On May 26, I had the honor of graduating from Pacifica Graduate Institute. This commencement was truly unlike any other that I have attended. To begin with, since our school is rather small, time was permitted for each graduate to speak upon receiving their diploma. (And, bonus, we actually received our diplomas on stage. When I graduated with my first MA, we were only handed empty diploma cases). Those of us receiving our MAs personally thanked the important individuals who helped us on this journey. The handful of PhDs graduating did the same and also shared their wonderful dissertation topics. Furthermore, as an institution whose very motto is to tend to the soul of the world – animae mundi colendae gratia – the ceremony held such resonance, deeply honoring our accomplishments with ritual and acknowledging that this program is imbued with so much more than academia. And, finally, our ceremony venerated beginnings and endings. Though graduation itself always encompasses these seeming opposites, this particular occasion held the tension even more so as one of the beloved professors of the Mythological Studies Department had passed away just days before. Walter Odajynk was memorialized through shared memories, touching words, and poetic reflections.
I have deep gratitude for the four years I have been at Pacifica. I’ve surely expressed this various times here, but the experience was so transformative on so many levels. It was a heavy undertaking, and it was a rich blessing. I would not trade one moment of it. To my fellow mythees reading this – thank you again for your support and camaraderie. I love you all.
“All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so they will always be. So if you want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that no one can do who has not himself learned how to live in it in the joyful sorrow and sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is.” -Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By