Our December 2012 eNewsletter is now available. Click here to read.

If you are not aware of the Joseph Campbell Foundation’s fabulous MythNow Blog, you are now!

JCF Associate Brad Olson, Ph.D. joined Opus, JCF and Pacifica for the Symposium for the Study of Myth that we co-hosted on Labor Day Weekend. Brad was inspired by some of the presentations and conversations that took place over the weekend and has written a great blog article that “examines Petrarch’s mind-expanding “peak” experience to reveal a surprising resonance between disturbance and discovery”. Check it out by clicking here. Feel free to make any comments here, conversation is welcome!

We’re so excited to share this fabulous news! New Mythos Grant winner and Pacifica alumnus, Kwame Scruggs, Ph.D. and his non-profit organization, Alchemy, Inc., has been honored at the White House with the  National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award!

First Lady, Michelle Obama, presented Kwame with this distinguished award for his inspirational and successful work of bringing myth and drumming to urban settings. Opus sends heartfelt congratulations to Kwame for this wonderful achievement! For more on this story, please click here to read an interview with Kwame himself.

Don’t forget to read too about the extraordinary work Kwame has been able to accomplish through the 2010 New Mythos Research Grant awarded to him by Opus Archives: Myth, Mentoring, Initiation, and the Prima Materia: A Black, Blacker than Black. Voices of Urban Male Adolescent Youth.

The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others.

~Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Bee Goddess of Rhodes


The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) has announced a call for papers for their upcoming biennial symposium, ‘Lady of Ten Thousand Lakes: Finding Wisdom in Places‘.  The symposium will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 20, 2013.

The ASWM is a wonderful group of brilliant and creative scholars, students and artists. “The goal of ASWM is to support the work of those whose scholarly/creative endeavors explore or elucidate aspects of the sacred feminine, women and mythology.

Lady of Ten Thousand Lakes: Finding Wisdom in Places

Call for Papers

Much of mythology is grounded in place. Suggested topics for this symposium might include, but are not limited to, the following:

How do and should the scholarship in Goddess Studies and Women’s Mythology and Spirituality engage with the sense and reality of place? What women’s myths are especially grounded in a place or places? What happens when such disciplines as Natural History, Ecology, and other sciences of place interact with Women and Mythology?
What does place mean methodologically? How does our scholarship change when place becomes an element or partner in our research? How does this intersect with Embodied Research or Embodied Methodologies? What are the criteria for solid scholarship using these new models?

Do issues of place add an activist quality to our scholarship? Does activism have a place in scholarship? What does it mean to find wisdom in places?

Visit ASWM’s website for more information and instructions on submitting a proposal by clicking here.

We certainly find ourselves living in interesting times, and our dreams are reflecting not only the challenges, surprises and graces that we find in our outer waking lives, but also what is being evoked and felt deeply in our inner dreaming lives.  Dreams are the medicines of the soul, individually and collectively.  Remember what Joseph Campbell said, “Dreams are private myths, and myths and are public dreams”.

Art mimics nature…

The weekend of November 9th -11th, Steve Aizenstat, Robert Bosnak and Maren Hansen are giving a public program called “Dreams: Medicines of the Soul”, and all proceeds will benefit Opus Archives and Research Center.

The weekend will be an exploration of dreaming psyche through the ancient Asklepian tradition of dream healing. If you have been feeling the call to engage more deeply with dreaming psyche, I hope you will come to this event and support Opus at the same time.  For more information and to register, please visit Pacifica’s Public Program here.

If you are not planning to come to this event, please consider making a donation to Opus directly. You can do so by clicking here.

Thank you!

Safron Rossi, Ph.D.

Executive Director


Opus Archives and Research Center is a non-profit research center, on the campuses of Pacifica Graduate Institute, that houses the archives of Joseph Campbell, Marija Gimbutas, James Hillman, Jane and Joseph Wheelwright, Christine Downing, Marion Woodman, Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig, and Katie Sanford. In addition to safeguarding these important resources, Opus works to foster ongoing research in the fields of depth psychology and mythological studies.

