with Jung.

    As Lance views it, this was part of an initiatory phase for Neumann. He was, perhaps, looking for tzadik[i], a spiritual guide, when he went for analysis with Jung. During Neumann’s quest for his Jewish roots, he had been intrigued by Martin Buber’s writings on Hasidism[ii], which was centered around renewal and spiritual energy. Hasidism, a movement that emerged in the eighteenth century, was led by a mystical rabbi, Israel ben Eliezer (also called Baal Shem Tov), widely considered to be the founder of Hasidism.[iii] Neumann believed that ben Eliezer and his successor, the Mezritcher Maggid, had found a transparency between the outer and the deeper realities, enabling them to see through, to perceive the Divine in the world.

    Neumann seemed to find in Jung the tsaddik he was searching for, a unique leader who also had the ability to see through the world to the depth in a similar way. In accordance, Lance Owens informs me, Neumann, after those six months of analysis with Jung, affirmed for the remainder of his life that it was the transformative event of his life and he could not imagine what his life might have been without that experience.

    Once Neumann arrived in Israel, he established depth psychology there. While today’s training to become a Jungian analyst can be quite intensive and drawn out, Owens points out, Jung had one primary for someone to become a Jungian analyst: the analyst-in-training must know the psyche was real. Neumann most certainly got that, Owens insists.


    Upon his arrival in Israel in 1934, Jungian psychology was still new to Neumann, but he did his best to establish his practice based on what he knew. Though he returned more than once to visit Jung in subsequent years, by 1939 when World War II began in earnest, correspondence between Jung and Neumann was completely cut off until 1945 after the war was over. During that time in Israel, Neumann was seeing patients, sometimes up to 50 hours a week, many of them victims of the Holocaust with very little money, but a great deal of trauma that needed to be addressed. Neumann’s patients were dealing with issues of the Jewish spirit, Lance affirms.

    Neumann was very isolated during the period of time he was on his own in Israel. In fact, as Owens notes, the Jung-Neumann letters are subtitled, “Analytic Psychology in Exile,” and Neumann was very much in exile. While most of Jung’s followers had the benefit of remaining with him throughout the war years, Neumann, having no other choice, took what he learned from Jung and applied it, imagined into it, and expanded it in ways that occurred to him as he went along. When Neumann was finally able to return to Zurich in 1946, he had written massive amounts of content, including the beginning of Depth Psychology and a New Ethic and Origins and History of Consciousness, among others. Neumann took the entrée that Jung had given him, to accept that the psyche was real, and he talked and wrote about it.

    When Neumann and Jung reconnected after World War II ended, Jung was deeply appreciative of the extent of Neumann’s creative application of depth psychology, Owens relates. Neumann’s book, Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, focused on encountering the shadow in ourselves that we see in the “other,” and Jung praised it highly. When Neumann sent Jung a copy of Origins and History of Consciousness, Jung deemed it “brilliant.” As Owens shared with me, he is aware of the work of no other whom Jung praised as directly as he did that of Erich Neumann.

    Jung’s own lifelong work began to manifest in his writings in the Liber Novus, also known as The Red Book, beginning in 1913 and continuing through World War I until 1918 or 1919. The work revealed that Jung felt the Christian age was coming to an end, an idea Lance Owens investigates in his own paper entitled, “Jung and Aion.”[iv] Jung saw that there was a two-thousand-year transformation taking place in human consciousness, Owens asserts. New God images were forming. Jung felt we needed to come into a new relationship with the “depths,” with the psychic realm. There were things “bubbling up—in us, through us, in our cultures” —as Owens puts it.

    Jung fully engaged those questions throughout his life, even though he was not necessarily quick to communicate them. For a long while he said he did not think he could share the “secret knowledge” he had acquired, though some of that changed in 1944, when Jung had a series of visions after he had a heart attack resulting in a near-death experience.

    Owens notes that both Jung and Neumann felt that humanity was on the edge of a great transformation. Jung felt a deep connection to his tradition, his “dead,” his Christian history, Owens insists, and at the same time, Neumann approached things from his tradition as a Jew. However, they both came to many of the same conclusions, and both focused on two core issues: the question of evil, and the forgotten or repressed feminine.

    The visions that ultimately became The Red Book (which many Jungians still have not studied, Owens notes wryly), contributed to Jung’s recognition that the subject of “evil”—the dark one, the shadow, the mercurial figure, the “other”—was tremendously forgotten in Christian theology. In Judaism, this shows up in the concept of the yetzer hara[v]—defined as “the inclination to evil,” Owens suggests. Jung understood that the understanding of evil had to be incorporated in our coming conscious understanding of what it means to be human.

