“Living One’s Own Experiment”: Heretical Individuation, Alchemical Hermeneutics, and Cross-Cultural Mytho-Poetics


Today we speak with David Odorisio, East-West Psychology PhD, about Eastern and Western wisdom traditions, searching for wholeness, and the integration of monasticism and contemplative spirituality with relationship and partnership. David’s academic work is steeped in religious studies and we speak of the benefits and challenges of interfaith dialogue through the work of Carl Jung and Thomas Merton. We ask David about his dissertation titled, “Alchemical Hermeneutics: Re-Visioning the Yoga Sūtras, Dark Night, and Heart Center in the Upaniṣads and Eastern Christian Prayer through a Jungian Lens”, and we unpack the concept of alchemical hermeneutics based on Jung’s transformative praxis of cross-culturally and comparatively mapping psychic stages and developments in consciousness. We talk about David’s book “Depth Psychology and Mysticism”, and discuss Jung’s gnostic approach to religious studies and his vision of hermeneutics beyond mere textual interpretation, but more importantly as spiritual transmission which facilitates and activates one’s individuation, which can be considered an immanent and contemplative approach to existential hermeneutics based on the mytho-poetics of sacred wisdom texts. As we discuss the intersection of poststructural thought and Jungian notions of individuation, David quotes Jung’s advise, “don’t follow the teachings, follow the unfolding of your own path”, and we agree on the importance of the notion of a heretical approach to individuation. The discussion ends briefly considering comic books as mystical text and opens to the contemporary intersection of the paranormal and the sacred.

David M. Odorisio, PhD is Associate Core Faculty in Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Mythological Studies graduate degree program. David received his PhD in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and teaches in the areas of theory and method in the study of religion, psychology and religion, and comparative mysticism. He is editor of A New Gnosis: Comic Books, Comparative Mythology, and Depth Psychology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), Merton and Hinduism: The Yoga of the Heart (Fons Vitae, 2021), and co-editor of Depth Psychology and Mysticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), and has published in numerous scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, including: Quadrant: Journal of the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, Jung Journal, Philosophy East and West, The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, The International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, and The Merton Seasonal.For further information, please visit David’s website: www.ahomeforsoul.com.

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Produced, Edited and Mixed by: Jonathan Kay

Music at the end of the episode titled The World in You, by Jonathan and Andrew Kay, from the album Temple Meditations, released on Monsoon-Music Record Label

Your Host

Stephen Julich and Jonathan Kay

Stephen Julich has worked as an adjunct instructor in History and Anthropology at the City College of New York, as a lecturer in Jungian Studies at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, and as an adjunct instructor at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he has taught classes on ensouled writing and Western Esotericism.

Jonathan Kay is a professional musician, and is currently a PhD student in the department of East-West Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco under the mentorship of Dr. Debashish Banerji.

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