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The International Association for the Study of Myth held it’s first symposium this September in Carpinteria, CA. A group of us presented who are students in Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Mythological Studies Ph.D. program. Our general topic addressed “tending the soul of the world” (Pacifica’s mission) as mythologists: what does that look like in practice?

Each of the six presenters on our panel shared personal and professional experiences. Here is the list, and links to each recorded presentation:

The Risk of Ego Inflation While Tending to Gaia – Ted Myers, MA, MPA, PhD Candidate

The Importance of Mythology in Community Work – Rosalie Bouck, PhD Candidate

Constellated Mythopraxis: Cannibalism, Consciousness, Aloha, and The Womb – Jessica Giambra, PhD Candidate

Mythological Intent: Tending the Soul of a Sustainable World – Felicia Chavez, Green MBA, PhD Candidate

Lady Justice, Knights in Shining Armor, and the Round Table – Margaret Mendenhall, J.D. and LL.M., PhD Candidate

The Practice of Myth in the Trenches of Life – Joe Elenbaas, M.Div., D.Min., PhD Candidate

The presentations were eye-opening and brought up many questions. Each person clearly illustrated how a mythological perspective illuminates larger patters at work in society. Ted checked our “hero” impulse, a potential pitfall of anyone trying to “make the world a better place,” with a story from his own life and career. Rosalie shared insights into how community organizations can better see into and serve the communities with which they are working. Jessie presented an international, social consciousness perspective, and Margaret illustrated how today’s Western systems of law and justice reflect motifs from the court of Arthur. Joe spoke to the heart of religion, what gets in the way of truly being of service and what supports it, and shared from his wealth of personal experience.

My topic, Mythological Intent: Tending the Soul of a Sustainable World, is a peak into the question, what does it mean to be “a mythologist in service to life, to nature, to furthering a sustainable way of life?” I touched on “wild law,” or “rights for nature,” as an example. My main point is that what counts is the “space of consciousness” at work behind the action.

For the text of each presentation, you may click on the presenter’s name at www.mythopraxis.com. For more information about mythological studies in general, including a forum, visit the  International Association for the Study of Myth (sponsored by the Joseph Campbell Foundation, Opus Archives, and Pacifica Graduate Institute). Finally, in the future we hope to post more content relevant to the topic of mythology-in-practice at our YouTube channel, “The Myth Station.”

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