    The second issue Jung wrestled with was the forgotten feminine—the “in-dwelling imminence of a transcendence in this world”—the idea of guides, Lance believes. Neumann, too, had encountered the forgotten or repressed feminine in Judaism in the face of patriarchy. He pulled from Jewish psychology the image of the Shekinah[vi], the divine feminine or the feminine element of the transcendent which dwells in the world, but which has been exiled.

    Jung’s idea of the coming consciousness involved not only a recognition of evil and of the feminine, but also of a coniunctio in consciousness, a union of inner and outer, of “sense and nonsense,” between bright and dark, and between masculine and feminine elements. Jung began to really write about them after his illness in 1944, in AionAn Answer to Job, and Mysterium Coniunctionis, and it was during this period that Jung truly found he could talk to Neumann about the issues most critical to him. While it is possible Neumann saw parts of The Red Book and had probably even discussed some of Jung’s experiences and findings, Neumann had come to many of the same conclusions through working his own process and through his own perspective which was, in many ways, parallel to those of Jung.

    We each come to those universal truths in our own way, Lance insists. Finding what’s authentically ours involves us each going in to our history, our psychic history and our heritage. This heritage can come in dreams or visions, without any cognitive planning of the process. Neumann came to his own myth authentically through his own tradition in mystical aspects of Judaism, allowing him to engage and dialogue very profoundly with Jung’s own psychology in so many ways.

    Dr. Lance Owens is speaking at “Creative Minds in Dialogue: The Relationship between C. G. Jung and Erich Neumann,” a symposium at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA, June 24-26, 2016, alongside several other internationally acclaimed speakers including Murray Stein, Lionel Corbett, Nancy Furlotti, Ann Lammers, Rina Porat, Susan Rowland, Evan Lansing Smith, Steve Zemmelman, Riccardo Bernardini (of the Eranos Foundation in Switzerland, where both Jung and Neumann were actively engaged), and Erel Shalit, who is a Jungian analyst based in Israel and who hosted a conference on the recently published Jung-Neumann letters there last year in 2015.

    Listen to the full interview with Lance Owens here (Approx. 35 mins.).

    Learn more/Register for the symposium at

    [i] A tzadik (also spelled zadik or sadiq) refers to a spiritual master:

    [ii] See Martin Buber’s works such as The Tales of Rabbi NachmanThe Legend of the Baal-Shem, and Tales of the Hasidim

    [iii] Israel ben Eliezer, the founder of Hasidism, was also known as the Besht, or Baal Shem Tov, a Jewish mystical rabbi:

    [iv] “Jung and Aion: Time, Vision, and a Wayfaring Man” by Lance S. Owens is available to read at

    [v] Yetzer hara,

    [vi] Learn more about the Shekinah the Jewish Virtual library at

    Lance S. Owens is an historian and a physician in clinical practice. He has served on the clinical staff of the University of Utah for over two decades.  Since publication of Jung's Red Book: Liber Novus in 2009, Dr. Owens has published several studies focused on Jung's extraordinary visionary experience. His lectures and seminars on Jung and the Red Book (available online) have been enjoyed by many thousands of listeners. Dr. Owens is also the founder and editor of “The Gnosis Archive”, the major Internet repository of ancient Gnostic texts, including the complete Nag Hammadi Library of Gnostic Scriptures. A catalog of his publications and audio lectures is available at:

    bonnie_bright.jpgBonnie Bright, Ph.D., graduated from Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program in 2015. She is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has been extensively involved in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.

    NOTE: This blog originally posted on Pacifica Post

  • 01 Jun 2016 4:25 AM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    "Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. 

    It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth."

     —Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p. 269

  • 28 May 2016 3:49 PM | Bonnie Bright (Administrator)

    The idea of limitless growth is the most destructive myth of our times, began Dr. Vandana Shiva, in her inspiring plenary talk at “Climates of Change and a Therapy of Ideas,” Pacifica’s recent 40thanniversary conference held on the Ladera campus in Santa Barbara, CA.

    Vandana Shiva, who trained as a physicist at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, is Founder and Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology and for Navdanya, the movement for seed saving and ecological agriculture. She is also the author of numerous books including Staying AliveEcofeminism, Seed Sovereignty and Food Security: Women in the Vanguard (Ed.), Soil Not OilEarth Democracy and Who Feeds the World.