We are very lucky. Principia Productions has generously given us access to a set of limited edition DVDs that they produced on Marion Woodman, and these are now a part of her collection here at Opus. “Marion Woodman and the Conscious Feminine” captures over 9 hours of conversation between Marion and Marlene Schiwy from 2005 and 2006.

The conversations cover a vast field of topics, including Marion’s childhood, the Death Mother archetype, the essence of dreams and some of the big dreams that have shaped Marion’s destiny, the importance of her journal through the years, the spiritual meaning of addiction, Virgin and Crone archetypes, creativity as a healing force, her analyses with Dr. Bennett and Miss Hannah, what it means to live our Virgin in the world, and so much more.

I have made some time myself to watch the first DVD and Marion is simply incredible.  She answers question, and illuminates ideas with a depth and authenticity that rings down into the bones.

If you would like to come in and watch these DVDs, contact us to schedule a visit! info@opusarchives.org or (805) 969-5750

Have you wondered what it is like down in the ‘stacks’ where the archival collections are stored? Take this short video tour and get a felt sense of what Opus is all about!

Click here to watch the video!

Image taken by prospective Pacifica student, Rebekah Ross!

A great research tale on Campbell, Jeffers and some archive magic!

Archive Adventure Tales

Gere diZerega, MD
Professor, Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California

Cover of the Jeffers Studies Journal with a page of Campbell’s notes, from the collection, wherein he is comparing Jeffers to Elliot. This was the first time in the history of the journal that they put anything other than a photo of Jeffers on the cover.

As a long standing member of the Robinson Jeffers Association (RJA) and a “reader” of Joseph Campbell’s works, I knew of Campbell’s appreciation of Jeffers’s poems Roan Stallion and Natural Music as having an influence on the development of his thinking during his visit to California’s Monterey Peninsula. I knew that Campbell moved into a cottage next to Ed Ricketts in Pacific Grove, CA, beginning his “year of magical thinking” in 1932, but I wanted to understand more about Jeffers’s influence on the young Campbell, particularly as they never met.

Through the internet, I learned that the collection of Campbell’s notes were held by Opus Archives and Research Center. As a resident of both San Luis Obispo and Montecito, I was amazed to find the very information I sought was within a few miles of my front door. With some trepidation, I contacted Richard Buchen at Opus to make an appointment to review the notes Campbell made of Jeffers’s work. Richard immediately made me feel at home as we descended the steps into the archives, as I “put on the white gloves,” and began searching though original hand written notes on brittle yellow paper. This was for me literally a dream come true. The time I spent with these documents was tantamount to having Joe himself—at my side—telling me what he thought at the twilight of his career.

Over the next few months, I organized my notes into a presentation which I gave at the RJA Annual Meeting where I was able to transfer the excitement, begun during my afternoon with Richard and “Joe”, to the audience. My presentation resulted in: 1) a request to write up my talk as a publishable article for Jeffers Studies, the scholarly journal of the RJA, and 2) a request by the Tor House Foundation (the not for profit foundation that maintains Jeffers’s home in Carmel) to present the same talk at their upcoming annual meeting. As regards preparation of a publishable article, I knew I needed more information. Again I contacted Opus and was delightfully welcomed by Gabrielle Milanich in the beautifully renovated facility. Following a thorough discussion of my project, Gabrielle made a number of insightful suggestions regarding content.  Among them was the critical use of photographs of Campbell’s original notes. Indeed, when the article was published, it was the issue’s lead article, adorned by the photograph clearly displaying a page from Campbell’s notations. (see image above)

Richard and Gabrielle not only made this project such a pleasure but also added quality to the content at every step. Without the study of Campbell’s notes and Opus, none of this would have been possible. My very most sincere thanks and appreciation to Opus for the opportunity to unite Jeffers and Campbell by underscoring their continuing contributions to what makes our culture fulfilling to us as human beings.

Gere’s article: “Phantom Rulers of Humanity: Influence of Robinson Jeffers’s Roan Stallion, Tamar, and Other Poems on Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God: Creative Mythology“. Jeffers Studies, volume 13, pages 15-31, 2009