    In her moving lecture, Shiva reminded the hundreds of Pacifica students, alumni, and faculty—along with many members of the larger community who gathered in the Barrett center—that we are now living in an age recently dubbed the “Anthropocene,” the “age of man,” and pointed out some of the cultural and ecological issues that have led to the multitude of critical situations we now collectively face. 

    Shiva is a powerful voice for preserving the earth and healing culture and planet through conserving natural seeds, promoting biodiversity, and helping people connect to the land through organic gardening.

    While some scientists are looking to implement geoengineering solutions to combat climate change, including launching chemicals or reflectors into the sky to reflect the sun and prevent warming (as if the sunlight were the problem, she wryly notes), organic gardening would allow us to pull 10 gigatons of carbon out of the atmosphere.

    In fact, one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases is farming, I learned. Industrial agriculture, in particular, results in disturbance of massive amounts of earth, releasing excess CO2 normally sequestered in the soil into the atmosphere. Fertilizers, also, are large contributors to carbon emissions, and the use of pesticides and insecticides containing deadly chemicals is widespread in most industrial farming.

    In addition, the loss of biodiversity to large tracts of lands planted with acre after acre of so-called “monocrops” such as corn and soybeans completely obliterate ecosystems that provide nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies and other pollinators to survive. The word agriculture refers to the “culture of the land,” Shiva pointed out, yet today, due to the way we treat the land, agriculture has become like war.

    More, Shiva contends, in large part due to our history of colonialism which infringed on the rights of indigenous individuals in many parts of the world, a few individuals and organizations have been enabled to take advantage of the situation, not only taking over land and property that belonged to the original inhabitants, but also by setting legal precedents that work to their advantage.

    Specifically, some of those corporations that produce chemicals for the agricultural industry, such as fertilizer and pesticides, are misusing their power to create lucrative initiatives that she finds highly disturbing. Corporations such as Monsanto have created monopolies on gigantic tracts of land, planting them with specially engineered seeds that often integrate pesticides right into the seed.

    In her book, Soil Not Oil[i] and elsewhere, Shiva discusses how a new class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, developed by Shell and Bayer and chemically related to nicotine, are killing the soil and the pollinators that provide us with food. Only 10% of butterflies remain because of the spraying of RoundUp, she suggests; most are emerging from their cocoons with deformed wings. My own doctoral research, which focused in part on Colony Collapse Disorder, the mass decimation of honeybee hives, revealed that “neonics” are also implicated in loss of honeybees.

    When RoundUp and related pesticides are sprayed on the crops we ultimately eat, Shiva relays, it leads to the decimation of bacteria that make precursors to neurotransmitters, effectively killing much of the good bacteria in our guts, allowing pathogens to grow and take over. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, which is generously sprayed on genetically engineered crops, may indeed be a culprit in the process Shiva describes.[ii]

    The rapid increase in rates of autism, which may be linked to pesticides, is also a growing concern. When I looked into Roundup specifically, I discovered that as of 2009, the line of RoundUp products, including genetically modified seeds, represented nearly 50% of Monsanto's business.[iii]

    Ultimately, Shiva contends, organic agriculture feeds the planet with more nourishing food and can sequester the carbon we need. Seed programs, like the movement she started with Navdanya to create seed banks, can ensure our collective future, too, and maintain the diversity desperately required for our future prosperity. Those individuals that have the capacity to destroy life on earth have an incapacity to understand how they are destroying it, Shiva insists, and we need more hands and love on the land to beatify the earth and help the land to heal. What is it we will do now?

    Read Part Two of this report on Vandana Shiva


    [i] Vandana Shiva (2008). Soil Not Oil. Brooklyn, NY: South End Press.

    [ii] Joseph Mercola. (June 9, 2013). “Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide May Be Most Important Factor in Development of Autism and Other Chronic Disease”.

    [iii] Matt Cavallaro. (June 26, 2009). "The Seeds Of A Monsanto Short Play". Forbes:

    Bonnie Bright, Ph.D., graduated from Pacifica’s Depth Psychology program after defending her dissertation in December 2014. She is the founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, a free online community for everyone interested in depth psychologies, and of, a free-to-search database of Jungian and depth psychology-oriented practitioners. She is also the creator and executive editor of Depth Insights, a semi-annual scholarly journal, and regularly produces audio and video interviews on depth psychological topics. Bonnie has completed 2-year certifications in Archetypal Pattern Analysis via the Assisi Institute; in Technologies of the Sacred with West African elder Malidoma Somé, and has completed extensive studies in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram.

    NOTE: This blog was originally posted on

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